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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Food is...

Happy Thanksgiving! I woke up early this morning with a grateful heart. I admit, for the last week or so I've had a lot of mixed emotions and negative feelings. It all started on Friday... what would have been my stillborn son's 14th birthday. It's ALWAYS a day of profound sadness every year. Grief for a little boy that I only carried for 21 weeks and held for a little while outside of my body. That grief spilled into the weekend, and lots of tears were shed.

I spent some time at the beach on Sunday with my family and it made me feel better (it always does). My two day work week flew by and I am super thankful for 5 days off.

I had not planned on cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My heart and mind just wanted to avoid the holiday all together. Thanksgiving has always been my FAVORITE holiday. And it's because of all the wonderful memories made with my mom, and then my mom and I, cooking dinner and baking pies and cakes. It was always a big deal. Momma's dressing was the highlight of my year. At some point after I got married, she passed the dressing torch to me. When my mom told me that my dressing was officially better than hers, I was so happy. Then Thanksgiving dinner was my things... I would cook for my mom. We would cook together.

I can remember preparing our last meal together... 2010. And every year after that after she moved to Missouri with my sister, my little family and I would drive the 5 hours there and my sister and I would cook together for my mom. She would join us for the day from the nursing home.

Thanksgiving = my mom. And my mom is gone now and it's so hard.

But I know she would be so disappointed if I skipped the day. Because my own family loves this holiday, too.

So once I decided to cook something, my family FIRMLY told me that if they even SEE cauliflower in the kitchen they will go crazy. Clyde put his foot down... no sugar-free desserts, no faux food. They wanted the real deal Thanksgiving dinner.

Because it's just one day.

So after my 19-year old daughter got her paycheck and offered to buy groceries on Tuesday, we planned a menu. And I promised to make their carby favorites. But I also knew I could also make options just for me. I knew I could make it work. I am NOT making chess squares or caramel pie or any of my other favorite desserts because that would just be torture. But I AM having sweet potatoes, because I want them. And wine.

Last night Clyde and I had our nightly talk (this is how he unwinds after a long day) and we talked about my relationship with food and how I want to move forward in 2017 with my diet and journey. From HIS perspective, being super strict and eliminating entire food groups has just been another food 'behavior' that eventually I need to stop doing. He pointed out (correctly) that my addiction to food and my feelings surrounding food are all embedded from my childhood. I'm emotionally tied to food. He actually compared my bond to food to the way he feels when he is warm under bed covers.

When he was a child, he used to hide under the covers of his grandmother's bed when he was scared. That was his safe place.

He told me that food was my safe place. My security blanket.

And he's right. In so many ways. Because often our safety zone becomes the place where stop growing. We hide there and die because we are unable to move forward with life because of fear of failure. Fear of something different. Fear of getting cold and uncomfortable. At some point, our safe place becomes our prison. A house from an episode of Hoarders. Our fear of stepping outside suddenly becomes paralyzing and we need therapy and interventions and Xanax just to do something that most people consider "normal".

Will I ever be sane around food? Will I ever be able to handle moderation? Will I ever be able to eat "Thanksgiving" food and not obsess over carbs and calories?

I follow a variety of "food styles" on social media, and I have learned that food obsession can really go two different ways. Some people go from one extreme behavior toward food to another. Do I want to have peace with food, but still have to constantly monitor numbers and macros? Or do I want to learn how to eat intuitively and enjoy moderation on holidays? Do I want to spend hours a day on fitness? Or just move and exercise and have fun with it? Is food really just fuel? Or can it also represent love and family and friendship?

I made Clyde his favorite chocolate cake yesterday. And I know that while I was making that cake, I felt nothing but love. It made my heart happy to know that he was going to be surprised and happy when he saw it. As I was writing out the menu for today, I knew my kids would be overjoyed at having REAL macaroni and cheese. And that made me happy, too.

Food IS fuel for your body. But food is also love.

I don't want to obsess over food. I don't want to obsess over numbers... either on a scale or from macronutrients. I want to be healthy and I want to feed my body food that makes me feel good. 2016 has definitely given me insight to what foods work for my body, and which foods do not. It's been a learning process. Processed food and sugar are definitely out, because no matter what your food template is, they are poison to our body. But I do think I want to add more vegetables. I do think I want to eat less beef and pork (because my body just doesn't LOVE those two forms of meat).

I'm really just thinking out loud. Planning for 2017. Thinking about how to end this year strong and healthy. 2016 has been my most consistent year EVER and I'm so proud and grateful for all I've learned. For getting my HEALTH back. I've made progress mentally and physically and I am ready to make even more in 2017.

Friday, November 18, 2016

I need to write...

I need to write. Daily.

When I first started my blog 8 years ago, I started it as a journal. A way to document my journey and a way to write out my thoughts and feelings about my life. It turned into so much more... and as I've said many times over the past few years... At some point I stopped writing for ME.

I am so grateful for the friends I've made through blogging and social media. Blogging has afforded me some amazing opportunities (TWO trips to NYC!), and I've also received incredible encouragement and support from an online community of like-minded individuals.

But the larger that audience grew, the more I feel like I pulled back from putting my full emotions and heart into writing.

Because people are now watching. People I know in REAL life. It became hard to put my business out there.

Now, though... things have changed a little. It might be me, but I don't think people read blogs as much as they used to. Seems crazy, but I think Facebook and other social media gets all the views. Which may be a good thing.

Because I need to write. I need to blog again. I need the outlet.

Writing is my 'thing'. It's my talent. My creative gift.

And I need it right now. I need that outlet.

But I don't want to be censored. I don't want to have to pick and choose what I disclose. I need for this to be a diary again. Somewhere that I can be candid and emotional.

Because my life is going into a whole new realm right now and I need to process it in the only way I know how. By writing through it. By writing about it.

2016 has been a breakthrough year for me. I have gone from just existing to actually LIVING in my purpose. But finding my purpose and getting past fear has been so transformative that I am now facing a lot of... emotions?... that maybe I wasn't prepared for.

Life seems so BIG now. The possibilities for my future are so endless. And for the first time in my life I KNOW without a DOUBT that I am on the edge of greatness. But it's still a lot to process.

Because I'm not there...yet. Close. But not close enough.

My brain is always on TEN lately. I have a pretty long commute every day (2+ hours total) and I spend that time listening to Podcasts or audio books. I'm in a constant state of personal development nowadays. And I get so many ideas while I'm driving! So much inspiration and so many ah-ha moments. But then I get to my destination (work or home) and my role as teacher or mom begins and I am suddenly carried away from my thoughts or ideas and they take a while to come back.

So, I had an idea today. I need to start writing again. I need to make notes in a small notebook that I carry in my purse or keep in my car (don't worry... I won't do it while driving, lol). I can also make a voice memo on my phone. But then I need to immediately write about it. Whether it's in my journal, or via Blogger. I need to start writing about it all.

Because my thoughts are important right now. I need to document these feelings and what is going on in my life right now.

It might be helpful to someone in the future. Or even now. Or... it could just sound like jumbled rubbish and only make sense to me.

Either way... it will be here. So if you choose to read, that's fine. If no one reads, that's fine, too.

I'm going back to writing for me. Because I need to. And I give myself permission to do what's best for me.