Monday, March 31, 2008


The other day I was sitting on the couch and something outside caught my eye. I took a picture of it through my living room window:

Can you see the eyes and the nose?

Let me introduce you to Wilbert the tree! He lives just outside my backyard. See how he's trying to sneak in? It was a cold morning, bet he wanted to come inside and warm himself up!

If he moves or does anything strange, I'll let you know.


Be good n stuff!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Things Always Turn Around

Do you ever feel like nothing is working? Like you're never good enough?

I'm searching and searching for a job, and I'm ALWAYS missing something. Not enough experience, I have the knowledge but not the papers, I don't speak Spanish, my written English isn't good enough.

What is wrong with me? Why am I unfit for everything?

I'm trying to lose weight, but there's always something in my way. If the food works, then I can't get the exercise straight, when I exercise right, I lose control of the food.

What is wrong with me? How come I can't just get this right?

I'm trying to be a good wife, but I talk too much, I'm too hyper, I can't pay my part of the bills cause I don't have a steady job. Over everything how dare I feel down in front of him?

What is wrong with me? Why can't I just be perfect?

Cause nobody is? How can I look at this, without ending up feeling like a piece of dirt?

The Job Thing

The job market is dried out, it's a recession, so it will take time. It has nothing to do with me.

I have never had a hard time finding a job. I'm reliable, I'm resourceful, I do have a big mouth, but I learned to slow down (a little hehe). I'm not finding a job because I'm a teacher and they are laying off thousands of teachers right now here in California.

It'll turn around, kids need to be taught. In a year or two (or three) they'll realize they are out of teachers, and things will move. Until then, I can earn my keep however I can, and keep up my spirits.

When the right job comes along, I have to be ready, solid, strong, so that I can get it. If I spend the time being depressed and being discouraged, it'll show, and they'll pass me up. Chin up, I'm good, I know it!

The Weight Loss Thing

If I want to lose weight, I need to stop trying to be perfect, and start being consistent.

I don't need to put ALL my energy on eating the right foods in the right amounts. I have to plan healthy meals, keep and eye on the snacks, and if the proteins are a little low one day, then I'll make it up later. If my bento is less cute one day, so be it. It'll be cuter later.

That way I have time and energy to workout. Which brings me to the same idea with working out. I don't need to work my behind off everyday to see results. I just need to work at it every day.

The Wife Thing

When we first started talking, when we first met, I was talking a lot, I was hyper, and he loved me that way, still does. We knew from the start that it would be hard for me to get my feet down, there was a language barrier, there was a lot of red tape to cut through, it's just how it was. We both knew that from the get go.

I have found other ways to do my part. I've made us more healthy, I've learned and then taught him a new lifestyle that works for both of us. I've taken up organizing, decorating the house, which he never bothered with, but which he now appreciate.

I have had my low moments where I leaned on him, and he has had his moments when he leaned on me. Isn't that what being married is all about? Why should I feel guilty for just being human?

Things Always Turn Around

I've had my share of hardships in my life, I met and overcame many challenges. A lot of the times though, I would think "This is it, there is no way I'm going to dig myself out of that one". Wouldn't you know it, every times something happened, someone would lend a hand, or I would just bull my way through until it worked.

Humans are incredibly resilient. We have strength that we don't even know we have. When everything goes dark, there will always be a light coming on, always. Sometimes it takes you a while to find it, but it's always there.

If you stop looking for it though, you might just miss it. It might be a small thing: An image that gives you an idea; somebody who can give you a little help; a book that might inspire you to "try differently"; a beautiful landscape that reminds you what is really important.

The only time you really fail is when you give up. As long as you keep trying, as long as you keep hoping, something will turn up. Something always do. To see it though, you need to believe in it, to believe in yourself, and to keep going.

You don't need to be perfect, you'll never be and trying is just going to bring you down. You need to keep trying, keep improving, see mistakes as learning opportunity, not failures.

If you do that simple thing you can achieve ANYTHING.

Be good n stuff!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 2 of my week

Yesterday turned out to be very different than I had planned.

I ended up working all day, so I had to scramble to make everything work. I was working from 9am to 2pm and then from 4pm to 6:30pm. My day was planned for an "at home" day since it's spring break around here. Oh well, money is money and my friend really needed it off so...

It was still a rather good day, I did NOT exercise per se because I just didn't have time. Between the two work times, I ran home to prepare the marinade and the salad for dinner, and then took off to work again, then came home and cooked the steak and after that I was just flat out of energy.

I walked only 4300 steps, but I think that my pedometer didn't like being attached to a sarong. I worked 3 meetings, and I never stop moving, there is no way I walked that little amount of steps yesterday.



Coffee WW smoothie
SCO with Apple sauce and 4 TBSP of raisins (I'm out of bananas!)


Rice balls (3 small), Steamed vegetables mixed with lentils, 1 hard boiled eggs


WW Pretzel
Potato salad (just tasting... *blush*)


Marinated flank steak (from the My Turn Around Program Cookbook (WW), just wonderful!)
Jamaican style Potato Salad (from Savoring Summer booklet (WW) a favorite of mine)
Yogurt with raisins and honey


1/2 sandwich


Nothing "official" I did move a lot at work. Still I didn't do my 1hr that I wanted to do every day.

Considering how quickly I had to turn around, and the fact that I still stuck to my food plan, I'm mostly happy with yesterday. I did not work out, but that's fine, I will today.

Persistence not perfection. So there!

Be good n stuff!

P.S. I did go walk Sunday evening with my dog for over 30 minutes as fast as I could walk. :o)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Day 1 of my week

I've already had to modify the plan!

It's no big thing, I just switched two days around, I made the Smothered chicken and Barley today, and will have the Flank Steak and Potato Salad tomorrow. We just got home too late to marinate the steak. Duh! I often modify my plans as the weeks happens since my schedule and my husband's change constantly. The main thing is to "modify" the plan, not to abandon it.

Today is a very good day. I stuck to my food plan and ate mindfully. The funny thing is that I really enjoyed everything I ate, I never felt hungry or deprived and I'm getting ready for a dinner that smells so good. Following my chosen plan is such a pain! AH!

Here's my food so far today:

Breakfast 1:
Weight Watchers chocolate smoothie made in 2 cups of Coffee.

Breakfast 2:
Steel Cut Oats with apple sauce, a banana, milk and a little caramel sugar free syrup.


Salad: lettuce, steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrot, red bell pepper), Lentils (steamed from Trader Joes), and smoked salmon.
Mandarin oranges slices with FF plain yogurt

Coffee with milk and sugar free syrup

Dinner 1:
Lentils with minced carrot and red bell pepper.

Dinner 2:
Smothered Chicken with Barley

Snack (planned):
94% FF microwaved popcorn

I also went to the dog park this afternoon, we walked around and played with the puppies for 20-30 minutes and then we went and walked around Shollenberger park.

Altogether is made over 1hr but I intend to go for a walk tonight to make sure I made it to 1hr. :o)

So that's my day, I take this as a very successful day. I had decided to make Sundays "all Core days" since I've found Sunday to be very challenging ever since I switched my "day 1" of the week to Sunday. So the idea is to start the week strong.

We'll see what happens!

Be good n stuff!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Might just work after all...

It's Saturday! The last day of my week, and the day when I'm planning my coming week. I've brought out my Planner and Lifestyle Journal, and decided to use it exactly the way I meant for it to be used. To monitor my lifestyle as well as my crazy schedule!

So, this morning I sat down and put down my goals:

- I want to review my resume,
- I want to make a list of the people who said they would write me reference letters so I can contact them after the spring break
- I want to take out my summer clothes to see what outfits would be appropriate for teaching and for Weigh Watchers.

- Plan my meals for the week and follow the plan
- Snack on Core foods only (keep my WPAs for meals)
- Cook ahead when I have a minute (Veggie soup!)
- Eat only when hungry

- Do 1 hour of "something" every day
- Resistance training at least 3 times in the week

- Take time to do nothing
- Prepare the house for renovation
- Go outside and smell the fresh air.

So there, that's my general goal. In the next version of my planner, I want to add a "meal and workout weekly planner" part. I'm not exactly sure how it will turn out, but I'm working on it. For now I still type it up in MS Word.

Weekly Food Plan from 3-23 to 3-29

B: SCO (Steal Cut Oats), Fruits, Apple sauce, milk - Coffee Smoothie
L: System D (that means we each do whatever we want at the moment, no planned meal)
D: Marinated Flank Steak (WW, My Turn Around prog. Cookbook p. 159) - Jamaican-Style Potato Salad (WW, Savoring Summer p. 70)

B: SCO, Fruits, Apple sauce, milk - Coffee Smoothie
L: Steamed veggies - Sliced steak - Potato salad
D: Smothered chicken and barley (Core board)

B: Eggs over 1/2 sandwich - Coffee Smoothie
L: Curried Couscous - Sauteed veggies sticks - Spicy chicken strips
D: Leftovers Chicken and barley

B: SCO, Fruits, Apple sauce, milk - Coffee Smoothie
L: Curried Couscous - Steamed veggies - Spicy chicken strips
D: Codfish Cazuela with Summer Squash (WW, Pantry to Plate p. 140)

B: Scramble in a toasted tortilla - Coffee Smoothie
L: Bulgur - Salad with minced veggies - Hardboiled eggs (shaped with my molds!)
D: Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce (WW, My Turn Around prog. Cookbook p. 175) - Bulgur

B: SCO, Fruits, Apple sauce, milk - Coffee Smoothie
L: Bulgur - Vegetable sticks with hummus - Sauteed Tofu cubes
D: Hunter's Chicken with Roasted Vegetables (WW, Pantry to Plate p. 79)

B: Aram's Cafe Brunch
L: Aram's Cafe Brunch
D: Vegetable and Chickpea Stew with Couscous (WW, Pantry to Plate p. 117)

You'll notice that a lot of recipes come from 2 of Weight Watchers current cookbooks. My receptionist and I both felt like we needed inspiration, so we challenged each others to find 2 recipe in each books to try this week. I'm starting late, but I'm starting!

I haven't put together a definite work out plan since I'm going with the "an hour of something" every day. I do plan to track my foods and my activity in my Planner and Lifestyle Journal, so that I know what I'm doing and how I'm doing as I go. That's what I designed it for isn't it?

So there you go, it's my week. I intend to follow the plan and make it work all week. Stay tuned as I also intend to keep this place going, as with everything else, when it falls aside, everything follows.

Be good n stuff!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Picking ourselves up (part 2)

If you want to read the first part of this, see my previous post: Picking ourselves up (part 1).

So, things got a little out of control, times have been stressful, and now I want to get my behind in gear, big time. Knowing myself and my "all or nothing" tendencies, I want to find a reasonable and maintainable plan that will let me not only GET on track, but also STAY on track. I'm breaking this down in 3 sections: Food n stuff, Activity n stuff, and Personal stuff.

Food n stuff:

I think that the start of all things when it comes to eating right is to plan. I need to make a plan that makes sense, that take my schedule into account. So the first thing will be to start planning my week ahead and stick to my plan.

The second thing that I need to do, is to shop smart. I do that automatically now, but there are some things that seem to sneak in my house that weren't part of our shopping habits a few months ago. Mainly I have to shop in season, because money is an issue these days, and to make sure that I always have safe snacks around.

I need to stop buying those snacks that I know will get me in troubles. Even if I feel strong and solid on shopping day, I have to remember that a few days down the line, I might not have the willpower to stop at one bite. Defensive shopping, that's what I call it!

As far as meal planning, I want to keep my focus on eating more vegetables. Grains and legumes are good, and I certainly plan on eating them regularly, but somehow my beloved vegetables have kind of slipped away. I need to give them first place again.

Finally, I have to take it one bite at a time. Ask myself the question: "Am I eating because I'm hungry? Or for X,Y,Z reason?" If I'm not hungry, then I get lost.

"If hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the solution."

Activity n stuff

Activity is my biggest challenge these days. It's funny in a way because it has always been my strength. I love to exercise, I just can't seem to find my "cruise speed". I have 2 speeds: Full blast, and nothing. I need to find a happy middle, something I can do and maintain without burning out, and without hurting myself.

I think I need to stop focusing on performance, and start focusing on consistency. I'll never compete in anything again. I'm not interested in doing so. I just want my body to be able to do what I tell it to do.

I think I'll go back to something I did a while ago that worked well before my OCD self decided to "step it up". I'll do 1 hour of "something" every day. It doesn't have to be high intensity, it can be either cardio or resistance training. As long as I'm moving for at least 60 minutes, it's good!

That way I can play this game with myself of "cheating". On the days that I really don't want to hit the gym, I go out of my way to find some way to move that isn't "exercise". Generally I end up moving much more than 1 hour. It's fun, it's motivating, and it's moving! Less pressure, more fun, how cool is that?

Personal stuff

I need to organize my time and put together a list of priorities. I've been sitting in stagnant water for too long. Ok, education isn't going well, what does it mean for me? Where am I going? What are my possibilities? Where do I want to go from here?

I need to figure those things out and then make a plan. Nobody is going to come and pick me out of my living room.

I also need to remind myself of the things I have accomplished so far, instead of the things I haven't done. I have come a long way and have beaten any odds that life has thrown at me so far. When needed I DID have the strength to push forward and that strength is still in me today. I can do whatever I set my heart on doing. I just have to keep at it!

Finally, I need to take "me time". I need to do what needs to be done, and then stop. I need time where I'm not figuring out anything. Where I'm not cleaning, writing, preparing meetings, planning food, cooking, making lunches... Nobody can be "on" 24 hrs/day. I need time to just chill out, play, go outsides, something.

Ok, so that's my plan. It's a big order, but in a way it's a simple one. Get back to basics, get back to what works, don't try to overdo things, over think things. Just think ahead a little, take it one step at a time, and pick yourself up real quick if something comes up.

I have been doing this for over 5 years now, I know how, I know I can do it. So... If you see somebody skipping along on the Expressway in Rohnert Park followed by a skinny crazy dog, I just probably didn't feel like hitting the gym that day! AH!

Be good n stuff!

Picking ourselves up (Part 1)

I've been away from this blog for a while. I think I needed not to think for a little bit, you know, go on automatic pilot and just push through. It works for a while, but never for very long. Now that things are settling down, for now, it's time to look around, dust myself up, and get back on my way.

I've mentioned that a member of my family was sick in the previous post, well, it brought on a lot of worry. I'm far away from my family, and I find it very hard to sit on my own waiting for news. Makes you realize how important your support system is.

The same day my cousin had a major brain surgery, my husband had a panic moment at work. At this point, his salary is the only thing keeping us afloat. It was a horrible panic moment. Do we stay in California? Do we sell the place (in this market?) and run off to Canada? Do I drop everything and start all over... AGAIN??

I don't deal well with stress, even less when it's things I can't control. Last night was the first night I slept all through the night in almost 2 weeks.

In the mist of all that, my "lifestyle" took a hit. I mostly ate well, and I tried to stay active, but if I'm honest with myself, I've slacked big time. I've been going through the motion, not really monitoring anything, and hoping against hope that the scale wouldn't punish me for my misdeed (how's that for turning food into a moral issue, I should listen to myself when I lead meetings!).

This is not working for me. I hate to feel out of control, I hate to feel out of shape, and I hate to hate. I'm addicted to positive thinking, so there!

I need a plan... I've gone through my list of quick fixes that I've tried in the past, and tried to remember which one worked. Can't remember any of them working. Darn! Looks like I'm going to have to do this the old fashioned way: Eat right, exercise regularly.

We did make a few positive moves this week:

The first one was to make a conscious choice, my husband and I, to "think positive". We were dragging each others down, because when one was feeling good, the other was stressing out. Of course, thinking positive doesn't make problems disappear magically, but it does give us the strength to push forward and permit us to use our energy on finding solutions, rather than whining. It has made life much easier and a lot more enjoyable this week.

Another thing I have done is to stop being so sloppy. I took the time to dress myself nicely this week, and to put myself together, not only for work, but also for when I'm home. When you dress sloppy, you think sloppy.

This is not to say that I'm turning into a Fashionista or anything (he he he not really my thing) but rather that I want to feel and look like I have some pride in myself. To be motivated to take care of myself, I have to feel good about myself, right?

Tuesday night, a security officer at the Ross Plaza told me: "It's nice to see that some women still like to look beautiful". AH! Made my WEEK! Bet he wouldn't have said that if I had been wearing my old jeans and beaten up T-shirt!

So we are turning things around, putting the ship back on course, but there is still a lot of "manning the sails" to do. I need a plan to make sure that food, and exercise is what it needs to be. Honestly, my husband is doing better at that these days. He has a 9 to 5 type job, and a gym next door to his work. He also has less free time than I do, which is less time to get in troubles. ;op

Honestly though, he's just better focused than I am right now. Kinda makes my Ego itch really. I need to get back on track. For pride sakes if nothing else. I need a plan for myself, that will be my next post on here!

Be good n stuff!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Could I have learned? Really?

Time of "crisis" where things really hurt me, and feeling out of control are the greatest challenge to me. I used to self medicate (lets not go there) and when I put my life in order, I turned to food. It's legal, its safe, it's even mostly socially accepted right?

When I realized a little more than 5 years ago that that wasn't working either, I was at a loss. Now what? Things were good then though, I was newly married with a wonderful man (who's still wonderful 5 years later *grin*) starting a new life, ready for everything. I joined Weight Watchers, learned to eat, to cook, to control portions. GREAT! I'm an extremist, when I start on something I'm all out on it.

5 years later I'm still looking for steady work in my field, the governor of California just announced that he's cutting millions (and more) in education (I'm a teacher). Yesterday I got a very bad news, a member of my family is very sick. Things are not good. Don't get me wrong, I know that everybody have bad news and hard times. I'm still happy with my life, but lets just say that things aren't bright and sunny right now.

After I got that news, I sat around in a daze for a while... then I thought "Cheetos, that would make me feel better!" I even got dressed, put on a hat (cause my hair was a mess, no time for a shower I need Cheetos!). I went outside and stopped just in front of the door.

"What the hell am I doing? Cheetos?"

I turned around went back inside, washed a bowl of grapes and sat back down at the computer. You know what I looked at? 2 things: Bento boxes, and fairies. Things that make me smile, things that can just give me a break from thinking too much.

Oh, and guess what? It's legal, it's safe, it's socially accepted AND it's healthy!

I got my comfort, my escape, and I didn't eat those freakin' Cheetos! I think I might just have learned something in the last 5 years.

Wouldn't you know it, I practiced Reframing without even thinking about it!

Be good n stuff!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Carpe Diem

Today I started my spring cleaning!

I realized doing so, that it'll take a lot longer than I thought to do what I want to accomplish. I want to go through all of our stuff and get rid of the things we don't really need, and keep the essential. We live in a condo and we just don't have the space to keep stuff that don't have any use or meaning.

I started with my bedroom closet. The blankies and comforters were easy to get rid of, even the shoes and the purses. When it got to my clothes, that's a different story.

Would you believe that I had a bag of "too big clothes" and a bag of "too small clothes". I was keeping the first one "in case I gain weight" and the second one for "when I fit in them again". Brilliant!

I took all of it and bagged it for Goodwill. I will not keep "in case" clothes. The only clothes I kept are those I like to wear NOW. The stuff that make me feel good about myself, and that are comfortable. I don't have the space for one thing, and for another I will not keep clothes that have a negative connotation for me.

Too big clothes tell me that I don't trust myself to maintain the weight that I am at now. Too small clothes tell me that, though I'm at a healthy weight, I'm not where I feel I should be. Either way, there's a negative tape playing there, and I certainly don't want or need to listen to them anymore!

It's the same with books, with things, with all the stuff we accumulate and pile up because they are "memories" or for "later uses". It's ridiculous the stuff we actually keep!

Memories aren't in things, they are in my head. I don't need a physical reminder. I'm not talking about pictures, or love letters, I'm talking about a ticket for a show that I saw years ago. I remember seeing it, I don't need the ticket!

As for keeping things for later uses, I've learned over time that either you can't find them when you need them, or they are obsolete and you buy something else anyway.

No more of that! I will keep things that are essential and/or are useful now. Later is later, and I'll deal with it when it comes. My priority is to be comfortable, happy and focused in my life now, so that I can be the best I can be, without being dragged down my the overload of stuff.

Seize the day... Carpe Diem

Be good n stuff!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Make an effort... how?

Learning and maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes efforts, there's no doubt about that. I've come to realize that you have to put in the time and effort continually because it's very easy to slip back to old habits.

After 5 years, I understand that the effort isn't so much with "sticking to it" as it is with "making it worth sticking to". No matter how hard you try, you will not make yourself stick to something for the long run if you can't make it enjoyable and interesting.

That doesn't mean that you can make it fun and exciting all the time. There are times when working out just plain sucks, you're tired, you're hurting and you just don't wanna. Also there are times when you want brownies, fries and a burger, no matter how colorful and pretty your salad is. At those time, yeah, the work is more "stick-to-it-iveness" than creativity. I like to think that as you go, those times are fewer and further apart. That's when the "fake it until you feel it" strength comes in.

For the other times, the idea is to make your chosen lifestyle attractive. It's not a chore that you have to do, it's a lifestyle that you have chosen. Make the most of it!

When it comes to Activity, the trick is always to find something you like to do. It doesn't have to be "formal exercise" as long as it keep you moving! Do some gardening, take your laundry upstairs one piece at a time instead of piling it up. Go walk with a good friend and catch up on the gossips of the week.

You're more into the formal exercise trend? Put the treadmill in front of a TV with a DVD player. What's a better time to catch up on the missed episodes? Going to the gym? Stop by the library and grab some audio books, as you work out, you can catch up on the adventures of your favorite heroes. Take a dance class, a animal step class, a yoga class with your dog! Anything, as long as it keep you moving!!

When it comes to the food, it's the same idea. You can eat lettuce and grilled chicken all the time but that gets extremely boring very fast. Not only you want to vary the foods you eat, but you want to make an effort to make it look good as well as taste good. Eating should be an experience for the 5 senses, not just a tasting experience.

Here's a few examples of what we regularly eat at home. It's nothing complicated or overly exotic, bit I always make an effort to make the food look attractive and interesting.

Shrimps with sauteed peppers and broccoli over lettuce. I made sure to use different colors of peppers and to put the shrimp in the place first and then put the pepper mix (which had cook with the shrimps) on top to make it look more colorful. I seasoned it well, and added some cumin at the end to make it smell good. The raw lettuce's texture contrasted well with the cooked peppers and broccoli.

This is store-bought brown rice sushi that came into one of those plastic boxes. I took it out of there, and served it with a bright green side and with couscous. I place those two side by side, then used my little soy sauce dish to make a 3rd "item" and added the sushi at the end. The visual was interesting (and the food YUM-MY).

This was a little less visually interesting, but the smells was incredible! The turkey meatballs were very fragrant and so was the hummus. I added a green salad for color and couscous for a "neutral taste".

This is just plain grilled salmon with roasted asparagus. Both were very well spiced and delicious. I also roasted Brussels sprouts and organized the plate in sections. It was interesting looking and very yummy!

These are all very simple plain foods, nothing over the top. The idea is to make a effort to make it look good, smell good, to mix the textures and the flavors so that all senses are put at work! What about hearing you say? Wait until your family comment on your culinary experiments!

Just make a little effort, it doesn't have to be every meal, it doesn't have to be every work out, just every once in a while, go the extra mile. You'll see it'll be worth it. Bet you'll want to do it again!

Be good n stuff!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Is it Saturday again already???

Ooofffaaaahhh It's been a busy week!

It seems that everything conspired against me followed the plan I had made for the week. I worked 3 full days and 3 nights. In the middle of that we're getting ready to start some renovation in our house, so any free time is spent planning and organizing the next 2 months. No time to think!

So looking back, I've had an ok week. I brought lunch to work every day, and stuck to it. Yesterday they had cupcakes for a kid's birthday and I had 1/4 of a cupcake only. That was plenty, eeeww.

Dinners ended up being a lot of "system D" (in my house that means that we each eat whatever we can find), which isn't all that successful really. The choices are healthy, but it's easier to overeat when scavenging.

I was moderately active this week. I didn't end up following my plan because my schedule changed and I didn't adapt fast enough, but it was still an active week.

So, all in all, I'm happy with my week, it could have been better, but I did overcome some challenges and managed to move 1 hour each day.

Today I need to sit down and plan again. That's my plan for today!

Be good n stuff!