IF.IS.IT.

It’s been about 50 days since my last post on Life: from A to Z and I’m happy to be back and coming at you with some of my latest news…

“I” is for Intermittent Fasting

I’m happy, and almost reluctant, to report that I’ve been experimenting with Intermittent Fasting for just over a month and my weight is back down to what is was at the pre-COVID mark. While that number is still too large (see my old progress report here), it is TWELVE pounds lighter than I was when I started the 16 hour fasts in early March.

Bottom line: My weight is where it was on March 9th, 2020, right before the pandemic shut me down and binge eating and television watching became my new go-to sport.

That being said, I am SUPER jazzed about bringing back my New Lifestyle, New Me series because I’ve been making some life changing discoveries. First and foremost, when I spent my time and energy focusing on food—as in what I should eat, when I should eat, and how much I should eat (not to mention macronutrients and all of that other stuff!!)—then “food” became my primary focus, which made it almost impossible to NOT eat. Food, food, FOOD… THAT is what was ruling my mind this time last year.

I don’t want to get into any particulars on intermittent fasting because it’s so popular these days and all one has to do is Google search it or look for smart phone apps and all of the details and info are right there at your fingertips. What I WILL say is that fasting, unlike dieting, has allowed my brain to NOT think about food. With that little reprieve, I’ve been able to put my mind to better use by learning about cravings, habit loops and reward-based learning (Dr. Judson Brewer has some great stuff).

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we DON’T put our minds to it. Ha!

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’ll be back soon enough. I have 3 weeks left of classes and then I’ll be graduating with my Bachelor’s degree!! Yipeee!! Summer will be a time for fun, laughter and celebration and—God willing—a time to throw off the old masks and live life to the fullest.

About the Image

Speaking of masks, I created the featured image for this post because the mask is supposed to represent “fasting,” not COVID. That’s why my nose is exposed. To add to that, the image of me was taken quite a while ago, maybe 10 years or so, and when I found it I was thrilled at how thin and healthy I looked. I added the mask (obviously) with Photoshop, and then did a little manipulating with some of my cool iPhone apps to make it look like a sketch. I’m sure that at the time the photo was taken I probably hated the image. That’s just the way it always is (and I’m sure I speak for many women on that).

And I think I learned something when I found that old thing hiding in a soon to be deleted digital folder—I learned that we’re not always as “bad” as we believe we are. We think that we are too fat, too old, too skinny, too wrinkled, too young, too short, too tall… and the list goes on and on… but when we look back with fresh eyes we realize that all we’ve really been is WAY TOO hard on ourselves. So just stop.

“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.”

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Have a beautiful evening and I’ll see you all soon!

—Janet

No Strings Attached

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I absolutely love that quote. If I had to live by it—on the other hand—I’d be in big trouble. Ha! A part of me is joking, laughing at my own shortcomings; mainly my failure to finish many of the projects that I start, while another part of me—the softer side—is practicing self-love and acceptance.

Maybe I like the quote because it seems to know how I operate (and many of us perhaps). Moods can dictate our lives if we let them. Anyway… believe it or not, that was actually a lead into an update on my New Lifestyle, New Me project.

According to my calculations, it’s been 135 days since my journey began. If anyone remembers, by week two I had lost 5 pounds and purchased my fitness tracker… naively looking forward to counting my daily steps, and stepping my way into weight loss.

AND THEN WE WERE QUARANTINED.

Now, I’m not complaining or spouting out excuses here… but this shit is crazy! In the course of my walk with God, and my recovery over the past 4 years and 4 months, I think that—for the first time ever—I fully understand the serenity prayer, and what Paul really meant in Philippians 4:11 “… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

I’ve grown accustomed to “unforeseen” circumstances, but never could I have imagined something of this magnitude. Of course, I’m not sure if the virus is the REAL culprit for the major interruption, but let’s just say—for the sake of keeping it simple—that it is.

I like to think creatively. What that means—to me—is that when the unforeseen comes my way, I figure out ways to adapt to it. Commitment may mean staying loyal to what I said I was going to do but that doesn’t mean I can’t change the end goal!

Honestly, I gained the 5 pounds back, and a few more on top of that since quarantine set in. Am I upset with myself? Not at all. I’ve had a lot of time to think. I realized that every time I sit down to look at my life, I try to think of ways to make myself better! I’m all for personal “growth,” don’t get me wrong, but what’s wrong with me the way that I am??

That being said, I’d have to say that my New Lifestyle, New Me project looks a little different today. I still want to make healthier choices, and I still want to avoid being sedentary, but the end goal, the thing that I really hope to achieve, is to love and accept myself, unconditionally… no strings attached.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.

Brené Brown

I created the featured image for this post, a photo composite piece made from a couple of images I found on Pixabay. I seem to equate yoga poses with self-love… and don’t ask me why because I don’t really do yoga! I think it’s a cultural thing. Anyway… I like it. The woman is exhaling her cares… and breathing in acceptance. Something that all of us should try!

Recalibrating

Would you believe that tomorrow marks the beginning of WEEK TWELVE of my New Lifestyle, New Me project? Wow! It feels as though I’ve lost part of my life somehow—like my wall calendar has this huge red “X” scratched across the month of April or something. And half of May too!

Not to worry. As of today, there are still 532 days for me to hit my first “weight loss” goal. So… I’m in the process of recalibrating. All of this “stay at home” time has given me an opportunity to think, and to get to know myself a little better. I’ve noticed that I still have this default mode that makes me want to emulate other people. I’m not talking about the desire to be fit, there is nothing wrong with that—what I’m talking about are the numerous methods one can use in order to “get” fit.

When you think of fitness, what comes to your mind? Running? Aerobics? Joining a gym? Actually, I do have a gym membership that’s on hold due to COVID, but that’s another story. What I’m trying to say is that most of these ideas are default answers. They’re the things that automatically come to mind when thinking about fitness (or just being “active”), but they’re not necessarily things that I enjoy doing. When I set this change in motion, I wanted my new lifestyle to be different, to be fun, and—last but not least—to be adventurous.

I’ve been reading a book about prayer (thank you Collette) and something the author said really stuck with me. A lot of people put off praying because they think that they need to have everything in order before they pray. But the truth of the matter is… it is “through” our prayers that we begin transformation, and start getting things in order. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. It’s not a huge surprise either. I know people who to do house “clean-ups” before the housekeeper comes to clean! That’s actually the perfect analogy.

I mentioned a while back that once I weighed a little less, and was more limber, I wanted to sign up for some dance lessons. After reading that little tidbit on prayer, I realized what I had actually said in my statement… I wanted to get in shape, before getting in shape! What a bunch of phooey.

We’re in the beginning phase of “re-entry” here, so things won’t be happening right away, but I’m feeling good. Mid-June looks like a good time to start my own new phase—a new adventure—giving me 30 days to do my research. The goal is to start with a simple stretch class. I LOVE to stretch!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s time to “DO” the things I love—NOT to plan and prepare, and “get myself in order” so that one day I can do what I love. Life is too short for that.

It’s time to dance!


Thank you for reading… I hope you’re all doing what you love!!
—Janet

The featured image is something that I chose because it makes me feel calm. A beautiful rose, whose petals are slowly unfolding to form a wonderful pattern… like a beautiful dance.

Word of the Day Challenge: Dancing

Our Beautiful Mind

It’s been a long time since I shared an update on my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I’ve been quiet about my progress. Why? Well… let’s just say that I’m beginning to understand why Adam and Eve hid from God after they tasted the forbidden fruit. They failed to stick to the plan. They broke the ONLY rule. That’s embarrassing! Humiliating even.

I get it. I’ve broken MOST of my own rules already, and confession is a very hard thing. 

But today is a new day, a new beginning, with fresh thoughts. 

Beautiful thoughts.

When I reorganized my room recently, I moved my bed around. The left side of it—the side that I have been getting into for years—now runs alongside a long, narrow table that I love. There is not much room between the two, meant to give me “just enough” space to get in and do some tucking in the morning, nothing else. 

That being said, the right side—the side that used to be up against the wall—is now my new area of “approach.” There’s a small rug at the base of this “right” side, beckoning me to come in for a landing and rest my feet. There’s plenty of clearance to walk around, sit for a spell, and to launch myself into bed at night.

Here’s the thing. Every time I enter, the FIRST thing I do—without even thinking—is head to the left side and SQUEEZE myself into that tiny space between the table and my bed. I can’t help it! I’m a terrible creature of habit. I’m bound and determined to reach “the left side” of my bed, even if it means nearly knocking over a lamp and spilling paperwork to the floor every time that I do it. This pattern of behavior made me curious, and so I pondered it for a bit. Two words came to mind. 

Procedural Memory.

If I want to change that weird habit (which might seem lame, but it’s a perfect example), I can’t give up. I’ve got to force myself to veer to the right, and I’ve got to do it again and again, over and over.  

Procedural memory is a part of long-term memory that’s responsible for motor skills. It’s where information on how to perform certain procedures is stored. It’s like learning to ride a bike when you’re young. You try and you try, and you probably wobble at first (after falling several times). But you keep doing it, over and over, and then—once you’ve got it down perfectly—something miraculous happens. The task no longer involves conscious thought. You can ride a bike, and you can do it without even thinking! That’s incredible.

When I shared about the curse of the all or nothing recently, I think most of what I said was “self-talk.” I do that a lot; sharing ideas with you all as I try to teach the ideas to myself. The whole point behind my thoughts were that I should not just GIVE UP (do nothing or quit). Life is not about all of nothing. It’s about putting forth effort to do the things that you’d like to do, or to make the changes you want to make.

So, as far as my New Lifestyle, New Me goes—if I haven’t succeeded the first time around, or the second, or even the third (and so on)—it does not mean that it’s time to give up. It means that it’s time to GET UP and to try again. And again.

Because when we do something over and over, like learning to ride a bike, eventually that miracle happens. One day we wake up and we can do it without thinking. That new healthy habit has taken root, residing on its own in that place we call our procedural memory… deep inside of our beautiful mind.

God really IS great.


Thank you for reading! I hope you found something interesting or enjoyable here.


Three Things Challenge #224: Bed, Young, Curious

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Where am I going?


Is anyone else asking this question lately?

The featured image here is pretty significant, as it struck me in several ways. First, I took the photograph several years ago and—until yesterday—never even knew that the Santa Monica Pier is literally the end of the famous (or maybe not so famous) Route 66.

The historic route started in Illinois (Chicago), ran 2,400 miles westward (across 8 states), and ended in California, at the Pacific Ocean, right where I shot the image. Over time, the original route has been changed and rerouted, so the old Route 66 is no longer “official.” If you plan it right, you can still make the journey across a good portion of it—and there are many cool markers to be found. This is one of them… a sign delineating the End of the Trail

Which is ironic, because that’s actually another thing that struck me about the image… the end of the trail. Lately, there are a few things that I’ve thought about giving up, and blogging is one of them. “This image would be ideal for my farewell post,” I said to myself. The end of the road, so to speak. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I really did entertain the idea. 

Sometimes these waves come over me—however fleeting they may be—and I consider throwing in the towel. It feels as though I’m writing “much ado about nothing” and tossing empty words into an even emptier universe; the dark tunnel we call the internet. My words echo as they leave me… FADING… fading…… and then they disappear, never to return. 

For one thing, the things that I write about have morphed dramatically over time. The reason for coming aboard in the first place was to share my story of finding God and recovering from alcoholism. That story has been told. It’s preserved in time, WAY back in my archives, and there are many other bloggers out there—just like me—telling the same story. We’ve done it! We’re doing it… every day.

As for the present, I’m not an evangelist, or an apologist, and I have no education in theology, so I try to be VERY careful with my words about my faith. Someone was too quick to hint around about my errors, and I was deeply saddened by that. So… I’ve stuck to the philosophy that “living my life as I now live it” is continuous (and rather convincing) evidence of my walk of faith. And I am still sober and forever grateful for this new life.

And then I considered my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I LOVE the idea, and I’m very enthusiastic about it, but already it’s a struggle. Off to a rough start you might say. Who would have thought that the quarantine would alter our lives so drastically just as I set sail on my new adventure! Not to mention the fact that it’s embarrassing to share my thoughts along this journey, because my thoughts —like everything else in life—are ever changing. I can only imagine that trying to keep up with the wanderings of my mind is an exhausting task. 

So… Where AM I going? What am I to make of all of this? Today, writing about all of this feels good—because I’m actually getting somewhere.

No. 1 Look Outward

The first thing I see from my observations is that my lack of knowledge about the significance of that Route 66 marker is an analogy, of sorts, for my introversion. My tendency to look inward for insights and inspiration is a hindrance at times. I’m always missing out on things—things that are going on all around me—because I’m hyper focused on that odd little world that lives inside of me. Talk about a dark tunnel through an empty universe. Ha-Ha! 

I’m going to work on changing that. Rather than allowing this pandemic to bury me even deeper inside of myself… I’m going to reach out more. Less thinking and talking—more watching, looking, listening, and doing. 

No. 2 The Curse of the All or Nothing

The other thing—the really exciting thing—is the other analogy that I notice, that relates to my blogging experience, and my New Lifestyle, New Me project. If things aren’t working for me, my first inclination is always “walk away!” The changing and re-routing of the old Route 66 speaks volumes to me here. The journey is still possible, it just looks different. The road is not CLOSED, it’s just been altered.  

Having an “all or nothing” attitude toward everything has done nothing but get me into trouble—for the better part of my life. I want to DO IT BIG, or DO NOTHING. It’s so hard for me to find the middle of the road, that space in between—where perfect balance exists. But that’s exactly what is needed right now. Rather than shutting it all down, all I really need to do is some altering and re-routing, just like they did with old Route 66.

This is not the end of the trail. It’s the beginning!


Thank you for reading if you made it all the way down. I’m thrilled that these were not just empty words today—they were from my heart.

God Bless!
—Janet

Pier Ride

Buckle Up!

This image depicts a good chunk of my life: One Wild Ride. Full of ups and downs, spins and twists, hairpin turns— and (far too many) “hold onto your hat!” moments. Of course, the ride in the photograph is actually pretty tame—hence the bold colors and wild effects that I’ve added.

I thought it was a fun thing to do today. This is from my Santa Monica Pier archives, from several years back. I’m beginning to think that my recent obsession with bright colors has something to do with feeling pent up. I don’t react well to being caged. Ha-ha! True story.

New Lifestyle Update

I’m still on hiatus from my walking, but I’m buckling down and putting a (semi) routine together: Walks on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I think that’s about all I can handle right now but it’s my minimum. If I do more than that, then how awesome is that!? And I do notice that walking day after day doesn’t necessarily work for me. I feel weak the day after a long walk, so I like the idea of resting days in between.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve actually done a lifestyle change before (altering my diet and adding exercise) and I lost 50 pounds doing it. I’d say that, all in all, it took about a year. I was in my 30’s (from what I remember) and the method was simple: eating healthier, unprocessed foods, and walking 3 miles, 3 times per week. And honestly, I’m pretty sure it was the walking routine that did the trick.

Anyway, I like the idea of a routine like this because I won’t guilt myself out on the days I rest and I’ll really “look forward” to the days that I do walk. Like tomorrow, for example! I’m really jazzed knowing that tomorrow is THE DAY. I’ll get up early, pack up my bag (which just arrived) and be out the door. I like that plan!

That’s about all for now. Thanks for reading!


The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
—Mike Murdock