The 10 Pounds in 30 Days Plan Went Bust: I Confess

See, wha-haa-haappened wuz…back on September 9th I went on a mission to drop 10 pounds in 30 days with no diet or fake food and no boring crap.  The whole plan went straight to hell when I discovered a health problem and took action to correct it.  I will spare you all the gory details but I went through a minor surgery (which didn’t seem so minor at all) at the end of September.  Before that I had lost 3 pounds of fat.  After, I don’t know.  It looks as though I gained seven, but the doctor insists that this is water weight.  I my mind I know he’s right because just the same as how the body can’t get rid of more than 1-2 pounds a week, the body can’t manufacture more than 1-2 pounds a fat per week, unless it’s a Supersize Me situation but still, I had a few resulting cookie episodes.  I had to take it easy from all physical activity for 2 and a half weeks after the surgery, which kinda threw me off a little bit more.

So, here we are again.  These things happen because this is real life.  I’m back on the program because I want to slim down a little but also because I love the variety of foods and the exercise, well, is not just exercise.  It’s all fun and games.  (Yasmin unlocked some new songs on Dance Dance Revolution, woo-hoo!)

I don’t know whether I can lose 10 pounds in 30 days or not.  But I know I can slim down and look fabulous in 30 days, but it might take a few more weeks to total 10 pounds, or maybe not, who knows?  I’ve learned that this doesn’t matter.  I was wasting energy worrying about something stupid that just causes unnecessary anxiety and a fall off the bandwagon. I decided a while ago that I am not willing to make any drastic dietary or exercise changes that I am not willing to reasonably keep up forever.  However, I fully acknowledge and take into consideration that  to lose weight requires that we intake less and exert more than maintaining weight does.  But the difference between the two should not be drastic if I’m generally eating nutrient dense delicious foods and keeping my body moving.

The lesson learned:  do the right things and skip the arbitrary deadlines and quotas.  Motivation should not be found in a date on the calendar or a number on the scale, especially since the journey never ends there.  I’ve found some super motivation (besides the good feeling) though.  I’m dancing in a show in February.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to work towards a certain weight or size.  The motivation is to get back down in that studio working on the most deliciously fantastic erotic tantric bellydance creation ever!  Stay tuned for details, dates, invites.  What’s YOUR motivation?

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Noor Jihan: Art and Spirit in Motion

Some people meditate by sitting cross legged, frozen for hours.  Some people meditate with walking or dance, some people meditate on canvas or handmade parchment with paints, pastels, or charcoal.  My dear friend and spirit sister Francie Trainor, known as Noor Jihan does all of the above.  Noor Jihan means “light of the world”, and that she truly is.  That name was given to her by somebody somewhere, you’ll have to ask her about that. I met Noor something like sixteen years ago.  A good friend and coworker introduced me to her after much begging and pleading from me because she was a professional bellydancer who taught and I was an eager bellydance obsessed person.  We hit it off immediately, as most people do with Noor because of her powerfully gentle, kind personality.  She is an awesome dancer with a very elegant, fluid classical style.  She performs regularly at Marrakesh Palace in DC and Laziza in Fredricksburg VA and teaches monthly intermediate level workshops here in our Arts and Wellness Sanctuary.

Noor Jihan is also a formally trained professional visual artist.  Her paintings are deep and moody and depict a certain optimism in darkness.  Several of her paintings are on display at our Arts and Wellness Sanctuary. All of her works are very spiritual and reflect her rich ancient Celtic pantheistic roots.  Her pieces include all of herself, with no fragmentation.

Noor’s spirit art workshops center around nurturing creativity for spiritual transformation and gaining access to individual artistic expression.  Spirit art helps to relieve stress, heal emotional pain, and bring a quiet joy to life.  She begins her workshops with a deep, visual meditation to set the sacred security of the space and to help students to interpret their inner artist voices and awaken the creative passion within.  She encourages her students to let loose and play with color, shape, and texture.  The resulting piece is always worthy of being framed and displayed as soulful symbols of a personal journey or given away as precious gifts.  At the end, it looks and feels as though the work is literally a visual representation of pure love.

Noor sees beauty in everything, even things I swear are butt ugly.  She is excrutiatingly patient and truly believes that everybody is an artist, no matter their skill or confidence levels.  When she sees beauty, she causes everyone around her to recognize the beauty she sees, which makes creating art with her particularly comfortable for new artists of all ages.  She has spirit art workshops scheduled in November and December.

To Tweet or not Tweet, that is the Question…

A while back I wrote a post displaying my true (nasty) feelings about Twitter.  Since then, I am giving it another whole-hearted try.  Actually giving it a whole-hearted try. I’ve discovered some interesting folks on Twitter and am still learning how to join in on meaningful (or goofy) conversations.  I still haven’t figured out how to “hang out” with some folks, like at happy hour but then I only have about 30 followers.

I did have fun fussing and ranting about my dislike for Michelle Rhee, which was a pretty good learning experience.  Being fired up inspires me to learn how to use something to spit my flames.

I’m thinking I may have been a little harsh with my criticism of Twitter back then, and although I am far but enamored with this particular social networking tool there is a possibility it might not suck.  Will update in a month or two.  I promise.  Remind me if I don’t.  And please, feel free to comment.

Nutritional Density: Let me break it on down (Part 2) Whole Grains

Whole Grains

What is a whole grain?  A whole grain is a starch with the entire kernel left intact.  A refined grain is the starch that has the hull or coarse outer bran removed.  The problem is, the bran contains most of the fiber and nutrients, so when it is removed you are left with the endosperm, which is just a starch, a starch that is very rapidly converted to pure sugar, even before it reaches the stomach or bloodstream.  In high school we did an experiment where we took ordinary processed white wheat saltine crackers and chewed them up.  We spit the chewed cracker into a test tube to measure the sugar level.  The change was significant.  Processed starch turns to sugar before it is swallowed.

So, food manufacturers can be pretty tricky when trying to get us to buy their products and will say anything to confuse about the whole grain issue.  Here is a quick guide to what exactly you get when buying grain products at the market:

  • Made with whole grain – probably processed grain (endosperm) and perhaps a touch of bran added.  Usually unclear about how much of the grain used was whole.
  • Multigrain – has nothing to do with the wholeness or unwholeness of the grain used.  Multigrain means that more than one type of grain was used, such as wheat and oats.
  • 100% whole grain – this is the best one.  Indicates that the entire kernel was used–bran, endosperm, and germ.
  • Wheat bread – means nothing.  Most bread is made from wheat, but if there is no indication of what percentage of that wheat is whole, assume that is not.

Generally, though not always, when looking for whole grain products they are more brown in color and less white.  The higher levels of fiber in the food slows down its conversion to sugar, causing a slower spike in blood sugar in addition to the higher nutrient level.  Examples of whole grain products are brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, whole grain rye bread, 100% whole wheat pasta, 100% whole wheat couscous, and oat bran.

News Flash: Not all Black Women Wear Fake Hair

It’s weird, three people in the last month or so have said something to indicate that they assumed that I am wearing extensions, a weave, or a wig.  WTH?  Does my hair look fake? 

Ok, I realize that this is because of the terrifying profusion of fake hair being worn by my beautiful sistahs, and some women’s obsession with long hair at whatever cost, be it monetary or beauty.  Is it because of the movie “Good Hair”?  I was horrified by that movie too.  Before that film I had never seen a weave being applied either.

It is no secret that I can’t stand weaves and wigs.  Mostly because they have tainted the whole idea of black women with long hair.  I grew every single strand of these thick, luscious, nappy, long locs on my head from the follicles on my scalp. My hair is REAL.  It didn’t come from some poor Indian woman’s temple or a horse’s ass. Believe it.

I’m obsessive about the products I use and care I take of it.  I want it clean, fresh, and shiny at all times.  I’m glad you like it but please know that there are black women with beautiful (and long) hair, oh yes, there are others besides me!  Please do not automatically assume that some black woman’s hair cost a fortune or that she spends her days sitting up in a salon having it sewn onto her head.  Consider that some of us just might have real hair.