Monthly Archives: April 2012

Don’t Let Life Do You

Let’s start this week off with a little inspiration… brought to you by Jenn over at Girl Heroes.

I’m not sure if someone else has ever said this before. It seems like one of those “duh” things that everyone has heard or said at one point but some googling of the quote never returned someone uttering the phrase in just this way. So, thanks Jenn for such an awesome reminder!

I’d also like to encourage you to read the post where Jenn talks about doing life. Some awesome reminders in there and something I need to go reread.



Awww, yeah! I’ve inched another year closer to middle-age! Some people are bothered by age but I had my age meltdown when I was 17 and freaking out over almost being an adult. I haven’t freaked since and I’m hoping I won’t be having a meltdown at 40. Because that would totally ruin my superiority complex over not being bothered by aging. I have zero shame in admitting my age… though I won’t admit it on here because it feels like giving away too much personal detail. You already know my birthday is April 29. I’d hate for you to figure out the year and suddenly have the password to a crapload of healthcare and work-related sites that always use that stuff as passwords.

Like you really care. But as a precaution, we’ll just say I haven’t hit 35 yet. And NO, 35 is not middle-aged. Based on the women in my family, 50 is about middle-aged. I’m going to be a centarian! (autocorrect wants me to change that word to centurion… that’s a roman soldier isn’t it… cool).

So based on all the above nonsense… I’m stoked it’s my birthday. I’d like to start the practice of having birthday weeks and celebrating all week (and really that already kind of happens in order to get together with friends). Eventually it’s going to be a birthday month. Oh yeah. Presents and tasty food all month long! What’s not to love?

So I feel compelled to reflect briefly on life since it is the turning of another year. Around the new year I found an inspirational image on Pinterest that said “2011 is the last year I’m going to be fat. Really.” And I thought, yeah, definitely making this happen. And I’m making some gains towards that but it’s been slow going.

So I’m reworking it a little bit:

2011. The last 300+ year of my life. This is a fact and a promise.

I’ve got about 40-45 lbs to drop in the next 8 months. Totally doable. Now to just get my ass in gear.

There was indulgence today this past week since it’s my birthday. Tomorrow? Back on the no sugar kick.

April 30 – May 6

  • No sugar! 2 squares of dark chocolate allowed per day if struggling – consider it a lifeline if REALLY desperate.
  • Ease up significantly on the grain products.
  • 2 kettlebell workouts.
  • 1 walk around the neighborhood (good chance to bond with my mom).

Gonna rule this week!

Hope you rule your week too!

Get Your Manipulation ON

For about 12 years now I’ve worked in a marketing-related field and from the get-go, I learned pretty quickly how to manipulate statistics to say whatever I wanted. I’ve also learned how to put a positive spin on just about anything… channeling a sort of a bright-side, optimistic angle to everything.

I’m not a bright-side type girl. Oh, I used to be in high-school, nothing much bothered me in those days, and if something did bother me, I was quick to find a positive in its midst. I wasn’t annoying about it – at least I don’t think I was – it was just genuine, youthful optimism that radiated from me. Or naiveté. Take your pick.

But now, I’m bothered. I’m part of a machine, a spin doctor, knowingly distracting from the negative by waving my hands over here at something positive. Distract, confuse, draw-in. Manipulate.

That’s what bugs me the most: the manipulation of marketing. I hate being manipulated and I dislike manipulating people (notice I don’t say I hate manipulating people… I’ll do it on occasion if it benefits me… and if you’re honest, so do you… but it feels pretty under-handed and bitchy when I do so I try not to).

So generally, I despise marketing.

Before I continue, I do want to say, marketing is a part of my livelihood so I don’t want to bash it completely. I think a lot of the people in marketing are good people and are mainly looking to do their job well, and maybe don’t think of the consequences of the products they’re promoting. And, sometimes products aren’t that big of a deal… the consequences of marketing them well are not going to upset the time-space continuum or anything like that (Booyah! LOVE being able to use nerdy-assed references like “time-space continuum!”). Like mustard. Is mustard going to hurt anyone? Not unless you’re allergic or you go through bottles of the stuff everyday.

So why am I even talking about marketing and my dislike of it?

Food. The marketing segment that most sticks in my craw is food marketing. It makes me want to do this:

It makes me want to rage… RIGHT NOW (thank you Brian Wilson… the baseball player, not the beach boy… Google him. LOVE HIM). Or this:

Except… you know… to unhealthy food. How awesome would it be to run down a grocery aisle and smash the stuffings out of all the processed crap lining the shelves?

Food marketing is, in my mind, the evil step-child of marketing. It must be destroyed before it consumes our soul, filets us over a flaming bbq, and invites over a special dinner guest by the name of Lucifer.

Why am I so repulsed by food marketing? It convinces people they’re doing something healthy for themselves when they aren’t. AT. ALL.

Case in point: Breakfast Cereal

I noticed recently that one of the cereal giants is promoting their cereals as having “even more healthy whole grains!” I think there was even a blurb about whole grains being the first ingredient on their label. But like the man behind the curtain, pay no attention to all the sugar making this cereal palatable!

  • Cheerios – 1 Cup – 1g sugar
  • Chex Wheat – ¾ Cup – 5g sugar
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch – ¾ C – 10g sugar
  • Cocoa Puffs – ¾ Cup – 10g sugar
  • Fiber One Raisin Bran Clusters – 1 Cup – 14g sugar
  • Golden Grahams – ¾ Cup – 10g sugar
  • Honey Nut Cheerios – ¾ Cup – 9g sugar
  • Kix – 1 ¼ Cup – 3g sugar
  • Lucky Charms – ¾ Cup – 10g sugar
  • Total Raisin Bran – 1 Cup – 17g sugar
  • Trix – 1 Cup – 10g sugar

What I find particularly interesting is that kid cereals are keeping the sugar to around 10g or less. Companies have been kicked around over this issue so they’re doing a small part to change the sugar content of kids’ cereals. Or they’re at least changing the serving size to make us think they’re reducing the amount of sugar in kids’ cereals.

LETSBEHONEST… who REALLY has only ¾ cup of cereal? When I ate cereal, I’d usually have about 2 cups in my bowl (mmm lucky charms) for an estimated 27g of sugar, not including milk.

Surprisingly, when you look some of the more “adult” cereals, the sugar content soars. Who would have thought Fiber One or Total Raisin Bran would have more sugar than sweet “kids” cereals? And what about parents who feed their kid those more adult cereals thinking they’re doing their wee one a nutritional favor?

We’ve been in such an uproar about kids cereals we forgot to closely examine all the other cereals on the market. For the record, the only cereal that is doing you any favors are the unsweetened, plain jane cereals: Cheerios, Chex, and Kix. Better yet, instead of cereal, reach for a couple eggs and a piece of fruit instead.

Case in Point 2: Nutella

Breakfast never tasted this good? Well of course not. When has breakfast ever included 70+ grams of sugar? Yeah, that’s right people. The “Nutella breakfast,” as depicted on the Nutella website, includes the chocolately, hazelnutty spread slathered on a piece of whole-wheat toast with a piece of fruit, a glass of orange juice, and a glass of milk which totals around 73g of sugar. WTF!?

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Orange juice – 21g sugar
  • Skim Milk – 12g sugar
  • Whole Pear – 15g sugar
  • Whole-grain Toast – 3g sugar
  • Nutella – 22g sugar
  • Total – 73g sugar

73 grams of sugar is more than 17 teaspoons of sugar. A 2 tbsp serving of Nutella alone as about 5 teaspoons of sugar – the new daily recommended limit for women, and nearly twice the 3 teaspoon limit for children.

This complete “healthy” breakfast is more than 3 times the recommended sugar intake for your average women. For those male readers, the new sugar intake recommendation for men is 9 grams of sugar (lucky bastards). This breakfast would fill your sugar allotment for the day. And I’m pretty sure all of us would be famished two hours later from such a breakfast.


And these are just two examples of where “healthy” marketing is distracting us from the real story.

Other “healthy” Fare:

  • Milk: It does a body good? Especially the low-fat stuff with 12g of sugar per serving.
  • Snackwells: Low-fat! Bet you can’t eat just one since they’re loaded with sugar!
  • Lean Cuisine/Healthy Choice: Also low-fat. Also loaded with salt, sugar, preservatives, and packaged in a lot of questionable plastic.
  • Canned Fruits/sauces: Tons of added sugar.
  • Fruit Juices: Tons of added sugar.
  • Yogurt: loaded down with both sugar and artificial sweeteners.

So I’d probably be insulting you if I thought this was a new concept for you. I’m sure we’ve all heard this in one form or another. The stuff advertised as healthy, most likely isn’t so. You live this day in and day out. But let’s conjure some strategies to deal with this marketing minefield anyway.

  1. Be skeptical of everything. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. We’re not going to make this a probably statement. We’re going to say that it is, without a doubt, too good to be true.
  2. So with that acknowledged, we have to educate ourselves with the facts. Find out what is behind the curtain that these marketing wizards are trying to distract us from. What sleight of hand are they trying to pull? This is as easy as reading the nutrition label AND the ingredient list.
  3. Of course, identifying what needs to be avoided and deemed “unhealthy” requires you to answer some questions for yourself on what you deem to be healthy. So take 10 minutes and write down your food values, your stance on food issues. What is important for you to consume and to avoid? For me, this encompasses a Paleo diet that makes some room for full-fat dairy; specifically cream, butter, and cheese. I know sugar is a huge problem for me so I’m going to avoid it like the plague. I also know I feel icky when I eat bread and grain-based products. I get indigestion and reflux symptoms that range from annoying to major discomfort and heart-attack like symptoms (scary stuff!). And I like the idea of sustainably raised food. That ties into my values and food choices as much as I can afford it.
  4. Bypass food manufacturers and marketers almost completely by consuming a diet consisting of mostly whole foods; meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy. Yum. Those inner aisles in the grocery store are stuffed with food products that aren’t vital to your diet. They don’t add anything you can’t already get from meats, eggs, veg, fruits, nuts, and dairy… except for convenience.
  5. Be diligent. If you haven’t checked labels on your old standbys lately, check them. Things can change. Economic hardships sometimes demand cost savings and companies may change their recipe in order to use cheaper ingredients and keep their profit margin in the black.
  6. Remember, food companies aren’t here to care for us. They’re in it for the money. I totally support them in their right to make a product, sell it, and make a profit. Otherwise, why bother? Unfortunately they don’t all bring high standards to the product table. Find companies you trust, who engage in practices you can support, and trade your hard-earned money for their quality products.
  7. Whenever you can, shop locally. It’s great to be able to interact with the people who grew/raised your food. You get a sense of their values and practices and can feel confident in the quality on your plate.

Okay… I could probably go on, but this is already very lengthy, so I’ll stop. I will bring up one other thing though… my focus has been on the sugar content of these foods and I think sugar is a BIG problem in the American diet. But we haven’t even begun to tap into the additives, preservatives, “natural flavors,” packaging, and sustainability of all these processed foods. Perhaps a topic for another day.

How do you feel about marketing? Do you want to scream at your tv when you see cereal commercials promoting healthy whole grains while they are saturated in sugar? Have you ever wanted to go Gallagher on a grocery store aisle?

Dear Pepsi Co…

1 litre Aquafina bottle with the "chugger" or wide-mouth lid. LOVE. MISS YOU!

I’ve been a long-time drinker of Aquafina water… since my college day sin the 90’s. But not just any Aquafina water. My choice over any other option was Aquafina in the 1 liter bottle with the wide-mouth opening. I will henceforth refer to the wide-mouth on the Aquafina bottle as the “CHUGGER.”


I don’t know why, exactly, but I love the chugger. Maybe because I can chug the water so much more easily than every other stupid bottle with it’s dainty little sipper-mouth. For some reason, with those little mouths, I always end up dribbling water when I try to chug.

Yes, I’m odd. But back to the point…

Within the last 2 months I’ve noticed that Aquafina bottles in my region are no longer using the chugger.

WTF Pepsi Co?!?!?!

… you do realize that you’ve just taken away the ONLY thing that distinguished your water from any other bottled water out there, right? You’ve completely alienated me and my money. The chugger was the ONLY Pepsi product I ever purchased and now you’ve discarded the only lifeline you had to my wallet.

Ice Mountain, with their relatively new flip-cap, has become my bottled water of choice now that Aquafina has done away with the chugger.

Now? I’m an Ice Mountain girl. Granted, I have to buy 20 oz bottle to get their cool flip-cap, but the unique cap makes it easy to chug even though it’s a dainty mouthed bottle. Loving that feature now that I don’t have a choice about Aquafina.

Way to go Pepsi Co… I’m sure Ice Mountain and their flip-top lid thank you profusely.

Thunder and Other Randomness

It was a beautiful, albeit WINDY, day in the midwest. The sun was shining and there was a slight chill in the air, but the temperature is comfortable for capri’s and a t-shirt and NO coat. LOVE this kind of weather. It’s closing in on 8pm right now and the sky is clouding over a bit and a heard a rumble of thunder off in the distance.

I. LOVE. THUNDER. It’s tickles me, nay, fondles me, in my happy places. One of my secret fantasies, which henceforth will not be so secret, is to be making wild passionate love in the midst of a raging thunder storm. There’s just something about the smell of rain, the drumming downpours, the electrically charged air, and the roar of thunder that reaches inside and unleashes a wildness that doesn’t get much face time. And it makes me want to ROAR. So yes… impending thunderstorm has me revved.

In other news the day of my health screening came and went. I also went and the report was horrible. I didn’t drop the 10lbs I was hoping for but I did drop about 4. That brings my total loss since Christmastime to 12lbs. Which kinda rocks. At least the scale is moving in the right direction. At the health screening my cholesterol was good but my HDL dropped from 84, a record high a little over a year ago, down to 54. Last year when I had my health screening I was in the midst of a 3-month stint of Paleo awesomeness, so my HDL was jaw-droppingly-awesome. Bummed that it has dropped off but at least it’s not down to the sub-40 levels it was a few years ago. With a bit of discipline and hopping back on the Paleo rocket I’ll have that much improved in no time.

The only thing of concern, other than the weight issue was a pulse of 92 and a slightly elevated blood pressure of 139/69. They were concerned with the top number with last year would have been just fine. See, they’ve moved the parameters of what is good, moderate risk, and high risk. Hate when they do that. Essentially, my heart is having to work awfully hard to move the blood through my body. Which, let’s be honest, that’s not unexpected.

I was totally dreading the health screening but the results were better than worst-case-scenario. There’s definitely room for improvement and I’m motivated by the new visual I have of my heart having to work harder. I don’t know why that never clicked for me previously, but I’m onto it this time and want to take care of myself.


So in the interest of taking care of myself, I drug my butt outside after work today and did about 15 minutes of interval training (including warm-up and cool-down). I dusted off a kettlebell and practiced the swing with what I hope was very proper form. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when the state of my back can be better noted, but I really worked to keep my shoulders/upper back from arching to far backwards. I went through a kettlebell instruction about 8 months ago to figure out what I was doing wrong… every single time my lower back/hips would be screaming in pain the next day. And the trainer corrected this one little thing of me arching to far back and I think that did the trick. Of course, this is the first time I’ve really given it a shot since then. So, fingers crossed!

Other exciting (or not so) news:

  • I get to transfer with my job to a metropolitan area and escape the black hole I’ve been trapped in for the past 12 years. Hallelujah!!! Will hopefully be moving mid-summer. So excited about all the extracurricular opportunities that will open up to me. Will pursue archery, kettlebell training, maybe some woodworking classes, maybe some graphic design courses or cooking classes… endless opportunities! Color me STOKED!
  • Lego’s. I have rediscovered my love of LEGO’S! I was babysitting my niece and nephew and pulled out my old, huge, box of lego’s and helped my nephew build a medieval castle I’d gotten when I was about 10. Okay, really, it was more, me building, and him telling me to hurry up (4-yr olds… eeesh!)… but I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I spend all day Saturday sorting through the blocks and finding stray pieces I needed for the castle. And then I spent Sunday morning ordering missing pieces I needed for the castle to be finished correctly. And I also dug up instruction online for other sets I had at one time. Will be collecting lego’s again. 🙂
  • My boyfriend is giving me the silent treatment. It’s been like 5 days of me texting something to him everyday and him mostly ignoring it. We did converse briefly on Saturday with him telling me he’s suddenly super popular and everyone wants a piece of him and then again on Sunday with me informing him that Lego has done DC Comic sets. But other than that… SILENCE. And it’s especially frustrating because I’ve been telling him, “hey, I’ll be moving to your town this summer” – something he’s been harassing me about for 12 months – and he hasn’t acknowledged it or said ANYTHING about it even once. What the hell? Are these signs he wants out of the relationship? If I go radio silent on him for a couple days, he practically flips out… okay exaggeration… he calls me on it and requests that I make more of an effort to be communicative. So I don’t know what to think. Is this the blow off? It’s starting to piss me off but I don’t want to be one of those girls who demands attention every day. And I don’t want to monitor him. I’d just like to be included in the goings on of his life, ya know?  If he’s busy, cool, but could he spare me 2 minutes and tell me what’s keeping him so busy. Is that too much to ask? I was near tears over this when I got home tonight but exercising really helped mellow me out. I’ve decided not to text him until he makes some indication of having something to say to me. It kind of feels like playing games, but at the same time, I’m not going to continue “chasing?” him.
  • I JUST FINISHED WRITING MY LAST CHECK FOR MY FINANCIAL FUCK-UP!! I’m am free of that noose! Booyah!!! Bankruptcy sucks balls… avoid if you can. It is seriously awesome to be done with it. I’m not quite celebrating crazy yet because it feels too good to be true but I’m tentatively ecstatic. Next step… pay off the bit of debt I’ve accumulated.

Let’s see, I think that catches us up. Oh… totally blew off the nerd fitness challenge. I think that makes about 5 challenges that I’ve started and fizzled on with this blog… possibly more. So I’m thinking challenges aren’t my thing.

But here are a couple goals…

  • Paleo… cut the sugar, grains, and go easy on the dairy.
  • Exercise… 2-3 exercise periods a week.
  • Save… gotta save up a deposit for a new place in the metro and to replace my tires and to fix the ABS on my car.
  • Ultimately… just DO. I like to read and plan and somehow never pull the trigger on things. Must DO.

Smug Alert!

You know how when you’re in a grocery store and you see someone’s cart with a lot of processed junk food in it and you think to yourself, “no wonder you’re fat” or “keep eating that way you’re gonna be fat” or “so not fair that you can eat that crap and not be fat” or “ticking time bomb” … ?

Yeah, that makes us assholes. All-around. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.

After about 3 years of hovering around Paleo/Primal blogs and devouring everything (but apparently forgetting to actually DO the stuff) I’ve noticed there is definitely an elitist attitude among the group. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not everyone… it might not even be half, but it’s there and when those people speak, it’s loud, and a whole lot of people chime in.

I understand the urge to stand there and judge… to climb up on my high horse, because I’VE got it ALL figured out. I mean, SERIOUSLY, if everyone else would just listen to ME then the world would be SUCH a better place (please read with a ridiculous amount of sarcasm… and then double it).

I catch myself being the douche described in paragraph one… too often. Sometimes I even direct it towards my family. Me. Being judgy about diet. Me. Who’s carrying a ridiculous amount of extra weight. Pot, meet kettle.

This isn’t right. It’s not right for me to pass judgment on others when I see only a tiny glimpse of their life. I’m hardly one to be passing judgement and I despise when other people pass judgement on me after catching only a glimpse of my life. No one knows the details of my life or what particular hurdle I’ve faced that day, making me lax in the quality riding around in my shopping cart.

I would like a little grace and compassion from strangers and if they can’t do that, I’d like them to mind their own businesses. Which really gets to the heart of it for me: what I eat is nobody’s business but my own. As much as I might want to control or cajole other people into eating healthy, it’s not my place. It’s especially not my place when I’m not even living up to my own dietary expectations. We all know the “do as I say, not as I do” bs won’t fly.

If I hope for grace from others, then I need to show grace to others. And if I want people to mind their own business, I need to mind my own. I’m challenging myself to be better about this… to show grace to others even if my standards aren’t met. And really, someday I hope my standards won’t even come into play and that I can embody love and grace without any effort on my part.

Are you looking in other people’s carts at the grocery store? Do you worry other’s are looking at the contents of your cart? Any idea what the title of this post comes from? Anyone? Enter Southpark… hilarious!

Smug Alert!

Absense (is that spelled right?)

Nope. It’s not spelled right. Oh well. So…

Woh… I blink and suddenly a week is gone.

Okay, so maybe it was more than a blink but… you know, life happens. Last weekend I went and visited the honey and we went over to one of his friends house to watch Wrestlemania Sunday night… no I was not there under duress. I went of my own volition into a houseful of Cena fans while me, the honey, and another friend we drug along were rooting for The Rock.

So now you know one of my more embarrassing interests. LOVE WWE. Yes, I know it’s scripted and made to look more violent than it actually is. I like it anyway. And some of that stuff you can’t fake. There are some amazing skills among these athletes – they’re totally athletes – and they put their bodies through the ringer to entertain people.

The first match of the night was between Shaemus, the human jar of mayonnaise, and some vegan dude that got all sentimental with his girlfriend AFTER the bell rang. The idiot. KO’d in the first 18 seconds. I don’t really remember the next few matches (forgettable) but the Undertaker match was EPIC. The end of an era kind of EPIC.

The chair crashing across the undertakers back in that photo? It’s really crashing across his back. Both men’s back’s were bruised by the end of the match and there was blood seeping from some head wounds. It was a GREAT match and saved this Wrestlemania broadcast because the main event sucked balls.

The main event. John Cena vs The Rock. This match was embarrassing to watch. What Cena and Rock are doing in this photo… that’s what they spent half the match doing. Hug it out! Hold me man!

Even though I don’t like the dude, I KNOW Cena can wrestle better than that so 1) either they were pussy-footing it for The Rock or 2) they decided to phone it in since the Undertaker match was insurmountable.

Either way. Douchebags! They should have put on a good show for the fans. A YEAR of hype and no satisfaction. They dialed it in for 20 minutes and then out of nowhere the Rock pins Cena and it’s over. If you’d blinked you’d have missed it. I wish I had missed the whole 20 minutes. I couldn’t even be stoked about the Rock winning because it was such a lame match. So I resent them for ruining my opportunity to gloat and I really hope they got their asses chewed.

So anyway… I’ve been recuperating from a long weekend and time on the road. I’ve been fighting a cold and it just sorta wiped me out for a couple of days. Am back now and will keep plugging along with the posting.