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Posts Tagged ‘19 for 2019’

Today marks the last day of the year. As I reflect on 2019, I am amazed at all that I accomplished and experienced throughout this year. I turned 50 years old, celebrated my youngest son graduating from high school and starting college, and took the stage for the very first time in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Every month was spent with family and friends who I cherish dearly. Every month was filled with adventures and opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. Every month was committed to improving my health, my home, and my acting career.

19 for 2019 List Update

  • Yesterday, I completed #7 Donate blood. Next year, I plan to donate blood on a regular basis. I can give blood every eight weeks which puts me at donating again at the end of February.
  • This morning, I completed #8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This Booksmonth I read Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott. This book was recommended by Gretchen Rubin. I’m an instructional coach, not a boss; however, some of the advice that Scott gives can be used in my position. The book is broken into two parts: A New Management Philosophy and Tools and Techniques. It is basically a guidebook on how to mix praise and criticism in a way that produces better results and helps employees achieve. It is also about building strong relationships between bosses and employees. Kim Scott also cohosts the Radical Candor podcast with Russ Laraway. It is “a show about how not to hate the boss you have…or be the boss you hate.” There are currently 23 episodes. I actually listened to the podcast before reading the book. Interesting stuff!

I completed 11 items on my 19 for 2019 list. My list this year was a little more ambitious than my list last year; however, I am happy with the items that I completed, as well as the ones I almost completed. Below are the 3 items that I almost completed on my 19 for 2019 list.

  • #4 Lost 19 pounds. As of today, I lost 13.5 pounds. Even though I did not hit my target weight, I am still proud of myself. I didn’t get serious about shedding weight until September 2nd. I’ve cut my sugar consumption drastically, and I eat less processed food. And, I did not gain any of my weight back over the holidays.
  • #9 Purge stuff in house one room/closet at a time. This goal was too broad and ambitious to complete in one year. I should have chosen specific rooms to declutter. Instead, I decluttered and remodeled rooms. I now have a scrapbook room. My utility room is almost complete. I need to order cabinets for my laundry hampers, a decorative laundry sign, and fill in two spaces between our new cabinets and the wall with wood. My office has been repainted and crown moulding installed. I just need to furnish it to make it cozy. Also, one of my bathrooms was repainted and new accessories were purchased for it.
  •  #12 Complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I’ve done a great deal on Andrew’s scrapbook; however, I just did not have enough time to get it completely finished. One of my scrapbooking goals is to set aside a specific amount of time per month to scrapbook. Hopefully, Shelly and I can scrapbook more often in the new year. When we scrapbook together, I get more accomplished. At the beginning of December, we scrapbooked a few hours each day for three days in a row, and I finished quite a few layouts.

Stella aka NovaThere are only a few hours left of 2019. It started off on a happy note and ended on a bittersweet one. Today, Andrew and I took the sweet female pup that wandered into our lives last Monday to Northshore Humane Society. Everyone at the facility was very nice; however, it was hard to let her go because I got attached to her. They named her Nova. I contacted Briana later this afternoon to check on her and was told that she was doing awesome. She was picked up by her foster shortly after we dropped her off. While I miss her, I know this is the best decision for my family and for her. Please pray that she finds her forever home very soon. In closing, dear reader, enjoy the rest of 2019. Tomorrow begins a new decade and a wonderful new year of possibilities. Happiness!

“When Radical Candor is encouraged and supported by the boss, communication flows, resentments that have festered come to the surface and get resolved, and people begin to love not just their work but whom they work with and where they work. When people love their job, the whole team is more successful. The resulting happiness is the success beyond success.”  ~ Kim Scott, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

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Dream Socks

New socks that I bought at the Audubon Zoo. DREAM BIG!

2019 is winding down which means it’s time to finish up this year and start thinking about the goals to make for 2020. I plan to choose a new word to guide the year and to create a 20 for 2020 list. Both of these activities make me happy and spur me on to be more productive. However, before I can even think about next year, I have to focus on finishing strong this year. Including today, I only have 17 days left to wrap up the loose ends on my 19 for 2019 list.

On Friday evening, my BFF Shelly and I had dinner with our husbands at Streetside Market in Hammond. It is a neat restaurant where you can experience the culinary delights of different vendors all under one roof. After dinner, Shelly and I waved goodbye to the guys, bought coffee at PJ’s, and headed to New Orleans to see Cher in concert.

CherWOW! Cher is 73 years old and looks fabulous. Her performance was captivating from beginning to end. Her song choices, the elaborate costumes, the artistic dancers, the detailed set design, as well as the talented musicians and backup singers created a fantastic creative execution. Not being a huge Cher fan, I didn’t really know what to expect. Shelly was the only reason that I went to the concert. She wanted to go, so being the awesome friend that I am and my love of concerts, I said yes when she asked if I would go with her. And, I am so happy I said yes because I was blown away not only by Cher’s performance, but also by her story that she shared with the audience. She has given me a boost of inspiration.

In Other News:

  • I bought myself a Cricut Maker Machine for my scrapbooking projects.
  • My hubby and I went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans last weekend, and I finally got to see the baby orangutan Bulan and the new pride of lions (Arnold, Nia, Kali, and Zuri). I also bought myself some inspirational socks.
  • Unfortunately, I have NOT lost any more weight. I still have six pounds left to shed by the end of the month.
  • Andrew finished his first semester finals at SLU on Thursday. I’m eagerly awaiting to hear the final results. He’ll be spending winter break with us starting next week which give me a MASSIVE happiness boost.

Christmas is on the horizon, dear reader, so I will be squeezing all of what that season entails while scrambling to complete several tasks before year end. One Christmas item that I scratched off my list this year was putting up a Christmas tree. Since we have been remodeling rooms and the house is in a slight disarray, I decided to forgo adding more unnecessary stuff to the already existing mishmash. Happiness!

“Everyone’s got to have a dream…It’s not reaching your dreams that count. It’s going toward them.” ~ Cher

 

 

 

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Today is the last day of November, and it happens to be the Saturday before I have to return to my day job. It has been a lovely week off, and I’ve enjoyed my down time; however, it’s time to get back in the saddle and accomplish a few loose ends before 2019 comes to an end.

I can scratch #18 Participate in NaNoWriMo in November off my 19 for 2019 list. This item will definitely be put back on my 20 for 2020 list, and I am determined to be much more successful next year. Frankly, I did not give myself enough time to prep. I did start a horror novel, but I only wrote 1,505 words of the 50,000 word goal. And, I only wrote for three days out of the entire month. My stats show that if I continue writing each day at this pace, my novel will be done by July 27th. HA! I will not abandon the idea of writing a novel. Although, it has been placed on the back burner to simmer for a bit.

This leaves me with ten items left on my 19 for 2019 list. There are three items that I will definitely NOT accomplish before the end of this year. I am not physically ready to run a 5K; there is no money in the family budget to visit my Aunt Carolyn in Utah; and sadly, I’m nowhere near paying off one of my credit cards. That’s okay! I still think all three items are worth accomplishing, yet they too will have to be placed on the back burner to simmer for a bit.

Soup

Fat Flush Soup made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

I am currently working on three items that I feel very strongly that I will complete by the end of the year. As for my weight loss goal, I am down another 1/2 pound which puts me at a total loss of 12.5 pounds since September 2nd. I have 6.5 more pounds to lose by the end of 2019 to reach my goal of 19 pounds. This Monday, I will start another round of The Clean 20 to knock out the remaining weight. Tomorrow, I will get back to scrapbooking, so I can complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. Shelly and I are planning to scrapbook together for the next couple of days. Finally, I am successfully reading one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. It is a terrific little book with a great deal of wisdom about being present and how stillness can bring about inner peace.

As for the remaining four items on my list, there is a possibility they could be accomplished; however, I am not holding my breath that all four will be completed. As long as I’m not anemic, I should be able to donate blood. If I buckle down, I could organize my master bedroom closet. Organizing my photographs/mementos and purging stuff in the house one room/closet at a time is realistically going to take more than a month to complete. We have been purging stuff in the house throughout the year with our remodeling projects; it is just an extremely slow process since my hubby is doing the remodeling. It’s tough since he only has the weekends, and there is the occasional weekend, he just wants to take a break and have some fun.

So, there you have it, dear reader. The remainder of my 2019 is going to be focused on tackling a few tasks that will add fulfillment to my life. This does not mean that the remaining month will be all work and no play. I have plenty of special events already sprinkled throughout the month, and in three short weeks, I’ll be on vacation again. Happiness!

“The moment you enter the Now with your attention, you realize that life is sacred. There is a sacredness to everything you perceive when you are present. The more you live in the Now, the more you sense the simple yet profound joy of Being and the sacredness of all life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

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This coming week is the last week before rolling into TECH WEEK. While I have never experienced tech week as an actor, as a drama mama during Andrew’s tech weeks, I know it can be intense for all involved. Yesterday afternoon, I attended rehearsal to work solely on my monologue and solo for the play. I’m enjoying the process of developing my character and exploring different choices as Mitch. It’s an exciting feeling!

So, I plan to bask in the calm before the storm this week. Hydration and eating clean are top priorities. Getting an ample amount of sleep and keeping stress to a minimum are key. This week is a season of self-care. Next week is a season of sacrifice. Both are temporary but necessary for an incredible end result. Tickets are now on sale at www.octavians.org if you, dear reader, feel so inclined to come see a hilarious show that encourages audience participation.

In Other News:

If you want an excuse to rewatch The Office, check out the new podcast, Office Ladies. Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela), who happen to be BFFs,  take you on an episode-by-episode journey that breaks down each episode and gives you behind the scenes information on the much loved tv show.

Kombucha 2My quest for Big Easy Kombucha is still in full force. I have only been able to find it at my local Wal-Marts. They have added two more flavors, Jammin’ Ginger infused with ginger, Meyer lemon, and hibiscus and Melon Magic infused with cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon. I usually enjoy a cup of Kombucha with my dinner. Apparently, Big Easy Bucha has a tasting room in New Orleans where you can try Kombucha on draft. Road trip!

I am down another pound which puts me at a total loss of 9 pounds since September 2nd. Slow and steady wins the race. I am ten pounds away from meeting my weight loss goal.

Life is good, dear reader. Better yet, life is wonderful! I am living a blessed filled life. What are your plans for the remainder of the weekend? My hubby and I are going to see Zombieland: Double Tap in a couple of hours. We watched the first one last night to refresh our memories. Good stuff! After Andrew gets off work (yes, work…an official employee at BAM), we plan to meet him for dinner at SLU. The cafeteria in the Student Union is amazing. Happiness!

“…and when the tension receded there was calm, the calm that is called before the storm, but is in reality the foundation of a human life, waiting there for us between the steps of our march to our mortality, when we are compelled to pause and not act but be.”  ~ Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

 

 

 

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Spelling Bee 2In three short weeks, the show that I am doing, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, will be opening. It is hilarious and will be so much fun for audience members. Tickets went on sale yesterday. My experience, thus far, has been wonderful. I’m grateful to both Rachael Knaps (director) and Brent Goodrich (music director) for giving me this opportunity. Being in a musical production is a huge commitment and a great deal of work.  I am being stretched creatively in so many ways, and I am loving the challenge. While I am extremely excited, I am also incredibly nervous. I don’t want to just perform well, I want to SHINE!

Currently, I am struggling with my monologue. I know the words, and I know the message that I am delivering to the audience. However, I am not taking ownership as my character Mitch. I can spout out my lines at home, in the car, on a walk, but then I take the stage as Mitch during rehearsal, and my mind goes blank. I’m tongue-tied Kat, instead. The other night at rehearsal when I called for line, Tina gave it to me, and I swore she was speaking Chinese. I could NOT think! At that point, I wanted to sing “Woe is Me,” curl up in a fetal position, and suck my thumb. Thank the stars that I’m just a little dramatic and not a quitter. I have to work hard on getting out of my head and getting more into my character. Thankfully, everyone has been super supportive and patient with me. If they are willing to believe in me, I have to believe in myself. I may not be as talented as my fellow actors, but I am talented. With more effort and determination, I believe I can shine.

In Other News:

Onion MumI have completed the reemergence period of The Clean 20 program. I am down another 1/2 pound which puts me at a total loss of 8 pounds since September 2nd. Even though that may not seem like such a stellar accomplishment, I’m actually happy with it. The reemergence period is where foods that were eliminated during the clean eating phase of the program are reintroduced or banned entirely. I did not create the two lists suggested by Dr. Ian Smith. I did not want to ban anything. Restrictions backfire on me. I would rather give myself permission to eat what I want and choose not to eat it than tell myself I can never eat something ever again. I’m also of the mindset that if a poor food choice is something that will only be consumed once in a very long while, enjoy it. Sometimes, feeling like crap after eating it will be enough to not reach for it again in the future. For example, I adore Bonneval’s Cracklin, but that deliciously seasoned snack with fried out pork fat skin attached is not adored by my stomach. So, as much as I would like to indulge in the future, after belching for hours afterwards and having to pop a Zantac to stop the belching, I am no longer in adoration. I confess to you, dear reader, that although I ate clean most of the time, I did eat what I wanted during this period. I ate beef and fried foods a couple of times. And, I ate sugar! I wanted carrot cake, so I ate a third of a slice that I brought home from Outback Steakhouse. It was yummy, but rich, and enough that I enjoyed it without regret. I was stressing and a little hormonal this past week, so I ate part of a chocolate rabbit (top half) on Tuesday afternoon and the other part (bottom half) on Wednesday afternoon.  I basically drowned my feelings in chocolate. I must have felt guilty because that night I ended up having a sugar-related nightmare where I was in a room filled with bowls of candy, and I was stopping at every bowl, grabbing a piece of candy, and eating it. The HORROR! I have accepted my moments of weakness and have moved on. Fortunately, I am back on track.

Autumn weather has finally arrived in Louisiana, and it feels fantastic. It is perfect weather for a walk or run. My big plans for today consist of going to the movies to see Joker and then swing by the bookstore before coming back home to work on my monologue and read “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft. Enjoy what is left of the weekend, dear reader.  Happiness!

“Temporary failure will not prevent you from achieving lasting success.”              ~ Matshona Dhliwayo

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PandemoniumMy life is pandemonium right now, and I’m surprisingly happier because of it. I have a bunch of irons in the fire. Some are way more enjoyable than others. I’m working on making my dreams a reality. It is awesome to set goals; however, I must remind myself that the satisfaction of achieving those goals comes from the journey or the process in fulfilling them.

I’ve started rehearsing for the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee show. I’m taking an Acting for Film and Television Workshop on Saturdays. I’m working full-time as an instructional coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School. I’m blogging. And, I’m trying to lose 19 pounds by December 31st, all while taking care of my fur babies and meeting the other demands of my personal life. No two days are alike which makes trying to successfully balance it all interesting at times.

Last week was challenging because I had a work commitment every day (except Friday) after school. Needless to say, I did not get in any extra exercise. I had to choose between exercise and rest. I chose rest, so that I could be my best during rehearsal and at Saturday’s class. Thankfully, eating clean and being active at work is helping to keep my weight in check. I am currently in the reemergence period of The Clean 20 program which will last another two weeks. At the end of that period, I will post an update. I do want to share that I am down another 1/2 pound which puts me at a total loss of 7.5 pounds since September 2nd. Woot-Woot!

In Other News:
Four Tendencies#8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve always been fascinated by personality assessments and learning how personality influences decision making, job performance, etc. While those assessments share some specific aspect of human nature, Rubin’s framework is based solely on meeting inner and outer expectations and how people respond to them when making decisions, reaching goals, and handling relationships. A variety of personality types can share a tendency. As I have mentioned previously on my blog, I am a Questioner. According to Rubin, “Questioners question all expectations; they meet an expectation only if they believe its justified, so in effect they respond only to inner expectations” (6). Finding out my tendency has been helpful to me. It has helped me understand why I am unable at times to complete a task or make a decision, or it explains my resistance to meeting someone else’s requests. If you, dear reader, are interested in finding out your tendency, visit Gretchen Rubin’s website to take the Four Tendencies Quiz. Let me know your tendency if you decide to take it!

My life feels like a whirlwind at the moment. Unlike a season of sacrifice, it is challenging in a way that is both energizing and exciting. I love learning, and I’m beginning to love getting myself out of my comfort zone and seeing how far I can push myself creatively. At times, it feels exhilarating, and other times it feels terrifying. The one constant, though, is the support and encouragement that I receive from you, dear reader, along with my awesome friends and family. Happiness!

“When we understand ourselves and how our Tendency shapes our perspective on the world, we can adapt our circumstances to suit our own nature – and when we understand how other people’s Tendencies shape their perspectives, we can engage with them more effectively.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

 

 

 

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I have officially completed the clean eating portion of The Clean 20 program. I lost a total of seven pounds in the 20 days. Was I perfect? No, of course not. Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of the accomplishments that I have made during the last 20 days. My biggest accomplishment which has given me the biggest payoff is quitting added sugar. Except for the small slice of chocolate cake that I had at my mother-in-law’s house a couple of weeks ago, I have not eaten anything sweet. No candy, no cupcakes, no Happy Tracks ice cream, no cookie cake. These were all offered to me during the program, and I turned them all down. No sweets coupled with eliminating soda or eating products with a high sugar content (ketchup, BBQ sauce, juice, etc.) has made a huge difference. I can think more clearly, my joints feel better, and I don’t feel as tired throughout the day. The other accomplishment worth mentioning is my increase in eating more natural foods, especially vegetables. I’ve never had a problem eating fresh fruit on a daily basis, but eating fresh vegetables daily is another story. Now, I eat them every day.

Salmon

Baked Salmon with sautéed spinach and mushrooms

One of my favorite meals is baked salmon with sautéed spinach and mushrooms. It is very easy to make. I spray a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Then I place a piece of salmon in the dish, top it with a pat of butter, and sprinkle it with Tony Chachere’s seasoning. I bake it at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. While the fish is baking, I put some light olive oil in a pan with some minced garlic. I add fresh spinach and fresh mushrooms. I add some salt while it is cooking. That’s it! The meal is quick, easy, and tastes yummy.

During this last week, I did drink more water. Except for yesterday and today, I drank between 9 and 11 glasses per day. Drinking cold water seems to help me drink more of it. I also exercised more this week. I walked three days after work. Each day, I walked for an hour. According to the program, my total number of steps to reach was 86,000. I walked 59,855. I was also suppose to climb 27 flights of steps. I climbed a total of 29 flights of steps. My classroom is on the second floor, so meeting this goal is relatively easy. I had several other exercises to complete (jumping jacks, squats, planks, jog punches, ice skaters, high knees) throughout the week. I did NOT complete any of these exercises. There is only so much time in a day. And, with after-school meetings and play practice for two hours in the evening, as well as taking care of personal tasks at home, fitting everything in each day can be a challenge. It’s not perfect, but a good start in the right direction. In my opinion, anything is better than nothing.

So, what’s next? The next part of The Clean 20 program is the reemergence period which is also 20 days. This period of time is where you can reintroduce some of the foods that were eliminated during the 20 days of clean eating. However, it is definitely not adding back the sugar, soda, potato ships, fried foods, etc. that can be harmful to your body when consumed on a regular basis. Dr. Ian K. Smith recommends creating a list of banned foods and a list of reintroduced foods. He also recommends reintroducing foods slowly. My goal is to continue eating pretty much like I have been eating for the last three weeks. One item that I have missed while eating clean is Blue Plate mayonnaise, so I will probably sneak in a little here and there.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits Cake

I must admit that yesterday I ate perfectly clean for breakfast and lunch, but for dinner, I did treat myself. My hubby and I stayed in New Orleans last night to attend a play. We ate dinner at Café at the Square in the Blake Hotel. I ordered the Shrimp and Grits Cake with a salad. It was happy hour, so I ordered a glass of red wine. My hubby and I also split an appetizer which was Mozzarella Croquettes. The meal was fantastic! Since I could not eat all of my entrée, and we did not finish the appetizer, we took it back to our room. We happily split the leftovers for breakfast this morning.

I’m feeling positive about my health and fitness goals, dear reader. Eating clean these last couple of weeks has gotten me closer to my goal of losing 19 pounds by the end of the year. It is doable. It is important to my health. And, it is necessary for me to live my best life. Happiness!

“To keep the body in good health is a duty; otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha

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Kale Chips

Kale Chips

I completed Week 2 of The Clean 20. Overall, I am feeling successful even though I am still a work in progress, for sure. The good news is I have lost an additional three pounds this week which brings me to a total of six pounds lost since I started eating clean. I have stuck to my plan of eating clean 98% of the time. Last night for dinner, I ate a thinly cut piece of steak with no condiments and a baked sweet potato. There is no beef on Smith’s plan, yet there are health benefits from incorporating it in your diet. For example, he mentions that beef is among the best sources of foods that contain zinc which is important for our brains. So, I am not going to beat myself up too much for having my beef. The victory is that I did not eat it with BBQ sauce which is laden with sugar. Also, during the week, I did eat a frozen organic meal for dinner. It was one of Amy’s Bowls (Mexican Casserole made with organic corn and beans topped with enchilada sauce and cheese). I liked it! It was quite tasty and convenient. The meal is gluten free, contains no GMOs, includes 12 grams of protein and only 4 grams of sugar. It does have 780mg of sodium, so if sodium intake is an issue, this may not be a good food option. Nevertheless, it is a processed food that is not listed on The Clean 20.

Let’s talk about processed foods for a minute because not all processed foods are equal. When a food is processed, it is undergoing a deliberate change to the food before it is eaten. Freezing, drying, cooking, and canning are ways that foods can be processed. Some processed foods go through minimal processing (bagged spinach) while others go through heavier processing (granola bars). Therefore, it is imperative to read labels on any foods that are processed to discern if these foods can be a part of a clean eating diet.

Processed FoodsSome processed foods that I have incorporated in my clean eating repertoire include: Wholly Chunky Avocado minis (only one ingredient, Hass Avocados), Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt (terrific substitute for sour cream), Sargento Balanced Breaks snack pack (not thrilled with the 8g of sugar that comes from the golden raisin medley), Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, Primal Kitchen Ketchup (organic and unsweetened; no added sugar); Amy’s Organic Soup: Black Bean Vegetable (does contain 5g sugar; organic and gluten free; I get two servings (3/4 cup each) out of a can and pair it with a sandwich), Amy’s Bowls (Mexican Casserole), Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread. I also made kale chips this week. It was interesting. I burned my first batch even though I followed the directions carefully. I received confirmation from co-workers that my second batch was successful. So, I can add kale chips to my clean eating list and add a little more crunch to my life.

I’m sure you are wondering, dear reader, how well did Kat do this week with meeting her water intake and exercise goals. Both were still challenging. On average, I am drinking about 6 glasses of water per day. As for exercise, I did none beyond my walking and climbing stairs at work. I am NOT meeting the exercise goals outlined in The Clean 20. Planning and prioritizing are the key with both of these challenges. Smith writes on Day 9 of The Clean 20, “As you embark on a journey to better health, you need to understand that making perfect decisions in what you eat and how you move is not a requirement and, in fact, could be a self-defeating goal. Try your best to remain true to your purpose, but remember that there’s more to life than what’s on your plate or in your cup” (122). Sometimes, we need to make decisions that can be hard because of our circumstances. Surprisingly, I passed on pepperoni pizza at the staff meeting on Tuesday afternoon. I LOVE pepperoni pizza! I planned accordingly and ate my carrots with hummus instead. And, it was fine. Does this mean that I will never eat pepperoni pizza again? Of course not! It means that I made a commitment to eat clean for 20 days to improve my health.

That’s a wrap, dear reader. Since starting my clean eating journey, I am feeling better both physically and mentally. And, I need to feel my best because I start play practice tomorrow afternoon which means my life is about to get crazy…in an exciting way. Happiness!

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” ~ Anthony Robbins

 

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Clean 20This week I decreased added sugar, reduced process food, reduced consuming unnecessary additives, and incorporated most of the foods recommended in The Clean 20 by Dr. Ian K. Smith. I lost 3 pounds. One of the main observations that I have made so far is that I do not feel as bloated as I have been after eating meals. Surprisingly, I do not miss the added sugar; however, I do miss the convenience of processed food. Thankfully, I like the foods on the clean eating list because I eat many of them already.

While I am following The Clean 20 rules and taking suggestions from the program’s menus about what to eat, I am not eating the meals in the exact order that Smith has outlined in the book. It is just not realistic for me. I do not like to cook, so preparing Baked Apple Oatmeal Cups for breakfast and Herb-encrusted grilled skinless chicken breast with salad greens for lunch is not going to work for me. However, I will eat my cup of oatmeal with blueberries mixed with a 1/4 cup of reduced fat milk for breakfast and a turkey sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread with 5 ounces of turkey, a slice of pepper jack cheese, a tomato, and mustard with a 3/4 cup of black bean vegetable soup.

Let’s discuss coffee for a moment. I LOVE coffee! What I do not love is drinking black coffee. Therefore, when I prepare my 10 ounce cup of coffee in the morning, it includes the coffee (K cup), one packet of Truvia, a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar (cuts the aftertaste of the Truvia), and 1 tablespoon of half & half. My coffee contains about two grams of sugar. According to Jackie Warner, who wrote This is Why You’re Fat, “Choose foods with five grams of sugar per serving or less. The body doesn’t register anything five grams and under, so that is optimal” (35). Many afternoons, I enjoy a second 10 ounce cup of coffee. Even with my miniscule amount of sugar that I add, I am within my sugar limits.

The clean eating challenges that I faced this week included not drinking enough water, not being able to eat perfectly on a schedule, and eating dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. When I am home, I come close to consuming the recommended amount of water (between 8 and 10 cups per day) suggested on the program. When I am at work, not so much. I have always struggled with consistently drinking enough water during the work day. I’m not sure how to solve this issue; however, I’m not giving up. As for my eating schedule, I had a couple of long meetings this week that interfered with me eating my morning snack or lunch on time, and I attended an afternoon swim meet with no afternoon snack and eating a late dinner. Being overly hungry can lead to overeating or reaching for the wrong food choices. I prevailed, but there was a time or two this week that I wanted to consume something extra and not so clean or take a trip through a fast food drive-thru. Also, eating out or having someone cook for you can be a challenge on any clean eating program. On Friday evenings, my mother-in-law is kind enough to cook dinner for my family. And, she cooks well. Unfortunately for me, dinner this week was fried catfish, mashed potatoes, carrots, and chocolate cake. I ate it all in moderation.

As for exercise, I failed miserably this week. I only walked on Monday (off). I do walk a bunch around the school’s campus and climb a fair amount of stairs while working, but I am not hitting the recommended amount of steps or completing the exercises in the program. All excuses, but here it goes: too hot, tired (probably from not drinking enough water), no working earbuds for phone, lack of motivation.

I am a work in progress, dear reader. Even though I did not follow the program this week to the letter, I did make more positive than negative choices to improve my health. And, I’m not giving up because my desire to be healthier outweighs my desire for eating bowls of Blue Bell’s “Happy Tracks” ice cream. Happiness!

“What’s important is that you make the leap. Jump high and hard with intention and heart.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

 

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PutnamcountyspellingbeealbumcoverI DID IT! Two weeks ago, I auditioned for my first musical at The New Octavians, a local community theatre in Hammond. The show that I auditioned for is called The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and it will be directed by Rachael Knaps. It is a musical comedy centered on a fictional spelling bee held at a middle school where six oddball teens will compete, and three unconventional adults will run the show. Well (drum roll), my name made its way on the cast list. I was offered a role, and I accepted it! I will be playing Mitch Mahoney, who happens to be an ex-con assigned to the spelling bee to fulfill a community service requirement. HA! I’m SUPER excited about getting cast and cannot thank my voice coach Laura enough for all of her help preparing me for the audition. We worked intensively together for two weeks preparing me to belt out “The Kite” and the hard work paid off. Go, me! The performances will be in November.

In addition to coming clean about what I have been doing with my singing and acting, I’ve also been reading about eating clean. #8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read The Clean 20 by Ian K. Smith, M.D. I learned about Dr. Ian K. Smith and his approach to eating clean and intermittent fasting on Molly Kimball’s podcast Fueled: Wellness + Nutrition. I liked what he had to say, so I decided to check out his new book Clean & Lean and discovered the book he wrote previously, The Clean 20, that focuses on 20 clean foods that are incorporated in a complete 20-day clean-eating program. The program includes menus, recipes, exercise suggestions, motivation, and the benefits of eating these clean foods. Therefore, I am starting the program on Monday (Labor Day). It will require food prep and planning, as well as following “The Clean 20 Rules” of which there are fourteen. Some will be easy to follow (dairy is good, no alcohol, canned and frozen are permitted), and others will be much harder (no added sugar, no soda, no frying, careful with condiments). Along with reading the book, I joined Smith’s Facebook group Cleaner Get Leaner. The group was created as a companion to his Clean & Lean book; however, since I will eventually be reading that book in the near future, I decided the extra motivation and encouragement could be beneficial. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with the clean eating program.

In Other News:

I dropped my gym membership. I thought going to the gym at least once per week this year (#5) on my 19 for 2019 list would be easy, but it has not. I went ONE time in July and walked on the treadmill. Since Andrew can exercise at the Rec Sports & Wellness Student Activity Center at SLU and I’m not going to the gym regularly, I decided to save some money and cancel our membership.

It’s Labor Day weekend, dear reader, and for many of you that means an extra day off from your job. I hope you will be able to enjoy the additional downtime. Happiness!

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the essence of life — joy. We get so bogged down in the process of “doing” that we forget about the state of “being” and how important it is to enjoy where we are and not always look to where we want to be.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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