and god laughs

I’ve made a lot of changes recently.  Kind of a shift in focus from doing what I needed to do to get through my day to actually being proactive and tackling long-term challenges.  Part of that comes with having a little more time now that school is on hold and I’m transitioning into new work.  Part of that is feeling a little better (well, before cold/allergy/asthma Hell hit).  Part of that is me changing since my surgery.  Same old, same old just doesn’t fly so much anymore.

So, the roomie & I have been trying to get this apartment clean and organized–a definite challenge.  We had months and months of both of us working really demanding, time-consuming jobs and me going to school.  Plus three cats rubbing their butts on everything and puking everywhere pretty much every day.  And then my surgery–which pretty much meant I couldn’t lift anything or bend for a month–so definitely no cleaning.  Keeping up with it was pretty hard.

And welp, the last two years, we kind of got into an accumulation phase.  When time was low, we didn’t do laundry.  We bought new clothes instead.  If we couldn’t find something, we bought something instead.  And, after a harsh period of having nothing, transitioning to a period of abundance meant we needed a lot of things–that we’d put off for a long time.  J intentionally lost a lot of weight, too–so none of his clothes fit after a while and had to be replaced.  Since November, I unintentionally lost a good amount of weight, too.  Luckily, I had some clothes to pick up the slack–but they didn’t exactly fit like they used to.  The problem with more stuff?  We have very limited storage options here.  Cabinet space is non-existent.  So, that meant, we’d buy things to store things in–which became its own form of clutter and burden.  Things have to be put together–and often, there wasn’t time.  So, that great storage thingee just ended up on the table.  Or propped against a wall.  And weekends–the only time we ever had time to do anything–became errand days, packed full of runs here and there or mini road trips to ensure sanity (which ended up being stressful anyway).  We’ve talked about hiring someone to deal with it, but I really wouldn’t inflict it on someone and (besides) it all kinda requires our judgment.

In any case, it got pretty bad…even though we tried to purge as much as possible.  I get pretty stressed out when my home isn’t what I want it to be.  And, working from home, it was always in my way…always something to contend with.  A non-stop item on my to-do list.  Home wasn’t a sanctuary.  And as we tried to deal with it, it just got worse.  Because there’s no space in this apartment, and things get worse before they get better.  We ended up using our kitchen as a storage space while we were trying to go through everything.  Which meant not a lot of cooking happened in there.  Which was fine because we really didn’t have time to cook.

The good news?  The roomie made huge strides in the living room yesterday.  The kitchen is a kitchen again.  And the rest of it is better than it was.  So, there’s a light at the end of this clutter tunnel.

Along with the focus on changing our apartment and making it feel like an actual home, I’ve been more focused on health and nutrition.  Mostly because I had to do something.  The changes my body underwent after my surgery meant I had some nasty side effects–all of which are controllable through diet and a lot of patience.  But I can’t just sit on my hands and take things for granted.  Life after Gus’ departure means I have to pay attention to my body.  It changes–a lot.  What works great for me one day is the worst thing ever the next day.  And I have to figure out why.  It’s actually a really good thing and supports the changes I made before that led to me losing weight.  It makes it easier because I really cannot slack.  It’s not optional.  Paying attention and honoring my body is a mandatory thing–or I WILL feel like shit.

I’ve always thought of food as medicine.  But, now, I’m much more aware of how things affect me.  The good news is that nothing is really off-limits, and in fact, some things I would have banned previously have to be part of my life now.  Before Gus’ demise, eating pizza or spaghetti or anything remotely acidic meant taking medicine to counteract it–or not eating it at all–because I literally would be awake all night and sick.  I couldn’t eat anything with gluten without feeling pretty ill, too.  Now, I can eat anything, and I don’t pop Tums like candy.  It’s just a matter of managing it–finding balance.  If I’m unbalanced, I know immediately and feel miserable.  It’s pretty liberating to not have to really guess anymore, and it’s changing how I see food.  I’m still an emotional eater, but I’m confident my cravings are less about emotions now and more about physical needs.  I’m able to identify the things I really don’t need a lot more easily.  And food is a tool more than an indulgence.  That said, I still really like food.  Which is all quite surprising.  Before, when people would talk about food as a tool or fuel, I’d feel like I could never be that detached…that seeing it that way (something I deemed necessary to eat healthfully) would take away my joy and passion for it.  But it really hasn’t.

I’ve learned that I have to have more fiber and protein in my diet–that calcium & magnesium have to be in there, too.  How I get there doesn’t really matter.  Fat levels absolutely do, though.  That’s my new challenge: figuring out what’s too little and what’s too much, fat-wise.  It’s an epic battle some days.  So, I have to think pretty strategically.  Mostly, I listen to my body.  It gives me undeniable feedback.  It goes through phases.  One week, I might crave salty foods like whoa.  The next, it might be fruit.  I went through a phase of eating fast food because my body couldn’t get a handle on fat and needed to have more of it to learn how to process it.  I had to help it regulate, find a maximum point of reference–and a low-fat diet wasn’t going to get me there.  After a few days of that, my body had its fill and decided it was time for other things.  Namely: balance.  I’m kind of amazed by how good my body is at finding its sweet spot–and how amazing I feel when it finally does.  All those years of struggling with this stuff?  The answer was so simple.  Just stop thinking you know best and listen to how you feel.  It’s not rocket science.

No matter what I eat, I’m finding that–lately–I’m losing at least 2 pounds a week without trying.  I haven’t really done much exercise, mostly because I wanted to get the food part right and just get stronger in my body.  I started meditating again recently and have been trying to do more spiritually.  I’m trying to sleep more.  I plan on doing acupuncture and Chinese herbs next.  And I’ll start swimming regularly after the asthma stuff is more stable.

Despite the scary challenges I’ve had, I do feel 200% stronger and better than I did back in March.  I feel like, finally, I’m on the right road for me.  I never would have chosen this road for myself…never would have guessed this path would get me here.  But I’m grateful for it.

My big task for the next couple of weeks is getting back into cooking more than eating out.  It’s easier to do now that I have more time, but that soon won’t be the case.  So, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas to create meals that are beautiful, fulfilling, nutritionally sound, and fairly easy to prepare.  All while living, and cooking for, a roomie who is Paleo/Primal.  I like the idea of batch cooking on the weekend–mostly because I’m truly bad at making simple meals.  I know they don’t have to be boring, but the day-to-day meals aren’t where I really shine.  They aren’t what I enjoy either.  I like it when food preparation is a marathon–with multiple legs and moving parts.  I like making things special.

So, I started this past weekend and had a great menu planned, but–while cooking–my plans were sidetracked when I accidentally paid too much attention to the television instead of my knife while slicing radishes.  I’d gotten some stuff done, but the majority involved a lot of slicing and dicing, so I thought it best to just wait a day to do that part.  I plan on doing it today and sharing the whole shebang here.  It may be a regular thing, since I do miss foodie blogging and feel like it keeps me honest/accountable.

And I will eventually blog that Ari Hest concert, too.

(Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, I changed this blog a bit, too.  Expect more about my Mighty List stuff from here on out).

Happy Monday.  Stay away from sharp edges.  Unless that’s your thing.

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