Carolyn R Parsons
So phase one is almost done. The new template is in place and I LOVE it. I have so many ideas floating around for wonderful and inspiring posts and tools to help us all be healthier in mind, body and spirit.

Stay tuned. It's busy times but I think you're going to love what we're doing here

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I know I have some readers, some regular followers(thank you!) and some drifters that come from my other blog(thank you too) and then there are those who stumble upon this place by accident(thank you as well)>

I'm doing a complete overall of this blog over the next week or so, a different layout, some new features, possibly even a new name but that remains to be seen.

So please be patient, I plan on turning this into a wonderful safe area where we can all discuss the ups and downs of going down in weight.

Thank you for coming here. It means the world to me. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions you can give me as we build this place together.

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A while back I made a committment to never spend another penny in the diet industry(excluding a gym membership). This has made me very creative in finding free services and advice.

The best free service I have found is Sparkpeople. It is a very good way to monitor your habits, your results and to find motivation both from success stories and other actual people on the path with you. I really like it. There is another similar website called Fitday. I personally haven`t used it but I`ve heard good things about that site as well.


There are a couple of other things that have helped me for free. The Couch to 5k is a program of training beginners to run 5k. It`s a wonderful program. You run three times a weeks starting with intervals of walking and running and then building up over the course of 9 weeks until you are able to run 5k. I did it last year and it was wonderful. I loved running and it was amazing at how fast your body grows and strenthens. I am now starting over at week one after a long lazy winter. Next year I`m either joining a gym or picking up a treadmill so I don`t have to start over. So much for not spending money I guess!

When I started the couch to 5k program it was difficult for me to do the intervals properly. You need a stopwatch for the minutes and it was strange to run and look at a stop watch. I was using the one on my iPod and then someone in my couch to 5k support groups suggested I download the podcasts to use. Someone had made podcasts for each week with music and it was another great free tool to help me along the 9 weeks.

Then there is the One hundred pushup challenge. A similar idea. You start with as many as you can do and build every day from there. You follow the program and work up to 100!

There are a lot of free advice, free services and free support. You don`t need to pay a lot of money. You just need to get into a space of feeling ready to do this and you will!

If you know of any FREE fitness services please post them here. I plan on doing links to them here so they can always be accessed easily by anyone who needs them.


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Sometimes you just have to start again. I've taken a couple of steps backwards in the past two days. Well maybe not backwards but I haven't moved forward as I intended. It's been rainy, my daughter who is three, has been very sick and I have a hundred excuses for not being as mindful as I should be and letting go of my good intentions.

Today I recommit. In fact I think that I need to recommit on a daily basis and a moment by moment basis.

I need to buy food today to make the healthy food that I ran out of yesterday. I need to finally start running now that the rain has stopped. I'm charging my iPod as we speak and as soon as I can get out there I'm going.

I'm starting with some meditation to get me back in the field of wellness and well being. I need to let go of the old habits that have slipped back in the past few days while my guard was down and I need to let go of the disappointment in myself that hinders my progress.

I've started to focus on thinking about what a gift my body is. I get to live in this body for a limited number of years and its wellness, its freedom from pain and the level of energy it has ensures that the spirit that is me can do all it needs to do and become all it needs to become.

I'm in gratitude for the opportunity right now, in this moment to recommit to what I've set out to do for myself. To meet the challenges that are ahead and to live a healthful and happy day.

Namaste

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I should be writing about motivation but instead I'm writing about the day of challenges I had yesterday.

My journalling went fine but because I hadn't planned well I ended up eating dinner that I know wasn't particularly healthful. I washed it down with a sugary glass of ice tea.

So I had a bad day food wise. No blame, no excuses, I completely and utterly claim it. I know my period is due and I'm going to go into the connection that there is between our monthly cycles and our diet. There is no doubt, having lived in this body 43 years and menstruting for 30 of them that I get carbohydrate cravings before and during my period. There is a connection.

I'm tempted to just go with it, moderately of course and let my body have what it seems to want, cut back on other things like protein for a week and just see. Then adjust again when it's past.

Today I'm planning better and working harder at eating well. No snacking and more fruit and vegetables.

It's not easy. It's one of those things where you know better and you do wrong. I refuse to fall into the guild trap and I refuse to give up.

I will post about Motivation later. I'm going to need some!

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Today's topic is accountability and the second part of our JAMES program.

Every time I have ever lost weight in the past it has been because I've attended meetings that required some kind of accountability. Why is it that knowing you have to face that scale and the set of eyes adjusting, no matter how non judgemental they may be, is a great motivator to take the right steps to the goal? Somehow it works. Of course it's not the only motivator at those types of meeting, there is support and information and tools to buy but the accountability makes a difference.

In fact time after time I would hear people at those meetings say "I tried to do it myself but I needed the accountability". I have said the words myself!

So there is a need to have accountability and on the surface it would seem that we require someone else to be the person we are accountable to but it isn't entirely true. Because we aren't facing one set of eyes we are facing two sets and one of them is our own. Maybe it's the forced jar into reality that really motivates us.

Now, I'm doing something different. I'm not weighing. I haven't shared that little tidbit here before. I am using my JAMES system in a way that for me works best and that doesn't lead to an obsession with the scale. I'm using my clothing size as my guide and they are a bit looser. I'm using my day by day effort as a guide to my success rather than the number on the scale and I'm using my posts here as my accountability, you will keep me accountable but better yet, I am holding myself accountable. I am working towards better health and I can feel this happening without every looking at the number on the scale.

For those of you who have never tried to lose weight without that obsession with that number it is rather freeing! It also works the same way but it requires a shift in your thinking that says you are a success based upon the actions you take rather than the results.

Of course I suggest anybody following along with me on this blog use whatever means they need to to shed the weight and be successful. Be accountable where ever you need to be, read results by whatever measure you choose and just follow your own path along to the goal we all share, a lighter, happier, healthier body.

Namaste

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Today was a crazy one. An appointment in another city, leaving the house before 9am to drop one kid off at school, off to Tim Hortons to get coffee and timbits(yeah, way to start the day for the kid but she hasn't eaten in three days and I was willing to give it a shot. Then off to pick up another, go to appointment, then lunch, fast food, MacD. for the kids(little one ate a nugget) and BK for me. I got the veggie combo, gave older daughter the pop and ate the veggie burger bringing the salad home for me.

Do you know how good it feels to think you've eaten nearly your entire caloric allowance for the day and then to realise you've entered your veggie burger twice?!? So I am under by 233 calories today.


Journalling: Check
Accountability: Check
Motivation: Checked out a facebook page for a woman who has lost weight and is now a swimsuit model and fitness model...I am hoping to interview her some day for my blog.
I found her quite by accident.
Exercise: No deliberate exercise but carrying a 35 plus three year old around all day must count for something plus I've pulled something in my inner thigh doing that and I think I should rest a bit.
Service: Again, caring for a sick child hopefully I'm helping a young man who is in University earn some extra money for himself.

So todays Menu was:

Breakfast: Shredded wheat and milk(ate about half before it went soggy
Coffee and a coconut timbit

Lunch: BK veggie burger and eggplant manicotti

Dinner: Honey Baked Lentils and Burger King Salad

Snacks: pc hot chocolate and a piece of cheddar chees

I also sampled the macaroni and cheese I made for the kids dinner before I tucked it away in the fridge!
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So today's topic is JOURNALLING. I've done some reading and it seems that it's unanimous that journalling is one of those things that is considered by people who have lost weight and kept it off, to be the main contributor to their success. Some people have found it helpful to keep track of their calories, their food intake, their exercise output and those who are emotional, stress, bored eaters also wrote out their feelings, reasons and alternatives to their compulsive overeating. Why does it work? Why is is so important? The number one reason is because it forces you to be honest with yourself and forces you to face reality. You actually ARE overeating and you actually ARE defeating yourself and allowing you to lie to the most important person in your life, you!

I journal using Spark People. I discovered this website a few years ago and it is a vast wealth of information and tools to help you along in the journey to not only losing weight but also with other forms of self-improvement and personal growth. You can sign up and just focus on well-being and personal growth, you can focus on weight loss or you can combine all their tools. I use the parts I need and leave the rest alone. It also has a great community where you can talk to others with similar goals weight wise or similar life situations, or a combination of both. There are teams, there are inspirational stories, there are Spark Pages where you can blog your success and build up a following. There is support in the form of motivational successful spark people who will send you motivational emails and check on you. And the best part, it's absolutely 100% free. A few years ago I made the commitment to never spend another penny in the weight loss industry.

I also journal here by posting what I've posted at Spark People but that's more about accountability. I will write more about that tomorrow. Knowing I have made the commitment to post here keeps me out of the ice cream aisle in the grocery store or the cookie jar. It's a great tool if it's something you need. I find that this helps me here more than if I had to post my weight loss.

Of course, getting back to journalling, a note pad and paper is as good as anything and all you really need and journaling can be a very simple thing.

So, if it's so simple and very important to success why is it that quite often it's something we rebel against doing? I think for me that's because it makes me feel abnormal somehow, I want to be a normal eater at a normal body weight and having to write everything down doesn't fit that description. But If I did eat like I should and didn't have a problem maintaining a healthy body weight I wouldn't be writing this blog or need any tools at all. So I'm fighting my resistance to journalling.

I'm going to journal, I've committed to doing so and be prepared in the next while to read the good, the bad, and the ugly in my journal posts. And some of the delicious too!

Please let me know if you journal and what works for you. Do you follow a plan? Do you use an Internet based journal like Spark People or just a notebook. And if you don't I'd like to hear how that's working?

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So far it's been a good day! I've stayed close to home as my little one is just getting over a stomach virus and I cancelled the playgroup we had planned. I made the Honey Baked Lentils again but this time I had no turnip so I added carrots and some sliced cabbage...I tasted it earlier and yumminy yum yum. I'm trying to figure out the nutritional value for my Journal.

So what I'm going to do is each day post about each of the acronyms starting with Journaling tomorrow. I'm trying to look at this from a different angle and trying to focus on why we don't do what we know we should be doing while at the same time helping those who don't know what to do come up with some tools to help them. So it might seem a bit haphazard to start.

I'd like to approach this not so much from a you should do this and that but from a perspective of why we aren't doing this or that and what is the thing in our mind that prevents us from taking care of our bodies without feeling we have to deprive ourselves to do so.

You might notice in my menu that I haven't given up my treats. I'm having a glass of wine and I'm having dark chocolate, both of which I think have benefical qualities. I'm also trying to get in a place of not judging what I do, that there is not wrong way to do this. If I slip up and take some steps backwards then not only is it ok but perfectly human and exactly right.

If you have any suggestions to help me along I'd love to hear them.

Please comment below with ideas and things that are working for you.

So Todays Menu

Breakfast: Shredded Wheat and 1% milk & coffee
Lunch: 3 servings of left over eggplant manicotti with a slice of bread,no butter and a cup of camomile tea.
Dinner: Honey baked Lentils and a salad
Snacks:Hot chocolate, popcorn, dark chocolate, red wine

Journal: See above
Accountability: posting here
Motivation: Spent some time on another bloggers site
Exercise: Walked dog for 45 minutes
Service: Again, something I keep private, mostly lending an ear to a friend with a problem and caring for my baby who still has a little ickiness going on.

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So I realised the acronym for my plan spells out JAMES which will make it easy to remember

J-journaling
A-accountability
M-motivation
E-exercise
S-service

I hope to do all of these every day. I did them all yesterday

J-recorded on Sparkpeople and here
A-blogged
M-looked at my friend's face book page
E-an hour of yoga
S-I don't talk about this but I did stuff that was nice.

Happy Day.

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I've decided to post my daily menu here both as a deterrant to overeating and also as an excuse to share some fantastic recipes I've come across over the years. I'm vegetarian but not vegan. I think even if you do not want to commit to being a vegetarian adopting some non-animal source meals into your diet can be beneficial to your health.

Breakfast

A bowl of spoon size shredded wheat
sliced banana
1% milk
coffee

Lunch

cup of black bean soup
garden salad with a tbsp of salad dressing
camimomile tea

Dinner

Caesar Salad
Eggplant Manicotti
Steamed Carrots

Snacks

Popcorn
small delicious piece of dark chocolate
2 oz red wine

The day is over...overall not too bad..the chocolate was my reward for doing Yoga which isn't a hardship and is actually a reward on to itself.

Until Tomorrow

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So I've come up with what I think is a reasonable and likely effective plan to shed the excess weight.
I'll list the steps here for the benefit of anyone who wants to give it ago.

Journaling: I'm going to keep track of my daily intake on my Spark People account. One of the things that all people who had lost weight and kept it off more than five years had in common was a journal. A notebook is equally efficient but anyone reading this likely has regular computer access and Spark people is free, easy to use and full of tools and tracking and motivation. I like it.

Accountability: A daily post here, weekly updates regarding success. Monday will be my update day. Daily menus and exercise accomplishements posted here. You are welcome to post yours in my comments.

Exercise: I'm aiming for a weekly total of 210 minutes of activity per week. I'm counting walking, running, yoga..anything and everything. It works out to 30 minutes a day.

Motivation: I'm hoping for some followers of this blog and some success stories as well. I'm going to feature some success stories occasionally. Spark People has a great number of success stories on its website. I'll link to them sometimes as well.

Service: I'm going to try to post daily with an eye to providing information, recipes and ideas that will help others along the path to emotionally healthy attitudes towards food and diet. My goal is that I never spend another cent supporting the diet industry. I just want optimum health and to be free of the feeling of deprivation so many diets provide.

That's the plan. You are welcome to join me along the way.

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I have promised someone this recipe a couple of times now so I thought if I shared it here I could redirect her to the post so my promise is fulfulled and my blog is updated at the same time.

This recipe is courtesy of the PCRM: Physicians Committee for Responsible medicine

Serving Size: 12

1 large eggplant(or 12 1/4 inch slices)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach--thawed/squeeze dry
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder(I substitute fresh garlic, 1 clove)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2tbsp whole wheat flour(I use 1tbsp ww flour and 1tbsp nutritional yeast here for a cheesy flavour)
2 cups marinara sauce

Slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices..one per serving

Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and brown eggplant on each side until tender and lightly browned. It needs to be tender like a pasta consistancy. I find putting a lid on the pan helps in cook through better. Set eggplant aside.

Heat 1/4 cup of water in the frying pan and cook onion over medium high heat until all the liquid has evaporated. Add 2 tbsp of water and let it evaporate again. Add spinach and all the seasonings. Stir in the flour and cook 3 minutes longer. Set aside to cool

Preheat oven to 350F. Place a spoonful of the spinach mixture across the center of each slice of eggplant; Then, beginning with the narrow end roll the eggplant aournd the filling. Arrange in a baking dish seam side down. Top with the marinara sauce. Cover and bake 20 minutes.

Per Manicotti with marinara:42 calories(YES you read that right!) 1g protein;9g car;0g fat;40mg sodium.


I like this with a nice big garden salad and Italian dressing with a little red wine.

You could also cheese it up with some parmagiano or other cheese. I don't normally though.


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This is my latest problem. I'm sure my cravings and attacks of the munchies are entirely related to my monthly cycles. Knowing that doesn't help. Knowing that didn't prevent me from eating several Oreo Cakesters and half a bag of goldfish crackers last night when the cravings hit.

I've picked up a bottle of chromium. I remember years ago I used them for cravings and they seemed to help. Let's see how it goes.

Today let's hope the weather holds up for walking. It's still a bit cold but I can't make any more excused. And the kids go back to school tomorrow. It's been a good week but I look forward to a bit of quiet.

I'm going to research this a bit more. I wonder..is it impulsive/compulsive problem or body cravings or a combination of the two. All I know it' defeats me almost every time and I don't know how to fight back.

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Two steps backwards. Well not really, just two days without exercise. It's been a crazy time and there just hasn't been enough go in me to, well, go! I haven't checked the weather for tomorrow but please let it be reasonable. I loved the walks we had been having.

Today I made the Honey Baked Lentils and boy were they yummy! I added carrots and turnip and ate way too much. Such are the dangers of eating too little all day. I ate 4 slices of toast for breakfast this morning with peanut butter thinking two wouldn't be enough to get me through until we returned from a shopping expedition. I was right and I was hungry by 2pm but a few handfuls of sunchips got me through until dinner but of course then I proceeded to over-eat that. It was a very unhealthy eating day that even the nutrition of the honey baked lentils likely didn't balance. Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day a la Scarlett O'Hara!

*********

What I am rediscovering lately is my love for tea. I grew up watching my parents drink tea and carnation milk and that's my preference still. Although I like drinking water when the weather is cool my preference is a hot drink. I've always like tea, regular old black tea and in recent years flavoured as well. Recently I've discovered a store brand that's as good as any of the expensive name brands. I'm not sure of the herbal benefits if there are any but the taste is certainly excellent and the price can't be beat. it's the Irresistables brand from Food Basics. I'm not sure what other stores it might sell in.

I've gone through a package of their Roobois caramel and orange and it was delicious but unfortunately sold out today so I picked up the Bedtime flavour. It's delicious. And the smell from the box is indescribable! The ingredients lists as follows; camomile flowers, spearmint leaves, blueberrries, orange flowers linden flowers, lemon grass, rosehips, passion flower herb and rosebud flower.

It's claimed effect is relaxation and calmness. We shall see how I sleep tonight. At $1.00 for 20 bags I'm happy with just a nice taste. A good nights sleep will be a bonus. I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.

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Last night was a challenge. On top of being tired myself, the kids were tired and the house that I'd so proudly tidied and cleaned the night before was once again a shambles. Combine that with dog pee on the carpet and I was reaching for the cookie jar. Then I remembered my own advice and only took two cookies, walked to the computer and ate them slowly, for dessert and then sat to do some writing. What great therapy. My cup was full in short order, and without calories. It didn't help to have Jon Bon Jovi crooning in my ear, singing only for me. I wish.

I posted my first ever photograph yesterday of my black bean soup recipe. It seems to be a hit. I have a new recipe today but no picture. I am hoping to make this again tomorrow but for now I'm out of honey and onions. If you want something quick go for this. It's great alone or with a nice salad, I like a sweeter salad with it. It's sweet so it offers up the satisfaction of dessert as well. Enjoy!


This blog is about optimal nutrition and I think this recipe meets that requirement and an added bonus is how easy this is! I can't take credit for this recipe, I got it from a fellow moderator at Motheringdotcommunity.

Honey Baked Lentils

1 cup of dried lentils, green or red, rinsed
2 cups of water
2 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Throw all in a casserole and stir. Bake at 350F until tender,about a hour and a half.

Variations: You can substitute 1/3 cup of rice or barley for some of the lentils. (I did this with barley)

Add whatever vegetables are on hand for a one dish meal.(I used carrots and turnip chopped rather largely). Winter vegetables work best like yam, squash, turnip, cabbage and parsnip.

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Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

2tsps olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
3 carrots/sliced
3 parsnips/sliced(I use all carrots as I don't usually have parsnip on hand)
6 cups broth(I use vegetable of course)
1 can black beans drained and rinsed


Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions and saute until they are translucent. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots and parsnip and

You can continue to cook the rest in the same pan or a pot on the stove but I generally add the sauteed veggies and the boiling broth to a slow cooker until carrots and parsnip are tender.

I then take two cups of the bean soup, mostly the solids and pulse in the food processor and add it back to make a thicker soup. This is an optional step.

It's absolutely delicious. I don't count calories but I imagine it's low.

I would love to credit this recipe but I'm afraid I don't even know where it came from. If you read and recognise it as yours please let me know and I will credit you appropriately!

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I know I'm a little smaller. I can tell somehow. I've been walking a lot and not eating junk and moderating my food intake by being aware and mindful. It's been a good week.

I find it hard to be mindful without being obsessive and when the goal is to adopt a normal relationship with food, throw off the diet mentality and work towards a healthy mind, body and spirit all at the same time it's important to not be obsessive about either or the balance is off.

I've been writing a lot and I think that satisfies something in me that food generally does. It makes me happy. It fills the void better than excess baked goods can. It's filling my cup.

So here I sit having a cup of chamomile tea and relaxing, smelling black bean soup cooking in the slow cooker for dinner. I feel good. It's still nice outside and I will walk again.

And I feel lighter. Maybe it's not weightloss but simply feeling that some burdens have lightened. I don't weigh on a scale so I can only judge by how I feel and I feel better, healthier and balanced. And I'm not hungry for food or anything else at this moment in time. Satisfied. That's a good way to be.

Maybe satisfaction is the goal we all should be reaching for in all aspects of our lives. Or maybe we should just be satisfied as we are. Either way it feels good to be me right now and that's really all I need.
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I apologise for neglecting this blog and I'm recommitting to it. I've been busy though, to be fair to myself. Spring has sprung and I've been outside! You know, that place that was buried in a white blanket of cold all winter that now is coming back to life! In a few moments I'll be going out again for a walk in the fresh spring air but I noticed comments at the bottom and feel I should be here for a while.

I've been well. Nutrition has been my focus this week and I've been eating really good food. I love black bean soup and found a wonderful simple recipe online. And yesterday I made honey baked lentils, a simple recipe that is absolutely delicious. I'm going to post both recipes here shortly!

Nutrition has never been my problem. I eat quite a healthy variety of foods. My problem is with eating either too much or complimenting my delicious healthy food with too much of the not so optimum type. Ice cream is a big weakness of mine. I can't leave the container alone. I admit it. I'm an icecreamaholic. I've taken to buying mint chocolate chip for the kids because it's the only kind I don't like.

The yoga is fantastic. We did another session on Monday and it was great. There were 4 of us and I felt both super relaxed and rejuvenated at the same time. I like the instructor and she's very patient and supportive of our newness to the practice. I've been trying to practice a bit at home, particularly the balance poses. My kids are excited to help and this morning I was awakened to my three year old doing Mountain Pose in the bed. I guess mountains can lay down too!

And walking..oh the walking is fantastic. I pull the kids in the wagon, hitch the doggie to the side and go..we walked two hours yesterday with stops for milk and groceries. I bypassed the liquor store although there was a Chianti in there calling my name. I like a little red with dinner but I think I'll wait until Saturday and get nice one in town for Saturday's dinner.

I was brave enough on Sunday to try a pair of pants on and they were toooooooo tight. They haven't ever been tight on me. Winter is not a good friend to my waistline. The triumphant part of all of that is the fact that it didn't set me back at all. I have accepted that I've got some work to do and I've committed to following through.

Thank you for joining me along the way.

PS..while I don't record calories or anything right now I am a member of Spark People and find it wonderful and encouraging and best of all it's free! There is some wonderful advice and inspiring stories of people who have made wonderful changes in their lives in the areas of health and fitness. I encourage you to check it out. There is a link on the right of this page.

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I've felt my control, my caring slipping today. I'm tired. I ate a little more than I likely would have, and then word of a tragedy back home tipped me over the edge.

But I've had a late dinner and my first ever Yoga lesson and I feel wonderful and I don't feel like eating anything.

They say "When your cup is full, stop pouring". My cup has not been full for a while and I've been filling it up with food instead of the things I really need. My spirit needs to practice meditation and my body needs the physical workout. I think this is going to be a good thing.

And my friend's husband paid for it because I baby sat his children for several days while she was hospitalised.

I feel very centred and balanced right now. I highly recommend developing a spiritual practice to help keeping the cup full, so you are not filling your cup with oreos.

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How are you? How are you feeling today? Take a close look at yourself, take stock of your wellbeing and rate it on a scale of one to ten, ten being good, one being, well, not so good.

I'd say today I'm a three. I'm not so good. There are reasons but it has to do with my own physical well-being than anything else. My ability to cope with even minor problems is definitely affected by how I feel physically and today I have a headache. They are rare, fortunately but it does interfere with my ability to cope.

So today I have to take extra measures to prevent me from running to the snack cabinet for relief, not from the headache, but from the emotional toll not feeling well takes on me.

A hug would fix it just as well so I'm going to gather some from my kids today, they are always open to giving mommy all the hugs she needs. Sweeter than candy and easier on the waistline.

Giving hugs is fun and free and an easy distraction from the cookie jar!

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Carolyn R Parsons
I ate a good dinner. I had a good day. I'm tired but I am getting through so far. I have a few ideas for the next few days when I'm less exhausted, things I 've been thinking about.

I'm looking into starting a Yoga practice with 3 other woman. My friend is contacting a teachers she knows about. I'm excited to add some physical activity to my life again.

Spring has sprung a leak...it's been raining for days..upside, snow is almost all gone, downside, no walking or running outside yet. Soon though...soon I will run like the wind..well more like a gentle breeze..but you get the idea.

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Carolyn R Parsons
I am tired today. And I know that this makes me want to eat. I don't know if it's a physical thing, needing the calories to keep me moving, or if it's just a lack of the ability to be mindful and be in control of my unhealthy behaviour.

I should have been asleep around 10pm but it was close to 1am. Such is the life with children who fall asleep at 8pm and wake up at 8:30. So I'm tired and it'll be a challenge today. I'm not making cookies for sure.

http://www.freeselfhelp.info/
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Carolyn R Parsons
The problem with baking cookies is the cookie dough. I just made some with the express intent of not eating too much. And I didn't. But boy was it hard. It takes a really concerted effort for me to not eat it by the spoonful. I had no problem sitting down and eating two cookies with my tea after dinner and putting one back when I realised I was full(that's rare for me too) but not eating the cookie dough was hard. I think it would have gotten the better of me if I hadn't promised myself I was going to write about my day here. That accountability is invaluable at times.

So what is it that makes us unable to turn off that switch? You know the one, the switch from "just a taste" to "complete and utter pigginess". My switch gets stuck and I will eat more and more even though I know it isn't necessary, there will be future cookie dough to snack on and there really isn't any need to eat it all right now before they go in the oven.

Icecream is another one of these foods for me that have a broken switch. I have a great deal of trouble eating just a serving. I love the taste of it but after a while it's not about the taste anymore, it's about it satisfying something else other than hunger.

I'm on a mission to find out what is wrong with the wiring on that switch. Why it doesn't just go off, why moderation on certain tempting foods is almost impossible for me. There isn't anything wrong with cookie dough. It's fine to sample it. It's crazy to eat a lot of it.

I hope to fix this switch but I think I have to start by investigating what makes the switch stick. I will be exploring this further in days to come. I welcome your thoughts on this.

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Carolyn R Parsons
Today I'm thinking about moderation. Moderation is key, I believe to success in maintain a healthy body weight and a healthy lifestyle. I think it's important to discuss the idea of moderation because the opposite of moderation, excessiveness is what leads to much of the weight gain we experience. I believe we should practice moderation in many aspects of our life but for our purpose today we'll focus on food.

How many of us ever have one serving of potato chips? One serving of potato chips is not a lot of calories. It's not a lot of chips either. It's enough chips though. I don't think there is anything wrong with potato chips if eaten in moderation. What happens though is we eat the whole bag, many many servings. We leave it around, we two or three, we go back to them. We can't stop, they sing to us, they beg us and we succumb to the temptation. Either buy a small bag, eat them and move on or buy a big bag, take out a serving, enjoy every last crumb and move on. Practice doing this and eventually this is how you will live.

I went to a party last night. My goal at the party was to practice moderation. I knew there would be food. My cousin, whose birthday it was, is a chef. I set my goal to eat whatever was appetising, to try small portions of what I wanted and to move on. I did quite well until they sat something in front of me that made my heart skip a beat. I knew it was a test. It had sugar, my weakness. It also had some good things, apples and cream cheese so I could convince myself easily it wasn't a terrible thing to eat.

It was a long ceramic dish, The bottom of the dish was spread with cream cheese. This was topped with caramel sauce, the kind you put on Sundaes and then sprinkled with skor bar bits. Beside it was a bowl of quartered apples. It was absolutely delicious as most simple things are. I though, now I really am getting tested. I tried not to over-think it but I really liked that dessert. I had 6 or 7 pieces dipped in the cream cheese and stopped. I thought that was a nice moderate amount. It was. I didn't feel deprived, I didn't feel stuffed and I knew for all the sugar in that confection there was some good as well, apples and cream cheese. It feels good today to know I enjoyed a delicious dessert just enough.

So I consider that a success in moderation. Little bits of the things I love and then stopping.

There will always be another cake. Why do we feel compelled to eat the whole cake then if another is coming down the pike. Why do we feel pulled to over-eat something when there is an abundance in this counry?

I think we were raised by a generation of parents who directly or indirectly were affected by the famine of the Great Depression and somehow the idea that every meal might be our last one has seeped into the collective psyche of our society.

My mother-in-law once told my daughter to eat everything on her plate and I corrected her immediately "no, she doesn't have to" and confused by this idea she asked "she doesn't?" and I said "No, we have an epidemic of obesity in our society, we are nowhere near a shortage of food, they don't have to eat everything on their plate, just eat until they are satisfied". She agreed and moved on but I could see she hadn't really ever considered that. I consider that.

We've gotten these messages through society and it has led us to eat to excess because somewhere deep inside we've adopted the idea that we have to get what we can right now. It's an incorrect and dangerous thought process that we need to alter.

We need to practice moderation, not deprivation. We have to practice and with practice we'll get better at it.

So make that today's goal, that you will eat smaller amounts, single servings of the things you like, and move along. Exercise, get out and walk, do as much as you want, don't be excessive in that either, just move and be active.

Practice moderation regularly and things will slip into place after a while and the habit of excessive eating will become a distant memory.
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Carolyn R Parsons
The very first step in a healthy diet is identifying what are healthy foods. Someone told me the other day that how she identifies them to her kids are by referring to them first as living or dead. Living foods are fruits, vegetables, beans, etc. Anything that is right now alive or able to be alive. She says that most of our diet should be living foods. She and her family eat salad twice a day with lunch and dinner.

Then there the dead foods. Which doesn't mean they are bad,just not alive. Everything else, that is not alive is in this category. Meat, eggs, milk fall into this category.

I think that there is a third category. This one I call processed foods. These are foods that you buy that are already prepared. These are not terrible foods and there are some processed foods that I happily eat(pasta is an example)and there are some that should be only eaten in limited quantities, highly processed to the point of being unrecognisable to its original form. I think Pringles, there's so little potato in those chips there is a debate as to whether they should be labelled potato chips at all.

And of course there is the 4th category. Foods we consume which are not food at all, serve little to no nutritional value and provide nothing but calories. Commonly called "junk" food, I prefer "fun" food. Soda pop, and candy fall into this category.

Of course the problem with weightloss is not that we don't know what to eat. It's that we choose not to eat it. However we want to categorise the food, the food is not the problem. The problem is the inability we have to stay away from it.

I'm a night time eater. So I think that's where I have to focus my energy. I am a night owl, I have tons of energy and ambition to work at night however with two little girls in bed I don't get to expend it there and that leads to the boredom that leads to the overeating.

I know this about myself and now the next goal is to work on ways to avoid the trap I fall into every evening.

This is a beginning. Just a beginning so bear with me as I figure out ways that work for me. I welcome you to share what works for you as well.

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Carolyn R Parsons
So winter has done it to me. I've hybernated like the bear but unlike the bear I've added weight instead of living off the weight and it is March and I feel like a slug. I've decided to blog about my journey back to the healthy me I was last November when I was still running and walking daily, watching my food intake and just generally happier.

Winter does it to me every year. I believe I suffer from a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) which causes a certain amount of depression and frustrations. It also causes a lot of boredom which leads to nothing else to do but bake and eat. I was so determined going into this winter that I would not fall into the trap again, I would buy the gear and get out there in the snow. But I didn't because the truth is I hate being cold and wet, I hate the work that goes into getting two kids and myself dressed to go outside. So, I'd dress them in their snowsuits, open the door to the back yard and they played happily by themselves while I made cookies.

But spring is here. And I've gained 15 lbs that must come off but even more important I can feel the impact the extra pounds have on my health, my hip hurts more, I get out of breath more quickly, I can only run short intervals and I was up to 5k last fall. Time to get out there, time to make the time and get my health back.

Only this time, I'm taking you along for the ride.

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