Fitness, Food and Photography

Follow me on my road to fitness… Because it's all about the journey, not the destination.

The Voices in My Head

I don’t know why I listen to them.  Or why I let them get me down.

(Just to be clear, the voices I’m referring to are those of self-doubt, self-loathing and self-deprecation. I’m not actually crazy.)

It was these voices that caused me to make a rash decision this weekend and withdraw from my classes.

“You can’t do this.”

But I hate failing at something before it’s even started.

“You don’t deserve this.”

I spent the whole weekend in a major funk.  It started on Friday night when I stayed up all night after a concert.  I was obviously sleep deprived.  I crawled in a hole that I had created for myself.  Once I was down, it was really hard getting back up.

“You’re not good enough.”

All of these tiny little voices keep repeating in my head.

“You are not strong enough.”

I’ve actually been through a lot the last 3 years with my dad passing away, taking care of his estate, then having a baby born 16 weeks early and spending four and a half months driving back and forth from the NICU to home to work. I look back and wonder how I made it through. Other people would comment that I was handling it so well.   What choice did I have?  When you’re in the middle of a crisis, you just power through.
But now I completely understand how Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome happens.  It’s not til after the dust has settled, or after the fog has lifted that you are able to look back at the event with open eyes.  That’s when the magnitude of the situation hits you.  It’s like a delayed reaction.

So why do I listen to these little voices??  Why do I let them get me down??

I am strong.

I do deserve this.

And I know I can do it!!

That’s not to say it won’t be hard.  And I know it’s going to take a lot of time.  But I’m prepared.  I’m ready for the fight.

So today I emailed my professor and called the school.  I asked them to reverse the withdrawal; that I’d had a moment of weakness and fully regretted the rash decision, and could they please put me back in the classes.

Good news!!  I’m back in.

And I do need to add — none of this would have been possible without my wonderful husband to support me.  He was actually the one who signed me up for the classes in the first place.  And he’s the one who convinced me that I can do it.   <—- so I can blame him when I actually fail, right?!?  I’m kidding.

I’m ready.  Bring it.

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The Crazy Week Before

You know Christmas is next week, right? I hope that’s not a news flash for anyone. It seems to have snuck up on me this year. I feel more behind than I have in recent years. Every year I say I’m going to start my shopping early next year. And every year I still end up procrastinating.

I’m sure everyone has that chicken-with-their-head-cut-off feeling this week before Christmas.  (If you don’t, then I envy you for being way more organized than I am!)
I haven’t really had any time to blog, which is fine because I haven’t felt much like blogging either. 

I really try to keep my posts positive and upbeat.  I want to be a motivator for other people.  But what happens when the motivator has a bad day (or two or three)?? I tend to be really hard on myself.  
Sometimes I feel like I try to do too much.  And because of that, I don’t feel like I do any one thing very well. 
With a husband and two kids, I feel like I need to be focusing more time and attention on them.  But instead I have this stressful full-time job, a few time-consuming hobbies, the courses I’m taking, my blog, and a fitness obsession.  It’s hard juggling work and balancing family time with everything else.

I didn’t do my usual WIAW post yesterday.  Mostly because I didn’t feel like it, but also because I didn’t eat very much.  I tend to do that when I am stressed.  Some people eat when they are stressed.  Not me – I eat when I’m happy.
(This may actually work in my favor, considering my wellness challenge ends in 11 days. Lol)

Question of the Day : What is left on your To Do List before Christmas?
And what do you do when you are stressed – eat or not?

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Monday Motivation – 11/19/12

Also titled “Maintain Don’t Gain Wellness Challenge Tip #3”

Warning:  There’s not a cute little sign in this post.  This week’s tip is regarding SUGAR.  Do you know how much sugar you are consuming every day?  Start reading your labels – sugar is hidden in most every processed food.  Even a small kids carton of 100% apple juice contains 22 grams of sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 20 grams of sugar per day.  For men, they recommend no more than 36 grams per day.  And for children, only 12 grams per day.  So if your child drinks one small carton of 100% apple juice, they have almost doubled their recommended sugar intake for the day.  Shocking, I know.  Because you think 100% apple juice would be healthy.  But it’s all sugar. Excess sugar can alter metabolism, raise blood pressure, skew the signaling of hormones and damage the liver.  Hmm… sounds a lot like what alcohol does to you too.

In fact, a team of researchers from the University of California argue that sugar should be considered a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco because it poses enough health risks.

In an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar” that was published Feb. 1 in the journal Nature, Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis argue that it’s a misnomer to consider sugar just “empty calories.” They write:

“There is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly.”

We’re a nation that’s sweet on sugar: the average U.S. adult downs 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, according to the American Heart Association, and surveys have found that teens swallow 34 teaspoons.

No one is claiming the effect of sugar is quite that potent, but, says Brownell, “it helps confirm what people tell you anecdotally, that they crave sugar and have withdrawal symptoms when they stop eating it.”

Dr Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California.  You can watch his 90 minute lecture on YouTube here:  Sugar: The Bitter Truth   It’s FASCINATING.  He is an excellent speaker.

And I highly recommend you read this 2011 New York Times article written by Gary Taubes:  Is Sugar Toxic?   Gary Taubes has written a number of articles and books, all regarding nutrition.

After reading the article and watching the video, I’ll let you make your own determination about whether sugar is bad.  But I know I’m going to start avoiding it like the plague.

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I didn’t think it was possible to wake up in a foul mood on a Friday. But somehow I managed. I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.  The weather and the time change certainly don’t help. Who wants to go outside to run in the dark and the cold?  Not me. And I hate running on treadmills. So for the last two days I have chosen to sit my butt on the couch and sulk instead. 

You know that quote, “You’re only one workout away from a good mood.”  That’s totally me. I know I just need a really good hard core workout to get the endorphins flowing. But making time for it is the hard part when you have a stressful full-time job, 2 kids, a hubby, and a house to take care of.

It’s funny – if someone else had just given me the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse, I would come back with “If it’s important to you, you’ll make time” or “One hour is only 4% of your day”.  But for some reason it’s not motivating me right now. It’s like I need to wallow in the funk for a while. I’ll snap out of it. Right after I make time for a workout. 


Hallelujah it’s Friday

I just haven’t felt like myself all week. My energy level has been really low and I’ve hardly worked out all week. I’m so afraid I might be coming down with something.  😦

My head is pounding and there is a pressure deep in my ear.


my arsenal

I don’t have time to be sick!  I must knock this out quickly!  So I am loading up on the Zinc and yjr Vitamin C!!   At least it’s Friday and I’ve got the weekend to rest and recover.

Question of the Day :  What is your secret weapon for fighting off a cold??


Random Thoughts

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had a lot of random thoughts that I wanted to share with you all.  So I thought it was time for a completely random post!  Sometimes the thoughts in my head are all over the board, so I guess it’s only fitting that the Blog is too!  🙂

1)  Ok – remember that Carb challenge we had at work?  Well, it’s over.  I had to pay $24 into the pot when it was all said and done.  I pretty much cheated every weekend.  Two people tied for first place.  I believe they only had 10 cheat days each.  They each received a $94 prize.  That’s a lot of money that was paid into the pot!  But wait – there’s more!  There was also a prize to the person who was voted ‘Most Supportive Teammate.’  Guess what?!?  That was ME!  I totally wasn’t expecting that.  I won $62  But I will say that I love motivating and inspiring others to achieve their fitness goals.  I love cheering on my friends.

2)  I am so excited about this!  I was contacted by a representative for a new fitness tracker website/ app called Slim Kicker.  They want me to test out the new product, which will be similar to a Fit Bit, and then blog about it.  Sure!  I love the concept.  It takes your diet and fitness goals and turns them into a game!  You can connect with friends for that accountability feature, and the best part is that as you reach your goals and “level up”, you can win prizes!  Now that is some motivation right there.  My user name is katiedaisy921 if anyone wants to buddy up.  I am excited to start using it.  I will let you know how I like it.

3)  I know I sound like a broken record on this one, BUT – we are restarting P90x.  Today is Day 1.  And it will work in conjunction with another Challenge!  My Beachbody coach posted a “Get Lean for Halloween” Challenge.  It’s actually a 90-day challenge to take us through the end of the year, with prizes at each 30-day interval.  So that was motivation for me.  90 days til the end of the year.  Let’s start P90x now.  I want to finish it this time!  Of course, I may be completely crazy trying to do this at my busiest time of the year.  Then again, it may be when I need it the most!

4)  And to follow up a thought about fitness, it’s only fitting that I talk about ice cream!  🙂  Remember that Blue Bell ice cream contest that I told you about where you get to pick the old flavor to bring back?  Mine didn’t win.  Caramel Turtle Cheesecake won.  They say it will be available early next year.

5)  Recent stats show 92 posts since June!  Over 2,300 page views, and growing everyday!  Thanks, guys!  I’m so glad you read my Blog.  Sometimes I feel like Barney Stinson on ‘How I Met Your Mother’, always talking about his blog but none of his friends read it.  LOL  I love that show!!

6) Even after I posted the September calendar for FatMumSlim’s photoaday challenge, I don’t think I actually took one photo all month!  #epicfail  So here is the October calendar, and I am going to try really hard to participate this time.

fatmumslim photo challenge


I think that’s all the randomness I have for today.  So excited that it’s Saturday.  The hubby took the son to a festival this morning, so I am trying to get some things done this morning.  I’ve already made a looooooong list!  Blogging, running, cleaning, baking, shopping.  Not sure if I can get it all done or not.  I still have my daughter here with me and since she’s 2, she’s not a whole lot of help.  But at least she’s darn cute!  🙂

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend!  Later.

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Support GMO Labeling

Shouldn’t we have the right to know whether the food we eat has been genetically modified?  I believe so.  I fully support GMO labeling.  There is an initiative in California right now, called Proposition 37, which will be at the ballot on Nov 6th.  Proposition 37 calls for the labeling of gentically modified food, which is now mandatory in Europe.  It will also make it illegal to call foods “natural” if they contain any traces of GMO.

I read a disturbing article about these huge food conglomerates who are contributing money to the campaign to defeat Proposition 37.  You can see a pie chart here for a huge list of companies who do not want us know that our food is genetically modified.  Of course, Monsanto is at the head of the pack.  (More info on them below).  Quickly followed by DuPont, Pepsi, Nestle, Coca-Cola and a long list of others.

Today, the Organic Consumers Association and are formally calling for a global boycott of the following organic and so called “natural” brands:

*    Kashi (owned by Kellogg, which has contributed $632,000 to defeat Proposition 337). Kashi’s so-called “natural”
breakfast cereals have tested positive for the presence of GMOs. Kellogg also owns the “natural” brands Bear Naked and
Morningstar Farms.

*    Silk soymilk (owned by the nation’s largest dairy, Dean Foods, which has contributed $253,000 to the effort to kill
Proposition 37). Dean Foods also owns White Wave Tofu and Horizon milk and dairy products.

*    R.W. Knudsen (owned by Smucker, which has contributed $388,000 to defeat proposition 37). Smucker also owns Santa Cruz Organic.

*    Cascadian Farm (owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat proposition 37). General Mills also owns Larabar and Muir Glen.

*    Honest Tea (owned by Coca-Cola which has contributed $1,164,400 to defeat Proposition 37). Coca-Cola also owns Odwalla.

*    Naked Juice (owned by PepsiCo which has contributed $1,716,300 to defeat Proposition 37). PepsiCo also owns Tostito’s Organic and Tropicana Organic.

I don’t know if I can go as far as boycotting everything that Kellogg’s makes, but I do find it disheartening that Kashi’s cereals have tested positive for GMOs.  That is one brand I thought I could count on to be “natural”.

It’s sad that we live in a world country where the government doesn’t put the health of its people first.  Instead, the government is too worried about campaign dollars, about their own seats being saved in Congress.  It is apalling to me that the execs at Monsanto have a revolving door in the FDA, the EPA and the USDA.  Monsanto is the same company that produced the “world’s most toxic molecule ever created”.  Agent Orange, a proven carcinogen.  They also make Roundup, which is an extremely harmul herbicide.  Saccharin and aspartame, two artificial sweeteners.  Bovine growth hormone.    Monsanto is without question the most evil organization in the world.  And those people who run this evil corporation are appointed or elected to serve in our government, where they now make decisions about the food we eat.

Join me in a stand against Monsanto.  Support GMO labeling!!

Millions Against Monsanto

Sources:   (I highly recommend you read a few of these articles, especially if you’ve never heard of Monsanto.  It’s time we got the word out!!)

Daily Finance:  Monsanto – The Evil Corporation in Your Refrigerator

Monsanto Products: Past and Present

The Amazing Revolving Door

Natural News:  Monsanto Voted Most Evil Corporation of the Year

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Strange Day!

You know those days when you wake up and you’ve got the whole day ahead of you, no real plans or expectations of any kind.   Today was one of those days.  It’s Sunday morning, the weather is perfect, and I wanted to get out of the house.  After reading a few blogs, playing on Pinterest, flipping through the Sunday paper, and quickly blitzing the house, we were ready to set out on a hike.  But first, we had to pick up a prescription at Kroger (my eye drops from the other day), pick up my son (he’d spent the night at a friend’s house), and hubby had to make a quick stop at the Ace Hardware, all before we could head in the direction of the State Park.  Once we got in the car, I was playing with my phone – checking email, blog stats and my Craigslist app.  One of the things I have my app searching for is Guinea Pigs.  We’ve casually been searching for about 4 months now.  Originally, I thought I would get my son a guinea pig for his birthday, but that was back in June and it didn’t happen.  He wasn’t too heartbroken – he got a Ninetndo DS instead.

Anyway, as we are in the car on the way to pick my son up, I found an ad for 2 tri-colored guinea pigs, one male and one female with cage and food for $60.  The female was currently pregnant which made me slightly nervous.  We’d never had guinea pigs at all, let alone one that was about to have babies!  Not wanting to miss out on some cute pigs, I called the lady.  Turned out she was a veterinarian and actually had a small zoo at her house – over 60 animals including horses, dogs, birds, monkeys, sugar gliders and guinea pigs.  Wow.  Sounded pretty cool.  I mean, if you’re going to get animals from anyone, wouldn’t you prefer they be a vet??  So we decided to take a small detour to go see the guinea pigs before setting off on our hike.

As we pulled up in her driveway, about 14 dogs are all gathered just inside the chain link fence.  She had warned me on the phone that the fence opens to us and to be careful not to let any dogs out when we walk in.  Okay.  Sounds easy enough.  As we get out of the car, every one of the 14 dogs (ranging in size from the small yippy variety to big husky dobermans) are all barking at us.  She comes out on the porch to greet us but does not attempt to bring the dogs inside or even get them away from the fence.  So I cracked the fence open and slid in as best I could with a crowd of dogs as my feet.  My 7-year old son was right behind me.  I don’t know exactly what happened but one of the dobermans was able to escape at this moment.  The vet starts yelling at me, I turn to chase after the dog and as I do, about 3 more dogs escape from the fence.  All the while, the vet is just standing on her porch yelling.  She never attempted to help.  My husband, who is very quick on his feet, was able to grab two of the dogs and get them back in.  But we didn’t catch the other two.  At this point, my legs are trembling.  I felt horrible.  She was concerned, but she was sure they would come back in a few hours.  (Looking back on this now, I’m wondering — if this has happened before, enough that she would warn me not to let any dogs out, why wouldn’t she just keep them inside while waiting on someone to arrive.  Or better yet, walk down off the deck to come hold some of the dogs which are prone to escaping.  Or even better still, how about turn the fence door around so that it doesn’t open outward but rather inward.  It would be much easier to prevent dogs from escaping if I pushed the door inward.)

After everyone calmed down, we continued inside to see the guinea pigs.  She wasn’t kidding when she said she had a small zoo.  There were monkeys in cages in the kitchen.  They were going crazy jumping from one side to the other.  As we were standing there looking at the monkeys, the dogs were jumping up my legs and one of the dobermans kept sticking his nose in my crotch.  So annoying.  I don’t know how many birds there were, but oh my goodness they were loud!!  I wondered how she even slept at night with all the chirping.  It was complete sensory overload.  Dogs, and monkeys and birds, oh my!!  Pure chaos.

I’d pretty much decided the moment I walked in the house that I didn’t want her pigs, but I was trying to be as nice as possible.  She led us back to a little room behind the kitchen where there were even more birds, sugar gliders, hedgehogs and guinea pigs.  Now I will admit that these guinea pigs were cute.

guinea pig

(Similar to this one, but this isn’t it.  I went to get the actual picture off Craigslist and the ad has already been removed).

Just like a calico cat, they had the black, brown and white colors.  Only problem was, I really wanted one with the long-haired silky fur.  This was very coarse.  And I’d prefer to get a baby.  These were 13 months old already.

It occurred to me — the fact that my husband and I are trying to simplify.  Why on earth would we add more stress to our already crazy lives??  Granted, guinea pigs aren’t necessarily stressful, but it is more work (feeding, cleaning out the cage, etc).  And with one of them being pregnant, we really don’t want to have to deal with babies.

As we got in the car to leave, we all took a deep breath.  That was crazy.  My heart was still racing from getting yelled at for letting the dogs out of the gate.  At this point, it was 1:30pm, way past when we expected to be hiking.  In fact, we hadn’t even had lunch yet.  (Or breakfast for the hubs and I.)  Instead of hiking, we headed back to town, grabbed some Subway and took the kids to a playground.  No State Park today.  Oh well.  That’s ok.  I had enough excitement for one day.

As I reflect back on that day, I wonder if perhaps all that happened just to make us realize that we don’t want guinea pigs after all.  I’ve since deleted that search from my Craigslist app.  No more guineas.


What an Unplanned, Expensive Afternoon!

I woke up at 1 o’clock this morning with my eyes absolutey pouring tears.  They were itchy and burning at the same time.  I had slept in my contacts.  (But that was nothing new.  Quite honestly, I’ve slept in my contacts every night for about 10 years now.  I know you’re not supposed to, but I just get lazy.  Don’t judge me.  At bedtime, I barely have enough energy to get my teeth brushed, let alone anything else).

If it had just been any normal Friday, I totally would have called in sick.  I could barely keep my eyelids open.  The light hurt my eyes.  I almost made my hubby drive me to work.  It was that bad.  But this morning, there was an all-important prospect meeting.  There was a presentation and I had speaking parts.  I couldn’t let anybody down.  But I felt like crap.  My eyes were red and puffy, (I swear I wasn’t hungover)  itchy, scratchy and burning.  I couldn’t put eye makeup on.  I probably scared the prospective new clients away.  Oh well.  At least I didn’t bail on the meeting.

So when the meeting was over, I headed over to the CVS Minute Clinic during my lunch hour.  I was convinced it was Pink Eye and thought this would be cheaper than an Opthamologist visit.  (And now I scoff at my attempt to save money with a healthcare visit)!  Well, she determined that I did have a form of pink eye, but not the bacterial kind which can be treated with eye drops.  She also wanted to take a quick look into my eyes, which was a simple procedure – a few numbing drops, followed by a few yellow drops, which would allow her to see in my eye with a black light.  From there she determined I also had a corneal abrasion (which probably happened in the middle of the night when I was inadvertently scratching my itchy eye).  It was minor and would probably clear up in a few days.  Not that big of a deal.  I was just about to leave.

This is the point where the visit took a hard left.  As I was sitting there listening to her instructions (take ibuprofen for the pain, some Claritin for the allergy, and no contacts for a few weeks), I started feeling really woozy.  All the sudden, I had that rush of heat that comes over you before you throw up.  I could feel the heat rising up the back of my neck, all over my head.  My hearing started to go – I felt like I was in a tunnel and she was talking to me from a mile away.  I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening.  Thankfully, she knew what a vasovagal response looks like.  She laid me down and took my blood pressure – it was 80/60.  I almost fainted.  She insisted that I could not go back to work and someone had to come pick me up.  After I called my none-to-thrilled husband, she then informed me that she really wanted to send me to an urgent care facility for more testing.  Lovely.  Apparently, while I was having this vasovagal response I had some body shaking and some eye dialation, which is common during a seizure.  In order to rule out any neurological issues, she wanted me evaluated further.  (Read: spend even more money)!

I then spent the next 3 hours waiting to be poked and prodded; give blood samples and urine samples, and finally, an EKG!  What an expensive afternoon!!  (I have a $2,500 deductible and this is the first time I’ve used the heatlh insurance all year).  Thankfully, the EKG turned out fine.  The blood work was normal.  But the urine test had some white cells, which apparently signal some sort of infection.  They’ve been sent off to a lab for cultures.

Bottom line:  I wasted an entire afternoon in 2 different doctor’s offices.  I probably blew around $1,500 (maybe more – I won’t know for sure til I get the bills).  And honestly, I probably would have been just fine if I’d waited it out a few days.  There is no medication to treat viral pink eye.  There is also no medication to treat corneal abrasion.  Both require time.  Awesome.  The one thing that was completely wasted on me today (time) is the one thing that will actually heal me (time)!  Ironic, huh??

So, anyways, that was my crazy day!  I am super glad it’s Friday.  I can just take it easy and rest up this weekend before I start another crazy work week next week.


Eye-Opening Food Documentaries

I don’t know about you, but I love documentaries.  And I love Netflix for having a lot of documentaries to choose from.  I watched two last night.  And all I can say is WOW!  Very interesting … and I highly recommend them.  If you have Netflix, please add these two shows to your queue:

Frankensteer, 2005 (45 minutes)

Warning:  It’s truly disturbing.  If you have a hamburger addiction, you may not want to watch this.  But perhaps you should!!  Oh, and don’t watch it while you are trying to eat or else you WILL lose your dinner!!  Even though it’s actually about the Canadian beef industry, I’m sure every bit of that could easily apply to America just the same.  It makes you wonder where your beef really comes from.  And what is in the beef you eat?  How do you know you’re not eating a mixture of growth hormones and antibiotics along with the beef???  Grass-fed beef may be more expensive, but it’s so worth it!!

Ingredients, 2008 (76 minutes)

This documentary promotes the local food movement and showcases a rise of the CSA.  It’s wonderfully inspiring.  Support your local farmers and eat locally grown produce!  I already loved shopping at my local farmer’s market, but this just seals it for me.  Farmers are a dying breed.  The US census doesn’t even list ‘farmer’ as a profession anymore.  They are classified as ‘other’.  How sad is that?!?

And of course, if you haven’t seen Food, Inc  yet (also on Netflix), it’s at the top of my list of inspiring documentaries.  As well as Weight of the Nation!!  So if you just happen to be bored on this Saturday night, I’ve just given you something to do!  🙂


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