It's a long road, but I'm taking it one step at a time...

My Mini-Goal

8/08/10 to 8/31/10-to lose 6 lbs this month

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

He Unleashed the Beast, and it Scared Him...

My husband. I think he's got it.

He got on the scale the other day, something he rarely does, and is still shocked at the number-- his highest weight was 406 (that I know of, since I've known him), though he was not at his highest when he started this (more like around 370). He's do down to 332, which he probably hasn't been since his late teens. I'm a bit pissed because he's passed me and now weighs less than I do, but that's another story. We have a bet running of who can get under 330 first. Today he put on a pair of pants he has not worn in  a long time and he is swimming in them-- they are at least 2 sizes too big.

Yesterday was a major lesson for him and I think that lightbulb is finally going on in his head.

We went out with the kids to see Toy Story 3 (loved it-- cried though). We then went for pizza-- the good NY style, not the crappy kind that tastes like you spray-painted the cardboard. It's not a food choice we can indulge in a lot, but still reasonable, we agreed, as long as we were able to be careful the rest of the day, it was a nice little treat.

Well, we have not eaten "white carbs" in weeks, because I noted how addicted we both are to them and he has been good about staying off them as per my judgement. We just have not kept them in the house- only 100% whole wheat bread (no corn syrup or hidden white flour), brown rice, etc. not even cereal.

So eating the pizza yesterday unleashed the beast. Every person who has every struggled with weight issues knows what I am talking about-- that little beast deep down inside that sniffs the air, smells the junk food, rises and roars and begins to pound your brain with relentless thoughts, demanding feed me! feed me! feed me! More! More! More!

Now in the last few weeks, he has had to settle for just one chicken breast or one potato or 1 cup of cereal when he is used to more, and for the most part he has been dealing with it.

Not this time. The beast's tenacity in his head was almost blinding, making him want to binge. Making him want to buy and extra pizza and eat half of it. Making him want to snatch slices off the plates of his children and chomp them down in two massive bites and stuff pizza and bread and food down his throat until he was filled to the brim. He had to step outside as we finished our meal.

It scared him. He said he doesn't know if he'll ever be able to go back to eating white carbs, at least not on even a semi-regular basis; maybe real special occasions. Definitely not for a long time again, not until he's lost more weight and gotten a better grip on the new habits. And most definitely not to have it just lying around the house.

Now that he is somewhat "detoxed" and out from under the influence of these white carbs, he finally seems to be realizing that these white carbs and high fructose corn syrup/high sugar foods are dangerous to him; that they have a powerful drug-like effect on him. Now that he's away from them he is able to step back and understand just how much they have done to him-- always kept his hunger high and appetite huge, always prevented him from truly "tasting" and enjoying other foods (I swear, I think they dull your taste buds), always kept him thinking he could not possibly live without them and that it was better to be morbidly obese than to live without them.

And finally, he's not making excuses. He's not taking the "food's side" this time. He's not saying, "I know it's bad for me, but what are you going to do? I'm hungry, and this is what I eat."

Previously I have described his relationship with food as a Romeo & Juliet thing-- as if they were two star-crossed lovers that everyone wants to keep apart. And that even if  he has to keep away from it, he's always secretly thinking about food like, "My dearest, I love you, I shall count the hours till we meet again."

And now, it's like Romeo is looking at Juliet, disillusioned, thinking, "Wow, you are so not the woman I thought you were."

He's also realizing that, Yes, Virginia, fat is not a permanent state of being. Yes, it is possible, even for someone so thick headed, to lose body weight. And, yes, it can even be done without giving up human food entirely and surviving on rabbit food. He's starting to realize what a "real" portion is, compared to "his" portions-- and more importantly, to realize he doesn't need "his" portion size to be satisfied. He's starting to realize that healthy food can mean lasana, rice & beans, burgers & crispy baked chicken with cole slaw (what we are eating tonight). It doesn't have to mean deprivation and dispair and loss.

By George, I think he's getting it. This actually leaves me having to pick my jaw up off the floor because, Goddess love him, as good a husband and dad as he is, these kinds of lessons just don't easily seep through that thick skull. And they finally are.

Great now I am crying. Not only for him... that he might be able to prolong his life and be healthier, but for me.

Because he used to be a huge sabbotage of my attempts. He'd keep bringing foods I can't handle into the house. He'd eat them in front of me. When I would have weak moments, he thought he was actually helping me by offering me food. Because he thought instant gratification was such a good thing, he thought he was doing a good thing by telling me "Eat. Come on. I'll buy you Oreos. I'll go get you McDonalds. Don't sit here miserable, just eat." I began to worry that I'd never be able to do this living with him, and that my kids were doomed to have the same outlook and, with our genes, inevitably suffer the consequences.

So he's on board... he finally "gets it," which means the light at the end of the tunnel just got a whole lot stronger..

Monday, June 28, 2010

Breaking Through...

For almost a month I have teetered back and forth between 336 and 340, not due to any real diet problems but mostly due to natural fluctuations of water retention. I have finally broken through that plateau and am down to 335.

This is the first time in my life I have tackled and broken through a weight loss plateau. It is usually a time of such stress and depression and frustration, and I end up giving into those negative feelings, giving into the instant gratification with the thought I am sacrificing so much! It's not paying off! Why bother? This was the point where I normally gave up, matter conquering over mind.

This time I actually got through it with calm, peace, and confidence. This time patience and wisdom won out. I have broken through with a sigh of satifaction and am ready now to move on to the next level.

I also used a different strategy. I did not get tough and restrict my calories any more through the plateau. My theory was that, if my body was trying to clamp down and hold onto energy, why not let it have it's energy. I still ate within reason-- below approximately 1800 calories a day (estimation), sticking to lots of veggies, fruits, whole grain carbs, etc., but I did not get desperate.

My next mini-goal is getting down 10 more pounds-- that's 325, that's 50 pounds lost, that's 1/3 of my journey complete.

Now that I have broken through the plateau, I think I might get a little stricter and bump up the exercise a little more to try to get to that 10 pound goal, I am hoping by the end of August. But if I may let a little optimism slide in.... maybe sooner?

I made all these Scott Cunningham Magical Weight-Loss Bath herbal bundles, I might as well use them and see what they can do when I'm not on a plateau.

On a funnier note, my darling husband-- who himself is another 3 pounds down mind you!-- is addicted to green smoothies now, and particularly loved the ones I made yesterday with lemon balm and stevia. He looked at my small potted plants on the porch container garden and I explained to him that I had never used them as much but if we used them every day our use would outpace the plant's ability to replenish. He has decided we need more plants-- more lemon balm, more stevia, and more other flavor mints like apple mint and pineapple mint and chocolate mint to try in our green smooties. I find it funny that all of a sudden he is interested in gardening.

But you think I'm going to argue if I get more plants out of it?

Yeah... right...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"But I don't like vegetables..." and other lame excuses

What makes a child happy? -- instant gratification. When he fell down and brusied his knee, give him a cookie, he's happy again. Had a bad day, take him to his favorite arcade for an hour and he'll perk right up. Someone teasted him, buy him a toy. Instant happiness. Children don't understand the long-term value or benefits of restraint when something they want is put in front of them.

I'm thinking how this just doesn't fly with adults.

Some of us (totally guilty-- I am not lecturing anyone here, but just having thoughts that involve myself as well) still have an immature attitude and thrive on that instant gratification-- I know my husband does and admits it is one of his biggest problems. Sure, instant gratification feels good-- at first..

But it's a trap. A lot of times, that instant gratification feels good for about an instant, but then leads to more problems that make me unhappy.

Some of my proudest accomplisments and most treasured things in life are not things I got instantly, but that I had to work and sacrifice for... they were not instant, they cost me some sweat, tears, deprivation, endurance, I had to work and focus and stick with it and pass up a whole lot of other opportunities-- but when I achieved the goal, the long-term gratification exceeded the 100 or so moments of instant gratification I had to pass up on to get there.

So why is it that some adults cannot grow out of that instant gratification mode? And this is not just with food, but with education, finances, lifestyle-- even raising kid (how many people fall into giving into the tantrum to get the kid to quickly stop over sticking to their guns and being firm with the discipline?).

This is why people who succeed have certain things in common-- they are tenatious, they go after the bigger goals, they have endurance for the long-term, they don't give into the instant gratification temptation as often, they see the bigger picture and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get there in the long term.

I guess I see that a lot with health and fitness and diet.

I remember I grew up in a household in a land where veggies didn't exist. Veggies were butter-laden high carb canned corn and mashed potatoes, maybe cucumbers & lettuce on Sundays, and a couple of sliced up tomatoes on your hero sandwiches.

I had decided, in some point in my teens or early 20s, that I was going to learn to like vegetables. I was already on the yo-yo dieting band-wagon since age 14 (even though I wasn't really fat, my mother made me believe I was, and dieting became a cat-and-mouse game of power & control for her. I was the mouse-- more on that another day). Anyway... I had read an article that said you can acquire the taste for different foods by eating them. Studies showed it took only 10 to 15 times for you to eat a food before you start learning to like it.

So, I started with my most hated vegetable-- broccoli-- to see if it had any truth to it. Three times per week, I would buy a bunch and steam the flourettes. Put them in a bowl with a little parmasean cheese, and eat them. First week they didn't go down well; second week, they went down easier; third week I actually started to like it. I learned to love broccoli, green beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, asparagus, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, all kinds of squash, etc... and my tastes had begun to evolve so that it didn't even take me 10 to 15 times. Some I began liking right off the bat.

Anyway, that's how I learned to love vegetables, and got my husband into it too.

So I remember I had this friend... she was always overweight as long as I'd known her, a lot worse than I was (of course, my self-image was distorted back then, I hardly qualified as fat at all but thought I was huge). She was really steadfast in working, saving, etc... she was a bit of a recluse though, didn't get out much, hated exercise and her biggest pasttime was sitting around watching tv. She also loved to eat.

She almost never talked about health and fitness. But one day she mentioned how she had decided to try and lose weight, that she'd been coming home every night eating big servings of vegetables-- corn and potatoes.

I said, "those are not really counted as vegetables, though."

She was seriously taken aback. "What do you mean they're not vegetables?"

"Well, they're high-startch vegetables; they actually count as a serving of carbohydrates. They have few nutrients. You should try green and yellow vegetables like spinach and broccoli and zucchini, or salads."

Her jaw dropped, and she yelled at me, "But I don't like vegetables except corn and potatoes!" She yelled at me as if I had personally decided to change the molecular structure of food just to ruin her diet plan, and as if I should change it right away to make potatoes and corn have the same properties as kale.

I didn't want to argue. I just said something along the lines of, "Look, it's one of those things where you do what you need to do, or you don't. I just wanted you to know that lots of potatoes & corn should be counted as carbs so you don't sabbotage yourself."

I think that was the end of dieting with her. We lost touch after I moved across country, however as I was browsing some "health and fitness" forums, I was reminded of her. There are two points that are probably most common to all of the people seeking weight-loss help. 1) they want to do it fast and 2) they don't want to eat vegetables.

And it brought me to pondering the whole 1) instant gratification thing and the 2) not willing to make sacrifices and do what is necessary to achieve a long-term goal (a healthier lifestyle).

And then I got to thinking about magic, and how much magic focuses on positive thinking. If you doubt your spells will work, they probably won't. I got to thinking about self-fulfilled prophecies and neurolinguistic programming and the power of thought, and I guess Witches have about had that right all along.

So losing weight, it's like it's time to become an adult. To think about the long-term, about thinking about the sacrifices and doing what you have to do-- like it or not-- to reach the better, more prized, more valued goals that don't come instantly.

I was thinking of this last night as I sat there after the kids went to bed, watching TV with my husband, and was having mad cravings (PMS time). I had eaten well for the day-- I had a big green smoothie (mixed fruit, kale, spinach) for breakfast, a piece of veggie lasagna for lunch, 2 wraps with hummus & roasted asparagus & red peppers for dinner, a big bowl of watermelon, and I even made Cook Yourself Thin "fudgy brownies" and had one-- so I was set. But I wanted Chinese food so badly I could smell it... literally smell it. Maybe it's because I lost my hunger-warding charm (or because I know I lost it, psychologically). And I said, "I don't want to give into a weak moment like this." And I didn't.

So I sucked it up and was an adult, and went for the long haul. And if anyone is going to succeed in losing weight and keeping off, that is the attitude we have to adopt-- suck it up and do it for the long haul. Forget about what you "want" and "don't want" at the moment. Forget about what you "like" and "don't like." Eat the veggies. Get to the gym (or jog, or do the morning yoga tapes-- whatever). Put down the food and walk away when you've had enough. Just say "no" to the can of Pepsi someone is holding out to you. Just make the sacrifices and do what you got to do for that much better, much more rewarding and satifying long-term goal.

The new affirmations:
I am an adult; I can suck it up and do what's better for me.
Instant gratification are roadblocks to bigger and better things.
I like being thinner and fitter more than I like sucking down a big plate of junk food.
I don't like exercise; but I don't like my body fat even more.

Ritual spell tonight (kids had a sleep-over last night and I couldn't do my esbat):
"Breaking" the attraction of instant gratification.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Different Kind of Magic

A few articles have been buried in the news lately about former Biggest Loser contestant, Kai Hibbard, and her comments that the show pushed her to lose weight in unhealthy ways and that her dramatic 118 pound weight loss in what seemed like 12 weeks on television actually took longer.

Hibbard says the show pushed contestants to work out excessively through injuries and all, encouraged them to ignore the advice of nutritionists and listen only to Biggest Loser trainers, use dehydration as a means of dieting and lowering the number on the scale, and that there could be many weeks between weigh-ins (which, through the illusion of TV, only look like they are happening once a week).

She claims she returned home with a low-self image about her body, poor/extreme dieting habits, her hair was falling out and she didn't look good so her family staged an intervention. She has since gained back 70 pounds of the weight she lost. You can read the entire article here:

Biggest Loser Contestant: Show Hurts People

For anyone who might think Witchcraft is bad, this kind of tv "magic" is much worse, isn't it? It's a complete illusion.

For some reason our society, even though we know that just about everything on television is for profit and entertainment, still has a huge influence over us. In one segment it is showing us what body image to aspire to, and in the next commercial it is telling us to run to McDonalds or grab a batch of Betty Crocker Brownie Mix. People sit there watching TV, zoning out into a semi-meditative state (the ALPHA state, a lighter version of the state in which post-hypnotic suggestions can be planted), watching this stuff, and it permeates their subconscious.

Shows like the Biggest Loser and Celebrity Fit Club fuel misconceptions that someone can lose weight so quickly. These shows fuel misconceptions by paying some sell-out doctor (with a good sympathetic stare) and a physical trainer condoning to sit there and encourage this kind of extreme weight-loss while spewing self-help cliches about the importance of being healthy (the opposite of what they are doing). These so-called "professionals" give the illusion that this "experiment" is about helping the lucky chosen contestnet-- and inspiring the world-- to get healthy and eat right... when the real goal is just making money, getting ratings, selling air time.

Not that I am against capitalism-- not by a longshot, I firmly believe capitalism is the best, most fair economic system-- so no, just because I am a Pagan don't think I am pinning this on "big business" or "capitalist corporations."  Making money, making TV shows, fueling the economy is good. The problem is they are doing this under the guise that it is a "reality show" so people unfortunately believe what they see, even though it's been highly manipulated. This in particular is a reality show about a medical problem, and they are being deceptive, as if there were a "miracle cure" right under your nose and you, dear home viewer, are just missing it.

And then when people get inspired to eat a healthy diet and exercise and find they are not losing 5, 10 or 12 pounds a week, that they are chugging along at a steady 1 to 2 pounds, and when they hit those natural plateaus, they think there is something wrong with them. They think they are doing something wrong. Or they think it is too hard and give up.

Can you imagine if they did that with cancer patients? Get a bunch of patients whose ability to go into remission looks promising, giving them sea weed and other "healthy" diets, follow them to doctor appointments and yoga classes,  then dress them up with a professional make up artist using lighting to make them look great once a week, and act like "Ohy, look how wonderful they are doing... and you can do it, too, if you really wanted to." Meanwhile behind the scenes they are getting aggressive rounds of chemotheraply and the "once a week" check-in is really every 2 months. Can you imagine viewers at home who have cancer, or live with loved ones with cancer, or who have lost people to cancer-- how would that make them feel that they didn't find such a "fast and easy" cure?

If you go visiting weight-loss forums, you often see posts like "how can I lose weight fast!" "Should I just eat an apple a day and drink water and get on the treadmill for 6 hours so I can drop 60 pounds in 30 days?" or "Why aren't I losing weight? I only eat 500 calories a day and I do cardio aerobics an hour a day and for some reason I am only losing a pound or two a week! What's wrong?"

People don't read, people don't study up on fitness and nutrition, most people don't have a clue about their bodies or what a normal sized portion is or what's a balanced diet or how much they should intake every day in calories... but they see the "Biggest Loser" and they want to know why they can't do it.

And the reason is that it's not just "TV magic"-- it is a complete illusion. False. A lie delivering false hope and impossible promises to desperate people in a society with a screwed-up notion of body image, instant gratification and finding miracle cures.

This is the kind of mentality that not only is keeping America fat, but making it get worse with each passing decades. Frankly, I don't have cable, I have seen about 1/2 an episode of the Biggest Loser and about 2 episodes of Celebrity Fit Club when visiting my mother, and since I have educated myself a bit on the topic I could see that it was a complete load of bunk. But I really shudder to think of the eating disorders of the next generation of kids and teens growing up with these "reality" shows... the depression, the low-self image, self-loathing for not being able to do it so fast and easily, the amount of people who may pure give up, or the amount of people who will try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, and each time put on those extra 10 or 20 "bonus" pounds your body seems to gain after a failed diet.

Why is it the FDA can restrict the use of a natural sweeting herb like stevia, but not the blatant glorification of false information via the most influential medium in our society?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lucid Dreaming, yay or nay?

I had meant to get into lucid dreaming a couple of weeks back, and now that I am sleeping better it reminded me of it again.

For anyone who actually may be out there reading this, someday, maybe in the next decade or something, who might be wondering what the heck that is, lucid dreaming is the ability to maintain some semblence of consciousness while you dream, so that you can control the dream. You can learn to do this through meditation, making suggestions to yourself before you fall asleep, cuing yourself with a light or sound in the room (though this is tricky because you have to time it for when you will be in REM stages of sleep and it cannot be so obtrusive that it will fully wake you), some people even write scripts and meditate them to dream them. I fell into it accidentally as a teen... I was watching taped reruns of 21 Jumpstreet and fell asleep to them. I dreamed myself into the show (as well as into Penhall's arms, but that's another story).

Basically, if you learn how to lucid dream, it can turn it into a very realistic fantasy. You can go where you want to go, do what you want to do.

I was watching a tv show many years ago (maybe 20/20?) on the topic, and one woman talked about how she lost weight by lucid dreaming. She would abstain from the foods she loved all day and then indulge in them all night in her dreams. It satisfied her cravings enough so she didn't cheat in the day time.

I found that fascinating.

Of course, I have sleep issues, so lucid dreaming has always been hit or miss for me. For a while when I went through college, it became almost forgotten. When I got more involved in learning the craft, meditation made it easier to do at will, but then as I got more involved in motherhood and working and a busy life,  it's not something I have attempted very often over the last few years now... but I was wondering, would this be a good thing, or a bad thing?

A good thing, of course, is to eat and indulge in dreams where they leave no trace of calories.

On the bad side, however, isn't it just perpetuating that addiction to the foods that I really shouldn't be eating anyway? I mean, isn't it just fanning the flame?

I wish there was a way to track down that woman and find out if in the long run lucid dreaming helped her keep her weight off, or if it was just feeding a temporary satisfaction with bad habits that eventually found their way back into her waking life?

I know one thing for sure though... if I do any lucid dreaming tonight, it will be at Disney World (sigh I miss my happy place).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Green Smoothies-- The Modern Witch's Magical Brew

I just realized that yesterday's post didn't post yesterday. I thought it did, but apparently it was only in a draft. I posted it today.

I am doing even better today than I was yesterday. I have slept really well the last couple of nights. Like 10 hours. And straight through the night. I don't know why, maybe it's the reduction of caffiene in my blood, or maybe it is the regiment and having a full day. This is actually a good thing as I am usually sleep deprived, either overworked or suffering from insomnia (sometimes both). I feel really good now that my body is catching up a bit.  

There are some occasional complaints... who doesn't want to get up early, who doesn't want to eat oatmeal, who doesn't feel like doing their homework. My husband has been grumbly because he has been basically shooting his own self in the foot... two days ago he had milk before bed, and he's lactose intolerant since I've known him. Why he still insists on torturing himself with drinking milk is beyond me, but it kept him up and down on the toilet in pain all night so he slept crappy and complained all day that he was tired. So he gets up yesterday and sticks to the regiment, and I went to bed early so he stayed up late to play his new video games and again complained this morning he was too tired. I told him he is sabbotaging himself and he promised to get to bed early tonight.

Meanwhile, we've been drinking Green Smoothies every day, and in making them I realized this is not much different than any other Witch's brew, potion or concoction I could possibly make. So making Green Smoothies is now part of my daily magical and health routine.

I start out with some juice. Yesterday I used watermelon juice because I had 1/2 leftover melon that wasn't long for this world. Watermelon is great, not only because it's sweet and delicious, but because of an organic chemical called citrulline. Citrulline relaxes the blood vessles to help blood get around the body more, and water also has the anti-oxidant lycopene, which is good for your skin.

I add kale, which is purifying, and spinach for strength and vitality (Popeye wasn't wrong!). I add some fennel to promote health and peaches for longevity. I throw in a few stevia leaves to sweeten it up (I keep a plant on the screen porch), and whatever other fruit, frozen or fresh, I have lying around. A bit of crushed ginger is to make my spell potent.

I consecrate and charge them to bring them to full potency, then pop them in the blender and enter a semi-meditative state as it whips them into a beverage. As I pour out, I offer a prayer to bless our smoothies to nourish, fill, cleanse and empower us with all the nutrients, thoughts and emotions that we need. I make a small offering of some smoothie at the alter and we drink.

Now this is just how I have been making them for the past 5 days or so... there is nothing you "must" put in, and nothing that you "can't" put into a green smoothie. Make them to suit your own personal tastes. I've seen some recipes on the web of people putting in yogurt & cocoa powder & artificial sweetner to get down their greens, to the other end of the spectrum of people who use no sweeteners or fruit, just pure bitter greens, root veggies and herbs.

I am most definitely going to try different things. Luckily there is a fruit stand and a Sweetbay right up the street from our apartment complex, so every 5 days or so we hit them for some new fresh produce, so I like to see what is on sale or looks good in season... and I almost always have giant-sized bags of fruit from Walmart on hand because that is the cheapest way to keep a staple of fruit in the house.

I have heard frozen is as good, sometimes better than, fresh... because fresh fruits & veggies from the supermarket are often picked unripe and gas ripened and travel a ways before they get to the store; frozen ones are picked from the field and flash-frozen within a couple of hours, locking in the nutrients. I just don't know how true that is, but it sounds like frozen, if not better, can't be that much worse than fresh.

Everyone likes them, except my little one who says "they're 'okay' but they look like barf," but even he drinks them, and I swear he is as picky as they come and a little sugar & carb-addict at heart, so if this is what it takes to get his veggies in him without a fuss, so be it. I think they look so pretty, personally, that emerald green color reminds me of St. Patrick's Day and all things good and healthy.

Yes, they are tasty because the fruit covers the taste of the veggies. The cost was something I had to consider more carefully.

At first the thought of the cost of the daily fresh fruits and veggies made me whince... on the other hand, I look at how filling they are... it cuts down the cost of other snacks and they eat a smaller lunch but are still satisfied. I suspect that, budget-wise, green smoothie costs will balance out and be worth it. In the fall I'll probably put up some spinach and other leafy greens on the ol' screen porch garden and this should keep costs down for it as well, although there is a limit to what you can grow in a porch.

Have I shown you my screen porch garden, yet, btw?

I know it's small, but it's all the space I've got to work with. This time of year, plants are looking a little puny because of the heat. But in the spring and fall, it's hopping. I have about 8 hooks for hanging plants along the edges that I use for tomatoes & strawberries. Plus I line planters up along the ground edge and I keep most herbs on the utility shelf. I am thinking of getting a couple more utility shelves to multiply my gardening space as well. I get excellent southern exposure from about 10 AM till noon from the Eastern direction, then around noon till 2 pm the sun is high and everything is shaded by the porch above me, which is good because that's the harshest part of the day. Then from about 2 pm until almost 9 pm we get it from the Western direction. It's a pretty good set-up for an apartment dweller. I always said the only reason I ever wanted a house was for the yard so I can garden; other than that, I'm a NYC native-- I prefer apartments. As you can see, Ben enjoys the garden here, too.

I think I have gotten over that hill

The hill of beans, that is... more specifically, coffee beans. I spent a few days out of it but I feel better now.

About the new regiment-- I am shocked, but the kids actually like it and hubby is dealing with it quite nicely. I think we were all a bit worried that it was going to be hard to get disciplined and get used to it, but instead it's been pleasant and there has been a calm and peaceful energy in the house.

I think it used to be that we would sit there wasting time, procrastinating, worrying about the things we wanted to do, worrying about the things we might not get done, etc... with this strict schedule, everything is on it... and you know you are going to get to everything. And while you are doing it you don't have to worry about other things, you just focus on it. And if you don't finish, you know you will get a chance later or tomorrow. There is no opportunity for excuses, and no guilt.

And with all the meals and snacks I am finding that I am full even between meals and I am eating much smaller portions. It used to be that I would wake up and grope for coffee first thing. I would never be hungry in the morning and I wouldn't eat until well into the afternoon. Now with the breakfast and the snacks, I feel the need to eat less because even though I'm not eating much I feel like I'm overindulging.

I have been having a cup of hot water with an "enchanted" lemon (can't wait till grapefruit season again) every morning to help "perk me up" in place of caffiene and it is working. No sugar no honey, just squeeze a half lemon into a cup of hot water-- lemon scent is very cheery and uplifting, and the juice is for purification so it will help purify the body.

Between the morning lemon and the meditation, then getting in a little work, 45 minutes of exercise and a green smoothie containing an entire day's worth of fruits and veggie servings-- all by noon-- I feel like the day is getting off to a right start and it puts me at ease for the rest of the day.

Yesterday was the solstice but I did not do very much; we had evening prayers at sunset and lit the sun candle, and made an offering. I sat outside with a cup of green tea and watched the summer rain for a while, thinking about the cycle of life and how nature always renews itself... and how I am part of nature and how wonderful it is that I can renew myself. 

I just have to make a mention of the Cook Yourself Thin book-- I was going to make veggie lasagna but the family wanted this roasted herb chicken with root veggies instead; I made it and-- OMG, it was fabulous, and it was so quick and easy to prepare. So was the roasted peaches with crisp made a bit of a messy pan but it was really good, too.

My new daily devotional prayer is the Wiccan Serenity Prayer:
Goddess grant me the Serenity

To Accept the Things I Cannot Change;
Courage to Change the things I can;
And Wisdom to Know the Difference.
Living one Day at a Time;

Enjoying One moment at a Time;
Accepting Hardships as the Pathway to Peace;
Taking this World as it Is,
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that Time will make all things right if I Faith;
That I may be Reasonably Happy in this Life
And Supremely Happy and,
Forever in the Next.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Is this what is happening?

Tonight Ben  says:

At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.

Is this what is happening to me? Is Ben right? Am I finally coming to an age where judgement reigns?

I hope so.

It's just me and the bean; one of us is not coming out of this alive...

So I am on day two without the almighty bean. Yesterday, the bean kicked my ass. Today I pray I will triumph.

I got up yesterday and had a cup of tea. Then I proceeded to go about my day and ran out of steam. But I refused to yield... I will drink coffee again, on occasion, however I am determined not to be dependent upon it.

My wonderful husband saw me feeling miserable in the middle of the afternoon, and he dragged me into the bedroom, lit some incense and gave me a cleansing, then offered to transfer some of his energy to me and that made me feel better, except for the still muffled headache. So he then gave me a massage and rubbed my head until I felt better.

I don’t know where he learned to do these things... maybe he picked it up from his childhood with his Santero upbringing, or maybe it’s just instinct, but he is very good at it.

And I won’t get into the details of the things we did next, but let’s just say that was also a nice and uplifting activity for the day. And he’s very good at these things, too.

I felt much better. One child was sleeping over grandma’s, the other a friends, so we cuddled up on the couch and watched old Chevy Chase / Goldie Hawn movies: Foul Play and Seems Like Old Times.

So, as today is Father’s Day, he was given the best present he can possibly ever get– money to shop. The man looooooves shopping– I mean, he would rather shop for one thing on his own than receive 10 things in boxes. He loves to shop for little things he loves, like video games and DVDs and what-not. We are strictly budgeted on many things though so he can’t just go out and buy them every week, so it is a treat when he gets free reign– he turns into the kid in the proverbial candy store. It puts him in such a good mood, too. I mean, he’s usually easy-going, but shopping makes him downright perky.

So he and his sons went “man shopping,” while I prepared this lovely brunch from two new cookbooks I picked up (used in perfect condition, discounted, score!). They are “Cook Yourself Thin” and "Cook Yourself Thin Faster." I know it is a TV show, I saw it at my mothers house a couple of times on cable... I would not mind owning that show on DVD. I love cooking shows, and those girls on that show are just so clever and sweet, I enjoy watching them and the wonderful meals they make are inspiring. I am making “Stuffed French Toast Sundaes,” “Raspberry, Banana and Orange Smoothies,” and turkey bacon.

My son, the 11 year old who wants to be a chef since he was out of diapers, and who is determined to one day bring Bobby Flay down in a “Throwdown” (watch out Bobby! He's coming for you!) got ambitious in the kitchen and made some chocolate low-fat fro-yo for us, and then wanted to play with the new blender and whipped up a batch of humus like I have never tasted. He made a base batch of plain humus and put in pickled ginger, honey, nutmeg (and cumin I think?)– well, whatever he did to it, it is fabulous– the salty, sweet, tangy– ohh! The boy has got skills. I mean, I usually throw in different roasted veggies in it and puree it when I get creative but he did things I never thought of with humus. We smeared it on whole wheat toast for lunch.

So he was paging through the CYT cookbooks and loved so many recipes we agreed to try and cook our way through them to test them all out. A lot of them are nice, simple things, too, not overly-complex meals. I made the brunch items today; tomorrow he wants to make this roasted chicken with veggies.

Anyway, after my bout of being angry at and hating food for a while, I am now looking at it with a softening heart... it can be so beautiful and vibrant, it is life-giving as well as it can be life-taking. And I want to love it, and enjoy it, but I’m frightened of it, too.

So many mixed and confusing feelings. I need a spell for clarity. This week.

Meanwhile, I am doing the Cunningham Bath for another month, because I was losing weight nicely until I stopped it and then I started this stall... so maybe if I start the bath again after the full moon I will break through it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A New Regime

A lot has gone on. I am going to try hard to avoid turning this post into a novel.

Hubby has been in shock at his photo. Yes, weight can be lost. A revelation to him.

Our middle child, 11 yrs old, has been dragging his ass more and more this year, getting lazy & procrastinating, especially with mundane chores & schoolwork.

Hubby and I had a talk about it, and it got into how part of it is because we've been laxed and procrastinating and getting lazy about stuff because we just have bad habits... sure, we're adults and eventually we do what we have to. But he's a kid and getting the wrong message, and getting worse habits. And we thought maybe we should try to get a little more regimented.

So somehow the conversation got steered to hubby's "inner child" who wants what he wants when he wants it, and how he's go along if he has to as usual, and even though he's thrilled with the results of the diet, he's only going to continue doing things because I'm "making" him.

And I said I was tired of being his scape goat and warden and that I didn't want him doing anything he isn't willing to do for himsef. And he said, "that's just it, I'm not willing to do for myself, because of that part of me that doesn't care about what's ahead and just wants instant gratification."

And I asked why isn't there any other part of him that wants to defeat that part of him. I made some speech about him spoiling and coddling his innner child so much and for so long that it's a complete tantrum-throwing kicking-and-screaming brat that has held him back from having more important, bigger and better things in his life all of his life. That any time he could have headed down the road to find the goose with the golden egg and real security, that child dragged him by the arm and laid in the street and demanded ice cream and cookies and cake and to play video games and go on rides and just lounge around and goof off, stopping him dead in his tracks. I asked him how he could even want to live with that side of himself without kicking it's ass?

Well... poof... another revelation. So we got to talking about Buddhist Monks living a regimented lifestyle, having the day planned out for them and following it, calmly and peacefully, living in the moment and being very aware of what they are doing as they are doing it in the moment.

And we decided that, since we are stuck this summer, him without a job, me working at home, no Disney tickets, no car, not a lot of money to go trapsing around town, with the worst of storm season and the Florida heat creeping upon us... we decided to try instilling a new reginme for the summer. A really strict regiment to try instill or recall, as the case may be, the benefits of being focused and productive, as an exercise in self-discipline.

I mean, our daily routines have just deteriorated... I work at home, sporadically, setting my own hours; the kids home-school and after many many years of a packed schedule of activities like co-op classes and karate and book clubs and park dates and church-- last year I cut them all for time off because our schedule was getting insane-- now it's going insane the other way. Without any scheduled activities it's like we're just moving through our day completely randomly, procrastination is on the rise and less and less is getting done. Since hubby has been home, it's been worse-- now there is no need to even worry about getting dinner on the table in time; we just eat "whenever." No more.

We are going to schedule our day: meals, prayers/devotionals, meditations, work (for him: study for his exam to get into plumbing school; for me: work; for kids: homeschooling), chores, exercise and leisure.

I have decided to GIVE UP COFFEE. This is a huge step for me but there are many reasons: 1) too much caffiene is no good for me and it has long been at the point I can't function without it. I don't want to be dependent upon a bean to function. 2) it shows I am serious and committed to these changes we are making; you can't start anew if you're holding on to old vices.

We're also incorporating GREEN SMOOTHIES into ou r daily routine to help us get more vitamins and nutrients. It can be a pain in the butt sometimes to ensure you are getting the right amount of veggies and fruits... while we will still eat veggies and fruits, a green smoothie will help us make sure we get down at least as much as the daily requirements are.

Now we are not crazy, and I am not naive... we don't plan to stick to this past the summer. It's most likely temporary, unless we end up loving it that much. More likely we will walk away with some lessons, maybe keep some parts and let the strictness go when we are done. This is, like I said, an exercise in self-discipline and we figure we are home and not doing anything so we might as well get drastic just to see what happens.

Here is our regiment for the Summer, btw:

6:45 Wake Up; shake off sleep

7:00 Meditation
7:15 Meal Prep - Walk Dog - Water Plants
7:45 Morning Devotional
7:50 Break Fast
8:15 Fast Clean Up kitchen / bedroom
8:30 Work
10:00 Exercise (walk, swim, dance, yoga, stretch, etc.)
10:45 Snack
11:00 Work
12:30 Meal Preparation - Clean up bathroom/living room
1:00 Lunch
1:45 Quick Clean up
2:00 Work
3:30 Snack
3:45 Daily Discussion Break
4:00 Chores
4:45 Meal Preparation - Finish chores/work
5:30 Evening Devotional
5:40 Dinner + Family TV
6:15 After Meal Clean-up - Walk Dog
6:45 Showers
7:15 Free Time
7:45 Snack
8:00 Quiet Time - (I Work more)
8:30 Kid’s Bed Time
10:30 Adult’s Bed Time

Crazy? Maybe. But I think it will give us something that we have been sorely lacking: discipline. And I think it will teach the kids (and maybe hubby and me as well) that when you plan well and focus on what you are doing you can be very productive and accomplish so much more.

Day 1 of this little experiement... let's see where it leads.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This Too Shall Pass

Well, my pleas for some kind of a response have apparently gone unheard... and it is as I suspected-- I am the only person here. But I guess that's okay,  because it feels good to get my feelings out like this and if I didn't do it here I'd probably neglect to do it in a journal. It feels good to write as though someone was listening, even if no one is.

Bad news: I'm still stalled. Still hovering at the same place on the scale. I don't get it, I have been paying attention these last few days to my food intake. I realize I might have had an extra cup of coffee or two this week but I'm still doing pretty well. So I am cutting down on the coffee to two cups and going to try and get more into herbal teas without caffiene. The "garden" (my porch herb container garden that is) is blossoming so I have plenty to make tea with, and stevia to sweeten it.

Part of me thinks a lot of it has to do with my age-- it just don't come off as easy as it used to. But as I recally, whenever I ever tried to lose weight, I'd get down to 30 or 40 lbs less and then stall and eventually I would just give up in frustration and gain it all back. Maybe that's just the natural time for my body to "clamp down" and refuse to give.

Good news: I'm still not stressing over it. It's not discouraging me.

This in itself almost makes me want to cry. It's like I have learned something somewhere along the line and it just might end up paying off. I'm not frustrated, I don't want to throw in the towel, and I know-- I just know-- it'll pass. As long as I keep doing the right thing, eventually my weight will decrease. Praise Goddess, it's finally gotten through my thick skull.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking I need to increase water and exercise this week; that should hopefully get me over this hurtle. But it's been raining horribly the last few days, and disgustingly hot and humid when it's not, and to top it off we had a mess because apparently our whole 3 story apartment building's AC drainage lines backed up and overflowed into our closet.

But my husband is doing great, and despite the fact that the numbers on the scale hover, I am doing really great, and this too shall pass.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sacred Knives

So you may have noticed I haven't been talking about magic as much this last couple of weeks; I did do the Scott Cunningham bath and have been carrying around my little charms and doing my positive affirmations... trying to keep up with meditation and failing miserably these last 10 days or so. Basically, once in a while, a break is in order as it's just too much energy to put out at one time.

But I giot to thinking about my knives today... my kitchen knives. I was thinking about how they are like my athame. Just incase anyone doesn't know, an athame is a ritual knife, normally used to raise and direct energy. I got to thinking how my knives in the kitchen, in my domestic work, are like my athame in ritual... how it is a most basic, versatile tool that can accomplish so much.

And then I realized, knives aren't like my athame; my athame is like my knives... after all, knives originally were not just ued for ritual purposes. The whole reason they found their way onto the altar was because of the useful tools they were in food preparation, work and chores, as well as protecting oneself.

It got me to thinking that I want to cleanse and consecrate my kitchen knives to pay them the respect they deserve and treat them like the sacred life-sustaining tools that they are. I think that is what I am going to do next full moon.

So that got me thinking that maybe I ought to consider being even more aware of my kitchen as a temple, and my cooking tools as sacred, and as a natural extension, as the sustenance prepared as part of a ritual. And I am thinking that maybe I should start using my kitchen shrine to Hestia, my patron Goddess, for more than just big stressful domestic days. Maybe I should start going to the shrine every time I cook, light my candle & incense, make an offering of the food. Maybe making my kitchen a temple and cooking & eating a ritual, it will just feel "right" to do it naturally and healthfully. I just can't imagine sending up prayers to Hestia while throwing her some Doritos and frozen pizza crusts with some Pepsi... it wouldn't feel right.

Just maybe there is hope for me in developing a more healthy relationship with food in my life?

Oh... and one last thing to mention... my damn husband has passed me; at 335, he now weighs less than I do.

When I met him he was 400 lbs (sad thing-- I was only about 220 back then and a size 18-- and at my height, that's really not that bad). Anyway, after moving in with me, he lost about 20 or 30 lbs just because he was 1) not eating the fried crap anymore and endless gulpings of bottles of soda 2) eating some vegetables and balanced meals and 3) not spending most of the day on his rump watching TV. And he kind of hovered at that for a while. Last year I think he lost another 15 lbs or so, when he took on the extra jobs doing maintenance, though he wouldn't get on a scale. Today he finally got on the scale and he's 335.

Here are some pics of him, one from a few months ago, one from last week:

And can you believe it-- he doesn't believe it. He thinks my scale is off. He's been so overweight since his teens he can't think of himself as anything but 400 pounds. But I have a digital scale, unfortunately it only goes to 330 lbs, but he says if he can get on it in a couple of weeks and it reads under 330 he thinks he is going to weep with joy.  But seriously, he's 6'1" tall, and he's a big bear type of guy anyway... if he got down to even 275 and managed to stay there, it'd be 10 times better than where he started and make a huge, huge difference. But maybe it'll prove it to him that there is a difference and be a motivating factor.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

(tap tap --squeaaaaaaak--) Ahem... is this thing on?

I'm just wondering if anyone is out there because I could really use the company.

I am not a professional blogger and I'm not that computer savvy. I looked up "blogging" and I have gotten a bunch of different sites telling me about monotizing and HTML coding... I don't do Facebook or Twitter or Digging or pinging any of that jazz myself. I'm not much of a social networker. I can surf the web, read websites, occasionally jump in on discussion boards and I like to express my feelings in writing.
I'm pretty new to the blogging world in general. I have been reading some other blogs I have stumbled upon that I like and I am seeing comments... and I must admit I am a bit jealous. It's making me feel lonely.

I want people to talk to. I want to hear from people who have taken this journey, or who are taking it, or who are on it, or just who have some kind of thoughts about it even though they will never need to lose weight. I want to hear from fellow Witches and fellow fatties alike (pardon me if the phrase offends you; I use it in the most affectionate way).

I have no way of knowing (at least, if there is a way, I am clueless) if anyone has been reading anything I have written, but if you have I would really appreciate a shout-out with a comment.

I guess I should do a little advertising too, which I will begin, even though I feel a little uncomfortable just hopping around going, "hey, read my blog!" I don't know why... it feels a little like inviting people to read my diary. It's a little scary here, inviting people in to my secret life and all my issues and problems put up front on display, but at the same time, I need someone to hear me.

I do talk to my husband, and of course my family and friends know I am trying to lose weight, but there are so many personal issues that are hard for me to talk about. I've never been very good at deep conversations about myself. Sure I can be a good friend and listen to or advise others but it has always been hard for me to talk about me.

Now writing about me, that somehow is different. It’s like whatever blockage that prevents the words from escaping my throat reroutes them to my fingertips, from which they flow much more effortlessly.

Even when I was younger, I had pen pals that I revealed more of myself to than some of my closest friends, and I used to write letters and cards to people whenever I really needed to tell them something about myself.

Also, there are certain issues that I don’t like to talk about to people when it might get back to my mother or family. Certain abuses and such that took place... I’m always afraid they are going to get back to the family. I don’t want everyone to know. I guess I have not had good experiences with my family keeping secrets, lol.

So I come here, and I write... and I guess I get a little long and drawn out. But I hope, at least sometimes, someone is out there hearing me. Or will be.

So I’m going to try throwing my blog link out there a bit... and I hope, if you are out there, I will hear from you soon. Maybe it won’t feel so lonely then.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In Mourning... of sorts...

Imagine "taps" played softly on some distant trumpet and me looking solemn and tearful. Don't make fun of me, but that's how I feel the scene... you see, my Disney annual passes have expired and we are not renewing them with my husband currently out of work and going back to school.

This is very hard for me because I am addicted to Disneyworld and spoiled by living so close to it and having unlimited access to it. I know a lot of people don't like it or have never been there, a lot can take it or leave it, and a lot of people who only get to go there a few days out of every year or two... but for me, Disney has been my happy place... the place where I can feel safe and set my rambunctious imagination free, the place where even a poor, fat old lady like me can be an adventurer, or a world traveler, or a princess.

I have grown so comfortable there, it's been a sort of home to me-- or more like a home town; but a home town in a kind of world I could only imagine in my most indulgent daydreams. And losing that fantasy escape-- especially now as my journey here and life in general is getting sort of difficult to deal with and making it hard to keep spirits up-- is rather disheartening.

We went as often as we could for the last couple of weeks, and I sat there the last day at the Magic Kingdom, at the train station, for hours, watching the sun go down over Main Street, watching the parade and the fireworks display, wistfully trying to soak it in, in hopes that it will be enough to sustain me for the next year or so until we can get ourselves on our feet again and get a new car and new passes.

I'm sure people might read this and think I'm pathetic; but as we all have our vices, we all have our bliss. Joseph Campbell said "follow your bliss," and I fully believe he was right. And Disneyworld is bliss for me, so I am going to miss it as it occupies a large and very dear place in my heart.

Meanwhile, in my weight loss, I seem to be stalled. I am hovering at the same weight-- 337-- for over a week now.

But you know what?

For the first time in my whole life that I have dieted, I don't care and it is not stressing me out.

Stalling or plateaus or whatever you call them used to be the most frustrting time, and the time where I would finally lose the battle that lost the war. It always made me feel as though I were making all these sacrifices but gaining no rewards. This time though, I feel like, "eh... so what? It's a drop in the bucket in the bigger picture."

The bigger picture is my overall health and well being. So what if I don't jump from 337 to 336 quickly enough? It'll happen... eat healthier and exercise more and weight loss will happen. How fast or slow it happens is of no consequence. Any day that I stick to a healthier lifestyle makes me better off than the day before no matter what the scale reads.

That's something I learned from magic-- something that I try to teach people that want to learn magic in a hurry, that want to skip the in-depth education and just want you to give them a spell that "really works" so they can act it out like a script; or the ones who think they should not have to bother with meditation because "it's just hard," when really mental discipline is at the very heart of practicing magic, it is the most essential tool you can have and if you find it difficult to meditate then you need to work on it even moreso, not less, until you master it. I always tell these people looking for shortcuts to practicing magic that there simply are none-- you can do it half-assed to rush through it and really accomplish little with it (though for some people, just being a poser is enough they don't want to do the real work, they just want the title) or you can do it right.

The desire for instant gratification or for the fast & easy way out leads us to take short cuts or run off in directions that ultimately just serve to derail us from the path that leads to our goals. To gain the most rewards, to reach the desired peak, you sometimes have to be willing to stay the course, no matter how slowly or how steadily, and be willing to take the rough roads through to the end because there are no real shortcuts to the top. It's all an uphill battle. Veering off sideways may make things a little less strenuous, or doubling back may be a relief and take off a lot of pressure, however neither of these routes get you to the summit.

So really, it's not the path at all that we have to struggle with; it's ourselves. Once we find the resolve and realize that the priority is the destination, the challenges along the way seem less daunting. In fact, you get to a place where you feel like, "go ahead, just try to stop me!" The challenges are almost welcome because you know that once you kick their asses you are going to be one hurtle closer to that glorious goal which has now come to mean everything.

So... a stall on the scale for a week, or two, or a month? Puh. Big deal. We'll see what happens next week. If the stall continues, I face the challenge-- I do a little more exercise; I walk more. I spend a week eating nothing but steamed veggies. Eventually if I keep pushing, it'll give, and I'll smash through this wall and be on my way up to the next one to smash through.

And you couldn't stop me if you stood in front of that barrier with a 5 gallon  bucket of chocolate ice cream, a family-sized bag of Doritos, a case of ice cold Pepsi and the most comfortable recliner on the planet. I'd mow you all down and toss you off to the side.

Go ahead. Try and stop me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The cost of food or the time it takes to cook is not the problem...

I was reading another blog the other day and it brought up a topic that I hear time and time again: healthy food is expensive and takes too much time to prepare. The implication is that poor people with little time on their hands are doomed to be fat and frumpy.

I have to call BS on this notion.

I think breaking bad habits is the problem. Sure, some unhealthy things are dirt cheap. Sure, organic foods and specialty foods can be expensive. However, I don't think you have to spend more money, or more time, to eat right.

For example, Crystal Lite, which is not necessarily healthy but if you want something with flavor it's actually better than soda. The cheap soda costs about $1 per 2 liter bottle. I buy the generic brand drink mix for $2 per container-- but it gives me enough for 2.5 gallons of drink. Sure it's twice the price of soda at the register, but I get 4 times as much drink out of it. So drink mix wins over soda.

Snacks: for about $3 you can get a bag of chips, or a pint of strawberries. You can get a box of cheap cookies for $1, or two boxes of generic sugar-free gelatin or sugar-free pudding. 5 minutes to prepare as long as you remember to do it ahead of time.

My family can eat 4 frozen pizzas, about $1.50 each for the cheap ones, for one night's meal. That's $6 for dinner. On the other hand, I could take that $6 and buy beans ($1), brown rice ($2), tomato sauce (50 cents) an onion ($1) and frozen veggies ($2) for about the same price and make a big meal.

But my motto is, why make 1 can of beans when you can make 8 and freeze them in individual portions? For 8 meals in the next couple of months all I have to do is thaw and nuke dinner.

Now think about buying sales/bulk for more than one night's meal... Lets say I do pizza night 1 time per week. In a month, that's 4 pizza nights, which total $24 for the month.

Let's say instead I buy chicken on sale buy-1-get-1 free (not hard to find). I get 2 lbs for $10, plus an extra 2 lbs. for free. I buy the big 5 lb bag of rice for $5. I buy the 5 pound bag of broccoli (chopped,  not flouretes)  for $6. I buy $2 worth of onions and $1 worth of garlic. I slice the onions, chop the garlic, cube the chicken into 1 inch bites, and dump in the bag of broccoli onto a giant baking tray. I sprinkle them with seasonings I always have on the shelf anyway. I cover and cook for 30/40 minutes and make rice.

I split the chicken mix up into portions. I put 3 of the portions into tupperwear or baggies and freeze them. I serve the remaining portion over rice. Now for the same $24, we have 4 chicken w/rice and broccoli dinners in the month. All I have to do is make rice, and I can do that the night before, or I can put the rice on in 2 minutes and do other chores since it doesn't need tending to.

Know what else is cheap and fast and healthy? Eggs... make some crustless quiches. Mix 6 whole eggs and 6 whole egg whites with a cup of skim milk in a bowl. Spray 2 pie dishes with nonstick cooking spray. Put chopped onions, garlic and whatever canned or frozen veggies you want into the pie dishes. I like mixed veggies, or cut-up asparagus w/garlic, or spinach w/a light sprinkle of parmasean or mozzarella cheese, or broccoli w/a light sprinkling of cheddar or I break up 2 slices of American cheese and spread it around (2 slices for an 8 serving quiche, not bad). Pour in the egg mixture over the veggies and bake until firm and set. They're good cold the next day for lunch, too.

Another way to make meals fast is to get a crock pot. Defrost & throw meat and veggies in it in the morning and when you get home you have a home-cooked meal. Doesn't need to take more than 10 or 15 minutes to prepare the food.

One final way to keep your food costs down and your meals healthy: grow herbs on your windowsill or porch. Herb plants are very cheap to buy-- probably less than the cost of a bunch of fresh herbs-- and cost very little to care for, but as long as you sit them where they get sun at least 6 hours per day and give them water every couple of days and maybe throw a spoonful of water-soluble fertilzer in it every couple of months. Bam. A constant supply of fresh herbs to liven up your food without fats & sauces & other unhealthy but tasty things spread all over it.

Basically I think anyone who is going to complain that 1) healthy meals are too expensive and 2) they take too long to make is copping out. The cost of food and the time it takes to cook is not the problem. The problem is not planning your time or your meals well... and this is a skill you can learn if you really want to.

On a final note, we've got more modern conveniences to make the chores of meal planning, budgeting and cooking really easy. I don't think it's any harder to purchase and prepare food now than it was 50 or 100 years ago... I mean, women during WWII did it when men were off to war, having to ration food and everything, and then went to work at factories all night. I think it is a matter of discipline and prioritizing.

And what does this, praytell, have to do with magic and Witchcraft? Only what I've said over and over again-- if you're not working in the mundane world for your needs, if you're not creating a "channel" for that energy you are raising and sending, then you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot. The energy scatters and has no clear path to help you reach your goal. You need to give the magic a path to take if you want it to be effective.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It is working well

The "magical weight-loss surgery" of sorts-- that is, the stomach binding spell I did on me and my husband-- seems to be working fairly well. We're both eating less. We noticed we're looking to nosh less, and eating smaller meals.

My husband thinks it's just because he's bored with food, though, and sick of the healthier stuff he is allowed to eat. He still longs for the food he is not supposed to eat in quantities he is not supposed to eat, and still feels deprived.

I think I need to make him a talisman to resist temptation. I wish he would do more personal, internal work, like meditations and affirmations and keeping a journal or something, but that's just not his thing and it is unrealistic to expect him to do that.

It just breaks my heart to see him feeling so deprived of what he seems to invest so much of his happiness. I can only suggest other things he try and invest his happiness in, but unless he is willing to try and mentally focus on doing that, it's not going to happen, and thus far he still insists on pining away for his beloved junk foods.

As for me, I am really at the point at which I am just resentful of the kinds of foods that I was once so addicted to. And a little afraid of them-- afraid that if I have a few bites I will not be able to control myself.

So my new idea is that starting next month, once a month, I will take one of my trigger foods and cast a spell to sever my addiction to it-- just to that type of food in particular, to break it's control over me. Some things on my list: pasta, rice, potatoes, McDonald's, breads (particularly white breads and biscuits and stuff), pancakes... seeing a trend here? You got it... carbs.

Anything else I can take or leave. Even chocolate, which I love, for the most part, a bite or two is all I need to be satisfying. Now if you put oreos and a plate of brownies in front of me, things like that, sure it will be hard to stop after one. I will want to polish off the entire batch. However I rarely go looking for them on my own, so they're not so much of a threat. They are not what calls to me in the middle of the night... it's the every-day stuff that is harder to turn from.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Learning but still a long way to go...

As I have posted before, it occurred to me how much I made food the focus of just about everything-- staying home to watch movies (let's order pizza and make popcorn!) to holidays (Ooh, we'll make all the traditional foods with a couple new recipes!) to any activity such as going to the park (picnic!) or shopping with a friend (let's stop for coffee and scones!) to taking the kids bowling (you gotta have cheese fries and cherry Pepsi!).

So we went out or did things a few times this week where, of course, all of the so-what-great-dining-experience-shall-accompany-this-particular-activity thoughts began to arise.

And I said to myself, "you know what? We'll just eat breakfast/lunch before we go, and get home for the next meal. We don't need food. Just bring some bottled water. Everyone is well fed enough. We don't need to turn the event into a food fest." And if it was an all day thing, we brought cheese sticks or hard boiled eggs or light popcorn as a snack just to get through.
I tried to make the activities about actually what we were doing, about being there and having fun, not about what we would eat at the time. I am trying to disassociate food and fun as two separate things that do not necessarily always have to go hand-in-hand, but I realized that the kids-- it broke my heart-- kept bringing it up, and whined about it.

And I realize now that I have ingrained this bad habit into my kids... in my mind, food equalled fun, happy, comfort, reward, and all things good-- so when I planned anything with them, from snacks during the day to outings to holidays to chores, I made food the focal point of the for all of us experience. And now that I'm leaving it out, I realize the kids are wondering, "hey, where's the food? There's supposed to be food when we do things!"

And this has now got me feeling incredibly guilty and realizing that I really need to break these habits in them while they are still young and a healthy weight.
And at the same time, I want them to keep that healthy weight and enjoy food without being paranoid about it. I want them to be one of those people that can throw away half an ice cream cone because they are not hungry anymore. One of those people who can appreciate a good meal or snack and enjoy food, but not obsess over it.
And my husband, bless his heart, is out there with his own problems... he's just angry at the world that he can't eat what he wants. In his mind, it's just not fair and he doesn't even think of self-regulation- because if he doesn't know it's bad for him, he can eat it, so he doesn't want to ask and he doesn't want to know-- he just wants to eat what he sees and then, later, shrug and say, "well, I didn't know it was bad for me." So when we do things together or with the kids now, While I am beginning to see food as the evil enemy seductress who I must defeat, he sees himself and food as Romeo and Juliet-- the star-crossed lovers who are being kept apart by a cruel world. So while I am going and thinking "I will not think about food, I will not give into it" when we do things, he's sitting there thinking, "I miss you, I love you, I wish you could be with me..." so he's not in the greatest mood sometimes.

I realize in some ways, because of his attitude, it's harder on him, because eating what he wants when he wants it is really what he wants the most deep down inside, not weight loss. He's actually angry at the weight loss necessity because it's keeping him away from his dearest love. But I've reminded him that for me, food-- or at least, eating for anything other than sustinence- is the enemy, and that the kids are going to have the same problem we have if they grow up making food their first and dearest love, so he's trying, but I know it's just going against what he feels inside.

I wondere sometimes if there will ever be an end to this... it seems in some way or another food is just always a problem-- wanting to much, not wanting to want it, always thinking about it or always trying not to think about it. Will there EVER come a time in my life when food is just-- "there?" Just "there" like socks and underarm deoderant and air conditioner filters-- just things, ready to be grabbed when you need it to serve it's purpose and that's the end of it-- concern over it doesn't feel like it dominates your life?

And so the meditation of the day is that food is just sustenance, not joy or happiness or togetherness or reward or comfort or consolation or holidays or anything else but sustenance.

And I am thinking that for our next holiday-- Summer Solstice-- maybe *not* cooking. We usually have a big bbq cookout for it, sometimes at the beach or at least at the pool. Is it wrong to deprive the kids of the normal, traditional holiday food experience or is it better to help get it through all the thick skulls that run through this family that we don't need to raise food to the pinnacle of the experience?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wonder how far menopause is

I am long overdue for an OBGYN visit. However I'm thinking I'm going to have to make an appointment. I am wondering if I am going through some early stages of pre-menopause. I am usually so regular with my period and last month it was supposed to come and I got all the normal symptoms but it just... didn't. I was late by about 2 weeks. Now I have had a tubaligation when my husband and I decided the 3rd time was the charm and that we didn't want any more kids (I was having a c-section; otherwise he would have gotten snipped). So I knew pregnancy wasn't possible. 

In the mean time, I retained the water and felt bloated, then it started to go away after a week, then came back, then boom-- crimson tide. But in the mean time I had this one day of hot flashes, it was nasty and moodiness... it was kinda nasty.

Not that menopause is a bad thing... however. Just be nice if it came and went peacefully. I suppose it'll take the course that it wants, though, and probably won't be all that easy.

Meanwhile... I've got cramps. ughhh.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sigh... ahh... Ouch! Hey, and other Interjections...

Sigh... My Disney passes are coming to their expiration date, and with my DH (Darling Husband) not working full time for a while and going back to school this summer, I am trying to get ready to say goodbye to my real life happy place. We are going to go as much as we can next week and then, June 12th, it's all over... I guess I will have to start finding some other means of exercise. Maybe walking down real streets for a change?

Ahhh... did some work in "the garden" today--  well, that is, my screen-porch urban container garden. Cleaned, rearranged, planted my Martha Stewart 2-tier planter with some Summer annuals which will hopefully continue blooming until December (in this climate anyway-- we have gone swimming on New Years). I worked very hard over the wekend and took today off and spent a few hours just lounging out there. The rosemary was so fragrant. I will have to post a picture.

Ouch!... I hurt myself. I was on a cheap plastic chair, and it broke. The kids had been tilting back on it and rocking and the legs were weakening. When I sat on it I twisted and the leg twisted and when I went to get up, crack... the back leg. So I went backwards. Oh. My. Goddess. Seriously it could have been a lot worse with someone my weight however I am sore. I fell on my thumb, wretched my side and the lower back is just aching... my back is screwed up as it is, I don't need another accident.

And then there's that whole "breaking a chair" thing. I mean, I don't care how much you weigh or what is wrong with the chair, it's just embarrassing and makes you feel stupid. I'm just glad no one but my family was around for that or it'd be like, "Man, that chair didn't stand a chance, did it?"

Really, they did weaken the legs... the chair cost 3 bucks; gimmie a break.

Hey, it was actually a good "hey!" I took a quick picture for you by putting the camera on a table and setting the timer. I can actually see the weight loss. And I went to weigh myself and I'm a couple more pounds down.

I went to a friends house for dinner the other day, and, whew, it's not easy. But I am tired so I will cover more interjections tomorrow.

Also to cover-
Am I starting menopause?
lucid dreaming

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