Category Archives: shiny coat

The Shiny Coat Series: Nourishment

It’s definitely spring. I even came across a cwute widdle Bambi staring at me up close during a run the other day. Yes, if any of us look around Bainbridge Island right now, we will see young offspring, usually with a parent, usually getting fed (or demanding it loudly, at least).

I know it’s Let the dog in! but no one in this household can have any puppies, or babies for that matter (And please don’t remind me how close it’s getting for the Kid! I am already way down the freak-out plank on that issue!), so we have to look outside to the feathered variety.

I’ve noticed lots of baby birds, juveniles, really, being nourished. These downy woodpeckers were one set:

And there were those red house finches the other day who were too quick for me… I did snap these black-capped chickadees hanging out. Their cute little heads were too fast for me to get a shot of the feeding, though.
If you can take the time to notice the feedings, they provide a good reminder of what we should all be doing, nourishing ourselves.

It’s easy to forget when you are stressed or under pressure (whether a real, tangible threat or one of those what-if‘s I’m so good at creating). But it’s exactly those times, when you’re at the end of your branch rope, that you would benefit the most from some form of healthy nourishment.Or when you’re just plain unhappy about a turn of events beyond your control.Taking care of your self (body, mind and spirit), feeding your self, physically and emotionally, having compassion for your self, it’s all easier said than done. Believe me, I know. I’m more of a go-directly-from-A-to-B-cut-the-crap-get-a-move-on-be-efficient type.

If you have a child, you can probably easily lavish praise and love on that small soul. It comes naturally, but for some reason we forget that inside us is also a little soul that needs nourishment.

But if you can lower the volume of the noise in your head for just awhile, that alone can be soothing to your soul, whether it’s talking a quiet walk, gazing out a window, meditating, shooting wildlife pictures

Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements wrote “your whole mind is a fog which the Toltecs called a mitote. Your mind is a dream where a thousand people talk at the same time, and nobody understands each other.” Absolutely.

Mine like to cuss, swear and pick-pick-pick. It’s a madhouse in my head! Sometimes it’s loud and obvious, and sometimes it’s a barely perceptible, teeny tiny, sneakier-than-hell voice.

Either way, it feels good to shut them all up, even if they keep returning, uninvited, and do something that feels good, inside and out.

So take a look outside, see the reminders Mother Nature offers, and go nurture yourself! The good vibe you create in yourself will spread to everyone around you, too!

The Shiny Coat Series: A Dip into Food Detox’ing

So, we just ended early finished a 3-week food detox here, the Hubs and I. I would have written about it as it was going on, but I was too weak and mentally incapacitated way bitchier than normal and who needs to read bad news, right?

Here’s what we didn’t consume: wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol (excluding a glass a wine that time or two), beef, pork, and corn.

What’s left, you say? Just all that crap we’re supposed to be eating all the time anyways–vegetables, fruits, other grains, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. Plus, we took extra supplements and stuff that were supposed to cleanse the liver.

I did this detox before, all by myself, and I have to say I was much less tempted then. It seems when you have a partner, you also (or, me and my devilish mind) potentially have a partner in crime. I kept offering to cheat. Wanna have some wine? Just one? I will if you will…

When I was detoxing alone I was all, “NO, I can’t possibly have wine because I am DETOX’ing, thanks for remembering, and how can you sit there drinking in front of me?? It must be because you really don’t love me at all, do you? And probably never did?!”

Detoxes make me more dramatic. It’s the sugar deprivation.

This time if I was testy, and I’m not saying I was, it was only because the Hubs lost 9 pounds in 8 days or some such b.s. Meanwhile, yours truly lost +1 pounds.

I was hoping to jump start eating healthier with this detox, but I was so lazy this time around, we ended up subsisting on rice cakes with almond or cashew butter. There were bits of rice cakes everyfreakingwhere. Can I just say after O.D.’ing on almond butter, I was ready to propose to the cashew butter. You’re so creamy, you’re so smooth, and…and…my mouth is now watering.

If you do it right, you can also test for food sensitivities at the end when you’re all cleansed, but we pretty much launched directly into pizza and beer which blew that idea into outer space. I recommend at least easing your way back into other foods. Your gut unlike my vengeful bastard will thank you.

The liver part of it I can’t really say. I think liver stuff is subtle, unless you’re really in trouble. I think my skin improved, my concentration improved, and I felt clearer mentally. Everyone should try it at least once. It will make you try new foods, show you see how your body feels without its regular standbys, and shake things up a bit. That’s always good, right?

Next up: I started drinking coconut kefir every day to add flora to my gut. Stay tuned for what will be a riveting report!

The Shiny Coat Series: Moving It

What happened? What are you doing? No carbs? Calorie counting?

I’ve gotten some questions lately about hitting my Fake Weight, so since I want to totally jinx myself be helpful to others and encourage healthier lifestyles when I can, let’s look into this, shall we?

Calorie counting works great for maybe two people on this planet some, but it does not work for me, not when I was twelve and not now. I could never maintain a weight I reached from calorie counting.

I look at food groups instead. Veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, and meats I go for while I mostly avoid dairy and lots of desserts. And I got there mostly by noticing their effects on me, not as an external rule from somebody else. Dairy gives me your basic allergy symptoms, stuffy head, runny nose, foggy brain, tiredness; sugar leaves me tired, too, and craving more sugar.

But I think what’s happened to shift my body over the past year is exercise.

Turns out heart-pumping, blood rushing, sweat-inducing exercise burns up all those clingy calories I refuse to count. You can’t phone it in like I did for years reading Entertainment Weekly and barely breaking a sweat on the elliptical.

Also, to maintain a lower weight, the activity needs to be something you love or at least enjoy a little and fits into your current life situation. Find that thing. And it may not be your first preference, but that’s okay.

I personally would prefer being tipsy and sweating through my clothes on a crowded dance floor at midnight to a throbbing bass line, but guess what? Not so workable as a mom who lives on a sleepy island and has to get her kid to grade school in the morning. Maybe in a few years…

My second choice would be hiking up a small mountain, snacking at the top on a rocky outcropping with a water view, and losing sense of time coming down during great conversation. Unfortunately, driving a few hours each way and hiking for several hours doesn’t generally fit in my Real Life. Or anyone else’s.

This left me with. .*sigh* . .walking the dog. But then I started walking faster, and now we run excluding the two million pit stops she requires.

Maybe for you it’s going to a gym and reading trashy magazines as you cycle hard. Or maybe it’s walking fast while chatting with a friend. Or maybe you finally take that tango or hot yoga class. Or maybe you turn on Just Dance and go nuts when no one’s home. Maybe, if you’re like me, you need to get outside and do something to make you breathe hard to keep you from going batshit crazy.

Whatever it is, pick something. Change it if you get bored. Mix it up, walk a different path, cross-train, try a new class.

The more you move your body around, the more it will thank you and beg for more, and the more your energy will spread from just your tense head and tight shoulders, down into your toes.

So get out there and move it!

Have you found a way you like to move it?

The Shiny Coat Series: Come to Your Senses!

This month’s installment on healthy living, The Shiny Coat Series, looks at, sniffs around, and possibly fondles you wish the topic of your physical body.

My friend Trish and I were talking about this need we humans have that we totally ignore: to be aware of living in your body. We’re busy, we’re all about what’s in our head, the should‘s, the have-to‘s, the to-do‘s, and we use our body as if it’s an old beater which it may resemble, only good for getting from Point A to Point B.

Well, I am here today to remind you to turn off that ever-spinning engine in your brain, and come back into your skin. At least for a minute or two.

No, this is not how to make yourself feel better with a scarf, part 2, the X-rated version not a bad idea, though, oh the spam!. Although sex can pull you back down into your curled toes for moment. But if you’re one of those people I would never! sorting your mental laundry list during the act — multitasking at its worst — then no, sex may not be the answer for you sorry, Hubs.

Some may disagree; certain religions, even some Eastern philosophy, have a thing against listening to your body or indulging your senses, like physical desire is a thing to be risen above. It’s that age-old wild animal versus civilized man argument, as if we can’t have both.

I say bullshit. Dive in. Your brain, your gut, your skin, your senses, they’re all connected, and sending warm fuzzies through your system, scientists are finding out, is good news for everyone in your cute, little, physical ecosystem. We are sentient beings after all.

We naturally do it as kids. Seeing a giant dirt pile in our yard, the Kid at age 3 ripped off her clothes, plopped herself down, and poured dirt on her legs. Pure, simple, physical joy.

So, here are my suggestions for coming to your senses:

-sex (IF you can shut off the mind for just two fucking minutes I mean, hours, of course!)
-soak in a hot tub, bathtub, metal bucket, whatever!
-drive with the windows down, radio blaring
-skinny dip
-meditate and mentally scan your entire body
-drink a delicious pinot noir (but this is not about numbing yourself!)
-get a massage or scrub
-squint in the sun
-dance crazy
-savor a luxurious dessert
-go hear live music
-walk in the woods and listen
-do yoga or stretch
-run hard
-go barefoot in the sand
-beat a drum or two
-get a mani/pedi
-photograph wildlife
-wear anything cashmere, silky, satiny, or soft

These are just some suggestions. Maybe you have others?

What brings you back down out of your head into your whole, delicious body?!

The Shiny Coat Series: Weight, Weight, I’ll Tell You!

Yes, it’s back, The Shiny Coat Series, where I attempt to discuss healthy concepts and actions to improve your general surroundings. And by surroundings, I mean your hips. Not to mention also improving all those lovely internal organs we like to overburden and ignore!

So, where are we? It’s a new year, and if you’re like me, it’s a new higher weight level. You always hear about the dreaded holiday weight gain, and some idiots debate its existence.

Speaking for myself, it is real. Very real. Starting with Halloween (sure, some underachievers start at Thanksgiving, but I get a jump on those losers!), sugar starts in with me.

That damn fun-size (oh, it’s fun alright) peanut butter cup is the gateway drug to a good 5-10lb. gain for me by January. Especially if I add in a dash of oh-what-da-hell-I’m-already-eating-everything-anyways.

But now that we can acknowledge the fat pants adult acne renewed snoring bitchiness problem, what the heck do we do about it?

Sit down with a nice merlot, a bag of white cheddar popcorn and contemplate constellations?

Well, that might have worked a decade back but…. over a year ago I did a detox/elimination diet (nothing but veggies/lean proteins/non-wheat grain/some fruit) for three weeks, so while I’m not heading straight into no everything realm this time around (it is hard to do in winter anyways with fewer fresh vegetable options), I am starting today leaving out sugar and dairy and refined carbs, such as crackers, granola bars, and most breads/baked goods.

What the freak is left after that?? Marshmallows and nondairy Cool Whip? *imagining the dietary possibilities*

Nooooooo. There are some healthful alternatives. Yes, I’m looking at you, giant sack of brown rice and you, carton of eggs.

And, dare I say, that certain color of the rainbow we Americans like to discuss, propose for politics, but not eat–yes, I am talking about greens.

Over the next few weeks as I turn into a total bitch get healthier, I’ll check back with you guys for therapy a status report.

And if you’re starting some new regime, or re-igniting an old one, please feel free to share what you’re doing. Nothing like a lil accountability in da community, right?

Meanwhile, Bossy and me will be toasting with our protein smoothies.

They taste better than they look.

Really. No, they don’t. Yes.