Be Aware

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world. ”  Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

One thing that I don't really talk about on my blog (but that might change...) is my love for the natural world. I have loved nature for as long as I can remember. When I was in the 5th grade, I knew, just knew that there was not a god. At least not a god in the traditional sense of the word. No man up in the sky deciding my fate, no world created in 7 days, and that the bible was just a book of fairy tales. I don't remember when I told my parents I didn't believe in a god. Maybe I never did. Maybe they just knew.

But as I explored my own internal feelings about religion, and went away to college (Eckerd College) my explorations went deeper and I discovered that I what I believed in actually had a name: Pantheism. At its core Pantheists do not propose belief in a deity; rather, they hold Nature itself as a creative presence. Pantheism reconciles science and religion through ecology leading to strong environmental awareness. I studied for many years earning advanced degrees in Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Marine Biology as well as Library and Information Science. And the more I studied the more I connected with the natural world around me.

I worked for years as an Environmental Scientist for private engineering firms and for our state government (SWFWMD). I helped to design the world renowned educational programs at Mote Marine Aquarium and conducted field work on shark fisheries in Isla Holbox, Mexico. And more. So much more. I can name nearly every wetland plant in the Florida swamp by genus and species. I can identify frogs based on their call. I know what swims beneath me when I'm out in the Gulf of Mexico and I do everything in my power to try to preserve it.

Nature is my church and that of my family. My children have never been to a traditional church. We attempted a service with the Universal Unitarians, but that wasn't our thing either. We don't "need" church, but we thought we needed the community that come with belonging to a religious organization. But we realized that we don't.

I'm not sure exactly where I am going with this post. I started it because I wanted to talk about this:

And as I started writing the post I realized I needed to talk about my belief in Pantheism to try to make sense of how I was feeling about this creature. And once I started thinking about it, I realized that I needed to go far back in my life to explain how I got to where I am today.

This beautiful bird was struck and killed by a car in my community on Sunday. It lay dead in the busy street for 3 days WITH NO SIGN. When I first saw its body, I gasped. And then I cried. As the days went by, and I drove by it in my car, my heart continued to hurt for this bird and its family. Sandhill Cranes stay with the same mate for several years. I've seen them do their mating dance, I've listened to their mating calls. I've seen them walk through my neighborhood with their chicks with the orange heads and I've watched as those chicks have grown up. These birds are endangered in Florida and PROTECTED by law.

James called me this morning to say that the bird was still there but someone had put a sign up. I immediately grabbed my keys and drove up. I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought maybe it was going to be a RIP type of sign like we see along side the road for a human fatality but as I approached and I saw this, I gasped again. I parked my car in the Sonic parking lot and crossed the street in to the median. I stood there looking at the bird, said a few words in memory of its majestic life, took this one picture and left. I should have brought a shovel. I should have scooped it up, put it in the back of my truck, brought it home and buried it. And I hate myself for not doing it. When the kids and I came home from errands this afternoon, the sign was gone, but the bird was still there. Only now it's been moved in to the median, and I've decided. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will put a shovel in my car and if the bird is still there on my way home from the beach, I will scoop it up. I will bring it home. And I will bury it.

Normally I don't get so worked up over "road kill" though my heart stops every time I see a dead raccoon, armadillo, turtle, or other creature in the road but I don't feel the urge to scoop it up and bury it.

What's the moral of this post? Be aware. Watch what is going on around you. In your life, in your world, in your bubble, in your house. Believe in what ever you want to believe in. Treat the Earth with respect. And Be Happy. Truly Happy. Find your passion. I had lost some of my passion for Pantheism the past few years while I focused on fitness and health. Nature took a back burner. I was selfish. No more. This was a wake-up call for me.

Flavor Run 5K- Giveaway

Okay, this race had me at Color. Then it had me at getting to TASTE the Color. But what really got me was the BLING!! The Flavor Run is going to be the only third 5K I've ever done (Gasparilla and Iron Girl were the others, oh wait and Warrior Dash, so technically 4) that offers all finishers a MEDAL! And it's the FIRST color bomb run I've done where a finishers medal has been awarded! Sweet. No pun intended. Or maybe so.

What is the Flavor Run?

The Flavor Run is a 5K family running or walking event that takes place at the Florida State Fairgrounds on August 17, 2013.

This run supports local businesses and farmers by creating a fun run that engages ALL of your senses!  Their website states that "During this epic 5k, there will be five separate Flavor Stations that will cover you in a delicious flavored (FDA Approved/All Natural) celebration powder and followed by a refreshing taste of locally produced fruits."

You can choose to sign up for the 5K or you can be a "Flavor Fairy!" You can also do the Flavor Family Mile Walk/Run.  Click HERE to register for this event.

I'm going to be doing this event with ONE of my children. Haven't decided which one yet. Maybe Ronin. It's rare that the two of us do an event alone, usually it's one of the girls that comes with me and since both girls are doing the Women's Running Series 5K with me in November, it seems fitting that it be Ronin.

The race entry fee goes up on Monday morning, so if you are on the fence about doing it, you should consider signing up now to avoid the fee increase.

I also have ONE race entry to give to one lucky reader :) This will be a QUICK giveaway with Ella picking the winner on FRIDAY!! And you have to register by Sunday night!!

What do you have to do to win?? 

  • Leave me a comment telling me if you've ever earned a medal for a 5K AND which flavor you'd most like to be pelted with.

That's it! See you out there when we can not only run through a rainbow, but we can taste it, too!!

Will YOU have loose skin after weight loss??

One of the most common questions I get is "Jenny, do you have extra skin after losing so much weight?" Yes, I do. Do I care? No, not most days. In fact, I talk about it and show you some of it in THIS VLOG post. Most of MY extra skin in on my upper arms, inner thighs, and lower stomach. Do I wear sleeveless clothing. YES. But I'll be honest, it took some time to get to that point. I didn't start wearing it until I hit my goal weight. Do I wear a bikini? SOMETIMES! I prefer tankini's because I am so active with my kids and I don't like my jelly belly to bounce around and a tankini holds it more in place. Do I wear shorts? HECK YES! I live in Florida people! 
Watch my VLOG. You'll like it Tongue Out
Here I am in MARCH showing you where my loose skin is. Even after 3 months of CrossFit, I still have it. It's getting less and less and my muscles are becoming more defined, but it's still there. I'm okay with that.

Here are a few FAQ and answers to help some of you that are worried.
1. What will my skin look like when I reach my target weight? The most important thing to remember about weight loss and your skin is that no one — not even a doctor— can tell in advance what your skin will look like when your reach your goal weight. Every person’s skin will react differently to weight loss.
However, many people who lose a significant amount of weight are unpleasantly surprised to find that their skin looks worse and worse as the pounds drop off. Fat cells themselves never go away entirely; they empty out but their structure remains behind. As the fat from the cells and inches melt away, there’s less support for the overlying skin and it starts to look deflated — collapsed and wrinkled — like a balloon that was blown up and popped. Since the underlying fat layer to which the skin was attached is now gone, it flops around loosely.
There are some common variables that affect how your skin will react to and look after weight loss:
* How old are you? — the younger you are, the more elastic your skin is. I'm nearly 42...maybe that's why my skin didn't bounce back so well?? Tongue Out
* How long were you overweight? — skin that has been stretched for many years is less elastic than skin that was only stretched for a brief time. I was overweight A LONG time. Maybe another reason??

 * What are your skin genetics? — some people are genetically blessed with elastic skin.

 * Do/did you smoke? — smoking negative affects the skin’s ability to tighten up.

 * How much weight did you lose and how quickly did you lose it? — the more weight you lose, the more likely it is that you’ll have excess skin. Extremely rapid weight loss (e.g. loss as a result of gastric bypass surgery) can also cause loose skin to occur.

 * Are/were you a sun worshipper? — sun damages skin. UM.....GUILTY

 * Were you ever pregnant? — a large pregnancy can permanently damage the underlying fibers of the skin and permanently separate the ab muscles that keep your stomach flat. YES!!!


2. Will exercise affect the way my skin looks when I reach my target weight? Exercise alone can’t make your skin tighten up; however, building muscle as you lose weight and afterwards can help to fill up some of the loose skin.


3. Are there any creams or lotions that I can rub on my skin that will make it tighten up? Will 'brushing' my excess skin make it go away? No, but it certainly never hurts to moisturize.


4. Are there any vitamins or supplements that I can take that will make my skin tighten up? No.


5. Is it true that if I lose weight ‘the right way’ that my skin will tighten up and I won’t have any loose or excess skin? There are myths, misinformation and outright lies floating around the Internet about skin and weight loss. The Big Lie is that if you lose weight ‘the right way’ you won’t have any problems with your skin — that it will shrink to fit your new body. The ‘right way’ is commonly held out to be through healthy eating, exercising and lifting weights, drinking lots of water, using lotions of various types, losing slowly, and taking various supplements and oils. Often whoever is espousing the ‘right way to lose weight’ is selling something: a book, lotion, supplement, or weight loss plan. Or that person is simply misinformed and has never personally lost enough weight to get to the point where excess skin is an issue. In any event, they’re wrong. You can lose weight 'the right way' and have a lot of excess skin.


6. Am I a failure if I lose weight ‘the right way’ and still have a problem with excess skin?  No! The Big Lie perpetrates the myth that we've done something wrong if we reach our goal weights and don't have magically shrinking skin. Many people have lost weight the right way and have problems with excess skin. You’re a success for losing the weight! Don’t let ignorant people make you feel like you're a failure.


7. Why do I see pictures and read stories in magazines, books, and on the Internet about people who say that they have lost a lot of weight but have tight skin with no excess skin problems? Everyone is different and there may be a few lucky souls who can lose large amounts of weight with no excess skin problems. Those folks would probably be ones who lost their weight at a young age, hadn't been overweight for very long, and/or were genetically blessed with elastic skin. Unfortunately, however, sometimes people just aren't honest about their skin problems because they are selling products or services or trying to make a name for themselves. So you have to consider the source: does this person, magazine, company, or book stand to profit from giving the illusion that you can lose weight without having any problems with excess skin? Keep in mind that photos can be airbrushed and that lighting, posture, makeup, and hair styles make a huge difference in before and after photos. Sometimes excess skin is tucked into clothing, even skimpy posing suits, to make it ‘disappear’. Listen, I had a chat with Olivia from the Biggest Loser and she had skin removal surgery. MOST high profile weight loss success stories DO. I commend Oliva for being honest as most don't say anything and leave the public thinking that they did it all on their own!
In other words, be cautious about believing all that you may ‘see’ and ‘hear’ about weight loss without excess skin problems. Especially if it involves your money!


8. When will I be able to tell whether my skin will tighten up after weight loss? Try not to worry prematurely about potential skin problems before you reach your goal weight. Many body changes happen as you lose the last ten or twenty pounds. Most plastic surgeons tell you to wait at least six months after you reach your goal weight and stabilize there to see how your skin reacts to your weight loss. However, not much is likely to change after a year.


Remember, if you decide that your skin looked better before you lost weight, you can always gain the weight back again – but I bet you won’t! NO WAY!!
9. I’ve reached my goal weight and waited six months and still have a problem with excess skin. What can I do? At this point, it comes down to two choices: live with the skin or have it surgically removed. Excess skin problems can usually be camouflaged under clothing quite nicely. If you don't want to live with the skin, you can schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss surgical options. You might want to consider talking to one just to find out what all your options are even if you don’t think that you would consider surgery.
I don't think people that need to lose 50 pounds or less have to deal with the extra skin issue, but I might be wrong!! I'd love to hear from you all that were overweight, but weren't morbidly obese!!
Would you have skin reduction surgery?? Have you had it?? On what part of your body? How expensive was it??