Monthly Archives: February 2011

This Is The Perfect Time To Panic

Motto Mojo: Do SomethingThere’s no way you can live in this world today and not feel a twinge of concern about where it’s headed. I look at my children sometimes and wonder what kind of world they will encounter as adults—right now everything seems so out of whack.

While I’ve never felt the need to tell another how to live, I have felt compelled—at times—to ask the openly apathetic individual who decides that nothing matters anymore, what their goal in life truly is?

Seriously, what do you have to offer that cannot be misconstrued as your taking a huge crap all over every personal freedom that thousands have bravely sacrificed their lives for you to have?

Again, not trying to judge, but my patience level for the uninformed, misguided, and utterly oblivious person who has decided that apathy is “cool” for no other reason than it goes against the grain of what the majority would have you believe, is slim.

Am I the most politically active person in the world? No, by no means, but I’m also not willing to give up on the possibility that this world can be better—particularly when I have two children who will one day try to make their way through it. So, I do what I can and I inform myself as well as I possibly can so that when the possibility for me to make a difference arises, I can do so with intelligence.

As far as what party can effectively lead us back to the promised land, I gave up on that concept a long time ago. I no longer pledge my allegiance to any one party because, quite frankly, they all have an agenda. All I want to see is a man, or woman, come to the table minus an agenda.

I want to see him/her lay their cards on the table and say, “things suck right now, but I’m going to do my best to fix it, and I’m not going to screw you over in the process”, and mean it.

Is there a person out there willing to do that? If so, could he or she please stand up, because we can’t see you from the cheap seats.

There’s Always One Moment

Each morning, around the time I manage to get my bearings together (in other words, about the time I realize it is morning, I do have to get up, and it will be another busy day), I’ve found myself engaging in one particular ritual: There’s about sixty seconds where I decide if I will be a positive or a negative presence on the day.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, who chooses to be a “negative” presence? Negativity isn’t usually the go-to option of anyone. We all strive to be positive, don’t we? Well…not really.

Think about it, in choosing to be positive, you are committing to taking each moment as it comes—with zero preconceived notions.

For example, let’s say you agree to meet a friend for lunch, and that particular friend has been known to be a touch over-dramatic—about everything. You might find that you actually begin to “prepare” yourself for your interaction with them before it actually happens.

Through that act of preparation alone, you’ve already begun setting the tone for your lunch date.

Whereas, if you chose to take things as they came, and remained open to the possibility of good (i.e. perhaps this time they will be different), you would leave room for a less stressful atmosphere because, let’s face it, if you go in with negative expectations, that is precisely what is likely to greet you.

Does that mean you won’t become annoyed if your friend does indeed live up to their reputation? No, but at least you wouldn’t have diminished the chance of having a pleasant lunch simply by attaching your negative energy.

Positivity takes conscious effort. You have to work hard at it, daily, if you expect to make it a habit. And each new day will force you to make a choice as to who you will be in this world.

What will your choice be today? 

How Calorie-Counting Changed My Life

Before January 10, 2011, I considered myself to be a fairly health-conscious individual where food, exercise, and overall well-being was concerned. 

I tried to be smart about food choices (nothing fried, lots of whole grains, and very little sugar), I took my vitamins everyday, and incorporated a bit of exercise, at least, 5-6 days a week. So I felt confident that I was not taking advantage of the temple God gave me.

That said, I also had my weaknesses—cheeseburgers make the very top of that list, with IHOP’s double blueberry pancakes sliding in at a close second—and there were many days where it was tough for me to pass up the opportunity to indulge myself in one or the other. However, at this point, I am finding that enough food alternatives exist that I can even keep those cravings at bay.

Quite frankly, there are more and more days where eating meat is something that doesn’t happen at all. I don’t crave it, don’t want it, and don’t miss it.

So, when I stumbled across an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, on my disgustingly overloaded DVR, where she challenged her staff to go vegan for one week, it intrigued me. The show offered the perspectives of both a full-on vegan in Kathy Freston, as well as that of a “vegan-ish” writer, the great Michael Pollan—who, coincidentally, changed my life with his book “Food Rules“—and I found that I fall squarely into the “ish” category at this point in my life.

While I still, occasionally, indulge myself in a meat-based product, I typically have found that I am perfectly satisfied eating tofu or a black bean burger instead. My new cereal topper is Almond Milk—which in my opinion tastes much better than soy milk—and those meatless soy crumbles you find in the frozen food section can make for one delicious fajita or taco.

Now, let me explain how all this came to be—quickly, of course, as I detest long-winded bloggery.

1. I was looking to drop about 10 pounds—those last 10 can be a stubborn beast. 

2. The best way for me to ditch those ten appeared to be calorie cutting, which meant I needed to be more conscious of the foods I was eating. 

3. Calorie cutting meant finding more foods that could give me a satisfying bite for less caloric buck. 

4. Enter The Hungry Girl who often does that very thing and, voila, more substitutions in my diet. 

That’s the cliffs notes version of a journey that began, roughly, four-weeks ago, and I am down better than ten pounds with a lot more muscle, a great deal more energy, and a more positive outlook on life in general thanks to the incorporation of yoga into my weekly routine.

I won’t say that I’ll never eat another cheeseburger or chicken sandwich again—that Burger King Whopper is certainly a temptation that will strike me again at some point—because that’s not realistic for me. However, I can say that I am a much more food aware person than I was 30 days ago and I like the change this consciousness has brought to my quality of life.