The Movie Montage Continues

It seems to be a theme for me right now, this feeling that I’m in the middle of my movie montage. I’ve mentioned this before — I feel like I’m in that part of a the movie where a character is working really hard to reach a goal. On film, the struggle lasts about two minutes, tops. It’s accompanied by an appropriate soundtrack and never bends under the weight of the monotony of repeating behaviors every day. It’s all easy and delightful and free of self-doubt and heartache. Like this:

Ah, I love a good movie montage.

Anyway… that was a long way to say: Daily life is both a big deal and kind of quiet right now because I’m actively trying to (1) lower my blood pressure (both literally and figuratively) and (2) lose the excess 20 pounds I gained while on my adrenal-thyroid adventures. Which means I’m not doing much besides working out, walking, cooking, eating, sleeping, reading, and watching select TV. As I type that, I realize that looks like I’m doing plenty! It feels pretty quiet, but that also seems appropriate right now. I’m trying to look at it as my own personal Spa Time.

I have many blog posts half-written in my noggin, though I haven’t been able to commit them to keyboard strokes yet.

But I miss you guys! So I thought I’d share a few tidbits of what I’m up to — and then it’s time for my afternoon walk, because one of the things I’m up to is getting 10,000 steps every day. Let’s start with that one!

I got a Fitbit Force. And I love it. I think it looks cool on my wrist, and it’s keeping me motivated to move more. Ten thousand steps a day seems to be a good guideline for most people (read this and this) and plenty of activity — without overdoing it on the intensity — is very important for people like me with hypothyroidism. So I’m walking every day. And my Fitbit is helping me like it because I feel accomplished when the LED screen on my wrist plays the “you completed 10,000 steps” fireworks sequence. Awesome.

Chris Kresser’s book Your Personal Paleo Code is wonderful. I owe you guys a real review, but ’til then… if you’re a paleo person, this book is the next step in finding your perfect version of paleo. I got so many practical, helpful tips from the book because it addresses different conditions head-on, including my big three: weight loss, hypothyroidism, and high blood pressure. Which leads me to…

I’m eating livers and cold-water fish, and I’m simmering bone broth. I’ve been eating very clean for five years, but as I learned from Dr. Myers and the blood tests she ran, I haven’t been absorbing all the nutrients I need. They’re in my food, but I’m not getting them, for a variety of reasons — and my blood pressure is high. So I’m tweaking my eating habits a bit: fatty, cold-water fish every week, liver every week, homemade bone broth in my soups and stews instead of nutrient-poor store bought. (I have so many new recipes to share! I will get on that; I promise.)

I’m also drinking hibiscus tea. Word on the street (OK, not really on the street, but in Chris’s book) is that hibiscus tea, enjoyed hot, two to three times a day, can help lower blood pressure. I desperately want to avoid going on blood pressure medication, so I’m moving more and drinking this cup of red liquid. It’s fine; not my favorite, but fine… especially if it works.

I’m working on losing 20 pounds. I’m not beholden to the scale, and I’m not hating on my body or anything like that. But I’ve gained about 20 pounds over the last few years, and it’s time to address that, for my blood pressure and my peace of mind. I want to be leaner — and there is a black fringed dress in my closet that’s too tight and I WANT TO WEAR THAT DRESS. Now that my health is better — great thyroid numbers last time we checked and I’m feeling really, really good — I can apply my laser focus to body fat loss, rather than trying to get “well.” I’m kicking so much ass on the workouts my trainer Mark is giving me, and in addition to the nutritional tweaks above, we’ve noodled with my fat/protein/carb ratios a bit, too. Will let you know as soon as I see some progress, but for now, I’m mentally and physically feeling GOOD, and that’s lovely.

I’m reading The Golem and The Jinni and it is fantastic (and fantastical). According to my Kindle, I only have 9% until the end, and I have no idea what’s going to happen. I adore the characters, and it’s been completely engrossing. I’ve reached the point where I’m reading as fast as I can because I want to know what’s going to happen — at the same time that I don’t want it to end. It definitely goes on my list of beloved books (see also: Jane Eyre, The Thirteenth Tale, The Book Thief, The Night Circus, The Historian, A Room with a View).


I’m inspired by another fictional character: Phyrne Fisher. I discovered Phryne via Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix, and I kind of binge-watched the first season. Then I pre-orderded the second season on Amazon. Then I started reading the books on which the show is based. There are 20 of them (!), and I’m on number seven. I could not be happier that there are so many left. Phryne is glamorous and a thoroughly modern woman in 1920s Australia. She doesn’t put up with anybody’s nonsense, and while she’s pretty tough, she has a soft, gooey center. Truth be told, I’ve felt decidedly unglamorous these past few years, but I decided that 2014 is when I’m getting my sparkle back — and corny as it is, this fictional character is leading the way. I might even get a bob!


Other things I’m loving, in no particular order… YAWP! bars, the ease of having short hair, American Idol (although, much as a I adore Jennifer Lopez, I cannot with the #samegirl idea. YOU ARE NOT THE SAME GIRL! YOU ARE THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN AND A MUSIC/TV/MOVIE STAR! NOT THE SAME GIRL! STOP SAYING THAT!), the way my skin is so clear I don’t need to wear foundation, The Olympics, and daydreaming about moving from Austin this spring (either Vermont or Prague… woot!)

Ooooo! Gotta go! It’s going to be dark soon, and I need 3700 more steps to reach my goal for the day. I’ve enjoyed our visit; hope you did, too.

Share your news in the comments!






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  • Matilda says:

    Phyrne Fisher rocks and she’s aussie. It’s a great show, and I’m glad you enjoy it. If you enjoy her show you might enjoy the books, which the show is based on.
    Kerry Greenwood (who I actually know of – friend of a friend you know 3 degree’s of separation) has loads of books on ms Fisher.
    I’m jealous about the fitbit force, I have the flex, and I love it, but I wish it told the time 😛
    I got it to track my sleep, best thing ever!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve been reading the books — back to back for seven of them, then took a break to read The Golem and the Jinni! But I’ll be back to reading about Phryne’s adventures soon.

  • suzzy says:

    I LOVED The Golem And The Jinni! Riveting! Just finished The Goldfinch also a compelling tale!
    Love your books, your site and Smudge!
    Chicken livers tonight in your honor!

  • Amy says:

    I LOVE PHRYNE FISHER!!!!!!!! Books and TV show both. LOVELOVELOVE HER!!!

    Also dealing with hypothyroidism/blood pressure issues. Very interested in what you have to say about it all.

  • Suzanne Burton says:

    So glad you posted. Been wondering if you were okay. Also glad that you’re taking good care of yourself.

    I love Fitbit, too. Been using the One for about a year and a half. Wish I could say I always get to 10,000 steps and beyond, but I’m not quite that consistent. Yet. Definitely working on it.

    Will be watching for your upcoming posts!

  • Linda says:

    If you are looking to enjoy some hibiscus tea but don’t really enjoy the flavor of hibiscus, you might enjoy my favorite tea, Organic African Nectar by Mightyleaf; It is a mix of rooibos, hibiscus and marigold.

  • Nina says:

    I don’t like hibiscus tea at all and when I am purchasing loose teas, I always make sure it has no hibiscus 😀 But I have a very low blood pressure, so I don’t think I even need it 🙂
    I am currently reading a Czech version of It Starts With Food (do you wanna have a copy of that, so you can learn more czech? I can send it to you!) 😀 and it is WEIRD for me to read it, because I know the english version SO WELL that reading czech translation to me is like watching my favorite TV show I know word by word, but with czech voiceover. WEIRD. I am waiting to get my copy of The Paleo Approach by Paleo Mom, it’s somewhere in the mail now and also both 21 Day Sugar Detox books are on the way. I wanted to get the Personal Paleo Code too, but for Kindle. I look it up from time to time and there is not a Kindle version yet (and I don’t know if it ever will be), so if it’s not available until my birthday, I am gonna buy me a paper copy of this book too. Now that YOU recommended it too, I am even more curious.
    I am personally working on some writting myself, reading, educating me, looking into some positive psychology stuff, trying to dial my sleep too. We live in a noisy house now, I get up at 5am, so I wanna be in bed by 8pm to get at least 8 hours of sleep, but my in-laws are pretty noisy and walls are very thin, and I don’t feel like telling them to shut the hell up at 8pm in their own house. So next week we are moving upstairs to take a small bedroom (my boyfriend’s former room)where it’s perfectly quiet and DARK, I can’t wait… seems like I might be getting some quality sleep, FINALLY!!! 🙂
    Looking forward to move to Liberec in September, planning a lot of stuff there. Until then, I will just try to survive it here! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I think it’s so cool that ISWF is now in Czech. SO AWESOME!

      Sorry to hear about the sleeping situation. Hope your new room solves the problem. And I’m really excited that you’re writing!

  • Stephanie says:

    I just checked out ep 1 of miss fisher. Love! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Lydia says:

    Hooray for feeling good! You deserve it. You give so much to us through your blog and I appreciate it. It’s sad-making to me when you feel crappy so I’m REALLY HAPPY to hear that you’re making baby steps of progress.

    And now I wish I’d kept my cassette tape of the Footloose soundtrack…

    • Mel says:

      OMG! I saw that movie multiple times in the theater when it came out in 1984 (I was a sophomore in HS), and I played the cassette over and over and over and over.

  • Sari says:

    I just got a new phone and it came with a pedometer. I’ve kind of become obsessed with getting my 10,000 steps a day.. just so I can hear my phone cheer me on with a “doo doo doo doooooooooooo” when i hit it. Today I actually reached my steps goal by 10:00 this morning! Day is ending and it looks like I’ll reach 20,000. Such a great feeling!

  • Teri M. says:

    As intense as Crossfit is, it is not easy to have that as a workout AND get 10,000 steps a day (as opposed to just hopping on an elliptical). So you may often find me doing laps in my kitchen, just for steps. 🙂

  • Therese says:

    Going to borrow your phrase of “getting your sparkle back” — LOVE IT! That is an absolutely perfect description of what I want & a great goal. Glad you are spreading the word about Miss Fisher Mysteries.

  • Dawn says:

    Here’s my big ol’ love note to you Mel!!!
    I am finishing day 24 of my first W30 and you have made it so easy, with your yummy recipes and cook-up ideas. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    I love love love hibiscus tea – such a snazzy color. How could it not be good for you? My mom introduced it to me years ago. She boils water and drops the dried flowers in with dried mint and lemongrass, when she grew it. Let all that steep for 20 min or so and serve over ice with lemon and stevia. I don’t like it as much w/o the stevia, but anything for the W30, right? I don’t know how you are sourcing it, but you can get dried hibiscus flowers by the pound from Frontier Herb, through Amazon. I even found them in the bulk section at my grocery store – you could have knocked me over with a feather just then!

    Thanks for the book ideas and all the info you so freely share.

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing — you’ve got the finish line in sight now! YAY! I’m really glad my recipes helped make it a little tastier and manageable.

      I’m learning to like the hibiscus tea OK. I just ordered a batch of bags that are pure hibiscus, since that’s supposed to provide the best BP lowering benefit. I hope it works! I might try adding some mint and lemongrass — thanks for the suggestion.

      Best to you!

  • Carol Nathan says:

    I love your website, FB page and all things you write. You always inspire me and I appreciate all the hard work that goes into sharing your life with us. I hope that things are going well with all the new changes you are making… 🙂

    I especially appreciate the book recommendation…..I have just finished The Golem and The Jinni…. I LOVED IT!!!! I have been reading for years and sometimes have a hard time finding books to keep me interested. Thank you so much for telling us about it! Are you on Good Reads?? I hope so….I am going to see if I can find you and hopefully find more amazing books you have read.

    • Mel says:

      Oh, Good Reads! I stop by every few months, then get overwhelmed and never update what I’m reading. I am bad at Good Reads and Facebook 🙂

      I’m about 15% into ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’ right now, and I’m loving it so much. Can’t believe I haven’t read it before now!

  • David Churchill says:

    Mel I am so impressed that you can maintain that 10k step goal! I struggle with that even though I am well aware I need to get it done, and I do wear my fitbit. Just a matter of time before you rock that little black dress.
    Love your books, have them both,

    • Mel says:

      I’m not hitting *every* day, but usually 6 out of 7… and the “off” day I get close. It’s amazing how easy it is by walking my usual trail around the lake — but also how challenging it is to remind myself that that hour is really important.

      Thank you for the encouragement — and for buying our cookbooks!

  • Diana says:

    So glad you are feeling better!

  • Tara C says:

    I binged watched season 1 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, too. I love it. FYI, there is a streaming service available from Acorn that specializes in British shows, but also has some Aussie and Canadian shows. They are just $3 a month and they are already streaming season 2 of Miss Fisher. They are adding a new one every Monday through the end of March. Wait until then, subscribe to it for a couple of months and binge watch season 2!