Just a Cup of Coffee

There is one person who I think of everytime I step on a boat.  He is on my mind each time I see people leave for a hunting trip or anytime that I see proud moms and dads posting photos of their kids holding up their daily catch from a fishing trip.  Each morning, I get up early to work before any of my family members are awake.  It is my focused and intentional time that I can focus on my clients to make sure they are staying committed to their goals.
Anyway, I also drink a hot cup of coffee every morning while I do it and last week, I was totally missing my Uncle Richard.

My Uncle Richard was just a like a father to me.  And I am sure you’ve heard people say that about a person in their life before too….but this man really was.  He was  like a father to my brothers and I.  And today, I would have given anything to have him sitting across from me when I was drinking my morning cup of coffee.

If you could pick one person in the world to sit and have coffee with….who would it be?

Mine is a toss up between 2 people.  But, this week I really wanted it to be Richard.

My uncle passed away a little over 5 years ago….it seems like he’s been gone for way too long, but I remember those days like it was yesterday.

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Richard had so much to share with the world.  I am a better woman because of him and all that I learned from him.
What did I learn?
Life isn’t always fair.
The fish don’t always bite.
Do it right the first time so you don’t have to do it a second time.
Kindness matters….ALWAYS
How you treat others says more about you than anything else.
I learned that your Blessings far outweigh the bad….even at the hardest times.
You should only plant grass during the months that end in ember…..minus novemeber and December in ND.
To wake up an hour early to live an hour longer.
If you go to bed broke…you shouldn’t have gone to bed.

Mostly, I learned that Love comes in lots of different forms and from all sorts of people.  Richard was single and I was his only niece, so I guess I owned a very large piece of his heart.  He supported EVERYTHING I did!  He was at every fundraiser, he donated to every cause, he came to every sporting event and he ADORED my older 2 girls….and I know he is in heaven just laughing because he knows that Kate is so much like her mommy and for those of you who knew me growing up, you know that is a handful!

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2 weekends ago we were on one of the highest peaks at the lake and to my girls and I it felt like we were on top of the world.  But as the sun was going down on the water and my 3 girls were standing on a picnic table pretending to beat their chests like tarzan, I felt him there.  I knew he was there and that if he could be……he would have been there too!  He would have been there to wake us up at the crack of dawn to be on the boat to get the best fishing.  He would have been there to eat a ton of burnt marshmallows that night and to sneak my girls candy like he used to do for me.
He would be here to watch the most entertaining 5 year old basketball games, and to support the girls’ basketball fundraisers.  He would be here for birthday parties and for holidays and he would treat my girls with just as much love, kindness and adoration that he did me.

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Gosh I miss him!  I would give anything to be able to sit and have one more cup of coffee with him.

We knew that Richard was going to die……I had the chance to say good-bye, but at that moment, I just wanted to tell him thank you and just hope that he knew how much I loved him.  Now, I would say so many more things to him!  I would have eaten 50 more orange popsicles and enjoyed 100 more Conversation hearts with him.  I know, I know that there are always “what if’s or I would have’s”  but if I could do one thing over……..I would have just sat and talked to him a heck of a lot more like I wish I could do now.

My point with this post……..if you have someone in your life that is that close to you and you have the chance to just sit and talk to them…….do it…..and do it often.
Don’t pass up on the chance for someone to teach you more about life through their experiences and their wisdom.
Let the laundry wait, the dishes will be there an hour from now and we all know the dust will just continue to collect and you can dust it tomorrow.
Take the time for coffee if you have the chance to!
Because there will come a time in your life…..that all you ever want is just one more cup of coffee!

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I had written and not published this post a few days ago, and this morning, my youngest daughter Kate and I were sitting on the couch and I was rereading this post….of course in tears…..
Kate never had the chance to meet Richard, but I know that he knows her, and I want her to know him too.  We talked about all the memories I wrote about and how he was just so so awesome…..and she tells me, “God must have really needed someone pretty special up there in heaven mommy.”  So so true Kate….SO true!

Mindset and Change

My workouts used to be done for a specific reason.  I used to keep track of every calorie I consumed and I would work my a$$ off at the gym and the progress of my workout was dependent on the number that displayed in the “calories burned” window on a treadmill that gets used by a thousand people each week….(yeah I know, accurate right?)
At this point in my life, I didn’t know the rules about calories in and calories out.
I didn’t know about properly fueling my body.  I had never been conscious of what I put in my body until I developed an eating disorder in college.
And then, It was diet coke, coffee with fake sugar, food that was easy to hide and sugar free candy that made my stomach do somersaults every time after I would eat it because my body had too much sugar in it!!! YUCK!
My mind and my mental battles at this time were at an all time out of control state.  You see, even though I was thinking that if I worked off every calorie, I would never be thin enough…..I know that sounds super crazy, but hear me out……..MY EATING DISORDER DIDN’T START BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE THIN……..IT DIDN’T EVEN START BECAUSE OF THE WEIGHT!
For me…….IT WAS ALL ABOUT CONTROL!
With such an incredible busy life and me not doing anything for me….the number on the scale and how little I would feed my body became the 2 things each day that I could control.  Here is what a typical day looked like for me then.
6:30 Get up and get ready
7:15 Head to my 8:00 class and for those of you who live in town and drive out to the University of Mary, you know why I had to leave so early….for those of you who don’t the college is out of town and it’s quite the drive.
8:00-1:50 I would have class and would suck on sugar free candy and fill up my coffee cup after every class
3:00-6:00 I would work at the daycare center as an after-school teacher.
6:30-9:00 usually, (I could kind of pick my own hours, I would work at the Kennedy Center)
9:00 I would head to the gym to walk or run on the treadmill because I didn’t know what else to do there and I thought running burned the most calories
Get home and go to bed to do it all over again  But also drink a diet coke each time I got in the car except for before the gym, but you better believe I had one after!

Saturdays I had another part time job to keep me busy and would catch up on school work, projects and try to hang out with some of my friends.

You see, the hustle and bustle of my life was out of control and there wasn’t anything I could cut out or cut back on…..or so I thought at the time.

Looking back and re-reading this it is crazy to think just how many things I have had to change in my own mindset.

It didn’t happen overnight, and there are still times that I feel overcommitted and overwhelmed by all that I have going on.  Being a mom, I think that is just going to happen sporadically and I am just so grateful to be at a point in my recovery that I don’t spiral out of control anymore.

Ok, so the real reason that I wanted to share this with you all…….

I don’t workout because of what I eat…..
I don’t workout because I want to be thin…..
I don’t workout because I have to do it for my job…..
I don’t workout to burn calories……

I workout because it makes me happy.
I workout because it is time just for me.
I workout to improve me and my mentality.
I workout to gain strength in all aspects of my life.

It took me about 10 years to get to this point…….and thinking back on the 10 years it took….well, they were not easy AT all!  But, now that I am here, I am the happiest and healthiest I have been EVER!

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I was scared when I first became a Beachbody coach because I didn’t think that anyone would want me, someone who had suffered from an eating disorder and bad self-image, to ever help them.  What I have discovered….
So So often when I talk to people……It isn’t even about the weight that brought them to where they are.  It isn’t about the exercise or how many pounds they want to lose.  It is because they are fighting or have fought a battle that they finally want to overcome.
It is because they can relate to what I went through….not necessarily the eating disorder…but the battle.  They see me as a survivor and they want to be a survivor too……and I am Blessed Beyond measure to be able to help them do it.
Have you been wanting to overcome a battle of your own?  Are you wanting to make a healthy and positive change in your life?
If so……..I would love to be the person to help you get through it….even if it isn’t about the weight!
My upcoming Challenge Group is called “The Confidence Club” and while it is a health and fitness Challenge….it is so so much more than that!  We are focusing on a positive and healthy self-image and learning to love the skin we are in TOGETHER!  If you are interested in joining this group to get started on a positive mindset and to make some changes….I want to help you do it!  Shoot me a friend request HERE ON FACEBOOK or email me at valerie.woeste@gmail.com

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Just Stop Thinking About It

Food Obsession…..

It’s a tough phrase for me to swallow because for the longest time….it’s something I lived.
For those of you who are new followers to my blog, I am an eating disorder survivor.
When I was in college I struggled big time with pretty much any type of eating disorder you can imagine.
Closet eating, binging, restricting, purging and food obsession just to name those you may know about.
It affected every aspect of my life and it became an obsession that consumed my every thought for far too long.  So many memories that should be good memories…..I was thinking about what I was going to eat or how I was going to purge or when my next meal would be.  There are so many times in my life I can’t tell you much about what happened at an event, but I can tell you what was served for food, what I avoided and what I ate and how the food made me feel.
Instead of focusing on building relationships with people, I spend time obsessing over my relationship with food.  I know for those of you who never have experienced it, it sound silly, but it was my life for 8 years.  Even though I wasn’t restricting or binging towards the last couple years, I was still food obsessed.
Sometimes, people in my life would get frustrated with me and tell me, “Valerie, just stop thinking about it so much.”  I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time because it wasn’t that easy.
I have spent a few hours this week speaking to a woman who reached out to me because of my blog and because of my story who is ready to be FREE from this same type of relationship.  The relationship of letting certain foods make you feel great for a few days and then 1 certain food destroying an entire week.  She asked me questions that no one has dared or ever asked me before.  She asked me about “trigger foods”  and for those of you who don’t know what they are……..They are certain foods that do what I mentioned above….they make you feel guilty or remind you of a bad place in your life and they set you going on a downward hill on the roller coaster to recovery just for you to have to climb back up another hill the next day.
One of these foods for me used to be ice cream.  I know I have blogged about ice cream before and how this last year I have actually been able to sit down and have ice cream with my girls and enjoy it without remorse for indulging.  I overcame one of my worst trigger foods.
Another one for me used to be pasta……and it just so happens that my favorite dish in Bismarck is a Spicy pasta dish from the Walrus.  I have eaten it 2 times now with success and not feeling like I have to workout for 2 hours after eating it…..and it has been worth it every single time!
I am reading a book right now about leadership and the book that I finished before this was one about facing your fears and sharing the struggles and this is exactly what I want to do with this post.
Having an eating disorder isn’t something I love to talk about……it isn’t always easy to think about or to remember how much I hurt the people around me, but it HAS taught me so so much about myself, my relationships with other people and that it is possible to come back from it and have a healthy relationship with food.
You see, because of always wanting to think about food…..this is where my passion for meal planning comes in.  If I dont’ have a plan for the week, I fail at thinking about food all day long miserably……..So, this is why I plan.  For me, it takes the guesswork out of what is coming next and it provides my mind with stability and time to focus on and think about the things that truly matter.
I do believe that there are people out there who may not have struggled with the eating disorder part of what I am sharing, but they are obsessed about thinking about food.  Whether it is for emotional reasons, dieting reasons or whatever their own reason may be.
I want to share with those of you who know what I am talking about that there is HOPE!  There is a light and it is possible to have a healthier mindset and a healthier relationship with food.
There are still situations that overwhelm me……buffets are one of them and I am so thankful my husband doesn’t like buffets.  Places that have SO MUCH food all over is another one.
We don’t keep a ton of food in our pantry or around our house for this reason.
Day by day, I find ways to not think about it so much.  I find things that work for me and my family to find balance so my kids don’t miss out on things because of my relationship with food.  I work at it every single day still and I still have bad days, but I also have a complete network of people who help me!  My mom, my husband, my clients and my team of coaches are the people who check in or who know if I seem like it’s a bad day.
It isn’t just like you wake up one day and you are recovered…….it is something that has stayed with me all the time, but it is also something that I overcome a little more with each passing day.
So, for those of you wondering how someone with an eating disorder as part of her past can be a successful Beachbody coach and help others…….I am here to tell you that I don’t claim to be an expert, I am not perfect, I still have good days and bad days, and I still overcome my struggles every day, just like my clients over come theirs…….and THAT is what makes me a good coach!  That is what makes me relatable and THAT is the part of coaching that I love the most.  That I can finally BE ME!  And the people who I get to work with as clients and on my team accept me for ME:  the food loving, messy kitchen maker, over-involved hot-mess mom, fitness loving, guacamole making, coffee drinking, passionate, pearly personality person that I am!  It is the most freeing feeling in the world to know that all you have to do everyday is wake up and be YOU!

Anyway, I am pretty sure I rambled, but I have been thinking about posting some of this information for a very long time and because of the bravery of one woman to come forward and say, I am ready to be FREE, I knew I needed to share!
Happy Saturday!

What I have learned because of CUPCAKES

To those who don’t follow me on Facebook this may seem like a very random title for a blog post, but I am the mother of a budding baker/entrepreneur/future baking show host/sweet sweet 8 year old.

My oldest daughter Lauren, who is 8 Years old is officially, well maybe moreso unofficially in the cupcake baking and decorating business.  Yes, lots of talk about piping bags, vanilla bean paste, and a ton of cupcakes around my house!

The truth is I absolutely LOVE supporting her great big idea that stemmed from her simply wanting to try making cupcakes from scratch one rainy day.  She loves to watch cupcake wars and baking shows…….or even Chopped Junior (it’s her new favorite).

She has officially completed 12 cupcake orders.  She charges $18.00/dozen and is donating $2.00 for every dozen to her walk in the Relay For Life.
Her cousins are currently transitioning from Missouri to Florida and Lauren has high hopes to earn enough money for a plane ticket to go and visit them…..and I know she will do it!

What I didn’t know……..

I had no idea I would learn so much from watching my daughter take on a goal and create something of her own.

I was challenged with the question a few weeks ago
“How many times have you masked your daughters creativity?”
My answer…..
More than I ever thought about!

And because of sharing my kitchen with this little Betty Crocker, I am seeing more of that as she completes order after order.
You see, (and I posted this on Facebook), Lauren is baking these cupcakes from a child’s perspective…..so each of her cupcakes is “the one”  the one that the birthday girl/boy picks!  Loaded with frosting and decorations that, to me, make me cringe and grosse me out!  But, each time I have seen the kids eat her cupcakes their eyes light up and the first thing most of them do …..yep, you guessed it, LICK OFF THE FROSTING!

There have been a number of times that I want to tell her things like,
“Oh, don’t you think they should all look the same?”
“Honey, that is a lot of frosting.”
“Do you really think those 3 colors look the best together?”
and the latest:
“If you put sprinkles on one don’t you think you should put them on all?”

I see the perfectionist part of my personality trying to overbear her creative side, which is way cooler than my perfectionist side, and although it is hard to take a step back, it is also teaching her that I believe in her.  That not matter what the cupcake looks like or even tastes like, I am proud of her for being determined, persistent and most of all creative!

Is this just a phase?  Some people might think so.
Can she really do it?  Some might not think so.
Is it a learning process?  Absolutely, for her and I!

What do I think?
I don’t think….I know that when I look in her eyes when she is talking about cupcakes or right after she delivers them and nothing can wipe the smile off of her face, or when she is actually making them the way she carries herself and the pride and ownership that she takes in herself and in her finished product…….that she will be on Cupcake Wars someday!
That she will raise money for cancer research and she will make movements in her life, in the lives of others, and in me!

It makes me think about when I was little and the way I grew up…..My parents didn’t think for me.  I would play store and have to create my own play money and put out my clothes on hangers and hang them all over our play room.  I would leave the house and climb trees and play in tree rows and play Boxcar Children in the barn.  (those were awesome books when I was growing up).  They didn’t show me how or what to play.  I didn’t need ideas of what to do because I knew that if I sounded bored, I would get put to work.
Yes, we argued and we fought, but we also played very independently and our imaginations were constantly being used!  I am so thankful my mom didn’t mask my creativity!

I have learned to let go of a lot!  Let go of the urge to grab the knife to level off the measuring cup.  Let go of the urge to come to her rescue when something doesn’t go right so she can figure it out for herself.  To let go of my Kitchen Aid Mixer because it is mostly hers now lol.  But most of all, I have learned to foster instead of mask.  To foster and encourage her thoughts.  To let her try new ideas and new techniques……not because I think she can or can’t, but because I want her to know that regardless of the outcome, I still believe in her.

This little girl is organized, responsible and wise beyond her years.  She is learning time management, budgeting, (yes she buys her own supplies)  and responsibility!  But she is not doing this because she HAS to……..She is doing this because it is HERS and she WANTS to!

Here are a few of her finished products🙂

 

Spicy Garlic Chicken Pasta

If you have followed me for a while, you know that I love all things spicy.  This recipe is one of my favorites because I can turn UP the heat for myself and tone it down a bit for my family.

My husband used to eat foods with more spice than me, but those roles have switched over the years for us🙂.  I can handle more heat than him now!

Another truth about me is that I am actually not a pasta lover……..(GASP)  I know right?!  But, there is a dish at one of my favorite restaurants here in Bismarck called The Walrus that I love!!!!  The diablo pasta with chicken is MY FAV!!!!!  Tons of garlic, packed with flavor and just the right amount of heat with sliced jalapenos……It’s definitely worth the splurge!!!!  This dish in a way reminds me of my favorite meal at The Walrus.

I hope that you enjoy as much as I do!!!!

Spicy Garlic Chicken Pasta

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Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breast, skinless and boneless, halved horizontally
Sea Salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dry basil
1 Tbsp coconut oil
8-10 oz whole wheat pasta of your choice (We love Rotini or Penne)
1 cup frozen green peas
1 Tbsp Olive oil
6 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (15 0z) can organic tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dry basil
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup milk

Instructions:
1. Cut chicken breast horizontally in half, to make it thinner.  Season both halves generously with salt and also with 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes and 1 tsp dry basil on both sides.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add seasoned chicken breast halves and cook on ne side for about 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.
Flip the chicken over to the other side and cook for another 3 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat, cover with the  and lid and let the chicken sit in the skillet off heat-it will continue cooking.  After about 10-15 minutes, the chicken should be fully cooked and no longer pink in the center-remove the chicken from the skillet and slice into cubes and set aside.
3.  Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions.  Add peas to pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
SAUCE:
1. To the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic cloves and if you want the entire dish to be spicy, the additional red pepper flakes. ( you can omit those though).
Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.  Add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp dry basil, stir and bring to boil-immediately reduce to simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.  Add shredded mozzarella cheese to the sauce and stir to melt until cheese is completely melted and the sauce thickens-30 seconds to 1 minute.  With heat on simmer, add 1/2 cup of milk and stir to combine.
2.  Add cooked and rinsed pasta, peas, and cooked cubed chicken to the sauce.  Mix to combine.  If you cooked pasta in salted water, if you seasoned chicken generously with salt and used canned tomato sauce- no need to add salt at this point.
Taste and salt if needed.