New recipes & a changing perspective

 

The last couple weeks have been a little rough. I’m in some pretty constant pain, I’ve been so tired every day, and I haven’t been as positive. I think it’s a pretty expected crash after weeks and weeks of constant moving. That’s my personality though – I go, push myself, constantly doing something, practically manic – then boom. The drop. It’s like mutiny. Anyway, I haven’t missed any gym time and I’ve been eating decently well but I notice I’m constantly making excuses for myself. Before, when I was working out hard it was making it easier and easier to eat right. I didn’t really have cravings and everything felt so simple. Now, it’s effort. It’s hard for me to tell if I’m being balanced with myself, or if I’m letting myself off easy. Lately, I’ve been working out so hard that I’m starving and apparently that leads me to the McDonalds drive thru for some breakfast burritos. I guess the upside is that I always fit it into my macros so I’m not overeating, but I’m also not happy with the choice.

Anyway, I haven’t missed any gym time and I’ve been eating well (most of the time) but I notice I’m constantly making excuses for myself. Before, when I was working out hard it was making it easier and easier to eat right. I didn’t really have cravings and everything felt so simple. Now, it’s effort. It’s hard for me to tell if I’m being balanced with myself, or if I’m letting myself off easy. Lately, I’ve been working out so hard that I’m always starving and that has been leading me to fast food more often than I’d like. I guess the upside is that I always fit it into my macros so I’m not overeating, but I’m also not happy with the choice. I know it will make me feel like a crappy slug, yet I choose to fit it into my diet. Maybe it’s a habit, a crutch, or just enjoyable. I guess it’s up to me to figure out.

Well, I am making a choice now to see it as a new phase. My fascination with my body which seemed to change every day is now slowing. My workouts are harder, longer, and my body is stronger, I can feel that. But I feel like I’m constantly forgetting where I started. Instead of praising myself for what I’ve done, I’m putting myself down for not getting there faster, not already being at my goal, not starting sooner. Just negative thoughts that keep me from being proud. I think I just need a little bit of perspective, some introspection, and some time.

Self-love kind of feels like it’s the hardest kind. Why am I so forgiving with everyone around me but I get so angry with myself? Strange. I feel like that anger is starting to manifest in other ways. I find myself getting anxious to the point of panic when I haven’t figured out macros before eating something. That’s not a good thing, that’s just replacing over eating with compulsive counting. I’m constantly trying to evaluate how I’m feeling and doing because I desperately want to improve. Sometimes though, it just feels like I’m standing still. Change takes time and that is okay with me. I just need some patience.

This week I’m sharing 5 of my favorite go-to recipes. I’m so happy with these. They’re macro friendly, keep you full, and are easy to prep!

I hope you guys are having a great week. Keep me posted on your progress!

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The Holy Grail Oatmeal Recipe 

(serves 2)

I absolutely love this stuff. I am not a fan of oatmeal, not in the slightest. It took David months and months of making me eat bites of his bowls of snot. Lol it grosses me out, truly. Anyway, I decided to try recipe after recipe, desperate to get some more protein into my body I have now found my favorite. It tastes great, I never get sick of it, It keeps me full for hours, and it gives me so much energy. Must try!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons honey, optional
  • Sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, and cinnamon, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring milk to a boil, watching carefully so that it doesn’t boil over. Stir in oats, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cover for a few minutes. Stir in mashed banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Stir in honey, to taste, if desired. Top with sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, and additional cinnamon before serving.Source

OH YES. Sun Dried tomato, Spinach, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast


(serves 2)

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 small chicken breasts (6oz/180g), boneless and skinless
  • ½ cup sun dried tomato, cut into strips (oil packed. Use enough to cover the chicken)
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese (or other melting cheese of choice)
  • Handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp olive oil
Italian Dressing
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sugar (any)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp EACH Italian mixed her and red pepper flakes (Note 1)
  • Salt & pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Whisk together the Italian Dressing ingredients in a bowl. It will be thicker than salad dressing.
  3. Cut a pocket into each chicken breast, taking care not to cut all the way though.
  4. Coat the chicken (inside and out) with the Italian Dressing.
  5. Place chicken on work surface. Stuff with sun dried tomato, top with cheese then finish with spinach leaves. Just stuff in as much as you can.
  6. Seal with toothpicks (just stick them in on the diagonal – see photo in post).
  7. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for 1½ minutes on each side, or until golden.
  8. Transfer to oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Rest for 3 minutes before serving, drizzled with the juices in the skillet.Source

The Breakfast Casserole you WILL get out of bed for 


(serves 8)

1 pound Honey Suckle Turkey/BreakfastSausage
1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs (yolk included)
1/3 cup 2% milk
1 (20 ounce) 
sweet potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black
pepper
2 stocks thinly sliced green onions

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the sausage to a medium saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until browned, crumbling the sausage with a spoon as it cooks. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of sausage grease in the saute pan, discarding the rest. Add the onion and green pepper* to the saute pan, and saute for 5 minutes until cooked. Add the seasoning and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. Pour the vegetable mixture into the mixing bowl with the sausage. Add finely chopped, lightly steamed sweet potatoes and 1 1/2 cups cheese to the mixing bowl with the sausage and veggies. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and black pepper until combined. Then add them to the potato mixture, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes and the top of the potatoes begin to slightly brown. Remove and let the casserole rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve!

Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas

(Serves 4)
I LOVE these in tortillas. Ugh. They’re amazing.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • several turns of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • lime
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • tortillas, warmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, shrimp, olive oil, salt and pepper and spices.
  3. Toss to combine.
  4. Spray baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.
  5. Spread shrimp, bell peppers and onions on baking sheet.
  6. Cook at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes. Then turn oven to broil and cook for additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
  7. Squeeze juice from fresh lime over fajita mixture and top with fresh cilantro.
  8. Serve in warm tortillas.

Source

Crazy Good Beef and Broccoli

(serves 2)

 

    • 1 pound flank steak, sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
    • 3 cups small broccoli florets
    • 1/2 cup beef stock
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons corn starch
    • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

Instructions

  1. Toss sliced beef in a large bowl with corn starch.
  2. Heat canola oil in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Add sliced beef and cook until it browns, a few minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add broccoli and garlic to the pan, and stir. Add beef broth. Let simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While waiting for the broccoli to cook, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  5. Add the reserved beef and sauce to the pan, and stir. Let simmer for 5 minutes so the sauce thickens a bit.
  6. Serve beef and broccoli over cooked white rice.

Source

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If you truly want to lose weight, stop trying to lose weight.

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Vitamin Donuts Coaching Week Two
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Doesn’t that sound confusing? I can’t count how many times a week I have girls telling me that they’re trying to lose weight but they give into temptation, they can’t stay consistent. – They say all of the changes they’ve made and foods they’ve cut out of their diets haunt them and pull them back into bad habits.

Of course it does! Because you’re not changing your habits or rewarding yourself with good behaviors. You’re only trying to cut out things you’ve rewarded yourself with for (months or years) and ignore the bad behaviors, but the problem with that is – they’re habits. Those habits aren’t going to just disappear over night. That same voice in your head that tells you to stop and get that fast food, skip that work out, and indulge every night. It doesn’t magically die when you decide to “diet”.

If I ask a person who eats 3-4 thousand calories a day to wake up tomorrow and eat 8,000? Do you think that’d feel like a lot, maybe a bit extreme? What about asking someone who is binge eating or in the midst of bad habits to start eating 900 calories a day? Doesn’t that seem a bit extreme too? Why would you do that to yourself? Stop making this a diet. 

I’m telling you, you’re going to have to start reasoning with that voice in your head, you’re going to have to work with it, to live with it. You’re going to have to make your changes one step at a time. Stop going balls to the wall and then wondering why you couldn’t remain consistent. This is your life.

First, start paying attention to yourself. Ask yourself questions and stop being irrational. You are behaving this way for a reason. You’re not just some loose cannon that LOVES feeling sad and horrible. Second, figure out who you want to be and ask yourself what keeps you from that? Third, stop making excuses. 

Everything I tell you is what I have experienced, everything I tell you is what works for me, everything I tell you, YOU can experience for yourself. Find your own path. Find your own balance.

Change your relationship with yourself and with food. Understand that once you start getting healthy on the inside and listening to yourself, you are going to WANT to make better choices. Everyone thinks that they just are who they are. They can’t change, they won’t grow, and the only way for them to improve is to stifle all those bad voices and just push forward.

You don’t have to do that. Stop repressing and start addressing. (Catchy, huh?) You are perfectly capable of being better, thinking better, moving better. You don’t have to settle for making massive pushes and then getting upset and reverting when you fail. If you’re making these tiny incremental changes then your body and mind won’t give you the backlash when you fail, because you’re trying and learning.

One of my goals is to make it where you don’t need me anymore. I don’t want you get you hooked on a shake, pill, or plan. I want you to learn smart and balanced habits so you can go to Vegas for the week or enjoy a big plate at Thanksgiving and stop being angry at yourself when you want to indulge.

That’s normal, I’ll repeat this again, I WANT YOU TO INDULGE.

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I’m willing to bet if you think about your situation, whether you’ve put on a little bit of weight or a lot of weight, it didn’t happen overnight. You didn’t magically wake up one day to find out that you were consuming 4000-5000 calories a day and that you were getting out of breath. This happened over time. You maybe had a few bad habits that snowballed, they got out of control. Now you find yourself making choices you don’t like and you’re not proud of the person you’ve become or happy when you look in the mirror. I want you to apply that same logic to losing weight. This change isn’t going to happen overnight but how you’re feeling isn’t permanent and you don’t have to feel this way.

I can give you a 7 day meal plan that makes you lose weight. I can give you DVD’s and tell you that you need to do those. I can tell you exactly what I do and ask you to copy it exactly, but ask yourself – How silly is that? You have to live your life! What if I tell you to eat eggs/oatmeal/or a shake in the morning. Oh my god. WHAT IF YOU’RE NOT NEAR ANY OF THOSE THINGS?! I don’t want to tell you what to do. I want you to to tell you what to do.

I want you to gain a confidence and balance in your life that encourages you to make the right choices. Without me or anyone else guiding you. That’s only going to happen with time and effort. You’re going to have to make small changes every day that add up to your goals and happiness in life. Life is messy and unpredictable – I want you to be prepared for that and be able to cope. Not panic and use food or bad habits as a crutch.

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Please stop saying “I could NEVER work out like that. I could NEVER buy chips and keep them in my house with out eating the whole bag. I could NEVER go a day without pop.”

There is a laundry list of things I said I could or would NEVER do. They all seem so silly now. I don’t understand why I used such negative and constraining language with myself and others for so long. If you feel like something is hard and impossible – I want you to start adding “Right now” to the end of your sentences.

“I can’t do that.. right now.”

You are not this constant, unchanging being. You are a person with needs, wants, behaviors, influences, a body, and a brain. You are fully capable of whatever you darn well please. Just stop putting these glass ceilings on yourself.

There are times in my life where I thought “I’ll never be happy. I’ll never survive this. I’ll never overcome this. I’ll never be athletic. I’ll never be loved. I’ll never be able to NOT eat this way. I’ll never be capable.” 

It was all such bullshit, guys. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It was all of these limitations and harm I put on myself. It was all of the times someone put me down or I felt like I disappointed myself or others. It was just all of these horrible echoes in my mind that were just cutting me at the knees. I let them sit on my mind and body like a heavy weight that kept me small mentally and obese physically.

Your thoughts are so important. They’re so valuable and strong. They push you, they pull you, they make you strive for the stars and they’ll slam you back to earth. Control them. Master them. Push for them to be better. Start asking yourself why you are doing things. Start asking yourself how you got here. Start asking yourself why you’re not where you want to be.

I’m not lying to you when I say I wake up and I WANT to eat healthy and I WANT to go to the gym. Some days I may drag my feet or want sugar more than usual but it doesn’t change my progress. This does get easier. You do get stronger. Once you start putting the right foods into your body and taking care of it, your mind and body will start motivating YOU. You won’t want to go back to binge eating, or feeling like crap because why would you when you figure out how good it feels to do this? You only have to try. 

I’m challenging you this week. Two things. 

  1. Stop being on a diet. Stop making this a starting line and a finish line. This is your life. You need to learn to make choices and develop skills that make you the person you WANT to be.  If a side effect of that is that you lose weight and feel better about yourself than you ever have – that’s great! That’s what I want for you.When you’re balanced, happy, and you WANT to feel good – the change happens. Become independent, become strong, question me, question this, question EVERYONE. Don’t just do what people tell you what to do when it comes to your lifestyle. Make it YOURS. If you want to eat a candy bar 3x a week  – figure out a way that you can still do that and be PROUD of your choices at the end of the day. I am not going to live the rest of my life without cheese, fried foods, chocolate covered things, or sugary drinks but I will still be strong, healthy, happy, and moving forward. Always. I suggest you start thinking about how you can do that too. Or else this isn’t really changing you, you’re just losing mass and not gaining knowledge or perspective on yourself.

    2. Stop using such negative and final language. Stop saying never, Start being positive, not just with others out loud. With yourself. Stop pretending like who you are this second is all you’re ever going to be. That’s so ridiculous. Start growing. Start changing. Start improving. Set goals that scare you, that challenge you. There is a part inside you that is separate from that random chatter and screaming in your head. There is this force in your mind and body that is fully capable of being reasoned with and that wants you to succeed. You just have to find it and let that center guide you to the best version of yourself. Whatever that is. I bet it’s even more awesome and powerful than you could possibly imagine. Find it. 

Email me and keep me posted on your progress. I don’t just want to know what you’re eating. How are you feeling? Are you feeling sad? Motivated? Indifferent? We can figure it out and get you pointed in the right direction if you’re feeling lackluster or frustrated.

I’m here. 

Love,

Dev

The shock and the cheese

I want you to think about what is rewarding to you. If you were going to treat yourself, what would it be with? Clothes, food, a night out, a vacation? If you had to describe your “happy place” – what would it be?

My happy place in 2013 was sitting on my couch, incredibly focused on whatever show I was binge-watching at the moment while I stuffed my face with a mountain of fast food I had run out to get myself. I was genuinely happy when I was doing that. I had trained my mind and body that those actions were rewarding. About 30 minutes after I finished my food and the credits started rolling on my show. I would feel absolutely sick. Maybe I’d just keep eating? Maybe I’d follow it up with a cigarette? Maybe I’d go take a nap. I didn’t care, my day was over when I put my butt on that couch.

My happy place now is my walk back from the gym, reflecting on my work out, thinking about my day, on my way to eat a big pile of food in my kitchen that usually consists of eggs, spinach, and hot sauce. I know that once I get back home, take a quick shower, make those eggs, and then start my day, I’m going to be unstoppable. I’m going to start checking things off of my to-do list, I’m going to clean out that pantry that has been daunting me with it’s pile of crap, I’m going to write, I’m going to be active and happy for the rest of the day. The difference in my daily habits then and now are night and day.

That change did not happen overnight, and unlike most things I ramble about, it did not come from mindfulness.

It came from switching the shock and the cheese.

I want you to picture a rat in one of those big white mazes. There are two pieces of cheese in this maze. One of them will shock him whenever he goes to grab it, the other one will fill his belly with cheddar goodness. If he runs this course enough times, he will find the path to the pain-free cheese. He will map that route in his little brain and he will reward himself with his golden prize at the end. Over and over and over.
Does this sound familiar?

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Even though you’re human, and your end goal might not be cheese. (I love cheese)
You have done the same exact thing in your life. You have created habits, thought patterns, behavioral patterns, and rewards in your life every single day. You are constantly running away from discomfort, pain, sadness and you’re falling into habits that keep you distracted, complacent, and even though they might feel good in the moment – They’re keeping you from what you want. In my life, obviously sitting on a couch, hating my choices and my body, getting further and further away from my goal wasn’t what I wanted but I didn’t know what to do? How do I stop doing the things I have done for years?

I had to take control of my thoughts, actions, and habits to get me to where I wanted to be and it all started with a simple question. Why? Why am I eating right now? Why am I crying right now? Why am I SO agitated right now? Why don’t I exercise? Why don’t I take more pride in how I look and feel?

I am challenging you to wake up every single day and start questioning your behaviors.
Are you doing things that make you happy?
Are you thinking thoughts that make you happy?
Are you surrounded by people who make you happy?
Do you feel proud with the choices you made and the interactions you had at the end of the day? If your answer is no. You can change that. You are in control.

I can tell you what I eat and what I did to lose 130lbs. I can tell you what music I listen to and how long I sleep at night. Those things might give you information about me and a healthy lifestyle but it’s not going to make you healthy unless you start reflecting on your own life. I will not be there to knock a box of mac and cheese out of your hands, I will not be there to stand in front of you and drag your butt to the gym.
You are going to have to make a choice to do those things. 

This does not just apply to weight loss. This applies to so much more. Maybe you have relationships you want to improve, maybe you want to get out of the 9-5 and try something new, maybe you just want to be a person that you’re proud of. It’s possible.

Among the pile of self-help and behavioral psychology books I’ve been reading this last year, I found an incredible gem. If I could, I would force every human being to read this book. I would make them go through it chapter by chapter and apply it to their own life. It’s an incredible read and it will change your life and daily habits (if you let it).

“Motivation is triggered by making choices
that demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control.”
– Charles Duhigg

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Charles Duhigg’s book isn’t like other books I’ve read about habit. It’s not just giving you the science side or the emotional side. It’s taking the information he’s learned from successful, motivated people and he’s giving it to you in a way that just makes sense.

Why do we continue to live these lives that upset us so much? Why do we make these poor choices that directly contradict our goals? It’s not because you’re some crappy person that has no control over their life. It’s because you’ve developed habits that are rewarding you in the moment and hurting you in the long haul. Guess what? You can stop doing that.

Once you stop thinking about living a better life as some overhaul or event that’s going to happen, you can start seeing what a slow and magnificent process it really is. Whenever you are presented with choices, take control. The only person who is in charge of your emotions, success, relationships, and life, is you. So why don’t we act like it? We have to start taking responsibility for our well being. Stop making excuses for why your life is the way it is.

Bad things happen. The things you love and cherish will leave or change.
That’s reality. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to let every bad thing that has ever happened to you define you and keep you as a person you don’t want to be – or just maybe you give all of those things you’re not in control of the middle finger, and you push yourself to be something unexpected. It’s your choice.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Stay cheerful, stay strong, stay consistent

Dev

The myth about moving forward

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but when I start something new. I love starting with a bang. I’m going to completely overhaul my life and I’m going to make sure everyone is aware of my new journey. Whether that’s weight loss, cleaning, self-improvement, a new job, you name it. I’ve always been a huge fan of the “I’m gonna start Monday” camp. It’s like I’ve always assumed that I would just wake up on that day and be ready to tackle whatever goal I’ve laid out for myself.

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It took me a really long time to realize how
incredibly wrong and counter productive that was.

 

When you want to make a change in your life, it seems like a natural thing to do to have a starting point and an ending point. Isn’t that the point of every cleanse, retreat, diet, or program anyone starts? You have it in your mind that at the end of those 7 days, 30 days, or however long you’ve set, that you’ll be done. You have set your own finish line.

I’m here to tell you that after trying to force dozens of start points and falling off the wagon after many of my finish lines. I was tired of setting myself up to fail. 

One day, while browsing on my phone, like I usually do, I remember coming across an article about habits. I’d never really thought about habits before. I mean I knew there were good habits and bad habits but I didn’t realize how incredibly complicated the human brain is when it comes to setting up these natural points throughout our day.

I want you to think of something you do every day without fail. Do you check your phone when you wake up? Do you wash your hair twice every time your shower? How about your diet? If you have a cheeseburger at Mcdonalds – do you always get the fries with it? (I mean c’mon who wants a fruit cup with a Big Mac.)

I bet there are set behaviors you have that you don’t even notice!

I finally realized that in order to change my life, my way of thinking, my diet, and my relationships with other people. This was something I could not start and finish.

I realized I would have to take this one day a time,
one thought at a time, one meal at a time, one interaction at a time.

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Stop aiming for perfection. It’s ludicrous, harmful and frustrating. Stop telling yourself that tomorrow you’re going to wake up and suddenly not want those chocolate mini muffins for breakfast. I’m here to tell you after years of eating egg whites and oatmeal I STILL want chocolate for breakfast. The crazy thing is, guess what? Sometimes I do!

And that is perfectly okay.

If you’re planning on making a life change or you really want to push yourself to be better in a specific area. I want you to try something, I want you to try and change one simple habit. Maybe you constantly put your keys down and can’t find them? I want you to try to set a place for them and for 10 days. I want you to put your keys there every time. Maybe whenever you go out to eat you ALWAYS eat the bread or tortilla chips. I want you to ask the waiter not to bring them every single time the next 10 times you go out to eat.

You start slow and you move forward. You don’t give up when you fail and you let go of the mind set of “Well I messed up, may as well give up and restart tomorrow.” Stop trying to change overnight. Make incremental changes and after time has passed, you’ll realize the impact of what you are doing.

Whenever you look at your daily habits, your conversations, even your personal thoughts. Shouldn’t you be proud?

Being happy and kind is not something people are just good at.
It’s something they practice.

I was never successful at changing my habits until I started journaling. Now I write down not only what I eat, but my moods, thoughts, and goals. Every day I look back and I can see how I felt after I ate those 4 pieces of pizza or I can go back and experience my happiness when I was journaling after crushing a goal at the gym.

You have to practice being present and I think journaling is a great way to do that.

Our society tells people, both men and women that being selfless and sacrificing their needs and comforts for the needs of others make you a great human being. I’m here today challenging that and saying that they’re wrong.

Your personal well being, your thoughts, your wants, your disappointments, your grief, your happiness. All of that is yours. Unless you take care of yourself physically and mentally, what good are you to the people around you?

Be selfish. Make changes and don’t be hard on yourself when you fail. Push yourself to find out what you want in this life and how you’re going to get it.

Find your happiness in the face of constant disappointment. Make that choice.

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Stay Cheerful

Dev

Snooze AM Eatery, Boulder, CO

It’s been about a year since David & I have moved to Boulder and we have found some amazing places to eat. I always love going out to breakfast with my husband and one of my absolute favorites is Snooze AM Eatery. They have a few locations in a couple states and I am telling you that if you have one near you DO NOT walk to it, RUN. Or maybe drive.

Does anyone else hate waiting in restaurants as much as I do? Especially when it’s crowded. Ugh. I hate it. Lol I’m a suck, I know. I don’t have to deal with that here! I walk in, give them my name and number and then they text me when my table is ready. That means my husband I get to walk up and down Pearl St. until we are summoned back via text to hot coffee and and the most delicious eggs Benedict you will ever consume. The service is always above and beyond and the atmosphere is exactly what I love about living in Colorado. A little loud, a little quirky and always a lot of fun. Let me know if you will be anywhere near Boulder for any reason and I would love to give you about 3242344 recommendations on the best food in town. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Stay Cheerful! 

-Dev

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Be careful when you book a flight with United.

 

Earlier today I had to contact United Airlines about an unaccompanied minor situation. My husband and I purchased a direct flight from Tulsa to Denver for my 15 year old nephew to come visit in a couple weeks. I purchased them like I would any other tickets, got the confirmation, and went forward with my week excited about seeing him.

Well I received an email about 3 days after I booked his ticket saying that any children ages 5-15 are unaccompanied minors and we have to pay an additional fee of $300 round-trip to even allow him to get on the plane. It’s funny that I received the email 3 days later, well after the 24 hour grace period for canceling a ticket.

The fee is to make sure he gets on the plane safely, has help putting away his bags, give him snacks, and basically keep any eye on him. Why is it a 15 year old can get his learner’s permit and drive a car but he can’t be an unattended passenger on a plane?  Now I appreciate this service for younger children and I appreciate it for any parents that feel like their child might need some help during travel. Especially during flights that are not non-stop. However, my nephew is fully capable of traveling alone and has done so before. How is this service not optional?

Now when I called United to figure out what was going on and how we could fix this, I got to talk to two people who were about as helpful and kind as an agitated grizzly. Immediately defensive they callously informed me that it was my mistake that I put 1 adult instead of using the drop down menu to select 1 child. A drop down menu that is pre-selected to 1 adult. In my past experience of booking 100+ flights I’ve never had to select anything else. I don’t have children and I’ve never booked for one before. Instead of waiting 3 days to tell me you think they could’ve let me know that the birthdate I entered on his passenger information was invalid and that there would an additional $300 fee for a 15 year old to travel alone. I really want to be clear about this, the fee to supervise my nephew costs MORE than his round-trip flight.

They were not willing to work with us in any way, shape, or form. They said if I did not pay the additional $300 my nephew would not be allowed on the flight. They told me I could apply for a refund, that sounded great. Oh except the refunds aren’t guaranteed and he informed me that their policy is clear and they don’t bend the rules for any customer. Essentially telling me to get stuffed. I was pretty much in tears after this exchange.

$300 is a lot of money for any family. It’s not enough that I give you my money willingly when I want to use your services?  You have to charge me for a service that I don’t want and wasn’t even aware of?  The airline with the most complaints per customer and an annual income of 4.5 BILLION dollars. A company that could’ve easily let me pay a fee to change the ticket, let me use it as a credit, or possibly understand that my 15 year old nephew does not need a babysitter on a non-stop flight. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around this whole thing. I hate confrontation, I hate being at someone else’s mercy. I hate being bullied. It seems like that is exactly what America stands for now. Stomp on the little people and cash in on your extra million. I’m just so tired of it. I know I made a mistake but I can’t believe how much United is actually making me pay for it.

-Dev

 

 

Image courtesy of Bloomberg.com

My journey with grief

This is not the most cheerful post, I promise almost all of my other posts will not be like this. But this story is what made me who I am and a big part of what drove me towards a life of positivity and wellness.
Thank you. – 

griefblog

In November 2013 I was furniture shopping in Tulsa, OK with my then boyfriend, now husband, David. We were having a good time, laughing with each other as we argued about a recliner with a loud floral print. I loved it, he didn’t. I was excited to be picking out furniture with him and to learn what he liked and disliked. Soon I’d be moving into a new apartment and living on my own for the first time. I’d have my own space and I could make it into whatever I wanted. But the momentary escape from my grief was ending. The pit in my stomach returned, before turning into the kind of full blown dread you can feel in the back of your throat. It was time to go back to the hospital. My father, brother, sister-in-law, and extended family would all be there, waiting for my mother to die.

My mother had been sick with rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and the heartbreak of losing her second child. Her “sweet boy” as she had called him over and over again. My big brother Matthew had died in a car accident 3 months earlier. One reckless stranger, one split second decision later–he was gone. The 16 year old driver of the mini van had hit Matthew head on and ended his life. My brother died that day along with several children from the minivan, who hadn’t been buckled into car seats. Matthew was 30 years old, attending radiology school, and had only been married for two years. He would have been a wonderful father. Every wonderful memory from my childhood has my brother’s radiant smile and warm presence. The world was a better place with him in it. 

The day Matthew died was the day my mother started slipping into her own grave. I couldn’t get her to eat or take her medications. Sometime in October she started having severe neck pain. Doctors stuck her with injections, put her on medications, and told her the arthritis was slowly crippling her. I remember one day in particular, where the pain got so bad that she told me she didn’t want to live anymore if the pain didn’t stop. I went to bed that night and thought: “God wouldn’t do this to me. I barely survived losing Matt. He couldn’t take my mother, he wouldn’t.” But I felt no comfort.

One morning in early November, I awoke to my mother’s screams. My 12 year old nephew was staying with us. I didn’t want him to be scared so I told him to stay in his room as I dialed 911. I tried everything to keep her calm but she was delirious, screaming “help me” over and over. I didn’t know what to do or what was hurting her. I remember feeling numb and helpless. Not knowing what else to do, I gathered her medications so the doctors would know what she was taking and how much. But when the paramedics arrived, they took one look at her pile of medications and the delirious state she was in, and dismissed it as an overdose. I remember the tone of contempt in his voice. The lack of urgency and lack of compassion. But they were wrong. I tried to tell them, but they brushed me off and assumed I was trying to save her embarrassment. For several weeks prior, I had been giving my mother her medications. I had timers set for the different pain and arthritis pills and wrote down every time she took a dose. I kept her medications in a drawer in the bathroom–somewhere my mother couldn’t have crawled to on her own in her weakened condition. At the time I just wanted them to help her, but my cheeks still flush with anger when I think about how ready they were to jump to the wrong conclusion.

I followed the ambulance to the hospital. The doctor quickly realized this wasn’t an overdose. The sense of urgency that I was feeling was finally shared by the medical staff. Realizing their error, the paramedics wouldn’t even look at me one their way out. I sat in a tiny plastic chair outside her room in the ICU for hours. Nurse after nurse and doctor after doctor went into her room. After awhile, my mother stopped screaming. They had given her pain medication and stabilized her. I like to think from that point on until the second she died, at least she wasn’t in pain anymore.

The source of her excruciating pain was an infection in her neck that had gone on too long and spread into her bloodstream. She was septic. The doctors did everything they could but nothing worked. After weeks in the hospital watching her slowly becoming paralyzed the doctors finally looked me in the eye and told me that my mother would die. I spent day after day with her in the hospital. She smiled when I walked in the room and laughed when I made jokes about needing a margarita. My beautiful radiant mother was trapped in a body that was failing. The last days of my mother’s life she was on a morphine drip surrounded by family, friends, and nurses whose only goal was keeping her as comfortable and as happy as they could.

 The night before she died I made a spontaneous decision to go back up the hospital in the early hours of the morning. I knew she’d probably be asleep but I just felt like I needed to sit with her awhile before we went back to the house. When I walked in I was so surprised. She was more alert then she had been in days. She smiled ear to ear when David and I sat down next to her bed. She didn’t seem scared, but I think she knew what was happening. At this point she was paralyzed from the neck down, she could only whisper a few words if I put my ear to her mouth. There was an urgency to her saying how much she loved me, she couldn’t hug me but I could feel the affection coming off her in waves. She was saying goodbye. I whispered in her ear that I would be okay and that it was okay to let go. I told her how much I loved her and what an amazing mother she was to me. David held me as I cried for hours that night. I felt like I would never be happy again.

The next morning my father, brother and his family were already at the hospital when I woke up. I called to check on her and they said she was unconscious. My dad said it would be anytime now. There was that dread again. I remember the panic I felt at the idea of watching her die. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to see her take her last breath. I was scared.

When David and I walked out of that furniture store and reached my car, my heart dropped. I looked at the sunset in the beautiful Oklahoma sky and I realized my mother would never see another one. When we were two minutes away from the hospital, my dad called. I was driving so David answered it. I knew right then. I knew it in my chest before my brain told me what had happened. David tried to keep an even tone, too even. He said “Alright, we’ll be there in a second.” I just had to park the car, I just had to stay calm, I just had to breathe. I couldn’t. By the time I turned off the engine I was losing it. “She’s dead, is she dead? She’s dead.” I cried, I wailed. The pain I felt was something I had never felt before. It was the kind of feeling that makes you feel like you’re drowning, like the air around you can’t keep you alive one more second. The fuzzy warmth in your ears and the coldness that numbs your toes. I had built my life around that woman. A woman who loved me fiercely, a woman who left a hole in my world when she left. I am an incredibly lucky girl to have had a mother and a brother who taught me what true compassion, love, and humor add to this world. A part of me died the day my mother did, but a larger part of me learned how to survive. I remember when I walked into that room and I saw her laying there that I thought I could wake her up. I kneeled by her bedside and I was shattered. I didn’t know what was left of me after they were gone. I was angry at the world, I was angry at myself, I was angry at everything.

The months after my mother’s death it seemed like I was walking a tight rope. With a smile plastered on my face and a gaping hole inside myself I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let this kill me. Whenever you lose someone people like to talk to you like there is some formula for grief. Everyone thinks they understand and everyone wants to help. It took me awhile to figure out how I could deal with the grief. It never goes away and it never gets easier. It hides under your bed like the monster from your childhood. One minute you’re in the present and thinking about groceries, or the weather. The next minute you’re curled up in a ball in the restroom with your arms around your knees falling apart. 

I wouldn’t have made it without my husband, my father, my brother, my friends. But especially my step-mother. A woman who patiently waited to be apart of my life stepped forward and gave me every ounce of her love without expecting anything in return. I am lucky to say I have been given two incredible mothers in my life.

I wanted to share this because I want people with pain and grief to understand that it does not define you. There are going to be good days and bad days, but the truth is most days are filled with both. You can lose someone you love but still find a moment of happiness in a furniture store. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Life is short and fleeting and so many of us spend all of our time stuck in the past or obsessing over the future. That’s when time runs away. After I lost my brother and my mother I still had to get on a scale and face the fact that I had ballooned up to 275lbs. When I think back to being at my largest after losing everything. It was because of those dark moments that I found the light. Me, my happiness, and everything I put into this world is that light.

Grief is a very lonely journey. No matter how much someone could empathize with me, my loss was my own. Matthew and my Mother aren’t here anymore. I can’t call them to tell them about my day. They didn’t see me get married and they will never meet my children. Those parts are hard. But it’s not as hard as coming to terms with the fact that their love is gone. The love I had for them remains but their love that surrounded me vanished.

In that void, I had to step up and start loving myself. I had to love myself enough to stop binge eating, I had to love myself so I could be a better wife for David, I had to love myself because they would’ve wanted me to. I know how strong I am now. I know what I am capable of. I know that whatever life throws at me, it’ll have to put me in the ground before I ever quit. I will be on this earth treasuring every moment I had with those two amazing people and being thankful that I got to call them my brother and my mother.

I’m still here and I’m still cheerful.

Dev