A *LOT* to be thankful for... starting with being *LITTLER*

I have always loved Thanksgiving.  When I was a kid I loved it 'cause of the happiness that it brought to my family - we'd often host Thanksgiving dinner and had a house full of company which I've adored since I can remember.  And I am a sucker for traditions. 

The tradition at my home was to get up early and I would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while eating fruit from the fruit bowl which - in itself - was a tradition.  Thinking back on this - the ONLY time we EVER had a filled fruit bowl in my home growing up was at Thanksgiving.  It was overflowing with MacIntosh apples, clementines, grapes, and bananas.  My mother would be making stuffing and then filling the bird and the house smelled wonderful! Later at the dinner table my brother and I would playfully argue about whose chair the stuffing bowl would be placed before and my sister and I would let my Dad decide who would get to break the wishbone with my brother later in the week and make a wish! : )

This year, as the holidays sneak up on us like they do every year - I have so much to be thankful for! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things in my life, but what I want to share with you is one horrifying glimpse of how heavy I was LAST YEAR at the holidays so you can understand the depth of my thankfulness this year!

The picture below is of me at the holidays last year...

How many chins can one girl have for goodness sake?  How many pounds could I have gained before that 3x sweater no longer fit me?  Even my hands were fat! I thank God I am not this same size. I was miserable. I was SO very unhealthy.  I could barely breathe walking up stairs or exerting myself physically in any way.  I was unhappy with who I was and where I was in my life.

But that was THEN and those days are long past.

The picture to the right is of me on Halloween.  Now I am HAPPY again. I am eating healthy and setting goals for myself in all areas of my life!  I have lost over 50 pounds and I am rediscovering things I like to do - finding new things that I'm enjoying like going to the YMCA, and I am getting my health back.  My asthma is still a part of my life but has diminished SO much! I no longer check to be certain I have an inhaler with me every time I leave the house. I still have a double chin, too, but - darnit! - it is 'littler'!

  On Wednesday I will make the three hour drive to my Mom's house to pick her up and bring her back to Boston with me so she can celebrate Thanksgiving with my son and I.  I am thankful she is still able to do the holidays with us at 83 years old. Many of her friends are now gone, others in nursing homes.  I'm realizing how much I'll miss her when she is no longer here and insists on telling me that frozen birds are as good as fresh! *grin* (Among other things she feels the need to say every year!)  My holiday menu will change a little bit this year but not toooo much.  I will be eating less breads and won't have gravy or butter.  I happen to love vegetables so I'll load up on squash and turnip and brussel sprouts.  I'll make all the traditional dishes my family has always made - scalloped oysters, bread stuffing, corn casserole, waldorf salad, but I'll be discriminate about what I eat and what I splurge on. 

 My brother won't be able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with us in Boston - he'll be at his home in Seattle with his family... and I'll have the stuffing bowl purposefully placed in front of me and will think of him.  It is a tradition. : )

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Thank you for your encouragement and support.  I'm really very thankful for all of you on this journey with me! : )

I'm so happy...

I am thrilled to show you the prizes I won from the Dr. Oz Show and BlogHer which arrived this week!  I am so thankful for the four autographed books by Dr. Oz and the Heart Rate Monitor!  I've taken photos of all and you can see where Dr. Oz writes "Enjoy" and then his signature in the front of "Healing from the Heart".  So cool!  I *will* enjoy and I am!

I am about halfway through Healing from the Heart which is, in my opinion, an inspiring book for anyone interested in taking their health and fitness into their own hands.  I was surprised and really enthused about the findings regarding emotional energy and the testing done around this field of medicine:

...For example, when we do deep breathing in yoga exercises, we're consciously changing the release of peptides in the body. We are changing, perhaps energizing or relaxing, our emotional state. In this way our very breath can be an ally in healing.

Other scientists in the relatively new field of psych-neuroimmunology have discovered overwhelming evidence that our minds and emotions affect our immune systems.  We also know that depression, loneliness, or such stessful blows as a loved one's death, a divorce, or the loss of a job lowers immunology against disease....
© Healing from the Heart, Mehmet Oz, M.D. 1998

I have to grin when thinking about how the Law of Attraction plays a huge part in my life now.  These books were gifts - well 'winnings' actually - that I normally would not have had the disposal income to purchase myself.  They'll educate me as I continue this wonderful journey to my perfect weight and fitness! 

Friday night I bought Marci Shimoff's book Happy for No Reason which is about how materials goods and experiences you buy or manufacturer are all wonderful, but to maintain lasting happiness that happiness must come from within.  Happiness doesn't know a socioeconomic level - happiness is available to everyone and anyone and Marci Shimoff's book proves this.  What's even better, her book sets out ways (7 steps, actually) you can go about gaining that inner happiness yourself! : )

I'm a happy person by nature (see that happy kid in the photo? that's me!) - I've always been this way - but as I read Happy For No Reason I have been finding ways I can cultivate that inner happiness more readily when I may need an 'internal boost' to change my day!  It is a really different and very cool book!  : )