A friend stumbled upon this on the Trim Healthy Mama Beginners page and asked if I would mind its being shared on Facebook. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I told her I would share it on my blog. Actually I’m more than happy to do so since I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately.

I wrote this back on March 11, 2015. My apologies if you’ve read it before.

It’s time for a little dose of truth. How many of us have looked down our noses or clicked our tongues at junkies who are addicted to crack cocaine or winos stumbling out of bars? Let me try to type now with just my left hand, since my other hand is raised high in the air with some of yours! If being totally honest, I have to answer that I have!

How many of us have, at the very least, pitied those who are caught in the grips of alcoholism or drug addiction? Truth be told, there are probably some drug addicts who would look down their noses at people carrying around excess flab, too. “Really?” you may ask. You betcha!

If a drug addict looks in the mirror she may see a body image pretty close to what she sees on the covers of magazines, and society tells her (and everyone else!) that obese people are disgusting. We don’t get that generalization as much as we used to, though, before there were fast food places, donut shops, and Starbucks on every corner in our fast-paced lives. America, by and large (yes, we have become very large!), has become a country inundated with overweight people.

I know for a fact that people have looked in disgust at me before. I’ve seen it, and I have heard it. I once saw a member of my husband’s family look at my protruding, sagging tummy with absolute revulsion in her eyes; she was about eight months pregnant at the time.

When I saw her staring at my stomach, I had mixed feelings. First off—I won’t lie—it hurt my feelings a little. All at once I felt like a big, fat sow, but, at the same time I was experiencing another feeling that involved my receiving payback and the horror of realizing my own actions and reactions of a much younger me.

Growing up, I had an aunt who was overweight. I remember looking at her stomach and wondering how she could stand it and why she didn’t do anything about it.

Under this pregnant lady’s scrutinizing gaze, suddenly I thought, “What if my aunt had seen on my face what had been in my mind!??” If so, I was receiving due compensation when the young, pregnant lady looked at my stomach!

Sometimes it’s not easy to feel something or think something and not let it show on our faces!

Let me be perfectly clear. Addiction is addiction.

I think it was at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting that I once heard that sugar and flour, when combined in the blood stream, create the same addictive effect that alcohol does. I’m no scientist, and I certainly haven’t researched this out, but, if true, it would definitely explain why I have been drawn to Twizzlers throughout most of my life—almost to the extent of a crackhead being fixed on his next high.

Whatever harmful stuff I am introducing to my body, which the Bible tells me is the very temple of the Holy Spirit–whether it be cocaine, nicotine, vodka or Twizzlers–the crux of the matter is that sin is sin. No matter how I do it, destroying my body is still destroying my body, whether I cut it with a knife or spoon in quart after quart after quart of sugar-laden ice cream.

Cirrhosis of the liver, drug overdose, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack or diabetes: the cause doesn’t matter. Dead is still dead.

My dad used to say that dieting was harder than quitting drinking or smoking because we HAVE to eat. We can give up alcohol or smoking and never take another sip or puff, but we can’t just stop eating. After all, we have to eat to live, right? If we give up eating, we die!

Probably what Dad didn’t think about—or at least he didn’t mention—was that we can completely give up sugar, flour, rice, pasta, and milk. We certainly will not die if we don’t have those things. In fact, we could be taking a giant step toward regaining our health and living longer! Let’s finish up this week on plan and take care of our temples! It’s Wednesday, ladies! We’re halfway there!

Changing My Mantra

If you’ve followed me for very long, you’ve probably heard me say that “I don’t do hard.” As a child, I would get frustrated and pop the buttons off the back of my dresses because I couldn’t unbutton them behind my neck. Even now I’m trying to understand why a parent would buy a little girl a dress that buttoned in the back–at least if that little girl was expected to dress and undress herself.

That frustration followed me into my teen and adult years (and I find it completely logical that those same manifestations of anger and frustration have surfaced in my own son’s behavior throughout his life). For instance, I never learned to put on my bra properly. I didn’t have the time or patience to line up the hooks and eyelets behind my back. Who did those bra manufacturers think I was, Houdini?

What I would do is fasten the hooks in the front of my body and twist the bra around to where it was supposed to be and then put my arms in the straps and pull them up over my shoulders. This was contrary to how my mother put on her brassiere, but, then, I am lazy. I have always been lazy and, as a toddler, I was also not very bright.

When Mom and Dad would have us pick up our toys, my brother, who was two years younger than I, would load up his arms and haul all he could carry in one trip to the toy box. I would pick up one toy, carry to the toy box and then return for another. Well, you know, back then I didn’t have a treadmill and I had to get my walking in somehow! Of course, I’m being facetious. The furthest thing from my mind was getting exercise, and, if I had weighed the thing out in my small brain, I may have concluded that carrying more was better than making seven or eight trips to the toy box.

Don’t most of us do the same thing now with our groceries? We load ourselves up with eight or nine heavy bags and try to open our front doors with our pinkies or elbows. Heaven forbid that we have to make two trips to our car!

I guess you know that Flylady recommends taking only your frozen goods in first, putting them away and then returning for more. This makes perfect sense, certainly more sense than balancing all those bags (and boxes maybe!) and trying to free an appendage to open the front door!

With Trim Healthy Mama I have always said it must be easy because “I don’t do hard.” The fact is, it isn’t always easy. The concept is easy, but following it perfectly 100% of the time is not.

There are times when life’s stress creeps in, and sometimes we may even be plagued with bouts of depression. When that happens we slip into old patterns and destructive food choices.

What I have noticed is that, as I slacked on the treadmill, I slacked on saying no to sugar. We went on vacation and I returned to finally weigh myself after many promptings by my husband and son. I was horrified to learn that I had gained weight, not just a little weight, either. It was a substantial amount of weight.

I was afraid to weigh because, just as losing weight is a motivation to keep losing more, gaining weight has a tendency to do the exact opposite–and I didn’t want that to happen. What if I completely gave up?

It took me a week, but I lost six of the pounds I had gained back. I haven’t completely given up. I’m still having oatmeal for breakfast most days or Ezekiel toast and chocolate peanut butter shakes with okra, and I’m still having salads or burgers without buns or pizza on low-carb wraps for lunch. The fact is that I’m still not eating buns or potatoes or rice or pasta, but . . . And there’s the big, fat but. The sugar! Oh, the sugar. Please, God, free me from this addiction.

For lunch today Chelsea and I went to the Mexican restaurant. Now, they have excellent cheesecake there that is only $2.25 per slice. Did I mention that it’s very good cheesecake? I can have an awesome on-plan meal (no rice or tortillas) and then totally destroy it with a piece of cheesecake.

Today I had a grilled chicken salad with extra veggies and a dollop of sour cream on top. I did not partake of the cheesecake. I told Chelsea beforehand that I would come home and make myself either a chocolate muffin in a mug or a peanut butter cheesecake shake for dessert. That gave me something to look forward to, to keep my mind off the cheesecake. Then I got home and decided I didn’t really even want dessert, so I just drank some water. Victory.

It was a small victory, but one small victory piled on top of another amounts to one great big victory.

I continue to watch Extreme Weight-Loss Makeover and I halfway identify with the people on that show. I say “halfway” because I’m still convinced that I couldn’t do what they have resolved to do. “I don’t do hard.” I can’t seem to help it. I hear myself speaking those destructive words to my heart. That, my friends, is negative self-talk.

I’m changing my mantra. My new mantra will be “I can do hard and not die.” I love that mantra because it is an ambiguous statement. It can mean “the treadmill won’t kill me” or it can mean “if I do the treadmill I can live longer.”

To cement my new mantra into my brain, for the last two weeks, I have put on my bra the correct way. A couple of times I wanted to cuss (and I don’t cuss!) and a couple of times I wanted to give up and a couple of times I wanted to rip and tear my bra into a million pieces and throw it against the wall. I could feel angry tears ready to come spilling out, but I held them back, just as I held back any cuss words lurking there in the darkness of my mad and frustrated heart. (It could very well be that I need therapy!)

I know you probably don’t care, but putting on my bra is getting easier now. I can do hard and not die.

I don’t like sweating or getting dirt under my fingernails or a whole host of other things, but I can do hard and not die.

With God as my helper, I can be free of a sugar addiction. On Extreme Weight Loss Makeover, the nutritionist said that the cravings should wane after a week of no sugar. I’ve done it before and I can do it, again. And I can do hard and not die. Lord, help me, please–if not on my own, then by Your strength.

I’m Strong to the Finish ‘Cause I Eats Me Spinach

After reading the huge section in the Plan about okra, I decided to give it a go. I couldn’t find it at Costco or Sam’s Club, but I did score a bag at Piggly Wiggly. The problem that I perceived was that it was WHOLE okra, not sliced, as I thought it would be.

Since it was frozen solid, I didn’t see a way of trimming the stems without cutting off my hand, so I put the whole okra in the Nutribullet (two and a half of them), along with my peach, cottage cheese, almond milk–well, you get the picture. I blended it all up, and, I must say, I can hardly tell it’s in there. I am detecting a flavor other than peach, but that flavor may be STEMS. Still, it’s not horribly unpleasant.

To mask even further the taste of okra, perhaps I shall try it with my peanut butter chocolate shakes. I may be able to slip a few past my dear Chuckers as well. We shall see.

In other news, I’ve been deferred twice in the past couple of weeks from giving plasma due to low iron. One of my blog readers said she had been told it may be because of tea consumption. Apparently tea blocks the absorption of iron! Who knew? I looked it up on the Internet, and it specifically mentioned black tea and green tea as being culpable for iron deficiency.

I told my daughter that oolong tea shrinks fat cells. She responded, “I guess you’re going to have to decide whether you want fat cells or money.” That’s a horrible decision to have to make! I do not want my oolong tea to cost me $280 a month!

The other night before a scheduled donation, I fixed big Kansas City strips for dinner, and I single-handedly ate a pound bag of broccoli. Today I picked up two cans of spinach and seriously considered picking up a couple of apricots.

Spinach is one of those foods famous for being high in iron. My gynecologist had told me nothing does the trick like red meat, but there are other foods that certainly help, too: nuts, for instance, raisins, and the aforementioned apricots, just to name a few. Broccoli is my very favorite. I love it, love it, love it, and eating a whole pound bag all by myself is not a hard feat to accomplish.

My hope is that I can amp up my iron and still be able to drink my oolong. Thoughts? Oh, and Matt (at work) said that Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, too, and I’m already taking that. Should I increase my dose to two tablets a day, one at morning and one at night maybe?



Can You See God?

Can you see God?
That may sound like something you’ve heard one of your children ask at one time—or maybe a grandchild. There are many opinions about where to “find” God. Some people say that God is in nature, or they think that God is somewhere deep within themselves. But what does the Bible say about finding God?
According to the Bible, God has been revealed to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. For instance, in John, chapter one, we learn that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse fourteen tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. In other words, God became a man and lived right here on earth. The Bible declares that Man to be Jesus Christ. It was to Jesus that the Father said, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever” (Heb. 1:8). This truth is also borne out in Isaiah 9:6-7, which prophesies of the birth of Jesus and repeats the promise of His eternal kingdom.
In Genesis we read that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then we read in the New Testament in John 1, Hebrews 1, and Colossians 1, that it was actually Jesus who created all things. How can this be? The answer is a very simple one. As John 1 says, “The Word (Jesus) WAS God.”
Jesus Himself told His disciples, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). And again in John 10:30 He says, “I and my father are one.”
We read in Acts 20:28 that God has purchased His church with His own blood. When did God shed His blood?
In Isaiah we learn that “the First and the Last” is one of God’s titles (Isaiah 41:4; Is. 44:6; Is. 48:12). In Revelation 1:17 we read these words from “the First and the Last”: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” When did God die?
The answers to these questions are that God shed His blood on the cross and He died on Calvary to pay for the sins of His people. His very name “Emanuel” means “God with us.”
Matthew 1:21 says, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name “Jesus” means literally “Jehovah saves.”
Only God could pay such a price. The blood of any other would not have the power to cleanse us of our sin. God is the only one who could live such a life, perfect and pure. Jesus had no sin of His own for which to pay. That is why He was able to pay for ours.
The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but Jesus had no sin—so death could not hold Him. He rose victoriously from the dead on the third day, as the Scripture says. We read in Hebrews that Jesus “tasted death for every man,” yet death has no dominion over the God-man.
Because He rose from the dead, we can be confident that His sacrifice was sufficient to pay for our sins. If we place our salvation squarely in His nail-pierced hands, no one can separate us from the love and forgiveness of God.
It is not by good works that we are saved. It is not by baptism that we are saved. It is by God’s grace alone through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Jesus cried, “It is finished!” Believe in HIS work on the cross. Revelation tells us that He washed us from our sins in His own blood. Salvation is not found in anything but the blood of Jesus.
This Easter season, my prayer is that you find God in the Person of Jesus Christ. In Him, you will see God. In His resurrection, you will find victory over sin and death. Turn from your sin and seek after Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:6: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Saturday Ramblings

Right inside the automatic doors at Wal-Mart today was a table full of cookies. Oreo cookies, one of my favorite cookies of all time.

“Would you like to sample our new varieties of Oreos?” asked the man with the New York accent, as I strolled inside the store. I noticed they were red velvet and some kind of a yellowish kind. (I didn’t look closely, but, if it was the toasted coconut, I’m glad I didn’t know; otherwise, I may have been in trouble!)

“Oh, I would love to,” I said, “but I better not.” My reply was nearly automatic!

Did those words really come out of my mouth?

While I was returning something at the service desk, I kept hearing his cheery voice, asking newcomers if they would like to try the new Oreos. “Hmm,” I thought, “you know, maybe I could double back and change my mind.”

I turned to look at the table of cookies, again, and then I turned my attention toward the new people coming into the store and how many of them were politely shaking their heads and declining the New Yorker’s offer.

“Okay, see? Refusing free cookies is a normal thing. I’m normal. Declining Oreo cookies is my new normal.” Then I put it out of my head and thought of it no more.

I made it out of the store without tasting a cookie or buying any manner of  cookie or candy. I’m feeling strong today. If only a single day could make up for the years and years of food weakness. Well, the good news is that it can. My choices today are what matter. My choices today are what will carry me through this day and ultimately through the rest of my life.

I had dental procedures yesterday, so it has been difficult to eat today. For breakfast I had Ezekiel toast, which I broke off into little pieces and chewed on the right side of my mouth. I also had a chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

For lunch I had sour cream apple pie baked yogurt with a few Always Save unsweetened raisins sprinkled in.

My afternoon snack was a handful of cashews and another chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

Dinner will be an E, Chicken Fiesta Ranch in a crock pot: chicken breast with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes and 1/3 less fat Neufchâtel cheese over brown rice with possibly some steamed broccoli. Chuck and Chelsea don’t care much for it, but Cameron and I love it.

Valentine’s Day will be here next weekend, and I was thinking about making some Skinny Chocolate from the new cookbook. I’ve read some encouraging reviews, so I even ordered a coffee grinder off of Amazon, which arrived yesterday. I am out of Sweet Blend, and I’ve never tried the Gentle Sweet. I do have some THM xylitol, though, and I wonder how that would be. Maybe it will be great. I haven’t even looked at the recipe, yet, so I don’t know what sweetener is called for.

I bought some great Missouri Tiger molds a couple of years ago with Skinny Chocolate in mind, but haven’t put them to use, yet. I would love to wrap a bundle up in cellophane with black and gold ribbon for my sweet hubby. I’m wondering, though, whether I should spray the molds with cooking spray to keep the chocolate from sticking or if the cooking spray would disintegrate the chocolate.

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and Chuck is taking four hours of vacation so he can make it home in time for the game. His plans are to make some chicken wings. I need to look up a recipe on to see if I should soak the wings in buttermilk before coating them in batter–and what kind of batter should we use? Paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and what else? Would baking blend work as well as flour, do you think? If you have a chicken wing recipe that is simply the bomb, please share. By the way, I will not be eating these wings, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be THM-friendly.

It doesn’t take much to excite me, but I found these great scarf hangers and bought one for Chelsea and one for me. I think I found them on Wish on Facebook. Now I can keep all my scarves in one place and hang them neatly in the closet. Never again will I have to wrongly accuse my husband of throwing away one of my scarves just because it got put into a place it doesn’t belong.

This is Chelsea’s. I’m showing a photo of hers because mine is already loaded up and hung in the closet. She had fewer scarves to take out for the “before” photo.








I think I need to order some THM sweeteners to make my Valentine’s Skinny Chocolate! If you’re running low on sweeteners (or THM anything else), please consider using my affiliate link! Thank you for your patronage!  Finish the weekend THM strong and on plan! Blessings to you!

Play Time Everyday, Let the Fun Begin

The day my baby brother came home from the hospital, my parents brought me a toy iron and ironing board. They brought my other brother something, too, but I don’t remember what. Mom said she had heard that siblings feel less jealous of the new baby if it’s not all about the new baby, and gifts would make us feel special, too.

When I was in kindergarten, Mom picked up toy clothes lines and toy clothespins to give to the little girl whose name I drew.

Were we being programmed even back when we were three or four to become good homemakers? Nowadays I don’t think any of us would be thrilled if our husbands gave us a package of clothespins or an iron for Christmas, and, in fact, most of them know better than to pull a stunt like that.

When I could barely toddle around on my second Christmas Santa brought me a toy dining table with a faux marble top and chairs and a pink play kitchen set. Later on there was a miniature working sewing machine and perhaps an Easy Bake Oven, too; at least I remember a cousin having one of those.

What occurred to me a couple of days ago is all the hours we piddled away, pretending to work! Work was play in those days. What happened?

When we come home in the afternoon to a sink full of dirty dishes, a full-size working refrigerator full of real food and cabinets filled with real canned goods, and a working stove and dishwasher right there at our fingertips to be “played with” whenever we want (we don’t even have to share with our brothers and sisters!), why aren’t we having fun?

Other ladies do have fun in their kitchens. Me, not so much. The dishwasher makes things easier for me, but loading and unloading is still a chore–not a huge chore, but still an inconvenience when I would much rather be doing other things.

And cooking. Where do I begin? I’d much rather load everyone up in the car and go out to dinner. It’s not that I can’t cook: I just don’t like it. It isn’t fun for me.

We always had Christmas and Thanksgiving at my parents’ house until they passed away, so until then I was never responsible for the entire Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. Helping my sister or sitting at the kitchen table with Dad while he taught me to make rolls was one thing, but to be almost entirely responsible for pulling the whole meal together was foreign to me and a little stressful the first year or two.

Now, of course, I’m almost a pro at it. My daughter helps me by doing the cole slaw and the deviled eggs, but everything else I put together myself. I’m still a little amazed.

“Isn’t anyone else as shocked as I am that I can put this whole meal together by myself now?” I asked at Christmas.

They’re all nonchalant like “You’re Mom and you can do anything.” After all, this is what moms do. Meanwhile, I’m feeling like a five-year-old with an Easy Bake Oven, extremely proud that my concoctions are edible, let alone worthy of having seconds.

Boy, I’d like to get that joy and wonder back. In the eyes of a child, how fun it would be to wipe off a counter with a real dishcloth and real soapy water and mop the floor with a real mop and have the buttons on my dishwasher actually work!

Real clothes baskets and a real washer and dryer with buttons that really work and a dryer that really dries clothes! Shopping in a real store with a real full-size shopping cart and paying at a real cash register with real money!

When I was in fourth grade, at recess a teacher taught a bunch of us girls how to use a mini loom to knit. She showed us how to use a wooden spool, with four finishing nails driven in a circle around the hole at the top, and a bobby pin to pull the yarn over the yarn of the previous round. My dad was more than happy to make one for me, and I went to town with a variegated skein of purple yarn. Every long car trip, I had my yarn, spool and bobby pin with me. The variegated yarn helped me keep track of how much “knitting” I was able to accomplish during any given road trip. What I ended up with was a long knitted rope, and I have no idea whatever became of it. I had dreams of having it coiled together to make a rug or something, but that never came to pass.

To this day, yarn work is still one thing I rather enjoy. It feels like play still–once I get into it. When I was taking orders for my crochet business, I had so much business I was able to fund an entire church ministry for a whole year just by my crochet orders. I kept the money in a glass jar, and every time we went out to buy picture frames, ink for the printer, paper, ink pens or Gospel tracts we had funds available, thanks to the gift God had given me to crochet.

I don’t crochet for hire anymore. In 2013 I kind of lost my mojo. I’ve picked up my hook again, but I’ve laid aside the business aspect of it.

I think maybe if I could look at cooking as being creative it would be another story. To me, cooking is something that is a never-ending responsibility. If I make dinner now, even if it’s a masterpiece, the family will be hungry again in three or four hours. The same goes with cleaning and laundry.

When I make a hat, the hat is finished. It’s complete. Done. And I don’t have to keep working on it. Housework is never totally complete, or, if it is, it doesn’t stay that way.

The good news is, everyday we get to get out of bed and play some more! We can cook another breakfast using our real cookware and our real ovens! I just wish I could keep that mindset.

Stats for 1/26/2016:
Exercise: a mile on the treadmill with hills
Pre-breakfast snack (E) 5:30: one orange and 1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese
Breakfast (E) 9:15: chocolate peanut butter shake and two pieces of Ezekiel toast with Happy Farms cheese and peach Polaner all-fruit
Lunch (S) 12:30: tuna salad (tuna, mayo, eggs, celery and onion) wrap with lettuce and a handful of cashews with sea salt
Afternoon snack (S) 4:00: blueberry muffin in a mug
Dinner (crossover) 7:30: chili

From Frumpy to Fashionable

There was a time in my life when fashion just wasn’t an option. Even the best clothes in my closet made me look frumpy, and, honestly, I didn’t have many “best” clothes. My clothes were not fashionable. They just don’t make very many fashionable clothes in gargantuan sizes–so I didn’t have a lot of choices. If it was my size, I grabbed it, no matter what it looked like on me: I was just happy to find something in my size.

Enter Trim Healthy Mama. Now, I am having the time of my life shopping for new clothes! I can actually be picky now! I don’t have to buy the first thing I find just because it’s in my size.

Granted, I’m still having a hard time understanding that I don’t need to look at the larger sizes first! I gravitate toward those larger sizes automatically! LOL I’ve spent so much of my life being grotesquely overweight that it’s unbelievable I can now fit into a 2X or even an extra-large instead of a 32W.

Recently my husband had me go through my closet and weed out all the clothes that were now too big for me so that we could donate them. Those clothes had been a part of who I was for so long that it was difficult to let them go. I did it, though, and it was very freeing. I’m ready to keep evolving into a trimmer, healthier me.

I have a ways to go, and the journey has slowed. That’s fine with me. However long it takes is however long it takes. I’m still a lot further than I was when I started, amen? I’m not discouraged. I’m EXCITED to be where I am, especially when I remember where I USED to be. ‪#‎findjoyinthejourney‬

THM Before and After (Frumpy to Fashionable)

Impulse Buying

Sometimes I am weak (and apparently not very bright). I go into the store without a list and then try to remember (by looking at everything) what exactly it was that I needed to buy.

Listen to me: this is dangerous. If you use this method of shopping, it is likely you will arrive home with items you shouldn’t have bought–unless you scarf them down in the car, as I have done before.

  1. Always have a list. Even if you only have four items to purchase, make a list anyway. This will keep you from forgetting what you needed and will keep your eyes from wandering. Keep your eyes on your list, and checking off the items as you put them in your cart will also give you something else to do to distract you from all those packages of goodies that may be calling your name.

2. Walk fast and with purpose. Don’t meander through the grocery store. Don’t dawdle. You know what you’re there for; get at it! Spending more time in the grocery store than you need to will give your resolve more time to weaken (or completely disappear!).

3. Know your grocery store and what aisles to avoid. Even if you have to walk two aisles over and backtrack, that’s better than taking a shortcut through the cookie or chip aisle. If you’re not there your eyes won’t be drawn to a sale ad. Pay attention here: it doesn’t matter what kind of fantastic sale is running if you don’t need it! Poison is poison even if it’s free.

Sometimes I don’t trust myself. Sometimes I’d rather not go to the store at all because that’s how weak I feel.

4. Be accountable. If you need a grocery buddy, get one. Ask a friend to go with you to keep you on track, or always go with your hubby. Tell them you’re struggling and you need an accountability partner. Listen, recovering alcoholics don’t ever have to go into a liquor store–ever again–but a food addict can’t just stop buying food cold turkey.

5. Find out whether larger grocery stores have delivery service. My husband’s niece does this. The Hy-Vee near her offers free delivery on orders over $100. She can shop the ads online and avoid seeing any cookies or chips and the candy bars at the checkout.

Free grocery delivery is also a bonus if you have small children that you have to corral or entertain during long shopping trips.

The only drawback that I can see to shopping online and having your groceries delivered is missing out on all the walking at the grocery store (and the reaching and bending and squatting). Our niece says grocery delivery frees up enough time for her to get in a workout at the gym. Just make sure you do something. Walk around your house a few times or down the street or around the block.

(Dr. Phil says if you’ve been sitting for an hour, make sure you get up and walk around for a while. Coming home after work and zombie-ing out in your chair after dinner from seven to bedtime is not a good way to burn calories.)

Intentional shopping is what we need to be doing. Have a plan. Know what you’re buying. Don’t go to the grocery store hoping to get an idea of what to fix for dinner. You better get that settled beforehand! If you go to the store hungry everything will look good–not just for dinner, but for a snack to devour on your way home! Don’t let this happen to you. Been there, done that, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. There’s nothing worse than having a 100% on-plan day until 5:30 p.m. when a package of only-a-dollar cookies hijacks your grocery cart. You’re in the car and stuffing them into your face before you ever knew what hit you or where you went wrong. You can’t understand it. You were doing so well. Did you completely lose your brain? What were you thinking? Oh, does this sound familiar! It’s because you didn’t have a plan.

With these tips we can do better. With a little smart shopping we can have the best THM year ever.

Claim Your New Normal: It’s Yours for the Taking

Chuck made an appointment for me to go in for my A1c today. I didn’t want to go. You know how it is when you’ve neglected your exercise and eaten too many off-plan foods. Not only had I been avoiding the scale, but I’m also not looking forward to the lab results coming back.

Haley, my nurse practitioner, looked over my labs from the past four or five years and saw no A1c numbers above 6.5. “You’re not a diabetic!” she said. “To be considered a diabetic, your A1c has to be above 6.5. Has it ever been that high?”

I told her I didn’t think so, but, now that I think about it, I can’t remember. I was first diagnosed about ten years ago, I think. I know that it was never above a seven, but my exact A1c at the time I was diagnosed escapes me now. I am old, you know: I can’t hang onto those stats forever. My husband has a mind for numbers. I do not.

As I suspected, I have gained a little weight over the last couple of months. Eleven pounds up from my last visit, to be exact. When I told my daughter she cheerily responded, “That’s better than twenty pounds . . .” After a pause she added, “. . . but worse than five pounds.” She’s a funny girl. Sometimes she’s a downright riot.

This is what comes from not doing my treadmill and–who am I kidding?–from eating too many off-plan foods. I can’t pretend it has only been because of my treadmill, but I will say that slacking off on my exercise is probably a big part of it. Chelsea reminded me that I was doing a lot more walking outside, too, before the weather turned. Physical and psychological changes, I’m sure, have both played a part in my weight gain.

Haley confesses that she has gained a little, too, but she is convinced that both she and I will get back on track very soon, now that the holidays are behind us. I hope she is right.

I had a fleeting wish before Christmas that I could just follow around a normal person all day for just one day and eat whatever they ate. I wanted to see what “normal” looked like.

That kind of thinking is not conducive to a healthy mindset. What am I, a freak of nature? No, I am not a freak of nature. I am normal. I am normal. I am normal. If I repeat it enough maybe it will eventually sink in.

One of my friends had this on her Facebook status today: “HAPPY NEW YEAR: It’s going to be the kind of year you decide to make it.”

That sentiment resonated with me. I appreciated it tremendously. (Thank you, Becky!) See, we can be the “normal” we want to be. We can say “I’m not really one to exercise much,” or we can become one who exercises! Exercising can be our new “normal.” In fact, we can be like Elf, and exercising can be our new “favorite”!

Over the course of the last year and a half I have discovered that I don’t need white potatoes, bread (and rolls and buns), rice, milk and bananas to live. I can get by just fine without any of those things. I have also discovered that once in a while a few french fries will not kill me. Interestingly enough, I don’t think they’re as good as they used to be. Are they really worth going off plan? The longer I’m on plan probably the more resounding my “no” will be.

The new year is knocking at my door, and I’m optimistic about it. I’m seeking my new normal, something I can latch onto and truly make my own, something tangible and not just the smoke and vapors that dreams are made of. It’s my hope that you find yours, too. Cheers to 2016 and all the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

In the words from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella: I can be whatever I want to be.

“On the wing of my fancy I can fly anywhere, and the world will open its arms to me.”

Nothing Is Really Wrong

Chelsea bought Cameron a shirt for Christmas that reads “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to be here.” As I contemplated what I would give as an excuse for my literary absence, oddly, that is the second thing that came to my mind. The first was “I’m here because my husband asked why I haven’t been writing my blog lately.”

After I begged him to let me start a blog, it isn’t fair to him that I just forget about it. Okay, “forget about it” may not be the phrase I was looking for because I remember it every day. In fact, as everything else does, it kind of hangs over my head every day. “Ignore” may be more the word.

I’ve not been in the mood to write. Actually I’ve not been much in the mood to do anything. Anything. I’m lucky to have gotten out of bed this morning.

No, I’m not sick. I would like to say I’m not depressed, either, but what else could it be? It’s purely clinical, I promise you, because my life is certainly nothing I can complain about. I love my family, my home, my job, and, as my son always used to say, even if I die I’ll go to heaven. In light of a secure eternity and having Jesus as my Savior, what could I possibly have wrong in my life to be so down-in-the-mouth? Short and simple answer: nothing. That’s what’s so maddening. Nothing is wrong. It’s hard to fix what I can’t put my finger on.

Chelsea’s wound is getting better and better all the time, and she hasn’t been in the hospital since August. That’s something to be h̶a̶p̶p̶y̶ thrilled about.

My kids and husband are still alive. That’s also something for which to be extremely grateful. If I sat down and listed all the blessings in my life I could fill up pages and pages and pages–front and back.

Since I hurt my knee I have kind of lagged behind on my treadmill routine. My knee is much, much, much better now, but, you know what they say, if you get out of a routine it’s hard to get back in it. To my credit, I have done my mile two days in a row now, with hills thrown in, and maybe if I would keep up with my treadmill and do better with my eating plan I could perk up a bit. At least that’s my hope.

As I lay in bed this morning (trying to conjure up a reason to get out of bed), my thoughts turned to breakfast. That’s what finally got me out of bed: the thought that if I didn’t finish breakfast before 9:30 I couldn’t eat lunch until 12:30. It was already close to 9:00, so the oatmeal I had soaking in the fridge was not an option. Instead I chose a chocolate peanut butter shake and Ezekiel toast. The baked oatmeal would have to wait until lunch since it takes forty-five minutes to bake.

As I’ve already told you, I have several books started that I need to finish. I also have a sweater to finish crocheting. I had it almost completely finished and then realized I had flubbed the pattern severely and had to rip out my work almost down to row six or seven on both sleeves. I didn’t cry or anything when I discovered my mistake, but all that work down the drain was a pretty hard pill to swallow, especially when I had gotten my hopes up that I would have the sweater finished by Christmas.

I found The Plan at Target while we were Christmas shopping one day and bought it, hoping that revisiting the principles would get me back on the wagon, but, as with all my other books and projects, it’s been difficult to regain my interest. I read a couple of chapters in the car one day, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

Christmas was quiet with just us four, but nice. Most of my meal was off-plan, but these were foods I always had while growing up and all us siblings still fix the foods Mom and Dad used to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner when we were young. I talked to my brother on Christmas, and he said they even have all the pies, too. Not me. On a whim Chuck and I picked up a turtle pie that was on sale while we were picking up groceries at Piggly Wiggly one day, and we almost didn’t even get that one. Chuck has made great strides in his support for my new lifestyle. He’s always right there to say “We don’t need it” whenever any kind of mention of dessert is made.

At least I can say that I didn’t make seven or eight pies, bread pudding, cheesecake, rice pudding and three different kinds of Jell-O salad. My parents really went overboard with the dessert table on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It’s really no wonder most of us have or will have diabetes.

I have to share a few of the gifts I got. My daughter ordered me a plush fleece blanket made up of photos she scavenged off my Facebook. It was such a thoughtful surprise I cried when I opened it. There was a picture of my mom and dad on it, along with another photo of my dad and one of Chuck’s mom, taken just a couple of months before she passed away.  She even put one of my Trim Healthy Mama before-and-after photos on it, too.

Photo blanket

Chelsea also bought me a lighted and musical Victorian Village Thomas Kincaid snow globe since I have such a fascination with them. When I watch Christmas movies every holiday season I always keep an eye out for snow globe sightings. I don’t know why, but they have kind of a magical quality about them.

Cameron gave me floating Christmas charms to go in my Origami Owl locket. They insisted I open that one a week before Christmas so that I could wear it up until Christmas.

Chuck got me a leather laptop case. It hasn’t arrived, yet, but the lady sent me a photo of it. It’s a work of art. Notice that it even has my initials embroidered on the lower right-hand corner.

laptop cover

I also got some gift cards to my favorite clothing stores. I’ve already been shopping two days since Christmas, and I’ve already spent them!

A couple of days ago Chuck asked me to please go through my closets and toss out all those clothes that are now too big for me. I got three big trash bags full of clothes to donate. I feel good about having that chapter of my life behind me. I’m ready to let that stuff go. I’m ready to embrace the new me.

Part of me wonders if part of my depression comes from having a new life now and the stress of not knowing how long I can hang onto it or the fear of not being able to. Then there was the whole knee problem and losing my treadmill routine. Then there was the whole tooth problem and having to stop eating apples because it was just too painful. I know, I know, excuses. All excuses. Weak, feeble excuses.

But, at my husband’s request, I felt I needed to check in to let you know that I’m alive and well. Relatively speaking. Physically speaking. Can you imagine what kind of state I would be in if everything in my life weren’t all peaches and cream? I’d be a real mess then!

Let’s lift our proverbial glasses in the air to toast more exercise to get those serotonin levels up.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family. Love and hugs from me, along with best wishes for a Happy New Year!