Saturday, August 29, 2009

signing off

This morning I had a really fabulous run. As opposed to paying attention to mileage as I usually do since I've been training for this half marathon, today I just went on an hour run, taking a one minute walking break every ten minutes. It was awesome. I pushed myself harder than I have in awhile on a run, and I felt great. While running I thought alot about why I wanted to do this half marathon. It costs alot of money and takes alot of time and I feel really healthy with just
5-6 mile runs. Then, I started thinking about my weight loss goals and how I am so committed to training when there is a race involved but my commitment on my weight goals ebbs and flows. So, I am saving my money on the half marathon and instead training for my weight loss goal. I want to reach my long elusive number by my birthday--November 9th. I know I have pontificated on the shallowness of a number and a timeline, but those things have really helped me and as I've tried to eliminate them lately all it has done has enabled me to sneak and lie to myself that I can eat whatever I want and still be "healthy." The fact is, I want to be thinner. There, I said it. I want to look better and feel better and as I look at pictures of me 55 pounds ago, I am so grateful that I don't look that anymore. And I want to look better than I do now. I want to finally reach this goal and feel that accomplishment that I have savored in so many other facets of life. So, that is the event I am training for. And, sorry to say, this blog won't be a part of that. I've realized that writing about this journey here has made it too much about other people and what they think rather than what I am doing with my body and why I am doing it. It has made my hyperfocus on this struggle in an unhealthy way. A few of you out there I am in touch with about our mutual goals, and I really hope we can stay in touch and motivate each other, but my days of en masse journaling are done. It is time for me to focus and do this. This is an intensely personal journey for anyone who takes it. I think getting our bodies to a place we want them is really only between us and God. I wish you all great luck with your goals and aspirations. Our bodies are the greatest gift we have. That is why we came to this earth, to gain a body, to move it, to feel it, to grow in it, and through it all to become more like our Heavenly Father. And all that takes work, focus, and faith. Eat, Pray, Move everyone. . . and keep in touch.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ticker Evolution

I should put a huge "Thank you for your patience during our renovations" sign at the top of this blog. I am figuring things out as I go along here, and I don't know if it is totally frustrating, or perhaps oddly validating to hear about my ups and downs in this saga of health. Since my cookie splurge and subsequent floodgates of baked sweets enjoyment, I've thought more and more about my sugar free experiment. And today, as I was rereading the Word of Wisdom I had the thought that cutting out sugar completely while allowing myself lots of other junk doesn't really help me fulfill that law or tap into those promises (same link, just note verses at the bottom!) I thought, what I really need to do is focus on what I want to put in my body, rather than what I want to force myself to keep out. I think in life in general we focus far too much on what we can't do, can't eat, can't watch, can't read, and not enough on all the wonderful things we can do every day. As a mother, I look at all the things I fall short in, and don't take time to notice all the little things I do right every single day. And certainly, as parents, we often say "no" to our kids far more than we say "yes." There are so many things we can let our children do, and praise them for doing, but we often whittle our time away with them with "not yets," "don't touches," and "please stops." For my kids, I have an "Awesomeness Chart." I put a little mark on it every time they listen, do their chores, share, or just do anything awesome and good. Every tenth box, they have a star, and when they get a mark on their star, they get to pick out of their awesomeness bucket. There are no negative consequences here, just plain awesomeness. I don't take marks off when they don't listen, and if they don't do their chores, they just don't get the mark, but they don't lose anything. So, I've revolutionized my "ticker" to the right to be a form of awesomeness tracker for me. Instead of focusing my life on not eating sugar, I'm going to focus on what the Lord encourages me to focus on. I am aiming for seven servings of whole grains a day and six servings of fruits and veggies. That sounds like alot, but servings are much smaller than we think. One slice of whole wheat bread is a serving, so a sandwich knocks out two, and I think 1 cup of oatmeal is two as well. You get the idea. And sweets? Oh, they'll be there. If you decide to stop reading because you just can't handle my indecisive weak nature, I'm okay with that. Once again, I am accepting that Weight Watchers is truly a marvelous, moderate plan for me. And though I don't want to obsess over a number, that scale is a good indicator of how well I am taking care of myself. I might not lose another 15 pounds anytime soon, but I don't want to gain them either. So, this week, I will focus on filling my body with good, whole foods, and if I want a cookie, I'll have one. . . after I eat more salad. In time, I think that will get me where I want to be--which is healthy and ready for revelation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

She started it!

Linzie Smith. She's the one who gave me this crazy good chocolate chip cookie recipe that makes these mind-blowing-crispy-outside-chewy-inside-enormous-chocolatey-circles-of-heaven-things-called-cookies. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Wait a year to try it out? Try it and then ascertain if they were really all that just by my family's reaction? I mean, Daman never reacts to food nearly enough and so that would simply not give me any realistic indication. It was my duty. In my defense, I did walk to the grocery store to get the necessary butter.

I know I know. . . I am lame. I am weak. And I am kind of a hypocrite. But, do I get points for full disclosure? The sugar thing, even without the cookie(s) episode wasn't going so well. I hadn't had any other splurges, but I was eating butter on things I haven't had butter on since I was 12, just because I felt like I could and so I should. How lame is that? That isn't really healthy either. I have got to get a hang of this moderation thing. Weight Watchers really helps me with that. So, I think even with a no-sweet lifestyle I am going to have to track if I don't want to gradually creep back to the size and weight I've worked so hard to say goodbye too. But, I'm not throwing the sugar goal out the window. I feel really good when I stick to it. I feel discipline creeping into so many other facets and when I let it go, I let go of many other things too. I still want to be a natural, holistic, healthy eater, but I'm not to the point where I can do that without tracking and stay at a good weight. I still have 3 (or more after this week!) pounds to get back to my Pre-pregnancy weight, and even if I'm relaxing a bit on this longtime goal I've been dreaming of for years, I do want to get back to Pre-Emma Morgen. So, I am finishing up the cookie dough today, finding as many people as I can to eat the little discs of joy, and I say goodbye to them (again) for a year. I am sorry I let you down e-world. I wish I could say this is the last time. I think as time goes by it will get easier. . . right? right? Sigh. Let's just keep at it, shall we?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bon Apetit!!

A few weeks ago I totally splurged and went to see "Julie and Julia" with a dear friend who is a fellow food and movie lover. It was a marvelous afternoon. My friend is a fabulous cook who also happens to be over six foot just like Madame Julia, so it was even more fated and wonderful. It was a fantastic film; Meryl Streep is just too incredible, and if Julia Child really was anything like Meryl depicted, then she is my new hero. She was so upbeat and brave and infectiously joyous about life and of course, food. Tonight as I ate with my kids I was doing my best Julia impression to try to entertain them and excite them over some awesome tortellini. It didn't work for them, but it made me think about how much joy I find in food, and if I took time to actually enjoy and relish the eating experience, I bet I wouldn't eat as much. I would savor more and stuff less. I wouldn't eat things I didn't really enjoy, like lame cookies and plain chocolate chips. I would reserve my palette for true deliciosity. Today I was reading an article where a woman outlined her seven steps to a healthy relationship with food. All her ideas sounded so lovely and doable. . . if you were single. One of her rules is to always eat sitting down to create a peaceful meal experience. Clearly, this woman has never had to put dinner on the table, outmanned three to one. The youngest of the opposition is bellowing out her lungs between every bite of oatmeal because it can't come fast enough. The two year old is announcing she does not like the tortellini, but is scarfing all the rosemary sweet potato fries (another recipe to the right) and if you wait to have a peaceful time, you will miss out on those completely. So, I had to snag a few tortellini--and oh yes I used my hands--as I could. I was so not relishing or savoring. I was eating in the trenches. Then the kids are in bed and I crave that decompressing mealtime that I missed out on. I want to sit and snack in peace. But, my 8pm curfew passed 20 minutes ago. I cave. I eat a banana and milk with a few grapenuts. Weak, sure, but I sat still and enjoyed it, and the m&m's remain untouched, so there. Lesson? I think even if it means eating later and at odd times, I'm not going to try to eat with the kids anymore. No snitches, no cramming lunch in my mouth while feeding Emma and pouring Lucy's water. I just won't eat until I can do it meaningfully. That's the theory anyway. I am so full of good theories.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Two words. . .

. . . Baby Shower. I hosted a casual one for a friend tonight. Nothing major, just a get together to celebrate her fourth baby. In lieu of gifts, I had sign up sheets for babysitting and meals for the next month. I think that is much more helpful than yet another blue sleeper. But, I think we all know what baby showers mean. Sugar, lots of sugar. So, I prepared with smoothies and chips and salsa (made from my garden tomatoes!) and mentally rehearsed my reaction to the plates of cookies coming my way. Luckily, there was nothing majorly chocolate except some kind of popcorn s'more concoction, but there were some tempting cookies. But, I told myself this was not going to the last baby shower ever and nothing I could taste tonight would change my life. And I was right. The smoothies were delicious, and though I fudged a bit on my 8pm eating curfew, I think overall I was very well-behaved. See recipe for salsa to the right. Fresh salsa is so easy and so good and so guilt free, I think we should eat some every day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fresh Start

I got a hair cut this morning. Pretty dramatic, right? I like it. And I feel like it is a perfect start to a new phase. Cute hair, trying to stop biting nails, and not even one snitch of the zuchini muffins today. And there was a bag of them sitting out all day, might I add. And I am not ashamed to admit that I heard my name being distinctly called from their general direction once or twice. Some chocolate chips in the freezer chimed in a couple of times too. But, I put in my earplugs of power and reminded myself that these are not the last muffins in the world, so there. But, I do not think I would have made it through this day without peanut butter. I love Natural peanut butter. Roasted peanuts and sea salt, blended to a sheer Omega-3 Fatty bliss. Maybe I went a little overboard with like 4 spoonfuls today, but I recall no promises of perfection in yesterday's crazy-long blog. But, I do promise that they won't all be that long. And to keep that promise, I shall end this one here. Day one went pretty darn good. Weary, but still running, and that is a good thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Better or Thinner??

I only have three minutes to summarize three days of thoughts, ponderings, and insights, so I better make this snappy. I've just poured out my thoughts ever so eloquently in my journal, but I have to finish a birthday story for my niece and I've put it off long enough while redesigning my background and figuring out how to put a "ticker" on my site. Look right for more details. Ain't I handy? Now, to explain the ticker.
We are almost to September. The year is halfway gone and I am wondering what I have created so far. This was a year that I wanted to focus on creation--creating a stronger, more disciplined body, and creating some written work as well. If I were grading myself, I think I'd give myself a B-. I mean, I did bring a child into the world, which is pretty darn creative, so that should seriously bump up the average, but still I am not where I thought I wanted to be. I've had intense ebbs and flows in my varying weight loss plans and visions. The writing plan has picked up nicely however. I am writing birthday stories for my nieces and nephews as gifts and having a marvelous time doing it. Hopefully a publisher will soon have a marvelous time reading it and I will achieve my dream of publication. World famous author? Probably not, but who wants all that hubbub. I digress.

So, in the last week, as I consumed 5-6 Reynolds Original Zuchini Chocolate Chip Raisin Walnut cookies in a day (Isaac and I created our own recipe--he was very excited about that) I have thought long and hard about where my body is and where I want it to be and why I want it to be there. (Remember how I said I only had 3 minutes? I've now gone 4 minutes over, but I just want to get this out there. This is probably going to be a longish post. . . sorry) I've had this "goal" weight for years, all because a long time ago there was a woman I knew that was my same height and I thought she looked so great, strong, healthy, and not crazy skinny. I asked her how much she weighed and her answer became my mecca, my zen, my point where I thought I would surely be totally happy with myself. That is now only 15 pounds away. Of course, I also once thought that I would be totally content with myself if I could only get to a size 12. I've been there awhile, and the sublime self-satisfaction ain't quite happening.

On my run on Saturday (ahem, 7.5 miles) I did alot of thinking. I thought about why I want to lose weight. Will I be a better person with 15 pounds less of me to lug around? Will I be happier? If so, why? And will my current Weight Watchers trajectory get me there? What do I really want to be like, not just look like, but really be like? In my ideal vision of Morgen, I see someone strong, healthy, and vibrant, who eats wholesome nutritious foods, and rarely eats anything refined. Right now, I'm not really that. Even on days when I stay within "points," I nibble at processed dietish foods, sneak chocolate, and squeeze every drop I can out of my calorie allowance for the day. Doing that within the WW limits could eventually carve 15 pounds off of me, but will I be a better person? Will I finally stop thinking about food so much? Will I be able to be in a room with brownies and be able to think about anything but how many of them can I eat and still have a successful weigh in tomorrow? I don't think so. Am I a believer in the Weight Watchers system? Oh heavenstobetsy yes. It has changed my life drastically. It helped me take 55 pounds off and recreated me in several ways. But, I think I've decided to focus on a new plan of which I am an even bigger fan. . . God's Diet Plan, a.k.a: "The Word of Wisdom."

To sum up: Lots of grains, fruits, veggies, with little to no meat, and nix on the refined sweet stuff. In honor of good old Thoreau, I am going to simplify, simplify, simplify. I shan't be living in a cabin in the middle of the woods (though that is tempting), but I am eliminating points, tracking, and all other dieting constrictions. And oh yes, I think I am even eliminating weigh-ins. I've decided that it is time for this to be about being a better Morgen, not just a thinner Morgen. And now, the experiment begins.

What will happen if I go a year without sugar? Will I lose weight and/or inches? Will I have more energy? Will I stop craving it? Will I feel purer and closer to the Spirit? Will I survive Halloween, Thanksgiving, and insanely overwhelming chocolate monthly cravings? I have, right now, zero ability to regulate the sweet stuff. I think if I conquer it, I will grow closer to Christ in new ways, and feel a strength in myself that I've yet to taste. And I won't sneak snickers bars on solo grocery trips because noone can see. And I won't scarf chocolate chips and then chew trident as quickly as possible in hopes that my husband won't smell or taste (kissing. . . gross I know) the chocolate in my mouth. My hope? That in a year, I will have a relationship with sweets that will enable me to have dessert on birthdays and major holidays and stop there. I will tell myself that the world will still be producing chocolate in a year, and I am pretty sure that cookies will be in existence by then too. It is only for a year.

So, here is my plan:
-No refined sugar, except in yogurt (I am trying to eat from the Superfoods list of 14 foods, and yogurt is one of them and eating straight plain yogurt sounds about as tempting as raw oysters to be honest)
-Honey, juice, and pure maple syrup are a go
-No eating after 8pm

How will this go? How will I do it? What will I learn? What will I eat on my birthday? Will I feel better about myself? These are very good questions that perhaps only I am interested in, but I am going to pretend that you are really interested in them as well, and so I will write about them. Daily, as a matter of fact. My plan--have you noticed that I really like plans?--is to jot something in here every day. Accountability is the name of the game. I believe that the Word of Wisdom is the most inspired set of health guidelines out there and I fully expect to tap into every promise the Lord has made. I know I will have treasures of knowledge opened up to me, and maybe one of those trinkets will help someone out there trying to move more, eat less, and feel happier in their skin. These bodies of ours are gifts from God, and I am going to focus a little more from now on on taking better care of it, and not just trying to shrink it.

Well, I am now about 20 minutes over my allotted writing time, and I am totally okay with that. I'm just happy to get these ideas out there and get this goal going. My dear husband just made zuchini muffins that probably taste really really good since they have 2 cups of sugar in them. I mean, really, doesn't that make them cake? Who are we kidding tossing this "bread" word around? Anyway, tomorrow morning we'll sit down for breakfee and everyone will dig into said muffins and it will be my first morning standing out a bit. I haven't told my better half about this goal. Why? Because I am more than a little ashamed that I'm setting this goal. . . again. This isn't the first time I've sworn off the demon white powder of sweetness. So, I'm sheepish to say that I'm really honestly for real going to do it this time. I want to go for it a month before I announce it officially to him, and then maybe I'll believe it more myself and then he can believe it more himself. So, tomorrow, I think I'll go for the oatmeal non-muffin version of breakfast.

I've prattled enough. I hope that you'll join me for this journey, and I hope that some nugget of this might help you have a better day. Once in awhile, I hope I can even be funny and entertaining. I'll come up with some sugar free knock knock jokes or something. But, mostly, if this is a path that sounds a little familiar to you, then maybe we can help each other tap into the Lord's goodness and show our gratitude to Him for these glorious bodies He has given us a chance to experience.

Well, good night sugary world. This is Morgen, signing off.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can't Stop Eating.

That is pretty much it. It is called Downtown DC Stress Induced Diet Free For All. No rash, but very difficult to eradicate completely. My plan? Get through today, and have a nice long run tomorrow morning and do much much better. I really want to cut my hair and I've set it up as my reward for getting back to pre-pregnancy weight. Three pounds (now four grrr. . .) seems awfully far away today. By the way, is it tacky to ask for a roll call here? I mean, is anyone really interested in anything I'm saying? Is anyone even reading this, or am I prattling on to cyberspace about my diet plans in conceited disillusion? A simple "here" will suffice. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Up One

Blah. So, remember that goal to either stay the same or lose some fraction of a pound ever week until I reach goal? That was such a great goal, wasn't it. But apparently, my appetite was not on board with that goal and this past week I was so not eating as if I wanted to lose weight. And I didn't. I gained a pound. Earth-shattering? Not quite. But still quite a bummer. What do I expect when I eat five or six "healthy" black bean brownies and four vita-brownies (which are really great by the way)? Sure, this was over the course of a week, but I've got to be honest with myself and eat like I want to lose weight and not just exercise and expect fabulous results. So, I dust off the ambitions and zero in on a success next Tuesday. That pound is so not sticking around. Sorry little fella, you and fifteen more of your little buddies are getting the boot. No hard feelings I hope. And no more vita-brownies either.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Balancing Act

"For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably
connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive
a fulness of joy."

Doctrine and Covenants 93:33-34

Recently I've been asked to teach Relief Society and speak at Young Women's Camp about finding balance in health and fitness. First of all, I think it is remarkable, that I, of all people, would be looked to for any guidance in this arena. It reminds me of how far I've come. But, as I prepared thoughts for these gatherings, I've learned some very important lessons. This scripture, to me, is not just speaking of a far off resurrection. Here, I believe the Lord is teaching us that our soul is the combination of our body and our spirit and if we are only progressing in one of those areas, we cannot receive a fulness of joy. Not just that we might not, or even that He won't allow it, but that He knows we cannot achieve true happiness if we are not nurturing both our body and our spirit at the same time, in the same pace. We read, ponder and pray, but we must also move, think, and eat. We fuel our spirits carefully with scriptures, prayer, and personal study. But if we neglect our bodies by not moving or dishonor them by how we eat, then we just can't be as happy. My good friend Amanda directed me to a marvelous talk today and I pass on the info. It has taken me all day to get enough windows of time to finally listen to the entire thing, but I am so glad I did. She touches on this idea of balancing, and I especially love her thoughts on the lies that the world and satan tell us about our bodies and happiness. She points out that satan tells us we can not be as happy as we want unless we look a certain way. That is definitely one I've bought hook, line, and sinker--but I refuse to from now on. True, I'm not perfect, but yesterday I sprinted for at least 20 seconds with all three kids on the double jogger stroller and we were all laughing and screaming hysterically. So, who cares if I'll never be a supermodel. I've gotten strong enough to create that fun memory and that is pretty dang good. I was reminded of that today. Here is the link:
(If the link doesn't work you can find her by googling BYU Education Conference 2007, Connie Sokol)

Listen and enjoy. Tonight I am extra thankful for this body and am more motivated to honor it with good reading, good hobbies, good movement, and good food. Thanks for passing it on Amanda.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


That was for my artillery soldier Dad. That is the call of success when artillery has hit its mark. And boy did my mark get hit this week! I won't even begin to explain what I ate last Tuesday evening at an Anne of Green Gables Book Club Tea Party. Points didn't even cross my mind, except to assume that all 35 of my extra Weight Watchers points were gone by the end of the night. Chocolate torte, chocolate cake, lemon tart, deviled eggs, chicken salad sandwiches, lemonade, petit fors, hot chocolate. . . aaahhh. Still, I decided I would be fine if I stayed on track the rest of the week. My workouts are going well and today's weigh-in? Drumroll please. . . . 3 pounds gone! Oh, happy day. I only have one goal with every weigh in--to not gain. Even if it .1 pounds, I just want to go down or stay the same every week until I reach goal. I am 15 pounds away and I know it will slow way down. But, this morning as I was working out, doing squats like a champ, I took a good long look at my body, and with Miley Cyrus singing "The Climb" in the background I felt like I've made a really good climb with this body. I started over fifty pounds ago feeling crummy about myself and I've certainly felt worse than crummy many many times. Being pregnant 3 times and watching all the weight come back for a visit has been really challenging. But, I've kept going. I've kept running. I've kept getting up in the morning when Emma was up every hour last night. I've thrown it all out the window on trips with my mom, but then I've held my ground at church parties and just said no to brownies. Give and take, up and down. That is how this whole thing rolls. My husband was talking about how he thinks WW is kind of flawed in that it is designed to encourage you to eat as much as possible and still lose the weight. At first I agreed and it made me feel a little weak. But, then I've thought about it and said, "What is wrong with that??" I love to eat. I love snickerdoodles, homemade bread, brownies, and granola bars. I want to eat them. And I can. I have to learn to moderate and control and balance, but I can, and I think that is not just ok, but pretty darn impressive for anyone like me who is trying to do this. Today, after my weigh in I took a moment to fall to my knees in prayer by my bed. I thanked my Heavenly Father for helping me succeed, even when I might not have deserved such a huge success. I expressed to Him my gratitude for a body and a desire to take care of it. And I prayed for patience as I continue forward. Help me accept success, no matter how minute, with gratitude and grace. It was a nice experience.
And on a lighter note--any good, cheap, non-food rewards when I reach my pre-preg WW goal? I'm only 3 pounds away! I have another 12 pounds to go after that to reach my long dreamed of goal, but I want to celebrate getting back to Pre-Emma body!