Lead me not into temptation

Photo credit: Whole9life.com
Photo credit: Whole9life.com

If you’ve said the Lord’s Prayer once or twice in your life, you might recognize the title of this post. In the strictest Biblical sense, it means what it says – keep me from sins, protect me from my own temptations that will likely do me more harm than good.

But this isn’t just about not having sex when you’re not supposed to, or disobeying the Ten Commandments. We face temptations on a daily basis, and if you’re into the seven deadly sins and that sort of thing, you may find that they tend to revolve around those: we are too lazy to be productive, we eat too much and then our bodies hate us for it, we want too much and then we end up with nothing, and so on.

And in the New Year, temptation can seem to rear its ugly head even more than usual, just after you’ve settled upon those pesky resolutions. It takes a lot of willpower to get through a tough day sometimes, much less a year’s worth of goals and rules you’ve set for yourself. Along with declaring 2013 to be a dedication to love (perhaps temptation isn’t such a bad thing for that project?), I decided to dabble a bit in a hardcore resolution of sorts — for one month.

When my trainer asked all of the people who have been doing My Bootcamp with him to try a 30 Day Transformation through the Whole30 program, some of us were skeptical, including me. I don’t even eat out as much as my friend Tammy, but the thought of finishing football season with no beer, having water at happy hours instead of wine, and giving up favorites like peanut butter, cheese, and beans for a month to go paleo was hard to bear. “It’s just a month!” I told myself…and Grant told me. So I said yes.

Bison Meatballs
Bison Meatballs

We’re on the 12th day now of the 30 Day Transformation, and it’s actually gone pretty well. It’s in line to start my training for a couple of big races I’m signed up for in April, and it is the kickstart I wanted after missing a couple of months of training and gorging during the holidays. It’s not meant to be forever, and once February 1 hits, I guarantee I’ll be having a glass of wine and a hunk of bread with some Brie, but I do think that this will probably be somewhat of a lifestyle change – who can say no to more delicious combinations of meats and veggies? This experience forces even the experienced cook to be more creative, and is a nice little test of willpower…and of course, temptation. In my first week, I idly sipped water while watching friends down a few bottles of wine one night, and again a few nights later while watching the BCS Championship at a sports bar – and I had to have salad of course, given the menu. It makes me give a harder look at restaurant menus, to really see what the ingredients are, and to try new things. My biggest temptation yet? An office birthday celebration with macarons (not even a favorite sweet) and cheese. It was the cheese that got to me. That day I had been unfocused, tired, and could have killed for anything with carbs. But, I had berries and went back to my desk. Phew — glad I passed that test.

That’s just one temptation out of many that I’m facing – there are other blog posts for those. But as I near the halfway point of this challenge, I’m feeling good about my commitment and dedication — no cheating, and since I can’t control a restaurant’s entire menu, I’m in as control as I can be. It feels good, and it just too me deciding to do it, just like anything else. If you can’t do something for 30 days, when can you?

Check my recipe section for a few of the new things I’ve tried since I started…and share your own Whole30/Paleo experiences or other ways you’ve avoided temptation of any kind in your life in the comments!

P.S. I didn’t address any of the science stuff behind why the Paleo diet is so recommended. Why? Because I’m still trying to decide myself what I think. That being said, this is more about trying some lifestyle changes, and seeing how your body reacts to it. The bottom line is about experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It may not work for everyone!

2013: Here’s to love

Love at midnight
Love at midnight

You blink and you miss it… 2012 is gone, and a new year is here. When I look at what others are saying about 2012, I notice a lot of things like “Good riddance,” and “2012 wasn’t good.” There were some moments in 2012 that weren’t particularly happy or positive, but what year has ever been only good things? The bad and the sad come with the good, this we know. For every destructive storm, there are people that show up to help out, together. For every person that left us too soon, there is a welcome addition to a family. It doesn’t mean that these moments of pain are replaced or easier to bear, but it’s a reminder that life can bring just as much joy as we let it, despite hard times.

So how do we start 2013 with an eye towards joy and fortune? How do we make sure that we’re loving as hard as we can, and living as hard as we can? In the past, my resolutions have been themed around mantras like “No Excuses” and bringing more happy into my life. This year, it’s all about love. Not just in the romantic sense, but in every sense of the word. What do I mean? Here’s a taste:

  • Love my current friends in the way that they deserve, and love making new friends.
  • Love my family for all that they are, no matter our past, no matter our differences. Love every moment I have with them.
  • Love my job and my team, and change paths if I don’t feel it.
  • Love my city and all that it has to offer.
  • Love the places I travel to, and the people I travel with.
  • Love my hobbies and passions, and if they don’t make me happy, find something new to love.
  • Love myself — my flaws, my successes, my failures, my quirks, my body, my dreams, my growth.
  • Love what the future holds, wherever it brings me, whatever I may do — and know that it will all fall into place.
  • Fall in love and be loved back.

And what are some other folks resolving to do? A sampling from those who answered my question on Facebook and Twitter below; add yours in the comments!

-spending/focusing more of my time and money on experiences than material things.

My sister adopted a policy of only making fun, achievable, non-self-pounitive resolutions, like “get more manicures.”

-Maybe I should try picking one thing, just ONE THING, throwing all my energy and brainpower behind it, and then letting the other chips fall where they may. So, to that end, my goal for 2013 (the year, not coincidentally, I turn 30) is to get published. Be it a short story in a journal, or a magazine article, or an agent signing, anything will count. The aim is to be fearless and take the next huge step toward my writing dreams.

End of year musings

Yes, it’s been awhile since I wrote – but I’m sure my few and loyal readers (all 2 of you) haven’t missed me that much. I’m not sure I even have an excuse for not writing. Sure work has been busy, and yes, it’s the holidays, blah blah…but mostly I’ve been lazy. So there you have it!

On to bigger and better things though- the year is almost over! Insert phrase that we all say every time this year: “I can’t believe it went so fast!”

But seriously. A LOT has happened this past year. A quick rundown on my end: new job, new apartment…and another new iPod.  From my past posts, you’ve seen that I’ve really enjoyed my job switch this year. It’s been a fabulous 10 months so far. I work with a great team on some amazing issues, and it’s just been really invigorating all around. It’s really interesting to see how a job change can give you a fresh outlook on life, and how much stress and negativity just washes away.

But that wasn’t all. I also moved into a place of my own, which I LOVE. I know some people still like having roommates to hang out with and it saves money, etc, but I really don’t think I could have it any better than I do now. I have a great studio in a great area, and I am just fine with coming home to my place and my things and my mess (I actually don’t really have messes, because I’m a neat freak). I can watch my shows and cook in my kitchen and all that other fun stuff that comes with living alone. And again, it’s amazing what stresses are lifted when you’re not dealing with a living situation you’re unhappy in.

Conclusion: life is good.

In addition to all this, I’ve recently started corresponding with some family members that for many years were not in my life, thanks to all kinds of drama and bad times when I was younger. It’s a huge step for me, because for awhile, I said I just wouldn’t deal with it anymore and I didn’t need it. Now, it’s not that I need it, but I feel I can finally move past the bad stuff and get some closure. I will never go back to how things were 10 years ago, but it’s something that I need to do to be at peace with things. More importantly, because I have great parents, a boyfriend and friends who care about me, I don’t need much to come out of this – it’s just my little thing that I’m doing so that the what if’s won’t be running around in my head anymore. It’s a long process though, so I know that I may still have some moments where I’m struggling and wondering “what’s next?” But I won’t allow myself to get hurt anymore because I do have the control. My dad always tells me that – that I have control over how I react to something, and he’s right. It’s in my power to figure out how I will or will not respond to something.

I think this really translates into all of the stuff that’s been happening in my life this year and that continues to happen. If I have a friend who isn’t really being a good friend or if I’m unhappy about something at work- it’s up to me to decide how it will affect me and what I will do, if anything, about it. I can either say, “ok, it is what it is” and step away from it, or I can try to figure it out – but it doesn’t have to stress me out. That’s something I continually work on. That there are some things out of my control, but that it’s in my control to realize and accept this. Deep, but not really. Quite simple- it’s just a matter of applying it to daily life.

Personal stuff aside, it’s been amazing being in DC for all of the pre-election and post-election excitement. It was one of the best nights of my life to be at a bar in Dupont Circle with friends during the returns, and to run on the streets screaming and hugging people out of pure happiness at the change that is coming. Yes, I just said that! I’m really excited to be here for the inauguration and the upcoming couple of years – what a great place to be in for all of this!

I think this is enough for now. Does anyone have any thoughts about their 2008?

Who is excited to go home for the holidays? I am! Here is a preview of my trip home:

-pot pie
-finally seeing The Nutcracker Ballet!
-watching A Muppet Christmas Carol
-Law & Order marathons