Childhood Obesity

children playing

So I’m gonna tackle a topic that might be a lil off my usual stuff, but one that is definitely in national attention as well as making local news stories too. It’s something I believe seriously needs addressed.

I promise to resume my normal athletic(y) antics soon 😉

Childhood obesity.

It affects 30% of children making it the most chronic disease of childhood. This number has tripled since 1980.

Childhood obesity is a health issue.

More children today are diagnosed with diabetes, hyper tension and other co-morbid conditions associated with obesity and morbid obesity.

Obesity is defined as more than 20% above the ideal weight for a particular height and age.

The physical complications can be great for over weight children.  Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep disorder, non-alcoholic liver disease, and early puberty or menstruation.

Besides the over arching problem of physical effects on these children, the social and emotional complications are huge. These children can often suffer from low self-esteem, bullying behavior, learning problems and depression.

The risk factors know no economic boundaries. Poor diet, lack of exercise, family factors, and socioeconomic  all can contribute to children being overweight.

I’m gonna play the bad guy for a second and break up this word.

Child…. the first part of childhood.  Meaning they are the children who are dependent upon the adult to provide food, provide boundaries and provide guidance.

Parents are the ones who shop for food and provide for their child. Good nutrition is so important, but often, parents feel they need to provide empty calorie snacks and drinks for their child. I’ve also watched in my world at times where the children have been allowed to eat unchecked with no reminder “you’ve had enough” or maybe ” 2 cookies is plenty” .

It’s really ok for parents to say “no” to kids when they’ve had enough. To teach proper portions. The “no” word isn’t just ok for  some things, it’s ok when it comes to teaching children balance and moderation on food too.

Children will eat what we bring into the home. If they don’t have junk food to graze on, they won’t eat it. Oh I’m not the totally evil mom, I do have cookies and treats, but when my kids were in school they were the weird ones who had water bottles in their lunch instead of “juice” boxes which are often no more than glorified high fructose flavored drinks.

Although my 23 yr old wandered in one day and proclaimed “when you stated getting all healthy the good stuff went away!” ha that’s not entirely true as I still make a mean batches of cookies 😉 but I really keep the snack foods to a minimum.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I grew up in a family with many family members being over weight. We were taught to clean our plates. I never made my kids do that, allowing them to eat till they were satisfied. My Mom flipped the first time I let my son leave the table with food still on his plate

I allowed them to learn and listen to their bodies natural signals. Alongside treats they learned about eating good foods too.

We teach our children so many things in life, shouldn’t  eating well should be at the top  of the list of what we teach them?

How do you help if you have an over weight child?

→ Improve daily diet making small gradual changes.

→ Offer water instead of sugary drinks.

→ Encourage exercise and outdoor activities.  Let your child brainstorm fun ways to exercise.

→ Focus on the entire family eating healthy and exercising.

→ Teach balance and moderation in eating. If your child is old enough, encourage them to read the labels, looking at serving size, and measuring it out to help them understand what that serving looks like.

→Offer rewards and treats that aren’t food related.

→ Allow them to have input on the types of healthy snacks and foods they want to try.

Encourage their efforts and keep the focus off numbers with the goal of being healthy and fit =)

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The Great Diet Debate

Diets. Diets. Diets.

They abound everywhere, do they not ? There are the ones that seem to have been around forever, there are the ones that are major “companies” where you get support systems and eat their food, let’s not forget the current trendy ones all over internet, or ones that your neighbor is hawking.

All of them structured plans with the ultimate goal, to get you thinner, and more fat free.

In my past life when I participated in the diet games I’d find whatever might look promising in a magazine and give it a try…..for a week…or two… if I could grind it out that long.

You know what I finally realized ? I really HATED being told what I had to eat, when, and how much I could have. I HATED the idea that foods I loved were “off limit”. And I really HATED the whole feeling of deprivation and lack of fun that went along with it.

Why did something that was supposed to help me feel so…. life sucking ? Confining? Annoying?

I finally got it. I think it’s important to really understand yourself, how you roll, what makes you tick. Sometimes it might take awhile, but you get it.

I’m a total free spirit and a self confessed often rebel at heart…. no wonder conventional structured “diets” worked against everything in me.

I rebelled against being boxed into someone else’s food plan and ways of eating. I didn’t want to be nailed down to “a plan”.

When I decided to take control of my life and not be locked into a structured system of eating, here’s what I realized.

Taking away things I loved, or even things I randomly ate if I felt like it, made them way more powerful in my life than they needed to be ’cause it made me think of it more than I needed to… like “I can’t have these things…therefore…I want them”

Seriously, who wants to spend their mental energy thinking of food ?

That’s when I took my power back. That’s when I realized  I really was a grown up and declared nothing “off limit”. If I wanted a piece of chocolate, I’d eat it and move on. I trusted myself that I really wouldn’t eat a whole bag if I wanted a piece ( disclaimer… I never ate a whole bag of anything 😉 haha

I remember about a month in to my experiment. The fam wanted to go out for a burger. My previous “diet girl” mode would’ve been to scope out a salad, eat it, and feel deprived and left out. No… I got my burger…and fries… and enjoyed myself… and kept rolling with my plan. I got up the next morning, business as usual. No beating myself up or over crazy workouts to “compensate” for it (as if).

A couple months went by and I was losing weight AND happy at the same time ( what a concept) overall I was making good food choices, eating normally, and allowing occasional treats …. those are the things that allow you to still feel normal while your in the process of becoming more fat free 😉

Then, along the way, I came across this verse from a man named Paul, who was an apostle I the Bible.

It said “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial”

That really resonated with me and my current thoughts on eating and losing weight. All food was permissible, it just wasn’t all beneficial for me to reach my health and fitness goals.

It’s still a reminder to me. I don’t like labeling foods “good” or “bad”.

However…… I choose to examine it in the context of is it beneficial for me? For my overall health? for my fitness goals? for how I feel ?

I’m not sure where you are on your fitness and health journey. Maybe your doing just fine or may these words might be helpful to you in your process to lose weight.

All (foods) are permissible, but not all (foods) are beneficial.  (mine)

Take your power back.

Daniel And The Vegetable Den

veggiesOk… I hear you now getting ready to correct me. You’re thinking… “wait a sec Cathie, wasn’t it Daniel and the LIONS den?”

And yeah, you’re right, and I haven’t forgotten the story I learned as a child. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a story from the Bible where Daniel was miraculously saved from being devoured  as lunch after being thrown to the lions by the King… good people then….

Now don’t start twitching and worrying that I’m gonna preach or anything… I mean… I COULD… but it’s not where I’m going here.  Regardless of your personal view on the Bible I think we can all agree it does contain vast amounts of historical information…. and if you dig… some interesting tidbits to make you think. Thinking… is good…..

For example… this particular passage I’m using is known to me and I’ve thought for awhile about doing a blog on it. Recently, it’s come home to me that this passage is pretty relevant for our health and wellness today… which is why I’m using it to bounce off of.

I’ll try and keep this brief…. King Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem. He requested that some children of Israel be brought to him, both of nobility and royalty to be trained to serve in the Kings palace. He then assigned to them  a daily portion of his rich and dainty food and of the wine he drank. They were to be educated and nourished for three years before they’d serve in the palace.

Enter Daniel…. one of the youth chosen to serve. I like Daniel… he had a mind of his own… he knew what he needed to do……. “But Daniel determined in his heart that he would not defile himself by eating the King’s rich and dainty food and drinking the wine he drank. He requested the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself”

Again, on a historical level, you must understand to Daniel, eating and drinking certain foods defiled him because they didn’t follow the dietary rules given by the Lord.

Can we pause on these words…. “rich and dainty foods” Now I don’t know about you, but if I applied those words to foods today it would be those things that are high in fat, or sugars, tasty treats and would be foods that make me fat and pasty looking…not to mention leave me feeling sluggish. Oh, and then toss in the wine and you’ve got some serious feeding going on… and the potential for lots of calories….

So Daniel… gets all bold…. which I totally dig…. he makes the request not to eat it… but the poor steward is all worried  and flat out tells him…. “I fear (the king) should see your faces worse looking or more sad than youths of your age….then you would endanger my head”

Check Daniels response…. ” I beg you, for ten days and let us be given a vegetable diet and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the ones eating the kings food be observed and compared by you and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

Daniel is able to convince the steward to go along with their experiment.

So what is the result at the end of ten days ? “at the end of ten days it was seen that they were better looking and had taken on more flesh than the youths who ate the kings rich dainties. SO the steward took away their rich dainties and wine and gave them vegetables.”

Just let that breathe over you for a moment….. the other guys were living the good life getting all the royal tasty foods and wines… then thanks to David and his entourage …. they get assigned the veggie diet.

I’m wondering if there was some grumbling in the ranks…. veggies and water. Actually, I’m pretty sure Daniel did them a favor.

I guess I’ve related to this story because I know how I look and feel eating more veggies, fruit, and water vs. other foods that aren’t as nutrient dense. You feel good, you look better, you’re giving your body real nutrient rich foods that shows in your appearance.

Now Daniels choice was based on his religious convictions and from what I’ve read based on the Old Testament food guidelines he would’ve been able to eat foods, besides veggies, that fit those guidelines.  This could’ve included fruits and nuts among other things. I’m not going to launch into all the possible dynamics of what he may or may not have eaten… the point is…. abstaining from rich indulgent foods and eating foods that are as close to natural has a positive effect on your body.

Get this… when I started doing a little research there are actually diets called the “Daniel Diet” or “Daniel Fast”. I don’t endorse any “diet” however, pursuing an eating plan that encourages lots of good healthy food isn’t a bad thing. (just don’t get dogmatic on it).

A couple years ago I was invited to participate in fitness  challenge for 3 months. Part of it involved doing a particular eating plan for 30 days. This plan encouraged lots of veggies, fruits, nuts/berries and some meat. No grains, dairy, pastas, beans etc. I found it to be very restrictive.

On the good side, I learned to eat veggies at ALL my meals and to experiment with new ones. I  leaned out pretty fast in that month. I liked how I felt eating more veggies.

And heck what other kind of foods can you eat wheelbarrow loads of for minimal calories ?? 😉 I’ve learned to cook them in all kinds of ways as well as just eating them raw in salads

Maybe you are ready for  your own 10 day challenge. That’s short enough to try something new and good you, right ? To see how it makes you feel ? Or maybe an experiment just to get you used to eating more veggies… to get on the right path.. You have nothing to lose and only improved health to gain, isn’t it worth a shot ?

Building New Habits

No, I didn’t get lost. Were you worried about me? 😉

I had this idea… but it was still in scattered pieces in my head and I wasn’t sure how to develop it till this morning… in the shower… it kinda came together. I know… most people sing in the shower…. more often for me it’s a time to run things through my head uninterrupted.. it’s also a place where my weakest moments are allowed out too.

The idea was talking to you about developing healthy habits, and for ALL of us, especially in the beginning it can be such a daunting, overwhelming idea that we can’t contend with… change… leaving behind or switching up everything that’s become all comfy to us. It’s not an easy task to accomplish. Dare I say we can rebel against it, even knowing those changes are for our overall good and well being  ?

Then it crossed my mind while showering, how change and developing new habits and behaviors are much like marathon training. If you’ve trained for one, then you know, you know how that training carries over into other aspects of your life. It’s become natural for me to look at taking things on in my life like I do training for a 26.2 mile race.

That training involves a huge amount of discipline and sacrifice. Purposeful planning. Repetitive workouts.  A willingness to invest the time in running to allow my body time to change and adapt to the demands of high mileage. A complete understanding I cannot simply wake up one morning and  just take off to run that distance with no preparation (don’t…ever…do that).

No, to properly train my body for the marathon it involves slow gradual changes moving towards my ultimate goal.  Smaller short weekly runs, long weekend runs becoming longer, small steps towards the bigger prize. It takes months of training to do it successfully ( I believe).

Developing new habits and behaviors are like that too. If you wake up on Monday with the determination that “Now is the time!” and you make a drastic immediate reduction of all food, hack out everything you love, and decide to go run 5 miles even though you haven’t done more than walk from the closest parking spot at the store to inside, I can guarantee Tuesday you’ll wake up starving, frustrated and having your body threatening divorce because you physically taxed it beyond what it was capable of doing and you hurt in places you didn’t know you owned.

A smarter approach is being willing to make small, gradual, and daily, changes to what you are doing. Focus on the day at hand, not the week, or months out.

Stop looking for instant gratification because weight loss and body change take consistent and dedicated time.

For me, 7 years out, I can tell you my body is vastly different today than when I started. It takes time… but hey… what else am I doing anyway? Or you? what else are you doing?

Some suggestions:

⇒ Focus on one day at a time.

⇒ Have a longer term goal in mind too.

⇒Don’t eliminate all foods and eat lettuce. Practice eating smaller portions as a start.

⇒ Consider how and what you eat. What changes do you need to make? Keep a food log to help remind and guide you.

⇒Decide on a physical activity you can start slowly with, especially if you have not doing anything in a long time.

⇒Stay away from an “all or nothing ” approach.

⇒Schedule your exercise commitments.

Consider the definition of habit :   an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary:

Most of all understand that developing new habits does take time and consistency….. I’ve heard up to 3 weeks on a daily basis to form a new habit.  It will require a willful choice on your part each day to do these things until it begins to feel more normal to you. That’s what a habit becomes…something that feels normal and natural in your day until it gets to the point you can’t imagine not doing it.

Note: in the beginning…. it probably will feel like work. Just press on taking those smaller measureable steps.

Following this pattern day after day will allow you to shape and define new ways of eating, exercising and making positive life changing choices 🙂

Healthy Habits And Lifestyle Change

Hey boys and girls…. it’s Monday! Are you ready to take on a new week ? It’s sunny and beautiful here in south Texas this morning and a bit on the cooler side too… no worries… it won’t last long 😉

I felt it when I scampered outside in only my shorts and sports bra… brisk air slamming into me… the beauty of working out? You warm up fast and get over that ha

Today was a combo of boxing, weights, and core body moves. I like doing this because it’s just a progression of constant movement from one point to the next. Not only that, boxing always makes me feel like a beast 😉

I knew getting up this morning that this workout was on my agenda for my day. A part of my day. As non-negotiable as eating or brushing my teeth.

Why? My workouts are a habit now, and honestly, a habit I love.

On our pursuit of developing a lifestyle change ( not a diet, a permanent change you can live with) new habits and behaviors must be formed along the way to make that change.

Food habits :  learning to make better choices to support our goals, and setting aside other things that don’t support our goals.  How do you look at food? What is it to you? Comfort? Stress reliever? A friend ?  or is it fuel to support your life and activities? What kind of fuel do you put in it ? When you’re hungry, what are you reaching for ? To move forward requires making intentional, better choices for yourself. Know also that it will take time for your tastes to change. If your daily diet consists of fast food, processed foods, sugars and refined foods know it will take time for change to occur. When it does, you will honestly taste the difference..those foods will taste “off” to you.

Exercise habits: movement isn’t just good to help with weight loss, but it’s good for us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally too. Our bodies are MADE for movement.

We have to make intentional choices to exercise like anything else in our life.

The thing is, for most people, in the beginning, it’s hard and uncomfortable! It’s also the point where you will quickly realize how out of shape you really are and get discouraged. Start small, start slow, stay consistent. Yes, you will be uncomfy but the more you continue to do it, the less you will feel that way. Trust me, you can move to a place where you embrace the challenge and look forward to the workout and will feel like something is missing if you don’t do it.

Mental habits: How often are you thinking of food ? What are your thoughts about food? Is it in a proper place in your life? How do you talk to yourself? Are you mentally preparing yourself for physical activity ?

Lifestyle habits: How we’re raised, how we learned to eat with our families impacts us forever. The spoken or unspoken rules that we grew up and lived by… good or bad…. we carry these habits with us into adulthood. If eating extra was encouraged, “clean your plate!” was the mantra or poor nutrition was modeled you will have to work intentionally to build new lifestyle habits. I think perhaps of all things, breaking free of family habits is the hardest thing but it can be done.

I also think it’s important to know what your triggers are, what have you “conditioned” yourself to that you need to rewire? Do you stop at a gas station and automatically think you need soda and a candy bar? Are you a little hungry and think you need to go through the drive thru before you get home for dinner? or to have a more nutritious lunch?

That was a serious revelation for me years ago…. I don’t need to run through and get something… I WILL NOT… starve to death before I get home… I won’t… neither will you. I try and keep small snacks with me if I do need something. I’m not saying you should ignore those natural body signals, just learn to plan wisely and have better snacks than the local fast foods value menu.

Like any habit we develop in life, our relationship with food (how we eat, what we eat, how much) are all driven by habits we’ve allowed to settle into our lives. With persistence and determination, you can build and develop new habits to support your lifestyle change. The most important thing is to be determined and make these changes each day to lead to permanency.

Those Days In Life

Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, it’s been one of those weeks.

Life, you know ?

Life can throw things at you left and right, good and bad. Tell me you relate? That you understand and get it too ?

Somehow in the mix of life these past few days I’ve been distracted in my writing which bothers me ’cause writing really is an outlet for me. Yet there have just been times I’m hard pressed to connect two words together.

When I launched my blog my primary intent was to talk health, sane fitness and weight loss, lifestyle changes and new habits, and of course, running. You know how much I love to run =)

But there are so many other things in life that make up who we are and so, I will have times that I will address those topics as well.

Family, kids, happiness, grief, maybe even some life questions in the mix, oh yeah, and humor ’cause I get amused by some random things 😉

Topics to write on abound and so I will continue to share my passions of health, fitness etc but also those things we all contend with at one time or another in our lives.

Now, on with the show…..

Last week I was a lil excited THRILLED to get my first ultra medal and official ultra shirt ( does the word “first” imply there will be a second ??) the shirt… I decided with the color I could stop traffic with it or get a job as a highway worker 😉

I’m stupid proud of this medal. It represents a ton of hard work and sacrifice, and I don’t mean just running the 50K distance either.

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That Ultra medal…. and ignore the fact I look like a lemon

Also, March was my most productive racing month…..ever… since I started running… I got some cool runners bling to prove it too 😉 2 half marathons and the 50K….

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That runners bling…..

Ugh, my mileage has reallllyyy come down and I hate it. I think I hate knowing I’ll have to rebuild to that all over again. In a smart way I also know and understand my body must have recovery time from such heavy mileage. I’ll be hitting my bike more, doing boxing and some more weights to strength train and a few days running for awhile. I do have a marathon goal for year end so I know I need to give myself some lower mileage before I ramp it up again in a few months.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll never be the fastest out there or be the most impressive, but I hope to show that being older isn’t a reason to not be strong and physically fit. I hope to consistently encourage others to get out and do something, to find their “thing” and be good at it, to be empowered by what they can achieve and accomplish.

Really? Is there anything better or more rewarding than setting a goal for yourself that seems huge and daunting, and then, doing it ?? Crushing it ?

So now you know my plan to take over the world……

In other life news, things that kinda derailed me this week. My otherwise, seemingly healthy dog, turned sick and basically after an emergent trip into the vet on Sunday to see if she was having a reaction to some meds or if she was dehydrated, they informed me that she had liver and kidney failure and did I want to put her to sleep…. now ?

To say I was shocked is putting it mildly. No, I couldn’t do it then… I couldn’t go back home with a dead dog and not give my kids a chance to say good bye… I needed that too.. but I also knew if I loved her I would need to act on it quickly. Her condition just rapidly got worse.

Stella was a golden husky mix. At one point my sons dog, she came to stay with us till “he got settled somewhere else” the rest is history on that. In my early days of fitness when I walked, she came with me, as I started running, she easily kept up. She was never on a leash and loved running in and out of the hill country where I lived. She plowed up hills with me like it was nothing. Whatever she was mixed with, she was made for endurance.

As I got stronger, and my mileage increased I worried about her going farther from home. I started to leave her. She cried and howled in the beginning. She didn’t want to be left.

It was fitting at the end, it was just the two of us. I won’t lie. I loved that dog. She was quiet and laid back, lady like when she laid down with her paws crossed at the ankles. She had such thick, thick fur. It filled her ears which I loved to play with and pet.

Watching her go was as much painful, as a blessing to know she wasn’t in pain anymore. Taking her home, burying her, I sobbed and petted those ears over and over trying to commit them to my memory… knowing I’d never stroke them again…or see her keen eyes watching me… or laugh at the way her tail always curled in a jaunting way over her back.

Agony. Pain. Heartbroken.

I finally made myself leave her… pick up the shovel and finish the process. Even now two days later writing this, the grief is welling up in my heart.

I looked for her this morning. I looked for her last night. I know better. But I miss her presence.

I know from experience it will become less painful… less agonizing to think of…. right now it’s still raw… mainly I think… ’cause it came out of nowhere.

So yeah, life. Stuff happens, good and bad. It’s where I’ve been this week. Moments of triumph cloaked in moments of agony and pain.

I hope to be able to continue to chat with you about not only my passion for people to find their way to health and fitness, but also those other real life things that define and shape us.

Have you had particular moments in life that you know have shaped and defined you more ?

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

When I kicked started my little blog a few short weeks ago, it was to hopefully, share, encourage and motivate those who stumbled across me in the vast cyber world of blogville.

It’s a big place out there boys and girls. And wow, ya’ll have been so…. nice……

I wanted to take my voice into the world to do what I’ve been doing in real life and through my Facebook page, motivating and encouraging people to pursue a lifestyle of health and fitness.

As you know, and as I’ve shared in other posts, I’m a runner and love running and will talk a lot about it ( as in, I have a half marathon this weekend, so spoiler alert, you know what’s coming 😉 however, there’s a lot more to me,  a person, and much more to our lives we deal with so I will also venture into other topics and ideas to share with you as we move along.

I think when people are setting out to do something as (big) as get on their health and fitness journey, they really need a cheerleader, a mentor, and someone who’s plowed the road in front of them to say “hey, I got through this, you can too!”

It can be hard…. frustrating… overwhelming. As one reader commented to me the other day on my post, they hadn’t “thrown in the towel yet”…..

That means a lot … if you can press on taking one day at a time and just focusing on it…. and not the rest of your life….or that you feel like you’ll be fat/out of shape/ unmotivated whatever… you WILL make progress.

Trust me.

There will be days you’ll look at yourself in the mirror in that self-loathing way (don’t… do … that… or I will…come beat you) and you think there’s no progress going on… but there is…. you must give your body time to adapt and adjust to what you are doing. Remember part of the process is knowing that there’s a lot of changes going on…. not just physically inside and out ……but mentally and emotionally as well….

Our bodies really are this cool science experiment.  Work them, feed them good foods, be consistent in that process and in this slow steady way…. stuff happens….

Honestly, I’ve been at this for 7 years now. I’ve kept my weight off, built muscle, gotten stronger, leaner,  have more energy and can physically do more than I did half my age ago. I realllllyy l that 😉

Did you notice something ?

 7….. years…..

I’ve made forward progress by being consistent and letting changes happen in the way they need to……over time.

Are my fitness goals different now, than when I started this process? You bet they are ( and that, boys and girls will be another post)

The important thing is this. I just lived my life each day…. purposefully and intentionally  with forward progress. This is not something you can manhandle out quickly. You’re living your life, settle back and enjoy  the journey.

I still have people who will see me and say “when did you get like that??” and my response is “I’ve just been working at it for awhile”.

May I offer some suggestions if you are thinking of starting your journey or maybe you’re on it and need encouragement.

Ready ? Take notes 😉

Be kind to yourself when you start the process. Firm, but kind.

Don’t tolerate excuses from yourself (you can read more on that in my “No Excuses” post)

Set reasonable goals.

Make a vision board of ideas or goals you want to achieve. My closet door is littered with ideas/quotes/goals.

If you’re serious… tell people! My Facebook page has been a place where I post what I will be doing and I know at least one person is going to ask about what I’m doing and if I did it. Not only that, you are also going to motivate someone else… win/win!

Educate yourself in what you are doing… read and learn.

Finally, make it fun! You are doing this as a “lifestyle” enjoy what you’re doing!

With consistent daily progress you will hit your goals.

But no matter what….. don’t you give up and throw in the towel. You will never reach your goals by doing that!

Have you thrown in the towel before? How many times before it “stuck”? What things  helped you ? Share =)

2007/2014 7 years into my journey
2007/2014 7 years into my journey