Monthly Archives: June 2012

it feels like home


I am not even sure what happened but earlier this week I needed to change up my blog…and my twitter name. Yes, again. Even though I sorta promised Thea I would probably be staying at Jen I Am for awhile. I never really fell in love with that blog name, it never quite felt right. I liked it but it wasn’t right.

I had a realizations this week. I am still in the mending process. I am still working on me. I was premature in my switch from Listen.Learn.Love.Mend. I was chatting with my good friend Ann about the progress we have both been making this month. You see, June 1st we partnered up for the Shrinking Jeans June Challenge. We named ourselves the Kick Ass WIPs (WIP= work in progress) because well, we are both works in progress ans this month has been amazing for both of us.

As I noticed the changes I am making, I also noticed other things. I have a habit of jumping into something with both feet, going at it like gangbusters, then hitting a wall. I think I may have done that with joining the gym. All the sudden, I was in the gym and lifting heavy weights and ellipticalling and I was having fun but I wasn’t doing any of the exercises and stretches for my ankle. Then I got hit with a round of depression and I didn’t want to and couldn’t make myself go to the gym. Then I got sick (allergies, upper respiratory infection) and work was all I could manage. The gym was not even a thought in my head (which was very weird since I was really hoping with the June Shrinking Jeans challenge I would get back in the gym. I wanted to be working out. I think I wanted to workout to aid in losing weight. I don’t want to think like that anymore.

More so, I wanted to feel better. I WANT to feel better…inside and out.

For the June challenge, I decided I would track my food and see what I was eating. I wanted to drop some pounds, so a friend suggested wheat elimination. I looked into it and it made perfect sense. I have a serious issue with breads and pastas and cakes and cookies and brownies, especially brownies. Not eating wheat has been a good thing: I have been so much more conscious of what I am eating. I am learning and even listening to my body.

Last week, I started walking early in the morning with a friend. We meet on the bike path at 6am and I have been bringing Lucy along with me. We walk for 30-40 minutes at a normal walk & talk pace. I may have been able to elliptical for an hour but walking on the asphalt is a whole different story. The first walk was a huge alarm bell right in my ankle. Holy hell. Who cares if I can deadlift 100lbs if walking down the street is a struggle?!?

I realized I really need to take myself back to the beginning. In every sense,I feel like I am starting over. I am letting myself off the hook for all the guilty and negative feelings I have had recently. I am letting myself off the hook for any premature goals or expectations I placed on myself. I am going to start treating my body like the temple it is – I am going to work out gently with healing as main focus. Weight loss will come naturally, I will not force it.

I am going to keep doing what I have been doing since I started #wheatfree June 1st – eat good foods and feel good; move my body a little bit every day; and take time to clear my head as often as I need to do it.

I am embracing the turtle. Taking it slow and gently always learning as I go. I am embracing my journey. My path has always been a bit swirvy and loopy-do-loo but all roads lead to happy.

So here I am, back to where it feels right. I am not saying it is gonna be easy but here is where it feels right to be making the progress.


I’m in no hurry


It has been a long time since I have written an “embracing the turtle” post.  There may be times when my head is a bit thick and it takes me entirely too long to get it.

I went out for a walk yesterday morning. I was meeting my friend out on the bikepath and we met at 6am. On my first official day of summer, I was up and out the door by 6am.   I took my silly Lucy walking with me this morning.

We both needed this walk. I have been totally absent from the gym for like the last month and for at least the last two weeks I have been plagued with allergies and upper respiratory infections and not getting any relief due to the mold at school.


This walk was just what I needed.

We walked for about 40 minutes. At an averagely slow pace. Lucy has not had a ton of practice in her harness and on the leash.  Lucy had a great walk.

We did it again today. Today was much more humid and a tad warmer which was harder on my healing lungs. I think I am doing better but then I go out and walk and my lungs remind me. I am not sure why I am still suffering….I am taking a 24 hour allegra twice a day. What gives!??!?

But ya know what?!?

I still enjoyed my walk. I will do it again. Hopefully, most mornings this summer. Because Lucy is all black she doesn’t like to be in the sun for too long so this mama needs to get her furbaby out early. If you know me, you know I don’t like early! 😉

I am realizing something from these walks. And from my new way of eating.

I have not been listening to my body.

I have not been properly taking care of my body.

I have not honored my mind or my body recently.

I had a funk, then I got sick. I have been eating better but these walks showed me I need to take care of my body….especially my knee and ankle. Because, seriously, what was the point of surgery and pain and recovery and physical therapy if I am just gonna let it all go to shit.

I was doing good when I was getting to the gym and I was using my muscles. I was doing well.  I was on my way to succeeding when my head totally got it the way. I started to doubt and not feel right and then my funk forced me to stay away from the gym. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make myself so I didn’t.

Then I got sick.

And I stayed away from the gym some more.

Now, I am starting to feel better but I still don’t want to go to the gym. I don’t know what I want but I know its not a “be a badass” in the gym sort of thing. I want to feel better, really better. I am still congested and my lungs feel heavy. I want to be gentler.

I want to be gentler.

I want to take care of me gently.

I want to find the things I really enjoy doing for physical (and mental) fitness and not the things I should be doing.

So, I guess you could say I had a sort of a-ha moment out there on my bike path walk.

I am in no hurry.

I want to find what make my body and spirit happy. I want to heal my lungs and my ankle/knee truly.

I am in no hurry, I don’t have to to rush.

Baby steps.

Slow and steady will win this race!

I will be happy just being Jen.

Heck, I am happy just being Jen…I just have to remember that!!

I have not been exercising. at. all. I have valid reasons…I mean it is hard to work out when you can’t breathe. And there were days when just making it through the day at school was all I could manage. There were days where I thought I had ear infections in both ears and my head might literally explode.  The stairs to my classroom…don’t even ask!! I had to suffer through school – last few weeks are always the busiest. I had a grant to write on top of my normal teaching duties. Oh, and all those weeks I needed off after surgery left me depleted on sick days.

ahhh such is life.

I did a really good ob on my eating. Eliminating wheat has been a very good thing for me. It has forced me to pay attention to what I am eating and what I have in the house. I am making much more conscious choices. I am eating good food. I am enjoying food, all about the food – the prep and the planning and the preparing. I am learning to

I had just one, and it was ok!


Daddy’s Day Delights!

I hope all the dads out there had a fantastically awesome Sunday with their children and families. Yesterday was fabulous in my parts. Q and I cooked up a nice breakfast for Big Man. He requested popovers to go with the strawberry blueberry jam my mom made from fresh Jersey blueberries.

I even broke my vow of wheat abstinence for one of these yummy popovers. But take one look at that picture….did ya look real good?!? Yeah, it tasted even better than it looks!!

I have really enjoyed eating #wheatfree. I am not stressing all the possible tiny amounts of wheat that may be in my soy sauce but I’m not eating breads and cakes and pastas and donuts and cookies and cakes and brownies.  I have a serious issue with these foods. I have no self-control or off switch with them.

Yesterday, I had control. I ate one popover. I wanted one and I ate just one. HOLY CRAP! I ate just one! JUST.ONE.

And then I ate no more wheat for the rest of the day!

There just might be something to this #wheatfree thing….

food planning sunday


Sunday: Veal Chops with fingerling potatoes, mushrooms & cherry pepper

Monday: Balsamic Mustard Chicken & roasted veg

Tuesday: Moink Balls & Cheesy potatoes

Wednesday: Spinach & Pepper Jack Stuffed Chicken 

Thursday: Steak, baked potatoes, green veg & salad

Friday: Shrimp Cocktail & King Crab Legs (my baby’s 13th birthday dinner request)

Saturday: Orange Teryaki Pork (like this) & stir-fry veggies over rice

Lunch Salads:

Asian Chicken Salad

Chicken & Artichoke Salad

White Bean Salad

Last Week’s Dinners by the Pictures (For Kenlie’s Challenge)


I somehow forgot to take a pic of the 5th dinner. It was a yummy chicken sausage cacciatore (I had zucchini “pasta”)  concoction.

a menu & a challenge (yes, another)


My good friend Kenlie is hosting a challenge! A cooking challenge. Ok, ok, I have to be honest this isn’t too much of a challenge to me. I cook  dinner almost every night. If I don’t cook, my husband does. Most of the time. Since we went #wheatfree on June 1st we have been ordering take out a lot less… A LOT less, in fact, I think we only ordered out once – and that was sushi last night.

I have discovered a serious love for cooking. The kitchen is actually a place to contemplate life and the struggles that just happen. Cutting veg, washing dishes, and prepping an awesomely fantastic meal. I may sound crazy but I really like my kitchen time. I don’t always want to have to do it, but I do enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Kenlie’s challenge isn’t exactly a challenge – I cook most nights anyway, but I am going to challenge myself anyway. I WILL cook at least 5 nights each week and I will take pictures – good pictures, not just the crappy pics I take on my crappy non-smart cell phone. I own a Canon Rebel xs but I have never really learned how to use the damn thing. So, I will add a bit of a challenge to Kenlie’s challenge….I will use my cool Canon (which needs a name) to take my dinner pics.

Now, onto the menu!!

Sunday: Venison Steaks, baked potatoes and spinach sauteed with garlic.

Monday: Chicken Sausage, tomato & basil all sauteed with zucchini spaghetti

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts

Wednesday: Burgers with lettuce “rolls” and potato salad & corn on the cob

Thursday: Chinese Beef stirfry over rice

Friday: Seafood Boil. The works – shrimp, crab legs, corn on the cob, sausage, clams

and here are a few crappy pics from last week’s dinners:

Chicken & Sausage Bake

yummy salald

Spinach stuffed Pork, roasted cabbage & potato salad

What’s on your menu?!?

#junetuneup check-in 1


  A few days ago I posted about my newest challenge. I joined the Shrinking Jeans for their June challenge.

For this challenge I decided to go #wheatfree.  I chose to go #wheatfree after doing some research and realizing wheat may be an issue for me and for my husband. I have random belly issues and my husband has some IBS gastro issues. The doctor really has never given my husband guidance on what he should and should not eat. We have been slowly trying to make healthier food choices but we haven’t been making a lot of progress.

June seemed like the perfect month for a #wheatfree experiment. Luckily for me, the husband jumped on board.  We make one hell of  a team so having him on board with me is AWESOMESAUCE to the 1000th degree.

So, I weighed in at home (for those who know, I usually just weigh at my Weight Watchers meetings on Saturdays) on Friday, June 1st for my “starting weight” and was 228.4lbs. OUCH. I really haven’t lost any weight since January. But its been a learning journey and I am determined to make some progress. So, I won’t and haven’t dwelled on that number.

Today is Wednesday and for the Shrinking Jeans Shrinkers that means Weigh in Wednesdays.  Today I weighed in at 223.6 for a 4.8lb loss.


This #wheatfree things must be working.


It’s not simply the #wheatfree thing. But choosing to be #wheatfree has made it so I am more conscious about my food choices.  I really am thinking about everything I am eating – I am not just grabbing the convenient stuff and I am not eating out of boredom. I know it has only been a 6 days but I feel change happening.

I have been SICK for days.

But I have not used that as an excuse. I have made good food choices and stayed #wheatfree even though I really, really, REALLY, wanted to order pizza.


Not a bad start!

And now we are on to tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.

One day at a time.

How did you do this week?


weekly menu & #wheatfreeday 3


On the Menu


Sunday:  Late Lunch of Steak & no-mayo potato salad, lite dinner or Potato Leek Soup (the husband’s recipe)

Monday: Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin with roasted cabbage

Tuesday: Taco Salad topped with black bean & corn salsa

Wednesday: Venison Steaks, potatoes and asparagus

Thursday: Chicken, sausage & potato bake (something like this)

Friday: Fish (Tilapia) Tacos with mango salsa, and yellow rice & beans

Saturday: Pork Chops with grilled veggies

Lunches: chef salad, cucumber & tomato salad, black bean & chicken salad, potato & leek soup, detox salad, and leftovers and maybe lettuce cups

#wheatfree Day 3 Eats

my coffee

bacon & cheddar omelet

steak &   no-mayo potato salad

my coffee

leek & potato soup


strawberry granita

buttery microwave popcorn (munchies for Game of Thrones season finale)