It's a Twinderful Life

Looking For the Silver Lining in All of Life's Clouds

the autoimmune protocol.

Welcome to Wednesday everyone! I hope that your week is going well so far. I don’t know about you, but I’m already ready for the weekend and have been struggling to get back into the groove of things in my little world since the holiday break.

It’s been FREEZING (literally) here in Utah for what seems like forever (today the temperature hit a balmy 37 degrees – a nice change from the 8 degree weather we’ve been experiencing for the past two weeks). The air in the Salt Lake valley is like pea soup and I’ve thought more than once about driving to the top of a mountain to just breath and reintroduce myself to the sun. And, to top it all off, I’m detoxing from all of the holiday food naughtiness of which I partook. In short, I’m ready for January (my least favorite month) to be over.

On the bright side, I’m back at work at a job that I love and am in the midst of planning my future niece’s awesome baby shower. I can’t believe that I’ll get to kiss her chubby cheeks and squeeze her fat little it-looks-like-there-is-a-rubber-band-squeezed-around-each-joint appendages in 7 weeks! I’ve also been working on some New Year’s resolutions and am feeling pumped about all of the cool stuff that we’ll be doing this year (more in another post).

Which bring me to the title of this post – the autoimmune protocol. Towards the end of the holidays, when I was feeling tired and gross from all of the crap I’d put into my body, I decided to do some planning around hitting the Paleo/Primal-lifestyle-pavement hard come the new year. I came across The Paleo Mom blog (awesomesauce, btw) and, subsequently, an e-book titled The Autoimmune Paleo Plan. Seeing as I’ve been striving to “eat like a caveman” for a year and a half now and due to the fact that I have an autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Hypothyroidism), this piqued my interest.

I bought the book (a short but awesome read) and decided that I was going to make it part of my New Year’s resolutions. Instead of jumping in full force after the holiday binge, I decided to ease into it (more opportunity for success). So, here I am. I’ve gone back to my fantastic, strictly Paleo way of eating for the next two weeks (and am detoxing like woah) and my plan is to try the AIP (autoimmune protocol) for at least a month after that. I’m excited to see how my body feels on this protocol and will keep you posted. Heaven knows that I’m ready to ditch this sore, tired, hungover-from-too-many-carbs body and get back to my fantastic, energetic self.

Now it’s your turn…what are some of your New Year’s Resolutions? What are you going to conquer this year? We’d love to hear all about it!

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Life advice.

This morning Steve’s alarm clock on his phone went off a bit earlier than usual. He didn’t hear it until I shook him awake. He then pulled me close for a morning snuggle – one of my favorite times of the day. He’s so warm and peaceful and he always smells so amazing…I wish we could just stay there, wrapped in our deliciously soft and cloud-like sheets and comforter.

The next thing out of his mouth  was so unexpected  and so hilarious that I’ve been giggling about it all day.

“I have to go running…so that I don’t die.”

What the?! Did he just say that? He is the only person (besides my sister) that can be witty so early in the morning, and I died of laughter and thought it was so sweet all at once.

For those of you who don’t know, Steve has Type II Diabetes that we’ve been trying to get under control for a while. We’re usually pretty good about it and Steve tries hard to eat healthy and to exercise often, but the past month or so has been CRAZY with us getting our condo ready to sell, selling it, and then moving in with BreMiah, so he’s been off of his routine. Today was the day he decided to get back into his marathon training (he’s signed  up to do the Salt Lake City Marathon in April 2013), and, in my opinion, it was the perfect statement to help jump start the endeavor.

After thinking about this all day I’ve decided that his statement isn’t just cute and funny, but it’s also good advice for life – we all need to keep moving and stay healthy so that not only do we not die, but we live to the best of our ability! I’m feeling inspired and more committed to moving more and eating like a caveman!

And Sweetie, I don’t want you to die either and am so proud of you for ripping yourself from the warmth of our cocoon so that we can be together for a good long while yet. This is just one of the many reasons why I love you so.

Have a fantastic Wednesday everyone!

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Conquering the bat wing.

Welcome to Saturday. I hope that you all had a fantastic week. We’ve had quite a productive Saturday so far – it’s only 1 PM and we’ve already met with our Realtor to officially list our condo! Woohoo! Now we just have a few odds and ends to take care of around here so that we can take some pics to add to our listing (which I will also put here). We’ve also been squishing our pups and treating a rib of mine that popped out of place in my sleep the night before last. “How the heck did that happen?” you may be wondering. You’re guess is as good as mine.  Apparently I like to do all sorts of crazy sweet dance moves in my sleep. Let’s just say that it’s pretty tender.

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My little Saturday morning cuddle bug – Sparky.

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A popped out rib’s best friends.

But enough about that. Let me tell about the fun I’ve been having at work. First, allow me to introduce you to my one of my coworkers and his “helpers.” Seriously, he was trying to work on a project and we decided that we would send in more resources to help, hence the “helpers.” Cracks me up.
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On Tuesday my coworkers and I were all chatting about health and food and exercise programs when an amazing thought entered my mind – we should have a “conquering the bat wing” contest. And no, we’re not talking about kidnapping a bat and doing something to their wing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what constitutes a “bat wing,” allow me to illustrate:

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Yes, I love you so much I’m sharing one of my least flattering body parts to you.

Notice how the extra skin and fat located under the arm just kind of hangs there. If I were to wave my arm or write on a chalkboard, it would flap (hence the “wing”). I’m still not quite sure where the “bat” in the whole “bat wing” terminology came from…perhaps Bre can comment below since I first heard the term from her. This phenomenon may also be referred to as a “jello arm” or, in Utah, many know it as the “Relief Society arm.” Suffice it to say that it is not a necessarily desirably trait.

So, my team and I have decided to get rid of our bat wings (although I must admit that since I’m the only woman on the team this is going to be harder for me to get rid of then he rest of them since I’m not sure that what they have really qualifies as a “bat wing” in the first place):

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See what I mean?

For the rest of the world that doesn’t know what a “bat wing” is we’re calling the contest a “Biggest Loser” contest. I think most people know what the Biggest Loser is. Basically, whoever loses the highest percentage of their body weight wins. We started on Wednesday and the last weigh in day will be on Halloween, and I am looking forward to it! We weigh in every Wednesday. Most of us are shooting to loose those last 20 lbs. that are gently padding our beach body physiques underneath (or at least we hope so) so it should be pretty fair. In our experience, it’s so much easier to reach weight loss goals when you are working with a group of peers who will keep you accountable, so I’m predicting MAJOR success. We’re all using different strategies to accomplish this. A couple are going to follow the P90X program, some are counting calories, and others are exercising more. As for me, I’m going to cut back on my grains again to 3 servings/week and work out more consistently. Bre and I did this last Fall and it worked like a charm!

So, here’s the challenge – join us! We’d love to have you hop on our “trying to be more healthy” train. If you want, you can even e-mail me your results every Wednesday to stay accountable. You could take a “before” pic now and an “after” pic on Halloween and post them here in the comments. We would love to see them! I’ll send updates every now and again.

In the end, I’m looking forward to taking updated pics of the arms above, and, hopefully, there’ll be no “bat wings” to be found.

Have a fantastic weekend!

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Finding Happiness Challenge Update

Howdy hey neighbors. It’s time to hear about how your Finding Happiness Challenge went! This Monday (3 days ago) marked the last day of the 21 day challenge. In case you missed the post that explained what the challenge consisted of go here.

I did this challenge in February and it rocked my world. It’s been a few months since then but I still try to do some of the things mentioned in the challenge like writing complimentary e-mails to coworkers and writing down one thing that went well every day. I keep my “things that went well” in my The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: A Five-Year Record by Gretchen Rubin. It rests comfortably on my bedside table as an easy reminder to me to write something every night before I crawl into bed. I’ve also tried adding a few ideas of my own to my routine and I’ve noticed that these things consistently make me feel happier:

  • I try to take my dogs on a walk every other day after I get home from work. The weather is amazingly beautiful here in Salt Lake right now and I love being outside after a hectic day.
  • I watch less T.V. and read more.
  • I try to get out on the weekend to hike.
  • I’ve been reconnecting with old friends and am reminded that I know some freaking AMAZING people.
  • I’ve stopped being so hard on myself. I’m a mover and a shaker and I like to plan out my days. I used to get frustrated if I didn’t finish each and every little thing that I had set my mind to do in a day, but now, if I don’t get everything done, I don’t become frustrated. I just tell myself that there will be time to do it tomorrow, or the next day…

Since completing my own Finding Happiness Challenge and incorporating the few things mentioned above into my routine I have definitely noticed a change in the “lens” through which my brain views the world. I find that I automatically have more patience with myself. It is easier for me to remember that each person that I meet is my brother or sister and I love them more. I don’t envy others. I find myself filled with so much gratitude during the day. I feel so much more content with my life, even if I’m not in the exact place that my old self used to think that I needed to be at this point in time. And, my favorite “lens” change of all, I find that my brain magically finds the positives in all situations, almost like it has its own free will and is making that choice for me. It rocks!

Now we want to hear what you’ve noticed since finishing the challenge. And if you haven’t taken it yet, don’t waste another second! It is SO worth it. Until tomorrow…

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Finding Happiness Challenge

Happy Monday All! Today’s post is bound to inspire, so prepare yourselves.

If you’ve read about us on our “The Twins” page you know that one thing that we will be writing about on this blog that we have become passionate about  is the subject of finding/choosing happiness in the present in any situation that life throws at you. This passion really started to develop for me a few months ago. I had been feeling pretty down (which is very contrary to my usual happy-go-lucky, optimistic self) and it was really bothering me. For those of you who don’t know me I am a recovering Type-A personality. Wanting to be in control can be very motivating most of the time, but it can also drive you crazy when things that aren’t in your control don’t go as planned. And this was the situation I was finding myself in.

So, after a few weeks of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to do something about it and started researching what true happiness really is, what brings it into our lives, and how to foster it so that we can have it in the present, no matter what happens. I had already heard the concept that happiness is a choice, but it had always bothered me because it put the responsibility on me. I wanted it to happen to me passively, without having to put much effort into it, but after a while of noticing that this approach wasn’t working for me, I knew it was time to try something different.

I’ll be writing about all of the fabulous resources I stumbled upon during the coming weeks/months, but I wanted to share something with you today that ignited the spark for me to truly believe the concept that happiness is a choice.

I was sitting in a meeting at work a couple of months ago, minding my own business, when my boss showed us the following video. I know that the video is 15 mins. long, but trust me, you’ll want to watch the entire thing (and this shouldn’t be difficult since it’s very entertaining):

Wasn’t that fabulous?! I thought so too, so much so that I wanted to stand up in the meeting and clap (but don’t worry, I didn’t and kept it profesh). Although Shawn talks specifically about how happiness is related to productivity in the workplace, I think he touches on some key points for finding happiness in our day-to-day lives.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. (“If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average”)
  • Realize your potential. (Be the “unicorn”)
  • Train your brain to look for the positive instead of the negative

Towards the end of the presentation you’ll notice that he shows a list of things that we can do to train our brains to look for the positive and to change the lens through which our minds view the world (one of the foundational concepts behind cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, for all you social worker/psychologist types out there). In case you didn’t have a chance to write them down, here they are (with a few tweaks of my own):

  • 3 Gratitudes – Write down three unique things that you are grateful for every day.
  • Journaling – Write down one thing that went well every day.
  • Exercise – Exercise for at least 20 minutes, 5 – 6 days a week (even if that means a quick stroll outside).
  • Meditation – Find 10 minutes every day where there are no distractions (TV, phone, music, kids) and just breathe and be.
  • Random Acts of Kindness – Write an e-mail to one person every day outlining something positive about that person.

There you have it. A simple, concrete way to train your brain to choose happiness in the present.

So here’s the challenge part of the post – try it out for 21 days. See if it works for you. Let’s stop pushing happiness “over the cognitive horizon.” I’ve been trying, and let me tell you, I’ve noticed a BIG difference.

Once you’ve completed the challenge, let us know how it went for you.

We’ll see you on the other side!

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