I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

moving home

I am sorry to tell you.

don’t hate me. ¬†ūüėČ

But I am moving home.

Home to listen.learn.love.mend – a place for mending.

I wrote all about it HERE.

Please join me there!

Love you all!!


I’m in no hurry

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

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

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


This walk was just what I needed.

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

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

But ya know what?!?

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

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

I have not been listening to my body.

I have not been properly taking care of my body.

I have not honored my mind or my body recently.

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

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

Then I got sick.

And I stayed away from the gym some more.

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

I want to be gentler.

I want to take care of me gently.

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

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

I am in no hurry.

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

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

Baby steps.

Slow and steady will win this race!

I will be happy just being Jen.

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

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

ahhh such is life.

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

I had just one, and it was ok!

Daddy’s Day Delights!

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

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

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

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

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

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

food planning sunday

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

Monday: Balsamic Mustard Chicken & roasted veg

Tuesday: Moink Balls & Cheesy potatoes

Wednesday: Spinach & Pepper Jack Stuffed Chicken 

Thursday: Steak, baked potatoes, green veg & salad

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

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

Lunch Salads:

Asian Chicken Salad

Chicken & Artichoke Salad

White Bean Salad

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


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

a menu & a challenge (yes, another)

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

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

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

Now, onto the menu!!

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

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

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts

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

Thursday: Chinese Beef stirfry over rice

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

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

Chicken & Sausage Bake

yummy salald

Spinach stuffed Pork, roasted cabbage & potato salad

What’s on your menu?!?

#junetuneup check-in 1

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

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

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

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

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


This #wheatfree things must be working.


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

I have been SICK for days.

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


Not a bad start!

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

One day at a time.

How did you do this week?


weekly menu & #wheatfreeday 3

On the Menu


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

Monday: Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin with roasted cabbage

Tuesday: Taco Salad topped with black bean & corn salsa

Wednesday: Venison Steaks, potatoes and asparagus

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

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

Saturday: Pork Chops with grilled veggies

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

#wheatfree Day 3 Eats

my coffee

bacon & cheddar omelet

steak &   no-mayo potato salad

my coffee

leek & potato soup


strawberry granita

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

#wheatfree day 2

I woke up late. With a sore throat. I had slept like crap most of the night and only slept soundly after the husband went to work. I was sleeping tough and woke up suddenly at 10:20 – 10 minutes before my WW meeting. I grabbed some coffee and ran out of the house. Went to WW then ran errands. By the time I got home it was after noon and I was tired and not feeling so hot. I had a few hours before chaperoning duties and I did very little.

Needless to say, today’s eating was really out of wack.

coffee with splenda & non-dairy creamer (my usual)

2 hardboiled eggs

large orange

my coffee

sausage, pepper & onion omelet with homefries

raspberry lemonade yoplait light

homemade strawberry granita

chocolate amp, banana & peanut butter protein shake


*oh yeah, that picture above?!? Remember when I said chaperoning duties?? Well, tonight I chaperoned for the 8th grade dinner dance (only non 8th grade parents chaperone).  Towards the end, dessert was put out while I was out in the hallway on bathroom guard duty. One of the nice chaperone ladies brought me that lovely plate of sweets. I politely took the plate and ate the strawberry. After she went back inside, I held that plate until I could give the sweets away to some of the kids sitting on the bench, getting fresh air near the bathrooms.


I gotta say, I am pretty proud of myself right now! It is only day 2 but brownies are my weakness but I was able to look at it, hold it, and not eat that danged brownie.

#wheatfree day 1

Day 1:

morning coffee (splenda and non-dairy creamer)

breakfast: Amp Choc Shake with banana and 1TBS Peanut Butter mixed in

snack: yoplait light banana cream pie

lunch: big old chef salad with fat-free italian dressing

afternoon snack: coffee (splenda and non-dairy creamer)

dinner: grilled pork chops, fried cabbage, baked potato with margarine, salt & pepper

snack: apple

later snack: buttery microwave popcorn while watching a movie!

Not a bad day one. I prepped the night before, so many veggies were cleaned and cut Рready to be tossed into a salad.  I am ready for Day 2!!


*I hope these posts aren’t boring but I need to track what I eat and if I notice any changes in my body and my blog is where I document it all.

tuning, toning, and shaking it up

It has been a LONG time since I have participated in a Shrinking Jeans weight loss¬†challenge. ¬†I decided to join in on their June Tune Up challenge because I definitely need a kick in the ass to get back into a groove. I have not been losing weight and for the last 3 weeks I haven’t really been working out.

I want to get some of this weight off me. ¬†I could list all the reasons my body deserves me to work on this but I won’t. Honestly, I feel mushy. I liked feeling leaner and toner like I did when I was training last summer. Pre-injury. Pre-surgery. Pre-weight gain. Not only did I gain the weight but my muscles went mushy. I don’t feel like my best self. I don’t feel comfortable in my skin.

I have not been taking care of myself properlike.

So, I decided to join SJ’s June Tune Up Challenge. I could use a good tune up (I don’t know about y’all but the second I wrote that sentence I giggled ’cause I know that could be taken in a naughty way but I am leaving it anyway). My body and mind need a shake up.

If I am being completely honest with myself, I have not been putting my all into my journey. I have let my head and overthinking get in the way of making progress. The way I have been doing it has not been working. I am not working out or eating well and my body (and mind) are trying to tell me.

This challenge is a team challenge and I have the BESTEST partners in the whole world. Officially Ann, from She’s Gonna Blow, is my partner. Ann is the greatest cheerleader and friend anyone could hope for. Ann and I have become really, reallygreat friends and we have been trying to encourage the other but really I think we are kinda enablers but we try. We have vowed to truly commit to this challenge and to support and encourage not enable each other for the entire 30 days.

I am committing to kicking ass this challenge. Not literally, but I want to push myself but also do right for me and my body.

My commitments for the next 30 days:

1. #saladaday – I mentioned on twitter that I needed to add more veg to my life and Karena tweeted back that I should try the #saladaday challenge – well, I am giving it a whirl.

2. MOVE my body every day (those SJ Sisters are always thinking!! – they even came up with a daily exercise commitment calendar called the June Tone-Up – this will give me the very minimal amount of moving but since I have been pretty slacked, I’d say this is a good place to start)

3. Get back into #NROLFW and restart Stage 2.

4. Experiment with Wheat Free – I have been reading about things I am noticing in my body and possible causes and also about the benefits of eliminating wheat as a relief to these issues. 30 days is not long to go without pasta or bread

5. Track it all – all food, and activity using WW online.

I think that is enough! They all sort of work together and nothing is too over-the-top to cause stress. It’s 30 days!! I can do anything for 30 days.

Oh yeah, did I tell you about my parters. No, I only told you about my official partner, Ann. Ann and I make up the team called Kick A$$ WIPs (WIP = Work in Progress). Unofficially, my husband has decided to join me in the no-wheat thing and the saladaday thing (well at least on work days) – he figures if he can’t have a sandwich or pasta what can he ha

ve but a salad for lunch. This is a huge step for my husband and, really, for me too. I talked to him the other day and told him how I was feeling and I wanted to make some food changes.  He was wonderful, he listened and then he told me he would join me because he needs to make some changes too.

Last night, to get prepared for this upcoming challenge, I spent about half an hour cutting and prepping veggies for salads and hardboiling eggs. There are two pictures below..the left is my fridge and all the salad prep on one shelf (spring mix, spinach, and 2 heads of romaine all cleaned and bagged up; a huge cucumber peeled and sliced; a couple red peppers cleaned and diced; homemade cucumber & tomato salad; diced up lunch meats (ham, turkey, provolone) portioned out; and 8 eggs hardboiled and peeled)….and the pic on the right is my salad and hubby’s salad all packed up before work this morning.



I decided it was time for a challenge. Time to challenge myself and make a real commitment to feeling my best!

Here’s to June!!


P.S. So far Day 1 has been great. Having salad stuffs all prepped and waiting to just be put together in my bowls was a huge helper. ¬†I am making conscious choices as I go through my day. Day Ones are always awesome…aren’t they?!?

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