(164.6) Negative Space


Illustration by Taylor Branam via artbyflowerchild.wordpress.com

When I look at my calendar over the past month or so, it’s obvious to me what’s been missing: breathing room. For better or for worse, I’m not the kind of person who holds up well when I force myself to go, go, go. When travel, social events, deadlines, and work events start to line up back to back, like they have recently, I start to feel not myself.

Believe me, I wish I were different. I have one friend who has been sustaining a life pace for at least a decade that would probably kill me. When we traveled to Iceland together two years ago, we literally picked her up from her office to catch our plane. And as soon as we got through customs on our return trip, she was hailing a cab to make it to a date on time. I could not have been more amazed, confused, or impressed if she would have made the jet we came in on disappear into thin air, a la David Copperfield. I really envy that kind of stamina. Continue reading →

(162.9) The Yoga Cure

There are many things that frustrate me about myself, and one of the biggies is how often I just stop doing something that clearly and dramatically benefits me. And there is no better example of this than yoga.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for decades. My yoga mat dates back to a time when you could not pick one up at Target. I bought it in the mid-90s from a guy in a warehouse who cut mine off an industrial size roll of the nonslip material based on his assessment of my height. I have sun saluted my way through awful breakups, life transitions, weight loss missions, and periods of uncertainty. One of my longest and best runs was back in 2001 when I was waiting to hear if I got into grad school. I practiced thrice weekly with a great teacher named Kristin and it was the only time I could consistently pull off “chaturanga,” which I think of as yoga’s pushup.  Continue reading →

(163.4) Shifting Focus

I’ve been rethinking my weight goals recently, and I have concluded that have a numerical weight goal isn’t right for me, at least not right now. My goals should be related to my actions, which I have direct control over, and not an outcome, such as what the scale says, over which I have limited control.

As it relates to wellness, there are three major areas I want to focus my attention and effort on. Notice these are all things I want to get more of or make sure I get enough of and not things I want to cut back on or eliminate. I think focusing on things I want to cut back on or eliminate puts me in deprived state of mind that ultimately makes it harder to be moderate about food and drink. I also tend to think that having more of these three things makes me feel good and sets me up for success, productivity, and positivity. Good habits like these have the power to crowd out more self-destructive behaviors over time, or so  I have noticed in the past.  Continue reading →

(164.9) Meal Plan Monday

groceries April 12

Vegetables, at last!

For the first time in several weeks I have a meal plan! I realize that when I have consecutive jam-packed busy weekends (that keep me away from my desk), I start to swirl the drain because I fall behind. First there was the conference weekend, followed by Easter weekend, followed by this past weekend with my first Girls Gone Happy session (a post on this topic is forthcoming) on Saturday and the Philly Farm & Food fest all day yesterday.

The fest was especially hectic for me because I was scheduled to do a cooking demo and sign copies of Almost Meatless while I was simultaneously representing Edible Philly at the magazine’s tables. It was such a pleasure to do all of that stuff but it was also draining. I ran out of words and after the fest found myself communicating almost exclusively in emojis.  Continue reading →

(164.1) Like a Forest Fire

Can we time travel a little? Let’s go back about two weeks, to Monday March 23. That was the day my Dad was emergency admitted to the hospital over what turned out to be blood clots in his legs and heart. I spent most of the week with him there, anxiously asking questions, taking notes, and trying to make heads or tails of what the many doctors where saying. At one point, they suggested it was likely he’d need open heart surgery to fix what looked like major blockages in the arteries of his heart. They also mentioned that he had had a silent heart attack and that it was possible the damage was done and when they were finished with him, it would be a question of improving the quality of the remainder of his life, and not fixing him. Continue reading →

(162.6) Progress Report

The progress report is that I’m not making progress. Actually I’m making backwards progress.

My weight is creeping up. I’m having a lot of mixed feelings about it. The inner war between self-acceptance and self-improvement wages on and I don’t really feel like talking about it today, for once.


(162.6) Power Up


Walking along the Italian Market powers me up!

On Monday morning, freshly back from the conference with a mile-long work to-do list, I decided not to work at all.

As I’ve talked about, I’ve recently turned housecleaning into some kind of hobby/therapy hybrid. My husband is less invested than I have been in maintaining the neatness, so while I was away in DC the house got messy. I felt that I would be more focused, centered, and productive if I restored household order before getting down to business.

Continue reading →

(163.9) Weight Creep


Roasted cauliflower from Zaytinya restaurant in Washington DC

The last week and a half have been stressful–a health emergency of my father’s had me in the hospital much of last week, and then I headed off (unprepared) to a big culinary conference. In the last 10 days or so, I’ve had a lot of different emotions and experiences–none of the kind that tend to support weight loss or health.

In recent weeks I’ve been trying to focus on self acceptance and self care. I feel overwhelmed and defeated by the idea that I should lose weight. Not only that, I can’t hide from the fact that it’s an ever-upward climbing cycle for me, and for most people. In the long run I will probably weigh less if I stop than if I continue to yo-yo. Continue reading →

(162.9) I’m still here!

Sorry for being an absentee blogger. I’ve had an unexpectedly large portion of unpleasantness on my plate lately. The beginning of the week was consumed with my Dad’s health troubles. I spent all of Monday and Tuesday in the hospital with him, thinking he was about to have open heart surgery. Luckily, his various cardiac blockages turned out to be blood clots and they were treated with IV blood thinners, not surgery. Whew. Anyway, it really rattled my cage and took my attention away from work and deadlines during a week I was supposed to be preparing for the IACP conference in Washington DC. … And now I’m headed there today! Regular blogging to resume next week, though probably on Tuesday!

(161.8) Walking 2,034.69 Miles in My Shoes


We gather here today to memorialize my first pair of Keens (left) before they are laid to rest. Their life was long, full, and extremely well traveled. These kicks really lived before they died. The shoes fell into my life by accident. We were testing walking shoes for a story when I worked on at Prevention magazine when this life-changing footwear was randomly assigned to me by fate in the spring of 2011. I loved the punchy pink hue and ballerina-ish straps. The inside of the shoe felt great on my feet–even without socks. The subtle arch support was just enough, and there was no point of contact between foot and shoe that resulted in even the slightest irritation. Continue reading →