Monday, June 25, 2012

My Happy Place

Back in April I started gardening.  It didn't take me long to realize that taking care of a garden is incredibly hard work, that you really can't take a day off.  You must have a lot of patience, as a tomato or zucchini plant takes roughly 45-60 days to produce vegetables.  That said, I believe most folks today would starve if they had to grow their own food.  Those who didn't starve would be in jail for stealing.  


My husband, more than doubled my space for this year.  Since I mostly eat plants and veggies, he felt it was a good investment.  Sydney recently had a physical and told her doctor that she is a vegetarian.  She told him she still likes chicken and turkey, but only sometimes. I have already caught her sneaking tomatoes into her pockets.  


Several varieties of tomatoes

I wake up every morning, make coffee, and walk outside to my deck.  I live in a quiet suburb which is very peaceful at 6:30am.  I take a quick walk through my garden to survey any bunny carnage before I turn on the hose.  I planted several small rows of lettuce for the bunnies, hoping they would stay away from all my other plants.  Obviously, they were not happy with that offering as they dug up or destroyed my garlic, herbs, and all but one asparagus plant.

Bunnies can't eat my lettuce and herbs up here

Last year I picked tomatoes until Halloween from my front yard.  I had over 60 green tomatoes, which I was advised to wrap in newspaper and store in the basement.  I was surprised to find most of them ripe over the next six weeks. They were delicious.  Who knew?

Volunteer in the front yard

Zucchini's are blooming

Five zucchini harvest in one day

I  planted some blackberry bushes, unfortunately they will not produce until next year.   We tried blueberry bushes, but they did not like the soil very much and died a few weeks after planting.  The apple tree below has been trying to die for several years.  It has taken the tree a while to catch on that I was not giving up on it.  As you can see, the tree has decided to hang around.

Our apple tree finally bears fruit

  Our grape vine looks amazing and fills out more every year. The vine also provides shade to half of our deck.  Maybe this year Jim will get to make wine. 
When my husband first started growing this I was skeptical.  Know I am a believer. 

Grape vine covers half our deck

There is a huge flea market in Wentzville every Sunday.  Jim picked up the beauties below, plus two more for $20.  Those plants easily sell for  $20 a piece at Home Depot or Lowes.  All four plants were thrilled when I transplanted them over the weekend into bigger pots.   Whew, that was a lot of work too.   

Pretty tropical flowers

Tropical tree 

I look forward to eating from my garden.  I have put a lot of love, muscle, and time into it.  I will be sharing the wealth with family and friends too. Give me a holler if you are local and want to try some.  I gave my sister a small container of baby tomatoes and three zucchini's yesterday. The tomatoes were gone before I left.  

Icicle radishes.  Super hot and spicy

Bunnies got my first purple pepper

 Thanks for letting me share my happy place with you. What a feeling of accomplishment to grow something.  Try it!  I love the fact that I know where my veggies came from and that they are not covered in pesticides.  Now, if I can just keep the bunnies out........

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reality Tv Versus Reality

Reality Tv

I watched an interesting show a few nights ago.  It was called Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, which airs on Sunday evenings at 8 pm. The show was a big hit last year and has returned for season two.  As a contestant of the show, they get 365 days to transform their lives with the help of a medical doctor, nutritionist, and, for a while, a live in trainer named Chris Powell.

 The first hour of the show I got to know Jacqui, who was 30yrs old and weighed in at 355 pounds.  Her weight problem began at 14 after she was attacked by a boy at a party.  She is married now to a very supportive man, Shawn, and they would like to start a family.  However, her weight is keeping her from getting pregnant.   She is  ready to do something about it. Plus, she is willing to do it in front of cameras and share her life with the world.

Her trainer and transformation specialist Chris set her first goal at 90 lbs, in 90 days. She struggled greatly through the 4-6hr daily workouts.  Lucky for her, Chris was constantly by her side reminding her of her goals, giving her endless support and hugs, telling her exactly what to eat and how much, and scheduling all of her workouts.  If Jacqui was successful, she would win a honeymoon vacation.  At her weigh in 3 months later, she had lost 92 pounds and had won her "carrot", the all expense paid trip to Ireland.  While on her trip, she would have the challenge of completing a metric century, 62 miles, by bike.  She was also presented another goal, to lose 30+ pounds more in 30 days.  So much for relaxing.

This lady put her heart, mind, and soul into her weight loss. Jacqui developed the "eye of the tiger" attitude, an intense focus on winning back her life.  She was fascinating to watch as she shed the pounds. She eventually quit her job when her HR department would not accept her employment on a part time basis.  She was now able to focus entirely on losing over half her body weight.  Remember, she has no children either.  Her extended family was unbelievably supportive, changing the way they ate and exercising.

In the end, Jacqui annihilated her goals and went from being super obese to an astonishing knock out in just a years time.  She finished the metric century and lost an astonishing 207 pounds.  After losing the weight, she was given skin removal surgery, at the expense of the show.  Jacqui was awesome for television. Her trainer was quick to point out that she was the "perfect client".  She did everything he asked her to do and exactly the way she was instructed to.  At her final weigh in, she was presented  a $50,000 Walmart gift card.


I love and hate shows like this.  This is not the everyday persons experience.  For instance, when I started on my weight loss journey, I could not afford a gym.  I sure as hell would not have been able to quit my job. I did not have a MD , a nutritionist, or a live in trainer at my disposal.  I did not have a personal chef nor did I have an expensive vacation or a HUGE gift card dangled in front of me as a bonus prize. I had to do my own research on food and exercising, getting my information from books and the internet.  I am not trying to be negative about Jacqui, she had to work very hard to lose that weight.  However, she had a lot of variables in her favor.  Her guess work was replaced by professionals.   In the real world, not many people can afford to go about their weight loss in this way.

I believe shows like this catch the eye of very desperate people.  They think that " if she can do it, so can I".  Which is a great attitude to have, but desperate people do not see the entire situation.  Desperate folks will forget all the things Jacqui had given to her, the fact that she did not have a job or children, and was blessed with a very supportive family.  She had it ALL. All the necessary tools to be triumphant.  I applaud her for being successful and hope she pays it forward since she was given the gift of life.

Jacqui and I did share a common denominator.  She wanted to have a baby, and I had just had one.  My little girl deserved a healthy mom and I was determined to give her one.  Our long term goal is what kept us going.  We were not trying to fit into a wedding dress or a bikini.  We were changing our lives permanently, not just for a special occasion. 

Losing weight can be done by yourself.  You have to want it. You have to want it more than anything else.  You do not need anyone's help.  Therefore, you have to become your own help. Be your own cheerleader.   Remind yourself daily of your motivation.  Show up at your workouts.  Give it everything you have. Don't quit, ever. Pat yourself on the back once in a while. You can do this.

 Thanks for reading,