Monthly Archives: November 2012

To thine ownself, be kind…nearly a year of change for the better


YIKES! It’s here already.
Let the Feeding Frenzy Begin!

First it begins with Halloween, or what I call the Holiday Feast Appetizer.

You start out coveting a few pieces of chocolate peanutty goodness and then before you know it, you’re rummaging through that plastic bag of candy wrappers in your kids room after they’ve gone to school. Searching and sniffing for that chocolate you thought you’d kicked the habit from. Settling for a tiny box of half stale caramels and nearly losing a brand new cap tearing into that honey colored brick of glue.

You better check yourself. This is the pre-game warm up. The hardest part is still ahead.


It’s not easy being the mother of three, or two or even one child with candy treasures in their rooms. This year, we didn’t even go trick-or-treating due to the  inclimate weather and they still have small hoards of sweetness from school and myself, who picked up a bag or two of Mike n Ike’s on sale after Halloween was over.

But the biggest challenges lay ahead of us after Halloween.

The first is Thanksgiving:
This year I tried really hard to make a meal that wouldn’t clog any arteries. In the past, I have made out like we all had the metabolisms of field mice. Adding so much butter and fat that it would make even the most die hard, Paula Deen fan run away from the table. But this year, I decided to make whole foods and add in the very minimum of heavy creams and fats. Because they are necessary at times, but maybe smaller portions would work just as well as the farm hand size dollops of creams and buttery pats that seem to land on every food item in the past.

The Turkey: I opted for a smaller natural bird. Paid a little more in the price, but it was not jacked up with hormones or steroids or whatever else they do to those poor turkeys to give them double D’s in 2 or 3  months of living on the planet. So we had a more diminutive fowl. But Dave (y’all know my husband Dave…the love of my life and keeper of faith in me) He decided that this year he was going to show our 15 year old son Ben how to cook the turkey. He did a great job. Instead of putting too much butter and salt into the bird with his injector needle, this year he went for chicken broth, thyme, pepper and just a bit of melted butter. It was delicious. Probably our best ever!

Our free range happy fowl

Sweet potatoes…hmmm, usually I lather these babes up with butter, sugar, even pineapple bits and top them with crunch pralines…but this year, I simply baked three large sweet potatoes, peeled them, diced them and then mashed by hand with 1/2 cup of Evaporated Milk and 1 tsp of Cinnamon. That’s it. Then I placed them in a small casserole dish and sprinkled 2 tbs of brown sugar on top another dash of cinnamon and baked them and they were absolutely wonderful. Not too sweet, just perfect. My kids loved them!
NO marshmallows either.
Green Beans: I did Italian Kentucky Wonders, then added 1 small slice of country ham broken up and cooked them. Nothing else. It was perfect. Not too much country ham, just a bit. I know that salty ham is taboo but it’s a special occasion and a little bit goes a long way.
Corn pudding….well here’s where I messed up… I ran out of evaporated milk and I had only whipping cream in the fridge…what to do? So I simply used 1/2 whipping cream and 1/2  of 1% milk to make the correct measurement, so this one recipe was extra rich…but you don’t eat a ton of corn pudding anyway. 🙂

Nothing beats the smell of cranberries, wine and cinnamon…and that POP when they cook… Priceless.

Cranberry relish: I do not like the canned stuff. I go for the real cranberries. This one recipe is my decadent baby. Made with sugar, water, red wine, cinnamon and orange zest…it is such a treat. On turkey or later over ice cream…my youngest, Lydia puts it on her biscuits. It’s something that I will always make and I feel like even with the sugar, its still less fattening and better for us, because we are using fresh cranberries.

Definitely my better half, my Dave making his signature 3 ingredient biscuits that ROCK!

Pumpkin Pie: Made my first ones this year. Never have made them before. I made up my own recipe using the one on the canned pumpkin as a guide. I went less on the sugar, more on the eggs and used evaporated milk and extra cinnamon. I topped my pie with a swirl of Molasses and if I had Sorghum that would have been better as it packs a heck of a punch of Potassium.
I did other things but you get the idea, just taking the basic recipes and opting for less sugar or 1% milk when you can. It makes a little difference in the taste, but a good one. You can taste the FOOD and not the additives. That bird, that delicious natural bird, may not have been as big as the ones in the past, but it was definitely delicious. 
Plus the leftovers will be gone sooner. No throwing out turkey parts in 4 days that just end up in the landfill.
Sometimes you can do something to death…too much is sometimes TOO much. Why pay for waste? When you can pay for the taste?

A smaller version of the Thanksgiving feast…with one hand trying to steal a stuffing ball…lol

I’m prepping myself for the aftermath of the meal we had yesterday. My fridge is packed with stuffing balls (which I made with cornbread, wheat bread and herbs and light chicken broth and veggies) two pies and the other good stuffs but I have company coming for the weekend and I plan on sharing it all until it’s gone so we can start our week out on Monday with bellies of good, simple, whole foods again. Heavy on the steamed veggies and brown rice.

Gear up.
Have a plan.
Get your game face on, BEFORE the battle begins.

Lay out your running/exercise gear the night before. If you don’t feel like hoofing it outside because of the cooler weather (I love it) Then find a light workout DVD at your local Goodwill or Half Price Books for 3 bucks and change it up at home. Include your kids, ask your husband, wife or significant other to go with you on a walk on the weekends. Change it up and realize that you may have to sacrifice your normal heavy run for a lighter walk but you are now INCLUDING someone in your exercise that needs it too. You may have just turned over a leaf of health for someone else!

Be happy. Eat well. Have a plan and if you screw up. Forgive yourself. Get up the next morning and realize your mistake and start off with a great, healthy breakfast.


Don’t get angry and punish yourself, that is your self-defeatist attitude surfacing trying to make you quit. Trying to make you think you CAN’T do this- this healthier version of you. But you can. Just take it as a lesson and move forward.

Christmas is coming.
Better start checking for good recipes on how to make ham or that Christmas Goose tasty without all the added fat!

Influence others. Promote wellness and loving yourself. See how wonderful your body works! Appreciate your feet on the floor another day.  You are in charge. Lead others to health. 
When I first started my journey, I made a friend in Carol, my trainer at the gym I finally returned to…she told me after seeing me workout and attend her health classes with vigor, “Margie, this is YOUR year. I just feel it. This is going to be your year.”
I kept hearing those words.
I kept saying those words to myself when I got tired. Defeated or made poor choices.
Those words moved me. They moved me into running shoes, out the door and up hills, across sidewalks and pushed me away from the table when I was full.
They moved me in a direction that I never thought I could go.
Those simple words, “This is  your year.”
They repeated to me hundreds of times over the past months.
I wonder if Carol even knows how much encouragement her simple sentences gave me.
Their inspiration when I was running in the rain, just to see if I could.
Or pretending to run from zombies on the road, just to increase my speed.
The joy they gave me as I weighed myself and literally saw the fat melt from my body en masse.
I want to inspire others to realize they can do things.
I feel like it was a gift that was given to me.
I turned on the light. And NOT the fridge light…lol
I turned on the light inside of me that had been turned off for a long time.
I turned on the part of me that saw me as a miracle from God.
Not just a a mother that was exhausted. A mother that felt like she was handed burdens of life, in the form of cancer, surgeries, metabolism issues, with too many people needing too much of me.
I saw myself as a survivor and someone that could triumph and become anything I wanted to be and I was taking my family along for the ride.
Because they deserved it too. They deserve to live a life with me that is healthier and happier and ALIVE!
No more talk of how sad I was, how tired I was or how much turmoil my life created for me, by stressing over the stuff that didn’t matter and people I couldn’t change.
We moved forward.
Past it all and it was a great step.

I’m trying to get through every day, every week, not gaining weight but I still do. I weigh myself almost every day. Even though most trainers tell us not to. I do anyway. I step on the scale and watch it go up or down 2 pounds at a time. It just seems that is how my body works. One day I may weigh 210 pounds, the next I may weigh 208. I’ve been down to 205 and I want to go there again really soon. 

In fact, I want to be at 199 by January 1. I am not sure if I can do it by then, but I am working on it every day. I started out at 256 pounds nearly one year ago. I am not putting a time limit on my life or my process. I want to live each day as just a step towards a longer life. If I had stayed in the house. Continued eating whatever I wanted to and sitting at the computer and television…by now I guess I would weigh around 300 pounds at the rate I was gaining. Maybe even more. So I have to look at it that way. I saved myself all that added weight by taking a look at myself from the inside out.

I allowed myself the privilege of eating better and exercising.
Sure, I started out looking very awkward just by walking and moving. I am sure parts of me were jiggling more than others. But over time, I found I jiggled less. I was more solid and I also gave up worrying about what other people saw when I was attempting to run 10 feet at a time without getting too exhausted and before you know it, I was running and jumping over twigs and limbs in the woods and running up on deer so quickly as well as other runners that they never saw me coming. 

Me. A 49 year old mother of three.
Fast. Really digging in and putting her scent on over 500 miles of road, asphalt, sidewalks and forest.
Me. A former obese mess.
A stressed out, part time caregiver for aging parents, three kids, a dog and a traveling husband that managed to finally find her true self in a pair of Asics running shoes and a heavy duty running bra. 
Me. A woman that finally took care of herself.
I learned to love me.
Even though others did. I didn’t really like me much, I demonstrated it by how I didn’t care about my own health and my own needs. 
A glutton no more.
A lover of life. A forgiver of sins. To myself.

A mother.
A wife.
A runner.
Yep…no doubt about it….
                                                          This really was, my Year.

Happy Trails to you…my friends.


Rain, Rain…you’re a real pain. But I’m running anyway. :)


My happy place.

Most people have enough sense to come in out of the rain.

I don’t.

In fact, I went out in it on purpose today. And I loved it.

I don’t recommend running in the cold, the rain or the wind to anyone. Just myself. So don’t get mad at me if you go for a run in the wet stuff and end up with a cold. But I find that I use inclimate weather, rain, wind, cooler temperatures- as an excuse to skip my runs or do less indoors -on a treadmill.

And I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

Although it does provide an ample workout in a pinch, it just really doesn’t push me enough and I feel like I have to work harder on the treadmill-but work that is not joyful or fulfilling compared to that freedom of the outdoor run.

Feeling that invigorating cool air on your face, filling up your lungs and chilling your nostrils … why it does my body good. It wakes me up from the inside out.

Today I borrowed my sons Rainsuit jacket. A completely waterproof and windproof jacket that may have weighed a million pounds and had the flexibility of Reynolds wrap but it protected me. It had a great hood with a bill on it and it kept the water off of me. It created a lot of water INside the suit as it increased my sweat factor by ten, but it kept me from getting cold and wet from the weather.

My favorite woodland trek consists of a .75 mile trip that includes mulch foot trails, tree canopy covered woodland paths that lead me across two bridges and wraps up along a winding asphalt walk. I run along a lake, a brook, a peregrine falcon nest, a honeybee apiary, rabbit warrens and deer filled thickets. I run through seasons of spider webs, hovering swarms of gnats, wasps, falling leaves, blooming flowers, beds of mushrooms, masses of fungus, mole tunnels that leave the earth a mushy mess beneath my feet, and I love it.

I usually run this route 3 times to give myself a great 2.5 mile run… but today I ran it only twice. It took me less than thirty minutes. It was absolutely memorable.  

Because usually when it comes to deer, I only see remnants of their existence, a section of the woods laid flat from their bedrest the night before, droppings along the foot trail, small digs from their hooves in search of the tender shoots that grow along the edge of the forest…but today, because I was the only one that dared to venture into the wet, windy, Autumnal forest, I came up over a small dip in the trail and straight onto a trio of does. Big ones. One just rising from her bed and two that were already flashing their white tails at me and gone in what seemed to be seconds after they noticed my 210 pound body panting and blundering across the leaves and fallen twigs in my way.

I had to stop.

I had to take notice, if for only a second or two. To acknowledge that blessing. That reminder that although I like to think of them as “my” woods, they belonged to someone else first. Lots of someone “elses”.  But we share that space.  We appreciate that habitat. They need it to survive, I need it to revive.

Me, the bugs, the animals, the plants.  The good, the bad and the wiggly.

I am so glad I went back to where it all began for me today. Back to the place that made me feel that I could do this journey, that I was powerful enough to compete with the negative thoughts that held me back for so long. Thoughts like: “you’re too fat, you’re too old, you’re too slow, too tired, too unhealthy…to change.”  Because although I am fat, it’s true, I don’t like the word, but I am. I weigh more than I should, but I am healthier, I am not old and I’m pretty doggone fast when I get my zombie mindset or just decide to flat out run for it for no other reason than to see how fast my legs will carry me.

I’m so glad I got wet today. That I sweat today. That I ran.

It makes it easier to get up and do it tomorrow. If I dont make it back to the woods because the weather is just too bad, I will go back eventually. I’m no fool, I’m not running in lightning, thunder or ice. But I am going to try to go there as much as I can. Especially now that I know I can borrow some clothes from a generous son, that will make me waterproof.

Happy Trails.