Friday, October 28, 2011


beautiful autumn leaves on the tree in our front yard

I love the change of seasons.  Especially at this time of year...lately our weather has cooled off quite a bit, and I'm finally feeling that brisk, cool, winter is soon coming feeling.  I love this side of the winter season.  The best holidays of the year are coming soon, accompanied by increased time with family and more opportunities to draw inward and relax...renew oneself.

dahlias in my front garden

Lately I've been making some changes in the way I live.  Being more fluid in my expectations of myself, and remembering the 'big picture' more than the minute details I seem to always focus on.  In the past, whenever I would take something on in life, I tended to go all out for a couple of weeks, then completely burn out, lose interest and determination, until by the end of about the third or fourth week I was back into my typical patterns, and the changes I'd been so gung-ho to make were distant memories of failure.

I think the best example of this is my weight struggles over the past few years.  I've never really talked about this, but I think it truly is best to get it out in the open.  I know that others struggle with the same things, and yet there seems to be a stigma that still remains in our society where people are more than happy to talk about the changes they have made in the past, but you don't very often hear people discussing these things as they are experiencing them. The difficulties as they are being challenged by them.

This time, I've been truly making an effort to make life changes, and to do so at a more moderate pace, allowing for mistakes, set-backs and other things that just seem to come up.  I feel like I'm finally making some progress in this area, but I really do struggle with focusing more on the true goals I have, rather than my picture of what those goals should look like.

Ultimately my goal is to be healthy and strong, to nourish my body with the things I choose to put into it, and to find true happiness and contentment with myself.  I know for a fact that I will not accomplish those things by only focusing on my changes in weight week to week, and by basing everything on my numbers for the week.  Its so hard though to come away from that has already been so ingrained in me in my 25 years, I can only imagine how hard it is for others who are older than me and trying to make these same types of changes in their lives.

I have been doing better and better with this - with making sure I get my workouts in, eating what I know I need to in order to correctly fuel & nourish my body.  Every now & then though, like today, I revert back to my old habits, I focus so much on the fact that I didn't lose anything this week, and forget the things that I have accomplished.

For example, this week I started working out early in the morning, before work - and I'm finding that I love it.  It feels great to get an early start on my day, and I've been in a better mood for the rest of the day - quite a noticable difference! (just ask Justin)

really bad, fuzzy cell phone pic - first early morning workout!

I'm feeling super strong in my workouts lately, lifting heavier weights than I ever thought I could and truly challenging myself.  I even have the callouses on my hands to prove it!

new callouses

So I have to actively remind myself that, even though I didn't lose anything this week, I still didn't gain any fat.  Even though my clothes frustrate me because I can't fit into probably 2/3 of my wardrobe, I have to remember how strong I'm getting - and I think most importantly, these are going to be lasting life changes.  New habits.  Those take time.  So does breaking old habits.  If I make these larger, most important changes, and allow for mistakes, cheats and days when I just plain feel like eating greasy chinese food & curling up on the couch, I can still feel content with the changes I make.  I've found that I cannot operate in an 'all or nothing' type attitude.  I just plain don't think its healthy or realistic.  If I make lasting changes from within, eventually the outside will catch up.

So, what about you, what changes are you struggling with?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

crockpot turkey chili/soup recipe

For anyone interested in a really easy, healthy recipe for the meal photo I posted yesterday, here it is!

1 - 1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
1 can diced green chiles & liquid
1 packet taco seasoning
1/8 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 bottle salsa, any type you like
tomato or v8 juice as needed for the insanely easy directions:

Spray the inside of your crockpot with some non-stick cooking spray - makes the pot so much easier to clean up later.

Place your diced onion, turkey, seasoning packet and cayenne pepper into the pot & stir them together.

*Quick note on the amount of cayenne - I didn't actually measure how much I used, but I think it was roughly 1/4 tsp.  I think next time I will be using even more than that to add some more heat.  With 1/4 it came out pretty mild & at my house we like things spicy!!

Add beans, green chiles, diced tomatoes & stir well to mix.

Add as much tomato juice or v8 juice as you would like to make this a more 'soupy' consitency.  When I made this I added one small can of v8 juice and mine came out more hearty & 'chili' like.  One thing to note is that some of the liquid will absorb during cooking, so keep that in mind when you put any extra liquid in.

Place the lid on your crockpot & turn heat to low for about 4-5 hours, or high for 7-8 hours.

Once it's finished, garnish with some non-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream), shredded cheese, diced avocado, tortilla strips or whatever else you like.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

delicious lunch...

My delicious lunch today...crockpot turkey chili/soup with a dollop of plain non-fat yogurt & shredded cheddar cheese on top!

Along with my trusty bottle of water.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

las vegas...

here I come!!

definitely ready for a mini-vacation!

Sunday, October 02, 2011