August 31, 2018

Recent Eats: Some yummy food I've been cooking lately

This is kind of an odd post for me, because I stopped posting food journals a long time ago. But I just transferred a bunch of photos from my phone onto my computer, and I saw that I had several pictures of food I've cooked recently. (I have a private Instagram account where I post food photos, more for myself than anyone else, so that I can look for ideas when I make my menus. So, I usually take photos of things that cook.)

Some of the things I've made lately have been SO good, so I thought I'd share the recipe links in case anyone is looking for something new to cook!

(As you all know, I am neither a food blogger nor a photographer, so these photos don't make the food look very appetizing. But I promise it was delicious!)

Chicken Fajita Pasta - I made chicken fajita pasta before, and it was good; but this time I made it with my own homemade fajita seasoning, and it was mind-blowing! Here is the recipe for the fajita seasoning, and here is the recipe I followed for the pasta. (Instead of the envelope of fajita seasoning called for in the recipe, used 1/4 cup of the homemade seasoning.)

Sweet Bean Salad with Fritos Scoops - I have no idea what to call this appetizer--it's kind of known as "that good bean dip" in my family. My mom got the recipe from a woman at an Army-moms support group. It's perfect for summertime! It has a sweet taste (oil and sugar make up the "dressing") and it must be served with Fritos Scoops ;)  This is one of those dishes that everyone asks for the recipe. So, here is the recipe for "that good bean dip".

Chicken 'n' Noodles - I used to work at Bob Evans, and they had a dish called Chicken 'n' Noodles--it was basically chicken noodle soup, but with less broth. I had some leftover chicken one day several years ago, so I threw this together and holy smokes it was so good. It looks very plain, but don't let that fool you! If you have chicken that is already cooked, this is a super fast and easy meal. Here is my recipe for Chicken 'n' Noodles.

Chicken Yakisoba - We were going over budget with our grocery money last week, so I was looking for cheap recipes. I came across this recipe that uses ramen noodles (I like the Maruchan brand). You don't use the seasoning packets that come with the noodles; instead, you make a sauce out of some condiments that you probably already have on hand. Here is the recipe I followed for Chicken Yakisoba.

Chickpea Tikka Masala - This recipe was a huge surprise for me; I honestly didn't expect to like it, because I'm not a big fan of chickpeas, but I do like to try new things. Again, I was looking for cheap meals, so I chose this one that uses chickpeas instead of meat. It ended up being not-so-cheap because I had to buy some spices, but the dish was SO GOOD that it was totally worth it.

And now I have the spices on hand to make this several more times. The kids didn't care for this, but Jerry and I loved it! Here is the recipe that I followed for Chickpea Tikka Masala. I made it as-written, except I accidentally only used two cans of chickpeas instead of three. I wondered why it was so saucy!

Meatball Soup - This is Jerry's favorite soup, and a big comfort food to him. I usually make it with ground turkey, but ground sirloin was on sale this week, so I decided to use that instead. I am not usually a big beef fan, but I think the ground beef was really good here. This soup is hearty and full of flavor! Jerry and the kids all insist that it be made with orecchiette pasta. Here is the recipe for my Meatball Soup.

Meatball Stroganoff - I use frozen meatballs for this (and canned mushrooms), so it comes together VERY fast. I hadn't made it in a long time, but when I was organizing my recipes page, I suddenly developed a craving for it, so I decided to cook it last week. I forgot just how good it is! Here is my recipe for Meatball Stroganoff.

Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with General Tso's Sauce - I had some udon noodles in the pantry, and it was just Eli and I for dinner one night. We both love stir-fry and spicy food, so I threw this together--I didn't have any meat, so we just had the veggies and noodles in the sauce. It was so good! Here is the recipe for the General Tso's Sauce. I used one package of udon noodles (these are ones I buy), one bag of frozen Birdseye Asian Medley veggies, and one recipe of the sauce--although next time, I think I would cut the sauce recipe in half. Eli and I both loved this!

Unstuffed Peppers - This was actually based on a stuffed pepper soup recipe, but I added a lot more peppers and it somehow had very little broth by the time I was done. It tastes just like stuffed peppers, so I just call it "Unstuffed Peppers" now. Here is the recipe for my Unstuffed Peppers!

And there you have it! I've been loving spicy food lately, so I'm going to try some new spicy recipes. I think I pin more recipes than I could ever cook in a lifetime! haha

August 31, 2018

RECIPE: Sweet Bean Salad with Fritos Scoops

This is a go-to recipe that I make frequently to take to parties. People ALWAYS ask for the recipe, because it's fantastic--and it tastes so much different than it looks. It's surprisingly sweet (which is thanks to the oil and sugar dressing) and serving it with Fritos Scoops is a must ;)

I have never known what to call this (my mom got the recipe a long time ago, and we've always just called it "that good bean dip"). So, call it what you will. Hopefully more creative than "that good bean dip"!


1 cup celery, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 (14 oz) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 oz) can white corn, drained
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

Combine all in a bowl and serve with Fritos Scoops! 

August 28, 2018

Removing a Textured Ceiling: A Huge DIY project!

My arms are dying--my shoulders feel like they are bruised beyond repair (they aren't). My neck hurts horribly to just turn my head.

I mentioned on Tuesday that Jerry and I had quite an adventure. I don't know if "adventure" is really the right word, but we definitely had an interesting afternoon.

Was it from my bipolar? I have no idea. It definitely sounds like a very bipolar thing for me to do--knocking out a wall on a whim--hahah! But I'm pretty excited about what we've been doing for (as far as home improvements) for the last few days.

It started very simply--"Let's take out these cabinets!"--so that we could (eventually) turn the snack bar into a real snack bar, and put stools next to the countertop. The cabinets were hanging right in the way, so that if you were sitting on a barstool, your forehead would be in line with the cabinets. We have a very large kitchen, so I knew we didn't need the cupboard space; I just decided to move the glasses out of that cupboard and see what we could do.

I got everything prepared for when Jerry woke up, so that he could help me remove the cupboards (I knew I'd be stupid to try that alone!). I had everything prepped, and Jerry just sleepily said, "Sure!" when I asked him about it. Poor guy ;)

We removed the cupboards. Then, I felt like the wall was in the way; the only reason it was there was because it was holding the cabinets up. So, I said, "Hey, let's knock down this wall!" We verified that it wasn't a necessary wall to hold the ceiling up, and then we took it down.

This is after we removed the cupboards--I wish I'd taken before photos!

Jerry loved this part! He kept blaming my bipolarity, but honestly, he was thrilled to do something so "crazy". So, this is what it looks like after removing the cupboards and the wall:

Once the cupboard and wall were down, we couldn't stop exclaiming how much better it looked! (Since I forgot to take a before picture--I always do--so I searched and found one of Jerry and I before we even moved in. It's not great, but it'll do.)

We clearly have to mud and paint and all of that, but I love it so far.

Since we had to prioritize the kitchen, we decided we would do the ceiling first, then paint the trim and cupboards, then paint the walls, and finally replace the floor.

About the ceiling... I hate it. It's the thing I hate most about our house, but it has always sounded so impossible to get rid of it. We have a textured ceiling--not a popcorn ceiling, but something called a "stomped" ceiling. It looks like someone put sponges on their shoes and stomped around on the ceiling. (In the picture below, you can see the texture versus where we started to remove it.)

From everything I've read, removing a stomped ceiling is nearly impossible, and it's a TON of work. Removing a popcorn ceiling seems fairly easy, but of course our house wouldn't have the "easy" fix. Which is why I've never attempted it. But yesterday, I was ready to just give it a whirl. My method was simple: Spray the ceiling with water, and use a scraper to scrape it off.

It was a little messy. We had a huge plastic sheet to cover things, but we found it really didn't help that much anyway.

The scraping actually worked really well! The texture was coming off pretty easily. There were several places where I made little nicks that would need a touch of spackle, but otherwise, it looked a million times better. It made a HUGE mess, which was unavoidable. I had tried using a special sort of textured ceiling remover tool (which caught the mess in a bag), but it didn't work nearly as good as the regular old scraper.

I got the hallway, dining room, and kitchen done yesterday. When I looked at it today, I realized I'd have to go over it again to smooth the whole thing out (and fill in the nicks with spackle). I'm very happy with how it looks, though, so once we get these rooms prepped, we're going to do the bedrooms and living room.

Jerry and I made a new budget after we paid off our debt, and it involves home improvements. We'll pay an extra $1,000 on the Jeep each month, and anything leftover from that will go toward home improvement. Removing the textured ceilings takes very little money, so it's a good place to start.

I worked on the ceilings again all day today--trying to make them as smooth as possible. After talking to Becky about it, she insisted that we would need to sand the whole thing before painting, and I hate the thought of that--so much dust!--but we certainly don't want to have to do this again any time soon, so we're going to do it right!

So, removing a textured ceiling is simple: spray with water; scrape with scraper; repeat. I wish is was as easy as it is simple, but it's actually not! I'm going to spend the next few days sanding the ceiling, prepping it for paining. I also need to get the ceiling in the rest of the house ready to prime and paint (i.e. I need to remove the textured ceiling from the bedrooms and living room).

Anyway, I just wanted to check in... this is why I've been too busy to blog! ;) My shoulders are so sore that it actually hurts to type, hahaha. But I will continue to post progress pictures (hopefully it looks better as we progress! haha). But so far, even though it has a long way to go, I like it so much more!

Have any of you removed a popcorn or "stamped" ceiling? Any advice? (I'm falling asleep as I type this, so I'm not going to proof read. I apologize for grammatical or spelling errors!)

August 23, 2018

I have a niece!!

As the title of my post spoils, I now have a niece!

I only became an aunt 17 months ago, and ohmygosh--I LOVE it. Luke is seriously the cutest. kid. ever. He's actually staying the night at my house right now, for the second time this week!

On Saturday evening, Becky called me and said that she was having some contractions. Nothing crazy, but because her labor with Luke was so short (I think it was only six hours from the time she first started having contractions until he was born) she wanted to be prepared. My mom and I were "on call" to take care of Luke if Becky should go into labor.

So, I got the call, and then I went right to Brian and Becky's house (Brian was just arriving home from a work-flight from Mexico City). Becky wasn't in pain or anything, but her contractions were gradually getting more intense. Brian went to bed to hopefully get some sleep before anything major happened, and Becky and I stayed up and chatted. Until 3:00 in the morning, haha.

(It was kind of fascinating that, as we were having conversation, I could literally see her contractions in her belly. At first I thought it was just the baby moving around, but when I noticed it was very regular, she said it was the contraction. So I could see it each time she was having one! I was so obese during my pregnancies that I could never see anything cool like that.)

I finally went to bed (at their house) and thought for sure I'd be waking up with Luke in the morning. But Becky's contractions stopped, and it turned out to be a false alarm. I still brought Luke home with me to stay the night, just in case things happened for real.

Sunday, nothing. Monday, nothing. Luke had been almost two weeks early, so we were all so sure that baby girl would be early, too (Becky's due date was August 31st).

Tuesday, I had cross country practice until 8:00. I was completely exhausted from all of the events of the week (aside from lots of things going on, I got almost no sleep for three days in a row). After cross country, I was so looking forward to a chill evening. I had just changed into my pajamas when I got a call from Becky.

I could tell just from the way she was talking that it wasn't a false alarm. She sounded pretty uncomfortable, but she said it wasn't a huge rush-out-the-door-right-now kind of thing. Since I had gone last time, I asked my mom if she would like to go, and she headed out immediately (she even realized later that she forgot her purse at home, because she rushed out the door so quickly!).

Becky's call had been at 8:50. My mom was out the door by 9:00, and it's about a 35 minute drive to their house. When my mom got there, Brian and Becky were in the car in the driveway, waiting to leave--apparently, things were progressing FAST.

My mom stayed with Luke, who was sleeping. Brian and Becky went to the hospital, and got there at 10:08. They learned it was too late for an epidural or... anything, really... because baby girl was born at 10:31!! Literally just 23 minutes after they got to the hospital.

I was so glad that my mom had gone instead of me, because when Becky said it wasn't a huge emergency, I probably would have put together an overnight bag and left about 15 minutes later than my mom had.

Brian and Becky hadn't decided on a name for her, so all I learned last night was that she was born at 10:31 and she was 6 lbs, 14 oz. Today, I learned that her name is Riley Jo.

Brian brought Luke to the hospital this morning to meet his baby sister, and then my mom went down there to pick him up and bring him to my house. So, I haven't even met Riley yet! But I've had so much fun having Luke over. (A 17-month old is a little more entertaining than a 1-day old baby, so I'm totally cool with it.) Also, Jerry and I had quite an adventure this afternoon, which I'll write about later. ;)

I'll meet Riley tomorrow when I bring Luke home. But for now, Brian said I could share a few photos!

Brian took this photo for Jerry--Riley is already doing the "Jerry face" for her photos ;)

August 22, 2018

My 8-Week Challenge: First Month Update

Well, I'll start by spoiling the ending: there really isn't much to update.

(I also don't have any photos to go with this post, so I'll just share this picture of my cats making themselves comfortable. Jerry and I were watching a movie, and I had my feet propped up on his lap. The cats took over, as usual.)

A month ago, I wrote about starting "fresh" with diet and exercise--following a training plan and counting calories. After feeling mildly depressed for several months, and having picked up some weight, I was feeling fired up and ready to just get back to feeling better about myself. I'd been having such a hard time getting back on track with... well, my whole life, basically.

I did great at first! I started counting calories again, and it was really hard to get used to. But mostly, I was happy that I was following the training plan (Hal Higdon's Novice 8K plan). I was doing the cross training, the strength training. Everything!

And then I missed a day, and I can't remember why--I know I was busy with something, and I just told myself I'd do it the next day. I didn't end up doing that, and you know how it goes (or maybe you don't...) missing one day made it easier to miss a second, and so on.

Thankfully, I haven't gained any weight since starting the plan! But I haven't lost any, either.

I am most definitely not going to start any new "challenges" for myself. I can't even count how many times I've started a challenge, posted about it on my blog, and then quit. The first time is embarrassing. The fourth, fifth... (thirtieth!) time is just shameful.

So, I haven't totally quit trying--I try every day!--but I'm not officially doing a particular challenge or anything. It's been a crazy hot and humid summer, which has made running a pretty miserable experience. I did run in the worst of the heat and humidity, but I didn't enjoy it at all.

When I started feeling really good about myself last year, after my diagnosis, medication, and a great therapy session, I vowed that I would only do what makes me happy. Running does make me feel better, almost every time I do it; I wouldn't do it otherwise. But, running when it's 90 degrees and the moisture in the air is actually palpable is dreadful.

I'm not trying to make excuses, even though it sounds like I am. Over the years, I've said lots of things and then changed my mind later. I had hoped that by posting about my plan, and creating a challenge for myself, I'd be motivated to see it through. It was only eight weeks, after all! While it's embarrassing to admit that I didn't even make it halfway through, I like to think that it wasn't totally useless. Maybe it contributed to my not gaining any weight--and that's a good thing.

Last year, I felt like I had finally found the perfect balance--eating like a "normal" person, not worrying about calories, not forcing myself to run when I didn't want to, just doing what felt "right". I don't know whether it was feeling depressed that made me stop doing what felt "right", or if it was the other way around--if I started to run again because my body felt "soft" and I wanted to get back in shape, and then became unhappy.

Right now, my gut instinct is telling me to do what makes me feel happy--regardless of everything--but I'm feeling really torn. So, I'm not going to make any plans right now. Clearly, writing out my goals hasn't been helpful lately. It's also caused me a ton of anxiety. I'd like to just stop and take a breath and figure out what it REALLY is that I want. Do I want to work really hard and get back in shape? Or do I want to just do what makes me feel (genuinely) happy? Or, best of all, can I find some place in between?

I realize how irritating this must be to read... "Seriously, Katie?! Make up your mind for once in your goddamn life!"

I agree. I'm just as frustrated with my lack of decision-making ability about everything lately. So, I'm going to try to just go with the flow right now, and see what happens.

Interestingly, I'm actually not feeling that bad about myself right now, and I'm certainly not beating myself up about it--in fact, I feel pretty good about accepting this (never-ending) struggle. I know that sounds odd, but maybe I'm finally making a turnaround after switching up my meds. Let's hope it continues!

(Cross country season started yesterday, and I'm coaching with Renee again. I'll write more about that later, but it'll be nice to have a new focus!)

August 19, 2018

My Weight Loss Journey: Nine Years Later

Nine years ago, I weighed 253 pounds.

Every year on August 19th, I remember a little less about what my life was like as a morbidly obese person; the memories get more distant and fuzzy as the time goes on. I've started looking at that as a good thing--each year that goes by means it's one year more that I've kept (most) of the weight off.

Nine years ago, I hated the way I looked, I hated the way I felt, and I hated that I couldn't seem to get control over it. I hated always worrying about my weight and how it was affecting my life. Here is a whole post about the things I hated about being obese.

I had no idea that August 19, 2009 was going to be the last day that I would weigh 253 pounds. I thought that I was just attempting for the umpteenth time to lose weight. Sometimes I theorize over what made this time different and why I was successful at losing the weight, but I don't think I'll ever really know for sure.

Whenever people ask me for my best weight loss advice, I always say the same thing: Don't make any changes you're not willing to live with forever. I think that is probably one of the biggest keys in successfully losing the weight and keeping it off. I kept it super simple--eating less food--and at that time, that's all I was willing to do. I didn't want to do a particular "diet" plan, knowing that I had tried them so many times before and failed.

Sometimes, I would lose 30, 40, or even 50 pounds before gaining it all back--because the changes I'd made weren't ones that I was willing to live with forever. This time around, I knew I could handle eating less food as long as I was able to continue to eat only the foods I enjoyed. I wanted to eat my pizza, cookies, pasta, and other foods that were staples for me at that time; I also wanted to lose weight. So, I compromised and found something that I could live with. I would continue to eat what I wanted, but I would eat less of it.

And--surprise, surprise--it worked!

I love this "goal weight photo" my dear friend Stephanie took of me

I think that doing things my OWN way was what kept me going. If I came across a roadblock, then I found a way around it that worked for ME. Yes, I've counted Weight Watchers Points (the "old" system) and I've counted calories--but I didn't do specific programs right to the letter. I found that I was starving when I ate recommended amounts of Points or calories, so I added what I felt was reasonable. Is that "cheating"? Nope! It's just a way of making the plan a long-term plan that I could stick with.

Eventually, my tastebuds did change a bit, and I began to eat some healthier foods--but only because I enjoyed them. I still eat pizza, cookies, and pasta regularly, and as long as I'm not emotionally overeating or binge eating, I can maintain my weight that way. I also love cabbage and Asian pears and cauliflower and (especially) grapes.

Emotional eating has certainly made weight maintenance a challenge--over and over again. Having bipolar disorder means my moods take really dramatic shifts. When I'm hypomanic, I have no problem eating less food and getting in lots of activity. But when I'm depressed, I have no energy and I eat way too much of the foods I find comforting in order to feel better. Hypomanic = weight loss; depression = weight gain. (Unfortunately, hypomania is NOT fun because it comes with a ton of anxiety. Ideally, I would have a very even mood, nothing too far "up" or "down".)

(Right now, I am at a higher weight--154, today. I was mildly depressed for a long while, contributing to the gain. I no longer feel depressed, but I am still working on leveling out my mood (and my diet). This photo below, a recent one, stands out to me because I can tell by the way I'm standing and the look on my face that I feel very self-conscious of the extra weight.)

Jerry's and my 15-year anniversary was a few days ago, on the 16th. It's kind of funny--we had been planning on "starting our diet" (for the millionth time) on August 16th of 2009, because we thought our anniversary sounded like a good time to make a fresh start.

So, on August 15th, we went out for our "last meal"--basically just eating waaaay too much at Red Lobster. I still remember what I consumed: a huge margarita (probably two, actually); three cheese biscuits; a Caesar salad; the "create your own shrimp trio"--coconut shrimp, shrimp scampi, and shrimp alfredo; a baked potato with butter and sour cream; and cheesecake for dessert.

The next morning, we started the day with good intentions. And by dinnertime, we'd already given up on the diet plan we'd chosen (I think it was the "6 Week Body Makeover"--anyone remember that?). I spent the next couple of days feeling like a failure because, yet again, I couldn't make myself do it. My sister coincidentally called me on the evening of the 18th (she rarely called me, so I was curious), and asked me if I would do Weight Watchers with her.

To be honest, I didn't want to. I was feeling sorry for myself and I just felt defeated. However, my sister is kind of intimidating. She's very extroverted, talkative, outgoing--basically, everything that I am not. I was too nervous to say no! (Looking back, I realize it was ridiculous to feel intimidated; but I only started to stand up for what *I* really want last year--regardless of how it would make others feel about me.)

So, I told her I would. And then on the 19th, I saw that I weighed 253 pounds. I really wanted to make it through the day on track because my sister had said she would call each evening to see how it was going. I hated every second of that first day, starting with breakfast. If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know that there is one food that I really can't stand, and it's yogurt. I also don't love salad (sometimes I get in the mood for them, but in general, salad is not a food I choose often).

Jerry was surprised when I ordered salad for dinner!

What did I eat on my first day? Yogurt for breakfast. And salad! It's no wonder why I hated it. After sticking to it for the whole day, and vowing not to disappoint my sister on Day 2, I decided that I was going to have to do things MY way. No yogurt. No salad. Only eat foods that I enjoy. Once I let myself really give way to that "rule", I wasn't so spiteful about putting in the work to losing weight. I still didn't believe I would actually continue beyond a week or two, but at least I wasn't eating yogurt for breakfast ;)

(Side note: I've gotten a lot of criticism over the years for eating junk food. I've had people tell me that it's the junk food that makes me gain weight. But I've eaten my favorite foods--desserts!--throughout my entire weight loss, from 253 pounds to 121 pounds and everything in between. My weight gains and losses aren't due to WHAT I'm eating, but rather HOW MUCH I'm eating.)

It actually took me a long time to feel like the way I was eating was "worth it". I felt like the scale should have been dropping like crazy, considering I wasn't eating even half of what I used to. After I'd lost 10 pounds, I was really excited for Jerry to take a comparison photo of me (we had taken "before" photos on August 15, 2009). I felt so much lighter and thinner, and I couldn't wait to see the progress in photos.

You literally couldn't see an ounce of difference in the photos! I was very upset and I told Jerry that I wanted to quit. He'd asked me if I felt that my change in diet was worth the 10-pound weight loss (he was trying to be encouraging). I said that measuring out my portions wasn't worth it because you couldn't see any difference, so what was the point?

I don't remember what he said to me that day, but it must have been good, because I didn't quit. I felt like the change in my body was very drastic, but nobody even commented that I looked like I'd lost weight until I was down 40 pounds. It was discouraging! But by that point, I had the determination it took to see it through, even though I wasn't motivated all the time.

After that, the physical changes started happening much more frequently. I was so excited each time my jeans went down a size! I started cutting into squares each pair of jeans that became too big on me (save for one pair that I still have) and sewing them together in a quilt.

As I continued my weight loss, I adjusted things here and there to make the lifestyle work FOR me and not against me. I learned that I feel best when I eat mostly carbs and fat. I learned that caffeine feeds my anxiety. I learned that I much prefer small portions of full-fat products instead of larger quantities of the low calorie or low fat versions. And I learned that Weight Watchers ice cream tasted like cardboard.

Maintenance is something that I still haven't figured out. From what I've learned about my body, my weight tends to swing by a huge amount--up to 30 pounds--depending on my moods. I used to think that was totally unacceptable because everything I'd read said you should keep your weight within a five pound range. After nine years (well, eight years since I reached my goal), I've realized that a five-pound range probably isn't a realistic goal for me. While I'm never thrilled to have gained weight, I've kept off about 100 pounds for 8 years! That's a pretty big deal.

A few days ago, on Jerry's and my anniversary, he asked me what my favorite thing about our 15 years of marriage was. I took some time to think about it, because how does one process 15 years of memories?! Finally, I said it was getting healthy together. When we lost the weight (Jerry lost 85 pounds!), we both FELT so much better. Our lives didn't revolve around food. We were more active. We set a much better example for our kids.

Like I said, my memories of being morbidly obese have been getting fuzzier as time goes on, but when I think about what that felt like, it just gives me a bad feeling. I was always out of breath and I never wanted to go anywhere (for fear of seeing someone I knew). I hated buying clothes. Here is a post I wrote about the things I hated while I was obese.

I think the biggest drawback to having lost 125 pounds and keeping most of it off for so long is the fact that I will always be fearful of gaining it back. Each time my weight goes up significantly, I wonder if it will be "the time" that I gain it all back. I wish that I didn't think about my weight. However, if I ignore it, it gets out of control. Someday, it'd be nice to find a nice medium--a weight that I am comfortable with AND where I don't worry about gaining all of the weight back.

When Jerry asked me in 2009, "Is it worth it?" I said no. Nine years later, after being given SO many opportunities and life-changing events due to my weight loss; setting a good example for my kids; living an active life; feeling good about myself (the majority of the time); and, knowing I can really do anything that I am determined to do, I can say yes--it was worth it.

August 16, 2018

15 Years of Marriage in a Nutshell

I cannot believe Jerry and I have been married for 15 years already (and together for 19)! I feel like we look WAY younger than we are (but we didn't get carded at all today when buying drinks, so maybe we actually do look old).

We didn't really do anything special for our anniversary (old-school dinner and a movie), but I did spend some time this morning thinking about my favorite memories over the last 15 years. We were married on August 16, 2003 (the weekend of "the blackout" that wiped out the power of most of the east coast and into the midwest).

So, here are my favorite memories and a photo to represent each one for the last 15 years. Jerry is amazing (I really can't even describe just how amazing he is) and I don't know how to express it. We've certainly had our ups and downs over the years, but I could not be any luckier to have met him when I did.

2003 - Yeah, yeah, we got married in August. But my favorite memory from 2003 was actually moving in together--we bought our own house and it was super exciting for us to do something new together. We'd been together for over four years at that point, but we never actually moved in together until the wedding.

Our first house

2004 - Well, if I don't say that we had a baby, then what kind of mother am I? ;) The baby was due in July, so we prepped the best we could by way of advice of other parents (thank GOD that Pinterest wasn't a "thing" back then). Jerry and I were TERRIFIED of being new parents and so scared that we would "break the baby".  Eventually, Jerry was always playing the song "Junior Senior" and dancing around with Noah like he was a rag doll. Looking at the video now, it's probably sketchy as to whether it was safe or not. But Noah turned out a'ight!

Just after Noah was born

2005 - I was pregnant with Eli in 2005, and Jerry came with me to an ultrasound when I wasn't very far along in the pregnancy (I'd had some spotting and cramping, and the doctor wanted to make sure everything was okay). When the image showed up on the screen, all you could see was a tiny sac that looked like a grape--the baby wasn't even big enough to be seen. But Jerry looked at the screen and thought the grape-like sac was the baby's EYE. He said (really excitedly): "Oh look! There's it's eye! It's blinking!!" The doctor turned his head away to hide his smile while I explained to Jerry that he would have to wait a little longer before seeing the baby's eye, hahaha.

A positive pregnancy test

2006 - Just seven days into the new year, we welcomed Eli to our family. We were pro's at parenting by this time, so we let Eli pretty much raise himself and we trusted he'd turn out good. We did all right! He's a great kid.

Jerry and I with the kids on the day Eli was born

2007 - The kids used to get SO EXCITED to watch for Jerry to get home from work. They would watch out the window for his truck, and then wait for him to come inside so they could jump all over him. There was one day in the winter of 2007 where Jerry came home and threw a snowball at the window. The kids burst out laughing, and he threw a few more. We have a video of it, and Noah's voice was adorable as he turned around to tell me, "Daddy is--he's throwing some snowballs!" Even now, we say that phrase a lot when it's snowing.

Waiting for Jerry to get home from work

2008 - We went to Double JJ's Ranch with the kids, and my mom came along so she could watch the kids and let us have some time to ourselves. We didn't do anything special (just going down the water slides a thousand times each!) but we had a great trip.

Going down a water slide

2009 - This is a small memory, but very distinct. I took the kids to a splash pad (it had a few inches of water with a big fountain in the center) and was watching them play. Jerry got off work and surprised us by showing up. In true Jerry-style, he ran up to the kids and threw himself down into doing the "worm" in the water, totally soaking his clothes. The kids thought it was hilarious, and I loved watching them laugh. He is the very definition of a fun dad.

Jerry lying in the fountain

2010 - The year I broke my face. After putting the kids to bed one evening, I fainted and fell flat on my face, breaking my jaw completely through in five places. It was horrifying. I spent six days in the hospital, and had two reconstructive surgeries. This is actually a favorite memory of mine because Jerry was SO caring (despite everyone at the hospital thinking that he punched me in the face and broke my jaw!).

He stayed home from work for a couple of weeks (thanks to my family, who made that financially possible) and took care of everything that I needed--giving me my meds on schedule, blending up smoothies (my jaw was wired shut), driving me to appointments, and just generally making me as comfortable as he could. Jerry is known for being a jokester, which I LOVE, but he can get serious when he needs to (although, he DID make me laugh really hard which was nearly impossible with my jaw wired shut!).

My broken jaw

2011 - In April, we went on a vacation with my family to Tennessee. We road tripped it there, and when we were out in the middle of nowhere, I saw a really old school bus--rusted, windows busted out, looking like it'd been there for decades. I made a comment to Jerry that it looks like it's from a horror movie, and I went on to describe a scene that I pictured. Later, when we were passing by the bus, Eli (in the back seat) told Noah that there were skeletons on the bus from kids that died there and that he could see them if he looked really hard. Hahaha! Kids are always listening.

Broken down school bus

2012 - One summer day, Jerry and I decided to go to the Metropark and recreate some photos we'd taken in 2009. We both looked so different, and it was fun to make the same poses in the same spots. We also pretended that we were taking cheesy senior photos, and we had a blast with the poses we came up with!

Kissing at the park

2013 - Just after the new year, Jerry and I were on a plane to Miami to meet up with 11 strangers I met on the internet. You all know the story (if you haven't seen the documentary, then watch it! It's on Netflix now. I was SO young in the interview... sigh). I ran from Miami to Key West on a Relay Team, while Jerry drove down with the "Wolfpack" spouses. We spent a few days in Key West, and we had a BLAST on Duval Street each night. We felt like a couple of young 21-year olds!

From Fat to Finish Line

2014 - One Saturday morning, I decided that I wanted to drive up to Cadillac, Michigan (because bipolar) for a 10K race they were having on Sunday. Jerry thought it'd be fun, too (he's used to my impulsivity). So, several hours later, we made the drive up to Cadillac--playing music and singing along in the car. The race was such a blast--unlike ANY other race I've done. And best of all, Jerry and I each won first place in our age group! (Granted, we also came in LAST place in our age groups, because the race was so small that we were the only ones in our group.)

Jerry and I with our first place medals

2015 - I was sidelined from running due to a stress fracture, but Jerry and I were signed up for the Detroit Free Press International Half-Marathon. So, we decided to go, and just have fun with it--walk most of it, high-five spectators, eat the bacon and drink the shots of bourbon one of the spectators was handing out, and just enjoy the scenery. We had SO much fun! We walked over the Ambassador Bridge, high-fived border patrol, walked/ran along the river on the Canadian side, went through the tunnel back to the U.S. (where we got a selfie of one of us standing on the U.S. side of the border and one of us on the Canadian side). That was one of the funnest races I've ever done.

2016 - This is another memory that sounds terrible, but something good came of it. Our cat, Chandler, who we adopted from the shelter just after we got married and moved in together, had to be euthanized in a moment's notice. I thought he just needed an antibiotic, and I had a friend visiting from out of town. Jerry took Chandler to the vet and I went for a walk at the park with my friend. A mile into my walk, Jerry called me, and I could tell he was crying (which was a rarity).

When he told me that we had to make a decision right NOW, I was overwhelmed. But he told me what the vet said, and there wasn't even time for me to get there. So, Jerry stayed with Chandler while he was put down, and I'd never heard him talk with so much compassion as he did when he told me about Chandler. I was so grateful that he was able to be there in that moment and to be strong when I really needed him. It was a huge heartbreak for both of us.

Jerry with Chandler

2017 - Jerry and I aren't exactly what you would call gardeners. Our landscaping (if you can call it that) consists of things I don't know whether are weeds or actual plants. Anyway, our hostas were getting way too big, and I asked my neighbor to show me how to split them (she's amazing at gardening). She showed us, and it looked super easy. But when we tried to do it, we screwed it all up SO BADLY that we were both crying with laughter. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was the hardest I've ever laughed in my life. We were doubled over, wheezing and gasping, with tears running down our faces, unable to say more than one or two words at a time. (Kind of like when we tried to do yoga when we were fat!)

Digging up hostas

2018 - So far, my favorite memory of this year is probably going to Ben & Jerry's in Vermont specifically to order a Vermonster--an ice cream sundae with 20 scoops of ice cream, bananas cookies, brownies, hot fudge, hot caramel, nuts, whipped cream, M&M's, and sprinkles. We'd seen in years ago on the Food Network, and Eli (who has a sweet tooth as big as mine) asked if we could get the Vermonster one day. Well, "one day" finally happened this past April! We ate the whole thing, minus the bananas ;)

Eating the Vermonster at Ben and Jerry's

August 14, 2018

PTSD: What It's Like to Live With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (a guest post)

PTSD word cloud with runner

I write about mental health/illness pretty frequently, because it's been so prominent in my life. However, the only issues I deal with firsthand are bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and binge eating disorder. There are lots of other disorders out there, and so many people are dealing with them every day. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is one of them. It is usually attributed to war veterans (for a very valid reason), but PTSD can affect a wide diversity of people.

This guest post is by Kerry, who shares her story regarding PTSD. I was grateful to read it, because it's not something that is easy to ask questions about. I fear that asking questions could be triggering, so I honestly don't know much about PTSD. This post was very eye-opening for me, and hopefully it will be for others, too!

The only thing I remember from the first time I had a panic attack was the knowledge that at some point in the future I was going to die. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) was going to die. My parents, my brother, my friends, my dogs, my horse. All of them were going to die and there’s nothing I can do about it. Even worse, there was nothing I could do to make myself stop thinking about it.

Is it rational to be afraid of dying? Of course it is. Were those thoughts rational? Definitely not. And they were not stopping.

The panic attacks kept coming, usually at least once a day but sometimes more than that. I remember sobbing uncontrollably and trying to explain to my boyfriend why I was crying, and all he could do was hold me and let me cry. I broke down one night in the car on my way to the barn thinking about how my horse was doing to die. Nothing I did was making the thoughts stop.

After a few months my mom suggested that I go talk to our family doctor about the panic attacks. She asked me a bunch of questions about what was happening in my life, including what I was doing for work and how things were going in my family. Nothing immediately stuck out until she asked me whether anything unusual had been happening earlier in the year, and then it hit me:

The Robert Pickton serial murder trial.

I have always loved true crime and been fascinated by serial killers. One of my Grade 12 courses was History, and at the beginning of every class we talked about current events; some of my contributions included stories about the Green River Killer and the Beltway Sniper. I also wanted to be a newspaper reporter from about the age of nine. I enjoyed shows such as CSI and recreations of the crimes of Ted Bundy and other serial murderers.

It will come as no surprise that I ended up in journalism school with a minor in criminology. I even met my husband in a criminology class. At the end of my third year in journalism school, I decided to take advantage of the Honours program at my university, which entailed a research project and final thesis. I decided to write my thesis on how the media portrays serial killers. And that’s when Mr. Pickton entered my world.

Robert Pickton was charged with murdering 26 women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and suspected of killing many more. His victims were drug-addicted and mostly supported themselves through sex work. His first trial, for the murders of six women, started in January 2007. When my friend, who was covering the trial for a local newspaper, suggested I come with him on the first week, I jumped at the chance.

From that day on, I attended the trial on a near-daily basis, missing days only when I was sick or had other commitments. I changed the topic of my thesis to focus solely on how the media portrayed Pickton, from the time he was arrested in 2002 until May 2007 when I had to submit my thesis. My parents banned me from talking about murder at the dinner table, and I spent hundreds of hours staring at the back of Pickton’s head while lawyers talked about the details of the murders and witnesses talked about their interactions with Pickton or his victims.

By midway through the trial I could identify what day of the week the court drawings were from by the shirt that Pickton was wearing. I still remember which shirt was Monday’s shirt, which shirt was Tuesday’s shirt, etc.

I felt very little at the time except for during one important moment. About a month into the trial, a police officer took the stand to testify about the human remains found on Pickton’s property. I’ll spare the details for the squeamish, but they were quite horrifying. Other news media had reported the night before who was expected to take the stand that day and thus the visitor’s gallery was full with people wanting to hear the gory details. The “spectators” sat in rapt silence as the police officer testified about what he found, and chatted in the lounge area during the breaks about what they had heard.

I went home on the bus that night and I remember feeling tears drip down my face, completely out of my own control. These women were real people with real friends and real family. They weren’t actors who washed off the blood and went home at the end of the day. And yet, more than a dozen people showed up at the courthouse to hear the details of their deaths. I felt empty and wrecked; to some of those people death was entertainment.

Pickton was found guilty on December 9, 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years, the maximum sentence he could have received.

26 victims of convicted killer Robert Pickton

I moved on with my life, dating my now-husband and working as a community newspaper reporter. Everything seemed normal until September 2008 when the first panic attack hit.

That conversation with my doctor finally clued me in to what was happening: I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it was manifesting itself in the unrelenting thoughts about my own death and that of those I care about. Over the next few months I learned coping strategies to work through the panic and anxiety, and lessen the duration of the thoughts. Keeping busy with work and my personal life helped; I got engaged, bought our first apartment, and continued working as a reporter.

I quickly learned that I could never watch anything bloody or violent if it was fictional. I have never watched extremely violent shows or movies such as Game of Thrones, Logan or Deadpool; my TV and movie-watching habits now revolve around reality TV such as The Amazing Race, Top Chef and Rupaul’s Drag Race, or sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family. I watched The Assassination of Gianni Versace but skipped the two episodes dealing with the murders of Jeff Trail, David Madsen and Lee Miglin.

I can and do watch true crime documentaries such as The Staircase and Making A Murderer. I still read true crime books and newspaper articles; my husband laughs at me because my bookcases are literally Chick Lit Chick Lit Horrible Murder Chick Lit Horrible Murder Chick Lit Chick Lit Horrible Murder Chick Lit. Fictional depictions of death are the problem; real life is not.

I do not like guns. I am terrified beyond measure by guns, in any context. Happily I live in Canada where gun culture is not as prevalent (I mean no offense to American readers so I hope none is taken). My hands start shaking at the thought; when my husband’s cousin started dating a guy who hunts I couldn’t enter the room where his guns were kept. I. Don’t. Do. Guns. Ever.

For years the PTSD was kept at bay, though occasionally my thoughts would do a quick circle through death and then I would fight it and forcefully turn my thoughts to something else.

But it came back in December 2017. I experienced some significant stress at work (good stress, but stress) and in my extended family life (not good stress). And on December 23 as I got ready for bed, my brain flipped, my body got warm and my hands started to shake. It was back.

Over the next few weeks it would happen several times a day, mostly at night. I was angry, and I did the only thing I knew how to do to make it stop: I ran. I have been running since 2012, and it never fails to calm my mind and let me work through things. It can be frustrating and painful, but it always helps.

So I ran. I ran around the neighbourhood, I ran races, I ran to the end of the block. I just ran. And it helped. My mind settles down while on the run; I can relax and listen to podcasts and music instead of worrying and wondering when the next panic attack will come.

This time the symptoms of PTSD are slightly different; I used to cry uncontrollably but that doesn’t happen now. My body just gets warm and my hands shake (along with the constant cycle of thinking about death). I feel negative emotions very, very strongly. When I’m angry I am very, very angry, and if others are crying, I cry too. I have always cried easily (except apparently when the panic is actually happening) but it’s even more evident now.

It’s still triggered by violence and most especially by depictions of serial killers. I love the show Lucifer but haven’t watched it in months because the last time I watched it they were dealing with a serial killer case. I will watch it again because I love the show, but not right now. It’s usually not a hugely violent show and I know that once that serial killer storyline plays out, I will be fine for the rest of the series. I triggered my way through the storyline on Castle about the 3XK killer; I was relieved when that series of episodes ended. I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with depictions of serial killers in entertainment. Death isn’t entertaining.

But it’s okay. I have accepted that I will likely struggle with this for a very long time, if not forever. It doesn’t affect me on a daily basis anymore. I’ve learned how to breathe and how to re-focus my mind on something else, even if that something is my grocery list or an upcoming event at work (I’m not a reporter anymore; the print media business has gone downhill over the past few years).

My husband often pre-screens TV shows or movies for me and warns me if something is coming that I can’t watch; I’ll either go into the other room for a minute or cover my eyes until he says it’s fine. I feel like a toddler sometimes but it’s not worth what will probably come later.

I live with it because I have to. I’m not ashamed of it; it’s not my fault. I still talk about murder at the dinner table because my husband enjoys that stuff too. He’s probably the only person who doesn’t look at me like I’m insane when I’m talking about Charles Manson or Andrew Cunanan. I still talk about Pickton and the trial; it was a huge part of my life and affected me deeply in ways beyond the PTSD.

People talk about PTSD in war veterans; they deserve to be honoured for what they went through. But PTSD in journalists and “regular people” happens too. It doesn’t always manifest itself immediately, or in incredible violence. It can be quiet and cold, and that needs to be acknowledged too.

Since leaving journalism, Kerry is now a project coordinator for a construction association in British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and dogs. Other than running and reading, she loves wine, tea, trying new restaurants, and traveling.

August 14, 2018

The Simple Mind Trick That Helped Me Lose Weight for 52 Weeks in a Row

Jerry and I had an interesting conversation today, and I thought it might be fun to write about on the blog.

My weight loss is old news. Very, very old news that I'm sure nobody wants to hear about anymore. So much has changed since I first hit the scale and saw that I'd lost 125 pounds!

Katie's 125 pounds down weight loss comparison
A comparison when I reached the 125-pounds down mark. The was shortly after breaking
my jaw, which is why you can see my scar and maybe even the wires on my teeth.

However, in thinking about this recent weight gain, Jerry asked me some questions about when I lost the weight in the first place, and there are a couple of details that I never really went in-depth about. They were crucial to my weight loss, though, so I really ought to write more about them.

Anyway. To quickly recap, in a nutshell, how I lost the weight in 2009-2010:

I reduced the amount of food I was eating (counting calories/points).
I ate whatever I wanted to eat, just in smaller portions.
I started exercising after I'd lost 60 pounds--walking first, then running.
I ate some sort of treat every day--usually dessert.
I didn't give up any foods or food groups; nor did I count macros.

Everything I've ever written about my weight loss could probably be summed up in those five sentences.

There was another piece of the puzzle that was a big factor, and I don't know that I've ever really written about it. It's nothing ground-breaking; just something that kept me going when I really wanted to quit.

I decided that I didn't want to play the "what if" game anymore.

For years and years, I was always saying to myself, "What if I'd just done it the right way a couple of years ago? I'd have been at my goal weight already." "What if I never started binge eating?" "What if I had quit buying and eating pints of ice cream the first time I decided I shouldn't?" "What if I had learned, as a child, how to eat intuitively?" "What if I didn't use food to curb my anxiety?"

(Bear with me, this will make sense in a minute. I hope.)

For 52 weeks straight, I lost weight. I didn't gain weight and I didn't maintain my weight. I lost it! For an entire year! That's pretty impressive. And I can tell you exactly why it happened...

No matter what the scale read each week, I wanted to be able to know that I did everything in my power to make the right choices and follow my plan--I didn't go over my calories/points at ALL. Because, if I had, I would have gotten on the scale and thought, "What if I didn't eat that extra bowl of ice cream this week?" or "What if I actually measured out my portions more accurately?" etc.

I wanted to be able to KNOW that I did EVERYTHING that I had control of--that there was nothing I could have done differently.

I fully trusted my plan (counting calories/points) and I knew that eventually, it would get me to my goal weight if I just followed it long enough. (I didn't expect that I would lose weight every week--that was just a cool bonus.)

By putting complete trust in the process (lower calorie intake), I was 100% confident that I would lose the weight. I knew that if I started overeating or binge eating, I would get on the scale and think, "What if I hadn't binged?"

Considering my weight loss is old news, and I've gotten older and (I like to think) wiser, I don't feel quite so rigid (and maybe that's why my weight is up right now). But my belief is still the same--if I just follow my plan, doing all the "right" things that I have control over, eventually I will get back to my goal weight. And I won't be able to say, "If I had just _____, I would be there already."

In other words, if I do what I am supposed to do, it's totally out of my hands. What happens on the scale doesn't matter--I would feel good knowing that I did everything "right"--so I wouldn't have anything to question. There wouldn't be anything that I "should have" or "could have" done to change the outcome.

There were some weeks that I lost 4 pounds, and other weeks were I lost just 0.5 pounds. My average weight loss was approximately 1.8 pounds per week (125 pounds lost in about 16 months). That's not a ridiculous amount in either direction.

If I had quit halfway through, months (or even weeks) later, I would have asked myself, "What if I just hadn't quit? I'd be down X amount of pounds right now." And that's an easy way to beat myself up. I was really tired of doing that, playing that "what if" game in my head. So, I stopped.

Another benefit to this way of thinking about it was that when I did finally have gains on the scale, I knew exactly why it happened. I could say, "Well, I didn't follow my calorie plan, and I ate too much. That is why the scale is up." I couldn't be upset about the gain, because I would know that I didn't follow my plan to the best of my ability.

Now, I want to make it very clear that I am not saying that everyone will lose weight every single week for a year if they adopt this mentality!

I was willing to accept ANY weight gain on the scale as long as I knew I was giving my plan my 100% best effort. I knew that eventually, the weight would come off if I followed my plan.

There are also other reasons for the scale to fluctuate each week--sodium intake, a change in exercise, menstrual cycles, etc. There are always some outside factors that affect our weight, so we basically have to look at the overall trend--if, over a long period of time, we are losing weight, then we are doing what we need to!

I never understood why women at Weight Watchers would eat very lightly the day before their weekly weigh-ins, or why they took of their shoes or jewelry, or even strip down to some very skimpy items (I've seen it all!). Those things have nothing to do with our body composition.

I could drink a gallon of water and get on the scale weighing eight pounds more than I did a moment before drinking the water... but that doesn't mean that I've gained eight pounds in my body composition. It's literally just water sitting in my stomach that I will pee out in the next few hours.

So, when I did my weekly weigh-ins, I stopped worrying about what I was eating the day before. I stopped trying to avoid sodium, I stopped eating only lightly, I stopped taking off my shoes at Weight Watchers. I knew that what I was doing was the right way (for me) to lose weight, and that I was following the program. If I was following the program, I would eventually get to my goal, shoes or no shoes.

I simply followed my plan to the best of my ability and I trusted the process. That's it!

Where does this leave me now? The reason Jerry brought this whole thing up was because lately, I've been feeling desperate to get my eating back on track. I even did something that I am super against--I started thinking of fad diets that I could hop on board for a little bit to get back to goal quickly.

But that is a cycle that I was in ever since I realized I was overweight at age nine or so until I was 27. I was always trying fad diets and then quitting. I never got anywhere!

This is what caused me to create my advice of "Don't do anything that you're not willing to do for the rest of your life." If you don't want to be on this fad diet forever, then my advice is not to do it now. If we pick plans (or create our own!) that we can stick with (and not just CAN stick with, but are WILLING TO stick with), then we can trust the process, no matter how long it takes, that we will get there.

I had a really great day with the calorie counting today, and I'm going to bed soon (I'm trying to make a bed time of 11:00 now, with school starting soon). I can wake up tomorrow knowing that I did what I could today to inch my way toward my goal. Whatever the scale says, I know that I wouldn't have done anything differently.

I am still struggling big time with getting back to my "happy place". Ideally, I would wake up early and go for a run first thing in the morning, then come home and have breakfast. I would read a chapter of the Bible as part of my 40 Goals by 40 Years Old List, and read another book for 30 minutes. I would work on my blog, do "chores" around the house, run errands, and all the other stuff that needs to get done. I would cook a good dinner for the family, and then clean up the house a bit before relaxing with a book (or a good TV show) and my dessert of some sort. Then I'd be in bed at a decent hour.

This is what I used to do! And I felt really good about myself when I felt like everything was "right". Lately, since gaining the weight, struggling with exercise, being unproductive, and just feeling like I'm falling more off track on the daily, my anxiety has gotten out of control. And the higher my anxiety gets, the further behind I feel until I get to a place that feels like I'm "too far gone".

I've certainly been feeling like I'm too far gone lately, and that is a totally hopeless feeling. So, I really need to get it together. I know I sound like a broken record, because I'm saying this constantly. I feel like I did 100 pounds ago--super overwhelmed with all of the things I want to get back on track.

I've been doing a LOT of thinking this week about the things I'd like to change and how I can (slowly) go about doing that. Instead of jumping into all of these ideas that I have, I just want to stay grounded and do what has always worked for me in the past: count calories, and trust the process. Even though it's going to suck getting back at it after so much time, I know without a doubt that I will feel a hundred times better about myself after even just a week of it.

This was after my Wednesday run--the humidity was INSANE. I felt amazing afterward!

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with my psychiatrist at 9:00 in the morning (it's a 45 minute drive), so I'll need to get up early (thankfully, I don't have a run on the schedule!). But I think getting up early will be good for me.

It's a start!

(So much for getting to bed by 11:00--it's now 12:15. Blogging takes so much longer than one would think! I'm not going to read through this for errors, so I apologize for spelling/grammar issues.)

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