The Results are in!

In February, I sent a tube of spit to Ancestry DNA.  This was to serve as a present to myself for my 30th birthday, as well as a gift for my sister.  On Saturday, we got the long-anticipated email that our results were in!

We had some surprises!

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For a long time, we had figured that we were VERY Irish, and recently, I have found a lot of English ancestors.  However, this is not the bulk of our heritage!  Great Britain and Ireland only accounted for a small fraction of our results.  Even higher than Ireland was Scandinavia, which we did not anticipate!  Apparently, we are part Viking!

The Polish, German, and Austrian blood account for a lot of the Eastern and Western European results. Italy and Greece, though!?  Nope, didn’t know that one!

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Now for the REALLY interesting bit of information.  Notice that the European blood only accounts for 99% of our heritage.

Where is that missing 1%?  Apparently, SOUTH ASIA!

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Talked with mom and dad, and we are pretty sure it has to be from dad’s British roots.  Pretty cool!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, I am really excited to make connections with cousins that the site found for us!

See the whole thing here

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Hail Mary

My husband is good at encouragement, and he has encouraged me several times to start blogging my walks again.  So, here are some gorgeous sights from St. Mary’s Retreat Center in Oxford, MI, where I am attending an Anglican women’s retreat.  It has been raining​ for several days, and the sun came out this morning, so I knew I needed to take a stroll.  I was rewarded with a prayer path with the stations of the cross, an abandoned basketball court, and lots of Mary.

 

Before and After: Living Room Addition! (And a weight update)

Living Room before:

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Original green walls that our house came with.   Admittedly, these pictures were taken closer to when we moved in.  Apologies for the glare, I have thoroughly scolded two-years-ago-me for not taking a better picture.  Observe the Christmas cards on the fake mantle: 2013-12-27 18.17.44

After!

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Thanks to my new Galaxy S6, these pictures look A LOT better than the older ones!

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If you are not someone who sees me regularly in “real” life, we have a lot of people who regularly frequent our house.  We love having people over, and we loved that our “regulars” got a vote in our final accent wall color!

The New! 

Paint:  The color is called “Deep Iron River” by Glidden, which was color-matched by Sherwin-Williams (Who is having a 40% off sale right now!)

Black Table: Ikea LACK $44.99

White Flower Bowl: Ikea STOCKHOLM $19.99

White Storage Baskets: Ikea KANARRA $8.99/each

The Old: Items we already owned! 

Art and frames: Courtesy of high school me, purchased from Pier One Imports circa 2005.

Bamboo:  An impulse buy from Walmart around 2009.  It has outgrown it’s original pot, and it loves the semi-shaded area by our big window!

Couches: Free, thanks to my Aunt’s friend who was remodeling around the time that we moved in!

Black Iron Shelves:  Garbage picked!

Mantle:  Wedged next to the couch as an extra end-table.  Also garbage picked!

Wooden Lamp:  Hand-made by Ben’s uncle and gifted to us recently by Mom and Dad Curley.

Mulan Globe:  Picked out my ten year old Glo from the Disney Store!

Labor:  A big thanks to my roommate and his girlfriend, who helped (read: did most of the work) painting and building the table!

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Hold UP! Where is the weight update?  Well, I have had a severe road bump in my progress.  I’ve realized that going on a diet is not going to cure my underlying mood issues.  My nutritionist has referred me to a Behavioral Health Specialist to help me get over my mental hurdles.  I appreciate any support while I sort out this huge part of my weight loss journey.  It may seem like I haven’t made any progress, but I assure you, this help was a long time coming.  Instead of “falling off of the wagon” or any of that other failure-oriented jargon that is attached to weight loss, I am counting this as a much-needed intervention and an overall positive part of the process.

The Anatomy of a Cheat Day: Social

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Everyone who has been on a diet has heard of the infamous “Cheat Day,” and they can happen for various reasons.   For example, many are of the opinion that a cheat day is needed, either for a break for your metabolism or a break for your soul.  Sometimes it is a holiday; yesterday was the Fourth of July.  I have decided to begin a series that outlines why, in my mind, people utilize “cheat days” in their dieting.

Preteen Dieting

When I told my nutritionist that I had been dieting off-and-on since I was twelve, her eyes bugged for a second.  I did not realize, what with our dieting culture, that this fact would be all that surprising given how cruel this world can be to overweight preteens.  I could show you journals  that show meticulously mapped out recordings of how many calories I had eaten for that day, and the afterward elation of flagellation that was written afterwards.  Preteen girls can be just as cruel to themselves as society can be to them.

Weight: My Broken Record

Weight loss has been the broken record of my life.  It is my fatal flaw that will leave me bitter and babbling on my deathbed. People who have known me long enough have seen my neuroses and my everlasting quest to keep this area of my life in check.  Even typing this, I am inwardly cringing, because even I get tired of the same thing being spun out and re-hashed over and over again ad-nauseam.

Weight: Everyone’s Broken Record

I find that the topic of weight is an area of secret contention in so many lives.   We see it in our entertainment, from The Biggest Loser, to My 600lb Life, to Dr. Oz.  People have opinions about weight, as well as their own public and private battles.  This is why declaring “I AM ON A DIET” is such a charged statement, and needs to be navigated wisely.  It is a topic that solicits so many responses:

Why I Hate Letting People Know

1. People get uneasy, because they see your diet as a direct commentary on how much they eat.

2. People get opinionated, and try to spout off every fact and falsehood they know on the subject.

3. People get motivated, and see your momentum as their ticket or wake-up call to future success.

4. People get concerned that you aren’t eating enough and verbalize this loudly.

5. People are overly-fascinated, and want to know every detail of your plan broken down and explained.

6. People get falsely-supportive. They offer to work out with you and plan healthy meals with you, but rarely hold up on their end of the bargain.

7. People get distant.  People are used to you eating and socializing like you always have, and any change seems threatening.

8. People get pushy.  This may be on purpose or unwittingly done, but a lot of people love to push food. “Oh, just try a bite,” or “You really have to eat like this for the rest of (specified amount of time).”  It gets exhausting.

9.  People scrutinize.  People like to see others fail.  Now that you are dieting, every choice you make is under a microscope, whether you like it or not.

The Take-Away

It’s funny, I can let this all out for the world of social media to see, but it is so hard to calculate in “real life” whether I want people to know that I am making changes.  The social implications of dieting are so diverse, that sometimes it is just easier to take a cheat day.  For example, yesterday was the Fourth of July.  Rather than explaining my current situation to my entire family, or even touting my success, I just let it be.  I ate what I wanted, and today I am going back to the positive changes I have been making.  Is it weak to set aside your physical convictions for your mental sanity?  That’s a great question, and I would love to hear anyone’s opinion on this topic in my comments

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Before and After: Seventeen Pounds Lost! (Week 4)

Before:  271/ 5’10

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Today: 254/ 5’10

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Firstly, I am starting to see that there is nowhere in my house that is fit to take a good selfie.  I am going to have to remedy this somehow.  How am I supposed to document my narcissism along with my other internet progress picture ilk?

Secondly, I was planning on waiting until my 20 pound mark, but I was feeling pretty cute today.  I was not expecting to see much progress yet, but I am really starting to see it!  Especially in my face and arms!

Getting Creative: Part One

One part of a medically-supervised VLCD is the conundrum of making the packet-packed food into something that is

A. Edible and B. Filling.

I am using the BetterMD program, and there are plenty of options and optional foods to add in.  Optional foods include veggies, light dressings, pickles, and other very lightly caloric foods.   Here is a sample of how I’ve kept things interesting:

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Picture 1:  Vegetarian Chili packet with peppers and broccoli.

Picture 2:  Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Packet  made into lettuce tacos with red and green peppers.

Picture 3:  Chicken Soup packet  with white mushrooms added.

So, there you go!  A little creativity has made these meals more palatable and filling.

My second nutritionist appointment is in a little over a week, so I will post my actual progress then.  (Hint: There has been progress!)