1. So, one day I got this crazy idea...

    This is pretty much how all of my insanity gets started, with a small idea.  A few months ago an old friend from High School mentioned that she had been contacted several times by several different companies who assist foreign exchange students with finding host families in the States.  My friend mentioned that while she liked the idea, it wasn't something her family could do at the time.  Immediately my mind slipped to two great friends I made in 9th grade from Bonn, Germany and the empty guest room in my house.  I decided to send out a message, just to get some information about the organizations...and then it all snowballed from there.

    One of the companies I contacted was CCI Greenheart. On a brief overview, I liked that CCI offered more than just host family placement.  They had a strong core of volunteerism and "green" thinking built into their program.  Not only were exchange students (which went both ways, mind you - something else I liked) expected to maintain good grades throughout the school year, they were also expected to volunteer in their communities.  It's something I've been trying to teach my own kids, but it hasn't really stuck.  I emailed for more information and within hours I had received a phone call and had been vetted over the phone as a potential candidate.  Jennifer, out of Akron, told me she had also been a host parent and that she and her family had really enjoyed the experience.  I told her I would need to discuss it with my own family as I hadn't even mentioned it yet and she offered to send me a few very basic profiles of potential exchange students who were currently looking for placement.

    Fast forward to now.  Our host student, a 17-year-old boy from Japan named Boku, is due to arrive Monday night.

    Time to panic, right?!

    I've got the basics covered. His room is basically ready (I have bed linens to wash tomorrow and a good dusting and sweeping to do) and I think everyone's pretty much excited about the adventure ahead of us.

    My worries are many, but I've gone into management mode.

    1. Meal Planning - One of the only things I am required to provide for our new student (besides, you know, the roof over the head and bed thing) is food.  I'll be switching from cooking for a family of four to a family of five...and four of them boys, at least three of them who know how to put away food pretty well.  The challenge here is making things our student will like, but I'm going to go with some family favorites for the first week and wish for the best.  I've pulled out my favorite sites like allrecipes.com and am actually looking forward to doing more cooking again.

    2. Activities and Outings - One of the other things I need to get down is a plan of action for fun family activities that cost very little and have a high return for me on calorie burn value.  I'm trying to get myself back into shape and still working around some pretty major barrier-type injuries, so I'll be trying to find ways to do some hiking, biking, walking, swimming, rowing, etc.  Our student has said he's not overly outdoorsy, but we like to do things once or twice a month as a family (actually, I have a hard time not planning something for me and the boys each weekend, even if it's just shopping or going to get frozen yogurt).

    3. Back to School Planning - The final piece to the puzzle will be getting three boys ready for another school year...one of which should technically be a senior and two of which will be in high school, a first in our house this year.  I'll be contacting the school as soon as he arrives to check on things like his schedule and see if I can arrange for a private walk-through of the facility OR if I can just bring him with us to 9th Grade Orientation.

    Talk about adventures, right?!  A new kid we don't hardly know living with us for an entire year...and one from another country even!  I'm going to try to keep this log up again so that I can chronicle not only my recovery from those injuries and return to the FitFat Girl status I've so boldly claimed, but also the challenges we face as a family as we take on this adventure.

    Stay tuned and here's wishing you all and us some 元気.  That's good health and vitatlity...I think!

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  2. Okay, so I admit it has been quite a while since my last blog post.  But the life and times of the FitFat Girl continue, much as they always do, in a hailstorm of chaos.  The best laid plans and all that.

    So, on the 11th of June I asked you to call it a comeback and finally and proudly announced my triumphant returns to my FitFat life.  And then I got busy doing it.  Here's the skinny (HA!) on what's been going on.

    Food: The Good Girl's Drug by Sunny Sea Gold
    I began my rethinking and reorganizing by reading this book.  Well, reading most of it.  I still have a little more to go.  For the most part it's just reconfirming a lot of the things I already know.  I have an eating disorder that goes deep down into the depths of who I am.  Any sort of diet, then, can be dangerous because I gravitate toward disordered eating, whether it be binging or restriction.  I can honestly admit to you today that while I suffer most with BED (Binge Eating Disorder), I have also tried my hand at both Anorexia and Bulemia.  I have actually in my life glorified persons who were able to manage an eating disorder to maintin a healthy weight.  BED, while now formally recognized as an actual eating disorder, in the days I was growing up just meant you were fat, lazy and had no self-control.  Problem is, anyone who knows me and knows what I have been able to do with dedication and desire know that lack of self-control isn't really my problem.  (In fact, most days I just have problems letting go and letting life happen.  I overplan EVERYTHING.)  The problem I have with this book is that while it confirms my beliefs in what I suffer through, the suggestions do not help me with my actual immediate need to lose some of the fat that is strangling my heart.  So far I've gotten to the part where it's telling me to love myself for who I am right now, and I want to do that, and it's telling me it will be hard, but I'm telling it that it's pretty much impossible in the way they imagine.  And the only thing I knew to do was jump to one of the most restrictive diets I know.

    It Starts with Food - Whole30 with Dallas & Melissa Hartwig

    I know what you're thinking, but here is my reasoning.  First of all, I don't consider this a "diet" in the traditional sense of the word.  Yes, it deals with eating and restriction of certain foods, but to me Whole30 has always been and always will be two things: a cleanse for my body and a break in bad habits with the formation of good ones.  It's food exploration.  It's like survival instincts at work.  What would happen if I took away all of your modern go-to for energy foods and handed you restrictions that said: only meat, veggies, some fruits, and healthy fats.  What happens is you start reading labels.  You start considering your food sources.  You start realizing that while you CAN cook at home EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, you really don't want to, so then you start trying to figure out how to survive in the real world in places like resturants where about 95% of the menu is either coated in sugar, grains or dairy, or a combination of all three.

    What also happens?  You try new foods.  You realize how good REAL food tastes.  You start tasting an apple for the sake of the apple and realize just how sweet that must have tasted to the first people on earth and why it might have been considered "forbidden" because of it's natural goodness.  You also stop having serious stomach and digestion issues.  You start having more energy and clarity, even when you're dog-ass tired.  You can't figure out why you're running so well even though you still have all the same stressors - work, family, housecleaning, bills to pay - AND you're adding cooking and cleaning up after cooking adventures to your list at least 2-3 times a day.

    I'm on day 13 of my third round of Whole30.  The first time I think I made it to day 8 before I gave in.  The second time - day 28.  This time I plan on taking it all the way.  And the only problems I'm having are: I get really hungry sometimes, like intrinsically hungry, not craving hungry...and if you haven't felt that in a while, it's a strange feeling that doesn't always happen just in your gut.  Second problem - I need a LOT of time to cook.  Especially since I don't do double duty in the kitchen when I do Whole30.  When I eat this way, so does my family, to a point.  This time Hubs has agreed to join me.  His only little change was that he still wants to have half-and-half in his coffee, but he's drinking less coffee anyhow, and it's his program and his body, not mine.  The kids still munch on junk food and can go grab a burger at McD's if they so choose, but for the most part, they're eating Whole30 as well.  My youngest actually came up to me and said, "I think I can go back to one or even NONE of my daily laxatives for the month!"  (He has encopresis that is further complicated by issues with processing dairy.)

    The physical downsides have all been mental, though.  I have continued to fight with myself about wanting to taste the creaminess of ice cream, but I'm trying to find ways that, once I'm finished with Whole30, I can curb those texture needs with things that aren't going to cause issues with my intestinal tract.  The one difference between round 3 of Whole30 and rounds 1 and 2, is that I'm spending the entire 30 days trying to figure out how to incorporate better dietary goals into my everyday life.  I don't want to eat everything bad for me every day of the year other than those I am doing a round of Whole30.  I also don't want to say I can never have another cupcake or scoop of ice cream or burger on a bun.  The question for me this entire time has been, "When is it going to be worth it, and when is it not?"  I would also love to know if it's the dairy or the grains that cause my daily stomach issues, so I know which to avoid more often.  My overall thinking has been that if I can find Paleo subs for my favorite "no-no" foods, then what the hell have I got to lose?  Sure, I can eat out with the Hubs every once in a while and have a rich, sugary, buttery roll with dinner, but I don't need to do that every night...and I need to let my body lead that charge.

    Also, because of my issues with dieting and my eating disorder, I'm liking the idea of not measuring my food or overanalyzing everything I eat.  If I can stick to some basic "rules" for myself about the types of food I eat, then maybe I can live a normal existence as if I'm simply someone with a food allergy or other such issue.  There are people walking around every day, eating in restaurants and shopping in some of those middle aisles at the grocery store, who simply avoid dairy or wheat or whatever because they have a legit allergy to that food.  While I can't claim allergy, the fact that my daily stomach problems have DISAPPEARED in 13 days leads me to believe that my body has problems digesting certain types of foods.  If I avoid them most of the time and only use that small percentage for times that really mean something to me emotionally (or because it's an extra special treat), then I may just find the ticket I need to stop overplanning and being overly picky about how much I can eat.

    I just wanted to leave you with a list of all the things I have gained in these 13 days:

    - I am lighter on my feet.
    - My knees aren't creaking as much.
    - My back pain has almost gone completely.
    - My foot is feeling a lot better.
    - I'm regaining some flexibility.
    - My stomach pains are gone.
    - My head is finally clear and my headaches are growing more rare.
    - I have clarity of mind when I'm working.
    - I sleep more soundly.
    - I have more confidence in my ability to prepare healthy foods or find alternatives.
    - My skin has cleared up.
    - I have a lot more energy.

    Yesterday I would have told you that I was feeling smaller because my clothes were getting baggy, but it's really been hit or miss with my body responding to that.  Today I feel a little more bloated for some strange reason...(maybe too many pickles on my bunless burger last night?  salt?!), but I have been checking the scale (Whole30 devotees can now scold me, I don't care) and I have lost weight.  Roughly 15-16 pounds thus far given the day and time of day.  This, while important to me, is the least important to how I actually feel and how capable I am at doing active things.

    Did I tell you I'm going rafting this weekend?  Eep!

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  3.  I have never been one for corny sayings or phrases.  Always wanting to be "original" I fought against the conventions and the norm.  I never liked hearing that someone felt "blessed" or was on a "journey" until I realized I was blessed and on a journey and no amount of fighting I did was going to change that.  To the left is a picture of me with one of the friends I feel most blessed to know that I met on this journey.  (Do you see me, breaking away from all the quotation marks and everything?  Progress!)  No matter how far down the rabbit hole I went, she stayed at the top waiting for me to make my grand appearance.  And I don't know what it was about today, but when I finally broke the surface and breathed a deep breath of air and promised to reclaim my former glory, she was there, as I expected.  She didn't offer any "told you so" comments or advice.  She just simply said, "I like your attitude!" and told me that she too had found herself reconnecting with friends over the health and fitness journey.
    Let's face it, if you are a person in today's society and especially if you are a woman, you have or are on some sort of diet or health and fitness path.  All this me thinking I was all alone in the world was utter nonsense, and I thank my friends like Ang who just stuck by me and said, "I know what you mean" so many times that I couldn't stop thinking that maybe she really DID know.  She isn't my size.  She hasn't had my circumstances in life.  We have many differences in our lives, but still, somehow, she has always known how I have felt.  Even when she was running her heart out and I was sidelined, I never once doubted that she knew how I felt.  Why did I assume I was so alone?
    I picked this picture for one other reason as well.  I think this is one of the last pictures of me where I felt somewhat in control of my life.  For the past few months it has been a whirlwind of change and strange new things and just a mass amount of confusion and doubt.  It was all over good things happening - a new amazing job and buying a house - that somehow I felt I hadn't EARNED or wasn't WORTH.  I got busy, sure...but that's not the reason everything fell apart.  Somehow, subconsciously, I thought I needed to be punished for the good things I had gained in my life.  I couldn't reconcile myself with the blessings and instead of simply accepting them and being thankful, I wanted to justify them to anyone that would listen.  Guess what?  My true friends didn't care.  They didn't need justifications.  I fought hard to get here and I finally arrived...that's all they saw.
    So my thanks to my girl, Ang, and all the other fabulous women - a couple Ambers, a Bethany, a Maggie, and so many more that I can't even begin to start naming them all.  You know who you are.  You kept my light shining while I was trying to snuff it out.  Good news, girls!  I'm back.  I'm ready to fan the flames of my own fire again.  I'm ready to reclaim my power.  Please, call it a comeback.  And thank you again for keeping vigil while I was away.  I feel blessed, truly blessed, to have each and every one of you in my life, no matter how virtually.  (And, for those I haven't yet met in person yet --- there's a guest room in my house reserved for you any time you want it...I just need to buy a bed and some other furnishings for it... *lol*)
    The plan as of today:  Make a plan.
    What can I say?  It's a start!

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  4. I haven't been shy about the fact that I've devoted the first 1/2 of Whole30 to attempting to heal my heel (okay, my PF...same diff).  After several days of lowered, but still there irritation and pain I've come to realize that it's as good as it's going to get for now without help from me.  So I'm going to help it out.

    Step 1: Stretching

    The doctor (physical therapist) has assigned me 4 different things to do two to three times a day.

    1) The golf ball roll.
    I always heard a tennis ball was best, but she's telling me I need the hard and small golf ball to really get the work done.  I have one in my bag with me always now.  The idea is to roll my foot on it three times a day for however long I can stand so that I can break down the nasty collagen and build back up the good stuff.

    2) The calf stretch.
    I have to put my injured foot behind me, straight, and my other knee bent and then lean into the wall.  This should stretch the muscles that run up my foot/ankle/leg, especially my calf.  The stiffness in my leg is a bit crazy considering I haven't worked on in so long.

    3) The calf stretch, part deux.
    Same as above, except with my bad knee bent as well.  This stretches different leg muscles and is just as important.

    4) The arch massage.
    Three times a day I'm supposed to massage my arch for about 30 seconds at least.  This does the same as number one.  The bonus?  I use lotion when I massage and so my feet are getting softer already! *lol*

    If I could express to all of you how much these actually HURT me you might understand more why I sometimes avoid them.  But I have to stop doing that because I really think this might actually be one of those "no pain, no gain" situations.  I have to get over the hurt to get to the stretch part.

    Step 2: Flexibility Through Exercise

    I need to start out my workout routine with exercise that help improve my flexibility and do not require me to bounce or jump on my foot/ankle.  Now if I could get to the pool or a bike, I would totally do that, but I simply can't work that out right now.  Instead I'll be trying the following:

    - Yoga
    I have at least 2 yoga DVDs and I'm not afraid of getting more.  I will try to take the bounce out of Yoga Meltdown (by Jillian Michaels) as well and use that for an extra HR bump if possible.  (But if she stresses the foot too much, she'll be kicked out of rotation.)

    - Pilates
    I have one pilates DVD.  I hate Pilates because it seems to be more painful than Yoga to me.  But I will give it another try because it MIGHT just work out the kinks...if I can get past the initial OUCH stage.

    - UFC Ultimate Trainer
    I got this for myself as a gift for Christmas (a Black Friday deal!), but I have yet to try it out.  I believe you can build your own workouts, so I think if I put in a lot of strength training stuff I should be good.  My PT actually encourages lunges (even though they hurt me) because it might help increase flexibility in my foot/ankle.

    - Strength Training
    I have been at this long enough that I should be able to set up a routine.  And my FIL has a weight set in his garage that I've been told I'm welcome to use.  I may take him up on that offer because for right now my PT doesn't even suggest walking.  I need something to build my strength back up.

    Here's the thing - Whole30 has done wonders to debloat me and shrink me, but I can tell I'm all mushy inside right now.  Two months off of my heavy duty workouts makes for a squishy Esther.  I may not be able to do much of a calorie burn right now in my workouts, but I can build more muscle, which will help increase my all-over calorie burn throughout the day.  So that's the plan.  I gave the foot it's time...and it healed up quite a bit on its own.  But Whole30 is not a complete miracle for me.  I have to take steps to help reap the benefits.  So for the next 16 days, that will include some strength and flexibility and stretching.

    For now, there is no set plan other than to do at least 15-20 minutes every weeknight and to get my stretches done 3 times a day, every single day, even if they aren't evenly spaced out (my OCD sometimes keeps me from my task, I'm realizing).

    1/2 of January is almost up.  How are you spending your time?

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  5. Day 7
    First of all, Day 7 was fine.  I ate a bunch of leftovers (and eggs, of course, for breakfast), so there are no pictures (I don't take pictures of leftovers *lol*).  I cannot tell you how worried I was about the next day and I started early on the stressing over whether or not I'd manage and how sad I thought it would be to be so restricted on that day.

    Day 8 - My Birthday

    But do you know what happened?  I didn't cheat.  I did get frustrated, but I did not cheat or go off plan or anything of the sort.  I questioned the waitress at lunch.  I told her not to cook any of my food in butter or sauce - only oils.  I asked about putting sauteed mushrooms and onions on my steak and she told me that they come precut in a sauce, so I told her to forget it.  I had grilled veggies along with steamed broccoli.  Do you want to know the best way to eat a steak with grilled veggies?  Together.  All the flavors mesh and things like grilled tomatoes make a perfect compliment to a not so great quality steak.

    It was a rough day.  I spent over 2 hours in the doctor's office/hospital and was chaged a friggin' hospital copay simply because the doctor sent us over to have x-rays done of Ethan.  (This is all for Ethan's encopresis.  Which, btw, has gotten better again because I'm eating Whole30 so he's not having unlimited access to a ton of dairy products at the house.  Now what he eats at school is his deal...can't control everything.)

    After that rough start, I barely made it to the Ulta store where I was set to have my brows done for my birthday.  (If you have an Ulta store nearby and your birthday is coming up, ask if they have a Benefit Brow Bar.  You get a free brow waxing/shaping on your birthday!  It was my first time getting it done and my brow area is still a tad swollen, but I absolutely love the job my girl did!  And it only cost me 5 bucks...for the tip!)  After brows and such, we headed to lunch...and I seriously, nearly lost my s#*t over the rolls sitting in front of me and the fact that they had precut presauced onions and mushrooms.  *sigh*  I choked down my resolve and ate my steak (and couldn't even finish a 6 oz steak! Which, of course, meant Ethan got a few bites so he was quite pleased) and veggies (ate all of them).

    After that, it was off to Michael's to sort out a mistake that had happened on Sunday which had caused me to be overcharged for something.  I was dreading this part and told Ethan I wanted to get it over with before we continued on with what I wanted to do - shop at Ulta and Target.  Thankfully, the guy at the register was super nice and even though I had to wait for a rush to clear out, once he started helping me I was in and out in 5 minutes.  Not bad.

    Did I grumble over the Purple Mountain Yogurt sign taunting me from down the way?  Yep.  But I didn't get any.

    Did my heart jump a little when a girl at the Ulta store offered me a butterscotch candy for my birthday?  Yes.  But I didn't die.

    I talked to my brow girl about what I was doing and she was the first person to be alright with it.  "Well it just sounds like you're eating really good stuff still anyhow."  *all smiles*  I can't tell you how many people start a conversation right now with, "So what is this eating thing you're doing?"  They think it's a fad diet, I know.  I try to explain the WHY for me as well as the what so they understand that I'm not doing it to lose weight...though it would be a nice bonus.  I don't want anyone to think this is a fad diet.  It's the healthiest form of a cleanse I've ever seen...and it has opened my eyes as to the mass quantities of sugar we are consuming every single day.

    Finally, after all the chaos, it was time for my real work to start.  I say work because we're strapped for cash right now and so instead of buying everything I wanted at Ulta, I took notes on what I wanted, what shade was right for me, and how much it costs.  That way I can look for sales or when I have some money I know what I want to spend it on.  I'm trying to be smart in 2013...we'll see how that turns out. ;)  We spent at least an hour in the store and I came away with 3 pages of notes and $50 worth of product...which was actually a good deal.  (Okay the $14 bar of soap was not a good "deal" but OMFG if you could smell this soap!  I have all of the MOR soaps on my list because they smell amazing!  They even have one with Kale!  I'm planning on pampering myself this weekend with a bath using my bubble bath (marked down from $4 to .99) and a lather with my new yummy smelling soap.  It's my present to myself for getting this far in the Whole30 game.)

    We FINALLY left Ulta and I headed over to Target to use a few coupons.  Got an eyeshadow for 4.99 instead of 6.99 (it's a gorgeous plum color!  Cannot wait to wear it!) and 2 packets of Baby Lips for 1.99 each instead of 2.99 (or 3+ everywhere else!).  Ethan got a Coke.  *face/palm*  I can't fault the kid for wanting something other than water.  I had only had my tea up until that point...
    As we were headed home, I took a quick detour by the Kroger in town.  It's one of the best Kroger stores and has a great health food section, but I couldn't find much of anything snacky to eat there either.  Instead I ended up with some Brazil nuts and 2 packages of pre-sliced watermelon.  That was my "cake" or sweet for the day - watermelon.  (Well, that an an Asian pear last night with some almond butter.  It was my birthday!  I splurged! ;) )

    A quick stop by Rite-Aid to pick up some prescriptions and some face cleanser and makeup (more sales and coupons!) was last on our list before home.

    At home, Hubs cooked dinner for me just as he promised he would.  He took me shopping the day before so I could pick out and describe to him what he could and could not use.  He whipped up some steak strips with onions and mushrooms in the wok with some Olive Oil and steak seasoning.  It was absolutely wonderful!  And he tossed a bag of those Steamfresh veggies in the micro for a side.  I told him his steak was better than the restaurants (it was a really good cut of meat!).

    So, see...I survived my birthday without cake.  I didn't even blow out a candle (okay, I regret that a bit...should have put a candle in my watermelon), but I did make a wish that the stress would be worth it.  And I woke up today with less pain than I have had in a very long time.  I win!

    Ready for some photo fun?
    Birthday nails! :)
    Julep in Michelle (navy) and Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect in Sea (whitish)

    Headed out for the day.  The eye makeup I got complimented on at Ulta. *big grin*  It's a Wizard of Oz themed palette and I now love it! :)

    Waiting at the doctor's office...for an HOUR before seeing the doctor.  Then off to the hospital for an x-ray, for which he had to be admitted first as a technicality.  It was a strange situation and I feel like I got duped out of 50 bucks. *sigh*  Ah-well...if it makes my boy better...

    Before and after brows.  I really like them!

    At lunch.

    Hand swatches from Ulta shopping.  I'm looking for the perfect red and I think I may have found it.  BTW - those top right two...they are Liquid Lipsticks from Stila.  They stayed there ALL day even after scrubbing with soap and water 4 times!  If you want staying power, I can tell you where to find it. ;)

    My many steaks.  *lol*  Don't worry...I'm having chicken for dinner tonight! ;)

    At day's end.  I'm 32 now and I'm feeling pretty alright about it.  I think I might actually look younger this year than I did last year because I'm taking better care of my skin and because I'm eating well.  Of course, there are a few trouble spots with wrinkles...like that spot above my nose between my brows.  Ah-well...I can hide that well with makeup. ;)

    On to day 9.  Going to get some work done and see how tired I get throughout the day.  Still experiencing some lulls and I'm hoping they go away...but it might be more the nature of the work I do and how I feel about it than it is anything else.

    Oh, and I have an interview tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

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  6. Day Three wasn't too bad.  If you don't count the fact that I couldn't stomach hardly any food all day.  And you don't figure in that I woke up late because a certain 100-ish pound husky kept me up half the night.  And if you don't count in the fact that I couldn't focus at ALL at work.  If you ignore all those things, I actually had a pretty great day.  ;)

    Breakfast was a usual sausage and eggs.  I know I'm going to get sick of this eventually, but for right now it's a no brainer and I switch up how I cook them and what I add into them veg-wise.  I don't think I got much for veggies in yesterday morning though.  I made my tea and hurried out the door to rush the oldest to school, which meant I was already late.  Hubs was running even slower than I was so he opted to drive himself to work rather than try to hitch a ride with me.  Whatever.  I didn't have time to worry about any of it.

    At lunch the stomach cramps kicked in.  I don't know if it was leftover from the almond milk incident or what, but yesterday was a pain...in the tummy.  Around 1pm the pain set in and I thought I was hungry, so I heated up my leftover sausage and cabbage noodles, only to discover after about 2 bites that I was not going to be able to eat any of it.  I just couldn't stomach it.  I put the rest in the fridge and tried to sit still as moving around tended to shift things in my stomach and make the pain worse.

    You can see my YouTube recap, where I describe more what it felt like, here.

    Like I said, I had trouble focusing all day.  It honestly felt like I had some severe form of ADD as I could not keep my mind on any one thing for longer than a couple minutes.  It was brutal.  So unlike me, Ms. Single Minded to the Point of Recklessness.  I fought my way through the day and finally left around 4:30pm, thankful to be going home.

    My stomach hurt all the way home, but I knew if I sat down I would not get back up.  So I made my vlog for the day, uploaded it, and then made dinner for myself and the Hubs.  For some reason my husband has taken to watching more and more TV lately, and while it unnerves me a bit, it has given me more time to devote to trying to get my YouTube channel up and running.  I spent all night editing a video (I never expected it to take that long!) and then set it to render as I headed to bed.

    As for my tummy?  I was able to keep down some dinner, which was pot roast, which I cut up into skirt steak like pieces and then stir fried with a frozen bag of peppers and onions, some olive oil and some walnut oil with some steak spices.  Turned out great.  And the water that came off the frozen veg made a nice broth, so we stuck the stir fry over lettuce (no dressing needed!) and had a stirfry salad.  YUM!  Hubs went back for seconds and my teenage son complimented me on the taste. 

    It's funny, I didn't mean for them to eat their stir fry on lettuce, but I had bought the lettuce thinking I would eat some salads along the way, and then realized that I would need to make my own dressing and didn't have the resources or money to do so...so I was trying to find some inventive way to use it up.  Honestly, it's iceberg lettuce, which really doesn't have much of a nutritional value, but it's a great (and cheap!) filler in times like these.  That meal allowed for me to get filled up, and for both my Husband and teenager to have seconds.  (Ethan opted out, which he has with most every meal I've made in 2013.  He's being stubborn.)

    Later that night I finally found myself hungry and sliced up an Asian pear and put some almond butter on it.  YUM!  A great snack!  And this Asian pear was much better than the last one I had tried.  I think I might be alright with these (they were on sale and cheaper than Bartletts).

    So, all in all, I ate 3 times as required.  I had some trouble with lunch, but I tried.  And by this morning my stomach was feeling much better.  (Thank goodness!)  I do feel a little different this morning.  I can't describe it yet, but more alive and focused...now focused on what is the question. ;)

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  7. Rough start is actually quite the understatement.  Let me explain...

    Day One
    Check out the YouTube vlog

    Day one went alright, at first.  I stuck to the plan and ate healthy all day.  I even snapped pictures of my food to share with everyone.

    Starting top left and going clockwise:

    My breakfast included a scrambled omelet.  (Basically, I don't have the patience to care for a real omelet, and I honestly don't much care because it all seems the same to me, so I make like an omelet but scramble so it cooks faster and I don't have to baby it.)  This one included sausage, 3 eggs, peppers and onions, and some salt, pepper and maybe a random other spice or two.  I also mixed some almond milk in with the eggs all omelety-like.  (An important detail to note.)  To drink?  Some cinnamon vanilla black tea.  Yum!

    Then we have lunch, which included sausage and cabbage noodles.  Here's the basic recipe, which I no longer follow.  Mine is just sausage, onion, and strips of cabbage, with whatever spices I feel like adding.  We LOVE this meal!  And to drink, I mixed together some almond milk (note this), some water, and some frozen mixed berries for a tasty drink.  (It basically tasted like berry flavored water...I wish it had been!)

    Cherries were the snack/dessert of the day.  I have never had real cherries in my life and actually have been nervous to try them because I don't like cherry flavored things most times.  Turns out, I love cherries.  They have the texture of a plum almost, and the cherry flavor isn't as out there and bold as cherry-flavored candies and such - which pleases me to no end.  It was a mild flavor, sweet without worrying about checking your blood sugar levels after. I like cherries!

    For dinner I had Hubs pick out some meat from the fridge and he chose Chicken Thighs.  I cooked them up in the skillet with some Ghee and lemon pepper spice all simple like, and that seemed to work out really well!  My oldest snubbed his nose at the Ghee (it does smell awful!) but really enjoyed the taste on the chicken.  I tossed a little of the broth from the pan in on top of the broccoli and collard greens (another first for us - not as much of a fan here, but I didn't hate it...it was actually a bit bitter) - that and some salt made them a good compliment to the chicken.

    And then all hell broke loose.  It started when my youngest son came out and asked me if I was sick.  Well, no, why?  He told me he had just thrown up, and then he ran off to throw up again.  Not good.  (Honestly, at first I thought he was faking it because the next day it was back to school again...he wasn't.)  Soon after I got some stomach pain, which I talked about in my vlog.  I figured it was just gas - my body starting to purge itself of whatever crap I'd stuffed in it the day before.  Boy, was I wrong!  I ended up screaming out in pain all night, wondering if I had another hernia or what was going on, terrified I would rack up another bill at the hospital and then finally, probably close to or after midnight, finally throwing up anything that was left in my stomach so violently that it scraped my throat raw and actually seemed to hurt my nose.  After throwing up, I felt a bit better, but not completely...which led me to believe it was something I ate.

    After talking it over with Ethan yesterday we realized we were the only 2 people to have the almond milk yesterday.  My oldest son had said it was fine and took a drink of it the day before with no issue, but he and his father tend to have a bit of an iron stomach.  Besides, Ethan and I consumed a lot more of the stuff.  Ethan had it in his cereal in the morning, and then enjoyed a bit of the berry drink I made that afternoon.  I had it in my eggs and then that huge berry drink that afternoon.  So, yeah, bad batch of almond milk meant a day and a half of hell.

    Day Two
    I'm still trying to upload the video to YouTube (since last night!).
    EDIT: Uploaded! http://youtu.be/46Lec8jj5IU

    Basically, I stayed on the couch and only got up to pee and make breakfast and lunch (and I ate both super late).  I remember being up the night before off and on until at least 3am or 4...so going to work the next day, especially with the lingering stomach issues...not an option.  Ethan and I took up both couches in the living room and had an Army Wives marathon while barely speaking or moving.

    It's rough when you're sick and all of the things you can think of that would comfort you food-wise are off limits.  I can't drink water when I'm sick, though I know I should.  I sipped as much as I could throughout the day but I doubt I got more than 16 oz all day.  (Water makes me want to yack some more when I feel out of sorts.)  Toast?  No go.  Crackers?  Nope.  Honestly, all I wanted was a bowl of soup, but after searching through the countless store-bought soups in my pantry you would have thought were fine, I couldn't find a single one without grains or, in most cases, sugar.  I swear they put sugar in EVERYTHING!  When I finally set out to make my own soup, I realized there was sugar in the chicken stock stuff I had and had to leave that out as well.

    Here's what I ended up with (and this is the only picture you're getting...honestly it's basically all I ate yesterday besides the Scotch egg I tried in the morning - one egg and a super thin sausage patty with a hole in the middle for the egg...pretty good, actually).

    Want the recipe?  Uhm...brown up 1 lb of ground beef, 1/2 lb of ground pork, peel and chop a few carrots, toss in some chopped mushrooms, a bag of frozen (cut) peppers and onions, and two cans of stewed sliced tomatoes with a can and about a quarter of water, add some salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence and you have yourself the absolute best soup I have ever tasted.  I ate on this the rest of the day.  Seriously, other than breakfast and an apple (or two?) with almond butter, this was it for the day.  Hubs got some that night and honestly he raved about it as well.  I think I might whip up another batch.  It's SO good!

    Only other weird things to note:

    I'm breaking out, which my newsletter says is common.
    Yesterday afternoon I smelled yeast for some reason.  Not bread or crackers or whatever else, but I could smell a distinct yeasty smell, which brought up images of a fresh batch of bread.  So, yeah.  That was weird.  Good thing it only lasted like a second.

    On to day three!  So far so good.

    Some things that have helped me thus far:

    I gave up coffee for my Whole30.  You don't have to, but I associate coffee with creamer and breaking that cycle seemed too difficult.  Instead I'm enjoying this Cinnamon Vanilla Black Tea I got at Trader Joe's.

    I had to buy some almond butter.  The organic apples I got at Kroger had barely any taste and it was either nuts, which go way too fast in my house, or some nut butter to add to the apples.  I got almond butter and have been adding a bit of that to my apples.

    Other things of note:

    I have like 8 bucks left of my grocery budget that should last me until January 16th.  HA!  I already need more apples and cherries and grapes.  Hubs is enjoying the low-sugar options as well and while I keep hoping he'll just stick to the damn fig bars that are taunting me in the pantry so I can enjoy the fresh fruit, I can't begrudge him wanting to stay healthy as well.  So, how to stretch 8 bucks over the next week and a half?  Any ideas!?  I'm going to have to see if there is ANY wiggle room left in the budget at all.  Good thing is we should be good on meat products until the 16th...I think.  We at least have another week's worth in the fridge...it's the fruits and veggies that seem to go so fast.

    How are you doing with your January goals?  I haven't worked out yet, but I'm hoping that will start happening in the next day or two.

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  8. So I told Hubs weeks ago that I planned on another restart of Whole30 on January 1st. Yes, cliche. It's all NEw Year's Resolution. Who cares?! Each month to me is a restart and if the idea of 1/1/13 gets me into a better 'fresh start' mindset...what's the problem again?

    Not only have I challenged myself to another (FULL) round of Whole30...I'm doing it during my birthday AND on a super strict budget (about $100 every two weeks for this family of four). Impossible? We shall see.

    Today Hubs and I took the calculator and the Whole30 rules to the grocery store. How'd it go? Spent just under $72 ...so I have $28 left (might be less because I'm thinking I'll need some almond butter to get through this). Feeling okay and already have dinner ideas for the week.

    Sausage and Cabbage Noodles
    Fried Apples
    Grilled Chicken and Broccoli
    Stir Fry

    I will go ahead and say that I have realized that I simply cannot be as strict as a real Whole30 should be - basically there will be some compromises made as far as the meat options because I cannot currently afford the grass-fed specific foods. We do the best we can, right?

    What's more, I will be posting an intro vlog tonight (the intro vid) as an intro for the daily vlogs I'll be doing in January to keep me accountable. Going to try to blog every day as well, even if it's just a quick blurb. This time I'm going to be using all of you! Keep me on the straight and narrow and remind me why I'm doing this...

    Anyone else doing Whole30 to start 2013? If not, what are your goals for the month or the year?

    Stay safe and Happy New Year!

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  9. http://youtu.be/shnjzgLmtZk

    There it be.

    This is part of what I've been working on for days.  Going to shoot a vlog later for the vlog channel and hope to vlog every day throughout my Whole30 so you can see how I look, what I feel like and get the real impression of how I'm doing.  (Bonus? I think it will help keep me on task knowing I need to report about my experience every day.)

    So you can subscribe to my vlog channel for updates from the FitFat Girl on healthy eating/fitness, etc.
    And you can subscribe to my other channel for fun beauty stuff.

    That's what's up.
    Working on my 2013 goals and this is a big part of that.  Time to get REAL!

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  10. I started a 2012 in pictures type post a la The Chicken Scoop, but I didn't make it past fall before I realized I had more to say than pictures can tell.

    I fell apart a bit in 2012.

    Don't think this is one of those sad woe-is-me type posts.
    Not at all.
    I think falling apart was exactly what I needed.

    In 2010 I started losing weight and working out and getting healthy.
    And it was easy and fun and I took it for granted.

    And in 2011 thing slowed down and I got mad at the scale because it wasn't moving fast enough.
    And I took for granted the fact that it was still moving.

    And in 2012, I fell apart.  I went backward.  I lost mobility and discovered the true battle I will be fighting for the rest of my life.
    This is not going to be easy.
    Not that I think it's easy for anyone, but, let us be honest, there are people that started after me and are already done and didn't hit any super major roadblocks to trip them up.  Yes, to me they had it easy.
    As I progressed I merely uncovered the truly horrible bone and joint structure my body is made up of.  It's funny I've spent all this time wondering what my outside body will look like when I'm skinny, but I never considered how torn up the inside already was.
    And I can't tell you if my years of being overweight attributed to that or caused it or what (though I'm pretty much 100% sure it did not help).

    I actually came into this world broken.
    I probably never told any of you that.
    On the way out my shoulders were so broad that I broke my collarbone on the way out.
    When I was 6, I broke it again in a high-stakes game of superman with my sister.
    A whole 10 years passed before I got another broken bone, when I broke my foot due to my knee popping out on me while jumping up and down.
    By then I already knew my knee joints were shot.

    So what does a girl who has felt broken all her life, both mentally and physically, do with herself when she feels like she's fallen apart completely?
    Because that has been the end of 2012 for me.

    And the only possible thing I can think to do is rebuild.

    Trust me, I thought about the alternatives.
    I considered giving up on myself, on life, on anything ever working out.
    I can't say that I don't still believe that the world wasn't meant for people like me from time to time, but I can tell you that I am not for a second taking for granted that I have these bonds with important people in my life, people who deserve every bit of the happiness the world can dish out.  If I can stick around and just watch how things unfold for them, and maybe even be there for them when they need it - if my suffering in some way evens out the world so they can have whatever they desire out of life - I'm here for the long haul.

    I know that sounds defeatest, but it's really not.
    I would 100% give up my life, my happiness and every bit of myself for my children.
    I think every mother would.

    Now I'm hoping the world doesn't ask that of me.
    I have plans to better myself in 2013 and I would love some cooperation on that front.
    But when it comes down to the down and dirty nitty gritty my life for theirs question - there is no doubt where I would go with that.

    2012 may have broken me, but it taught me what was important.
    The people I love.
    My husband, who has somehow become the one person in my entire world who can pull me out of the depths with just a touch.
    My sons, who remind me every single day just how lucky I really am to have them in my life and watch them grow.
    My mother, who drives me crazy sometimes but is the absolute best thing I bring with me from my childhood.
    My two should-be sisters, Andrea and Hillary, who have taught me that I am actually better today than I was before and I'm still someone worth knowing.
    My new sister, my step-brother, and the family they are building.  Because I finally learned this year just how important it is to ADD, not subtract to the love.
    My step-brother, who is having his own bit of falling apart happening right now.  If I can just help him through somehow, maybe all I've gone through will have meant something.
    My nieces, who I never get to see but I would fly to in an instant if they ever needed me and would protect them as my own in full-on Momma Bear mode.
    Even my sister.  Because even though we do not get along hardly ever and we rarely connect on anything - I realize just how special it is to have someone in the world who experienced life a lot like you did, if even just a bit differently.

    I've made some new friends along the way.
    I've challenged myself to put myself out there and people have responded with kindness and love.
    I will cherish this part of 2012 and will use that to build myself a better me in the upcoming year.

    I have dreams and goals still.
    As much as I think at times I might be happier to just let life flow without a plan, I am not that type of person.

    I have some ideas in my head, some plans in the works.
    I'm trying to start a YouTube channel as a bit of a test for myself to put myself out there even more.
    I want to find some real meaning in my life and a purpose that is more than go to work and make money to pay the bills.
    I want to be more than a fat girl trying to get fit.
    I want to indulge the parts of myself that already exist.
    The girl in love with makeup and fashion but never seems to understand how to make them work with what she's got.  I'm going to figure it out this year!
    The girl who loves taking pictures, even if she should by all rights be able to edit and sell her prints but can't seem to be okay with misperfection.  I'm going to find a way to push past my fear of the imperfect and let myself contribute to the world.

    I think my youngest son said it best last night when he turned to me and said, "You're so scared of being wrong.  It's not going to be perfect."  Oh, his little mind is more brilliant than he realizes.

    2013 is the year of messing up.
    I'm going to actually set out to fail.
    I'm going to let myself trip.
    I'm going to make mistakes.
    I hope I learn that mistakes don't kill me and that people are okay with me even when I'm not perfect.
    I hope I learn to love my flawed self.

    Too long I've waited in the wings here to be perfect.
    I didn't want to show you who I really was or what I really wanted because I was afraid that you would tear me down.  I was afraid you would point out the flaws.  I didn't want to be called fat or lazy or stupid or wrong or just not talented enough.  So I hid parts of myself.

    I don't write because I can't get it perfect on the first go-round.

    It's been haunting me my entire life.
    But no more.
    Here we go!

    2013 Plans:
    * Start up a photography side business
    * Do NaNoWriMo for real this time
    * Start a YouTube channel (2 actually) - one on beauty and one vlogging my experiences
    * Tighten the purse strings and stick to a strict budget
    * Really participate in couponing on a regular basis
    * Do the Whole30 for the Whole30
    * Figure out how to manage my broken body and get back to feeling strong

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