Friday, March 23, 2007

Out with the Unwanted, In with the Peace!

I discovered a philosophy/way of life, whatever you want to call it, VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY, several-several years ago. It was at a time when I had a newborn, 2 small children and a small house. Mark was working at a job that didn't pay him more often than not(they still owe him over $40K). I found VS and thought it sounded like a wonderful way of life, so we started downsizing, scaling back, looking at our spending/acquiring habits and so forth. We moved back home, in with my parents for a while, and are now renting their former home from them. The newborn is now approaching 7 years of age and life has flown by like a whirlwind. No time for VS!!! That seems to be my biggest problem. We aquire things not necessarily by purchasing them. I'd say 30% or more are things given to us or found items. Still, they are coming into our home at an alarming rate and not leaving nearly as frequently. Other areas of our lives have become more simple, our eating habits are much better, no canned or boxed foods(ok, VERY occasionally we get boxed mac and cheese- like 2-3x a year). We don't do every kids activity there is, we choose free or very low cost activities, bring our lunches, use healthy cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar, and so forth.

Sooooo, today will mark the first day in my latest attempt to control our clutter situation, just one facet of the many VS has. I plan to go through every drawer, every shelf, every nook and cranny and rid us of all the excess, unused, unloved "stuff" we have. Just because it is out of the way doesn't mean it is ok to keep it. Someone else might benefit from the "lite brite" sitting in my bedroom floor or the too-small dress shoes in the girls' closet or any other wonderful item that is residing in my home, useless to me, a treasure to someone else.

Wish me LUCK!!!! I'm gonna need it!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

What to Write? or Diet is Die with a "t"....

I've hit a block. I don't know what to write!! Mostly this comes from not having time to sit at my computer *alone*. There is always a person or two in the room with me, sometimes wanting something, always distracting. Like now, all five of us are in the living room. Ryan is practicing his guitar, Amy is coughing and watching a show about wildebeasts, Sarah is drawing and asking for pens, and Mark is on his computer complaining about the sun hitting his screen. So, I get no clarity, no stillness. That usually comes late at night when I'm crocheting or reading in bed just before sleep, never when I want to get something posted.

There is one thing I want to get down in writing though. I am starting a new health regimen. My blood pressure went up when I had strep throat and hasn't come back down much, last night it was 141/99, this is ON meds! This scares me. My mom's oldest sister died from Congestive Heart Failure(CHF), and her next oldest sister appears to have it also.

Soooo, I'm starting a DIET!!!

(new day, kids are playing outside with the dogs, I can write!)
I love food of all kinds and love to eat! Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. My weight was normal when I was growing up, I wasn't heavy but my body style(broad shoulders, big boobs, narrow hips, and tiny legs) always made me look bigger than I really was. When I graduated high school I weighed 115 and was 5ft2in tall, not too bad. Because of my shape, however, I thought I was horribly disfigured. My tummy was NOT flat, my shoulders were huge, I was just not shapely. When I got married at age 22, I was maybe 125, still not bad. I enjoyed cooking for my husband and having no clues about counting calories or fat grams. I gained and gained until I reached 150 when I got pregnant with Ryan. My weight has continued to rise. At one point, when I was on antidepressants for post partum anxiety problems, I was above 200 pounds!! Since then I've been as low as 144(after my 3rd child was born-I lose weight during pregnancy, gain it all back while breastfeeding), and am now back past 170.

During my last pregnancy I had gall bladder issues so we pretty much became semi-vegetarians and gave up red meat(among other things) in 1999. We consume very little processed foods(as in things like Hamburger Helper, other boxed foods/food mixes, snack goods-aside from pretzels and chips now and then). I have read many books and articles about eating a healthy diet and/or exercise/yoga/tai chi/meditation, etc. There are lots of articles giving advice to eat more this(walnuts for example), eat more that(salmon), add this(flaxseed) to your diet, add that(fruits) to your diet; taking this to heart, I ate LOTS of the good stuff. Coupled with a lack of exercise due to an old foot injury and bursitis in my right hip and general "aging", this has done really bad things to my body(see above about the bp).

I'm starting a 1500 calorie per day diet tomorrow. Counting calories doesn't sound like fun, many health experts just say to "modify your diet" but since I have such a distorted perception of what a portion is, I'm going to try it. Today I made a list of the many foods I enjoy(e.g. Total cereal, cantalope, spaghetti sauce, rice, steel cut oats...) and many foods I want to start eating more of(as in more often, not more quanities). Mark printed it out for me and I'll refer to it when I make our meals. I intend to use my handy dandy very nice stainless steel measuring cups that I got for Christmas, and I'm considering buying a kitchen scale. I believe portion control, more veggies, low intensity exercise and yoga are the keys to my success. Wish me luck!!

Oh yeah, my "GOAL" is to lose about 50 pounds by the end of 2007. It is not a race but a journey. Tomorrow I'm headed out!