Still Fat?


So how’s that diet going?

Short answer: if you have to ask, it’s not going well.

I went vegan, and the first week felt wonderful. The next week I was draggy and starving and lethargic and grumpy and felt like I ought to be crawling across the floor with my tin begging cup held out to strangers for scraps.

So I ate things that weren’t on my diet. Then I ate everything in the house, and have since been proceeding to snack my way through every edible item on the east coast. When I hit Maine lobster, I’ll have to turn around and head back the other way…’til I get to key lime pie. 🙂

Seriously, my reasons to diet remain the same. I need to increase health and decrease my size so I can downsize my wardrobe. I can’t simplify my closets until I get this under control.

So once again I find myself publicly addressing the problem. Something’s gotta give, and it all comes down to me making a decision I can stick to, while on my very busy schedule.

Here it goes: 2013 is going to be the year of eating mindfully. I’m not going to specify a weight loss goal or a size goal. I’m not going to promise to only eat vegetables or drink water or to never touch a Diet Coke again. That didn’t work out so well!

I AM going to eat mindfully, all year long. I’m going to make time for exercise. I am going to set goals that focus on what I do, (say, walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week,) instead of “lose 30 pounds as quickly as possible”.

I am going to try out different diets sequentially to see what makes me feel the best. (Every body is different, and what works for one person won’t work for another. I’m going to try on different diets the way you try on shoes, to see what feels good.)

I’m going to start with this: The Candida Diet. Anyone familiar with natural healing methods has heard of the Candida Diet, (which really ought to be “The Anti-Candida Diet,” because no one wants to SUPPORT candida overgrowth).

Anyway, the theory is this: our systems naturally have some amount of candida. An overgrowth of candida causes problems…the typical female “yeast infection,” oral thrush, skin problems, etc. It also can cause problems that are more covert and confusing: from mood – brain fog, inability to focus, irritability;  to respiratory distress –  cough, sinus issues, phlegm, to stomach problems – constipation, diarrhea, gas, reflux, to skin problems and nail fungus. (This is not an exhaustive list. The list of possible candida symptoms is incredibly long.)

The good part: candida overgrowth can be healed almost entirely by diet. Since the overgrowth is fed by carbohydrates, a low carbohydrate diet with lots of pure, nourishing foods will help get the overgrowth under control. There are natural supplements you can take to help get rid of candida, such as capryl (derived from coconut) and grapefruit seed oil. (There are also pharmaceutical pills that can help with candida, but they might destroy your liver while they’re at it. )

The excellent news: The candida diet WILL help with weight loss. Since the ingredients are very, very pure, it will also help with kidney and liver function…important to support the body during a time of change. (When the candida dies, they release toxins in your bloodstream, which must then be collected & excreted. Your liver needs to be able to clean out the toxins quickly.)

The bad news: Candida die-off is always unpleasant, as it can cause unusual tiredness, headaches, even skin issues.

So yeah, I’m jumping back in the water again. This time I promise to post once per week on how the diet is going, & what I’m gonna try next. Start date: December 31, 2012 – because it’s a Monday!

If anyone has tried the Candida Diet before, tell me about your experience with it. If you’ve found something that helped with weight loss, share that too! I’d like to hear some positive stories from the trenches!

Wish me the best!


Decluttering Pure Junk


If I am working on simplifying, (which means, in part, “decluttering”,) then why am I hanging onto a 48 year old teddy bear? And a 42-year-old badly-crafted turtle with a busted tail?

It’s not because they’re so pretty!

Old teddy bear
Teddy Bear
Told ya.

These are things that were mine when I was little, which my mother saved because they reminded her of the cute, tiny version of me.

The teddy bear was something I picked up at a store when I was a one-year-old. I loved it, and it was the first thing I’d “asked” for, so my parents bought it.

My one-year-old self had lousy taste. This is the homeliest bear you are ever likely to see, and he has fur that feels like grated pop bottles…which is misleading, because apparently recycled pop bottles can make a pretty soft fabric. But really, if you went in your kitchen right this minute and grated up your Sprite bottle with a standard-issue cheese grater…the resulting mess would feel like this bear.

The bear’s one redeeming feature is his passing resemblance to Dancing Bear, of Captain Kangaroo fame.

I don’t know if there was ever a licensed Dancing Bear doll, but I know my five-year-old self would have begged for it. Captain Kangaroo spoke through the camera directly to me. He loved me, thought I was special, and the feeling was mutual. And if Captain Kangaroo thought it was a good idea to hang out with a strange, mouthless, silent, dancing bear–well, ok, count me in.

But no, my bear is not actually Dancing Bear. He’s just a homely teddy, who found himself a home.

For a long, long, LONG time.

The turtle was an art project from second grade. I remember the feeling of my fingers in  the clay, and how much I really wanted to make a horse, but knew there was no way to make it recognizable. I made the turtle because, stubby animal that he is, his fat little legs would both stay on his body and hold him upright.  I remember liking the pale color scheme I chose a lot more before the glaze shined it up.

My parents thought the turtle was pure genius because I made his legs “walking”.

I was seven, people! I was doing good to have a total of four legs on my turtle. His legs looked like they were “walking” because I couldn’t line them up neatly the way I wanted them.

While it was sweet that Mom saved those things for me, there’s really no point in saving those things for MYSELF. Then what happens? I eventually die and my children are faced with, amongst all my other possessions, a 79-year-old teddy bear and a 73-year old turtle?


But I hate to just toss ’em out.

So here’s what’s gonna happen: I’m going to do a photo project with these things. I’m going to honor them by photographing them in a memorable way, perhaps posting a few for your amusement, then giving teddy & turtle an honorable burial.

At sea.

With cement overshoes.

Those ugly suckers have got to GO!

Family First


Sometimes you just have to stop and remember what’s important. Simplifying your life is always about figuring out what is important…and what’s not.

Unfortunately, sometimes a lot of things are important. Bills need paying. The house needs cleaning, Meals need cooking.

We have paying jobs that must get done if we are to pay the bills, and we have volunteer activities that give our lives meaning. On any given day, there are a thousand different things that are pulling at us, begging for attention.

The worst thing about having a mile-long laundry list of tasks is the feeling…the FEAR, really, that we’ll choose to do the wrong thing.

And the absolute worst feeling is, at the end of the day, realizing that you chose wrong.

I’m thinking of this because I dropped my laundry list of “to-do’s” Wednesday to go to my sister’s house. I hadn’t seen her in weeks, because we have been busy and I’ve been sick. But in the last few days, a stomach virus ripped through her household, dropping the whole family like dominoes.

They needed help.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t an instant decision. I had a lot of things that really, really needed to be done at home.

And I was really, really scared of getting the stomach bug.


I scratched my head and mulled. What it came down to was this: how would I feel, looking back, if I DIDN’T go? Would I want to step back in time and slap myself?


I went to help, but what I got was sheer delight: my absolutely adorable tiny niece and nephew toddling around in their footie pajamas, giggling, jabbering, and being adorable in the way that only tiny toddlers can.

I got the kinds of grins from them that mean that they know me, they trust me to be there for hugs and diaper changes and doling out lunches and sippy cups. They like it when I turn them upside down or toss them around, because they trust me to be fun.

Those kids have my heart in the palms of their itty-bitty hands.

I wasn’t there near as much for my first niece and nephew, the twins’ big brother and sister…I was off in another state, raising my own kids. I loved them, but I wasn’t always THERE.

With these two, things are different. My children are grown, and I live much closer than before. This time, both of their grandmothers are gone.

My “auntiehood” got a lot more important when that happened.

I want to be there for these babies.

Even at risk of a stomach virus.

You can read this and think that I’m patting myself on the back for braving the virus and being a nice sister. If so, you are wrong.

I braved the virus for myself. Because that family…my sister and her kids, matter that much to ME. Because having those babies recognize me as part of their lives is worth any effort it takes to get to my sister’s house, even at the busiest times. Or the sickest times.

Babies don’t last long, and relationships are built early.

Simplifying means focusing on the most important things in your life. And the most important things are always people.  When in doubt, choose love.

You’ll be glad you did.

Vegan Me.


What would you eat on the last night of your life?

Do you have it planned? Do you know the menu?
On the last night of my life…my OLD life, I eat this:
It’s two eclairs, shorter than my little finger, on a tiny plate. I bought them frozen, and they taste like sawdust with a sprinkling of chocolate. That’s probably what they are.
In the interests of full disclosure I will say this: I did not eat two. I ate many. They all tasted like sawdust, and I ate them anyway. Because that is what I do when I’m getting ready to start a diet.
And this:
It is a plate of greasy, homemade food. Fried pork chops, corn, peas, biscuits and gravy. I don’t make gravy. The last time I did so was probably five years ago. That stuff’s just BAD for you!
So why am I eating sweets and greasy food?
This: I’m going to simplify my life in a big, big way…in one of those big ways that might make it more complicated for a while. 🙂
I’m going vegan.
Sound too hippie for you?
Let’s put it this way: I am making the shift to a plant-based diet. I’m not changing my religion, or telling anyone else what to eat. I’m not going to throw ketchup on people who wear fur. I will continue to bathe regularly, shave my legs and wear shoes made of leather. I’m not going to do anything different at all except…
Stop eating meat. Or eggs. Or butter. Or anything else that comes from animals.
While I’m at it…I’m dropping sugar.
And Diet Pepsi.
Let’s have a moment of silence for Diet Pepsi.
For me, Diet Pepsi is its own food group. It makes everything else taste better. It’s bubbles have delighted my nose and throat for decades. It provides my other basic nutrient…caffeine. It doesn’t have calories and it’s absolutely lousy for you…how many things can you say that about?
So long, Diet Pepsi.
*Sniff. Whimper.*
And since we are dropping things anyway, there goes gluten. Wheeeeee…..out the window. No bread, no sandwiches (except for the occasional one on gluten-free bread,) no cookies, no cake, no biscuits, no doughnuts.
(Ooooh. Another moment of silence for doughnuts, please. And any of you who have stock in Dunkin’…it WILL be dropping, so this is your heads-up!) Nothing at all made with wheat will touch my lips.
Or teeth. Or tongue.
Why? Partly because of my own health issues. I don’t do well with gluten, for example, and I drink entirely too much Diet Pepsi.
Why vegan?
Why not just eat less and exercise more?
Why not do something more moderate?
Because I’m not just a little concerned about the size of my midsection, I’m concerned about my overall health. I don’t like all the aches and pains that are cropping up. I don’t like it when there just isn’t enough energy to do what I want to do.
And I’m aging. Eleven months from now I’ll turn fifty.
Fifty is an age where things can really start to happen. It’s the age where doctors start to listen a little more closely to the thumping of your heart. They recommend a colonoscopy. They get a little more strident about your need for mammograms. They demand blood work and gripe about triglycerides and a1c numbers.
All because youth is no longer in your favor.
And my husband is even older. I’d like for both of us to have as much energy, strength, and overall happiness as we can.
This isn’t forever. I’m making a commitment to stay vegan and “clean” (no sugar, Diet Pepsi, etc.) through the end of the year. That’s two months. After that I’ll re-evaluate and see what I think my body needs to stay healthy.
It’s hard to say no to vegetables. I’m gonna say “yes” to every fruit and veggie I can get my hands on. I’m going to improve my digestion, brighten my skin, and hopefully get a little of this spare tire off of my belly. I’m going to feed myself as many micronutrients as I possibly can, shoving in superfoods like…well…like candy!
So yeah…that spare tire thing. What do you call yours? That extra roll around your middle that plopped down and made itself at home while you weren’t looking? Most of us have one. Those of us who have it hate it, but we name it to keep from crying.
My daughter used to call hers “Pudge,” after the fish in Lilo and Stitch. I’ve heard them called a “food baby”–because it feels like a pregnancy. I’ve seen people make them talk by squeezing the fat together, pat them lovingly, and even smack them as though to make them behave.
I’m tired of mine. I’m tired of hiding it under carefully constructed clothing, worrying about it, wishing it would go away, and not being able to keep my pantyhose up because my “Pudge” is too round.
It’s going.
I’m changing.
So this is the last day of my life…as an omnivore. In my new life, I’m a vegetarian.
The last day of my old life, I ate fats and sugar and salt. I felt heavy & logy and miserable.
On the first day of my new life, will the low-fat vegan me feel better?