Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Paula Johnson, 1975

My grandmother, Paula Johnson (Bessie Pauline Freeman Johnson). This photo was taken for her 25th anniversary with Tate & Roe. In 1950, she began working there as a secretary, and through the years, she worked her way up to Controller.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Slaying the Grief Beast

So, based on my last post, where I said I was going to be more real and authentic in my blog—all I can say is… here I go. Melissa helped give me the courage, because she is so honest and real in her writing… she doesn’t hide, and, you know… I think that’s a good policy.

The reality of my life is that I’m getting divorced.

At the moment, I actually feel okay about it. It’s not like these things happen overnight… the decision came after years of serious consideration. And I don’t want to go into details, because that isn’t fair to him, or to me. But, suffice it to say, this year has been a rough one in countless ways.

Grieving my marriage also caused a lot of other things to spring up and slap me in the face… things I’d never dealt with. A litany of choices, events, and traumatic experiences have come back to haunt me in ways I never expected.

Big things, like the death of my grandmother.

I thought I had grieved her death, but what I’d actually done is shut out all feelings I had associated with her: the good, the bad, the indifferent. I hadn’t actually grieved her passing, though.

She was a special woman in my life. A beacon of light, a pillar of strength, and the tallest five-foot-two-inch woman I’ve ever known.

And by denying all of my feelings about her death, I also denied her importance in my life.

I’ve been through a lot over the past six months, but I’ve turned a corner, and I’m on my way up. Looking at my life, and all the choices I’ve made that have led me to where I am right now, I realized that my grandmother is not only with me in spirit—she’s in my blood. The decisive, action- and results-oriented parts of me, the bold woman who travels by herself without giving it a second thought, the fearlessness I’ve recently re-discovered… those parts all come straight from Bessie Pauline Freeman Johnson.

Realizing this gave me a breath of new life. I don’t worry about missing her anymore, because I know she is within me. She is here whenever I need her, in my heart, in my veins, in my very cell structure, helping me make tough decisions and get on with living my life.

But it’s not just about moving on.

Grief is about honoring the pain, and allowing feelings to rise to the surface and be. And somehow, I have found the courage to do just that.

I’ve cried in more places than I ever thought possible: on the public benches of Kennebunkport, Maine; in Rockefeller Center, New York City; in Starbucks; on the subway; in a bead shop; in Times Square; in the privacy of my own home; in so many other places…

The tears have come,
in the most unexpected moments,
in the most unexpected ways,
the tears have come,
and they’ve shocked me into submission every time.

And I’ve written every day. I’ve written in a paper journal since I was 9 years old, but this is different—in September, I committed to write in my paper journal every single day through the end of 2010.

I’m on my fourth journal since making that commitment. Apparently I have a lot to say!

But, doing that writing has helped me so much. Sometimes, it’s helped me shake something lose that I’d been picking at in my mind for ages, but until I wrote it down, it didn’t quite make sense.

Sometimes, writing has helped me capture memories, and other times, it’s just a daily record.

And it’s all been part of my bizarre, lonely, twisted path of grief. I have been walking through it, for the first time in my entire life, actually dealing with all the things I’ve never grieved.

Grief is a strange thing, and I don’t really understand it. It is an odd and shocking beast. The only way to slay it, it seems, is with a tiny, inadequate sword, one slice at a time. It takes too long, it’s arduous, the beast keeps coming back for another round, mutating in places where you’ve made progress… it’s elusive, hiding in dark shadows and broad daylight.

I think that if you’re exhausted, all the time, then you’re probably slaying the Grief Beast properly. That is to say, you’re creating room in your heart for the good things that come after.

And that’s important, because there are many good things that come after a time of grief… and they deserve to be received with an open heart.

And my heart is open wide, for the first time in many, many years.

You know… it really is a remarkable thing to be human. The capacity to laugh, to cry, to feel such deep and intense emotions—and, when sunk at the bottom of the pit of despair, something simple and honest and real can be just the impetus for a hearty laugh that instantly transports you back to normalcy.

Being human is a treasure. Not always a pleasure, but always a very special privilege.

I am privileged to be me, right here, in this moment.

I am right where I need to be.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tip Thursday: Make It Pop!

Have I already done turquoise and sunstone before? I have? Well, here it is again, but this time-- a different take. Different shade of turquoise (the first posting was more of a green, where these beads are definitely more blue) and a completely different feeling for the resulting outfit.

Turquoise and sunstone (or... the color turquoise and the color deep orange) go together so beautifully... and while I hadn't originally thought of making another post where I talk about this combination, when I snapped this photo I realized that this necklace and outfit have a whole different "feel" than my very first Tip Thursday, so I figured you might like to see that difference!

This necklace has become a favorite of mine. I got the inspiration for the design from a necklace I saw in a magazine, but the final piece looks nothing like my original inspiration did! I'm glad for that, actually... I always worry about literally copying someone else's design, but I find that in the end... what I create is always ultimately my own, and 100% me.

This necklace is no different. I've had these special Sarah Hornik beads for a long time, and I've actually used them in several different designs, eventually ripping them all apart to make something more special, to show them off better. I think this little necklace does the trick!

I love that it's asymmetrical... and I love that it's modern and hip without being overstated or gaudy. I've actually made another necklace in a similar style that I originally had posted for sale... but I found myself wearing it, and have since decided to keep that sucker!

This necklace can be paired with a variety of colors. I've successfully worn this necklace with a white shirt... it really pops against dark brown... but I've also worn it with a dark turquoise, and of course, this deep orange shirt, which I think is my favorite thus far.

Tip: Orange looks good on me (and other fair-skinned blonds). But, to qualify, it needs to be a deeper orange... more of a "burnt orange" if you will. (Cue every University of Texas fan holding up the Longhorn symbol now.) The more pale or bright oranges don't work on fair-skinned folks, typically... when in doubt? Go darker rather than lighter.

Sunstone's metaphysical properties: The sunstone gem is a leadership stone, and brings leadership qualities to its wearer. It aids in dispelling fears and phobias and also decreases stress and lifts depression. Sunstone promotes grounding and protection. Sunstone gems also warms the heart and allows the person to get in touch with their life force.

Turquoise's metaphysical properties: Turquoise is porous, so contact with liquids, oils or even perspiration should be avoided. Turquoise is considered a good general healer for all illnesses and excellent conductor. Induces wisdom and understanding, enhances trust and kindness. Brings the qualities of mental and spiritual clarity.

Smoky Quartz metaphysical properties: Smoky quartz is a powerful healing stone. It protects against all forms of bad luck and promises a light at the end of what may seem to be a very long tunnel. After you’ve been sick or felt depressed, it can restore energy and optimism. It also aids meditation if you find concentration difficult. Smoky quartz is one of the best healing stones!

I urge you to push your color combination boundaries in 2011! I hope to make Tip Thursday a regular feature again. 

I have missed blogging... and I am also striving to be more open and honest and REAL in my blog, which means... a little bit more personal detail might be on the way. 

I'm tired of hearing, "There's so much more to you than meets the eye!" from everyone. While I think that statement is true... I realized that I have wanted to be a little bit more WYSIWYG, or what you see is what you get. A bit more transparent, in other words... which to me, means more authentic and real. Even online. 

It's a delicate line, though. I don't want to air out dirty laundry on my blog... but I would like to give you a little glimpse into who I really am, if for no other reason than because I need to do it, for myself.

Happy Holidays, everyone... and thank you to everyone who has purchased jewelry from me in 2010! You've made it a memorable year for me, and you've helped me at times stay afloat financially... but the biggest, greatest joy I get is seeing a face light up when they've put on just the right piece of jewelry. It's a special kind of connection, when a woman realizes that something I've created enhances her own beauty.

I'll be back for some end-of-year musings...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fancy - The Gala Necklace

Recently, Pathways, my favorite organization, threw a big party—a gala! I love any excuse to get dressed up, wear heels (now that I can actually walk in them), and have a good time, and the cause was also great: raising money for families of soldiers and special needs children, and for Teen/Family Camp.

While I did some small things to help with the gala (helping set up for the silent auction and processing silent auction winning transactions at the end of the night), the biggest thing I did to help was make a necklace just for the silent auction.
This is a special necklace. Not only is it the only thing I've made in months... I purposely made it using high-end materials, in hopes it would bring a hefty winning auction price (and therefore lots of money donated to Pathways). That... didn't quite work out, but one happy bidder did get to go home with this lovely necklace. 

Did I mention it's valued at over $650?

I made matching earrings, too, but I only remembered to get a crappy cell phone picture of them on that night.

This necklace has all kinds of yummy details. It’s got high-end stones, first of all: ruby, sapphire, and emerald… and the rest of the stones are very high quality: seraphinite, tourmaline, peridot, citrine, smoky quartz, kyanite, turquoise, larimar, amazonite, amethyst, lapis, hematite, pearls, jade, chalcedony, rhodochrosite, moonstone, sunstone, carnelian, malachite, and garnet.

I also used some large Swarovski crystals to draw extra attention.

I used 14k gold wire, and all of the findings were 100% handmade. This necklace can be worn long, or it can be doubled. It looks pretty darn fabulous either way.

I just love the cluster of sapphire, peridot, ruby, and moonstone hanging in the middle of the gold wire circle.

I seriously had a hard time giving this one up… may need to make one of these for myself, too.

Be sure to click the pictures to see the full-sized images. It's worth seeing, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Poem: Stricken

I dream of floating up and away,
to a land far from here,
far from all my troubles,
outstanding petulant to-do-list residents--
permanent residents
it seems these days
follow me around, waving their arms violently 
in the air and screaming at me
to mark them complete,
and all I want to do is
drive on the coast of Maine
and stop at a cemetery,
walk around the lovely grounds
and ask the bees to show me mercy,
and leave me be--

and then,
I come upon a bench labeled with a name,
a noun
a verb
a permission slip:


(I abide. 
I'm not together
but I'm getting there.)

*Note: I did visit Maine in September. It was a trip full of serendipity, grace, and healing. See all the photos I took here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Sale? Why Not!

I had a big sale in August, and I’ve decided to do another one. This time, though, it’s an even BIGGER discount!

If you’ve had your eye on a piece (or 3!) but you haven’t been sure about buying it… now is the time!

Enter the coupon code NOV2010SPECIAL during your check-out through Etsy*, and you’ll get a whopping 25% off your entire purchase! 

Yes, you read that right...

25% off your entire purchase!

That’s a big deal!

Please pass this on to your friends… family… strangers… etc!

Sale runs through November 30th only!

*You must enter the coupon code… if you don’t, then Etsy won’t adjust the sale amount and you won’t get your discount!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Weight Loss Journey, Continued

I haven’t posted in forever! I know. I’m long, long overdue.

The truth is, I’ve gone through some really difficult stuff over the past several months. It really started to hit me in June, and it’s still going on now. The good thing is… I’m through the worst of it.

But, still… sometimes life throws curve balls for which you are unbelievably unprepared.

I’ll also be honest, and say that I have gone back and forth about a thousand times, trying to decide how much to say here on my blog. You’ll notice that so far, I’ve chosen to stay quiet… but I would like to share a couple of things. At some point, I’ll share more, but I need to wait until a couple of larger issues have resolution first.
So, as for what I will share…

I have lost 50 pounds.

Yes. Fifty.

(That's me... the "just barely overweight" me, on the right!)

I’ve done it the right way, with adjustments in diet and portion control. Now I wish I had taken progress photos from the beginning! I started this journey back at the very beginning of May, and I’m still going. I have 32 pounds left to lose, to reach my original goal.

Up until last week, I was absolutely determined to make it, but I’ve run into an unexpected snag.

I just ordered some jeans from Old Navy, and when they came in I immediately put them on and pranced around in front of the mirror for a good 15 minutes, posing and looking at myself in utter disbelief at how small the number was on the inside of those jeans, and the jeans fit me so well, and I let the belief sink in as I looked at all the shrinking parts of me, smiling wide all the while.

In other words… I’ve never been as happy with my body as I am in this moment.

In fact, I’m so happy with the way I look and feel right now that I’m having a hard time staying motivated to continue losing more weight!

Holy cow… I really wasn’t expecting that.

Last week was a wash. Intense work stress provided just the needed excuse to eat poorly. I shoveled candy and chocolate, fattening food, and higher portions than I have been eating.

Friday night, I found myself thinking, “What the hell am I doing?”

I’ve been on such a roll with losing the weight I want to lose… and I’ve done an excellent job. But, this past week… I just gave up.

I listened as my internal voice told me the same thing it’s told me time and time again, for years. 
“Just this one piece won’t hurt. 
Just one more bite won’t hurt. 
It’s no big deal.”

I realized that while I am happy with the way I look right now, it’s going to be hard to maintain (let alone continue to lose) if I go right back to the bad old eating habits I used to have.

I think one thing adding difficulty is that I don’t have a point of reference. I’ve never been the size I’m going for. Never. Not even in high school. Not even in junior high... or elementary school, for that matter. I’ve been overweight for almost my entire life, so I don’t actually know what it feels like to feel slender, or a normal size… I have no clue what it feels like (or looks like!) to fit well within the “healthy weight range” for my height. Not a clue!

So, I can see how it’s easy to stop trying. I don’t know what my goal looks like or feels like, so I’m not entirely sure how to keep it tangible.

These are the things I thought about and wrote about in my private journal on Friday.

I had a pretty significant “light bulb” or epiphany after all that thinking… and Saturday morning, I woke up with a renewed sense of motivation.

I realized that if I quit now, I would be following suit with so many decisions I’ve made in my life.

I’d be settling.

Settling for a size and weight that isn’t where I want to be. Settling for not looking as good as I know I can look… settling for not feeling as good as I can feel.

Settling… is such an ugly pattern in my life! But now that I realize what I was doing, I am absolutely resolute in my decision to plow forward and continue on with losing more weight… At least 32 more pounds to reach my original goal.

I will get there. I’m absolutely determined.

And tonight, I made a very yummy chicken and veggie soup to help support that cause…

I’m back on the wagon, y’all.

Watch out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Only Constant in Life? Change...

I have a few things to talk about today, and a few pictures to show you. Ready?

First... my sale is still going strong. I've even posted a few new things... so please do check it out. At 20% off everything in the shop, it's really hard to go wrong. 

Second... I've made a necklace for myself. Yup, another one. It features some of the most gorgeous rainbow moonstone I've ever seen, including a really large teardrop briolette that I've coveted for myself for ages, now. I finally made the necklace that's been sitting in my head for a long time.

What do you think? I like that I can remove the pendant at the bottom easily enough and put something else there, or, depending on the neckline of what I'm wearing, leave the hook empty. I could see some yummy larimar hanging from that hook, though... mmm...

I'm really getting into hammering wire and texturing the heck out of it. I love the look. And it's really fun! 

Now... the next thing is that my friend Sarah has opened a new Etsy shop for her jewelry. I can't say I'm surprised, since she's been making jewelry for a little while now. But have you seen her latest jewelry? It rivals any of the best jewelry I've seen. She's really upped the ante on her work by learning to work with wire. She's really making it work for her... in very cool ways. 

To say I'm a little intimidated would be an understatement. I mean, why would anyone want to buy anything from me anymore... when you can buy Sarah's amazing beads in her own amazing jewelry? C'mon, now, go check it out!

I'm going through some changes right now, and change is hard. My confidence has been knocked around a bit, and I'm trying to find my footing. 

One of the things I'm changing is my jewelry. I'm pushing myself to come up with more and more unique designs... because, let's face it. A few years ago, nobody was making jewelry that was quite like mine. Now, I see jewelry just like mine everywhere I go... except that now I consistently see jewelry that's far more inventive, clever, amazing, and beautiful than mine.

Part of the reason? Those jewelry artists have more time than I do. 

I work full time, so any time I get to devote to creating is at night, when I'm already tired from the day, or during the weekend, when I'm also trying to cram in errands, time with friends, and chores like laundry. There isn't much I can do about it at this point, but it really leaves me feeling a bit lost as an artist. 

I almost feel like there's nothing original anymore... so what's the point in even trying to be different? 

That's not a good place to be in when you're an artist.

I'm working through that, and also working through all the other crap I'm going through (because losing my identity as an artist just isn't enough), so that's one of the reasons why I've been so quiet.

I'll end on a good note, though.

I've managed to lose 31 pounds, and if I keep it going at the pace I've established over the last few months, I'll reach my original goal weight by the end of January 2011. That's very encouraging!

Here's a photo I snapped this morning. 

I can see how my face is thinner... and though I still have a long way to go, I'm very, very motivated. It's one of the best things in my life at the moment, and I'm clinging very tightly to that...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SALE - 20% Off Everything!

I know, I know... it's been a long time since I've updated. I've had quite a lot going on, including initiating some really big changes in my life.

I'm still keeping up with the lifestyle change... and I've lost close to 30 pounds now. I'm losing about a pound a week, which is good for healthy, sustaining weight loss. And I'm really enjoying it, too! I feel better, I look better, and I already enjoy life more than I have in a long time.

But let's get to the heart of this post, shall we?

I'm having a sale. A big one! I need to generate some serious cash, so I've put everything in my Etsy shop on sale!

20% off your entire purchase!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Congratulations to...


Karen was the first one to comment, and I typed in the range to (I love that site - if I had to actually *choose* I'd be absolutely unable!)... and #1 was the winner... and that's Karen!

Karen, I know how to contact you, so all I need is to get your address, and this little gem will be on the way. I hope you love this little bead... now that the time is here, I'm having a very hard time parting with it. I've suddenly become very attached.

I find that I'm struggling with that in just about every aspect of my life at the moment... I'm clinging to everything familiar, trying to make sense of what's going on in my mind and heart. 

And it's not working...

So, that's why I've been quiet here.

Still - I did manage to post 12 new listings to Etsy yesterday... so please do check them out! Lots of simple pieces, clearing out some stash I've had for ages. A few of those pendants have been around since I first got back into beading, about 5 years ago now. That's a long time to hold on to something that I never intended to keep in the first place!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Lori - A Custom Wedding Necklace

Riding the wave into a new chapter of life... This necklace turned out exactly as I imagined it would. I painted the picture in my head of a wave of sterling silver wire, with two large silver pearls attached to it, and a wired amethyst flower in the middle.

My co-worker and friend is getting married this weekend, and I offered to make her a necklace to wear.

This is the result.

She likes simple designs, and while I think this fits (at least loosely) the "simple" part... I think this necklace is particularly special. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and honestly-- if I didn't make this necklace specifically for her, I would probably keep it!

She and her fiancĂ© have a special story. They met as co-workers and became fast friends... helping each other heal from their divorces. They've been bonded ever since!

They are a wonderful couple, and I wish them all the best as they start their new chapter of life together!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Giveaway - Enter to Win My 'Red Dwarf' Necklace!

The first giveaway was a huge success! I think it's fair to say that a lot of folks learned about Rachael's kitty/dog/ferret/etc beds... and even Winston gets to have one, too!

The giveaway sparked a need in me, and I feel like giving away more lately.

I have a lot of blessings, and I feel more blessings when I give things away.

If you recall in this post, I made a bead that's the star of the video I made to demonstrate lampworking, and I turned the bead into a necklace.

I really like this little bead, and it’s hard to let it go. But it just didn’t seem right to sell it. I really couldn’t charge enough for it, ya know? 

So, I'm giving it away!

Do you like the name, Red Dwarf? I sure do!

Not only is it a type of star, it's a really goofy TV series from the '90s. I got hooked on the show for a short while, back in the days when I also watched Star Trek: Next Generation. 

(Yes. I'm admitting to a bit of geekiness.)

So, please DO enter the contest to win this necklace, and spread the word to get more entries!

And just for kicks, if you make a purchase from my Etsy site between now and the close of the giveaway (June 28 - see below) AND mention the giveaway when you purchase... you'll get a 20% discount off your entire purchase!!!

Don't forget to become a fan of my jewelry on Facebook, and add this blog to the regular blogs you read. I really love having more readers!

The following info is very important, so please read carefully!!

Here’s how to enter:
  1. Leave a comment by 11:59pm Central time on Monday, June 28 telling me what kind of jewelry you love to wear: styles (simple, statement piece, long/short necklaces, etc) as well as colors and any other details you can provide! 
  2. Tweet or otherwise link this giveaway for additional chances to win! **Important: Please make sure you leave a separate comment providing the url for where you linked the giveaway so all your entries will count!**

The fine print:
  • Shipping is to anywhere in the world
  • Comments posted after the deadline (Monday, June 28 11:59PM Central time) will not be included in the drawing
  • The winner will need to email me with your address so you can get your awesome one of a kind necklace
  • To be as fair as possible, I will use a randomizer to choose the winner

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations to Sevendaysky!

You are the winner of the kitty bed!

Please email me at lindaleestudio at gmail dot com so we can make sure you get the bed and smelly catnip toys!

I'm in the giving mood, and there will be another giveaway set up here in the next week. I've decided to give away the necklace you see in an earlier post. Check it out... and get ready to enter and spread the word.

More to come!

Wordless Wednesday - Joy Necklace

"What I know for sure is that you feel real JOY in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth." - Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Watch Me Do Lampwork!

I'm very happy to show you my very own lampworking video!

Anyone who lampworks will immediately scoff at my sloppy technique that I would ultimately correct if I could only practice more. I don't have a torch setup at home... I have to rent studio time. And, since my husband is currently out of work, I don't rent studio time as much as I'd like to.

Lucky me, [most] glass is so forgiving that most of the time, a little slop in technique doesn't matter.

So, ignoring some of the sloppiness, please do let me know what you think!

I edited it myself. My husband was the camera man. The bead took me about 20 minutes to make, from the time I had the torch lit until I walked over to put it into the kiln. This was a labor of love I put together for a talent show at work, and I'm actually really pleased with the results! Except for not putting a great photo of the finished product in there, of course.

So, I'll show you:

So... now what to do. Do I give it away in a contest? Do I sell it? I haven't decided. I'm leaning towards giving this necklace away. More details to come!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Personal Food Revolution

When I was a little girl, and even into high school and college, I loved having my picture taken. I used to joke that I looked better in pictures than I did in person.

But some time in the past few years, I became camera shy.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it all stemmed from seeing recent-ish pictures of myself and wanting to puke. I don't feel that fat. I don't feel any more fat than I have ever been. And stepping on the scale (as of 6 weeks ago), I was actually the same weight I've been for years.

I'm talking 10 years of a consistent weight... and I'm still 15 pounds less than my fattest (which happened at a particularly bad stretch within that 10 yrs).

Yet, when I look at pictures, everything looks saggy and puffy and ICKY. When did I start to sag this much? When did all my fat bits gather together in one spot or several pronounced spots like they have now? It made me feel very self-conscious, because I don't feel fat (how is a fat person supposed to feel, anyway?).

I feel like I've always felt, except that I'm happy. The pictures I take of myself reflect that happy inner me, because I can manage to take pictures that avoid highlighting the fatty saggy bits.

But seeing pictures that other people have taken of me, I felt so sad. The pretty, vivacious, fun me wasn’t being captured. All I could see was the fat that I could hardly even believe was actually there.

So... I felt motivated to do something about it.

Six weeks ago, I radically changed my eating habits.

And in that amount of time, I’ve lost 15 pounds.


This isn’t the first time I’ve worked to lose weight. I lost 30 pounds before Brett and I got married back in 2003, but I was still doing it the wrong way, which at the time meant Slim Fast shakes and basically starving myself. Well, sure, it worked, and I had to have my dress altered like whoa, because the thing was falling off of me. But as soon as the wedding was over, I started eating again and porked right back out.

I’ve done the Slim Fast things many times in the past, usually in a nearly futile effort to gain momentum and motivation for more weight loss.

Not surprisingly, it never worked.

This time is all different. Something inside of me clicked, like flipping on a light switch. It’s truly a lifestyle change. I’ve known this on a cognitive level for years, but it’s different when that cognition moves to coursing through your veins. It’s overwhelming and empowering and suddenly, I can’t wait to act on it.

It’s all about choices. And sometimes, each bite is a choice.

Do I really need this bite, or do I just want it? 

Or is it that I just feel obligated to eat it, because it’s there, and somewhere in the very dark recesses of my mind, there’s a tape playing that says, “Clean your plate!”?

Just like choosing to have a good day, instead of waiting for the fates to bestow a good day upon me, I have the power to choose to eat good things instead of eating by default.

It’s not a diet, it’s an entirely different way of thinking about food.

Now, I think about what’s going to be good for my body. I think about what I’ve eaten in a week to determine whether or not I can indulge in one of my many sweet tooth desires, like ice cream, chocolate, and other ridiculously rich and chocolately desserts.

I am allowing myself to have a special treat about twice a week.

And I have less of it.

If it’s a piece of pie, it’s a small piece. If it’s a bowl of ice cream, it’s less than a scoop instead of filled to the brim.

I’m finding that not only do I look forward to my treat… I savor the treat even more. I’m still allowing myself to have it—so it’s not deprivation, but I’m having markedly less in both quantity and frequency.

And it’s working!

As for meals, I’m thinking about food as to how it’s going to treat my body. Will it treat my body well, or will I pay for it later with indigestion and stomach pains, feeling crappy and having no energy, and ultimately weight gain?

Here’s an example.

I hadn’t eaten fried food in weeks, and I decided to have fish and chips as an indulgence meal. I really enjoyed that meal, but later?

I got sick.

My body had so quickly become used to fresh, healthy food that it really hated the fried dinner.

Lesson learned! I won’t do that again.

Much of the time, I’m finding that giving in to an impulsive indulgence really isn’t worth it. Eating a cookie here and there isn’t going to be the end of me… but making the distance between “here” and “there” longer will make me feel happier and healthier and better.

What’s more, I’m learning the power of saying no. Passing up something like generic birthday cake at the office actually feels good, because I’m winning a battle my brain is trying to fight against me. And those kinds of triumphs are really hard to articulate, but it’s akin to getting a parking spot in the front row at the store when it’s raining cats and dogs and you don’t have your umbrella.

It’s a small and simple thing that just feels good.

The moral of the story? It’s an ongoing story, and I’m learning along the way.

The point is, I don’t have a set destination. The word ‘diet’ isn’t even in my vocabulary. I don’t have a certain number of pounds in mind to lose. BMI is a number on someone else’s radar—not mine! All I know is that I want to feel and look better. I want to continue to have more energy. I want to give my body good things to keep it strong and happy and healthy.

And as long as I’m going about this the right way for me, I absolutely can’t go wrong.

And soon, I won’t be so camera shy. I’ll be begging folks to take my picture.