Category Archives: Food!

Things I like this week (vol 16).

Love San Diego. Best decision ever.

Love San Diego. Best decision ever.

  1. TheSkimm. I. AM. OBSESSED. It’s funny, informative, and my one of the best parts of my day. I wake up excited to read it and cry a little on Saturday and Sunday when they take the days off.
  2. Nicole’s post to Do Whatever You Fucking Want. Hell yeah.
  3. Maskcara’s makeup recommendations. I’ve been using L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara for months (I randomly chose it one day) and it’s the best mascara I’ve ever used. I started using her recommendation for a lip liner (yes, it’s sold as an eyeliner, but you use it as a lip liner). I’ve gotten many compliments every time I’ve used it. I’ve very fair so I have to be careful with it, but it’s fabulous.
  4. Noosa yogurt. When I started antibiotics to rid myself of my sinus infection, I ate yogurt everyday to make sure the good bacteria stayed alive and well. My roommate has been eating this brand for months, so I decided to try it. I love it. The downside? It’s pretty pricey. (My fav is the raspberry. Oh my YUM).
  5. Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin. It makes the most perfect bun that stays. I saw this product months ago and thought it was a big joke, but after seeing Maskcara use it successfully I decided to try it. (I found that inserting the spin pin horizontally works better for my hair. Also, like Maskcara, it works best on dirty hair).
  6. Hollywood Housewife’s very brave, honest and heartfelt post on anxiety. My favorite part: “(Anxiety is) like allergies. You can manage it, but it’s still something that is there. Okay, it’s not really much like allergies. But it’s something I have no control over. And like depression, or PPD, or any other number of mental health issues, severe anxiety is not something you can talk yourself out of. One can’t simply ‘calm down.’ Deep breaths are not the answer.” I wanted to stand up and cheer.
  7. I took Jessica’s recommendation and tried Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer. I love it. It really brightens my face, and covers dark circles.
  8. Jess Lively’s free May wallpaper. It’s brighten my desktop and makes me smile every time I see it.

Happy Tuesday! xxoo

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Filed under Beauty, Blogging, Food!, Fun Things, Love, Money, Things I like, Things I've learned

What I Eat

Roasted Broccoli. A favorite of mine.

Roasted Broccoli. A favorite of mine.

Since Operation Love Handle, I’ve been continuously asked: What do you eat?

That’s a great question. What do I eat?

Not meat, for starters. And, fish only when I eat out.

I’ve limited my dairy, too.

I know what you’re thinking: What’s left?

I know that’s what you’re thinking because I previously thought too. When you grow up on the Standard American Diet, you are use to meat being the star of the show. Meat is what dinner is cooked around. Heck, meat dictates your wine choice.

Two years ago I started reading vegetarian and vegan blogs and thought the women who wrote them were slightly extreme and little delusional. Although their food looked good, I didn’t believe it tasted good. However, I saw one commonality in these women: (besides having food blogs) they looked great. Sure, they exercised, but they glowed in their pictures. I couldn’t help to think their diet may have had something to do with it.

After a year of my new diet and exercising, I believe it’s true. I believe their diet (and mine) helps you to feel and look great.

I love what I eat. I don’t have cheat days or “bad foods”; I eat second and third helpings and have dessert twice a day. I am always full and feel energized and nourished.

My diet may look boring, but like any change, it just took some time to get used to. I started by changing my breakfast, then my dinner, then my lunches. It was slow and I waited to make another change when I was ready. I still have junk food from time to time but usually have a stomach ache or other poor physical reaction after eating junk that deters the next purchase of a bag of Oreos. (But not always. I bought Oreos last week). 🙂

So, all this talk about food. What do I eat?

Previous Diet:

Breakfast: Usually cereal. I enjoyed Special K with Berries, or Oatmeal Squares. I’d eat an entire bowl and be famished in an hour.

Snack: Always crackers. Always. Wheat Thins, or Pita crackers (from Trader Joe’s) usually with hummus or just plain. I’d eat about a 1/2 cup and be hungry again before lunch.

Lunch: A turkey/ham/salami sandwich, maybe some fruit, a cookie/dessert. Probably more crackers. Or, leftovers from a previous dinner. My lunch would hold me for a few hours.

Snack: Sometimes fruit. Usually crackers.

Dinner: Enchiladas, Pasta, Tacos, Mac & Cheese, Hamburgers, Tuna Melts, and Quesadillas.

Dessert: Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, Pies, or Ice Cream

Beverages: Wine, Beer, Gin & Tonics, Margaritas, Coffee, Water, Lemonade, Iced Tea, Mochas, and Frappacinos.

Current Diet:

Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Did I say how much I love this?) or 2 slices of Sprouted Multi Grain toast with natural peanut butter (now I make this at home!) and a drizzle of honey. I usually make one cup of Oatmeal. I know. One Cup Of Oatmeal. It’s a lot of Oatmeal. But, if I give myself enough time in the morning and I eat the entire cup and I’m full for hours and I feel fabulous.  Toast normally by itself isn’t as much of a powerhouse, but my bread has 5 grams of protein + 5-7 grams of protein from the natural peanut butter.

Snack: Fruit and/or almonds. Sometimes Banana Bread or Muffins.

Lunch: Leftovers from the dinner or Beans, Greens, and Grains. Definitely not the most exciting lunch, but the most filling. I have been eating this for over a year for lunch (not everyday but many days a week) and I have tons of energy and feel great when I eat it. Sometimes I’ll have Mediterranean Salad Shakers.

Snack: Almost never needed. More almonds/ or fruit
Dinner: Maple Baked Lentils With Sweet Potato, Quick and Easy Tomato Mushroom Pasta, Portobello and Poblano Fajitas, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Miso Sauce, Twenty Minute Four Bean Vegetarian Chilli, Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Miso Dressing, Macaroni & Peas, Balsamic Kale Salad with Apple and Pear, Tofu Dippers, Roasted Chickpea Tacos, Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa Loaf.

I’ll make one of the more complicated dinners one night a week, then usually just have Angela’s go to dinner or Emily’s.

I still regularly eat my go-to easy convenience meals – all of which lack nutrition – Nachos, Quesadillas, or Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I have revised how I eat these junk food dinners – I always pair them with a large helping of roasted vegetables, and make the Nachos and Quesadillas loaded with black beans and little cheese.

Dessert: Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, Pies. Not much has changed here. Sometimes I’ll try a vegan recipe, but usually stick to my old favorites.

Beverages: Wine, Beer, Gin & Tonics, Margaritas, Mineral Water, Water, Jasmine Green Tea, Herbal Tea, Iced Tea and occasionally coffee.

********************

I love my current diet. I am by no means a expert, but my diet works for me.  I love the way I look, but most importantly, the way I feel. I’ve never been this healthy, either. I’ve been careful to get the nutrients meat provides and maintaining a balanced diet. I’ve worked with my physician to ensure I am getting everything I need in my diet. It’s a diet I never thought I would have, but I now can’t imagine eating any other way.

What are some of your favorite (non-meat) health foods?

**Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist and have no medical training. I am sharing what has worked for me. Please consult a medical professional before making any changes to your diet. **

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Things I like this week (vol 12).

I home sick with a stupid cold this week, but I did find a few things I like, for your viewing pleasure.

  1.  These tacos. I made them Friday night (pre-cold) and I am still enjoying them (during cold).
  2. This video from Smacksy. So cute.
  3. This Super Bowl commercial. I’m sure you’re not surprised. Can I have a horse? How about that cute cowboy? That’s the kind of  man with a white truck that I need to meet…
  4. This post. I think every woman needs to believe Elizabeth’s truth.
  5. And, finally, this post.

Happy Monday

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28 in year 28

Recently, I turned 27. I had one of the best birthdays I’ve had in my twenties. In San Diego, I had a dinner with close friends – a night of laughing, listening and unconditional love. Last weekend, I traveled to the Bay Area and had an incredible family dinner and birthday cake made my brother and S2. My family came together over this superb meal, and I felt completely loved.

As my brother and S2 remind me every year, I am 27 years-old, starting my 28th year of life. (Right?! Just when you become okay with your age, you gain another year!)

Inspired by many fellow blogger’s life lists, and particularly Drea’s 30 by 30, and Tami’s 43 by 43 here are 28 things I want to do in my 28th year.

  1. Learn how to surf.
  2. Read 28 books.
  3. Save 10% of my monthly paycheck.
  4. Do 10 real push-ups.
  5. Listen to live music at least once a month.
  6. Start a garden in my backyard.
  7. Take Tahn to the beach twice a month (except when it’s closed for the summer).
  8. Create scrapbooks of all the cards from my grandma.
  9. Find a yoga studio in the San Diego area that teaches Yin Yoga; attend class twice a month.
  10. Go to a roller derby match.
  11. Visit 3 museums in San Diego.
  12. Enter two writing contests.
  13. Write a letter a week.
  14. Hold a plank for 60 seconds.
  15. Walk Tahn 5 days a week.
  16. Become CPR certified.
  17. Hike once a month.
  18. Bake an Angel Food Cake from scratch.
  19. Help my mom learn to use her iPod.
  20. Clear out all the boxes of stuff from my dad’s house.
  21. Play in the beach with Buddy.
  22. Learn to French Braid my hair.
  23. Find a volunteer job that I really love.
  24. Host a brunch.
  25. Join a wine club.
  26. Start collecting wall art.
  27. Watch a foreign film.
  28. Stop using paper towels.

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Things I like this week (vol. 9)

1. I hate how much I’ve been neglecting my blog but I’ve been working on a project that has been taking up 90% of my free time. I’ll be back soon.

2. I read this weeks ago. Weeks ago. I’m a moderator. What are you?

3. I love to watch Smash and envision Katharine McPhee back when she was on American Idol singing “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”

4. I was sitting in the bath tonight reading O’s latest issue on decluttering, and I realized how badly I need to declutter, but I need to totally unpack. First things first.
5. I made these this weekend.

Delicious.

I’ve been eating 1 (or 2) every night since I made them on Saturday. They are so good that this evening I was sitting down to enjoy a cupacke and my DVR in my room wasn’t working. I walked back and forth from my living room to my room troubleshooting my DVR, dropping sprinkles all over the place. (Note: the DVR still isn’t working. I guess the cupcake didn’t help).

6. I went to the dog beach with Tahn, my roommate, and my roommate’s dog, Maya. It was maybe the best hour of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tahn that happy. Ever.

Tahn and Maya

7. This is how I have felt more often than not lately.

8. Drea’s post on living alone made me laugh and realize how similar I was when I lived alone. I rarely did dishes, clothes were everywhere, I usually walked around without some form of clothing on.

9. Tahn’s been putting herself to bed lately.

It’s a problem.

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Things I like this week (vol. 8 )

So many things I like this week, I don’t know where to start.

1. Girl’s night. I haven’t had a real true “girl’s night” for as long as I can remember. Usually the “girl’s nights” I’ve had in the past revolving around bars, and trying to meet men. Or, my friends ducking out early to meet up with their man. Anyway you sliced it, it always about guys. My sister, my roommate and I had a fabulous girl’s night on Friday night. We even had our own private hotel room and room service. There was no make up or heels, instead there was pajamas, wine and champagne. Of course, men were discussed but not our focus nor the purpose of us getting together. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. It was really fun.

The girls (my sister, me, my roomie Ann Marie)

We kinda sorta went on a mission. Don't worry about it.

Giddy from a successful "mission"

At brunch Saturday "morning". What? You don't eat brunch at 1pm?

Yep. That's a December afternoon and we're eating oustide, in the warm sun. I LOVE SAN DIEGO. (Sarah is wearing a scarf b/c of a breeze).

2. Oliver. After quite a night Friday, I decided to stay in Saturday night and take care of this little guy:

My roommate's son

Oliver was the BEST date I’ve had in weeks. It was the perfect night.

3. I can’t remember where I found this post, but it’s super great about doing more by doing less.

4. Remember how I raved about Angela from Oh She Glows?  Specifically her Butternut Squash Burritos? Well, I made the burritos for two manly, MEAT EATING men this weekend and they loved them. Success! Next, I’m making her Naughty and Nice Vegan Enchilada Casserole – but I probably won’t make it vegan, just vegetarian.

5. I am going home for a week for Christmas!! Remember how I told you I was flying home 4 times from November to December? Well, it’s a long story but instead of flying home and being home for just over 3 days, I’ll be driving home and be home for just over 9 days!! I feel like singing Christmas Carols. That’s probably why Kelcey’s post about Christmas brought a tear to my eye, even the T-Mobile ad she has at the bottom of her post. Normally I would think the T-Mobile ad was super cheesy, but in my festive mood I just loved it.

Happy Holidays, guys.

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Things I like this week (vol. 7)

What do I like this week?

(As appropriately timed as it could be, post Thanksgiving…)

FOOD!!!

Well, particularly, food blogs.

First up, Angela from Oh She Glows

Oh

My

Gosh

I LOVE Angela’s blog. Besides the fact that her photos are beautiful and her blog is super fun to read, her food.is.delicious. I’ve made 3 recipes from her blog in the past month and I have loved every last bite I’ve eaten. Oh, did I mention her recipes are VEGAN?!?! (Although my versions were not. I used cow’s milk and cheese…)

Here are the recipes I made:

1) Mushroom Millet Soup with Cheezy Garlic Bread – Super healthy, filling and yummy.  I used quinoa, not millet. It was a great lunch the next day and gave me tons of energy.

2) Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos – Ever since I gave up meat, burritos haven’t sounded that great. What is a burrito without meat? Well, my sister and I made these a few weeks ago and I gobbled mine down so fast it was gone before Sarah even sat down. I was dying I loved it so much. I will definitely be making this again soon!

3) Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Casserole – My brother wouldn’t let me cut up the rest of his pumpkin pie to make this gem, so my dad let me use his. It was really easy to make and so unbelievably good. My only disappointment was that I made it in Northern CA on Sunday so I couldn’t bring the leftovers home with me. I’m going to make it again this weekend, though!!

My other new food blog love? Jessica from How Sweet It is

I’ve only made one of her recipes (Potato Pancakes to go with Angela’s Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Casserole), but I plan to make many, many more. Here’s a few on my list:

Seriously, try one of their recipes! You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

__________

Another quick thing I like this week?

This post from Molly over at Smart Pretty and Awkward.

Happy Monday.

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Home for the Holidays (and other special events)

(image source)

From November 19 – December 26 I will have traveled from San Diego to the Bay Area four times.

FOUR TIMES.

Three of the four times will for sure be by flight. I may drive the last trip.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why!?!?” Well, I went to home (the Bay Area) last weekend to celebrate S2‘s graduation from her master’s program, I’m in the airport tonight for Thanksgiving, in a couple of weeks I’ll be going home for Buddy‘s first birthday (Can you believe it has already been a year?!?! Buddy will be one year old. Seriously, so amazingly exciting). Then, for Christmas. I may drive home for the Christmas trip, but it has yet to be decided.

I got a late flight out of San Diego today. I did this for two fold: 1) I didn’t know what time I would be off work and I didn’t want to risk missing my flight. 2) I didn’t know what the traffic would be like and I didn’t want to miss my flight.

Even though I was home um, TWO AND 1/2 DAYS AGO, I didn’t want to miss a single second at home.

And although my sleeping situation this Thanksgiving is a little, well I guess I’ll say nomadic, (Of the four nights I’m home I’ll be sleeping in four different beds in two houses. It’s complicated. Never mind) I am thrilled to be on my way home.

Again.

Last weekend was sort of a blur and I imagine this weekend will be too. I try to see so many different people, and spend lots of time with this special girl:

Oh, Tahn

She is just as sweet as I remembered.

_____________________________

I hope everyone has a great, Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Road to Pescatarianism

(image source)

*Below is a rather serious post about why I am no longer eating meat. If it’s not your thing, feel free to skip this post 🙂

_________

I’ve been thinking about giving up meat for over three years now. I’m not sure where the idea exactly came from; I believe that I started learning about meat today and how it’s packed with antibiotics, the cows/chickens/pigs are fed with corn and I started re-thinking my consumption of meat. Michael Pollan also was very popular at the time, and everyone was reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. From watching Pollan on Oprah, I found that I could buy free-range, grass fed meat. Wolia! Problem solved.

Right?

Well. No…

In 2010, I decided I was giving up pork for the year. (Unless – this is a big unless – it was free range and not corn fed. Free range, corn fed pork is actually really challenging to find). In fact, it was my New Year’s Resolution. Except for an occasional free range pork meal, or when I didn’t have the heart to tell someone I didn’t eat pork, I didn’t eat it for the entire year.

It. Was. Hard.

I was so happy when 2011 started and I could eat pork again. Hello, pork roast, ham, bacon. YUM. I missed you, my friends.

So I ate meat again. Visa-Vi, my non pork experiment was good. Right?

Wait.

Okay, the purpose of my not-eating-pork-that-isn’t-humanly-raised experiment wasn’t just to see if I couldn’t eat pork. It was 2 fold.

1) I read somewhere that pigs are similar to dogs. And you know how much I LOVEMYDOG.

2) I thought (and still do) that if we (AMERICANS) support animal farmers who treat their animals humanely should be supported; not those who treat their animals poorly, don’t let them exercise and have their animals lead a confined life.

So, my “year-free-of-pork” was to make (more than anything) an economical statement; I was not going to financially support animal farmers who did not treat their pigs humanely.

Okay.

How did I go from not eating pigs for a year (to make an economical statement) to no longer eating meat, ever?*

Reality? The truth? Again, it was 2 fold:

1) I read Lauren‘s post on Oprah’s Vegan episode. Then I watched the video – at a slaughter house. (WARNING. It’s graphic).

2) I came to terms with what I already knew. I knew that I am, and have always been a grocery store meat eater. What does that mean? That means that I could easily buy, prepare and eat meat I bought at the grocery store. But, I could never, ever (unless I was starving) kill an animal and eat it. I think it’s revolting. Bleh. I would sooner eat a handful of bugs than eat a cow, pig, chicken, or any other livestock that I killed. Just to kill the animal would be devastating to me, let alone skin it, cook it, and eat it. The idea is overwhelmingly upsetting to me.

So. As of the endish** of September, I have tried to no longer eat meat.

Wait. Why fish, then? (A Pescatarian is a person who eats fish but no other meat).

Um. Because I could (and have) fished, filleted, and eaten fish. While it’s slimy and gross, I could do it. I can do it. I don’t have a problem with it.

Why fish and not chickens? I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe because fish don’t appear to have the same personality/ intelligence as an flesh animal. I don’t know. Maybe they do. But, really, the Can-I-Kill-This-With-My-Own-Bare-Hands question is my rule of measure when eating meat.

Having said all of this, I have really missed meat. OMG. One of my roommates grilled a steak Sunday night. OMG. I wanted one so badly it hurt. Can I mention that beef is my favorite meat? I could take or leave chicken, I do enjoy pork, but I LOVE BEEF.

I love hamburgers. Ugh. To think I will never eat a hamburger again for the rest of my life really is sad to me. I will miss them.

I really like ham. And bacon. And pork chops. I have fond memories with my family around pork products.

But, I am so happy with my decision. I haven’t regretted it, not only for a second. Many times I have seen meat (raw or cooked) and been disgusted. I see it for what it is, animal flesh. I hope it continues to motivate me to refrain from meat eating.

*After I dropped the “meat is animal flesh” bomb, I will tell you my exceptions to my new lifestyle.

1) Politeness. I will eat meat if someone invites me to their home to eat a meal and does not know I don’t eat meat. If they aren’t serving any food sans meat, I will partake in eating said meat. I personally find it rude when people are offered food and decline it – especially when they aren’t allergic. So, I will eat it.

2) Marshmallows. Sooooooo sad. Last time this year (via Facebook) I learned marshmallows (um, my FAVORITE THING EVER) aren’t vegetarian. They are made with gelatin, which is an animal by product, blah, blah, blah. Of course, at Whole Foods or your local Co-Op you can find vegan marshmallows for like $6. And I’m not quite ready to drop $6 on marshmallows yet…

3) Thanksgiving. Yeah, I’m not ready to give up turkey this year. I am really not a fan of tofu (even deliciously flavored tofurky) so I can’t give it up quite yet. And no, I couldn’t kill a damn Turkey. I’m doing my best.

4) Meals made for me with a meat product in it. Like, if you make me soup and use chicken broth (because you forgot). I will eat it. But, now that you know I don’t eat meat so you won’t do that! 🙂

So, why am I telling you this? To change you? To convince you to give up meat too? Nope. Honestly, I am telling you this not only to keep myself accountable, but also tell you now so I don’t have to explain it later.***

________

** I was going to give up eating meat October 1, but I went to a wedding where meat was served and I was so hungry that I couldn’t pass up. I haven’t eat meat since that weekend.

*** The social expectation to eat meat is HUGE. It makes people uncomfortable and sad when I mention I don’t eat meat. (I actually try not to mention it to avoid the conversation). Of course, everyone asks “Why?” which is super awkward, especially when we’re eating and they’re eating meat. I stumble over my words, and barely answer the question. After people know I’m not eating meat and we’re eating out and sharing a meal they are always sad when they realize I won’t split chicken tacos with them or sliders. I know. I’m sad too. I love sliders.

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Operation Love Handle

Because these freaking Love Handles won’t go away on their own

This is not a “weight loss” post. This isn’t a post about how I think I’m fat, or that I need to lose weight.

I’m not fat. Actually, I’m not even overweight. According to the last time I saw the doctor, I am perfectly within my “healthy” weight range.

And frankly, I really have no clue how much I weigh on a day to day basis. I have never used my weight as a measure of my self worth, happiness, or beauty.

I usually use the way my jeans fit as my “weight” measure.

And unfortunately, I recently had to buy two new pairs of jeans – because none of my other jeans currently fit. :/

The numbers

Let’s for a moment, talk numbers. Pounds, really. Like I really care, but since 2008 I’ve put on roughly 5lbs a year – so you guessed it – I’ve put on just over 15lbs in 3 years.

5lbs a year or 15lbs in three years isn’t anything to cry about. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s kinda of a big deal that my jeans won’t fit, but again, not tears-in-the-dressing-room worthy.

But here’s the thing

These 15lbs? These Love Handles? They don’t represent anything good. Sure, they are extra weight I don’t need on my body, blah, blah, blah. But honestly? That’s not why I want to get rid of them.

These Love Handles have nothing to do with Love. They should be call Sad Handles or Loneliness Handles – because that is what they really are. My Love Handles represent the hardship and the struggles I’ve worked through in the past three years. They represent my struggle to meet friends, my dissatisfaction with my job, my lack of courage to try new things and meet new people.

These 15lbs are pounds of unhealthy thoughts, lack of joy, bad self mantras. They represent me floating through my life waiting for something better; a better job, a better apartment, more friends. They represent all the things I did not like about my life.

It’s time to shed these pounds – these thoughts – from my life. It’s time to add productive, fun activities and people who radiate joy and want to live a full life. It’s time to spend less time in bars trying to “meet people” and more time on the beach trying to relax and revitalize myself. It’s time to go back to me, who I am, and discover to be the best person I can be.

And these 15lbs? These Love Handles? They don’t belong in my new life. I’ll leave them behind. I will release each pound, slowly, consciously, with intent. I will not lose them – because if I lose them they can easily come back. I will release them from my life forever. When each pound is gone, I will let go of a painful memory, a sad thought, or an obstacle in my life.

The changes

My changes are very simple:

  1. Exercise more and stop eating when I’m full.
  2. Incorporate daily mantras of positivity and peace.
  3. Try new fun (beach related!!!) activities and be open to all people.

That’s it.

I’ve already gone to the gym most days after work these past two weeks and it’s been a great change. I’ve worked on stop eating the second I’m full – something I use to be great at but overtime I started overeating and it’s become a habit. I’ve worked on having an intent of a good day, a good hour, and a good minute. I’ve put myself out there a few time to meet new people – and so far I’ve yet to be disappointed.

I know these pounds of sadness will leave me sooner than later – it may even take a year to be gone of them for good (I lose and gain weight really slowly) – but that’s okay.

Again, Operation Love Handle isn’t about losing weight – it’s about changing my life, mind and body.

Will you join me?

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