On our home…

Today, we move out of the house.

I bought the house three years ago while I was married to my ex-husband. At the time, I remember buying the house hoping it could somehow help the marriage. But buying things doesnt just fix stuff.

While I am at work at my new job Del, my mom, my mom & dad in-law, and several friends will pack and clean the rest of the house.

I cried all the way to the gym this morning. I cried last night. For the last few years I hated that stupid house.

I hated the living room because I had put so much time and money into it. I hated the bedrooms, because I was not allowed to pick their color – or to decorate them. I hated the kitchen, because although it is easily the best room in the house – I had not been allowed to bake in it. I hated the house because it stood for all the work I had put into something, only for it to become abusive and painful.

So right after I got divorced, I put the house up for sale.

In November of 2012, Del and I got married and moved into the house. We had our wedding reception in the living room. We signed our marriage license in the basement. Someone put mustache stickers all over the house.

In December of 2012, we accepted an offer on the house. They said they loved the mustache stickers.

Last night, as we spent our last night in the house – it hit me. Now, I love that stupid house and am sad to see it go. I am sad because in two short months Del and I filled that house with so much fun and laughter and food. We had friends over. Family spent the weekend. We played video games. I baked so much food!

I see it so clearly now. I love the house, because we made it a home.

A house is just walls on the ground. But a home is where you live. And you live when you share your life with people. Things are nice, but stuff does not fix what is broken.

Del and I move on. We are renting a house. We may not own the house, but we will make it a home. We will fill it with enough fun to make Barnem and Bailey look like chumps. And if you ever want to stop by, call or text (well, no one creepy please). We look forward to sharing our lives.

And I pray that the young couple who bought the house have as much fun as I did with Delbert.

Del and Steph’s diet plan day 3: Revenge of the Plate

Lets talk about Wednesday. Halfway through the week! Can you believe it? I can’t. let me tell you, Tuesday was brutal. I had the day off and I just couldn’t get out of bed. I did get up with Steph at our new wake up time of 4:45 am and went to work out, but I couldn’t do what I normally do on Tuesdays: and hour of cardio. I could only make it 50 minutes or so and it was certainly not my best effort. I know Stephanie has gone into detail about the food plate and our new eating schedule, but here is my take on our food plate diet – This thing is good, but nowhere near perfect. I know the plate is only showing suggested serving sizes, but if I truly follow the plate I am only going to be taking in 1,600 calories or so a day. So, here I am, 6’0”, 228 lbs. I work out regularly and I have a job where I am running around on my feet all day. I have quickly found out that 1,600 calories is not enough for me. I think this is why I was so tired. The night before I worked a 2 pm to 10:30 pm shift at work. I had been on my feet after day one of this new eating plan. I had been going to be around 9 am for the past week and now I am not only exhausted but by the time I get home and in bed it is 2 hours past my bed time. The wrench in my sleeping pattern and the lower intake of food was the perfect combination for a Del sized crash on Tuesday. However, the last two days I have gotten back to the regular sleeping pattern and I have adjusted the plate scene to fit me a bit better. I liked starting off hard with the plate plane because it 1) made me totally change my normal eating patterns 2) introduced me to new ways of doing food 3) helped with my self discipline and 4) got my body into a detox sort of situation.

So Wednesday. I had to open the store at 5 am and so I wasn’t able to work out until the afternoon. Stephanie slept an hour through her alarm and only had time for a workout dvd. Even with all that we stayed with the plate plan. For our breakfast we are supposed to take in one serving (6-8 oz.) of orange juice, one serving of milk and one serving (¾ cups) of granola. Before I left for work I drank the juice and milk and saved the granola for my first 10 minute break that would happen around 6:30 am. I found that this was really helpful. I get really hungry at work, but having a goal like the plate has gotten me in the mind set of self-denial when it comes to junk food (I LUVS JUNK FOOD!). When I had my granola at 6:30 I found that I was not hungry at all a few hours later. This was quite a surprise seeing as I am a ravenous beast most of the time. I have always heard it said “Eat 5 small meals a day!” This comes to eating about every three hours, depending how long you are up during the day. What they don’t tell you is that by small… they mean very very small. However, I can proudly say that I have fully, (well, mostly fully) adjusted to this different eating pattern. Knowing that I don’t have a ton of food to eat causes me to eat more slowly. It has made me want to enjoy my food rather than shove it down my gullet. The coolest thing is that I am now starting to lean what are appropriate serving sizes and that I can eat a lot and still eat well. Have you ever seen a full cup of rice? One serving of rice is huge! The other night I had steamed Brussel sprouts and I wasn’t even able to finish it. Having salads is nice but these dense starches and veggies are incredibly helpful in the battle for the food plate. The discipline I have been learning through saying no to foods and sticking to this plan has bled into other areas of my life. I love to eat and when food is out I will eat it. But when I am hungry I have started to engage in spiritual exercises like praying, listing my blessings, doing the laundry, reading or writing. When I am not thinking of food all of the time my brain has found space to do other things. Mind you, the first two days all I wanted was a mound of deep fried pancakes but those sorts of urges have gone away.
One thing I noticed yesterday was that my body has been changing since the start of this plate deal. First, I have lost 8 lbs since Sunday. I know this is probably an unhealthy amount of weight loss, but I do have some excess fat on me that is more than likely expendable. I have also started to feel a longer burning energy inside. Have you ever been at a bon fire and just dumped a bunch of pine needles on it? I feel that is how I have been eating for the last 27 years of my life, eating for that burst of huge energy but quickly cooling off after that. Right now the energy I have is small, but it is warm and sustained like well dried logs stacked to last through the night. Another weird thing is that our poops have been awesome! No joke. Believe me, everybody poops and you don’t have to be infantile or a teenage boy to enjoy a good poop or know what I am talking about. Another thing that has been happening is that our mouths have started to taste really bad. Today, it isn’t to bad but yesterday we both started feeling this dry morning breath that lasted through the day. I have heard of this happening when people fast, something to do with the detoxification process. All in all, the results so far have been pretty astounding.

So, I mentioned junk. That brings me to a thought I had yesterday: anything that doesn’t go towards your daily full nutrition is junk food. Like that beef jerkey that says it contains 40% of my daily protein? Yeh, it also has my next week’s worth of salt. I just feel like we have been tricking ourselves into thinking we are more healthy than we are. Last night Stephanie and I ate baked sweet potatoes (with nothing on them. So delicious!), one serving of chicken grilled in olive oil and rice. It was one of the best tasting meals ever. And it was so basic. We had our fats, carbs and protein all within the percentages suggested by the plate. Actually, the plate doesn’t give you percentages but, being a sort of fad diet connoisseur I have found that there is a pie chart dividing out what percent of our caloric intake should be from carbs/fats/proteins. The ideal pie chart (mmm…pie) looks something like:

I have been keeping track of my calories on my phone and after the second day, daily my caloric intake breakdown looks like this:
I know, not perfect, but pretty darn close! Who would have thought that I needed more fat in my life! I have tracked my calories like this before and most of the time the pie chart just looks like a sad face on a big circle or red. What is crazy is that if you eat according to the food plate, the outcome will in fact be a daily caloric breakdown that looks like the first chart. Carbohydrates are super easy to come by, but they key is getting them from dark and whole grains rather than enriched grain. Also eating fruits and veggies help. Fats are tricky because it is easy to either eat a ton of them or avoid them all together. I think that is my problem. I eat a lot of fat, but when I keep away from fats I keep very faraway. I need to do better there for sure. The protein part is strange to me. I have always heard “protein! Protein! Eat your protein!” especially if you are working out a lot. I understand the use of protein in helping repair your muscles after intense workouts. I surprisingly did have the energy to do 1.5 hours of cardio today but I don’t think I need a protein shake. Honestly, protein enriched foods and beverages tend to just blow your caloric balance way out of whack unless you are a professional athlete. If I was to start working out at such a high level that I needed 10,000 calories a day, I would need a better way to get protein than eating like 10 steaks or something. I understand protein supplements, but again I think they are overused and over marketed to folks who don’t need them. And that is the main point of all that I have learned so far. Pretty much everything that exists to help diet or to not help you diet is unneeded. The first chart is a visual presentation of that old idea of having a balanced meal. Last night my grilled chicken was fairly lean but it was close to making up 34% of my meal’s worth of fat and protein. The rest were carbs: rice and sweet potatoes. No sugar, no butter, no nuthin!
Sweet potatoes without butter and brown sugar? ahhh!
Really, I don’t thin I could ever be a health nut or someone who is super granola but I have started to realize if I am eating anything that doesn’t fully benefit me nutrition wise and does not further me towards the goal of the plate or proper daily caloric breakdown, why eat it? Because I want to. And I will. I will have a donut or a piece of pizza. However, I feel like I now have the tools to not let food rule my life and Stephanie and I are very happy about that!

Day two of Steph & Del’s crazy diet plan…


Day two of our crazy diet plan – a plan to follow the food plate for seven straight days.  The plan was inspired after finding that after seven straight days of working out and getting enough sleep left us feeling


We were up at 4:45am and on an elliptical at Planet Fitness for a cardio workout by 5:15am.  Boom.

Whilst increasing our cardiovascular endurance we discussed two things: 1) what we are going to eat for the day and 2) how we were feeling about the crazy workout plan.


Breakfast (same as yesterday)

¾ c granola

1 c milk

1 c OJ


1 c veggies

Leftover salmon or (3/4 c

Leftover couscous or bread (2 slices)

Dinner (we are having two people over for dinner)

Whole grain pizza (2 slices each)

Chicken (as a pizza topping)

Cream cheese & Cheese (on the pizza)

Salad as a side


The biggest change Del noticed was “long-lasting energy.”  He noticed that he was somewhat hungry yesterday, but that he felt like he has more sustained energy throughout the day.

I too just felt better in general.  I am not sure if I feel better because I ate well – or if I feel better because I am eating well.  In other terms, I don’t know if I am feeling better because of improved eating habits.  Or if I am feeling better because I like knowing I am eating in a healthier way.  Whether it is the food or all in my brain – I like it.


Today at work my co-worker had a “Birthday brunch” to celebrate January birthdays for the office.  Yesterday at work, Del had a coffee tasting with cookies available to munch on.  Because we are doing this crazy diet plan, we had to practice some self-denial and turn down treats that we otherwise would have indulged in.  Instead of opting for “pineapple stuffing” (which I guess is a thing now), I opted for my 1 cup of fruit.  Instead of going for a whole cookie, Del had a smaller serving of the cookie.  Oh, that sacrifices we make.


We are having a couple over for dinner tonight.  They may or may not know we are doing this crazy diet plan.  However, whether they know it or not – they will be partaking in the food pyramid.  I am going to have extra food (and dessert) for them.  Yet I am curious to see how this will go once you throw in making dinner for two other people.


We are feeling good – in spite of having to turn down cookie and pineapple stuffing.  Now let’s see how it goes once we add deux….

On day 1 of Steph & Del’s crazy diet plan…

It is implementation day of our seven diet plan.  I should briefly recap that last week we felt so amazing after getting seven hours of sleep and exercising for sixty minutes each day that we decided to change our diet plan.  By “diet plan” I don’t mean “weight-loss plan.”  I mean we developed a crazy idea to follow the food plate (no longer a pyramid) to see if after seven days we felt really good and healthy.  Thus far, we have bought the food, wrote out what we will eat, and as of 4:55am (the time we woke up to go work out) have begun eating.


On the set-up… Setting up a new eating scheme totally sucks.  To start, the whole plate thing is in ounces and cups, whereas every other food pyramid in the world is in servings.  So I have had to break out my high school science metric changeover skills (which I haven’t used since I learned them) in order to figure out what we can eat and then what we can buy.  If we are going to stick with this, we will need a food scale ASAP.
On buying fish… Buying fish – sucks.  We live in the Midwest.  I am not about to spend $15 a pound for a fish, so my only two options are salmon and tilapia (#firstworldproblems).  Meh.  Salmon it is.

On staying in budget… At the checkout – I totally stayed within budget.  Whoever said eating healthy is more expensive is totally an idiot, or worked for Frito Lay.  For $4.00 – I could get any ONE of the following HEALTY items: four pounds of carrots, four heads of lettuce, eight cucumbers, five pounds of apples, or five pounds of oranges. For $4.00 – I could get any ONE of the following UNHEALTHY items: a large bag of Doritos, four liters of soda, one container of ice cream, or a large bag of chocolate chips.   My point is, per pound – healthy food is much more affordable.  You get more, and you don’t feel like going into a diabetic coma afterwards.

On sugar… My biggest dietary dilemma is that amount of sugar I consume.  I do well at not pigging out and not eating fatty stuff.  However #SugarIsMyBFF.  However, on this diet, you are only supposed to consume 120 calories per day from sugar (single tear rolls down my cheek).  Since I drink coffee with cream AND SUGAR every single day, I have made the decision that my daily sugar intake will come in this form.

“Oh yeah” moment… I was talking to a friend about the idea when she mentioned what I forgot.  She noted “Well, seven days isn’t really enough to feel the full impact of the diet.”  Del and I should have thought of that, but didn’t.  We discussed the thought and came to the conclusion that we would try this for seven days.  Depending on how we felt after that, we might keep it and keep going – or try something else really crazy.

DAY 1 REPORT: Plan and reactions to day one of the food plate diet

Breakfast… 3/4c granola, 1c milk, 1c orange juiceSnack… 2 orangesLunch… 1c broccoli, 1/2c chicken, 1/4c cheese, 2oz tortillasDinner… 1/2c salmon, 1c couscous (I am so cool), 1c brussel sprouts

By lunch I feel hungry.  I want sugar.  I want sugar in the form of chocolate – or a chewy granola bar – or some Doritos.  I think there are sugar packs in the drawer below the coffee maker…. Be right back….

By lunch Del feels… tired.  I should mention that we both got seven hours of sleep and worked out for an hour this morning.  A decision is quickly made that this is not enough food.



Set up was a pain, but change can be painful.  We stayed in budget.  We planned it out.  We are both hungry and need to up these ounces.  Now on to day two…………..

On Steph & Del’s crazy diet idea…

Last week my husband (Del) and I did something crazy…

We decided we would get seven solid hours of sleep – and we would try to exercise at least sixty minutes every day of the week.

Because Del works early in the morning, we decided we would get up at 4:30 am and then I would go exercise and he would go to work (yes, we went to bed at 9:30 pm each night).  Del would then exercise after work.

We decided to get sleep and work out because… we just decided to try it for a week.  It was not a New Year’s resolution.  We don’t need to lose weight.  Both of us are fairly healthy.  Prior to getting seven solid hours of sleep, our sleep patterns were erratic and ranged from 5-10 hours with periodic napping.

Wednesday night – after a mere four days of solid sleep, Del looked at me and said “I feel amazing.  I haven’t felt this good since, well, I don’t know when.”

Then I said another idea, “What if we actually lived how scientists recommend?  I mean, what if we actually ate according to the food pyramid AND got seven hours of sleep AND exercised?”

And ANOTHER crazy idea was born.

Starting Sunday we are going to spend one full week eating, resting, and exercising according to recommended amounts. We are going to do this just to see how good we will feel afterwards (or bad, because you just never know).

The path to better health had already been paved with changing our schedules (quite drastically) to sleep more and to exercise.  So, of course, the next logical change was figuring out how to alter our diets.  We did this by, picking the pyramid, figuring out what we needed to get, and SHOPPING!

STEP 1: Picking the pyramid… or plate?

Since we are already getting enough sleep and exercise – the first task was to select a food pyramid.  We quickly found out two things.  First, food pyramids vary by country and/or culture.  For example, The Latin American pyramid recommends you eat fish or shellfish daily, while the Mediterranean diet recommends fish on a weekly basis.  Second, we found out that the US food pyramid was replaced with a plate (see: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/).  Thus, the pyramid we were looking to recreate within our own diets had been replaced. Being crazy – yet simplistic – we opted for the plate program.

Step 2: Breaking down the plate

Daily, the plate recommends the following-

  • Grains – 5 ounces a day (60% whole grains)
  • Vegetables – 2 cups a day (11% dark green, 29% red/orange, 7% beans/peas, 28% starchy, 25% other)
  • Fruit – 1 ½ cups a day
  • Dairy – 3 cups a day
  • Protein Foods – 5 ounces (with seafood twice a week)

Step 3: The shopping list


1 box of Quinoa

2 Whole grain pizza crust

1 box Whole grain instant rice (because I’m not taking 2 hours to make rice)


4 Red Peppers

1 crown of Broccoli

1 bag of Spinach (not frozen)

1 thingy of frozen Brussel sprouts

1 pound of Carrots

3 Sweet Potatoes


6 Bananas

5 pounds of Apples

3 pounds of Oranges (when will nectarines be back in season #firstworldproblems)


1 gallon fat-free Milk (and lactose-free, sigh to lactose)

4 pounds of Cheese (YES!)

15 oz Cream Cheese

32 oz Coffee Creamer


3 pounds Chicken

Fish of sound kind (which I never eat)

Sliced Almonds (I already have oats and will make granola for breakfasts)

Step 4: Each, watch and wait………….