Monday Allergies and Bons Weekends.

I’m seriously considering seeking out an allergist. I can’t handle the first day of the week, y’all. Like I seriously cannot. I fidget. I have mental hives. I nearly itch. I literally lay in bed and rally against waking up, as if Monday is standing beside my bed with her arms crossed and an annoyed, impatient expression on her face. Ugh.

The weekend was fabulous, my friends. On Friday (which I claim as a weekend day), I joined some of my mom friends for a trip with their tween/teen daughters to Deep Ellum, an artsy, delightful area in downtown Dallas. It was my first time there, still being on tourist status after a year and five months, and I loved it something awful. There was a rustic flair everywhere; lovely murals; great venues and restaurants. My artistic heart was booming quite happily. Pictorials below, y’all.

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Friday evening was warm and lovely. On Saturday, Texas displayed its crazy weather and drowned us in thunderstorms and rain. So I hung out on my couch that evening and watched a bit of telly and tooled around on the iPad.

On Sunday, me and a friend decided to check out the Dallas Jazz Age Sunday Social after brunch. They had me at jazz age. Folks were dressed up in their flappery best; even the menfolk got into it, giving it their Robert Redford The Great Gastby best. There was music playing; classic cars driving down the avenues (I love classic cars from bygone eras), museums showing doctor’s offices and general stores from that time. So much fun! Really spoke to my vintage everything heart, and it was a great addition to seeing the local color/being a tourist in my own backyard initiative. See photos below.

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Fun and laughter were had. (Can I mention that I’ve been really enjoying taking pictures lately? Not of myself–although, hey, it’s a thing I enjoy–but of objects and nature and other people. We’ll chat about this growing love later this week.)

How was your weekend, my little cabbage? 

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Honesty.

You’ve read about my goal to improve my lifestyle. (Herehere, and here.) This afternoon, while the snow falls down yet again in Somewheres, VA, I’m sitting on the couch and reflecting about said goals. Quite simply, I can honestly say that this lifestyle change process has been the most honest I’ve been with myself. What do I mean?

First of all, like most women, I’ve struggled with weight since I was a pre-teen. It’s life. You either struggle with it or you don’t. And I have. I’ve tried everything in combating this struggle. Diet pills, diet shakes, medication prescribed by my doctor, Weight Watchers, the list goes on. It came to a point, I think, when I decided to simply stop trying. I would eat well when I could, and I would exercise when I could. Needless to say, no one saying “when I can” when it comes to eating right and exercising means to find any kind of success. Fatty foods taste great. They are easy to obtain. So, sure, I would go to an aerobics class here and there and find some vegetables, but largely, everything I was doing was still pretty toxic.

But a decision had to be made. My health was spiraling. In the end, I was allowing a quick, fatty bite of food to take over my quality of life. It came to a point when I woke up one day and decided to stop giving these objects rein over my life. I didn’t want to conform to my whims. And I’m the oldest child, so you know the lack of control in these things was kind of killing me, right? (We firsts like control.) Serious changes had to be made. I began the journey.

Three months later, I’m continuing to gain health, not merely lose weight or inches. And I’m doing it my way. That’s where the honesty comes in. There is no conduit to this gaining health. No pills, no shakes, no counting points. It’s all just me. Do I believe that my fellow weight strugglers are somehow not being honest with themselves and their processes if they take pills or shakes or count points? Absolutely not. My point is that those things didn’t work for me. I would never condemn things that work for other people. But for me, I used those things as crutches to continue my toxic behavior. I ate Whoppers whenever I wanted because I knew I would take a pill the next day. You get my drift. Now, I’m simply working hard on my own. Dreaming of big mounds of bread and choosing spinach instead. Watching my portions. Waking up and exercising when every fiber of my being wants to stay in bed. Suffering when I make a bad choice (because this is by no means a perfect process, but it’s very real, very hard, and quite realistically, subject to failure here and there). With the ups and downs, the good and bad, I just feel honest and real with myself.

I told my bestie one evening that I didn’t want this to be a flash in the pan, an impulsive and quixotic quest for health that would be abandoned in a few months or so. Because it’s happened before. I know myself. I get into a groove and then I abandon it. Her advice? Baby steps. And that’s it. I won’t do anything perfectly. But I’ll take these tiny steps as best as I can and one day at a time. Falling down will stink when it happens, but it’s OK, because I will do my very best to get up and move forward. In other words I accept wholeheartedly that I’m a baby again. (My mother will tell you that I never stopped being one.)

So to all of you who are enduring and going through this process day by day: good job, baby.

This Square Peg and the Hamburglar.

hamburglar
The thief himself, the Hamburglar.

Of the many, many nicknames my bestie has for me, there’s a particular one that pretty much speaks for itself: The Hamburglar.

Do you remember The Hamburglar from McDonald’s of old? The petty thief who liked to filch people’s burgers? Of course, I wasn’t going around stealing people’s food (I mean, not all the time, anyway), but I’m not exaggerating when I say that burgers were everything to me growing up. Look, I even remember my first Whopper. Can you imagine the wide-eyed reaction of a 9 year-old African girl who was only used to eating fufu and soup and rice wrapping her nervous little fingers around an enormous piece of bread, cheese, and meat? It was both curious and heavenly. And it was the beginning of my long journey with junk food. As an aside, I will say that when you have four young children with very little money to spread around, sometimes the cheapest option is fast food. Sad but true. If healthier fare were less expensive, perhaps chicken nuggets wouldn’t be the go-to option. In other words, it would be nice if healthier food had a dollar menu. Anyway. As stated, I loved burgers. Forget the past tense: I love them. Whether from someone’s backyard grill or a gourmet burger from a fancy pants restaurant, it’s usually what I choose when I’m eating out. (Needless to say, I’ve never considered myself a foodie.)

However.

With time comes expanding bellies, getting older, and wanting to be healthy.

I want to be healthy. I need to be. Not just in 2015, but beyond. So for the past several weeks, I’ve made significant changes to my eating habits. No bread. No rice. (Regarding the latter, note that again, I’m African, so yes, this is killing me.) More vegetables. And yes, sigh, no more hamburgers. There’s no diet going on here; just healthier options and a continuing effort to change my lifestyle. Is it easy? No. Do I feel much better? Absolutely. Do I believe that I will 100 percent stay away from junk food? I don’t have an answer for that one. Ultimately, doing the work and being realistic and taking it all one day at a time is the bottom line for me.

All that said, last weekend, some friends made good on a promise to take me to their favorite hamburger spot for dinner (I wasn’t exaggerating about that nickname…). Of course, with my changed eating habits, I wondered how this would work. So I went online to the restaurant’s website and rejoiced at seeing a bun-less burger on their menu: a burger of your choice on a bed of baby spinach and salad. And let me tell you, my bun-less turkey burger was delicious. Yes, I stared at other patrons eating their beef burgers dripping with mayonnaise and cheese like a weird voyeuristic creeper, but I didn’t long for what they were eating. Along with a small portion of sweet potato fries (they brought me a heaping plate but I ate less than half and gave the rest to my friend’s hubby), I was actually quite content with everything. Are you wondering if I took pictures of my meal for you? You know I did…

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‘Twas delicious.

By the way, I won’t insist that the bestie changes that nickname. C’est la vie. I do like the black, white and yellow combination he has going on up there…

 
Anyway, my final thought on the matter:healthyquote