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Category Archives: Finding Myself

Coming Soon – A Fresh Start

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Fresh Starts – with an old blog comes issues like broken links, pics that no longer work, and other small things. As I went into to fix it a little bit at a time – a blog with 1,500 posts it was a bit overwhelming. With over 300+ broken links whether in comments, companies or websites that no longer exist, small filler pieces that found there way there when I didn’t have much to say….it’s time to bring it back to basics and clean it up.

At one point my hosting company changed my server and in the process, I could no longer post a picture and all the pictures I had in tact – half had issues. I ignored it for awhile, as I have a lot of websites (my business), and this was a small personal journal of sort, and not as important as my business websites. The time has now come to repair Surviving NJ and lift it from the ashes — I’ll be grabbing some of my older posts – but to go in and clean up 1500 posts, checking for pics, all the broken links, it’s just not going to happen. I’m going to try to salvage a few important posts from the 1,500 posts, but it’s time to heal this blog, fix the errors that have arisen and start fresh. I’d love to write to this blog again, but I knew how much it needed and with business priorities pressing, this always got pushed back….so now it’s time!

Over the course of the next week, I hope to have this fixed, straightened out, be rid of the broken links, the missing pictures and the sort….see you on the other side.

Overwhelmed with Food Changes

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I finally went ahead and got some testing done my doctor had been suggesting for awhile. I’d put it off only because it wasn’t covered by insurance. At a couple hundred dollars – I kept finding reasons I didn’t need to have this test done. Vacation is coming up, bills to pay, etc..You get the idea.

A moment came where I felt it was time to have the blood test done. We were testing for food sensitivities. The best I can explain this is that a food allergy, you have an immediate reaction. A food sensitivity – you have a delayed reaction (in the range of 6-72 hours) and often times, because it’s a delayed reaction, you don’t think it’s a food you have a problem with. My body was making antibodies and acting in an inflammatory response…(apparently for years).

And so the moment came – I went to my doctor’s office to find the results of my test. I was sensitive to so many foods, I felt overwhelmed. Here’s a small look at some of the foods I’m now deleting from my diet.

Wheat, Gluten, Oat, Eggs, Dairy, Potato, Tuna, Tomatoes, Sauflower Oil, Soy, All nuts (except walnuts), bakers yeast, brewers yeast, watermelon, oranges, strawberries, iceberg lettuce (seriously?) and the list goes on.

My immediate reaction was to panic. What’s left? I could happily live on tuna, potatoes and eggs – and three of my favorite staples were now gone, along with most processed foods. Trust me, turn a box around, read a label and you’ll be amazed. Crap, I bought this flavored rice, it’s got yeast in it, turn a box of cereal around and there’s malt or wheat hiding it in the middle of the list, even though you think it’s a corn cereal.

Look at sauces and salad dressings you use, 99% of them are no longer on my list. That includes ketchup, bbq sauce, soy sauce, thousand island dressing, ranch, you see my dilemma?

I go to a restaurant and order a hamburger with no roll, no lettuce, no tomato, no onion, no cheese (except for hard cheeses) – no fries (learning to adjust to sweet potato fries)….wait, hold that lettuce on the salad, the onion, the croutons…yeah…

I’ve kept a positive attitutde mostly, looking at all the foods I still can eat, and decided – I’m not going to be radical here, I’m going to just work around it. We go out to eat a lot. I managed to figure things out. In fact, we just took a 4 day trip and I ate out 8 times. I had steak, and a burger, and sausage, and clams with cornmeal coating, more sweet potato fries than I care to have, or have had in my entire lifetime….picked at salads, picked at some veggies, etc. I did make the mistake of having meatballs with my sausage totally forgetting they use breadcrumbs – and I dearly paid for it a couple of hours later. I’d been “glutened” and I did it to myself, whoops. Lesson learned.

Breakfast was tough, so we decided to have breakfast at the hotel, and I’d have a safe cereal each morning. My husband walked down to a little deli each morning for his coffee and coffee cake and I’d have my cereal and maybe an apple.

I’m moving along swimmingly well – until I got home and hit the supermarket. I go to the cereal aisle to pick up my cereal that somehow or other passed my “test” of ingredients on the box. My husband and I were looking at different cereals, and my jaw dropped. My cereal (my CORN cereal) had wheat half way down the list of ingredients. How had I not seen it…how did I not know? I wanted to break down and cry. For the first time in over 2 weeks – I felt really overwhelmed. Seriously overwhelmed, like almost panic attack in the middle of a grocery store. I could feel my eyes wanting to well up. Seriously – my cereal…what else can you take from me.

What it comes down to, is if I want to heal my intestines, which are currently not doing well – read Leaky Gut- I need to let these things go. I need to heal my body – and correct a 20 year digestive issue. I picked up two new cereals to try, double checked the ingredients and they passed, my husband double checked also…but I stood there in a daze.

I’d all ready promised to give up this other stuff, I gave it all up, I’ve even had a great attitude about it….and then ONE more thing was taken away, and I just wanted to sit in the aisle and cry. Thankfully I controlled the urge and just slowly walked out of the aisle and into the last one. I snapped at my husband when we were putting groceries away. He knew why…I knew why…but I just flipped out. I apologized within moments and told him what he all ready knew. I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at the food. I’m so angry that I can’t just have what I want….well, sure I can, but I’m damaging my body in the process.

So to end this, I do want to tell you what I’ve gotten out of this so far — so I can end on a positive note.

- less mad dashes to the restroom – my GI track thanks me
- tried a couple new foods – sweet potato fries be damned, I’m starting to like them
- healthier eating
- knowledge as to why my body has been this way for so long

And so…I’ll continue to move forward. I’ve had my little outburst, and there’s nothing left to do but put it behind me and move on. Thanks for listening.

Back to Basics

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Every time I come home from vacation – I come home to stuff – a lot of stuff. Sometimes I don’t realize how much “stuff” I have laying around until I’ve stayed at a hotel or vacation condo for a few days. I like that my bathroom shelf on vacation only has a few essentials on it.

I just got back from a 12 day trip and noticed I have 3 different shampoos in my shower, a couple conditioners, and 4 other products (2 bodywashes, 2 hair treatments)….what the heck do I need with all of that stuff in my shower. Let’s be honest, there’s 1 of each I prefer – so why not just narrow down to those choices. Maybe it comes down to choice…maybe I just like to have a lot of variety or choice in my selection….but honestly, I just think I’ve collected this stuff and it needed a place.

My bathroom counter and sink holds multiple lotions, cleansers and make-up products, though I really rely on just a few. Here I am in my 40′s and I think I’m pretty much done experimenting with what I like or what works for me, and it’s time to pare down to more basics. What do I actually use on a regular basis and what can I let go of?

It’s time. I’m turning my nail closet (yes, I have an entire cabinet with nail products – I do have my license!) into a running cabinet. Let’s put it to use with things I actually use. Of all those products that are in there now, I routinely use maybe 4 or 5….but I probably have about 30. I needed to try them all, it’s just what I wanted at the time. I don’t think I need that anymore.

I want to shed all these extra stuff. I started with books – donated tons of them, and then worked through some clothes. Let’s be honest here…I have a bunch more clothes to sort through – I’ll get there. I just shipped out a bunch of purses I wasn’t using, so I am going through things…a little bit at a time.

I Did it….Again!

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I’m happy to report that I finished my THIRD half marathon this past weekend. I did one in March, one in April and now one in May. I’m the last person you’d expect to find out there running along, and sometimes it even surprises me how I’m digging down and getting it done.

I don’t write this to boast or brag. I am writing this to reach out and let you know I learned a secret…and I want to share it with you. As much as running a very long distance is physical, it is also a mental challenge. Yeah, you knew that right? Okay – well, what if I told you it was more of a mental challenge than a physical one? I can only tell you my point of view — others may feel differently…but what I find is that once I get moving, the momentum can carry me quite a distance.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough work….I mean, you feel it – your entire body feels it….your legs, your feet, your hips, knees, your back — it’s not always a pleasant thing, but it’s those moments WHEN you’re feeling it….and you are DOG TIRED and you just want to stop or sit down…at THOSE moments– that’s where the biggest piece of the race is for many people, myself included…it’s the point where you push PAST those moments and know that you can do it and you will do it anyway.

During my first race, right about mile 8 – I wanted to sit down in the worst way…just for a minute I told myself, just want to rest for a moment….but I kept going. It happened about a zillion other times in my head during the rest of the mileage, but you just keep going.

During my second race, at mile 11.5 I started to cry. I cried for two reasons…I knew I was out there last and slower than EVERYBODY else, but I also realized I was going to stick in and finish it, even though by this point it felt like I was walking on razorblades from the lovely blisters I’d formed on the downhills, but I kept going.

During my last race, this weekend….it was at 11.5 again that a wave came over me. I just wanted it to be OVER….I wanted it to be finished, I thought that 13.1 miles was a stupid, stupid distance and I wasn’t happy, but I kept moving…and I kept going.

All three of those times – when I didn’t want to keep pushing because I was UNCOMFORTABLE, I kept going. I’m bringing this lesson into my life in other ways now….just because I’m uncomfortable doesn’t mean you can/should quit. You keep going and get it done….whatever it is you’re hoping to achieve.

Here’s to getting it done – whatever it is in your life that needs to get done!

Knowing the Answer isn’t Always the Solution

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Why am I trying to feed my soul? I know the answer to this question…it’s not a secret. It still doesn’t help sometimes…having the answer is only half of the battle.

Sometimes we just have to accept that the growing process takes time — as much as the healing process.

I also know that hormones start a wave inside of my body that creates chaos and confusion. It doesn’t make the hormones any less powerful at that moment in time.

Just because you’ve been driving a path towards a finish line doesn’t mean you won’t get detoured over and over again.

…there are moments of bleakness in piles of joy and happiness. On the see-saw of life, my happiness meter is stacked so well that it’s crazy how one tiny, itty bitty piece of “emotion” can weigh it down.

Feeding the soul — yeah, that’s the ticket. How can you be surrounded by people and still feel alone sometimes? People talking to you, with you, at you…and you see them…you know they are there, but it’s like that screen in your window…it’s still blocking you from the outside….if only you could push that damn screen out of the window so it stops blocking the fresh air.

I know the fresh air will be back. I know the stupid, heavy hormone feeling is clouding my clear thoughts – I know feelings are blown out of proportion…common sense, yes, yes, I know that expression…where is it now?

Sabotage of the soul….it’s a game I play. I don’t want to play it anymore.

A Full Blown Binge

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Where do these things come from? Emotions that I don’t want to deal with – it’s shopping and eating with me…they become my salvation.

Why can’t I just cry, vent, scream and get it over with…why play these games?

I looked at everything this week to see what it was…this? that? Truly what is at the base of it..if I guess wrong and don’t find that true culprit — well, it just keeps going.

I think I’m finally pinpointing it now…after chocolate, chips, chicken, you name it this morning….why do I do this to myself – sabotage the work I’m putting in….

Control – just when you think you have it- it bites you in the ass and says, yeah right.

I’ve got a bunch of running shirts I’ve picked up and I’ve been thrilled to be buying smaller sizes….but still, even though they fit, it doesn’t mean they look good on…

So – here’s the truth.

I put on my running skirt, a running shirt – look in the mirror (big mistake) – and go, that doesn’t look good on…put on one of your others….big mistake, keep trying shirt after shirt going – sure they fit, but wow, they really don’t flatter…what’s to flatter when you weigh this much.

What happened to my proud moment just weeks ago, finishing a half marathon? Why isn’t that enough?

Why am I in my own home – nobody to impress, toying with my head like this. Why do I insist on focusing on my size, rather than my ability….who cares if I don’t look good running – I’m getting healthy…

The problem is, I do care. I do care what i look like in the mirror…don’t we all to some extent?

I’ve spent the better portion of 2 days looking for a plus size running shirt that I think will be some magical piece of cloth and make my body smaller…appear smaller anyway…I know better. It’s not a cure, so I’ve stopped myself from making purchases before it was too late….and still I waste my time looking…oh look, this one – made for people my size, they only want over $60 for it…here’s a cheap on, go to ebay, check out this one here – different color, different style…it doesn’t matter, it’s just a game I’m playing with myself to cover my feelings.

Even after all of this, i hate to see myself this size in the mirror. I’m working on it, and i”m making progress, but still the progress is slow….

…slow is good, I know that. I’m healing bit by bit, and I’m getting healthier. Heck, I couldn’t run before and I’m running now…in fact I went the distance, and I’m working on doing it again in a few weeks…and still it’s not enough.

Will it ever be enough? Will I find my salvation in a smaller size? I know better than to realize that there’s no magic number. I am just tired of being bigger than everybody else.

I like myself, I do…I just like myself better when there aren’t mirrors around.

Binge over, pity party over…it’s a new moment in time, wipe the slate clean, step out of the fog and move forward.

Conversation with myself:

I hate my body.
Then change it…
I’m trying, but it takes so long.
Get over it.

Don’t undo everything you’ve worked so hard for.
I hate my body.
It’s going to get better, a little bit at a time. It won’t happen fast, but it will happen.

I want it to go faster.
Oh well. It doesn’t.
Time to do the work again…
I know. I just want to cry a little bit first.
Go ahead…cry. When you’re done, you’re body won’t be smaller…you need to do the work.

My First Half Marathon – I Did It!

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Enough said! I did it!!!!! My Disney Princess Half Marathon report is here full of details (warning, it’s long).

Catch Slow Running Fever!

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Some of my favorite running phrases are ones that have to do with speed….since I have a lack of speed!

“Some girls chase boys, I pass them!” —- ha, not so much. I’m slow.

“Slow is the new fast.” — only because I can’t be fast.

“Thanks to me you have someone to pass!” — a truer statement will never be spoken.

“I run like a girl, try to keep up.” — yeah, I can’t wear this one either.

** by the way, these great sayings can be found at, along with a bunch of others.

Who knew when I took up running I’d actually stick with it. Go figure — how did that happen? I had a lot of excuses to bow out…and somehow I didn’t. I’m not used to that, and I’m left scratching my head. I fell down some stairs (and YES! I’m STILL having tailbone issues, but I run anyway)…I had 3 colds, a stomach flu – and I keep going. I’m not really sure who I’ve become – other than – a runner. Hmmmm, not sure why or how – but I’m still moving.

I’m heading down to participate in my first 1/2 marathon soon and I have to say – I am not sure what I’m more excited about. Reaching for my goal, or the fact that I haven’t given up yet. It’s a neat place to be in and one I’m not used to seeing. I like this new me….the one who doesn’t give up.

By the way, my race is in Disney. Glad I won’t be running THIS race…it had to be about the worst run race I’ve ever read about!

Anyway, I’ll see you on the flip side and let you know how it goes. All things willing, I’ll have access and be able to toss a post up somewhere along the way. See you on the flip-side!

White Bread is Evil

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There- I said it….somebody had to! Okay, maybe evil is the wrong word, but dear goodness – does it make an impact on my body.

I’m very careful with what I eat and put into my body these days. I have to be. I’ve been on a pretty strict program – both with food and on a training schedule for running. The thing is – when I started to do some bigger runs 8 miles, 10 miles – I got hungrier!

I added in some extra calories (okay), and last night had some white bread (not okay). Generally, when it comes to bread I go with multi-grain – I have a nice loaf of 12 grain, multi-grain waiting on me. Sadly, my brain went – ooh, there’s a fresh kaiser roll on the counter and maybe I’ll have that…..

Yeah, it was good. It tasted great….this morning my face is all puffy, I could barely drag myself out of bed – and once again (it’s not the first time it’s happened) I remind myself white bread is evil to my body. Why don’t I learn these lessons? Why do I always go back to the doughey lure of goodness?

One day I shall learn my lesson. Last night wasn’t it. My face looks like a marshmallow this morning – all puffed up…and I’m so tired…as someone who has to watch certain starchy carbs and stuff – you’d think I’d have this automatic message in my head that says, “Warning, this will make you feel like crap”…All right, fine – I do. I just chose to ignore it. Bad choice!

Shedding Some Weight – Down 34 Pounds

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I’m down 34 pounds at this point, and am on course to keep going. I’ve really been surprised at how well I’ve been doing when it comes to following my plan. I’m satisfied with my choices in food, as well as being able to make it work around my lifestyle.

As for exercise, I’m still running. I put in a 4 mile run last night, and have a 7 miler tomorrow. That’s a long run – but if I’m going to keep going, I need to push myself like this. I’ve signed up for multiple 1/2 marathons at this point, and am looking at training for a full marathon come January.

Endurance running is an interesting thing — and I’m finding a big part of it is a mental game you play with yourself. You feel like you’ve done enough, but you need to keep going. I’m happy I’m still pushing, because by now I’ve usually quit the process.

It’s nice to say I’m proud of myself, and I can honestly say that I am proud of the time and effort I’m putting in this process. It’s a nice feeling.