Macro-Mania!

Eudaimonia #28 – A macronutrient followed life is an aware life

Let’s talk macronutrients (aka macros). You know those pesky little molecules that help keep our bodies going. If you follow your macros to a “T” you will see amazing results, at least this is what I’m expecting. If you don’t know your macro numbers, and you’re trying to lose weight, then you may not be eating as healthy as you think.

I’ve never had to do so much research and math in my life before eating a meal, but now that I know the macros to follow for a Keto plan I have to say I have seen the light. While I wasn’t following a Keto plan before, I still thought I was eating pretty clean, while wondering why the weight wasn’t falling off with all the projects I’ve been doing around the house. I lost some weight, but not as much as I expected. I was more active, and I wasn’t eating potato chips every night, drinking soda pop during the day, or indulging in sweets during special events. No. I wasn’t perfect, but I was no way near eating stupid crap I was eight months ago. 

So what gives? It turns out there is a whole other level to tailoring your body to burn off fat, and it’s called going crazy with numbers. No, seriously, tracking macros is a fantastic tool to understand the building blocks of foods you are putting into your mouth no matter what eating plan you follow. I remember tracking my macros back in the early ’90s before it was even popular and before the beautiful advancements of smartphones with handy little apps that make tracking macros SO MUCH EASIER! Really, with the MyFitnessPal app, it is so easy to find and tag food to build your macro-enabled menu! 

The first day of tracking my macros was more of a disaster, as I was new to the whole process, and I had just bought some food that didn’t fit the Keto plan and decided to get rid of the temptation by eating it on the first day. I know, not the best approach but what’s done is done. I figured I would improve as the week progressed and that’s exactly what happened. 

After a Costco run Monday night, that prompted me to buy all the protein they were selling (not really but close), I was more prepared for the rest of the week. Day two was better but I was still high on fat and carbs and under on protein, which is the most important part of a Keto plan. Then day three came, and I nailed it. Carb 68g (max 75g), fat 123.5g (120g), protein 128.8 (130g). 

Oh, now the game is on. I’m addicted to figuring out what foods to eat to hit my numbers each day. 

The best part is I’ve yet to feel hungry, but I think I had a touch of the Keto Flu yesterday, as I was exhausted all day. I mean even though I haven’t hit my keto numbers on the first two days I DID reduce my carbs by a whole bunch, so maybe that had something to do with my energy slump. 

Day four and my energy returned to complete my “summer challenge cardio circuit” day and Cto5K running plan. Now, this was a lot of cardio, but I pushed through and got it done with some modifications to the Cto5K, completing five out of the six 90 second runs since I ran a whole bunch in the cardio cricut right before. 

Of course, I want to see immediate results, but we all know it doesn’t work that way. If it were easy to drop the weight as it is to gain it, then obesity wouldn’t be an issue in this country. The reason why it’s so hard to lose weight is that your body isn’t being flooded with sugary carbs, sweets, and all manner of addictive foods that trick our brains into wanting more, and leaves us in a foggy, false happy state. It has been studied that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.  

As with any rehab, you go through withdrawal, which is painful, sweaty, hard, challenging, and on some days unbearable. Changing over to a healthy lifestyle is on par with a type of rehab.  Your body will hurt, you will sweat, and you will want to quit, but you won’t! 

Because what is waiting on the other side of all the pain and sweat is an awakened healthier, stronger, more beautiful you!  And I can’t wait to see the results! 

The Thrill of Sweat

Eudaimonia #27 – There is a way out of the darkness and it’s called exercise

Beaded, drippy, glistening wet hot sweat! It’s a beautiful site to see and feel. The body is purging itself of unwanted toxins, giving your skin a healthy, vibrant glow. But to feel this fantastic thing called sweat you have to put your body through some vigorous exercise.

As I start the second week of my couch to 5k (Cto5k) plan, I’m finding that there is a big difference between running for 60 seconds vs. 90 seconds, as in 90 seconds feels like an ETERNITY. This week’s plan calls for six 90 second runs followed by 60 second walks sandwiched between two 5 min warm up and cool down walks. 

Why they jump from four 60 second runs to six 90 second runs is beyond me, because when I learned math, five comes after four, but I digress. I followed the instructions completing all six 90 second runs, but with the caveat of 90 second walks to follow. I felt this was a good compromise to get all the runs in, and I’m excited to see how I improve throughout the week. 

But wait! There’s more. 

As fate, luck, or mercury in retrograde would have it I was asked to join a Summer Challenge by my BF Pam. 

It just so happens that Pam has been following Nika, a fitness Trainer who goes by FitNika101 on Instagram who provides weight training challenges for those who want to take their fitness goals to the next level. Not only do you get detailed workout schedule for all eight weeks, but you also get your macro ratios to achieve maximum weight loss if followed correctly. 

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a weight training challenge. I had just found my running feet again, which were a few months late in arriving, and I wanted to focus on cardio for a while. We all know that cardio is good for weight loss, but to reshape your body, you need to add in strength training to rev up that metabolism. I’m no stranger to working out with weights as I had great success in dropping weight when I implemented my trifecta of running, weights and yoga a few years back, so I knew this was the direction I wanted to take. 

I pondered doing the challenge for a few days, and then it hit me, the timing could not be more perfect. The challenge started on July 8th and ends September 1st, which happens to be 45 birthday… 4 f’n 5… and I’ll be damned if I’m starting the 2nd half of my 40’s with all of this unnecessary weight! 

So I signed up, and my first two workouts are in the books! Monday was leg day, and I have to say that while I hate lunges, I’m now a super-fan of curtsy lunges! The burn feels so good. It’s hard to walk steps or sit on the toilet due to soreness, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tuesday was shoulders, and core and I’m fearful that I won’t be able to lift my arms to wash my hair tomorrow, but again that is the desired goal. The more it burns, the more you know you did the exercises right. 

So not only will I be posting about my Cto5K progress, but also about my love/hate relationship for the summer challenge as I had some choice words during the super-sets, and I’m gonna have to work on my mountain climbers!

As I was finishing my Cto5K run I flashed to the person I was last fall. Lost, sad, and roaming around in the darkness trying to eat away my grief, only to add a new type of pain: self-loathing! I felt trapped in a fat suit I couldn’t take off, but now I’m learning how to work the zippers and buttons and slowly shedding this weight once and for all. 

I know this time around will be different, maybe more challenging since I’m a few years older, but this is my path, and I’m sticking to it. I’m finally living the eudai life and leveling up to a better version of myself. 

That Voice In Your Head

Eudaimonia #26 – Find the inner voice that pushes you to achieve your goals.

It is painful. It is uncomfortable. It is exhausting. But it is also intoxicating. It is exciting, and it is invigorating. It, of course, is exercise, movement, physical activity. Call it what you will, but anything that helps the body perform better and look better is a beautiful thing, no matter how painful it is along the way to achieve your goals.

Yesterday was an exceptional day. I completed day three of my couch to 5k 20 min run/walk and then decided on a bike ride.

Most people would take it slow, just getting back into a daily workout routine. I’m all for taking it slow to avoid injury or burnout while building consistency, but thanks to a parking snafu, that had me park at the Canal visitors center instead of the Frazee house next to the towpath, I ended up taking a nine-mile bike ride instead of the intended four. 

Starting wasn’t the problem. I missed the feel of riding over crushed limestone, and I marveled at how overgrown the canal had become in some places. The lushest part of the path is right past Frazee house, where I wanted to park, as the towpath bends away from the road surrounding you in nothing but nature with no cars roaring past to break the serenity. I could have turned around many times as my tracker kept spitting out each time I completed a mile, but I kept going, and going, and going. 

Why does it always seem to take longer going than the return trip? 

I finally reached my intended target, and as I made the turn on the loop to head back, I realized that, yeah, this was way too long of a ride my first time back on my bike in over a  year. My body was screaming for pushing to go all the way to the 82 bridge, as my elbows, ass, and knees all felt the pain of being on a bike for an hour. 

That ‘s when I heard it. That beautiful voice barking at me that walking my bike is not an option, that the sweat accumulating behind my knees will just have to stay there until I get back to the car, that my sore ass will thank me when my jeans slide on easier, that my wrists and elbows will survive the ride back. That my only option was to keep riding no matter how uncomfortable my body had become. 

Oh, how I missed IVy (inner voice yelling). She’s been gone for so long I almost forgot what she sounded like, but our reunion never felt so good as she showed up when needed to push me to the finish line, or in my case, my car.  As I saw the white of the visitors center peek out from the trees, I knew I had made it the full 9.22 miles round trip. Of course, the feeling of accomplishment was also coursing through my veins all thanks to IVy. 

As much as we need encouragement from others, we need to remember that we are our first source of support. No one will make us better, healthier, or fitter. All of our goals germinate from within our minds. So awaken your IVy. Find the inner voice that pushes you to achieve your goals, so you are living the life you truly want to live. 

Photo by Philipp M from Pexels

A Happy Little Side Effect

Eudaimonia Tip #25 – Keep your body in motion to avoid going back to the starting line.

Along the way of figuring out my catio problem, a marvelous thing happened. I have been so active that as an added benefit to having an awesome patio, I now have looser closes. By all means, I still have a long way to go to hit my ideal weight loss goals circa 2015 and beyond, but the movement of any kind is a beautiful thing. 

It’s almost as if I have to trick myself into working out by doing some other physical activity that reminds me how good it feels to be active. I should add the 8ft long x 6ft high bamboo fence was NOT LIGHT, but with sheer determination and strength, I got the job done. 

I remember there was a  drug commercial that said “A body in motion stays in motion,” which is the name of the game. Find any way to start moving and make sure you keep moving, because starting up is the worst part. Now that I’ve been walking, bending, lifting, and stretching, I see that I am ready for more. Projects are a great way to be motivated, but they eventually end.

Now comes the next phase, the hard part called consistency. I was cleaning my kitchen and found a couch to a 5k running program that proved successful the first time around. Knowing that I need a plan of some kind to keep me going I took my running legs for a spin.

The plan is a gradual increase in running time. The first week is only 20 min with a 5 min warm up, four 60 second jogs followed by 90 second walks ending with a 5 min walk to cool down. 

I remember the first time I started running. It was September of 2014, right around my 40th birthday, and my family decided to run the turkey trot together. I was crazy for agreeing as I was not a runner but figured it was an excellent way to stay active as the weather turned cooler with fall’s approach. 

The first time I ran, it was just awful. I could barely run 30 seconds without my lungs catching fire due to a lack of oxygen and my whole body going into a revolt. But I refused to give up, and as I stuck to the running plan, I saw my endurance increase and my body shrink all thanks to the simplicity of running. 

I fully expected this next pass to be the same, but to my shock and utter delight, I completed the first running block as instructed, running the full 60 seconds all four times. 

It. Felt. Amazing! 

I’ve completed two of the four running days this week, with today as my off day, but there are no days off as I need to keep the momentum going to see the results that I know are only a few months away. 

The Best Catio Ever!

Eudaimonia Tip #24 – A delay in life’s plan is merely a pause for something better.

Now that Memorial day has come and gone it’s officially summer, even though the calendar says it’s still a few weeks away. My love for the season may have something to do with the fact that I am a late summer baby, or it could just be that the season is about getting out, getting moving and getting things done.

Summer is cookouts, concerts, gardening, open windows, cool breezes (or hot), walking the doggo in the park, hikes, bike rides, long days, and my favorite: streets lined with the American flag. The only other thing that can top this list of awesomeness is finally having the energy to get things done.

There is a good reason I’ve been MIA from my writing, and it has everything to do with my obsession to figure out a way to allow my cats safely outside. I started small and got them used to wear a harness and leash. Even though we didn’t go walking it was a way for me to let them on my patio without them running away.

I soon realized, as per the expression on their faces, that the harness was too cumbersome and restricting, plus I was always on high alert making sure they weren’t getting too far into the grass or eating something that would make them sick. I knew there had to be a better way, so I set my fingers to Google and found the wonders of the catio. For you lay-cat-people that is a patio (enclosure) for cats.

I found a lot of websites for catio type structures and catio kits, but nothing that seemed to fit my space and nothing in my price range. I knew what I wanted, but being artistically challenged did not know how to put what was in my head onto paper. Luckily, I have an artistically gifted brother (I mean he got ALL the talent), and after giving him the measurements, he was kind enough to send me a drawing of my catio so I could hire someone to build it for me.

There was only one problem, no handyman or contractor company wanted to take on this small project. I was so desperate that I caved and called an ex guy-friend of mine that’s in construction (and consequently likes cats) so I figured he would be able to help me out, because he said he would. About 10 minutes after hanging up I remembered why God sent him away (Hint: Super unreliable).

Which brings me to my point, sometimes when God says no, it is because He has something better in store. My catio project germinated in April, and I searched for help for two months. Help with drawing the catio to building it. I called everyone I knew and didn’t know for help to no avail. Even though I was getting the cold shoulder from, what seemed like the world, I wasn’t about to give up. That’s when I decided to try a different approach.

Since my patio has privacy fences on either side, all I needed to do was seal up the front of the patio and any “holes,” I think my cats could fit through. After a little ingenuity, I was able to enclose the front of my patio with six foot tall bamboo reeds by attaching them to my existing, decorative no-dig fence via zip ties. I cannot tell you how amazing this turned out! The best part is the fence can be removed within a matter of minutes.

To make it even more cat approved I planted non-toxic plants to give my kitties something to chew on, and boy does Blue like his asparagus fern!

Not only is this a safe place for my cats to enjoy the fresh air, watch the birds do fly-by’s and stalk the chipmunks that mock them, but it is a retreat for myself (if it ever stops raining) to take in the summer evenings. In essence, I transformed my patio into a giant catio, and I did it for way less money than I was initially planning to spend.

The moral here is patience. The old impatient me would have purchased a catio kit in April, only to have missed out on the awesomeness that is now my patio that doubles as a catio.

If there is something that seems to be taking its sweet time manifesting in your life, do not lose heart. There is a bigger and better purpose that God has in store for you. You just have to have the patience to let Him show you the way!

Furry Kind of Love

Eudaimonia Tip #23 – Sometimes love is best expressed by actions rather than words.

Projects have been overtaking my life these last few weeks which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good in the sense that things are getting done such as rooms are painted, clutter is cleared, and deep cleaning is happening, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The only drawback to spring cleaning is my lack of writing.

Today’s post is an effort to keep my writing alive, while still having uncompleted projects on my to-do list. This article isn’t about cleaning or organizing, but a pause (or paws, see what I did there!) to celebrate Mom’s day specifically for the unsung hero’s know as fur-moms.

First, in honor of Mothers day, I must pay homage to my amazing mom, who is an inspiration to me as she strives to keep moving, keep healthy and keep her joy about life for all the world to see. My mom has taught me many vital life skills such as how to fold a fitted sheet, how never go to bed with dishes in the skin (still working on that one mom) and most importantly she’s taught me my love for animals. We always had dogs and cats growing up, but beyond that my mom seemed to befriend all the wildlife that passed through our yard. I remember Becky the raccoon, nutty the squirrel, and the countless deer she named, specifically Gimpy and Dot named for apparent reasons. And the two new additions this year Mr. & Mrs. Quack, the resident ducks, but I think my dad named them. In all the years that I’ve seen my mom in action around animals, I swear she is Snow White’s long lost relative.

So, it was by her example, and soft heart for animals that I ended up the proud fur-mom to Friday, BB & Blue, three rescues that I have the joy of spoiling and they have the joy of robbing me of sleep. My first born is my girl Friday, a Maltese, Yorkie; Poodle rescued six years ago from the streets of Tremont, OH. She was just a puppy back then at only a year and a half old. I shiver at the thought of my sweet Friday wandering alone on the streets a matted and flea’d up mess, having to defend for herself. Thank God, and I do daily, that we found each other.

Next comes the fraternal twins, BB & Blue, who turned one this past February.  A year ago I fostered a pregnant mom-cat through the Cleveland APL who gave birth to six beautiful kittens three boys and three girls. They were all so perfect in their unique ways it was hard to resist, and resist I tried. But, as the story goes, I was a foster fail primarily due to Blue coming into this world a sleepy black blob of tuxedo cuteness which matched Friday’s tuxedo look perfectly. Then there was this little blonde and white kitten that would dart around like a bee and then fall asleep in my hands which just melted my heart.

I threw caution to the wind and adopted the twins in April of 2018 and haven’t looked back since. Sure, I was sleep deprived for the first year as the kittens were growing, getting into trouble and waking me up at all hours of the night with their antics, but knowing that I get to give them the best life possible makes it all worthwhile.

Of course, as any pet-parent knows all too well, I dread the day they each pass on to the rainbow bridge and leave me behind (seriously crying just thinking about my life without any one of them). I think a scarier thought is if I went before them. Who would know that Friday needs to have her night shirt put on because her brother Blue likes to use her had a suckling blanket at night?

Who would know that Blue will come running to me when I show him the comb even though he quietly protest when I get too close to his tail? Who would know that BB’s play biting is actually a love thing, even though she will get blood if you’re not careful! Who would my kitties leave toy offerings for in the middle of the night in my bedroom if I wasn’t around?

Ah, the thought is too much to handle, but by the grace of God, I have many more years left with my brood of three. Even if I am just a glorified food dispenser and poop cleaner wiping butts and cutting poop from long fur, it’s all worth it when they give me that satisfied and safe look as we snuggle on the couch at night. I may not have planned on being only a fur-mom, but to me, it’s just as rewarding.

To all the fur-mom’s out there, Just because our furkids can’t buy us a Mother’s Day card and give us flowers doesn’t mean they don’t tell us each day how they feel. Every face lick, tail wag, zoomies, crazy kitty mode, purring sessions, and tail wrapping around our legs is their unconditional way of saying  “I luv you hu-mom.”

Is A Holistic Doctor Right For You?

Eudaimonia Tip #22 – Every day is the right day to heal yourself on the inside

The smell of fresh cut grass, an overabundance of rain, and slowly increasing temps can only mean one thing. Spring has sprung. Here in northeast Ohio, though, spring seems to be taking its sweet ol’ time showing up. I have a feeling we may go from 55 to 85 in a week flat, skipping spring altogether. Regardless of how fast the mercury rises, we all know what comes after spring. Summer is coming.

There is nothing more terrifying than realizing your dream of a summer body is stuck in the winter months. It may be tempting to commit to wearing sweats and long sleeves all summer with the AC on high, but the goal is to dig deep and keep pressing on so that by the fall your sweats, er, clothes are loose fitting. My previous post on holistic living shows you some ways to start the process, but sometimes we need a little extra help.

It’s no secret that i’ve been struggling this year with weight loss so in March I decided to take my holistic living to the next level and found a new holistic doctor. I prefer the approach of treating the whole body to find the root cause of the symptoms rather than just popping a pill that will give me a myriad of side effects.

No doubt traditional medicine has its place in the world providing emergencies services and treatments for serious diseases, but when it comes to the good old family practitioner, there is a lot to be desired. Poor bedside manners coupled with computer time cutting into your actual visit leaves little time for real talking. When they do get to your medical concerns, they take the usual approach of “treating the symptom” without ever getting to the root cause of the problem. And then there is the cost.

In contrast, a holistic doctor will give you more one-on-one time to find out what is going on with you. Yes, they actually talk and ask you a lot of question about your life, body and ailments to figure out the best approach to resetting your system which usually starts with whole food supplements. These are not the type you get from the local drug store and can really work wonders if you let them.

Below are five tips to keep in mind if you are considering finding a holistic doctor to break out of your rut.

Your Friendly Chiropractors Office

One of the great things about holistic practices is they are also chiropractors. Having your body adjusted and aligned can provide a level of relief for specific symptoms. Make sure to check if the alignments are part of the nutritional counseling visit, or if this service is an extra fee.

Get Your Gut Right

Science is giving us a window to our second brain called the gut. The condition of your gut flora can point to a lot of your symptoms. Your holistic may start with getting your stomach right by providing detox plans to help move the sludge out to make room for the good flora.

The Process Takes Time

When you start to see a holistic doctor be prepared to see him/her regularly at fist, say every week, for about a month as they will want to monitor how your body is reacting to the supplements and nutritional recommendations.

Insurance Usually Isn’t Accepted

Unless you’re going for chiropractic services due to an accident, don’t expect insurance to cover the costs of your visit, but still, check just in case. Luckily the cost per visit is much less expensive than a traditional doctor and can range anywhere from $40 – $60 for a half hour. Although the price of supplements can add up quickly.

You Have to Be Dedicated.

Seeing a holistic doctor is only one part of the puzzle. All the whole food supplements in the world will not fix your system if you are still eating fried and greasy foods. If you are ready to move forward with your health plan then commit to following your holistic recommendations or else you are just flushing money down the drain.

Remember, every day is the right day to take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Helping your body find the right foods and supplements it needs to shed the unwanted pounds is one step on your journey to having the body and confidence you desire.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

How to Transition Your Life to Achieve Holistic Living

Eudaimonia Tip #21 – Holistic living is the gateway to your vitality

Next to having a lot of money in our bank account health is also a determining factor of wealth. We would all love to take a magic pill that helps us lose weight, have more energy, and sleep throughout the night. While no such pill exists, all hope is not lost. With the right mindset and hard work, you can transition to a whole new way of living.

So what exactly does it mean to live holistically? The word holistic finds its roots in the Greek language and translates to “entire” or “whole.” When you live holistically, you pay attention to your whole body to find the root cause of your symptoms. Treating the root cause will remove the icky symptoms that have been plaguing your life forever and help you feel better.

I was introduced to holistic living in 2013 when my gluten intolerance hit me full force. You can read about that saga here. Once I adopted the lifestyle, I saw remarkable changes. Hence the reason for my journey back to the land of complete awesomeness.

Sometimes though, the journey back takes longer than expected. I’ll be honest, there were some days, rather weeks, when I wanted to throw in the towel, but then I remembered to just keep swimming. After months of eating clean followed by light exercise I’m starting to see my energy return and the weight come off, albeit slowly.

This isn’t to say that traditional medicine should be forgotten. Whatever you do don’t stop taking any medication you are currently on, and consult your doctor before starting any new eating plan. If you are ready to take control of your life and feel alive again, then keep reading. There are many ways to ease into holistic living. Below are five simple things you can do to start a journey of your very own.

Food Diary

This one is a must do! You need to find out if any foods are blocking your system and bogging you down. Keep a food diary for the first week to keep track of what you put into your body.

Elimination Diet

Once you have completed at least a week of recording your food look it over to see what you eat. You will be surprised! The next week eliminate one food that shows up a lot, such as eggs, bread, or cheese to see if you notice any changes. It’s a tedious process, but the only way to find hidden food allergies and autoimmune issues.

Find The Right Meal Plan For Your Body

There are a lot of meal plans out there such as Paleo, Keto, Gluten Free, Pegan (Paleo / Vegan) that give specific on how many carbs, proteins, and fats you should eat to help your body perform optimally, but not all plans work for everyone, or there wouldn’t be so many. Finding the right meal plan for your body type will set you up for success.

Prepare Your Meals In Advance

If you aren’t organized enough to prepare your means, then the next best thing is to write out a weekly menu. Many times people fail due to hunger that drives them to eat the first thing they see in their cupboard. If you are prepared either with having meals ready or at least knowing what you want to eat, then you will see results faster.

Find a Holistic Doctor

If all of your efforts above still haven’t returned your desired results, it may be time to find a holistic doctor that can help your system get back on track through whole food nutrients and supplements.

When we take care of our entire body by feeding it the right foods amazing things start to happen. Our bodies shrink, skin looks younger, and energy returns. A holistic way of life requires dedication and a call to fight for vitality. Isn’t your health worth the fight?

*Disclaimer – I am not a doctor, and this article should not be substituted as a medical diagnosis or treatment. The opinions expressed in this article are mine and not affiliated with any medical or holistic practice. Always seek professional help for medical issues and call emergency services if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Look For The Dreams That Are All Around You

Eudaimonia Tip # 20 – If you stop and look, you might find your dreams have already come true.

We all dream. Whether we remember our dreams or not is another story. Those of us lucky enough to recall the bits and pieces of our dreams are left with the task of unraveling the meaning behind the cryptic images. Most dreams are nothing but poorly edited movies with no continuity and plenty of out of focus scenes.

But what about the dreams that happen, not during the night, but rather throughout our lives? Maybe you’ve called them other things like goals, aspirations, expectations, achievements, or milestones. No matter what the label you choose, the question is, are you seeing them manifested throughout your life?

At some point during my late 20’s, I started to form this image in my mind of living in a house on top of a hill writing my next best seller. Now, I read somewhere that it’s important to dream in detail. My home on the hill was an English manor style situated on the rolling greens of the English countryside. A picturesque park was within walking distance. By my side was a dog or a cat to keep me company. The major tenets of this life dream were as follows: I would be alone, but not lonely. I would be a writer, making a living off of my writing. I would have a trusty animal companion by my side.

It was only a split second when I realized that my life has manifested, in an odd and cumbersome way, into the dream I had of my future self all those years ago. I don’t live in an English style manor in England or anywhere for that matter, and I don’t write for a living. BUT, I do live in a townhome on top of a hill (it’s a small hill, but still a hill). My career, the one that pays the bills, is not writing full time (although my main form of communication is writing via email) but allows me to work from home. The flexibility of remote work followed by some rather complex life experiences has given me the desire to create my blog (the one you’re reading right now), and I’m in the process of starting a freelance gig where I get paid to write. I have my girl (dog) Friday by my side, and as a bonus, I have two adorable cats named BB and Blue to entertain me with their antics.

Did it play out exactly as I imagined? No, but I’m happy with how my life has turned out and the direction it’s headed. The fact that I am where I am today shows that God’s hand had stayed in my life even when I veered way off course many times through the years. His grace and mercy have sustained me through steady work. He has blessed me with fur-kids. He has provided food and a roof over my head, and He has given me a solitarily frustrating yet exhilarating gift of writing.

The beauty of life is our ability to dream and keep dreaming. I already have an image of my future self that I am currently working on and this time I hope to avoid long detours.

As the wise scholar, Ferris Bueller once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ~ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Stop. Take a long hard look at where you are? Can you see it? Your dreams of today may not be an exact match to the image you had in your head five or 10 years ago, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t come true. Much like the dreams that visit us at night, the dreams we have for our life sometimes manifest themselves in different ways making them hard to detect. If you stop and look, you might find your dreams have already come true.

Don’t Give Up, Stand Up!


Eudaimonia Tip # 19 – You have the power to overcome anything!

The ebb and flow of life is something that we all must face even while trying to improve ourselves. I mean change is hard, am I right? How many times have you taken the first step of creating a better life for yourself in any number of ways only to find one setback after another impeding your progress?

You start to consistently work out only to pull a hamstring or sprain an ankle derailing your momentum.

You finally pay off some bills, and suddenly appliances start to break left and right.

You apply for a job and get an interview only for the position to be ‘pulled’ or canceled.

It’s frustrating to want to change when at every step you are blocked by some obstacle. It’s enough to want to throw your hands in the air and wave them like a white flag, giving up any hope that things will improve.

The thing is change, life long change, is rarely executed in a straight line.

For most of my life I was a typical eater, by that I mean I could eat whatever I wanted to, from pizza, to ice cream and every bad thing in between with no symptoms or digestion issues. Going out to eat was fun and easy. I could be the girl that would enjoy beer and pizza as much as a salad and wine.

As I got older things changed. In 2012 I started to have migraines with all other manifestations that left my doctors thinking I was primed for a stroke, and I was only 38. I went to several neurologists who listened to my symptoms, ordered an MRI of my brain and concluded with a pat on the back that I have developed “chronic migraines.”  I was confused by how I went my whole life never having a migraine, and having no family history of migraines to now being the lucky one to have chronic migraines.

It’s evident to say that 2012 was a crappy year. I wasn’t sure what the next year would bring, but I knew that I wouldn’t accept the medical diagnosis of chronic migraine. It just didn’t make sense. In 2013 I went to a Holistic doctor who asked the right questions to get to the root cause of my so-called migraines. With a lot of subtracting and adding certain foods, it was discovered that I am gluten intolerant.

That’s right, no more pizza and beer, no more pasta, no more pita chips. Anything that tasted amazing is off limits, or else my symptoms to any and every degree will come rushing back like old unwanted friends.

The transition to eating gluten-free took about six months and trust me when I say I had to grieve my old eating habits, but once I did embrace a gluten-free lifestyle, all my symptoms disappeared. No more migraines, no more things going numb, no more grogginess, no more depression. No more anything. I was genuinely amazed at how food, the right food was healing me. Of course, there are gluten-free foods that attempt to mimic the gluten-filled foods, but they are not the same and are highly processed.

I’m kind of shocked to realize that I’ve been living gluten-free (and now dairy free) for six years now. It’s hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Eating out has gotten easier as more restaurants are proving gluten-free options, but the problem comes in when I eat hidden gluten or overindulge in dairy. Those proceeding days and even weeks are not fun. And there are still plenty of ways to eat unhealthy when your a gluten and dairy free person, which is why I’m in the physical mess that I’m in.

So why the history lesson? The fact is I have to watch what I eat in more ways than one, which makes life rather complicated. One slip, either welcomed or unwelcomed, can derail me for weeks if not months. It would be easy for me to give up and go down the mental path that I will never lose this excess weight, and that I will never get back to my trifecta of running, yoga and weights. I’m currently experiencing a setback that is just kicking my ass and delaying my progress and it would be very easy for me to play the victim to my food intolerances.

But that is not me, and no matter what obstacles you face that is not you either.

The fact is you will have setbacks, and there will be obstacles because this is life. BUT, and this is the exciting part, there is something in you that is bigger and stronger than anything life can throw your way. There is a desire in you to overcome. There is a “Rocky” in you that will help you achieve your dreams, even if it means lifting cans of paint instead of weights or doing sit-ups in your living room instead of going to a gym.

Know when to ask for help and seek support, but don’t wait for someone to fix all your problems for you, because at the end of the day YOU are the only one that has full control of your thoughts, your actions and your perspective on life. I’m here to tell you that you can do it. You can live a life well lived that results in pure happiness by pushing past your struggles and emerging on the other side stronger, braver and wiser than before. Remember, you are not a victim to your circumstances, but rather the victor of your life.