Monday, April 2, 2012

Anticipating April

Tulips in the Gardens at Biltmore Estate - Asheville, NC
March 31, 2012

When one enjoys beauty such as you see in today's picture, how can one not Anticipate April and the incredible surprises it will bring?  March certainly didn't disappoint with its early flowers, record breaking warmth not to mention extreme tornado outbreaks and vivid lightening the likes of which I haven't seen since the early 90's when we lived in Louisville, KY.  Surprises, not all of which are pleasant or wanted, keep us mindful and my 2012 Mantra of viewing life as a constant surprise rather than a series of ups and downs has been instrumental in helping me change the way I view each moment in time.  

March brought another 2.4 pound weight loss.  I had hoped for more and with a higher level of diligence, could've probably had more, but I'm fine with this.  I have just over 10 pounds left to reach my goal and with the same way of eating, I will continue to lose about that much each month.  Should I catch myself becoming impatient, I'll simply spend 17 days in Cycle 1 of The 17DD and speed things up.  Right now, I have settled into Cycle 2 as a way of life with a choice from Cycle 3 once a week or so.  Some days just naturally end up at Cycle 1 days.  Truthfully, I don't EVER see myself moving fully into Cycle 4 or what is referred to as the "Maintenance" cycle.  My greatest challenge from this point forward, will be continuing to be sugar-free and virtually gluten-free.  Right now, it is easy, but I am not foolish enough to think that it will always be that way, nor am I foolish enough to believe that "one bite won't hurt."  

Speaking of "one bite won't hurt," last week brought a challenge from MIL.  In her defense, she has made a ton of progress towards understanding, but then...........this!  Easter and Thanksgiving meals have always been her thing.  Early on in our marriage, we set boundaries with BOTH sets of parents and it was one of the smartest moves we ever made.  But Easter and Thanksgiving became the two events each year which WOULD be at in-laws house, no questions asked. My parents and in-laws became good friends and they are included in the two meals so I'm not complaining. Over time, other close friends have become part of the tradition and I look forward to those days every year.  It's worked well for 35 years.  The other non-negotiable is MIL's Chicken 'n Dumplins and the reason they became a non-negotiable is ME.  That is (or was) my all-time favorite food and hers are the best.   One day last week, she called and immediately said, "you are planning on eating Sunday, aren't you?"  There was no need to pretend I didn't know what she meant, so I very gently said, "no, I won't be eating any dumplin's, but there will certainly be plenty there for me to eat. Her response, "I wish you could make an exception on Easter since EVERYONE THERE KNOWS HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THE DUMPLINS."  And it was in that moment, that I realized she really didn't quite get it.  Nor does anyone else who has never faced a struggle with weight or excessive eating.

Being virtually gluten-free (and totally white flour free) and sugar-free is really such a new "surprise" for me that it's hard to even voice the feeling, but it's not about willpower or deprivation - I simply don't want them.  They don't even sound good any longer.  Even as I write the words, it's seems impossible that they are true.  So sadly to say, I'm approaching the meal with a sense of dread.  I don't want to offend anyone or make anyone uncomfortable, but on the other hand, I don't plan to worry about it either as it is now my normal way of eating and all around me need to accept it and not make a big deal about it.  It's been my way of eating for over four months now.  This isn't new!  

Mr. B and I made our annual spring pilgrimmage to Biltmore Estate this past Saturday.   I've written about Biltmore so many times, I'll not bore you with repeat info, but here are links to two previous posts about our long-standing love for Biltmore.   Beautiful Biltmore and Discovering Hidden Treasures (one of my favorite posts).  Our Saturday adventure was only a day trip, but it was special and we enjoyed every minute of it.  The tulips were exquisite and the color pattern which changes each year, featured my favorite color palette focusing on the purples, lavenders, pinks, yellows and red shades.  One more delightful surprise that awaited us was the converging of so many things blooming at once which normally are spread out from late March through early May.  I squealed with delight (unfortunately, to my own embarrassment!) when I came upon a gorgeous patch of Virginia Bluebells that I didn't even know was there.  And they were exquisite.

Enjoy of couple more pictures of our day:

I have one more surprise to tell you, but it will have to wait.  Because it's a whole post in itself and one I've been anticipating writing for quite some time as it involves a goal I set for myself almost two years ago when I truly began to grasp the joy I would find in the blogging community.  Which reminds me...........I actually have TWO surprise to share.  Will try my best to get another post written this week.   I promise!!

How was your weekend?   Any surprises??


  1. I think you know my hubby is from the Netherlands. Tulips have always been one of our favorite flowers (his Dad actually raised them as a farmer). There is a huge flower event in the Netherlands called the Keukenhof. We have never been, but plan to for our 40th anniversary in a couple of years. Your pictures reminded me so much of Holland in the spring. Lovely gardens.

    I understand your now distaste for something you once enjoyed like the dumplings. I have found the same distaste or lack of desire for things I used to enjoy. It is funny how our taste really changes as we make these lifestyle commitments. I used to eat little fruit and veggies, now if I skip a day I crave them!

    Have a great week!

  2. Kudos to you! I think that food pushers are hard to deal with but something like this, a well-intentioned family member, is hardest of all. I will have a lot of food challenges coming up but for me, the only person that will be an issue is myself!

  3. Aw, the tulips are beautiful! We were there last spring and were able to see them. It will be summer before we get back there this year. Glad you enjoyed it!

    I need to have the same vigilance with my family at Easter. They are also planning a big meal, where grandma will try to shove her pie at me because she made it because I like it...eventhough she knows I'm trying to eat better.

    My weekend was pretty good. Camped at Elkmont... did a 17 mile hike Friday where I found out that at some point over the last few weeks I've hurt my knee, and it killed me on the way down, but I made it down. I think I'm going to have to take it a little easier on my body. But I did see tons of beautiful wildflowers in bloom on the Goshen Prong/Little River, Cucumber Gap trails over the weekend.

    Enjoy your week!!

  4. I've been feeling the same way about certain foods lately. It is still a little hard for me to grasp, that I truly don't want those long time favorites.

    Do you think you could get a small serving of dumplings and then just push them around on your plate? Or will MIL notice and cause greater trouble?

    I can't wait to hear about the surprises.

  5. These photos are so beautiful. I've only been to the Biltmore once, and it was in the summer. So while beautiful, it wasn't quite like spring. I'd also like to visit during the Christmas season. Looking forward to your news.

  6. Oh oh oh. Gorgeous photos! Love the last one the best, I think.

    That situation with the chicken and dumplings is frustrating. Especially because you were the original reason for them. But since you were the original reason for them, and you no longer want them, it seems that there would be some meat dish that everyone else would like that would work for you. But I also understand stubborn family 'traditions.' I fought against some of them the whole time I was a nurse (and worked holidays.) And guess what? I did not win.

    I do not like cliff hangers (picture me with my lower lip stuck out LOL.) Please post soon about your surprises!

  7. Oh, and I meant to say that yes, even a small serving of chicken and dumplings, at this point in your journey, would really derail you. Don't do it!

  8. Oh My Heart.... We are headed to Biltmore tomorrow.. Can't wait!!!! Your pictures are awesome... Makes my heart go pitter pat!!!!!! ha

    Why can't our loved ones SUPPORT us when it comes to our diets? That kind of crap goes on in all families... WHY???? I'm sorry--but it certainly makes you want to stay at home, doesn't it???? Dang! Sorry!


  9. Great pix Sharon. I'm glad you and Mr. B. got such a gorgeous day for your excursion. So sorry about the Easter dinner hubub. How about eating a good, sensible pre-dinner and then claiming an upset stomach (as your tummy surly wd be upset if you ate MIL's offering)? I agree with the others, don't let yourself be bullied into eating something that you don't want.

  10. Is it possible for you and Mr. B. to skip the meal and go for an after-dinner visit? I don't think I could go to someone's house and NOT eat the meal they prepared. (This is why I always meet my Indian friends for dinner at restaurants. :))

    Eager to hear your news!

  11. I'm trying to think what I would do with the dumpling dilemma. Probably have a migraine and not feel like eating much. I would try not to hurt her feelings, but your feelings count, too, Sharon. You have worked so hard on your diet and the carbs would not be good for you, not to mention the liquid "gravy."

    Biltmore. One of my favorite places.

  12. Oh my gosh! these pictures are absolutely to die for gorgeous! Love the tulips!

  13. Oh my, those photos are stunning. I can't imagine how beautiful everything must have been in person. Thank you for sharing them.
    I'm sorry about this predicament with your MIL. That would hurt my feelings, I think - even though she didn't mean any harm. I deal with people who have that mentality though, too. I hate to always use the word 'normal' (because really, who is?!) but this is a classic example of some people who cannot comprehend that we cannot or don't want to eat like everyone else. To them it's just 'food', not a way of life. Unlikely that she'll ever get it, but I hate to see you conform just to appease her. You won't win either way. If you give in, she'll expect it again. If you don't, she'll likely keep insisting. I'll be thinking of you, Sharon. In the end, you have to do what's right for you - whatever that may be. XO

  14. Ohhhh loook at the tulips! That is absolutely gorgeous! Ours won't bloom until a few weeks yet, but you made me want to go to the botanical garden to catch them when they do :D

  15. I've always wanted to tour Biltmore! How lucky you are to be close enough. I know how you feel with your MIL not understanding your weight loss journey. People don't like change - both for themselves and when others change.

  16. We are currently struggling with the same issue. One dear one in our family only knows how to share love and that is with food. Every event we go to, even if there are 5 people, she has a load of food and sweets. She loves by baking cookies and candies for everyone. She loves by giving candy and treating to eating out. Since most of us are doing the 17DD, she is beside herself and does not know what to do. I feel really sad for her!

    Hope you have a Blessed Easter!!

    Keep focused!

  17. I can't believe I've lived here for nearly 16 years and still haven't made it to Biltmore!!! Everytime I see your lovely pictures, I remind myself I need to go! Hopefully sooner rather than later!

    I'm fortunate this year. With everything that's happened in our family, we won't be going to the inlaws for dinner. I can relax and enjoy the beauty of the day without having to worry about "food pushers".

    Have a blessed Easter...dumplin free!!!

  18. Biltmore is so beautiful!

    I figure a day here and there will slow things down, but they never really stop me. However, if you think it will start a downward spiral for you, then abstain however you need. It is hard when everyone else just eats whatever, isn't it?

  19. I love your photos! Oh it is difficult to deal with people who try to force food on you.Hope you were able to stand your ground and eat what you wanted to eat not what others thought you should eat.