New Website


Hi Everyone!  I have my own website now!

Everything that you loved about this blog will be even better over at Embracing Life: Writing for Joy.

http://www.writingforjoy.com

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Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Aly

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Taking a Step


img_20170215_085814-1Pictured Above: December 2016 (left) and February 2017 (right) post-Whole30

Hey All,

I mentioned the other day in my Mom of 2 post that I was doing a round of Whole30. Basically, the premise of a whole30 is to eliminate foods that are triggers for inflammation, digestive issues, pain issues,unhealthy eating habits, and so on. You can read more about it here. I first heard about Whole30 two years ago when my mom mentioned that she would like to try a round. So I agreed.

At that time I was 9 months postpartum from the birth of my daughter. Completing a round was tough, but rewarding. I did another round 3 months later  because I felt so good. Many of you know or have read on here that I suffered from severe postpartum anxiety after my first pregnancy. The Whole30 really helped calm my anxiety, get my gut health back on track, and lose some extra weight (20 lbs total). Over the last two plus years I have done a few rounds of whole30 or shorter “mini rounds” whenever I felt the need to kick start my healthy habits.

Fast forward to pregnancy with my son I didn’t suffer from anxiety as much, but I really didn’t practice my healthy eating habits either. (I consumed a milkshake a day which for me was triggering digestive issues and pain). Over the past 9 months since Max was born I have been learning how to be a mom to 2 beautiful kids, getting back into my freelance writing and editing, bought a new house and moved in! With all of those wonderful events, I let my eating habits slide out of control. I went from never drinking soda to choosing that first. I usually avoid bread and cakes, but I would find myself overeating or snacking ALL day instead of just making a decent meal.

I am not blaming myself or saying “woe is me” because I was busy keeping my babies happy and healthy. The truth is that is not enough. My husband always encourages me to get out of the house, write, and just do things that make me happy. I am happy taking care of my little ones, but I want to show them that Mommy is strong. That I treat my body well by eating right and exercising (okayyy, I’m still working on that part) and treating my mind right by reading, studying, and pursuing my passion to write. I want my children to be happy in mind, body, and spirit. To me, this starts with FEELING good. So, I came back around to another round whole30.

My mom did the January 2017 whole30 with me and it helped to have a team mate. Together, we learned to cook some wonderful new recipes (Looking at you Chicken Chowder, pg 336 from The Whole30 book by Melissa Hartwig). This is an amazing non-scale victory (NSV) because before Whole30 I would have never, ever tried something like chowder and I LOVED it.

I struggled with this round emotionally. I didn’t realize how much of a hold that my eating habits had over me. There were times over the 30 day period that I cried and wanted to quit because I felt sad. I did realize though that it wasn’t healthy to be ruled my cravings and sugar like that. I wanted to use food to comfort myself and that is exactly what the Whole30 program wants to help you move away from. So I stuck it out. The sense of accomplishment, the NSV’s including less headaches, shinier hair, more confidence, and losing 10 lbs* was worth it.

The  successful completion of whole30 led me to signing our family up for the Y (shout out to my husband who has been going to the gym almost every day for 7 weeks), starting a planner, meal planning, continuing with a family budget, and making a promise to myself to write more often. I would use the excuse that the kids “need” me, but right now as I type Max is playing with toys at my feet and Sophia is watching an episode of Daniel Tiger. I have to make the time where I can spare it.

So here it is, last night I was scrolling Facebook and I saw a picture (Me in the white shirt) from a Christmas party. I laughed because I was wearing the same PJ pants. I had to do a side by side because I knew just looking at that first picture there was a huge change from December. The second picture says so much more to me than weight lost. I am standing up taller, I feel prouder, and I know I am healthier than I was before.

It is not that every day is easy now. There are some days where I will decide that pretzels are an essential food group and I am not going to get out of my pajama, but I’m going to keep trying to better myself. I’m not saying that the Whole30 is for everybody or that everyone needs to change their lifestyle, but as a self-proclaimed “lazy” girl  I want to show my family that you can still enjoy Gilmore Girl marathons and dessert without giving up a strong, healthy lifestyle.

xo AT

*The Whole30 program is NOT  a weight loss program, but for someone with  diplegic cerebral palsy  (read: mostly affects my legs) maintaining a healthy weight is essential. This helps me avoid joint pain, problems with walking, and even breathing. I’ve written more about my life with CP here.

Finally Friday!


I worked hard this week. I probably say that often, but this week I accomplished a lot in the way of work. I had my clubs back page to do (a monthly advertorial that lists events going on at our clubs/restaurants), and my feature story. To many, this may not seem like a huge deal, but to me it is. I can become somewhat of a perfectionist, in the way that I worry that my work isn’t complete even when it’s finished. This was a challenging article for me to write as well because the subject was cooking, and to be honest I’m a pretty boring cook. I usually stick to noodles, steak and chicken. So this was a learning experience for me as well as a feature article for my job. The article itself won’t come out for another month, but the text version is complete….now for design, layout, editing and printing, but fortunately, these tasks are for my teammates here and the printing company. Either way, I’m glad to say that I finally have a completed draft, though it may change between now and then, it feels good to have something finished.

I counted and over the course of 21 months I have written 6 features, 2 photo essays and three restaurant reviews (not to mention the advertisements and event advertorials I have done). Not to shabby, I’d say. I feel that a quality in myself that I have to work on is to speak up and propose my ideas for articles, in that way I think I’d get more writing experience and coverage. For a first writing job after college I think I have done pretty well. I’ll have to remember this for my next job interview, when they ask about a situation or quality in your work that you would like to improve….I definitely want to speak up and share more ideas with the team instead of being shy or even timid. I hope that the next job I take whenever we move back to the States offers me great flexibility and creative room. To see my name in print offering some really interesting topics (sumi-e painting, various restaurant reviews and food reviews, traveling around Okinawa on public transportation, snakes!) that I most likely would not have considered writing about on my own personal time. I also hope that this blog shows my dedication to writing (Hello Future Employer! Pick Me!) and the passion I have for all types of writing.

To some people, it may sound crazy, but it’s all I ever wanted to do…write poems, write stories and these days write non-fiction features. I never really enjoyed my newswriting classes, but I made up for it in my magazine and feature courses. I knew that these were the perfect mix of truth, yet telling the story in a creative way. I think that journalism as well as story telling is essential to us. Journalism reports the truth, but stories, legends and tales all give us a break from reality when the world seems too dim.

I’m glad it’s Friday, the bug is keeping me awake at night. Richie has baseball for a few hours, so I think I will cuddle up on the couch and watch NCIS after I get home from work. I’m also going to post some of my previous articles from the magazine if anyone missed them the first time around.