A Milestone and a Goal


In 80 days I will be celebrating my 50th birthday. 50! I’m not angry, upset, embarrassed, or in denial, I am a bit perplexed, though. The concept of being 50 years old baffles me – how did I get here already? I know who I am and how I feel and that doesn’t jive with my previous understanding of what being 50 is. The laugh must be on me! The truth and reality of being 50 years old is not rigid and set in stone, it’s not any one thing for all people. Yes, it is a fixed number and that is how many years I will have inhabited this body, but I am absolutely certain that each of us is much, much more than a number – if we want to be. Now, if I can just wrap my mind around BEING 50 without falling into a wide-eyed stare I’ll have a much better appearance heading into this next year. Anyway…

My goal to achieve in the next 80 days is to reclaim my goal weight. I know that I can reach this goal. The challenges I have within this timeframe are rooted in my emotions and past experience. This Friday begins my summer vacation from school, which means many exciting and rejuvenating things but it also signals a complete change in the structure of my day. I long for this lack of structure, but I am acutely aware that I depend upon it to keep me in check and on track as far as my eating and moving are concerned. It’s time I reason out a new form of structure to guide me through the summer.

Another challenge heading my way as the summer commences is that I’m heading home to Wisconsin to take a class in World Drumming and visit my family. I’m looking forward to all of this, but my history with heading back home has had me quickly returning to my not so healthy eating and exercise habits of days gone by. I know I can’t control everything heading my way in this setting so I must keep my birthday goal fresh in my mind and gage what it is that I want most in the moment.

And yet another challenge that will present itself soon after I return from Wisconsin is a fabulous Eastern Europe river cruise vacation Mark and I have planned for mid-July. It’s going to be luxurious and grand, and the sites we will be seeing will be new and exciting. Once again I must keep my goal front and center and enjoy the sight-seeing excursions more than those involving food. I will enjoy the local fare as I might not encounter these fresh options again, but I can enjoy it and enjoy feeling satisfied rather than stuffed after the fact.

Front and center: I will reclaim my goal weight by my birthday in September. I will focus on the moment and remind myself of the goal I want to achieve. I will enjoy the new structure and experiences my summer vacation has to offer. I will try new things and be conscious of how I feel.

50, physically and emotionally healthy, and at my goal weight – that’s exactly where I’m headed.

What are your summer goals?


Eating by 22 Minute Hard Corps


I’m a Weight Watcher for life. In fact, I’m a Lifetime Member of WeightWatchers. In complete honesty, though, I’m a Lifetime Member of WeightWatchers making my way back to my goal weight. The road back is more challenging than the road I took to get to my goal in the first place, but I’m personally assimilating the knowledge and skills this time around and that will serve me brilliantly for the rest of my life.

As I stagger through the end of the school year and deal with the various emotional ups and downs that pass my way I’ve found it more challenging to plan meals and even eat the meals that I have planned. It’s become apparent to me that when I’m stressed out and tired I lose all motivation to do what I know I need to do¬†to eat for my best health. I completely understand how I’m feeling and I definitely know how to plan and prep for meals, but down to my bones I JUST DON’T WANT TO DO IT. In order to not think about it I decided to follow the eating plan that came along with the Beachbody fitness program “22 Minute Hard Corps.”

The nutrition plan is clean and straight forward. The recipes are easily prepared and quite tasty. I figured out my “Ration Plan” by answering a few questions¬†and chose to follow the daily structure breakdown of what to eat for each meal and snack. The plan makes sense and I followed it quite successfully. Here’s what I learned –

  1. Eating more protein keeps me satisfied for a longer period of time
  2. Because I’m not starving going into lunch I can eat a smaller amount and continue feeling satisfied
  3. Eating a healthy fat for an afternoon snack seems small but it gets me through to dinner without a problem
  4. A serving of protein and vegetables for dinner seems skimpy but, once again, it’s enough
  5. I don’t need to have an evening snack because I’m hungry – I’m not hungry
  6. Although I love fruit I shouldn’t eat it endlessly because it’s good for me, watching my portion sizes and quantities will only benefit me in the long run

My big Ah-ha! though is that I need to adopt my “no think” method of exercising – which has made working out a natural part of my every day – to my approach for eating. I’ll think about what my body needs to feel its best, but I’m going to turn off that part of my brain that petulantly insists that it deserves to eat whatever I want whenever I want it.

What I really deserve and what I really want is to feel great – healthy and satisfied.

Do Not Disturb

As a teacher approaching the end of the school year I’m slightly overwhelmed and tired. I’ve been teaching for a while so my past experience tells me that everything that’s overwhelming me will get done – even though I don’t have a solid plan of attack in mind right now. If I let my emotions take over I’ll be heading down a very slippery slope to a place that has an abundance of foods that promise to make me feel better. All that will really happen is I’ll wallow even deeper in being overwhelmed, only now there will be the added guilt of trying, unsuccessfully, to eat my way to peace and control. I KNOW this. It’s time that I let go of trying to control and understand every move of how I will get from here to there and trust my abilities to get me through – after all, everything has always been accomplished in the past.


Now, for the tired part. I am tired. Then again, I’ve been tired for months now. In fact, I don’t honestly recall the last time I didn’t feel tired. This is a problem that I’m just starting to realize is causing me significant difficulties in making healthy choices for the greater outcome. When did it all start?


I’ve always been a good sleeper. In the past nine hours of sleep was perfect for me, going to bed at 10:00 p.m. and waking at 7:00 a.m. was my regular schedule through high school. When I was in college I had a little more flexibility in my sleeping hours but I recall that nine hours was still the golden number. There were times in college that I would plan on doing an all-nighter for a test or project, only to get to 11:00 at night and just give it up because, after all, I was tired and going to sleep sounded way more enticing. I was a regular party animal!

As an adult with a full-time job my sleep schedule adjusted to the requirements of my workplace, but still I was clocking between 8-9 hours of shut eye a night. Now that I’m thinking about, everything changed for a very unlikely reason – at least unlikely for me – I started working out in the morning. A-ha!

Anyone that has known me for any significant amount of time knows that I was very opposed to moving my body in any meaningful, healthy way. The first time I joined Weight Watchers I was adamant that I would only change what I was eating, I would absolutely not work out and sweat. I admit that thought process stayed with me for a very, very long time and there are reasons for it, but I won’t go down that road right now. Anyway, I did gradually add working out/moving my body to my routine but by no means was it consistent. Then enter the time period of last spring.

Last spring I decided that my post-work workouts just weren’t happening, it was too enticing for me to forego the gym and just lounge in front of the television. I also decided that I needed to adjust my attitude about moving my body for my health and well-being. That was when my morning workouts began. I practiced the no-think method of working out – when my alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. I turned off my mind and just moved through the steps to getting up, getting dressed, and working out. I was always glad that I had finished my workout, but I knew that if I even gave it one thought after my alarm sounded for my wake up I would simply roll over and go back to sleep. The no-think method worked for me. I actually enjoy my morning workouts. I’m very consistent and I have no desire to adjust that part of my schedule.

The problem isn’t working out early in the morning, though, the problem is that I didn’t make any other changes to the rest of my schedule. I’m getting up earlier but I’m not going to bed any earlier and I’m only averaging about six hours of sleep a night. My body and mind are starting to make it very clear that six hours is not enough time to fully rejuvenate myself. Not only am I tired all the time, but I’m using food to keep me moving when really what I need is sleep. It’s a bit daunting to attack the goal of nine hours of sleep; that would mean going to bed at 8:00 p.m. and that doesn’t really work well considering I do like spending time with my husband and his work day goes a bit longer than mine.

Right now, my goal will be to increase my sleep time to seven hours each night. That goal doesn’t make me panic or feel overwhelmed. I can definitely get to bed by 10:00 p.m. Seven hours is definitely better than six – one step at a time. It’s time to put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign and get some quality sleep time.


celebration cake

Hello, my name is Merrette and I celebrate with food. Special occasions and events scream, “Eat me!” to me. Seriously. I’m even a little excited just writing about it. Birthdays, weddings, goody days, holidays, family gatherings, post concerts and recitals, the first day of summer vacation, spring break, after an important task has been completed, visiting my childhood home – and so on, and so on.

I think very fondly on all that celebratory food. I love cake – or maybe mostly the frosting – and don’t even get me started on ice cream. Then there’s all the good old comfort foods from growing up, some of which I can only get when I’m back home. All those thoughts make me smile.

Then reality hits and I feel guilty for finding so much enjoyment in those foods. They certainly don’t help me realize my goals of healthy eating. And when did I begin to focus all those events on food?

Although I don’t know when it happened I believe I know why it happened. On the inside I feel shy and awkward, I always have. Some find this very surprising considering I sang opera professionally over a period of 10 years, but it is true. It has always felt easier to pretend to be someone else. When I was young I was painfully shy, I basically just wanted to disappear. Talking to people was definitely not my idea of a good time – not because of the people (mostly) but because I had no idea what to say or do. To this day I need to remind myself of proper social interaction, and it doesn’t come easily. What has always come easily is eating. Food is my friend and occupies me when I’m not sure of how I should be interacting with people. After all, if your mouth is full you really shouldn’t be talking.

Hmmm. I guess it’s time for me to rethink my approach to eating when I’m celebrating. There are so many layers to it – the food itself, the quantity of food, the event, and the socialization associated with the whole shebang. The socializing is the part that scares me the most, but I can now see that my fear triggers me to eat – that’s no good and it really doesn’t make that much sense. Whether I feel it or not it’s time for me to fake it ’til I make it.