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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Something's Gotta Give

I am in a tug-of-war. It's me against...well, me.  As I try to focus on eating when I am hungry, and stopping when I am full, eating good foods that are full of good things, and making sure that I get sleep, I realize that my life is a constant tug-of war. 
I find myself constantly worrying about eating.  Not over eating, mind you, but actually just REMEMBERING to eat.  I am in the state of "I'm hungry, but I don't have time (or food) to eat." So, I put it off.  THEN, I get the "My stomach sings louder than some of my voice students" stage.  This is the point of no return.  I know that I am now in a ravenous state. I want food, and I want it NOW.  I don't want to wait until it has thawed out (because I continually forget to thaw out meat,) I don't want to go to the store for produce (no, I don't have any on hand because I am too busy to use it!! Sheesh!) and I DON'T want to take the time to MAKE anything!  So, pizza, fast food, and call ahead pick up is my new best friend.  

This is a horrible place to be. I know. I just can't help it!  I have put myself on the back burner.  And, you know what? I HATE IT! There is nothing worse than KNOWING what is right and PURPOSEFULLY doing the opposite. I KNOW that I should listen when my body says it's hungry. I know that I need to have healthy snacks available for this EXACT purpose.  I know that good food brings more energy, and yet, the thought of having to cut up some carrots or celery, make my whole wheat bread, or even dirty a bowl with cottage cheese makes me what to CRY.  The ugly cry. 

My house has an "Elf on the Shelf."  No tree, no stockings, nothing. No Christmas feeling.  No Christmas treats- thank the heavens above! I walk around in yoga pants (that I don't do yoga in...) a T-shirt, and an oversized (thanks to the two sizes lost) sweater. And, as you know, I have been MIA from THR for about a month. 

My 8 month mark is at the end of this month.  I know that measurements have to come.  I also know that I'm probably not going to get the results that I have been looking for. Why?  Because I'm NOT eating the right WAY.  Forget about the right food right now, I can't even eat crappy food correctly! 

One might think "Cindy!  How can this be?? You are so inspiring and amazing to the multitudes of readers that you have.  How can you be so LAZY!?! How can you be in such a rut??"  Well, sweet bunnies, I'm actually not in a rut.  I am just as motivated as I always have been to continue on this journey.  But, I also know that this is a JOURNEY, and I have come across an enemy that I am unfamiliar with.  NOT being able to prioritize!!  

For the first time in my life, I am looking AT my life, and I can't decide when to get things done. My brain is short circuiting! I. can't. function! This is so strange to me. I have always been able to PLAN out EXACTLY how everything is going to work. But I can't right now.  It's NOT that I am's the opposite.  I'm a bit of an over achiever and I'm in a little over my head.  At this time, I am currently:
* Packing the house to move out of state.  Yes, the boxes are color coded because we have different items going to different places.
*Christmas shopping.  I'm not a total Grinch and the boys need SOMETHING on Christmas morning. Luckily for me, that magical morning will NOT be under a tree that I had to put up and decorate. 
*Planning a Christmas Party for a LARGE group of women
*Practicing O Holy Night to sing at ANOTHER Christmas Party
*Teaching Voice Lessons
*Doing online School with the boys
*Helping the landlord get quotes for new carpet and paint
*Preparing a talk that I have been asked to present this Sunday in church
*Planning the move (getting a truck, storage unit, cleaners, etc.)
*Selling items to lighten the load
and let's not forget....
*JUST BEING A MOM- (cooking, cleaning, hugging, reading, laundry, and the never ending list of chores that comes with that job.)

So, I've got a lot on my plate. As I sit here in my sweater and yoga pants (that I wore yesterday,) holding my head in my hands, I can't help that think that I should be doing SOMETHING else... but what???  Grocery shopping???  Ugh, that requires too much time and that is just MORE food to worry about having to go through. But, it probably should be done.  Perhaps I should pack another box, or make phone calls for the party, or call the students that need to reschedule lessons, or research audition songs for those students, or practice MY song, or research painters, or carpet people, or maybe I need to SLEEP, or I KNOW, I need to pay bills!  YES, bills need to be paid. Wait, do I wait until we are moved and then just pay the final bill? crap.

So, eating is NOT at the top of my "to do" list.  Yet, it really should be near the top because food is important. Eating is important. That requires food though.  I suppose that I should break down and get some food. 

These are where my thoughts have been for the past month. Now you know. I'm still here. I still care.  


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Letter To My Children- How a LIVING a HEALTHY Life Will Make You a Better Person

Baby Corbyn
My 1 year old nephew, Corbyn, passed away two weeks ago.  We traveled up to Utah for the funeral and to be with family.  I was inspired by how many lives this little boy had touched.  It was so inspiring to hear people talk about this sweet spirit.  As events like this usually do, this all made me reflect on my own life, and the life of my boys.  Do they know how much I love them?  What am I doing to SHOW them this love? One of the many things that came to me was that I am doing my best to live a healthier life so that I can be with my kids on this earth for LONGER than I would have been had I continued on the road that I was on.

Corby and his mommy, Krystle

Both of Corbyn's parents are quite active.  Facebook shows loads of photos of half marathons, triathlons, and various activities that they shared together.  Just last Saturday, three days before the funeral of their son, both of his parents ran in a half marathon (something they had signed up for months earlier,) in Corbyn's name.  Being active is a part of their life, a part of their family. It is inspiring.

This year, after all the events that October brought, I pondered my thoughts and feelings for my boys (their birthdays are 3 weeks apart.) I found myself wanting to talk a lot more to them about HEALTH and LIFE. Although their letters aren't quite finished, and I DID say "my two bits,"  I thought that this would be a good place to share those thoughts.  So, on a perhaps more...tender... note, I am taking the time to share what "we" have learned over the past 5 months... well about healthy living, that is.  And, surprisingly, these same thoughts can be applied to most anything in life.

Every year since they were born, I write a letter to my sons.  It started out as a way to purge my fears of parenting, desires and dreams for them, and an open "pre-apology" for the many, MANY mistakes that I will make as a parent. Every year since, I have taken the time to write down little stories about that year, insert pictures, tell them my favorite things about them, and again, apologize for the mistakes.  I take the time to tell them that even though they have told me that I am "the WORST mom- EVER." I take that as proof that I MUST be doing SOMETHING right. So, here we go.  What I want my kids to know.

Minion 1 and Minion 2.  I know he looks drunk.  Just go with it.

1. Enough is Enough!!  I mean it!!  Don't use outside forces to tell you when you are finished with your food.  You're body will tell you when you are hungry and when you are full.  Although I don't care if you finish everything on your plate, please try to save it for another time (and actually eat it.)  I would LOVE it if you became the king of leftovers! Just... know when to stop, or not even start at all because you aren't hungry. Listen to your body.  If it won't help you, it will hurt you.

The same applies to real life.  Know when to stop.... or to not even start.  You have a little voice inside of you that tells you when you should and shouldn't do something.  LISTEN TO IT!  Listen when it tells you to walk away from friends, or when you feel like someone has been teased just a little too much.  It's O.K. to argue a point.  In fact, I prefer that you stand for what you believe in.  But listen to that voice when it tells you that your point was made or that it's not the right time to argue.  People would be a lot happier if they stopped talking instead of kept arguing. Again, if it won't help you, it will hurt you.

2. Failure is Not An Option Because It Doesn't Exist. I don't want you to go through life worrying about your weight or your body build or whatever diet you need to "be on."  If you diet, you will fail.  Therefore, my advice to you is to NOT diet!  Eat what you want to eat.  Eat food that brings you to life! Stop eating when you are full.  There is no failure at this!  You will have ups, you will have downs, and it's ok.  It's life. But as long as you are doing what is good for you, you CANNOT fail!

I would be lying if I said that I didn't have dreams for you.  You are my children.  I believe that you are the most amazing thing that ever walked this earth!  But, if I told you what I thought was the best thing for your life, I would not be any different than those that tell us what "diet" is best for us!  (We all know how well the world does with that!)  Now, having said that, it is my JOB, my CALLING, to teach you what I KNOW to be true and good.  And, if I had my way, I would FORCE you to do EXACTLY what I tell you to do because, well, like I said, I KNOW it to be good and true.  BUT, I know that life doesn't work that way.  You will eat lots of sugar, and you will get sick.  You will make bad decisions and you will suffer the consequences from those decisions.  All that I ask is that you take the time to LEARN from your decisions: the good and the bad.  Then, and only then, will failure not exist.

3. Learn between WANTS and NEEDS. Look, I like a good dessert just as much as the next "eating chocolate in the closet" mother, but I also understand that it is a WANT..... ok, sometimes it's a NEED.  You will understand that when you are older.  When it comes to health, our bodies NEED certain things to help us sustain our lives. A man named Maslow came up with a whole entire hierarchy of these needs.  We need air, water, food, shelter, something to believe in. But what he fails to mention is that we also NEED a certain TYPE of these things.  The air we breathe needs to be clean. The shelter needs to protect us. And, the food needs to give our bodies nutrients.  So, as long as you are fulfilling those needs, I don't care if you throw in a few wants.  In fact, I encourage it.  Nothing is better than enjoying your favorite treat after a long day! EXPERIENCE that, don't just CONSUME it!

Fulfilling your needs before your wants is a great way to live your life.  If you live life based upon your wants, you will not be happy.  I know that sounds funny, but our desires often leave us feeling empty.  Please, don't try to fulfill your life with THINGS.  Family, friends, hobbies, things that make you smile.  THAT is what life is about.  Fill it with GOOD, with SUNSHINE, with CHARITY.  You will find that at the base of all of your "wants" what you really want are these things.  You don't want the big house, you want a house big enough to hold your family.  You don't want a ton of money, you want enough money for your needs and then a little to create experiences. You really don't want the fast sports car (that will probably bring heart ache through speeding tickets and possibly a spinning death- just sayin) but you want a vehicle that will take you where you will experience life! You will be happy when your needs are fulfilled in the best way possible.

4. The Purpose of Temptations. I wish that I could say that it is going to be an easy ride.  But the fact is that eating healthy really doesn't include doughnuts.  But LIVING healthy DOES!  That doesn't mean that you should give in to the temptation to eat two, three, or more of those yummy, fried, sugar filled dreams.  You WILL be tempted to "bite off more than you can chew."  That is NEVER a good thing.

Throughout your life, you will be tempted to make wrong decisions.  As much as I want to control every single move that you make, I know that I need to trust that I have taught you well. As you grow, you will learn right from wrong.  It's easy to say "YES."  It's hard to say "no."  It's even HARDER to say no when you know that it's something that you should ALWAYS say no to. Things like, drugs, smoking, pre-marital sex (yes, I DO believe that you should wait until you are married,) and other things of this sort will be hard to say NO to.  It's funny, for me, food temptations are very often just as strong as the temptation to do things that I know I shouldn't be doing. I cannot stress to you the importance of controlling your physical appetites and desires.  You will be a better person and a healthier person for doing so.

5. The Real Deal.  REAL is SO much better than "fake" for SO MANY things!  From food, to faces, to diamonds, fake is NOT good.  We need to be so careful about what we put in our bodies.  Processed foods have so many bad things in them that can do harm to our bodies.  We try to keep our diet focused on whole foods.  I can't explain to you how much better you will feel if keep your body fueled with REAL food. You can always tell if it's real by how it feels!

When it comes to other things in life, this concept is no different.  Real is better in so many ways.  I want to take the time to tell you about REAL love.  I mean, love that you would literally DIE for.  This love comes in different forms. You will first feel love from your parents.  We love you so much it literally hurts sometimes. You might not think it, but EVERYTHING that we do is so that YOU can have a better life. Right now, you feel warm, cuddly feelings when we hug and kiss you, read you a story, or tuck you in at night. This is just the first step of love. It's real.

The next time you will feel real love is when you meet and know your spouse.  This love will be intense.  It will literally draw you closer to this person until it hurts to be without them. Your heart will feel like it has wings and you will ache for their touch.  You will smile constantly and, even though you will have only known them for a short time, you will walk the world over to get a single blade of grass that they wanted.

After this, you will experience the love of BEING a parent. This love is different. No one told me that when I held you in my arms for the first time that I would feel a love so intense that I wouldn't understand it.  Until that point, I had only only felt wonderful, tingly, feelings.  Now, I felt a love so strong that it made me cry... a lot. I wanted  so much to guide you and direct your every thought and move from the time you were born until you left this earth just to make sure that we would be together again as an eternal family. The thought that I was going to have to let you make your own decisions only scared and frustrated me!  This love was so real that the only thing that would completely satisfy it would be to make it un-breakable, to seal it forever. Yup, I KNEW that I NEEDED you forever.  YOU are a part of me.

Now,  I know that I sound like an overbearing, crazy, psycho mom.  But, I said that I only FELT this way. Just be glad that I haven't ACTUALLY acted upon those feelings!  I know that I can't protect you from everything.  Ultimately, you are not just my child, but a Child of God. When your time comes to go home, I want HIM to be proud of the way that I took care of you.  I KNOW that He is proud of Corbyn's parents. He is proud of the way they love him and cared for him. They were such great examples of living life to it's fullest!  That is what I want for myself as a parent, and for you as my child. I saw REAL love this past week as we celebrated baby Corbyn's 411 days on this earth.  I saw the importance of family, love, and strength.

Ok, now I know that I went off on that a little bit.  I promise you that you will know REAL when it happens, and believe me when I say that it's the REAL things in life that make life worth living. 

These 5 principles will make you a healthier person, both inside and out. The same principles that we use to take care of our bodies also can take care of our lives!

I'm sure that I missed so many principles and ideas.  Anyone reading this is more than welcome to add their words of advice as takes a village.... ;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Choffy Tasting

 It's been a week since my tasting party for Choffy. To make this a little different than other reviews that I have seen, I decided to see what some of my friends thought of Choffy as well.  So, I sent out the invites, cleaned the house, and made way for 15 of my closest friends to come and TASTE!

If you don't know anything about Choffy, it's brewed hot chocolate.  This isn't full of sugars and powdered milk like your normal hot chocolate.  Nope, this is the pure stuff.  100% pure, roasted, cacao bean! The beans are roasted, ground, and even prepared like coffee (best done in a french press,) without the side effects of coffee such as caffeine or tannin.  Sound to good to be true? Just wait!

According the the Choffy website, an 8oz cup of Choffy has more antioxidants in it than almost two servings of blueberries! PLUS,  Choffy naturally contains a gentle yet long lasting stimulant called Theobromine. This healthy stimulant provides you with a energy lift by dilating the cardiovascular system, making the heart’s job easier and delivers energy without a crash or the other negative effects of caffeine.

To sum up: Choffy is a "healthy" hot chocolate that gives an energy boost similar to coffee....without the addiction.


Choffy currently comes in three flavors: The original Ivory Coast blend, Ivory Coast Dark, and El Espanola (the flavor that is supposed to be the closest to coffee.)

Ok, here we get down to the nitty gritty!  When I first tasted Choffy, I was given the Ivory Roast- Dark flavor to taste.  I thought that I would be brave and try it just straight.  As you can imagine, it was bitter.  The taste reminded me a lot of eating 100% pure dark chocolate would taste like... go figure.  Having said that, there were 2 of my friends that actually LIKED it this way the best! After I tried a few blends of almond milk, cinnamon, peppermint, coconut milk, etc, I wasn't THRILLED with any of them and decided to wait for the tasting party.  I figured that I was probably doing something wrong.

At the party, we were able to try all three flavors with multiple creamers and sweeteners to create our favorite combination. The Ivory Coast Dark was iced, the other two were hot.
Christmas in a Cup

Our presenter was a friend of mine that I found out actually sold it. I had to hunt her down and ask her to do a tasting party for me.  She accepted and did a great job. After taking about 10 minutes to tell us about the benefits of Choffy, she let us go at it.

We had a lot of fun!  My favorite combination was the Original Ivory Coast with the peppermint patty creamer and a little cinnamon and nutmeg.  OH. MY. GOSH!  It's Christmas in a cup!  I also tried the pumpkin spice creamer.  That was tasty! Finding the right balance of sweetener, creamer, and choffy is really important.  It took me SEVEN different cups to find my favorite Choffy flavor, creamer and sweetener (which I don't add.) I DEFINITELY liked it better this time around than I did when I first tried it.  My second favorite blend was the Dark, and the Espanola was last.

My friends had various responses.  Some of them loved it right off the bat!  Others took a little more convincing.  I actually had one friend that didn't like it at all- but she bought a bag!!  When I asked her why, she told me that she thought that maybe it would grow on her. At the time, she was drinking hot chocolate every morning to give her some energy.  Two days after the party, she called me and told me that she made it with coconut milk and said that she LOVED it!

Another friend bought a bag for herself and members of her family!  And yet, another one, liked it just straight with a little sugar and left my house to go order some!

This is really something that you have to try for yourself to see what you think.  However, at $15 per bag plus the cost of a french press (if you don't own one) it can be a costly venture just to "try."  My best advice would be to attend a tasting party or throw one of your own.  This way you can try all of the flavors that you want and not have to worry about getting the wrong kind.  If you like it, you can make the jump and purchase the french press- like I did.

I really like this!  It is not as thick as your normal hot chocolate, and not as sweet (unless you add a lot of sugar or other sweetener.) I am not one that drinks coffee every day nor do I drink hot chocolate every day, but I think that this will remain a staple in my house as a nice treat!

Choffy is sold through independent distributors. You can purchase on the website, and skip the distributor, but if you know someone that sells it, you might as well give them the commission that they are trying to earn. If you don't already have a friend that sells it, I would suggest ordering from my friend Kristie.  She is super nice and is genuinely willing to just let you order and not pressure you into becoming a distributor (something I think we ALL can appreciate!) You can access her website HERE.  Be sure to put in 124539 as the referral number!

As a healthier alternative to hot chocolate that tastes just as good, I suggest that you give Choffy a try!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My MOTIVATION to a Healthier Lifestyle

It's time for another GIVEAWAY (Click HERE to enter) and, to get one entry, people have to answer the question:

What motivates you to live a healthier lifestyle?

I thought that it was probably only fair to answer this question myself. And, since it's my blog, I get to EXPLAIN my motivation as well.

One night, I had a dream, probably brought on by my mother telling me about a similar dream that she had, where I met my Savior. He told me that he was proud of me and how I lived my life. Then, he looked into my eyes and asked:
"But Cindy, I gave you a beautiful body. What did you do with my gift? Did you treat it with respect? Did you love it?  Why did you spend most of your life either neglecting this gift physically, or neglecting it emotionally? You truly loved your neighbor... why did you not love yourself? YOU are a daughter of God. This is a great commandment that was not fulfilled."

Now, keep in mind that this was a dream and I am not claiming to know what the Savior might say in this situation. BUT, this is what he said in the dream. Either way.... it made me think. I HAVE spent a good portion of my life feeling insecure, hating my body, hating the way that I looked and felt.  I was in the downward spiral of apathy. 

FACT: I didn't take care of my body. I didn't nourish it physically OR emotionally. 

Another night, not too long ago, I had a dream that my boys were in danger. I had to climb over a wall and run a up five flights of stairs to get to them. I couldn't do it! I was not strong enough to lift my body weight, and too weak to make it up the 5 flights of stairs! I woke up in tears because I wasn't healthy enough to save them.

FACT: In real life, there is NO WAY that I would have made it over the wall OR up the stairs. 

These are EXACTLY like the stairs in my dream.
Creepy, unstable, and scary. I'm sure that there
is some psychological reason for that.
Finally, on yet ANOTHER night, 5 months ago, I started a LONG journey.  I KNEW that it would be a long journey because I had many stops to make along the way.  I had many things to learn and to accept.  I still do.  But I made the decision to REALLY change, morph, convert into a healthier person. I knew that I wasn't looking for a program, pill, shake, or any outside factor to give me answers.  The answers, and the change, had to come from within. True change is a long, slow, but lasting process. Something clicked inside and, that night, I started The Healthy Redhead.  I defined my goals, I built support, I hoped to become support for others. I started on the journey. And, I'm still here. Still working. Still on the journey, but not still the same person that started. 

FACT: My life changed.... For Good. 

I might not have reached my goal weight in the first 4 months.... I think that's good!!  That tells me that I am taking my time, carefully making decisions that affect my body and outcome. I think that if you read through the blog, you will see that my opinions have changed, my goals changed, I feel like I am on a higher level than I started, and I continue to grow! I started out with the motivation to "lose weight,"  a term that makes me shudder now. 

We would struggle to find a person in this world that isn't trying to better themselves. 

My way might not work for you, but I share it with you so that you can decide.  I share it with you because I NEED to.  I need to be accountable for my dealings with myself, and I need to make my experiences available to others on the off chance that it might help someone else. Do I think that EVERYONE needs to share their most uncomfortable thoughts, experiences and pictures all over the internet for people to see???  OF COURSE NOT!  I'm sort of wondering about my own sanity for doing that.  But, I DO think that EVERYONE needs to look at themselves in the mirror and define WHAT their MOTIVATION is!  

FACT: I live a healthy lifestyle so that I can have a healthier heart and enjoy the sunshine!

I live to enjoy my boys to the fullest extent possible; so that nothing can come between me and playing with them, or even saving their life one day ( I will conquer the stairs!) I will be strong enough to lift them, out run them (only sometimes,) play with them, and teach them. I live a healthy lifestyle so that my family knows that THEIR health is important to me. It's important to me that THEY eat healthy foods, be involved in healthy activities, and have healthy attitudes. They are my heart and my sunshine! 

       FACT: I will be able to look HIM in they eye and smile with confidence in the life I led. 

I live a healthy life so that I can look my Savior in the eye and tell him that I DID take care of this beautiful body that he gave me. I fueled it with good food, thoughts, and activities. 

Now you know WHY I ask YOU..... 

What is YOUR motivation to live a healthier lifestyle? 

Decide NOW. Make it strong. Make it lasting. Write it down so that you will NEVER forget WHY you are doing this!  WHAT makes it worth the ups, downs, tears, sweat, and struggle. 


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