Disheartened, but NOT Discouraged.

Must like Pac-man, I've hit some walls in the past week or two. And much like Pac-man as well, I've wanted to eat everything I come across. Now, I don't want this blog to become all about food and losing weight -- that's not what I'm about. I want this blog to be a place to document my journey, and to be open and honest with the people who read it and care to follow it. So I promise that I will sprinkle in lots of things for all of us, so nobody gets bored. :) 

Disheartened versus discouraged. The age old debate, amiright?

Yes, I know -- those two words mean essentially the same thing. But not really, when you break it down... To me, disheartened means that I'm disappointed, bummed, a little like "wa waaaa waaaaaaa" trumpet sound effect in my ear. Discouraged means that I'm thinking about quitting. And let me say this -- I was surprised on the scale last week when I weighed in, and I was highly disheartened. But did I think of quitting? Well, not completely -- I did try to tell myself that I shouldn't stay at my meeting. I was a little like a kindergartener who doesn't get her way in a game, she thinks of flipping the board and huffing off with a foot stomp. But I sat myself down in a chair, sent a few disheartened text messages to David and my mom, and then paid attention to the meeting. Did I feel a little deflated? Yes. (Wow, Mandy -- you're really on a "D" word kick today. If you love that letter so much, why don't you just marry someone whose name starts with it???? Oh, yeah....) But I knew that if I let myself get discouraged, and think about throwing in the towel, that I would be kicking myself completely. I've made a deal to myself (and to those of you who read this) that I won't quit. In the immortal words of Her Highness Miley Cyrus, "we can't stop, we won't stop." 

I have goals that are much bigger than myself. And I have to keep reminding myself this on a daily basis. Every decision that I make, good or bad, is affecting the life that I am choosing to live. And if I want to obtain these goals, I have to keep my eyes on them and charge ahead. And that is what I plan on doing, and ALSO must keep reminding myself of. :) I'm making healthy changes in my life. And if I step on the scale and it doesn't give me what I want, I can still feel good knowing that I am choosing to love and respect my body. Even if someone did, TOTALLY hypothetically, get a happy meal the other day because she was craving terrible fast food, she was respecting her body enough to keep track of what she was eating, and make the decision of that meal to satisfy her cravings instead of what she normally would have eaten. Like I said, completely hypothetical, of course. And also, have you seen how tiny the happy meal fries are?? In the long run, I'm sure it was better for this fictitious person, but dang, McDonald's. Way to hold out on a girl random example person. :P 

When I first started back with WW, I sat down and ran through a typical day for me food wise, and took stock of what I would have normally eaten and calculated out the points, compared to my current allowance on WW. And I was blown away. I was eating SO unhealthily. So bad. I shudder to think about it, because even though I still eat things that aren't great for me, I'm at least aware of it, and am minimizing it greatly. Being aware of what we are doing to our bodies is very powerful, and I'm slowly starting to notice things about my body that I didn't before. I'm hearing signals that it's putting out. I'm totally picking up what it's laying down, if you know what I'm saying. (That sounded WAY dirtier than it should have) The other day I had the strangest thing happen to me - it probably had never happened in all of my 32 years. I was super, super grumpy (no, don't kid yourself -- this part wasn't the new thing), and when I got home, all I wanted to do was lay down and watch TV, and wallow in my grumpiness. But instead, I decided to go for a bike ride. It popped into my brain and sounded perfect! :) So I hitched up the old bike and headed out... Now, downside to this super motivational story is the fact that my tire was dead and I rode like .08 miles down the road before I had to head back. But still - I was proud of myself for feeling that way, and for actually acting on it and not squashing it. That was a big thing for me. I'm sorry about the disappointing ending to the story... I obviously need to work on beefing up my motivational speeches before I take this tour on the road. 

So as weight-in approaches tonight, I'm trying to clear my mind and go in openly. Whatever happens, happens. I can't undo it now, so there is no point in getting myself in a tizzy about it. I will just step on, read the numbers, and keep on keepin' on. Because even Pacman had a job to do, right? 


The Mantra

A few weeks ago, I read a blog, as I am known to do... This blog was awesome, and can be read here if you are interested. It's a blog written by a mom, about how her daughter bore the brunt of her negative attitude and feelings. It's not completely related to my journey that I am on, but I found myself with a big takeaway from it... Three simple words, that I have now adopted as my mantra:

ImageIt's a simple mantra. One that doesn't have to be unpacked and over-analyzed. Only. Love. Today. 

But love who, you may ask?

Everyone. Your friends, your family, your coworkers, other drivers, people at the grocery store, people you talk to on the phone... 

And a very special person that is often-times overlooked, especially if you are a grown adult living your life as most of us are -- busy. 

That special person is YOU. We bend over backwards to love others (well, most of us do!)... But sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, step back, and show ourselves that we care. As I gain steam and keep rolling along into this mission to better myself that I have made, I'm realizing that it really is true what they say (whoever "they" are) -- it's really hard to fully love someone unless you really love yourself. 

Like the case of the mom in the blog I borrowed my mantra from, my negativity always had the potential to seep into other parts of my life, and onto other people in my life. I found myself feeling badly about myself, and wanting to come home after a day at work and just sleep the evening away. This gave up my time to spend with friends, or with David, and then everyone got shorted (because who wouldn't want to spend time with ME???). I found myself always saying no to activities that David wanted to do, like bike riding and going for walks, because I hated the way that my body felt while doing it. And I found that it was so much easier and made me so much happier to give in to the stuff that I wanted to throw into my body. 

It's only been a few weeks, Mandy -- get off your high horse, you are probably saying (hey, we're all thinking it... even me...). But I'm not at all meaning to sound like that. I haven't gone vegan and totally organic and taken up hot yoga and balanced my chakras... I'm not anywhere close. But I am starting to notice the effects of eating healthier, being proud of what I put into my body, and feeling like I'm in control. And we all know that I love to be in control. I'm trying to be more mindful of my body, and I'm starting to notice the tiny effects that my attitude can bring. 

This last week was my first week doing Weight Watchers again, and I'm insanely happy. Not only did the scale report that I lost 4.4 pounds, but my confidence has really boosted. I have set small goals for myself, and have learned to be kinder and more loving to myself if I slip up, because it happens. It's only been a WEEK, geesh... :P But like I said above, I am feeling confident, and am finding pride in making healthier decisions for myself. I have cooked meals almost the entire week, and found new recipes that I really love and am going to keep repeating. This is new for me, people. I am NOT the cook in our house. But I feel like I am starting to take charge of that, and it's actually really fun! I know -- what have you done with Mandy? Trust me, I'm as floored as you may be. The second you hear me say that about doing laundry or dishes, though, please seriously call the government, because I HAVE been body snatched. 

4.4 pounds lost, a 4 1/2 mile bike ride last week, and just a more positive outlook that I've had for the last week and a half or so -- these things have all contributed and made my mantra of "only love today" so much easier. I keep it as my phone background so I see it constantly - only love today. Only love today. And the other fun part is that you can emphasize each word, and it gives it a different meaning. I'm a nerd like that.

ONLY love today -- Cut the rest of the crap. That's it. Limit yourself to focus on the love.

Only LOVE today -- Remember, not "like", or "tolerate", or "avoid and it seems like I'm loving.". LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Only love TODAY -- We both know that the mantra won't change. It will be the same tomorrow as well. But if you are struggling, just take it one day at a time and focus on loving yourself and others. Because the secret is, it will come again tomorrow. And you can bite off just as much as you can chew today! 

So join me in embracing this mantra. I'd like to hear how it works for you if you choose to adopt it for a bit and see what changes it has made. :) 

Thanks for coming along with me on this journey. I would get lonely without you, and sometimes I will need someone else to drive. But I promise you there will be snacks, and the kind of music that you say to yourself "ok, I have to admit it... I DO love this song."

Only love today, friends. <3



Truth be told, I'm eating a Kit-Kat.

Nothing special about that title except for the fact that it's the god-honest truth. And I couldn't come up with anything better, really. That's where I'm at right now. I'm incredibly tired, but I cannot complain at all -- I am not tired because I'm dealing with a sickness, or because I have insomnia, or because I am working two jobs to support my family. I am tired because I have been enjoying my life. :) Yes, you heard me right. I've been filling it with lots of love, and happiness, and adventures, and yummy food. I made it a silent (not so silent anymore, blabbermouthfingers) New Year's awareness, of sorts, to be a little bit more exciting. I was feeling myself settling into the same routines, doing the same things, being a super homebody, and frankly - being a little boring. Don't get me wrong, I love my home, and being there, and relaxing - but I found myself saying no to fun things in favor of doing, well, things that were not as much fun. So I am trying hard to say yes to experiences, and carve out time for adventure (even if it's a small adventure!) 

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to jump into a huge one of these experiences. And like I said to a kid at school a few weeks ago, sometimes the things that I'm both nervous AND excited for at the same time are the things that I end up having the best time doing. Kristin asked me I would want to go to a spa with her and Constance -- one they had been to before, one that they really liked, and one that scared the crap out of me -- they refer to it as the "Naked Lady Spa". And that's what it is. No swimsuits, no jewelry, nothing to protect you from the eyes and elements of the room. I was nervous, scared, intrigued, and excited. They spoke volumes about their experience there, and about how freeing and wonderful it is. And you know what? They were right! I was nervous all day, but then just decided to not let myself be nervous. I embraced the atmosphere, and literally jumped in with both feet (ok, I didn't jump. I gingerly stepped into the pools.)... It was such a relaxing time. And after awhile, I felt myself just not even thinking about it (which Kristin had told me would happen!). It was an amazing evening, and I'm so happy that I got to share it with two wonderful girls, who made me feel so wonderful!

The next day, David and I ventured to Canada for the weekend. And we had a blast! We did lots of things - went to the aquarium, saw sea otters, did a lot of walking, saw a movie, ate a yummy pizza in our hotel room, braved sashimi --- it was jam packed! I had such a great time, and felt so happy to be on that adventure with my adorable boy-toy, who ALSO makes me feel so wonderful. :)

The last few evenings have been filled with dinner with my besties in Seattle, just chatting about everything that we could, drinking yummy drinks and sharing tasty fries, car dancing to Justin TImberlake (it was INTENSE), trivia with my mom, winning a prize on the radio for the first time in my life, and just enjoying my job.

On the flipside of all of this sunshine came a rain cloud, though. A wonderful man in the life of my best friend was lost this last week, one who I have known for a long time as well. He was an institution in Poulsbo, and in her family, and he will be greatly, greatly missed. He leaves behind an amazing family, however -- one that is stronger than most I have ever come across. I've known that since the day I become an adopted part of it! For my dear bestie Jewel, and her family, my heart is saddened. But it is also encouraged by the knowledge that your strong family is getting even stronger! The Stroud/Evenson clan is a force to be reckoned with. And knowing your grandpa for all of these years, I can see where you all get it!

And so, with the awareness that our lives are simply on loan, and we need to soak up our time we have, I embraced this past week fully. And I vow to do that for more weeks this year. In fact, I'm aiming for about 52 of them.