All posts by jmacofearth

Surviving the Next Month of Holiday Indulgences

Ah, the turkey day is behind us. Now we just have to deal with frenzied shoppers, clogged internet connections, and family. No worries.

I celebrated my 52nd birthday yesterday along with a wonderful slice(s) of pumpkin pie. I held out all of October and November (with on slip) for this delicious family tradition, the pie. If I were stuck on a desert island and I could have 1 dessert it would probably be some form of ice cream, but if you must have cake or pie for a birthday, this is the ONE. I sampled the pecan, but only to confirm my annual favorite.

And I will admit, that after eating a nice slice of pie I felt a bit sick about 20 minutes later. Shock to the system? Too much sugar? I don’t know. I had paced and portioned my turkey and dressing all in order to have room (non-stuffed me) for the pie. It was delicious. It was the best I can remember. And…

I am setting my dessert target on the pumpkin pie, and with that my sugar fiesta is over.

I’m glad thanksgiving is over. I love the food. Love. It. But there are so many traditionally delicious side dishes that it’s very hard not to over eat. I did good this year. And today, Friday (no Black Friday shopping for me) I’m going to do a noon workout at my tennis club. Let’s burn off a bit of that meal, shall we?

I don’t regret my indulgence. In fact, the planning for pie gave me strength to turn down so many other desserts in Oct. and Nov. I simply compared their tastiness with the pie I wanted and it was easy to pass.

This morning I ate the last slice for breakfast. And again, I’m not feeling all that awesome. Interesting. I wonder, as I get further and further from sugar addiction, how sugar may be even more symptomatic as I eat it. Will I become sugar adverse? That might be a great thing.

Today, I give thanks again, that I can jump back on plan. That at 52 I’m still jamming along pretty well, with no major complaints. And I’m looking forward to the same feast in Dec. this year. I am setting my dessert target on the pumpkin pie, and with that my sugar fiesta is over. Now I think I need a nap. Is that the sugar as well?

Take the Next Step,

John McElhenney

related posts:


Winter Wellness Question: To Tea or Not to Tea?

Looking for a warm beverage during a cold day I began experimenting with decaf coffee and various teas. I went to the store and grabbed a couple Keurig boxes without reading the ingredients. I mean, we’re talking tea and coffee, right?

Here’s what I learned after I spit out the first sip of the “chai latte.” (I didn’t notice the latte part, I thought it was chai tea.

First the chai tea I was familiar with from Twinnings.


Okay, that’s looking good. But the one that I bought on my recent run to get more… Um, a “latte…” was an entirely different beast. I was fooled by the packaging which looked very similar. I was so sure of what I was buying that I didn’t read the ingredients.


Yeah, well it’s got coconut oil, that’s good right?

The taste was more like ice cream than tea. How many different ways can they say sugar? (1. sugar, 2. glucose syrup, 3. modified food starch, 4. sucralose.) Not so yum. A couple phosphates and one dioxide, and I wasn’t in the mood.

In looking to get healthier we can trip into areas that look promising but are loaded with bad stuff.

My anti-desert willpower is strong. I skipped my daughter’s birthday cake and ice cream. I’m saving it for my pumpkin pie. But when I was invited to dinner with my mom and brother at a local tex mex restaurant… Well, let’s just say I had some chips and queso. I did stop after one chicken fajita knowing that I would be heading into stuffed land if I proceeded. An extra lap around the lake tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be amazing.

The holidays are for eating. But we can do a bit better by not over eating, and when given a choice, eating only the things we know are healthy. As the weather has turned cold it’s harder to get motivated to work out. And the cold weekend afternoon on Sunday called for a nap rather than a walk.

Get back up tomorrow and go after it again. And pumpkin pie on Thursday, after NOT gorging myself on turkey and extras.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:



Wellness Quest: It’s the Little Things and the Big Things

We all know that getting our vitamins and nutrition through whole foods is the best way to go. For those of us who know we’re not doing as well as we could there are supplements. And then there are the little things we can do to improve the foods we do eat.

The Little Things

  • Adding Flax and Bran to everything. Why not? It adds some crunch to my yogurt and organic breakfast flakes.
  • Drinking filtered water. Pure water is hard to find sometimes, but my ZERO WATER filter system is always around. And I take it with me sometimes when I know I’m going to be at a hotel for a few days. Water that tastes like pool water isn’t very nice and it’s actually really bad for you.
  • Parking at the outside edge of the lot. Walk a bit more. (Buying groceries might be the exception, if you’ have a  lot to carry.)
  • Going for the lower-sugar alternative, always. But beware of artificial sweeteners as they may be worse for you than the sugar you are trying to avoid. (Yep, no more sugar-free gum, EVER!)
  • Buying organic produce and products when possible. Sure they are more expensive, but taking micro-doses of toxic chemicals out of your system is worth it.

The Big Things

  • One pint of ice cream isn’t going to wreck your health. 5 in a month might significantly impact it. If you’re going to binge on something sinful, make sure you commit to get back on your program. On frappacino may lead to your craving for another one tomorrow. If you slip down this slope, it might be best to never indulge in frappacinos.
  • Meats and fresh vegetables over grains and sweets. We never eat enough vegetables. And ORGANIC is the way to go here as well. Again, it’s worth the cost.
  • Watch for hidden sugar or even plain-sight sugar everywhere and reduce your consumption. I was in an organic grocery store last night with a craving for yogurt. I wanted to add my yogurt and oat bran mix back into my routine. But as I was browsing the endless varieties of “whole” “natural” “greek” “low-fat” “geuten free” yogurt I was hard pressed to find one without added sugar. And yes, pure cane sugar is better than corn syrup in theory, but it’s all sugar in the end. One “organic” brand of strawberry yogurt had 29 grams of sugar in one small cup! WHAT?
  • Get up and move, often. Yes, we sit too much. Yes, we don’t get enough exercise. Okay, so let’s use our fitbit/fuel/fitness tracker to actually motivate us to MOVE. In the course of my day I often move between two or three locations in my house. And I try to walk around a bit between large tasks. It’s always a good idea to exercise. The key is finding something you love to do. (For me that’s tennis and walking around a local lake with my tunes blazing.)

We’re all about finding the balance. It’s not ONE thing you do it’s a combination of all the LITTLE and BIG things you do. Add a few more good things and subtract a few of the bad things. Then do it again.

2/3 of the way through November without a major slip. (I did buy and devour some light salt organic popcorn last night, but it was a reasonable splurge.) Give yourself the break your body needs by eliminating the toxic chemicals in your diet. Lower your sugar intake. And get up the next day and keep going, regardless of your results or expectations.

Yesterday I settled on some kind of high-protein and low-sugar yogurt. It had 11 grams of sugar for a single serving. Then when I got home I added my oat bran and ate a half a serving. DELICIOUS!

It’s not about hitting your goals, it’s about living a healthier life, continuously.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

related posts:

image: adding the little things, john mcelhenney, cc 2104


Holiday Belt Loosening Habits; Not This Year, Baby


Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.32.39 AMWhat are you eating for the holidays? Oh my. The chart above shows that of the 1.3 pounds average people will gain this year, half of that weight will be put on during the next six weeks.

Here’s what the article says.

Most people don’t gain weight overnight… it happens slowly, over years and decades. But the rate is uneven throughout the year and spikes dramatically during the holidays, a time when people tend to binge on all sorts of delicious holiday foods and eat much more than their bodies need.

The problem is that sometimes people don’t lose all the weight back. They might gain 3 pounds, but only lose 2 after the holidays are over, leading to slow and steady weight gain over time (11).

In fact, a large percentage of people’s lifetime weight gain can be explained just by the 6 week holiday period.

Crap. That’s amazing. I picked the right time this year to start my new program. I skipped right past the Halloween madness with great resolve. And I’m heading towards turkey-day with the same idea.  I’m going to have a piece of my favorite pumpkin pie. And that’s what I’m looking forward to on Thanksgiving day. And outside of that “reward” I am sticking to my plan. Sure I might have a snack or two, but the big holiday desserts and feasting is not going to be a part of my joyful season.

Gone are the afternoons trying to stay awake to watch the football because I’m so bloated and tired from the turkey and dressing. Nope. Let’s take this one season at a time. I’m starting now. And that 50% of my weight gain is going to be loss instead.

What are you going to do to keep from adding the holiday weight? The weather is colder, it’s harder to get motivated if you’re primary exercise is outdoors. I’ve got to keep getting creative about how to get moving and keep moving. And passing the peppermint ice cream night after night. Even a taste for me, would be a slip at this point. I am powerless over the holiday pink ice cream from local creamery, Blue Bell. My daughter craves it, so we’ve got a half gallon. But this year, it’s all hers.

I can imagine how much I love my pumpkin pie and that’s enough. I will admit the ice cream haunted me all night last night. I wanted a taste. I had an apple.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

References and Inspirations:


Weight Loss vs Wellness: Measuring the Circumference of the Moon

I remember distinctly the moment I learned to suck in my stomach. I was in 7th grade and heading back into the locker room from a football workout. I had taken off my pads and was in the customary half-shirt. And as I saw a cheerleader coming my direction down the hallway, I remember sucking in my gut, thinking, “There’s Betty.” She noticed me. She missed the sucking in part. A week later we were “going steady” whatever that means in 7th grade. I’m sure we kissed a bit.

As an adult male I still have this reaction when I see an attractive woman. I’m trying to notice when I do it, and see who or what triggered the response. One big awareness I came to, after watching my own reflection in a store window at the mall:

You can’t suck in your love handles.

I’m walking away from the old unconscious eater, and becoming a stronger, healthier, and eventually thinner person.

Crap. That’s where my shape gets it’s shape. From the front you don’t really notice my stomach, though it could be a lot slimmer, you notice my handles. I’m sure this is a similar conundrum that has plagued ladies for a long time.

So, part of this quest is about understanding my own body, my impressions of self, and how I talk to myself about body image and fitness. And while weight loss seems to be a natural goal of this program/site whatever I am doing here, my real focus is fitness and wellness. Oh, and love handle reduction.

I was talking to my brother yesterday about health and fitness. (He had a heart attack two years ago, and I was curious about his wellness and fitness activities.) He wanted to know how my weight loss was coming. I had to think about it.

“I don’t even know, right now. That’s not exactly my focus.”

“Oh,” he said. “It this restaurant okay for your diet?”

“Yes,” I said. “I can make better choices where ever I go. That’s really what I’m writing about. How to step towards my goals, rather than away from them. And understanding what’s going on in my thinking when I’m craving something sweet or salty, and trying to keep going for the healthy meal.”

And I’m still thinking about this question 10 hours later. “What is my diet? Am I on a diet?”

Here’s what I think I’m “on.”

  • Learning about my own psychology of cravings, snacking impulses, and when/why I make poor choices.
  • Uncovering resistances to exercise and removing them.
  • Exercising more frequently and upping the intensity as my body is ready for it.
  • Choosing the apple over the Triscuit every time.
  • Watching portions and overall intake at all times. I would eat until I was full. Now I try to leave a little room. “Room to not grow on.”
  • Eliminate unconscious sugar. When I eat a sweet or dessert I want to enjoy it. But sugar in my tortilla chip, no way.
  • Awareness of my energy and daily cadence. Often I will break with the program when I’m extremely tired or overly hungry.
  • Listening to my negative self talk and gently modifying the phrases to be loving and supportive, rather than hurtful or shameful.
  • Accepting exactly where I am, every day, and starting from there. No matter what I ate yesterday, or how many times I worked out, I can begin again each day with a YES attitude.
  • Focus on the health and wellness benefits of my program rather than focusing on weight loss.
  • Loving my love handles into smaller and smaller versions of themselves.
  • Getting to a point in my fitness where I don’t have to suck in my stomach, ever.
  • Taking the next step towards fitness and wellness, always.
I am learning about myself and why I eat certain foods and how those foods affect my body and make me feel.

I’m not on a quick weight loss plan. I know there are plenty more things I could do right this second to radically improve my weight loss program, but I’m trying to build a lifestyle and enjoy the journey. I could meet with a fitness coach, I could start with a trainer or life coach, I could get more serious about what I’m doing, but I’m not that serious about it. Well, I am, but my “way” is going to be more organic, more about me and my thinking. And of course, my eating and exercise are a huge part of that. Along the way I may ask questions of my friends who are trainers, fitness buffs, coaches, nutritionists, but I think I’m happy with my progress so far, regardless of my love handle measurement.

I am learning about myself and why I eat certain foods and how those foods affect my body and make me feel. I am learning how to control my sugar intake and overall calorie intake: never over eat, always feel my way through a meal, and when I’m satisfied stop eating. I do not ever need to be a member of “the clean plate club” of my childhood. And dessert, while a staple in my family of origin, is more of a rare treat in my life. And every day I can make better choices.

I’m walking away from the old unconscious eater, and becoming a stronger, healthier, and eventually thinner person. My plan is working perfectly. And the measurement today, is inside.

I didn’t get my love handles overnight, and I won’t reduce them in an overnight fast either.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Most annual weight gain is due to the holiday feasts.Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.32.39 AM


And sugar intake has become a big problem for all of us.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.31.58 AM

References and Inspirations:


Excuses, Temptations, and Laziness Along the Path to Wellness

I passed through the gauntlet of Halloween and all its sugary horrors to some complacency on my part. While the basket of candy in the front room did tempt me with shiny wrappers and promise of good feelings, I was able to turn that craving off with my determination. The smaller stuff, the easier temptations that are always around a much harder and insidious.

This couple of weeks I had zero pizza, and zero conscious sugar. All WINS. At the same time, I ate a number of things simply because they were there. I was tired, or starving, or lazy and I went for the easy snack.

Again, this time it’s no reason to beat myself up, but more information about having good healthy stuff on-hand so the Triscuits aren’t so alluring. In years past I would eliminate the unhealthy foods completely from my pantry. But my kids starved. I do better now. I still try to limit their junk food (and we all do really well on this) while providing as many healthy options for them.

Another thing begins to happen this time of year as well, as the weather gets colder, and the daylight savings time is dropped, it’s easier not to exercise. And in my case, I’ve just picked up a new client with a large amount of work. So it’s time to shift my strategy a bit as well.

Exercise whenever it’s available. No excuses. If I CAN go I need to go. There are always going to be interruptions in my plans. And with added client work there will always be meetings that will take priority over my noon workout. But that’s no reason not to walk right after the meeting, before it gets dark and cold.

I have to admit the time change throws me more this time of year. My bio-clock still wakes up at 5am, thinking it’s 6am. It’s dark outside. And if I fight it and try and go back to sleep for an hour I wind up waking up 3 hours later, and LATE. That’s no good. So even the time change had thrown a kink in my simple plan. No worries.

Learn. Evolve. Do better.  And each time I fall off the plan, get back up and congratulate myself on the “learning.”

This week I’m going to be ready for the complications. I’m going to stock up today on a few more of my healthy snacks. (Organic: Honeycrisps, tamari-roasted almonds, granola w/out added sugar) And I’m going to hit the trail and the courts as often as I can. If I get in two workouts one day, that’s cool, because the deadline maybe coming that will take an entire day out of my schedule.

I’m not lazy, but I do occasionally opt for the rest day. And when snacks are available that don’t meet my healthy criteria they are hard to deny when I don’t have any better options.

Always keep your options healthy. Always keep getting back to work. And when you can get out and exercise, do it. Always.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney



GOOD READ: What I Had To Unlearn After Studying Nutrition – Mind, Body, Green

A few more details on those “smart eating” blue diamond almonds.


Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder.[1] Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods. – wikipedia

Even the Smallest Detail Says Something About Me

I’ve got a confession to make, and it’s not pretty. It’s more like a toadstool, actually. It’s a fungus. Here you go.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 3.14.43 AMGross, right? Of course, that’s the treatment, not the issue. The issue is a lot deeper, I’m afraid.

If we can put off getting fit, the big issues, how easy it becomes to sublimate the smaller issues. But it’s the smaller issues that may hold an important key.

Take a look at the smallest detail of your health and wellness program and ask yourself how am I doing at caring for myself? Am I taking care of the details? See if you stay focused on the bigger issues, like weight loss and blood pressure and eating less sugar, you might miss some of the more insidious issues, the ones that have plagued you for a while, but that you tend to ignore.

Here’s the meta question. How are you taking care of yourself?

As you let the small issues go, in my case a gross big toe, you are giving your body, and your overall self-image a deep and powerful message. “It’s not all that important.” Oh, but it is.

I am learning this all the time. The subtle ways you treat yourself illustrate deeper issues. When you ignore a little problem, like a painful tooth, or an unhealthy toe, you are sending a ton of on-going messages to yourself. I’m not worth it. I don’t have time to take care of myself. It’s not that important. It can wait.

All of these internal sounding boards will undermine your best plans. I’m still not ready to make the call to the laser-empowered doctor above. But why not? Money? Time? Fear? I don’t know, exactly. What I do know, is that this “shame” of mine, that I’ve been carrying around in my shoe for over 10 years, is not going to go away on its own. The creams and over-the-counter remedies are not going to miraculously start working, no matter what the guy in the nail salon says about *his* treatment, for just $21.98.

But the issue is more about me. I discount the problem. I don’t listen to the groans of my daughter when she spots my toe during a summer swim. I don’t hear my body saying, “Hey, we’ve got a problem down here. Are you listening?”

And with every action I take that is not making the appointment and getting my toe treated, is a step away from my own self-care. Why wouldn’t I take care of it?

Get clear, get clean, and get honest with yourself, down to the minor details of the big picture.

It undercuts my work on my overall wellness, I think. Sure, I’m newly focused on the big issues: committing to eating quality “whole” foods, getting more exercise, and helping my body shed some of its *sad* weight. If we can put off getting fit, the big issues, how easy it becomes to sublimate the smaller issues. But it’s the smaller issues that may hold an important key.

If we begin to identify and address even the smallest issue, we are telling ourselves, “Yep, you are worth it. Even to the smallest detail. You are worth being more svelte in your skin, and you are worth having healthy and sparkling toenails.” I continue to try and tell myself it don’t matter. Every thing matters.

So out with the little pains, the little shames, the little issues we choose to ignore. In the same way I am ferreting out the hidden sugar in my life, I’m now going to illuminate the hidden issues that I tend to hide or write off as unimportant. If I am really committed to wellness and self-care, no issue is off the table.

In the morning, I check with this laser dude and see if my insurance will cover any of the treatment.

Get clear, get clean, and get honest with yourself, down to the minor details of the big picture.

I love the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And by the way, it’s all small stuff.” And the corollary is just as true. The details are essential to understanding the whole. Sugar intake is an easy target for improvement. How well I take care of myself and my little issues, is core to unlocking my full sparkling and healthy body.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Reference: Harvard Family Health Guide on Toenails
Your toenails reveal a lot about your overall health and can provide the first sign of a systemic disease.


In many ways I’m telling myself, “No, you’re not worth it.”

The Great Sugar Conspiracy: An Open Letter to Food Should Taste Good

DEAR FTSG (aka General Mills):

I know you’re thinking I’ve gone off the deep end with conspiracy theories and such, but hear this. Sugar is being packaged and sold to us as health food. Well, in health food. It seems if like the organic marketers think if they put words like cane, and pure, even organic, in front of the word SUGAR they are somehow giving it an uplift.

This is going to spoil my chances at becoming a Food Should Taste Good blogger, but here goes.

This bag of chips looks healthy enough. In fact, the premise of the entire company is healthy, whole, ingredients. Even the bag looks healthy.


But somewhere, not hidden at all, inside the ingredients list is this.


There it is, just below Flax Seeds and above Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, and Quinoa. But flipping the bag over, it strangely enough, doesn’t list sugar on the front of the bag, but it does list those other seeds.


But they’re not selling the value of sugar, they are selling the value of organic ingredients and “good taste” at any cost. I guess, that’s the idea. Their branding speaks otherwise, as if they are looking out for us by using whole ingredients. And yes, I suppose “cane sugar” is a whole ingredient, but is it necessary in a chip, for good taste?

Or is it something about the addictive qualities of sugar, that makes these chips even more irresistible than they would be if they also had a promotional benefit, “contains no added sugar.” I’m not sure. But I’m sure that it was hard not to keep eating these chips, after my first 10.

And guess what, 10 chips is the recommended serving, so let’s look into that for a second. According to the bag, a recommended serving of the chips is around 10 chips, or 1 oz of chips. Guess how much sugar is in 10 chips? It’s a nice round number: 1 gram.  So here on this nicely packaged bag of very environment, organic, koshur, conscious chips, we have 24 grams of sugar to go along with our 24 oz. of chips. WHAT?

I’m sorry, that’s not reasonable. I mean, it’s reasonable if you’re Nabisco or General Mills, but the entire platform of Good Food is the health benefits. And guess what? CANE SUGAR is added to every single product they make.

I guess that’s what makes it taste so good. But at what cost?


I’ve sent my question to Good Food via Twitter, I’ll update you on their response. I did not submit my name or blog as an influencer. (grin)

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.46.57 PM

Seriously, there is NO reason for cane sugar to be in every chip they make, unless they are partially owned by a sugar manufacturer, or corporate farm entity. They are so anti-GMO that seems unlikely, but what gives? What’s the conspiracy?

I put a chip clip on the bag when I put it back in the pantry. I was tempted to put the entire, expensive bag of “cookies” in the trash. I guess I still can, even as they are calling me back for more right now.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

I encourage you to ask the about their #sugar agenda on their social channels. Let’s take this social. What’s up with your addiction to sugar?

FTSG Chips

Update: Still no word from FTSG, but in their privacy statement I found this little slip.  Either a left over remnant of a copy and paste from the General Mills site, or we’ve uncovered a bit more of the Sugar Conspiracy.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 6.36.16 PM

Leading to this little gem of information:

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 6.41.48 PM


Reviewing, Releasing, and Resetting My Goals – Month One

I declare my misery over.
I am in the process of creating a new song of myself.

Oh, I’ve been putting off my “weigh-in” a bit to see if I can get a few pounds lighter before I report in. That’s silly. I’m not really tied to that outcome, but I am still emotionally connected to it as some measure of success. I mean, if you’re here on this journey with me, you want to see success, right? I know I do. But I’ve got a different spin I’m trying on myself, let’s see if I can unpack my first month of self-awareness.

Some wins right away.

  • Zero Halloween candy. Not even a taste. And it’ wasn’t a challenge once I set my mind back on track.
  • Heading into November, my birth month, and thanksgiving, and I know I’m on track to have my best Holiday season ever, because I’m still attacking my sugar intake with a vengeance.
  • Only two bloated moments in the entire month – both times I ate pizza, too much pizza btw.
  • Both times I slipped into a sugar/dessert coma I make a conscious choice to do so, and to observe myself in the process and the hours afterwards.
  • My attitude is shifting away from my cravings and emotional hunger, towards a positive refactoring of what I eat and when I eat it.
  • My energy has been solid all week. I’m learning how to regulate my pre-workout food so that I don’t “need” a sugary sports drink. (Yes, even evaporated cane sugar, is sugar.)
  • I have not bashed myself or my body for where we are on the path towards a healthier me. NOT ONCE.

It’s the last observation that I think is the most important discovery. I learned early in my life, that my weight gave me power. As a 7-year-old Texas football player, I was also just under the weight limits for our tiny-player league. With that extra advantage I was a freight train when they handed me the ball. I experienced success as an athlete very early, and a lot of it had to do with my fantastic body. I was not concerned about my “fat” body, an neither was the coach who walked me around spitting and trying to pee before the weigh-ins. To him I was a winning season.

I am turning this new process of discovery in to a winning season for myself. I am where I am, and I am getting more loving and more fit at the same time. Get it? It’s very hard for any of us to truly love our bodies. Even the amazingly fit are struggling with body image issues as well. If we could release the body image hurt inside us, we’d probably be a lot happier. Like yoga, releasing and uncoiling all those years of damaging self talk, and societal “thin” pressure, has wreaked havoc on our own internal monologues.  We are awful to ourselves. I’m stopping that completely. Done!

So even in my attempts to become more fit, more healthy, I am also accepting the challenge to being more loving towards my love handles. More accepting of all of this process. I have wins, I have slips, I am human. But I am happy with my steps back towards my goals, and every time I return to this blog, I am reaffirming my love of myself. By taking better care of our bodies we are giving ourselves the message that we love ourself. (Powerful, yet a bit woo woo, right?)

Let me look at a few of the areas where I missed, if only for examination, and not chastisement.

  • I had pizza with my kids twice. I could’ve given them pizza and had something else.
  • I still had my usual medium popcorn at three movies. No butter and water to drink, but I have a little info on what’s in movie popcorn…
  • A few times I let my hunger (aka blood sugar drop) get too fierce and I’ve made poorer choices than I would’ve had I been more aware of myself.
  • I jumped on the scale, two weeks in, expecting, hoping, praying for some continuation of my first 5 days of weight loss. (I’m still hesitating on my weigh-in, right now.)
  • I’ve had some late-night snack runs, and even while I was eating only tamari-salted almonds and honeycrisp apples, I know I was giving in to some craving, rather than listening for hunger.
  • I let my laziness con me into eating a sugar filled “organic” cereal when I ran out of my uber-healthy cereal.
  • I’m happy with me, but I’m dreading weighing myself.

Today is the start of the second lap on my renewed fitness and wellness program. I’m happy and content with what I’ve learned and where I’m heading. Two big holidays are right ahead, and I feel empowered rather than restricted by my choices away from sugar and stuffing myself.

As I love myself a bit more, I’m able to see how caring for my fitness is part of that relationship. The relationship between body and mind may be the core that I am strengthening in this process. Sure, we need to do core exercises too, but for me, the emotional healing is harder to address than the physical. We can all eat better and exercise more, and we can all make ourselves miserable.

I declare my misery over. I am in the process of creating a new song of myself. I am singing my own praises and basking in the glow of every success. And even the missed opportunities have lessons, maybe lessons that are rooted in deep and unconscious memories.

Here’s to a happy start for November, my birth month, where I typically get a surge of energy and clearer focus for the next year to come. This is MY month, baby, I’m here to take it.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney


Bill Murray is a hero of self-acceptance, and my most memorable “brush with greatness.” And Jimi Hendrix and I share Nov. as our birth month. Let’s be more musical and loving towards ourselves and others.
–bill murray promo photo, creative commons usage

The Big Organic Myth

I’m not sure how many bananas it would take to get sick, but I know there’s a lot of sugar in a banana.

I believe that organic farming is the future of our sustainable future. But big organic, or corporate coopting of organic as a”brand” is a problem. When General Mills and Dole buy organic farms and simply absorb them into the corporate assembly line of big organic, they often lose some of what made them philosophically organic, and they begin to resemble their corporate owners, just carving back the pesticides and inhumane processes just enough to remain being labeled as organic.

In the same way, organic food products shout their ORGANIC greatness to us on every box side. And yet, my cereal this morning, when I looked at the ingredients, seemed a more like suped-up Frosted Flakes than health food. 10 GRAMS of sugar? Why?

sugars-organic And I should have put the box back in the pantry, but… I was lazy. And I ate it anyway.

This is a cereal that my daughter has grown fond of. And when I first got it for her, I was happy she had chosen something healthy. She’s been vacillating between being a vegetarian and not for over a year now. And I’m 100% in support of her efforts, and we always plan ahead so she has plenty to eat for dinner.

Even though a quick run down of the ingredients show a lot of great organic parts and pieces, it is clear this is not really health food. It’s organic (big organic) junk food. Yes, it’s possible to go completely ORGANIC and still eat a lot of crap.

Today I made a lazy decision to eat this “very tasty indeed” cereal that looks great on the packaging. Yes, I’m in marketing and branding, so I know what they are doing. It’s fine. But it’s not healthy. It’s technically organic, but from the ingredients all the way to the cardboard box, it’s not all that good for you.

In my case, the challenge is to go for less sugar. Even the natural sugar in the things I do eat. I’m not sure how many bananas it would take to get sick, but I know there’s a lot of sugar in a banana.

And I’ve been told so many times that I need to stop drinking milk, that I no longer hear any of the suggestions. Oh, I try them from time to time, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, all “organic.” But I’m either too stubborn, or uneducated to learn what’s bad about my organic non-fat milk. Well, except for the 6 grams of sugar. But I can deal with that at the moment. I’ll just keep putting less of it in my coffee.  Time to read the Milk 101 post. It says they put a lot of crap in all “low-fat” products, and most of it’s bad for us. Even the organic folks, who are just business people after all, are feeding us a lot of sugar and other things that aren’t good for us. Sure, evaporated cane juice is better than corn syrup, but not by much.

I can’t even eat sugar-free gum any more. (frown) Back to the basics: whole foods, water, and … coffee with some organic milk (for now).

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Aside: Oh well, there go my sponsorship opportunities from the organic food industry.