Lemmings in Line

If you’ve ever seen Lemmings jumping off a cliff, one after the other, then you have glimpsed my darker thoughts about life and death. How many of use just go through life as if we are just here to be the next to jump? And every time one of the older generation ‘falls off’, I think about how my generation will be the next to ‘jump’.

Everybody dies. It’s how we live that matters. I tell myself this as I plod to the kitchen, to pour that same cup of water into the same coffee maker like an automated…lemming. I plop the Kuerig pod into the machine, reminding  myself that I am adding to the landfill again. I have a delicious, steamy cup of coffee in hand in no time, but I don’t spend too much time to savor it slowly, because I have already plopped down in that same chair and automatically jumped onto Facebook. As usual, I get to see the latest political rants, dumb jokes, and some idiot lighting a firecracker under his friend’s ass, and then laughing when that friend nearly has a heart attack. I sigh. I click over to my 12,978 unread email list. “Online DealKing”, “Publisher’s Clearing House- respond NOW!”, “Indeed Job Alerts”, top the list. Again I sigh. Same shit, different day. It’s Friday. So what? I am at home. I don’t care and can barely keep track of which day of the week it is anyway.

I turn on the television. Three days from the presidential election between two of the biggest boobs in history. Both of them suck in different and yet profound ways. The fluffy kitty is snuggling next to me. At least she’s real. Genuine. I am grateful for her. I reflect on  gratitude, and my attitude starts to shift. The sunlight is soft and inviting outside my window,and the autumn leaves are lovely with their dappled hues, caressed by the breeze- falling, another lifetime ending. Leaf-lemmings…

And yet, we don’t really mourn the leaves, nor the grass that dies when it’s season ends. And in the large scheme of things, even though one leaf, one blade of grass, is a miracle unto itself, we don’t mourn, because we know that in the Spring, more leaves, more grass will come. That’s not enough for people, though. We cannot replace a loved-one with someone else. That one person is unique, priceless, treasured. We are left with memories, and we hope for a future of spiritual unity in Heaven. But there’s something else. Our mothers and fathers leave a part of themselves in us, our children, and their children. More than memories, more than the DNA that gave our kids that red hair, more than photographs. They leave a legacy. It might be good, it might be awful, but each new generation has its own chance, its own choices to  make.

Nature and nurture may have determined I will die as some sort of addict. Sure, I can choose to wallow in lemming mentality. I can follow the path of my father, a long-deceased alcoholic. I could follow the path of my mother, and could still be smoking cigarettes, never to quit until they make the last years of my life a living hell. I could go numbly through life, never allowing myself to appreciate the moment- the quiet time with a cup of joe, the cuddly soft cat on my lap giving and wanting affection, the golden sunshine casting beams and shadows through the house. I can also remember the beautiful people that my parents were, despite- and through- and beyond their addictions. Just like I am beautiful- and life is- despite, and through, and beyond our darkness.

It’s all about focus.

 

 

 

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My Clean Eating Is a Little Dirty…

Yeah, well. I wasn’t worried about the clean eating challenge the week before my T-25 Challenge. After all, I eat right. Lots of veggies, whole foods, very little packaged…at least, I tell myself that all the time.

However, it turns out that a few of my favorite things are not clean. In fact, they are downright smutty.  Let’s look at the Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage links yesterday. I stopped midway through the second link and stopped and said out loud, “Oh, no. What am I DOING?”.  I ate it anyway. I disappointed myself. At work, I drank my usual two Splenda sweetened energy drinks. Not horrible, I guess. I suppose I am not entirely convinced that Splenda is bad for me. I guess I made my own rules, there.

What about the two small spoons of marshmallow cream tonight I had after dinner? Tiny, but that was about 10 grams of carbs, and nothing but delightful, horrible sugar. It seemed to kill my cravings. I worked out tonight, and feel like I might have undone a bit of my progress. I should have held fast. I didn’t. I caved. It might be that I should up my carb count now, with the increasing work outs. Trying to keep it to 25 grams has been harder than ever lately. Today it was probably more like 45. Not a sin for the average eater. In fact, that would be low. But I feel like I won’t lose fat at that rate. I am not sure. So far, I tend to just stay steady at 134-136. Can’t seem to reach that 130 holy grail. Something has to give. I am seeing new definition in my upper abs, but the lower portion still looks like someone who is either 45, (me) had two kids, (again, me, but 19 years ago!) or is using that as an excuse. Flabby chicken skin is not attractive. But guess what? I am still getting stronger. As we age, the skin just doesn’t quite spring back into taut condition, even with fat loss and muscle toning. I won’t let that stop me from trying, though. After all, I really just got started on the ab routine not long ago. I found some great exercises to tone the lower abs on my Yoga Booty Ballet DVD. You use a small ball, and squeeze that tight between your knees as you do a half sit up. The kind that actually work the abs, not kill the back of the neck.  And as you’re squeezing, if you touch your lower abs, you can feel they are actually getting worked.

More to the point, I have found a great way to meet people, a community of low-carb and fitness experts and fans, and it’s all quite exciting. I love the feeling of making new acquaintances and friends along this journey to health.

I have a few more kryptonite food items/substances like nicotine gum to kick out of my life. I need to not need a Monster Lo-carb to feel energetic. There’s still a lot of hard work I need to learn to do. I have whole new levels I need to push myself to. I can do a run one day and feel strong, and push past my old limit, and the very next time I am struggling to get through 2/3 of it. I think the important thing is to never stop!

People like to philosophize that it doesn’t matter- we should just do whatever we want because we all die anyway. But that’s not the point. I know I am going to die anyway. It’s working toward a goal that matters! No matter what that goal may be. Not a goal to see how quickly I can ruin my health and treat my body and mind like they’re worthless. But rather, a goal to strive toward more excellence. In that endeavor, the reward IS the journey, and the life is made worth living. I spend the prime years of my youth wasting the potential I had, partying and not believing in anything, much less myself. Now I find a new strength and sense of purpose in testing my limits. The other argument is that I should not beat myself up for making a slip or mistake. I get that. I’m OK that I messed up, or I wouldn’t have messed up. I chose it. I just don’t want to PAY for it, you see…

Anything you want to add?

 

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Stupid, Wonderful LIFE

No matter how drunk I have ever been, no matter how many times I’ve thrown up in that state, I never missed the toilet with my urine. Why is that?

I like the idea that I am actually a free-agent at work. Since the new reality in the USA is for low-to-mid level retail workers such as myself, part time work is the new reality , no matter how great you may be, I enjoy pretending that my 3-4 days off per week are my choice.

I enjoy perusing Craigslist for jobs that I am not qualified for. My overactive imagination allows me to picture myself doing the job, then the entire length of the career, and the interesting conclusion, without even ever applying!

I usually feel as though I don’t have any skills that are really vital or appreciated in society. This is the result of low confidence combined with feeling mostly ignored at large. According to “The Secret”, I am attracting being ignored, and any lack of talent and skill is simply a result of poor thinking. The law of the universe…I have been focusing on what I want- recognition and fat stacks. I am still focusing. Somebody help me out.

I feel young and old at the same time. I just turned 45. My sex drive is voracious, but my gray hairs are multiplying. Isn’t that strange? I guess my body is trying to maximize my few fertile remaining years to best production. But science tells me that my eggs are few and puny at this point. Plus, my tubes have been tied since age 26. So, the body isn’t all knowing after all.

I still have dreams, but sometimes I feel a large part of me is still 19, waiting for my life to begin, and not knowing where to start. I’ve never really had a HUGE dream that I clung to, that carried me all throughout my life. As things arose, I embraced them. Things I have always loved- dreaming, music, and feeling. Reading was my salvation as a child. I spent so much time in fiction, I guess I never came down to Earth much. When I finally did, I feel like everything had passed me by.

I was lost until age 19. Like most, I didn’t know I was lost until my life hit rock bottom. I asked a God I didn’t know to save my soul. Since then, I am still a sinner, still a crazy fool. Thank God for grace and forgiveness. I need it every day.

A look inside my head: If you didn’t know me, and if you didn’t think of me as the low carb blogger…

Mold me, shape me. I take on my environment and the people around me. I learned early to adapt to survive. It doesn’t mean I am not real. It just means that I only show you what I think you will approve of if I care about and respect you. If I don’t respect you, I feel free to show you all of what I am. For better or worse.

I should have been an actress. I used to think that becoming something I was not would be impossible. Now I realize that is how I operate my entire life.

I dream of things that cannot be as though they already are. I wonder if I am insane. I love my body and hate it , too. I embrace the light but play too much in the dark junk yard of my mind.

I am standing in a junk yard at night. You have a flashlight, but I don’t really need it. I don’t notice details that you do, and you don’t notice the poignant details that I do. You look for parts, I look for the stories behind the deployed air bag, the angle of the rear-view mirror and the tiny shards of stained glass that splatter the front seat. I see people, feel the resignation, feel the pain.

I was ten. I found a mattress in the dumpster. It was stained with many shades of blood and plasma. I felt the anguish, the sick, deep, dark hopelessness. I felt Hell and heaven and all the weight of the entire world upon my being. It soaked into my soul-my deepest perceptive senses were suddenly very acquainted with grief. In the instant that I stared, I absorbed a feeling that was not mine, but became mine. I owned this, but knew it not. Later, I was told that the mattress belonged to our upstairs neighbor. She shot herself in that bed.

I don’t know. What is it? I saw a photograph in the Time magazine when I was sixteen that showed the ovens where Jews were cooked. I saw the death camps. I didn’t actually SEE the photos as though they were a piece of history. My analytic mind was silenced. All I did was soak it in. I was revolted and horrified. Tears sprung to my eyes. I cannot tell you now that this was not just compassion and shock. But I KNOW it was much different than that. I was there. I FELT it. I can’t live in those places very long. I have to leave. I spend so much time trying to make a mark on the world, but I can never undo the mark it has left on me. I remember the day I learned about the potential of the nuclear bomb, the JFK assassination, and the 9-11 disaster. All I could do was hide in music, cry, and pray. I can tell you that I am not strong enough for the evil of this world. I can only call on Jesus. I can’t do it alone. The evil finger that occasionally reaches out to freeze and terrorize my heart can only be stopped by Him.

Life. The best things- love, selfless sacrifice, innocence of mind- the purity of music…the beauty of a smile. These things I cling to, but I never have felt, and never will feel, as though I fit into this world. I am a stranger here. As much as I am a part of this ancient Earth, and my body will return to it, I don’t really belong here. I have no real friends. I have family. I have people who love me. But, I never seem to get too close to many.

I inhaled the beautiful aroma I doused myself in. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, and perfume. I spent time carefully concealing dark spots on my face, red nose and chin, dark circles under my eyes. I spent more time scrunching my curls,plucking the grays, applying cellulite reduction cream, but the truth is never far from my mind, None of this matters. Not at all. This is just a shell. But this shell is perfectly designed to have me survive this planet. I have to keep it healthy. I fart. This ruins it all and makes reality even more important. I am really stinky inside. Gross.

On to more important things. The mind. What I think, I am . So I practice thinking beauty, health, love, and peace. These are among the most important things. I always believe that I am safe and secure. And so I am. Nothing threatens me.

Daily chores begin. I wash and fold. I sort and hang. I scrub and organize. But deep inside this productive feeling is a small child who doesn’t get any of it, the importance of it. That girl wants to spin, skip, and dance, and forget every ugly thing of this world. Then I go to work. I treat every person as if they are the most important person in the world. Sometimes I don’t feel they really are. I do it anyway.

I fear that everyone’s love is false. I don’t believe in flattery. Nobody is my age. I am older or younger than everyone. Nobody knows my age. Nobody knows ME.

I love smooth river rocks. I love dry river beds, and roaring white water. I love deep pools of clean, clear water. I love eyes that are full of light. I love proficiency and speed. I love brown, and blue, and green. I love deep red, the sunny blue sky, and ice cream.

I love my children. No matter how old they become, they are my children.

I love all that is right, good, and awesome. I hate my restless spirit.

I will write the great American novel…eventually. I know that the people I love also love me. That is enough Most all the time. I still am just a drifter, a dreamer, a wanderer, and schemer. Yet, I never want more for you than a sweet lullaby, or less than to feel the beauty of the sunrise, the warmth of the sun on your skin , and that you know- deep in your soul- that all the sweetness and love you find in others is just reflecting off your own magnificent and large heart.

I get depressed. Easily. I am an addictive personality. Pain makes me apologize. I love cats. I rely too much on feeling. I am an empath. I can be apathetic, but I hate living that way.

I will write more fiction and poetry soon. Hope to see you there.

Let’s Get Real

I started this low-carb blog with several purposes in mind. First, I wanted to flex my typing fingers and actually write. I never intended to post strictly about low-carb eating, despite my blog’s title. Next, it’s good to be in a like-minded group of other low-carbers, to offer up strategies, recipes, and most importantly, support.  Finally, it feels good to write again. I would love to tell you how I am such a great writer, that I’ve been discovered and asked to write for magazines. That hasn’t happened. It’s a sobering ego-check to realize that you’re probably not that great. Then again, I usually just sit down and bang these blog posts out with very little planning or editing. You get back what you put out, to a large degree. I have not wanted to post anything here that might be good enough to plagiarize. That’s my excuse, and I like it.

As to low-carb weight loss! I am now maintaining my weight at about 132. That’s up from my all time low, as you may recall, of 122. I am certainly not depressed over being 132. I was at 147, even an all time high of 155 at one point, and I have no plans to return there. However, I would like to examine why it is that my weight has crept up.

1) I’m not holding myself to a strict 20-25 grams per day. I could not realistically continue to maintain that low carb count for two straight years. Maybe I could have, I take that back, but I didn’t.

2) In addition to playing fast and loose with the numbers, I have allowed more cheat days to creep in. There’s a bad habit our bakery department has at work of leaving mistakenly made or not-picked-up items in the break room for the employees to devour. After about the third or fourth time of walking by it, sitting next to it, and smelling it- after seeing so many other employees of all weights and sizes partake, I am only human. I cave. Incidents like these have happened more frequently as summer has come to a close. Is it just me, or does it get harder to eat right at this time of year? Every brother and their mother is bringing baked goods to work, and I even bought some canned pumpkin, which I have not opened yet. Then, my birthday is coming up, and I am already planning my splurge day.

3) Running.” You’ll get smaller,” they said. “It’s all muscle weight”, they said. I don’t know about all of that, but it seems the more I run, the more I gain. “Run more”, they said. “I’ve had enough this week!”, I said. Truth be told, I feel quite accomplished to run at ALL. I don’t know that I want to up the ante and get to 15-20 miles a week. I’ve been good at my 2-3k, 2-3 times per week. Sorry if that’s not good enough, all you hard-core runners. In fact, sometimes it’s even less. My neck and shoulders have been aching due to some sort of bone/muscle issue I’ve had off and on for years, and I haven’t run since 10-14. I did four miles that day.

4) I make the mistake of eating sugar free treats because I miss sweetness. I  have always had a huge sweet tooth, and sometimes it’s actually a fang. I eat the stuff, and I have lots of gas and frequent trips to the bathroom for hours or a day when I do. Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s why I called this post, “Let’s Get Real”. It’s not like it’s all sunshine and roses over here. I struggle to stay on low-carb, and sometimes I really run off the path and get lost in the Black Forest (cake).

So, what am I doing right? Why haven’t I gained all the weight back? Why haven’t I just given up completely?

What I am doing right: I exercise for health and heart strength, strong bones and muscles above weight loss concerns. Though I need to be more consistent, I have not given up. I keep getting back on that treadmill and doing those crunches and planks.

I still eat the majority of time in low-carb mode, including snacks. String cheese, nuts, raw veggies and ranch were yesterday’s snacks. Dinner was kielbasa and green beans with a light alfredo sauce. I was satisfied. I buy no-carb bagels online that are mostly soy protein. I drink almond milk. I enjoy eggs, bacon, and plenty of salad regularly.

I don’t throw in the towel and give up just because I splurged one day, or even on two occasions in a week, for example. I start all over the next day, attempting to balance things out.

I resign myself to the knowledge that if I really want to lose about eight pounds fairly rapidly, I will go back to eating only 20 grams of carbs per day, until I reach that goal. Turns out I am not feeling like I have to right now.

Finally, I remember that cravings for certain foods are not just physical. They are psychological and even spiritual for me. My natural desires can either be directed toward healthy habits and hobbies, or destructive ones. For example, if I am off of work, sitting here on the couch, contemplating what to do with my day, I have choices. I can involve myself in housework, work on my blog, chat with friends on Facebook, or go outside and play with my play-deprived dog. That would be constructive behavior.  OR, I can dump some food in her bowl, get in the car and do some mindless shopping for things I don’t need and can’t afford. I might throw beer or wine into my cart, with plans to enjoy it later. I might buy more sugar free foods, or another makeup item i don’t need. This is destructive behavior. Even worse, I might just never get off the sofa, watching TV all day- a huge creativity and productivity killer, with plans to work out on this gorgeous, sunny fall day, that never actually materialize.

I don’t always make the right choices. Do you? Are you the super-motivator? Are you so regularly spectacular that you are a motivational speaker now and have a couple of books published? Does Tony Robbins consult YOU? If so, congratulations. Enjoy every  moment of the fame, success, and all that life has to offer.  Wow, am I bitter?

🙂 Anyway, there’s more to life that feeding our faces or our desires. My mom is probably sitting on her sofa, wishing she could even leave her home and do anything other than suck on that oxygen tube. There are a lot of people not too far from us who could use something we have to give. I have to give. TIme, love, friendship.

Take care!

What to Eat on Low- Carb: Examined

This week I finally decided to get smart and followed a plan at the grocery store. I shopped meat on sale first, then planned meals around that. This week’s choices included an 8 lb. pork roast for 14.50, a beef roast, and a value pack of chicken thighs. I can make 4 meals out if the chicken, and have loads of pulled pork to eat, freeze, and share with my shut- in mom.

With that being said , lets look at today: breakfast smoothie: 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 5 fresh strawberries, a large handful of frozen blueberries, a tblsp. Splenda, and 14 ozs. Unsweetened vanla almond milk. Added one scoop vanilla protein powder ( 5 gr carb) perfect, filling & nutritious! Total grams- 10-12.

Lunch- large mixed greens salad covered in ham and some cheese. Caesar dressing.
Light snack- 1/2 Atkin’s bar. (Total – 5 grams all of that, plus 12= 17 for day so far out of goal of 26. ) dinner is yet to come, but now it’s time for work.

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So, dinner at a fast food place is still an option. Tonight’s fare is a dbl whopper with cheese, sans bun and with lots of greens on top. 🙂

Ghost Here

There’s a ghost here

I’m quite sure I smelled your perfume

We had a toast here

in this sealed up tomb of a room

There’s a ghost here

if you were here, you’d never believe but

there’s that sound again I almost perceive

like a whisper from the corner of my ear

and a shadow hits my eye then disappears

oh, God, how I feel all your fears

I’m spinning into your world now

and I can’t see how you made it so far

here’s a ghost here just down the empty hall and it feels like you

fill it all

Low carb, NUTritious Breakfast

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So, here we have a really good, light breakfast. I love the Wasa crackers, as they provide grain fiber, but at only 7 net grams of carbs per the 2. My peanut butter adds another 6, so I have the 13 gram breakfast.  That’s about half of what I want for the day, but that is easily accomplished. My salad or meat and veggie stir fry at lunch will be 5 gr or less, and dinner will be meat and veggies as well, so this won’t be going over. Tonight I will be experimenting with stove-top custard. The intention will be to make Stevia/Splenda sweetened Key Lime parfaits with real whipped cream.  I am looking forward to making that. The custard method is in The Joy of Cooking Cookbook, just above the baked custard version. If it turns out well, I will post more details.  If you have egg or nut allergies, or wheat/gluten allergies, then this is a perfectly AWFUL looking breakfast, for which I do apologize.