Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Whole 180(degrees)

Many of you may be familiar with the Whole 9 Life "Whole 30" 30 day challenge. Dallas and Melissa Hartwig challenge you to go 30 days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and white potatoes.  If you are unfamiliar with them check it out:  It's a remarkable program set up by some amazing, inspiring and super knowledgeable folks. This is a difficult experience for many, especially the first 2 weeks as your body grinds out any lasting addictions you have (sugar, carbs, etc) and resets itself to healthier standards that help you look, feel and perform better.

It's a purification of sorts, and I've been feeling a need to cleanse more than just my diet lately. Working 10 hour days, little natural sunlight, long commutes, short meals and tired veg time in front of the tv as opposed to experiences with my husband have left me questioning what it's all about. When my husband looked at me and said "I don't know how we're going to do this with kids!" I knew something had to change. Is it just about the money?  If it is I’m in trouble, because Tyler Durden was right-the things you own end up owning you!

I started taking a look at what we do with the money we make. Does it make our lives easier, better, happier? It sure can, and I can tell you having had 2 significant periods of unemployment in my life that the lack of purpose and financial support when the money isn't flowing in ain't exactly the recipe for enlightenment and peace. But then I looked around at what my money was doing FOR me. Some of it is healthy....the ability to vacation and travel, the peace of being able to pay bills, groceries, medical, entertainment and retirement saving, knowing that if my 2003 Corolla breaks down (fingers crossed, she's over 200K and still going strong!) a new safe car is just a short walk away, a new quiet dishwasher when our clanky old one finally kicks it after 10 years of solid use....the list goes on and on. Of course money is important, but what about the giant black hole it always seems to flow in to.....clothes, accessories, aimless hobbies, restaurants and drinks, video games, electronics, movies.....fill in the blank. These are the fillers that are literally sucking the life (and money) right out of you. The temporary thrill of the hunt, the kill, and then the let down that you still feel a void within. Not everyone is a shopaholic of levels worthy of having a book (and subpar movie) written about them. But to some extent, we all allow our possessions to possess US.

So, what is this rant about? What on earth does this have to do with Dallas and Melissa and Whole 30 and cleansing myself? I need a mental cleanse. I want to see what I've got deep down in my core, and what my life would be like if I stripped away the sweet sugary toxic goodness of numbing myself with extraneous purchases. So for the next 6 months, (180 days)-because frankly 30 days is not enough for me to truly appreciate the changes I'm about to make and fully comprehend the lessons I will learn- I will not buy any clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry, magazines, knick knacks,  doodads, gewgaws, or sundries.  Nothing unless it has a very specific purpose and nothing else I own will fill that need (read-I need a pair of sting ray guards for my wading gear; I do NOT need a new fishing shirt or a new white blouse to volunteer for the rodeo this spring). From now until February I will limit myself to the very basics and make due with what I already have. My hope is that I will come out of this experience with a simpler more realistic need of want v. need, a deeper appreciation for the things I do purchase (and the blessing of having the money to pay for them) as well as an appreciation for all that I currently have, and that I will find intangible things in my life that have gone unappreciated, and learn to find my joy in that which is not material, and can never be taken away or withheld from me because I create it out of myself.

In addition, I will stop going out to eat at any restaurant that does not serve food of the same quality we make at home. I will no longer pay someone to feed me industrial Omega-6 oils, grain-fed feed lot meat and toxic pesticide-laden vegetables. If I do go out to eat, it will be at a place that supports sustainable, local, grass-fed, and organic foods. And this will be no more than twice per month. I will spend my money buying local organic produce, and grass-fed/pastured meats and eggs from a farmer who knows my name, and I know and approve of how he treats and feeds the animals I will consume.

Add to this an actual Whole 30 challenge which I'll start September 1 to put my physical body in alignment with my mental cleanse.  I have a very daunting, but very exciting 6 months ahead of me. At the end of this Whole 180 experience, I hope to have done a complete 180 degree turn (God I love double meanings!) I hope you'll follow my journey, question what it's about, call me out if I lose my way, and examine your own thoughts, actions and habits along the way.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Shake off the dust!

You may have noticed that my prior post is a little dusty, and that after boldly stating I was embarking on a 12 week happiness project, I failed to let anyone in on how my quest for happiness was going. Ever heard the expression “we plan, God laughs”? Well I’d say whoever coined that one knew what she was talking about. I started out doing great, focusing on eating to nourish, sleeping as much as possible, taking care of my body, and it worked so well I just stayed on the physical path and never went further. I never added to the breadth of the project and I went stagnant. Then life got in the way and I reverted to my old ways of unconscious living and before I knew it the happiness I had begun to cultivate was slipping away.

I’m in a new place in my life, with new goals and new dreams and new understanding of myself. What I hope to share with you from this point forward goes deeper than a spreadsheet full of quantifiable actions calculated for me to appreciate my current life situation. Instead, I have a whole new outlook on life that permeates every beat of my heart and every breath I take in. This life is about the journey, and I’m honored you are interested in taking a peak inside to see what mine is about.

Very shortly I will be on a journey, both physical and mental, that will take me to the heart of paradise, Hawaii! I plan to do some yoga on the beach, eat some amazing short ribs fresh seafood and slow roasted pork roast, walk all over the place, catch some waves, and find a spot in the sand to just be. I’m not sure what revelations, if any, will come to me while I’m gone, but I promise to share whatever it is I find. One thing I can tell you for sure, I purposefully under-planned events for this trip. The old me would have scheduled every single minute to make sure I didn’t miss a single experience in a beautiful place I may never see again. The new me is more interested in having a few of the richest experiences possible and contemplative time to just absorb and process my experiences and to simply exist in this tropical wonderland.

Stay tuned for some sunny insights from the Aloha State!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ignorance Is NOT Bliss

Wow do I have a lot to share. Just attended Paleo FX for 3 days of the most amazing experience of my life. It’s not every day that you get to meet the people that are responsible for changing your life (Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser) and tell them in person what they’ve done for you and your family. The scientific discussion was amazing, the speakers filled our heads with so much knowledge and things to question that I’m not sure I have the brain capacity to ever process it all! The community was fantastic and I met kindred spirits who have changed my life forever and I dearly hope will become lifelong friends.

It’s going to take some time to break it all down into bite-sized bits to share with you all, but rest assured I’ll find a way to get the information out there.

As I came back from this adventure with fresh eyes and an open heart, I quickly became incredibly sad. Misinformation and plain lack of knowledge is making people sick, unhappy, and is slowly killing them. Yes, people will always make bad choices even with all the information presented to them, but I see so many who are TRYING to be good. They’re eating whole grains and throwing their egg yolks away because that’s what they’ve been told will keep them young, free of disease and living the best, longest life possible. They see people on biggest loser working out 6 hours a day on 1000 calories of food and think that’s what they need to lose weight and finally love themselves and find connection with other people. They’re having their stomachs altered, taking pills prescribed by doctors they trust, and following the conventional wisdom that someone with an M.D. behind their names is a god they should follow without question (and if they do happen to question what they’re told, often they are met with supreme resistance by the misinformed physician who took an oath to DO NO HARM yet themselves are ignorant of the truth (at best) or are just too ego-driven to change their methods. They’re being told in schools and by our own legislature, elected to represent our interests, that pizza is a vegetable. They’re trusting the food sources that are driven by the companies that profit from chemicals that are poisoning our food supply.

We’re failing our nation, ourselves, and our futures. While we sit idle, policies are being passed by the very people that will profit off of our ignorance and then profit off of our illness. Think about what you are being told, question where it’s coming from and why they’re espousing it. Take control of your food, your health, and your life. The answers are simple. Plain old greed is doing it’s very best to make it hard.

MUCH more to come……

Friday, January 20, 2012

My 12 week happiness project:

The book The Happiness Project revolves around the idea of taking a year to focus each month on a different aspect of happiness. If you haven’t read HP, I highly recommend it. Moving through one woman’s goal to focus for a year on different aspects of happiness, it is an excellent reminder that we often make our own happiness, and what gets measured gets managed.

I read HP last year for my book club, and was so geeked on the idea that immediately after reading it I created a GIANT excel spreadsheet with all of my 12 monthly projects, as well as 10-15 measurable actions to move me towards those goals. What I soon realized was that keeping track of that many actions each day, every day, and then adding the new months actions to the pile was getting a bit ridiculous, and I ended up scrapping the project. I tried to pick it up again a few weeks ago when we hit January, but quickly fell off with the same sense of being overwhelmed. Then I thought why not break it down into manageable, bloggable bits and pieces.

So with that, I present to you my new weekly series: 12 weeks of healing and happiness. I hope you will all chime in on your own efforts, their effects on your happiness, and how it affects those around you!

Stay tuned for week 1 of my happiness project: Physical Health

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dream Big, Live Big

What have you always wanted to do? What would really ring your bell? What’s been keeping you back from it? Afraid you’ll look a fool? You’re not good enough to succeed? Afraid you don’t have what it takes? Says who?

A life devoid of big dreams isn’t much of a life. In a brief time of unemployment, I lived a pampered, unexamined (life thanks to a VERY supportive and patient spouse). I wanted for nothing, and little was required of me. The sad thing is, I stopped requiring much from MYSELF. Granted I can now recite most of the lines verbatim from Futurama and Family Guy (in addition to my already impressive knowledge of the Simpsons), but facing a velvet-lined brick wall each day is drudgery.

The good stuff of life is in passion, in victory, in the agony of defeat and the glory of redemption. Those are what make life worth living and weed out future regrets.

I’ve been contemplating many big changes in my life lately. The key to making ALL of those dreams come true is to let go of my fear. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of judgment by others…all GONE. Just today I registered for the PaleoFX symposium, where I hope to meet some of my great idols, Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser and Mark Sisson. These gurus have helped to change my life, shaped the condition of my future, and given me the knowledge to extend health to NUMEROUS loved ones. To stand amongst them will be a true honor, and I feel every bit worthy enough to shake their hands.

Because of my passion and my hunger for a bigger life, I’ll approach this experience with joy and love in my heart, and it will drive me to new adventures and new victories.

What will you shoot for in 2012? Please take a minute and share a goal below. Whatever you do, be sure you dream big, and live big!

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's Not About the Scale!

I decided to start the year off with a January Whole30 challenge. Not sure what that is? Check it out here: I know I’m a little early for a new year’s start but I didn’t want to wait for January 1 since I felt the urge to be healthier and happier NOW. A few extra days of fighting crappy food and cravings just did not appeal to me so I jumped right in.

I’ve completed the Whole30 before with great success. I’ve given up grains, excess sugars, processed foods, diary, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, nuts, fruits, and PUFAs. But one thing I’ve never conquered is the scale. And I’m NOT talking about reaching an arbitrary goal weight. What I mean is, I’ve never fully surrendered my scale. I truly believe that while big changes on the scale can tell you where you’ve gone wrong, once you’ve achieved some level of success it does very little to tell you what you’re doing right. Body composition changes are not about the number, they’re about replacing the lard with lean, hard, healthy muscle. True health is about maintaining low levels of inflammation and avoiding illness and medication as much as possible for as long as possible. And yet, even with my understanding of health and body comp and my desire to look like this: rather than this: and I still find myself stepping on that scale at least once a week, if not more.

I’m a scaleaholic. I’ve come to accept that deep down the scale is the last bastion of resistance from my old ways. If the numbers “improve”, even over just a few days, somehow I take that as an indication that I can be looser in my diet, even though my diet is now a lifestyle that revolves around nutrition, health and longevity rather than calories.

So I weighed in at the start of the challenge, took note of how my pants were fitting, and I will not step foot on that scale until February 1. I urge you all to make the same resolution. It’s not about the scale. It’s about living your life as clean and healthy as you possibly can for as long as you possibly can. Good health is a gift, gone in an instant, difficult to recover, and its absence will affect your every waking moment. Cherish it, nurture it, take control over it, and realize that it’s not about the scale!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Passion, Get some!

I see dull people! Everywhere I look lately, I see people passing by opportunities, not living up to their potential, living unexamined and unhappy lives (I freely admit every now and then one of those people I see is in the mirror, but I’m working on it!) I’ve lived an unexamined life at times. You know what you get at the end of the day when you’ve done nothing productive? You get depressed, miserable and lazy.

Lately there is a fire lit under me and it feels GREAT. Maybe it’s a sense of competency and accomplishment at work. Maybe it’s having mostly full use of both my legs again now that my knee is healed. Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit doing the whoolaboola in my soul. Whatever it is, it has me focused, and seeing the doldrums around me makes me want to shake everyone and snap them out of it.

What is life without passion? Who wants to be a bare-minimum person? Life is short, opportunities don’t just land in your lap, and you’re not going to become something amazing sitting on your rear eating potato chips and watching your DVR. I once heard there is no such thing as a missed opportunity, someone else will always come along and pick it up.

So who is living YOUR dream life at the moment, and why isn't it you? What are you afraid of? You think you’re going to fail? If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying! Ever admire someone with a lot of “experience?” Oscar Wilde said “experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes”. You think your heroes never screwed up? Of course they did. They just kept learning from their mistakes! Or are you afraid you might actually succeed? What will you do when you have to put in the hard work that comes along with success? What will your life be like if you actually make yourself into what you always dreamed? You’d rather hide under a blanket and live like a maintained pet than have control over your own destiny and make a mark on this world in the short time we have on this planet?

Shake it off people, catch the fever, and get moving! Don’t be the bare-minimum flare wearer. Live your life to the fullest, take chances, make changes, grow, risk, LIVE! Let your light shine and show others the way. You’re worth the risk, and you deserve the reward. Now go get some!