Sunday, August 24, 2014

Vacation by Myself

I just came back from going on vacation by myself. Well, I did a lot of driving by myself, but I stayed with friends. It was glorious and much needed. I drove from New Jersey to North Carolina to spend some time with my college bestie, Michelle. I stopped along the way in Virginia and spent some time catching up with other friends and a cousin. I drank large margaritas, ate delicious food, drank lots of wine, danced, and even sang karaoke for the first time. Note to self: practice that before doing it in public again... haha. I drove with my music blasting, singing along to either my ipod playlists or the satellite radio. Hello, 80s and 90s stations! I really enjoyed my time, but missed Lilly enough to make coming home welcome. Having her 6 year-old self wrapped around me when I got home was the best!

I would have never thought that I could enjoy myself while being away from my daughter for so many days. I always worried about her so much, even if I left for more than a couple hours. But, I knew she was in good hands with her grandmother and then my mom.  She even got to spend the day with my SIL and niece, which was a huge hit.

As moms, we put ourselves last. I have been doing it for so long, and to such extremes with my recent situation, that it took me some time to realize that it is okay. By taking care of myself, I am taking care of my daughter. I needed that time to turn my brain off for awhile. At times I used the solitude during long stretches of beautiful North Carolina and Virginia roads to turn it back on, sort of in the background, just to let myself feel and think and BE, without anyone asking me questions or needing something from me. I was not lonely, even when I was by myself, but more notably, especially not when I was with others. I processed...dreamed...hoped.

I felt more Melanie than I have in a long time.  It was nice to be with her again. She plans on staying for the duration.
Vacay selfie, with btw, no make up.  Not bad for 39!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I'm baack...

Hi y'all. I'm back. Not that I really went away; I had a self-imposed blog-break. Why, Melanie? Why have you not been writing your fabulous blog posts for us? Listen, I am not that self-important enough to think that any of you are thinking this. I write because writers have to write. It is just kind of how it is. Artists gotta do their art thing. Athletes have to move and be active. Writers gotta write. I cannot have this self-imposed silence any longer. So I am just going to come out with it and say it and then we can move on to bigger, better, more exciting topics.  Okay? Okay.

Over the past year I had come to the realization that the changes that needed to happen in order for my marriage to be successful were not going to happen. I stayed until I could no longer stay. In April, I moved with my daughter to my parent's house just a few miles down the road. I am currently in the process of a divorce. I was waiting for it to be final to share this information, but I have no idea how long that is going to take and as I said before, I have to write!

I do not intend on writing about the ins and outs of my situation here, as it is not appropriate. However, you may find a post or two about parenting through divorce, or being newly-single at the age of 39.

Know that I am doing well. I am strong and so is Lilly. In fact, I am realizing just how strong we both are. This does not mean that I do not have meltdowns and "wtf happened to my life" moments. I have amazing family and friends who immediately stepped up to the plate to help however and whenever I needed. I have had some really, really difficult moments. I have cried more in the past few months than I have in years. At the same time, my daily stress levels are lower. Lilly is doing extremely well, especially given the circumstances. She has outbursts and moments, but she has a fast recovery time and I am using them as teaching moments about managing her emotions and self-regulation.

So. Thanks for your patience, understanding, and support. I hope to be writing with some degree of regularity now. I will leave you with a few pictures so you can see that Lilly and I? We are doing just fine, my friends.
Happiness Selfie with Lilly

Springtime Sprinkler Fun

Moving Day Motivation, "This is Strong."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oh my...

Well.  It has been a while since I have written here.  I have a lot of things going on, personally, and I cannot write about them here right now.  What's rather ironic is that I have a lot to say.  Lots and lots.  I am a talker and a writer.  I want to talk everything out and at the same time I want to write down all my thoughts.  And here, on my blog, I tend to write what I want to say.  I don't have to write about what other people think, or want to hear.  It is my place to write what I want, how I want, everyone else's opinions be damned.

But I do try not to hurt people purposefully.  Because above all, I believe that I am a kind and good person. And in those circumstances when what I am thinking or want to say is hurtful or maybe just not public-forum-stuff, well, then I need to be quiet. And write in a private (read: not online) journal because the writing, too, has an important place in my life.  It helps me to reflect, to sort things through.  Sometimes it helps me to breathe, just getting those thoughts out of my head.

So I ask you to bear with me during my self-imposed blog silence.  I am doing well.  Better than well, at times.  And hey, I am doing the NJ Mudderella race on May 10th (the day after my, gulp, 39th, birthday) with some awesome high school mates.  I think it is just the thing I need right now.  Because we are stronger than we realize, all of us, especially when we have amazing family and friends surrounding us.  I will be sure to post some pictures of the awesomeness that will be me covered in mud and smiling.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fast Metabolism Diet Update

Hey there!  Long time no blog!  I have been a busy bee...planning out, preparing, packing all my food for the past several weeks.  I had officially finished the 28 days of the Fast Metabolism Diet last week. I am here to give you my recap and my next steps.

I got through 3 weeks without ANY cheating.  Like, not even one bite of Lilly's mac & cheese.  Not one sip of glorious coffee.  Then we had Valentine's Day, which fell on a Friday.  I did well on that day, tried not to stress when the chicken I had ordered at dinner was dredged in flour.  Week 4 I had a few "cheats" and again, I tried not to stress about it.  What I had realized was that I was beginning to plan what I wanted to eat when I finished the diet.  I was not planning on eating steamed broccoli folks. It was more like a fried food and sweets fest.  Not the best idea after losing 20+ pounds.  So, in reality, my cheats of a piece of chocolate here and there were more to avoid binging after the 28 days were over.  I am sure there are better ways to handle it, but it is what worked for me at this time.

On day 28 I actually had an actual cheat day for myself.  We used a gift card and went out to dinner.  I had a cupcake from one of my favorite bakeries.  Thought tangent: Is it odd that I have favorite bakeries?  That I could tell you which bakery in the area has the best of  something?  My plan was, get it out of my system and move on, re-starting the 28 day plan the next day.

I did well for the first 2 days and then I fell off the proverbial wagon.  The good news is that I did not go flying off, taking everything down with me.  I still followed the diet for the most part, but I had a few non-diet items.  But, a positive this week is that I added exercise to my routine.  I did 3 days of pretty intense exercise this week, so far.  I also had my period, which, I'm sorry, but makes chocolate acceptable.  It just does. I tried hard not to stress about going off the diet a bit.  I need to be able to eat a cheeseburger once in a while without a major guilt trip for myself. As my one friend pointed out to me, even when I did go off the diet I was not going crazy with the food.

My updated plan is this: Continue the rest of this weekend as I have the last few days by sticking to the plan for the most part, but not stressing if I do not follow it exactly.  Monday, start again.  I will have a solid 10 days or so before St. Patrick's Day craziness hits.  I want to be able to enjoy a piece of Irish Soda Bread with butter thankyouverymuch!  So I do 10-14 days of strict diet following, not stress about the high, holy holiday, and get right back to the plan.

Also, now that I added the exercise back into my routine, I will continue with that.  I use the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVDs.  They get the job done, especially in this #@%& arctic weather we have been experiencing here in NJ.  If I do some walking and some yoga, I should have a pretty balanced work out routine.

Many people have asked me if this diet was easy to follow.  My answer is no, it is not.  But not because the rules are hard or the food is disgusting.  It is hard because I want to eat what I want to eat.  And that is not necessarily celery and turkey bacon.  Knowing myself, it is probably more like a doughnut.  Or a cupcake.  But the rules are clear and scientifically-based.  I feel better when I am following the diet.  I have lost weight.  Noticeable weight.  My blood pressure is way down.  I had not ONE single day of acid reflux while following the diet.  Except for the time I ordered eggs with jalepenos and there were more peppers than eggs.  My skin is clearer.  People have commented that my eyes look clearer.  I'll take it.  As I have said before, if a diet (like WW) tells me I can have chocolate cake, as long as it is within my points, I will figure out a way to have chocolate cake every day, damnit.  I will.  And I have.

The truth is, I want to be around to see my daughter grow up.  She is such an amazing kid and I want to see how she is going to tackle the world.  I want to hold her when she needs to be held, and help give her a push when she needs that, too.  I do not want my only grandchild to be an American Girl.  A long life is not guaranteed for any of us, I know, but why hurry things along?  I am choosing healthy.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fast Metabolism Diet

I have been going back and forth about whether I would blog about this.  I am on a diet.  In some ways this is a very private topic but in other ways it is completely the opposite.  I have spoken about my weight and my desire and need to lose some (or a lot) of it before.  I have not been successful. Obviously.  I don't mean that in a deprecating way.  Whether a diet, or lifestyle change if you prefer, is successful, is painfully obvious to those around you.

I have been losing and gaining the same 10 pounds or so. I was feeling like I needed something drastic. I don't mean a fad diet, rather, a diet that was drastically different from what I have been trying.  The truth is that I know how to eat a healthy diet.  I know to exercise.  My problem is that when I am on WW or similar, I always make room for the candy/cake/donuts.  Basically, I sabotage myself.  The sugar gets me every time.

A few of my friends/co-workers started a diet called the Fast Metabolism Diet and man, they looked amazing.  But more importantly, they felt better, with more energy.  They lost that sluggish feeling, along with some pounds.  They did not have lots to lose, but they have kept it off.  One lent me the book.  I looked at the cover, but didn't even crack it open for months.  I had a lot of excuses for why I could not do it.

Before the holidays I felt like I was in a good groove.  I had lost 5 pounds and felt good about it.  But for some reason I could not sustain it.  I do have some thyroid issues that were at play but I felt that wasn't all.  I was beginning to feel like I needed a drastic change.  After I recovered from the flu in early January I made the decision to bite the bullet.

I am now beginning Week 2 on the Fast Metabolism Diet.  I have definitely lost weight and inches (I should have measured!) and I am beginning to taste food differently.  The no sugar, no caffeine withdrawal fog I was in for a few days seems to be gone.  I have not had even 1 incident of acid reflux. I am feeling hope that I can lose this weight and keep it off.  I have not felt that in a really long time.  Maybe ever.

Week 1 was hard.  Super hard.  And frankly, it still is hard but getting a little easier.  Phase 2 which is protein and veggies only is really, really challenging for me.  I have to plan this week better than I did last week.  Now that I have gone through all 3 phases I feel as if I can plan a bit better; plus I know what I can look forward to after getting through phase 2.

As I mentioned above, I can always find a way to include sweets on any diet/lifestyle change I make. Because this one does not allow for refined sugars I went cold turkey. erg. I realized just how much of a sugar fiend I am.  I thought of it constantly.  There were many, many instances when my first thought was to grab some gummy worms, etc. For no reason. Just because I wanted them.  I am learning that being kind to myself and taking care of myself does not mean eating a piece of candy whenever I want. The good news is that after not having refined sugar for 4 days, a sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon, sea salt and raw nuts tasted heavenly, as did the celery with unsweetened almond butter.  I believe having the rules of the diet helps my willpower.  If I make my own rules (as with WW) then I never say I cannot have x, y, z.  I have just a little bit, which eventually becomes more than a treat every once in awhile.

So I will try to do some updates through the week and maybe even post some recipes, if I find something super yummy.  Whatever you do..pray, positive vibes...I will take them all.  My daughter deserves to have her mom around for as long as possible, and I have to do my part by taking control of my food and eating.