Spring is in the Air

This is an article that I wrote last year that fits well with this weeks theme.You may want to do a personal challenge of your own? Even if it is a small challenge, it is still moving forward! Follow Shawna on Simple Life Celebration’s Facebook page as she completes her 365 Thing challenge by getting rid of at least one item per day for the WHOLE year! 


☼Spring is in the air, the snow is melting, the sun is shining and the geese are beginning to fly back home. It’s as if that fresh air and sunshine brings with it this yearning to clean and find order in our lives! With Spring comes the inspiration to clean and tackle those areas that don’t regularly get touched.

 

I have been reading endless blog posts not only about Spring cleaning but also about clearing mental clutter, clearing emotional clutter and not letting other distractions get in the way of living life. I mean REALLY living life! I am taking this all as a sign from the Universe that this year we need to put a spin on things; in true Simple Life style. 😉

 

We say it all the time. We are not only Professional Organizers, we want to help you simplify your lives so that you can take the time to enjoy the important things. In fact this week I took a few minutes to physically write down a list of simple pleasures. You know the things that we so often take for granted. Many things that I wrote revolved around time; taking a moment to really enjoy the company of friends and family, going for a bike ride, surprising someone with a kind word or note of appreciation, cuddles and LOTS more. What if we made the time to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures? Wouldn’t life be grand!?!

 

And the thought that screams into many people’s heads is but I just don’t have the time! Poppy cock I say! I challenge you to really look at the time in your day. You may spend an hour watching some show on TV that you won’t even remember in the morning. Are you on Facebook once or twice a day? How much time do you spend on it? How often do you sneak on the computer or your phone to check emails? Do you find that you have subscribed to way more than you can find to read? Are you running from one thing to the next all week long? Perhaps it is time to recheck priorities and figure out what truly matters to you. Life gets crazy at times but if you don’t want it to be busy then evaluate your schedule.

 

Last year Shawna and I had our Minimalist Challenge. This was where we divided all of the areas in our homes into zones and tackled each one individually. We got rid of LOTS of stuff that we did not need, love, or use. We gave ourselves two weeks to get each space done. (Empty, clean, sort, purge, reorganize, put back together, and get the donations/recycling out of our houses.) It was really quite freeing and it was doable because we all did it together. We encouraged each other and were accountable. It was a personal challenge with a manageable time limit!

 

This year we wanted to do a followup to the Minimalist Challenge from last Spring.

We are calling it the Simple Spring Cleanse.

Here is the actual definition.

 

cleanse

verb (tr)

 

  1. to remove dirt, filth, etc, from

  2. to remove guilt from

 

We want to cover both of the above definitions. By all means feel free to do the usual Spring clean but we are asking ourselves to also think not only about the physical stuff but also the mental, emotional, and even digital clutter that inhabits our worlds on a a daily basis.

What sorts of things can we get rid of?

 

  • items in your home that are broken, that you no longer need, want, or love.

  • magazine, newspaper or other subscriptions that you no longer read.

  • email/blog subscriptions that take time away from other important things that you want to do. (Keep you favourites only!)

  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google plus etc.- can you limit these in any way? Can you cut down your time here or have a day a week that you disconnect? Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist talks about Finding Significance in a World of Distractions. YES, love it! The gist is to recognize the distractions and manage them.

  • Emotional clutter. What is this anyway? Bernice Wood from the Blog, Living the  Balanced Life talks about what it is here:

Some of the emotional clutter we may carry:

Worries Low self-image

Toxic relationship Guilt

Anxiety Fear

Inability to trust Anger

Negative outlook, pessimist

Read more about this!

 

  • Mental Clutter. The Minimalist’s, Ryan Nicodemus writes about Decluttering your Mental Clutter. He describes this as “the voices in your head that won’t be quiet.” We all know about that. Those things from the past or present that make you feel anxious and weigh on your mind. These included physical health, circumstances, and past troubles. Time to deal with these and say good bye!

 

 

  • Unfinished projects. If it has been sitting around forever and you haven’t dealt with it then decide if this is something you really want to do. If you do then stop making excuses and schedule time to do it!
  • Nostalgic clutter. Gretchen Rueben author of the Happiness Project describes this as, “things you hold on to from your past that you don’t need or use.  Things like old text books, old love letters, etc.” I think I may still have all of my binders and textbooks from college. Hmmmm…

  • Aspirational clutter. How about those jeans that you are hoping to fit back into again?

  • Commitments. How many things are you involved in? Are you running from one activity to the next all the time? Do you want to be? Do you have time for the things that you really want to do?

 

Sound good? We think so! Let’s do this together. We can share stories and support on our Facebook page too. http://www.facebook.com/simplelifecelebrations

 

The end result is happiness in the palm of our hands….Mmmmmm…..


 

Need help getting started? We can help!

www.simplelifecelebrations.com

krystal@simplelifecelebrations.com

shawna@simplelifecelebrations.com

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

I love, LOVE hot spinach artichoke dip. To the point where I would eat the entire thing if my hubby would let me get a cracker in edgewise! The only trouble is that the original recipe has a TON of cheese in it: an entire block of Philly cream cheese + 1/4 cup parmesan + 1/4 cup romano + 1/4 cup mozzarella melting and gooey on the top! The health benefits of spinach and artichoke is completely lost in all of that dairy! Not to mention what all that dairy does to the pipes…just sayin’…plus it has mayo which just isn’t something I want to eat anymore (are there any “real” ingredients left in today’s mayo??)

So…I was determined to figure out a way to make it healthier yet still delicious. No cheese and no mayo (so vegan) yet still devour-this-now-it-is-awesome good. Well….I did it!!

spinach dip

 

The primary ingredient is a separate recipe (at the bottom of this post) of a cashew “soft cheese”. This is a little expensive to make, but Philly cream cheese isn’t cheap either. I also always like extra garlic in anything I can put extra garlic in, so I add chopped garlic pieces to the dip just before putting it in the oven. My recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent source of vitamin B12 (and makes everything cheesy good without the cheese!) It also uses avocado which is a good-for-you-fat instead of all that cheese (the cashews are good fats too).

Here’s a quick Simple Life Gal trick too: I mix the entire thing up in a Pyrex bowl so that I can just put it in the oven after it’s mixed. This way, only one dish! Simplify, Simplify!!

If you’re in the mood for more recipes, Krystal created a great eBook “Spicing Up School Lunches” – add your email address to our list (up there in the top right corner of this page) and get access to it for free! And don’t forget that our other ebooks (Click the Products page) are full of Simple Life Gal tricks and tips! Get all three for just $9.99 (regular price $14.97). And if you like this Simple Life Gal recipe, you will LOVE the amazing (yet simple) Filet Mignon dinner we share for your “Date Night In” in our Simply Sexy Date Night Package ($19.99 for the entire package that includes recipes, ideas and workbooks to bring that spark back to your marriage!)

steak dinner

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 cup cashew “soft cheese” (see below for my recipe for that)
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (I would rather use coconut oil because of the high temperature, but it is a short cooking time so olive oil is OK here)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (if you don’t know what this is or where you can get it, visit me at Health Street)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or fresh if you have it)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped spinach (if using frozen, thaw & drain first)

Mix all ingredients together. Transfer to oven-ready baking dish. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until bubbly & slightly brown.

Cashew Soft Cheese

This is a vegan “cheese” replacement. It isn’t cheese, but I don’t know what else to call it. There are a ton of recipes out there using nuts to make “cheese”. This is how I made mine this week:

  • 2 cups raw (or at least unroasted) cashews
  • 1/2 cup alkaline water (we have a special Santevia water system that alkalizes our water. You can use regular water too)
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (yes, REAL lemon juice! not the stuff in a green bottle!)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar – this is so good for you! (if you don’t know what this is or where you can get it, visit me at Health Street for this too!)
  • 1 tsp chopped onion (or onion flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend (you’ll have to stop and scrape down the sides as you go) until creamy. You won’t need all of this for the artichoke dip, but you can use this on pizza, as a “cheese” dip or wherever you’d like! Use within 2 days.

Our Badass Meal Plans have the meal plan, recipes, AND grocery lists! Click the picture of the badasses below to subscribe!

And the Light Streamed Through

2012-10-07 12.29.23There it is. The insurmountable. Everything was going along just fine down this new path until IT came along! What the hell? Now what am I supposed to do?

The massive fallen tree lay there before me, blocking the road ahead. Wow. It stretched as far as I could see to the left and right. And it’s massive trunk was almost as thick as I am tall. Wow. What the hell…?

I have come so far, only to be stopped in my tracks by some freakin’ tree. This is impossible. There is no way I can move forward. Tears well in my eyes as I consider all that I’ve gone through and all I won’t see now that this is in front of me. My heart breaks and I feel so great a despair that I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy again.

How could it have come to this? Where did I go wrong? I thought this was the right way? Everything pointed to this path, but now I’m stuck. Yeah, they all told me so. I should have listened. What an idiot. Who the hell did I think I was trying to push through on a new trail? I should have stayed safe and sound where I was. At least I wouldn’t feel like crap. There’s just no way to keep going.

And so the tears come. What a cry-baby. I should have listened. Why me? Why can’t I get a break? I’m a good person. How come I can’t get where I want to go? My sobs break the silence around me in the dense forest. My grief overtakes me and I sit and cry for awhile. I deserve it anyways. Such an idiot…On and on, my tears fall until I cannot cry anymore.

I stand up. I turn and look back the way I had come. Holy…moses…look at those freaking craters. I don’t remember that bomb going off. Oh wait a minute…yes I do. I survived? Well, duh, I’m here to tell the tale aren’t I? And those barb wire fences? I climbed through those? So that’s where these scars came from. Huh. Didn’t seem all that bad at the time.

Look at all those things I’ve done! I remember that! I never thought I’d ever make it through that challenge – it was tough but here I am. I see all the people who touched my life, good and bad. I remember the lessons I learned from each one. Some of those lessons were really nasty! But man, were they good to learn. I see how many times my path was blocked, but I also see where I went around or where I climbed over or where I pushed through anyway. Huh. Didn’t think I had it in me…

I turn back to the tree in front of me. The sun has climbed higher now and sheds its light near me, on my right side. Leaning against the tree, previously hidden in shadow, I see an axe. Hmmmm…I consider this for a moment as I wipe my snotty nose.

No, that would be crazy. I’d never be able to use an axe to chop through this thing! Who am I kidding!? What is with me and these crazy ideas? I think of the blisters I would get on my hands. Yeah, but they would heal and eventually my hands would get used to it. What about my shoulders & my back? They’d never be able to take that much work. Yeah, remember when you said the same thing about your legs never being able to carry you this far? Well, they did.

Yeah, but still – I continue to argue with myself – it would be sooooo much work and would take forever! Oh my God! Whine much? Seriously! I am beginning to get annoyed with my whiner baby self. I remind myself about how many times, in fact, I had indeed chopped a lot of wood. Lots of different kinds of wood, and maybe not as big and overwhelming, but still. When you look at this big tree – it really is the same thing, just bigger. Nothing I hadn’t ever done before…

I take a tentative swing. Thud. That went in well. I try another swing, angled towards the first so that a chunk flies out. Ah ha! I try another…and another…chips begin to fly!

I grow tired…and I rest. My hands bleed…and they heal. My back burns…but it soon grows stronger. My heart waits…and then it soars as the light from the other side of the tree streams through…

 

 

How can we help you as you search for the LIGHT? Whatever your LIGHT looks like, know that it is worth it. Don’t wait for it to find you; do the work and SEE IT!

I Was Here

I wrote this post originally on my personal blog, October 18, 2010. I want to write more…I need to write more…My story is aching to be released. I want to be that little girl again. Today’s theme on our Facebook page is “Tell Your Story”. Here’s one of mine:

23935_349538415419_6085683_n

She sits in her room – sunbeams streaming through her window. A simple pencil and eraser in her hands. So focused on her work. Lines and shading-creating the picture in front of her. In her mind, she pictures herself sitting at an easel there in a school in the mountains. Surrounded by nature in her favorite place in the whole world. Mountains and forests that call her to create.

The typewriter clicks and clacks as words fly onto pages. A story to tell. Her hand scribbles in a journal, thoughts, feelings that she cannot say out loud, but she can write. All those phrases that are constantly forming in her head stream onto pages. Stories of a girl and her friends. Poems about life. Dreams of a young woman ready to take on the world. She imagines someone reading her words half a world away.

Another day, she dances – arms outstretched, headphones on her ears. Singing the words to a song that touches her heart. Words that someone wrote just for her. Feeling her body rock and sway to the rhythm she feels with every part of her body. Not caring who sees, just feeling with all her soul. She dreams of fans touched by her voice.

Where is she now?

Where is that girl from long ago?

She had so many plans to make her mark on the world. So many dreams that there was no room in her heart for fear, no room for rejection, no room for perfection, no room for people that said “you can’t do that”.

Where is she? Can you see her?

She is there in the mother that curls up with the girl that is so quickly growing into a young woman. Letting her know that no matter what “they” say – she can do anything because she is strong – her strength is found there in that determined jaw.

She is there..in that blog post where she opens her heart to the world. Where she dreams to give even just one person hope for a better day. Her faith is there on a screen for all the world to see.

She is there…in that mom of the young man that is still willing to go for a walk with her and thanks her for something as simple as a Frosty because he has a kind heart – her heart – that he will carry with him.

She is there…in quilted lines of imperfect piecing and uneven stitches. Bright fabrics and colors selected with an eye for something different. Her message of giving remains in every piece she creates.

She is there…in the quiet eyes of the little boy that works so intently on everything he does, absorbed in his creations and love of nature just as she is – she is there in his patience and love so big.

She is there…in a smile that she gives to someone that looks so sad, not knowing that her smile gives that person the encouragement to fight the fight for one more day.

She is there…in the causes she fights for. Her motivation lifts the spirits of those thinking that one person cannot make a difference. The Walks, The Runs, The Rides, battles she fights for those who cannot; because “it’s the least she can do”. She is there in the belief that it will be beaten.

She is there…at that kitchen sink, singing along with the words of new songs and old ones. Dancing in the living room with kids or slow dancing in the kitchen with her lover. The music still takes her there.

She is there…in the tear she shares with the friend that is hurting. The shoulder she offers to help carry the load of the friend struggling with the pain. Her friendship spreads from one woman to another.

She is there…in the passion she has for the man in her life. Her love for him shines out to others, giving them permission to truly love and forgive and love again.

She is there…she waits for you to find her again.

She is here.

I Was Here.

A Meal Planning Gift to You

meal planning

On Saturday Shawna and I enjoyed a lovely latte at our favorite coffee shop! We decided to grab our new cookbooks and favorite recipes and compile our meal plan for the week. All we needed were our recipe books and binders, our handy weekly meal plan sheet and a pen. It was a nice way to visit, share ideas and get a healthy meal plan for the week!

Why do we meal plan? There are several reasons for meal planning and the biggest reason for me is to save time during the week. I save time trying to decide what to eat, get the groceries for that meal, and then prepare it. By doing up a meal plan I can prep ahead of time and have all of the ingredients ready to go.

What are other the benefits of meal planning?
● you will eat out less
● with a plan you will eat less pre packaged meals
● you will always have the groceries that you need
● less food waste because every food on your list will have a purpose
● you will save money
● you will eat a good variety of meals
● you will be eating healthier
● your family can participate in the meal plan
● you won’t have the stress of trying to figure out what’s for dinner
● less time wasted figuring out what to eat and grocery shopping
● less trips to the store means less impulse shopping and temptations

I would like to give you a template for a meal plan that I made to help you get started and on your way to healthy, happy meal planning!

Click here to download your copy: Weekly Meal Plan

Weekly-Meal-Plan1 pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bon appetit!

 

 

A Simple Love Story

Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Those blue eyes looked up at her while she paused, dish towel in her hands.

“What was it like to get married to Daddy? Was he silly like the boys at school?” she asked again. When did her eight year old turn sixteen and wonder about love?

“We were different then, sweetheart,” she skirted the question.

“But look at your face? You look so happy Mommy!” she held the new-found photo up to her weary eyes.

Yes, she was happy then. And she was different. She quickly corrected herself – it’s not that I’m unhappy now! I love my children. I love my husband. It’s just so…different, yes…Why was she suddenly so very tired? That little face still waited for an answer; so curious. Where did she find that old picture anyway!?

The kitchen suddenly became smaller as she was drawn back to the day he proposed to her in that restaurant. What was it called again? She gently set down the dish towel, pulling her little one onto her lap, holding the picture between them as they sat down and she began to tell the tale…”Your daddy took me to my favorite restaurant back then – it was Italian, but I don’t think it’s there anymore…” and time whisked them away…

Their two heads huddled over that picture together at the kitchen table. She hoped her daughter hadn’t noticed her voice crack as she spoke of walking down the aisle toward the man of her dreams. She could still see him there. Her face flushed as she remembered their honeymoon. Her teary eyes danced with laughter as she remembered that they never used that scuba gear they bought, not even once. Her daughter just listened; fascinated with the story of their love.

So involved with the photo and the story, she hadn’t noticed him come in until she felt his hand on her shoulder.

“Daddy! Mommy is telling me about when you asked her to marry you!” She hastily tried to hide her face before he saw the tear on her cheek.

“She is, is she?” he half-whispered as he gently brushed the tear away with his thumb. “You know, she’s even more beautiful today”.

“Oh, don’t be silly! I badly need a haircut and I’m wearing your old t-shirt!” she moved to continue with dinner; embarrassed.

“In fact, she’s so beautiful…” he held her so she couldn’t escape, “I think we should go out on a date this Friday! What do you think, kiddo? Should I take your mom out and leave you guys with Gramma?” He scooped up his little girl.

“Honey, we can’t possibly ask Mom to do that! Besides, we’re on a budget!”

“Oh Mommy! You should go with Daddy! Isn’t he handsome!? We’ll be good, I promise!” her daughter pleaded with her.

“I’ll call your mom and ask her to keep the kids overnight. She’s always offering. It’s time we took her up on it. We can just rent a movie and have a quiet dinner here – that fits the budget, right? When was the last time you and I just hung out together?”

Her mind swam with all the reasons she shouldn’t. The kids were still so small. Friday was only two days away! Wasn’t it being selfish to not have an “important” reason to leave the kids with her mother? She usually had movie night with the kids on Friday, wouldn’t they be disappointed? Saturdays were hockey games and house-cleaning, they couldn’t stay up late…

Oh, but her heart remembered the feeling of being just the two of them. How his arms felt around her. How the world just disappeared. God, when was the last time she felt that way? Her mind saw him there in the story, standing there, waiting for her. He was looking at her that way now. Her heart skipped a beat. Could it be that he still felt that way about her? They hadn’t talked, really talked for so long. She had no idea what he thought about these days. They used to talk about everything.

“Yes, I still need you” his eyes told her. Had he read her mind? She used to think he could.

Minutes passed. Why was this such a difficult decision? Again, her mind drifted back to the story she’d just told. It seemed like such a far away place and time. Yes, she was different now. But she was still a woman. A mother, yes; but a woman who needed to be with her best friend. To laugh and talk about things besides parent teacher meetings and hockey schedules. She still felt a little bit of that passion she used to feel whenever she looked at him. The flame hadn’t gone out yet.

“I’ve missed you too” she said aloud. “Yes! Let’s do it!”

Her daughter squealed in delight and ran off to tell her brothers; yelling, “Mommy and Daddy are going on a date!”

She didn’t hear their replies as he pulled her towards him; dishtowel, old t-shirt and all.

Does this story resonate with you? How do you “rekindle the flame” and date your husband? (or do you? Why not?). We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

We’ve been there…In our busy lives it’s so very hard to find the time for each other. However, we’ve also learned just how important it is to make that special time to reconnect with your spouse. Right now. Don’t wait until “it’s convenient”. Take action!

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Don’t wait another day to make a change in your relationship – It’s never too late to rekindle and reconnect.

Our Simply Sexy Date Night Package will show you how!

Make every day Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Peace and Calming

peace

Krystal’s FB challenge posts this week have been about forgiveness and believing in yourself. I love that theme!

What I noticed this week is that I’ve been running and working myself a little ragged. I was exhausted and sleepy at the store yesterday, and that is just not like me these days. I was falling asleep last night while waiting for my daughter to finish dance class. The difference now is that I am quicker to recognize the signs, I am quicker to pay attention to what my body and spirit are telling me.

The result: I fell instantly asleep last night, safe and warm in my lover’s arms. I got up this morning at my usual early time. I did not rush. I did my run slowly and steadily. I have a ton of work to do, but instead of having my coffee at the computer, I sat (yes, SAT) in the kitchen and visited with my kids and sweetie. I sipped and I enjoyed my smoothie, made by him. After everyone left, I languished in the shower: having a hot shower is one of my favorite things. I took the time for the first time this week to shave my legs and take care of my skin. I put on my prettiest t-shirt and my necklace and my “Peace and Calming” essential oil. I did not “save it for a special occasion”. Today, I AM A SPECIAL OCCASION! 🙂

And now: I’m able to quickly write a blog post that I’m passionate about! I’ll be able to work my butt off at the store, excited and ready to help some amazing people make positive changes. I’ll be focused and fun when we talk about our Disney World trip tonight. Why? Because I spent just a little time on ME. Taking care of ME.

You are so very worth it. You cannot possibly be all that you can be without taking care of the beautiful, incredible, BRILLIANT person that you are. Please, please….spend some time with YOU today! I love you! You need to LOVE you too! 🙂

 

Open post
Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Simply Reflecting

WARNING: This post may contain extreme pride!

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!
Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Last weekend Shawna and I got together to evaluate our business and how we did last year. I knew that we had accomplished a fair bit but was really surprised when we started to write it all down. Let’s just say that I am so freaking proud of us for what we have accomplished in 2012!

  • The Celebrate Life Summit; a week long celebration that included 9 live events and 15 interviews with many of our favorite blogger friends.
Freezing in February for the Food Bank Event
Freezing in February for the Food Bank Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • More organizing sessions with some fantastic clients
  • More speaking engagements
  • The release of THREE new E-books
  • A Simple, Healthy Kitchen Event
Health Street Event
Health Street Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SLC Gals

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • We have been providing y’all with daily challenges on our Facebook page. We have had good feedback from these!
  • We have taken our own advice and SIMPLIFIED; no more doing things the hard way!
  • We have welcomed more clients and subscribers and appreciate you ALL so much!
  • We were featured as Champions of Technology.
  • We attended a Community Information Night and met some people interested in organizing.
  • We have met so many mentors, friends, and amazing clients!

We couldn’t be more grateful for all of the opportunities that we have had. Our goal is to help people simplify their lives by ditching the clutter and the guilt. This will continue to be our goal in 2013. We cannot wait to share our next exciting plans with you!

 

The Die in Diet

I originally wrote this post January 3, 2010 on my personal blog. I wanted to share it with you here because I still strive for the same things. I still eat food and refuse to “diet”. It has been a long, hard road but my relationship with food has changed. On January 2, 2010 – I weighed 175 lbs (down from 190 lbs the January 2009); I now weigh 155 lbs. I don’t really focus on these numbers, I just wanted to make the point that it is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not a diet that got me here.

I hope this helps you to get rid of the “DIET” and join me and Krystal in CHANGE instead! We love you!

My first breakfast today (yep, I’m a Hobbit – I have more than one breakfast!)

first breakfast

From Cafe Cevraini, January 3, 2010

How many of you have New Year’s Resolutions to go on a diet?

How many of you are starving right now because you didn’t eat breakfast?

How many of you feel guilty about all the stuff you ate over the holiday?

How many of you love good food, and resent yourself for deciding that “I’m not eating that from now on”?

MANY of us are there.

I have been there.

I am not claiming to be an expert or a dietician or someone who has any training in nutrition at all. I am only telling you of my experiences and what has worked and is working for ME in the hopes to give you some ideas of how to get off the “diet train”.

In my opinion, dieting IS equivalent to dying. What do I mean by that?

Denying yourself food that you enjoy, even love, is not living your life; in essence, dying. Because if you are not living, what are you doing then?

Skipping meals is just plain not healthy (especially breakfast, girls – you know who you are!), starving yourself is definitely not healthy. And then of course, it follows with binge eating. The yo-yo effect of eating this way does a lot of damage to your body. Not taking care of your body is equivalent to letting your body die.

Another “foot in the grave”: Beating yourself up about what you ate yesterday or even two weeks ago! Forgive yourself! Let it go! Being so hard on yourself isn’t good for your body, your spirit or your mind!

Don’t get me wrong – I have done ALL of these things. I still do these things! I am not perfect and don’t expect myself to be. What I am trying to do is just let it go. When I make a mistake; trip and fall down – I just get up, dust myself off and try again.

I no longer believe in diets of any kind. I have tried so many I can’t even count! Ones like SlimFast, Atkins, South Beach, severely reduced calorie intake, grapefruit etc. etc. Some have worked – I’ve lost weight while being faithful to them. But they are so restrictive and I was filled with such RESENTMENT towards them, they were impossible to keep on top of!

We are imperfect beings. On top of that, when we hate something, like dieting, it is extremely difficult to overcome our desire to get the hell away from that which we hate: the diet! We feel like we are dying!

Thus, the diet doesn’t last, we “fall off the wagon”, and gain the weight back, and then some, because our bodies are so upset and we binge on the foods we love that we’ve been denying ourselves!

What has worked for me over the past year is this: I eat. Period.

There have been days where I’ve forgotten to eat breakfast (what is it with women and breakfast!??) There have been days where I’ve gorged on greasy burgers. I definitely eat food that I love like pasta and cheesecake and stuff like that. I had a couple months (November and December 2009) where I wasn’t eating breakfast or lunch and I’d binge on whatever I could find at night. I was not taking care of myself and I knew it. I was letting stress control me, and not taking care of me just made it worse!

But…I don’t do that every day. And I don’t beat myself up when I eat these things or forget that meal. I wake up and decide, today, I am going to eat better.

My “eating better” is this:

  1. I eat often – at least 5 times per day.
  2. I eat foods that are going to actually do something for my body; from all the “food groups”.
  3. I try not to eat “crap”. But when I do, I try to only have a few bites. And don’t get mad at myself for doing it!
  4. And I don’t eat too much. I just eat enough for that moment. That may be something I love, but I try not to “pig out” on it.
  5. When I’m hungry, I try to think about why I’m hungry. Am I just bored? Am I eating to deal with stress? Am I actually thirsty? When was the last time I ate something? What did I eat last? Then, after I’ve thought about it, then I’ll decide.
  6. I don’t deny myself food that I love. At all. Life is too short to be denying myself anything. If I love it, do it! For crying out loud! What is the big deal? I am not harming anyone or anything by enjoying food that I love. It may be 3000 calories, but so what? I am not doing that every day, just once in a while. What is the harm? If I did that everyday, yes, that would be harmful. But, everything in moderation, right? Most of the time, especially when I’ve been eating really well and feeling really great, I find that I only need a few bites of the food I love to be satisfied. I don’t feel like binging, because I haven’t made it “taboo”.

Food is meant to nourish us and is a gift to enjoy. It should not be an enemy. We don’t need the “Die in Diet”. We need to live, laugh, love and to me, dieting gets in the way of that.

My Happiness Project focus for January is Fitness – thus, I’ve been focusing on getting back to my regular workouts and eating better. So far, so good! ;)Hopefully, I can inspire you to do the same!

Now, go eat something good for you! ;)

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