Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fix your hair!

Apparently, readers have written to this journalist, regarding her picture:

“How could anyone take seriously anything written by an author whose accompanying picture makes her look like a tramp, with greasy, matted, uncombed hair?” a fellow named David wrote me recently.
“For heaven sake, comb your hair,” offered a woman named Jacquie. “Your picture instills not one iota of a knowledgeable person.”
“I would ask you to develop some insight,” wrote Amy, “but anyone who thinks the hairstyle you have is attractive likely is overflowing with too much narcissism to grasp the idea of personal insight.”

What the fuck? This makes me want to punch people.

In the face.

With my car.

Perhaps I'm just being yet another example of this:
“Hair is a powerful symbol for women,” she said. “It’s where a woman’s appearance sort of begins, at the top of the body. When women have unruly hair they are considered to be disobedient and uncontrollable.”
Well, then, good. Because
Well-behaved women seldom make history. -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
To judge someone based on their hair is bullshit. And all too common. But seriously, complete, utter, total bullshit. And the same is true for every other aspect of appearance that we use to be Judgy McJudgersons.

Let's ALL knock off the bullshit.

Now. Yesterday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm so busy!

How to Quit Being Overwhelmed for Good

It's time we all stopped being so busy.
It's become a bit cultish, really. Or like a badge of honor. It has become unacceptable to be anything but busy. But beyond that, it has become an unfortunate way we keep from truly engaging with each other, and with the present moment.
I'm not suggesting we quit our jobs or shirk our responsibilities; what I am proposing is a shift in attitude that requires a few simple, meaningful changes.
Imagine that you had a lover, and every activity with him or her brought feelings of anxiety. You spent lots of time together, but you were always overwhelmed and looking ahead to the next time you would meet and wonder how that would be. When we are constantly wrapped up in a state of overwhelm, this is what we are doing to our lives.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fear of Change

A Facebook post from Thomas Plummer, who drops daily knowledge bombs, and is worth your time to follow.

It isn't change that terrifies us; it is the fear of change that keeps us locked into the same old failing patterns in our lives. Often, the fear of change is such a powerful force that many would rather die than face the perceived demons and you can see this in every smoker or seriously overweight person. This person desperately wants change, but the perceived process of making this change is far scarier than to just keep on keeping on with the same old failing behavior. What the person is doing isn't working for him, but changing is far scarier than just dying slowly. This fear usually turns out to be the invisible monster under your child's bed that is imagination and dustballs and never the horrible reality we anticipate. The longer the mind dwells on the possibility of change, the faster it moves toward worse case scenario. If you are fearful of change in your life or business, focus on what might work rather than spend all your time anticipating the absolute worst case ever; that seldom ever happens except in your mind. Ask yourself this, "What if it works? Where will I be then?" Focus on the best case and let the silly monster stay under the bed with your old sweat socks where he belongs.

Absolutely, 100% true.

How many times were you afraid of doing something, maybe even outright terrified, yet did it anyway - and regretted it? Probably never.

How many times did you do this, and realize: "That wasn't so bad"? Probably every single damned time.

It's never as bad as you worry it will be, and it's never as HARD as you worry it will be. And if the end result is something you know that you want, why the hell would you let the fear of change stop you?

I've been in this boat recently regarding my job. I know what I want to do, and it's not what I'm doing now.

But making that change is scary, it's hard, it's uncomfortable, it's vulnerable - and what if my dream job really isn't, and I'll wish I had just stayed where I am? Because where I am is okay, it pays the bills, it's fine, maybe I should just settle down & stay here.

That's the voice of fear. Fuck that voice! It's pointless to listen to that claptrap.

If it turns out this dream job isn't, then I'm back where I am now: at my formerly-dream-job that no longer fits me, and I'll find something that fits better. It won't be the end of the world that the voice of fear is constantly projecting.

Most importantly: "What if it works? Where will I be then?" I'll be at my freaking DREAM JOB, that's where I'll be! It would be stupid as hell to let the fear of change outweigh the possibility of landing my dream job. 

I can't and won't let the fear of change stop me. I won't settle for that small life, and I don't want you to, either.

Go big. Be more. Punch your fears in the face, and run toward all the glorious possibilities on your horizon.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Love Your Fate


It's written like some kind of bizarre karate poetry, and it's a fantastic message.

Amor Fati
Every second you spend doing things that aren’t good for you to do
that aren’t the best use of your time,
you’re becoming a worse at things
that are good for you which may include being a
-business person
and whatever else you are. 
Are you trying to be someone else’s idea of better?
Is that why you want more muscle and less fat?
Is that why you want to be able to do that feat of strength?

Would you still be interested in those things
if no one else were watching or would ever know?



Decide that your best you is okay.

In fact, it's better than okay: it's perfect.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Green with envy?

4 Ways to Stop Feeling Jealous of Other Women 

Remember high school? The social politics were ridiculous. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to be an adult! 
I knew that I would grow up, and all of that “popular kids” vs “nobodies” stuff would go away. 
Somehow, though, “grown-up life” ended up feeling like more of the same. Except now the comparisons were of new homes, jobs and designer diaper bags! 
The thing is, that as long as you are looking for it, you will always find someone who has something that seems better than what you have. 
There is always a woman who just seems to have you beat in some way. She seems more successful. She seems to have her life together, is smarter, more charming. More whatever.
A great post; go read the tips here:

And then pop back to read my confession about exactly this topic.

I'm known to be a pull-up machine. Like, addicted to doing them, addicted to tracking them, addicted to helping others do them, addicted to talking about them. I'm planning to do a million pounds of pull-ups over the course of the year, and have a goal of a single-arm chin-up. Yesterday my trainer & another trainer made jokes about me lat-punching people. I'm all about the pull-ups.

At the end of 2014, I celebragged on Facebook about my 5280 pulls, and challenged others to a competition for 2015. I somehow had 7 takers on that challenge, and so I created a spreadsheet for us all to track, complete with a weighted component & graphs.

Game on, bitches, come watch me kick ass!

And then I started losing.

By "losing," of course, I only mean I'm not in first place. I'm bouncing around 3rd/4th. 1st place is solidly owned by a friend who's turned into a pull-up BEAST, consistently doing massive amounts of them. She's doing about 250 a week, versus my "mere" 200, so every week she pulls farther and farther away. As of yesterday, March 17, she's done 2660 and I've done 2160.

I've had days where this has frustrated me, and I've thought about when/how I could add more, to at least keep up. Because dammit, this is supposed to be MY THING. Yet I'm in a high-stress work season, where I can't add more, even more of something that's so easy for me. So maybe I'll add more when this ends, I'll have 8.5 months to catch up to her. And surely she'll have to dial back once HER high-stress work season kicks in. Yeah, we'll be close by year-end. And, I weigh 20 lbs more, so at the very least I should be able to win the weighted component.


Stop. Breathe. Think.

You know what my plan calls for? 130 a week. Not the 200 I'm actually doing. Right now I should be at 1437, but I'm actually at 2160.

Hold up! Stop and reread that: I'm at 150% of my plan. And note that my plan is seriously ambitious: 6900 pulls over the course of the year, a MEELLION pounds of pull-ups, which is 130% compared to last year.

But I'm currently on track to pull up 1,500,000 pounds over the year, which is HALF A MILLION POUNDS MORE THAN MY GOAL. That's completely insane! Maintaining this pace means I'll do an impressive 200% of the pulls I did last year.

I'm doing a ton more than last year, a ton more than my plan, because of the competitive spirit, because 3 other badasses keep raising the bar on what's normal, week after week, because of this woman that was making me so damn jealous.

When I truly stopped to absorb this, I realized I should be thanking this badass beast, not feeling jealous of her. I should encourage her pull-ups every single chance I get, because she is pulling ME up along with her! I owe my success to HER success.

For me, this is no longer a competition to beat each other. This is a competition against gravity, against tendinitis, to see just how much crazy we can pack into that single spreadsheet without injury or burnout. I want us all to do insane numbers FOR OURSELVES, whatever those numbers may be, regardless of the rest.

There's a dude in our competition who has been battling a chronic disease, and surgery recovery, and so many issues, it's a wonder he can do any pull-ups. For all it matters, he can come in last place with the same number of pull-ups I can log in a month, and he still wins at kicking life's ass.

And it's also true for me, and for the beast out in front of the numbers.

As long as we are still kicking & pulling, we are all winning in our individual game of life.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Take Care of YOU

Beautiful stuff:

Your Self-Care is Your (Damn) Divine Responsibility

Oftentimes though, our biggest untapped potential lives in the places that we are most resistant to going, that we are most afraid of. So, we decide to play small in our lives. We don’t risk. We don’t stand in the scarier arenas. We maintain status quo. The more we avoid taking care of our mind, body and souls, of doing the uncomfortable internal and external work to keep ourselves in our best mental and physical space, the less we take action. We become more afraid of external judgment, and the less we are willing to risk.
The more we ignore clearing the space of our CRAP, the more we become stuck in cycles of how things should look, of what other people think, how RIGHT we are, and how WRONG others are. We shift blame. We get caught up in US versus THEM. We live in our own bubble, numbed and protected, and leaving our potential totally untapped.

And after you're through with that great post, you can find many more fantastic posts here:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Whole 30, Round 2

Written September 7, 2013, after my second complete W30 (I did some short stints between them, a week or two here & there), that was extended to a W50 because I was still struggling with acne and terrible energy issues.

This is a nice "how to" & "lessons learned" type of summary.


These are my random musings, light-bulb thoughts, and lessons learned, recorded as I Whole30'd Whole50'd:

Weekly meal prep

Typical shopping cart.

 Every weekend I prepped meals for the coming week. It (usually/ideally) looked like so:

  •  Grocery shopping list (I put this on notepad in iPhone, pretty much permanently accurate):
    • salad veg (carrots, celery, cauliflower, bell peppers, peas, greens)
    • second head of cauliflower
    • asparagus or Brussels sprouts
    • 3-4 avocados
    • a LOT of sugar snap peas every single time they are on sale
    • couple fruits, usually apples & whatever was on sale (toward the end: bananas)
    • almonds
    • chicken breakfast sausage
    • eggs
    • giant bags of jerky or normal-size bags of sale jerky - if I could find it
    • Larabars
    • can or two of coconut milk
    • bottle kombucha (for the drive home!)
  • Saturday noon-ish
    • Put a whole chicken or a couple roasts into the slow cooker, sprinkle on some spices, walk away
  • Sunday AM
    • Cook 2 packages chicken sausage in big pan; put all into one container in the fridge
    • Chop a head of cauliflower into a 9x13 pan along with an onion, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 350 for an hour
    • Put tinfoil on a baking sheet, add yams to oven w/ cauliflower
      • HOT TIP: if it was too damn hot for the oven, I'd time them to finish just before leaving the house for a long while OR put them in the slow cooker
    • Set out 6 containers and chop up salad veg, evenly distribute among containers, stack in fridge
    • Dig out stir-fry-type veg from the CSA delivery, chop 'em up, put into finished chicken sausage pan, sprinkle on some spices, turn to low
    • Portion out closed handfuls of nuts into snack-sized bags, and 2-ish oz jerky into snack-sized bags; divide between pantry stash and work bag (for desk stash)
    • When yams are done, pile into one container in the fridge (or just onto tinfoil)
    • When meat is done (in my world,slow-cooker meat is done at 24 hours - then you can EAT THE BONES), divide meat equally into proper portions (6-8 containers, depending on meat size and [I'll be honest] hunger while dividing) add a scoop of the finished stir-fry veg, stack in fridge (if this turns out blah: add Tabasco)
  • DONE. Get on with my life!
My basic meal template
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 3 chicken sausage links, few forkfuls cold kraut, a cubed or mashed yam, ~c asparagus or Brussels sprouts or cauliflower, several c coffee w/ coconut milk or coconut oil
  • Post-workout snack (if I did class): banana, apple, yam, or Larabar
  • Pre-workout snack: handful nuts
  • Post-workout snack (unless straight to lunch, which is more common): banana, apple, yam, or Larabar
  • Lunch: chicken w/ seasonings, tuna w/ mustard, or pork w/ seasonings; stir fry, steamed veg, or snap peas; yam, apple, banana, or Larabar
  • Snack (only if truly hungry, or pre-emptively if a late supper or another workout before supper): handful nuts
  • Supper: salad w/ .5-1 avocado; turkey pepperoni dipped into TC guac, tuna w/ mustard, or jerky; serving of fruit
With this, the only meal I'm actually cooking each day is breakfast, because it's my absolute favorite. Lunch effort involves pushing buttons on a microwave. Supper involves, at most, cutting up an avocado and opening a can of tuna. Eat and get on with my life!

Lessons learned

Not making paleo-fied junk food really kills the cravings. When my meals are simple standards, I am plenty satisfied nutritionally, and the cravings begin to fall away. When I'm baking or even just making more complicated recipes, I find myself struggling not to over-eat. I do better to make my meals all at once on the weekend (except breakfast) and eat the same damn thing every damn day.

I do really well with a black-and-white "food is fuel" mantra. I don't care that some may think that's not healthy. It keeps me from obsessing, and that IS healthy. Sure, there's probably a balance where I can eat to celebrate, or whatever, but after nearly 35 years spent being an emotional eater, I am finding a lot more peace at the opposite end of the spectrum. I think it's best FOR ME to let the balance "pull" me from this end rather than trying to jump to the middle and struggle struggle struggle not to return to the emotional end. Sort of like it's easier to simply NOT BUY a jar of coconut butter than it is to buy it but moderate intake. At some point in my life, I'll be able to moderate. Now is not that time, so there's no point in even trying.

Relatedly, I am doing fine with eating-while-doing. Whole9 folks want you to stop and focus on your meal, eat until you feel full, truly experience it. Forget that - for me. I don't have time, I don't want to make time, I don't benefit from this. Food is fuel, so hork it down and get on with my day. Not healthy? Well, it's healthier than stressing about how I'm supposed to find two hours for a workout + lunch break.

I had plenty of energy for my workouts - really began to notice a difference around the 4/5-week mark. In my entire 50 days, I had just THREE full-rest days. In the past, this was a recipe for adrenal burnout, injury, or both. With the boost in calories (I estimated in my 6th week, and I was coming in at 2000-2200 average), this didn't happen.

It's really easy for a person who's fine eating the same meals every single day. My husband makes his own food, though he operates on a similar basis: cooking up a big meal for week's worth of lunches, but enjoys grilling when he gets home, so he does get some variety. Kids? I really have no advice. Sorry, visit Google for that one.

Whole 30, Round 1: Pictures

Written May 5, 2011, at the conclusion of my first Whole30. Pictures are powerful, no?


Here are pictures of my make-up-free face throughout the Whole30 experiment and beyond.

This is what I call an "I can't believe I'm actually sharing this" post, but if this helps anyone to decide to give the Whole30 challenge a whirl, then it's absolutely worth doing.

3/17, the day I started Whole30
It actually doesn't look too bad here.

3/24, one week in
It's worse! And I double-checked: these dates are correct.
So glad I didn't give up at this point.

4/1, two weeks in
This would be the point where I posted a message to Whole9's FB page and asked whether I should cut out more because it felt like I was making no progress at all.
And their reply was essentially, "Patience, Grasshoppah."

4/8, three weeks in
Some progress, but not great.

4/15, four weeks in
Awful giant cysts have stopped!

4/21, five weeks in, & ready to test.
Taken two days after adding daily soy intake.

4/25, six days after adding daily soy intake.
Cysts return with a vengeance.
Soy is now on the "Never worth eating" list.

5/1, 8 days after stopping daily soy intake.
No cysts! For my skin, this is essentially clear; these are just old blemishes still healing, nothing NEW showing up.
Time to test something else.

BUT WAIT! There's more!

Written January 7, 2012.


I just learned that Whole9 has a list of testimonials detailing symptoms/conditions fixed by the Whole30 program, and they included a link to my pictorial acne post [re-posted above]!

So for those link-clickers who wander over to look at that post, I'm throwing in a recent picture to show how absolutely fantastic my skin looks now [continuing to eat almost 100% Paleo]:

Obviously I am wearing makeup, but there isn't a single blemish under there, I swear!
The Whole30 program really & truly did change my life. If you are debating giving it a whirl, for any reason whatsoever, I can't recommend it enough.

Stop flinching and just go for it.

Whole30, Round 1

Written April 20, 2011, at the completion of my FIRST Whole30, also my first encounter with Paleo eating. I tried it because I had terrible cystic acne.


The Whole30 plan promise:

This will change your life.
We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact – the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and thousands of people have since done it, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.

That sounds pretty dramatic, no? In my case, since I'd been eating "mostly" according to this plan already, I haven't seen any dramatic changes in the way I operate on a daily basis.

And yet, more and more, I've come to see this plan as a way of life, not a temporary diet. I see absolute sense in avoiding foods that are bad for you despite how good they taste. Why eat junk that tastes good for such a short, sweet moment, but have a lasting, detrimental impact on your health and your waistline?

Because it's not about depriving yourself of all the good things in life; once that addiction to junk disappears, you will realize there are plenty of wonderful whole foods that are better than those old "good things" by far. A bowl of fresh blueberries, a perfectly-done hot-off-the-grill steak, bacon, a colorful salad full of crunchy vegetables & zippy balsamic vinegar - these things are freaking awesome! A delicious, healthy, natural, whole-food meal can be just as satisfying as a delicious but unhealthy meal; "delicious" & "healthy" are not mutually-exclusive terms!

For the most part, my cravings have disappeared, except when my brain has been brought very low by other things. And I will confess that I've still not found a way to eat a single serving of a nut butter (unless we're talking one single serving after another). It's a huge trigger food for me; even when life is great and I'm feeling good, I can't stop at two tiny tablespoons of that salty, fatty, sweet deliciousness. My solution is to buy the single-serving packets only. I have hopes that some day I'll move past this need, but this is where I am today. Strategize!

Now, as to the results I was truly after: is my acne improved? Yes! It's not perfect skin, but it's skin I'd allow a running partner to see un-made-up (not the case a month ago).

But, a question remains: is the acne improvement due to the elimination of added sweeteners, processed foods, grains, legumes, & white potatoes - or is it due to the addition of a zinc supplement specifically targeting acne?

And that's a very good question. I'm testing it like so: zinc supplement remains at twice-daily intake level. Add back one non-Whole-30-approved food for 7 days, eating it daily, in small amounts - and see what happens. No reaction? Remove it and try something else. So clearly, this will be a long, ongoing process.

This week I'm testing soy: every morning I'm eating Banquet Brown n Serve sausages that contain added soy protein. (Not my first choice to test, but they were leftovers from our Relay for Life breakfast fundraiser last week, and so that's my easiest, cheapest option.)

Regardless of what food ends up being the acne trigger, my expectation is that I'll continue to follow the Whole30 guidelines most of the time, for the rest of my life. Like I said above, why fill my body with junk it does not want or need? But when I have a specific craving, or I'm at a birthday party, or whatever - unless I'm allergic, it's going to be okay if I indulge. But I'm talking once in a while - not daily, not weekly, and not junk I'll keep stocked in my house, either.

I'm an athlete. Food is fuel. Fuel is performance. And I want to perform the best I possibly can.


Nia Shanks is one of my favorite bloggers. I love & agree with pretty much everything she writes. This post lays out almost every single big rock that matters, IMO:

It's fabulous, and I want you (everyone!)  to read it and GET IT. I want everyone to know, believe, understand, BE everything on her list.

She presents 13 keys to being more, not less. If there is too much NEW to absorb at once, then pick just one to focus on & delve into a bit more. You can start with whichever one is most frustrating or important to you at this moment. Or perhaps you want to start on the small end, tackle something that you feel you can easily adjust in your mind, and make it a baby step toward the big scary fearful rocks.

Get clicky, get thinky, focus on improving your mindset in one area at a time. Or you could read everything she's ever written, all at once, with your brain screaming YES YES YES!! at every post.

The "be more" concept of this post speaks to my very soul. It is something I remind myself daily, sometimes hourly.

Think about the meek, timid, barely-speaks-above-a-whisper person that you want to pick up and shake sometimes, scream SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY FOR CHRISSAKE in their afraid-for-no-good-reason little face. All they want to do is hide from everyone because they are terrified to be themselves, to be seen, to be anything that anyone could ever be offended by. They don't just want to blend into the wallpaper, they want to BE the freaking wallpaper.

Do you love being around them? I sure don't (if that's not obvious).

Those people are massive energy vampires, constantly dragging you down into their pit of fear & worry, and we all need to avoid them like the infectious plague. Sometimes I find myself acting like that, and I hate it. When I recognize myself falling into that pit, I stop and remind myself to BE MORE. Who wants to live their life in that horrible, sad, SMALL place? Not this she-hulk.

Now, think about the loud, obnoxious people you know: the ones that grate on you when it's 7am and you're underslept and WHY ARE THEY SO LOUD FOR CHRISSAKE, can't they just shut up for once?

But don't you freaking LOVE being around them when you are your normal rested self (perhaps after more coffee)? Doesn't their bright, loud energy just overflow like a river, directly into you, infect you, make you silly, make you loud, make you downright obnoxious, too? And when you feel that giddy, don't you completely not care if others think you should shut up? And isn't it amazingly freeing to stop caring what others think?

Isn't it FAR MORE FUN to be your own true genuine self?!

I sure think so. So come on over, and be infectiously obnoxious with me. We'll have a grand old time! Be yourself, loudly and proudly, without shrinking, without fear, and we shall do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING we want to do.

THRIVE along with me, my friend!

It is better to be TOO MUCH than to be TOO LITTLE.

–Sabrina Marthaler Hoppe

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

1000 words & $0.02


Screw anyone* who tells you how you ought to look.

Throw them out of your life**, because they absolutely, positively, 100% do not deserve to be in it.

The only question that matters:
What do you want to be?

*Including the horrible voice inside your head.

**I suggest into a brick wall.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Got Job Angst?

Then maybe you ought to read this:

If you are feeling stuck, uninspired, disrespected, and below your potential, I need you to know that it’s OK to walk away. It’s OK to dream bigger and to believe you’re capable of more. You are capable of more. You deserve to be happy at work; no matter what type of work you do.

Oh, does this hit home for me right now. And although I'm still stuck at a job I don't want right now, I've found created a light to guide me out of this dark hole, and I can already tell you she is absolutely 100% right.

And after that, keep clicking & reading. Lots of good stuff on that site!

You may want to read basically everything here:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Your Body is Powerful

Another well-written post about what your body can DO, not how it LOOKS. 

The fact that you have a body — regardless of your appearance or ability level — means that you innately have access to physical power. Your body is an instrument to be used for your benefit, and not a burden to drag around, hiding and fixing along the way. Want to develop positive body image? When you learn to value your body for what it can do rather than what it looks like, you improve your body image and gain a more powerful sense of control. The truth is, regardless of what you look like, or what you think you look like, you can feel good about yourself because you are not your appearance.

This concept is what I'm all about. My life changed for the better, immensely, when I finally focused on my abilities over my appearance, and I want everyone to learn this lesson - the easy way. Young women, especially - please share these concepts with and & all of the young women in your life. Be the voice that tells them, repeatedly, they are a shining light in this world, every day, precious & treasured, without any regard to their looks.

This entire website is invaluable. Share it with everyone you know: men & women both will benefit from it. It's definitely helped me in building a more critical & discerning eye with which to view the onslaught of media telling women that worth is based on appearance, and it's helped me to change how I compliment people & lift them up. I can't recommend it enough!