Thursday, August 16, 2012

The so called expert

I think I stopped blogging here for a few different reasons. One was that whole having a baby and a toddler thing. Busy. Another reason was that I was just tired of the constant debate about what was wrong with me: is it depression, does she need attention, etc. I'm fine. Really. I just like to write. I like to express my feelings through the things I put down in writing. And I think that body image is an incredibly important topic. One that many of us struggle with for many different reasons. Why do I have to have something wrong with me to want to write about it?

Another reason I stopped was that I felt I had been doing this long enough that I needed to be an expert. I guess I wanted to set myself up that way. Kindof a "been there, done that" sort of deal. But the truth is, I haven't "been there" I am there. I haven't "done that" I'm doing that. Right now. Have I made progress? Yes! Have I arrived? No, and now I begin to wonder if I ever will. Or maybe it's the journey that is important, not arriving. But I didn't feel comfortable blogging as an expert as soon as I tried to make that move. So I stopped blogging. But I missed it.

I didn't gain much weight with my last pregnancy. And honestly, I loved my pregnant body. I loved hearing people tell me I was beautiful. I thought I was too. Yes I was big. I carry very far forward. But I was creating life and it was beautiful. I took better care of myself this pregnancy. For some reason I didn't gain much weight. I convinced myself it would be easier to lose it. I started counting on losing that and all the other weight I was carrying from my first pregnancy. I thought it would be easier this time. And I began to feel like it was important to lose weight.

After Azure was born I did indeed lose the weight I gained with her quickly. In fact within a month it was all gone. But the weight from before, well, it's still hanging around 6 months after her birth. I started seeing all these other women and comparing. I started getting down on myself. "How can she be that thin after 4 kids, I've only had 2 and look at me." My internal dialogue lost any sense of being positive. And even though I fought the back slide, or at least outwardly said I was fighting it, inside I was losing. Inside I had once again bought into the lie that once I was thin I could love myself.

Then the feelings of guilt crept in. I'm a hypocrite. I preach to others that they should love themselves, meanwhile I just want to lose weight no matter what. I started looking at fad diets again. I started wondering about cutting out specific foods to lose weight. And in order to make myself feel like it'd be okay for me to do those things I claimed it was for my health. The pain in my back has been growing worse. Surely if I could lose some weight it would help.

Today it all became very clear. I had a rotten morning. I was mad at the world. I was grumpy with my children. I was disgusted with myself. And I suddenly realized how much I'd been obsessing over my weight. I realized how it was effecting everything from my happiness, to my abilities as a mother, to my relationship with my husband. Suddenly it became clear. I had fallen off the wagon and it was time to stop pretending like I know it all and to get back on.

And then I cried a little. I cried because I was frustrated that I had slid back so far. I cried because I was upset at myself for giving in. I cried because I am tired of the fight. And then I cried because I was so relieved to realize what was happening to me. I cried because I knew I had trodden this road before and it would be easier this time. And I cried because I suddenly realized that arriving may never happen, but that the journey is well worth the effort.

Then I picked myself up. Put together a fun craft for my toddler and me to do together. Cuddled my sweet baby. And told her again that she is beautiful and perfect just the way she is. And I told her that mommy would do better. I looked at my children and remembered that in order for them to learn to love themselves they have to see me loving myself first, and I realized that they are saving me. And I understand now how much we can help each other along this path.

Oh yes, and I remembered that I am indeed beautiful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Welcome back. It was a fun little run on our new blog while it lasted. But then you know. . . pregnancy. . . 2nd child. . . life. Yeah. I just didn't blog like I had thought I would when I first made the move. It is better to stay small right now. I'll keep posting when I can. But first I need to watch my little ones. So welcome back.

This is what I've been doing

Originally posted April 27, 2012

I've been thinking about my beloved blog a lot lately. But instead of actually posting I've been doing this:
And this:
Enjoying this:
And falling in love with this:
It's fun being a mom of two. But busy. I'll be back to blogging soon. But how can I resist such cuteness. Being there for my kids is my number 1 priority. Everything else has to take a backseat. I sure love these kids.

The Most Amazing Machine

Originally posted January 18, 2011

A Glance Backward as we Move Forward

Originally posted January 5, 2011

I am still a little in shock that we are in the new year. I don't even have a real calendar up in my home yet. I still have December 2011 hanging up because of the very small January 2012 block that it holds.  I spent the days after Christmas mourning the fact that Christmas was over. I had convinced myself when I first got pregnant that I just had to make it to Christmas and the baby would practically be here. Well, we still have 2 months before baby gets here.
But now that the new year is here I feel overwhelmed with things I want to accomplish before the baby does indeed arrive. But I have so enjoyed reading reflections that others are sharing from their 2011 that I decided to wax nostalgic for just a moment before barreling ahead at full speed. I read the following questions from Teacher Goes Back to School and decided to link up and join in.
What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Opened a little home yoga studio and started teaching. I love, love, love to teach.
 Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I think I made several resolutions, but I only remember one: write in my journal every day. I only missed one day in 2011 so I feel like I was successful. I'll only be making one this year as well: practice yoga every day. I think just setting one goal and putting my whole self into it is a better solution for me. I thought long and hard about this year's resolution. Yoga inspires me to be healthier and happier in many, many ways so I feel like it is more than just a bit of exercise. It's putting my health first.
 Did anyone close to you give birth?

I actually didn't gain any nieces or nephews this year, which is saying a lot. But I did have a cousin who had a baby.
Did anyone close to you die?
Not too close. No.
What countries did you visit?
Ha. Countries? I was lucky to make it out of the state this year.
What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More yoga teaching opportunities. I want to teach more both at home and in other places.
What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
This is a horrible question for me. I can't remember my anniversary. Seriously. I have to ask my husband each January, "Now what day was it again?" So really, this is hard. It was really a mellow year, nothing too significant happened.
What was your biggest failure?
Sometimes I think my neglect of this blog the last few months has been my biggest failure.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just the usual fibromyalgia and fatigue, but that's becoming nothing new.
What was the best thing you bought?
My jogging stroller. We spent hours walking the neighborhood. Great exercise and stress relief. I love to walk.
 Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Isn't that where everyone's money goes?
What did you get really excited about?
Being pregnant! New baby on the way. And a girl! What is more exciting than that?
What song will always remind you of 2011?
Hmm . . . Probably "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter?Richer or poorer?
Certainly happier. Life just keeps getting better. I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin. Even though I'm fatter (to answer the next question). I prefer not to say "fatter" so much as "pregnanter." And on the whole we are probably richer. We most certainly are in the things that matter most (which isn't money).
What do you wish you’d done more of?

Fun crafts and projects with Cormac. And more yoga. Always more yoga.
What do you wish you’d done less of?

Painting. But only because I'm burned out; I have so much more to paint on this house.
How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas was spent going to church, opening presents, eating yummy snacks and a good dinner,  playing with my son, and snuggling with my husband. We even all got a good nap in. Such a wonderful day.
What was your favorite TV program?
Confession: we don't have a TV. Well, we do have this tiny little thing, but we don't watch it. But we do watch Hulu from time to time and we enjoy Modern Family a lot.
What were your favorite books of the year?
I didn't read nearly as much as I would have liked to this year. But as far as this blog goes, my favorite book was "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight," by Linda Bacon. Very eye opening. On a more entertainment level, I enjoyed the Hunger Games series very much as well as The Help.
What was your favorite music from this year?

It seems like I was really burned out this year with most music. I enjoyed listening to Adele some. But really, I spent a lot of time with the music off (a lot more than usual).
What were your favorite films of the year?
I didn't see too many. I enjoyed The Tourist. There are several movies that were released recently that I'd still like to see.
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year for my 28th birthday my dear husband led me on a scavenger hunt that will forever be one of my most treasured memories. It was wonderful. I also got my hair cut (it had been nearly 10 months since I'd had a trim). I went to a church activity as well. A day later we went to see Christmas lights as a family which I loved.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More yoga. I needed to be better about getting on my mat.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
If it's not comfortable then I don't want it on. And I've suddenly become very interested in doing my hair every day. Usually when it's long it's always in a pony tail, but not lately.
What kept you sane?
My husband and son. They are wonderful. Also hypnosis for childbirth has been a huge help in keeping me calm and at ease about this pregnancy. I highly recommend it.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

There is a season for all things in life. Right now I need to focus on the things that I can control and need to do. As a mother of a young child (soon to be young children) my first priority is my family. This is the season for me to take care of us. Other things can wait. Children don't wait, they grow up. I need to live in the now and enjoy every moment of now. Put things on hold that can wait, enjoy those that can't.
Want to play along? Either answer here in the comments or do a post of your own and link back here. Tell me all about your 2011.

Resolutely against Resolutions

Originally posted January 2, 2012

Well dear friends, welcome to 2012. It is still a little crazy to me. This year holds a lot of unknowns for me and my little family. Good unknowns, but unknowns non-the-less. I'm a planner. I struggle with not having a plan. But for some reason I am at peace with it this year. I know that whatever 2012 brings I'll get through it. I will have my family and friends. And that, my friends, is more than enough.
As the end of the year approached I started thinking about New Year's Resolutions. I'm sure the rest of you had those moments too. I have a problem with Resolutions though. Because let's be honest, the ones you hear the most about involve weight loss. I'm so sick and tired of everyone talking about the penance that they have to do come the new year for their bad behavior over the holidays. So much money is wasted on gym membership, special diet equipment, and other such hyped up stuff. All of these things are supposed to provide the magic bullet that will bring a thin physique and of course happiness. By the end of the year everyone is trying to get rid of the product they wasted so much money on via yard sale and then it all starts again.
Every time you go to the store all of the magazines in the checkout isle talk about your resolution to lose weight (because of course we are all resolved to do that, it is the universal resolution that brings mankind together. . . right?). All of the ads talk about losing weight. People post about it on Facebook and Twitter. From every single angle you get bombarded with the same idea: Resolve to lose weight now!
And I'm sick of it. So I had resolved not to resolve this year. To be honest all this diet talk can be a bit triggering for me. I've been doing my best to avoid any and all of it. I also feel that waiting until the New Year to start on something you've always wanted to start on is a little silly. Why not just start when you realize you have a goal?
But as I started thinking about 2012 I felt a little softened. Deciding to wait until the New Year may be silly, but honestly, who has time to start something new right in December. And there is something beautiful, refreshing, and hopeful about a new year. So maybe it's not that silly. But I'm still not resolving to lose weight (actually it is my goal to keep gaining for about 7 weeks, but that's a different deal).
So what do I want to accomplish in 2012? A lot. To be honest I have a lot of hopes, goals, and dreams for the year, but they aren't really worthy of being called a "resolution." I decided that this year I wanted to set just one resolution. Just one goal that would be challenging, but extremely achievable. Something that makes me happy and inspires me to improve my life in other areas. And yes, it has a everything to do with living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
In 2012 I am going to do a bit of yoga every. single. day.
Now, you are all aware that I'm going to have a baby in about 2 months. So I can tell you there will be days when I won't even get on my mat. I'm sure of that. But taking time to meditate, breathe, and carve out just a few minutes for myself each day is something that I need and want.
I'll be writing some about my experience here. That will help me stay on target. So here we are, January 2nd. I've done yoga 2 days in a row and am excited for the rest of the year.
Did you make resolutions this year? How do you feel about resolutions in general?

The Intuitive Eating Roller Coaster

Originally posted December 28, 2011

It was back in August of 2010 that I was first introduced to Intuitive Eating. I borrowed the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch from a friend. My friend had changed her life using intuitive eating. She had given up on dieting. She had changed her attitude toward her body. She no longer saw her body as an enemy. She was content, happy, and beautiful. I wanted to be just like her.
When I go back and read the post I wrote about that time I realize now how little I understood intuitive eating. I had it in my mind that it was really simple. All you had to do was listen to your body. Eat when you were hungry. Stop when you were full. Only eat things that made your body feel amazing. Simple.
Except that I've been trying to do it for the past 17 months and am still not really there. I know that if I eat anything white and refined I will get a headache and feel terrible. I know this. I know that my body doesn't like it. And yet there are days where I look at those foods and say to myself, "Yes, it will make me feel sick. Oh well."
I have more of an understanding now though. You see, intuitive eating isn't easy when you've lived a life of denying yourself foods. It isn't easy when you've used food to cover up anything and everything you were feeling emotionally. It isn't easy when you've used food for comfort or rewards. For most of us, we have abused food. Learning to let go of that isn't easy.
It takes time to learn to trust yourself and your body again. I think this was a key understanding that I was missing. I thought that since I had made the decision to never diet again I would be off and running, but it hasn't been that simple. First I have had to really truly convince myself that there are no off limit foods. That process has been interesting. It sometimes takes a very scary turn when I start using it as an excuse to binge. It takes time to learn that balance and to learn trust.
But lately what I am discovering is much more profound. I didn't realize how much food was intwined with every aspect of my life. I have used food to mask emotion, cure boredom, and to bond with friends. I have used food for nearly everything except to nourish my body. I had assumed that when I started listening to my body I would automatically just use food for it's proper use. But it isn't that simple.
You may have noticed my lack of blogging lately. I've been taking the time to sort through things. I've been sorting through the clutter in my home. My poor basement and office were in desperate need of attention. I've taken time to process being a mother of two. That change will be here in just two short months. I've taken the time to enjoy being in the moment now. I've been trying to enjoy every moment of having an only child. I never would have thought the clutter in my home could effect my eating, but it certainly has.
Learning to eat intuitively is a wonderful goal, but what I now understand is that it comes hand in hand with learning to live intuitively. It is difficult to honor our body and mind in one area (like eating) when we are out of order in another area (like in our finances).
Looking back on what I thought about intuitive eating when I first learned the concept I'm glad I thought it would be easy, or I maybe wouldn't have tried it out. But 17 months into this journey I'm glad it hasn't been too easy. I've learned more about myself then I ever would have had it been the "magic bullet" I had imagined.
So if you've thought about trying intuitive eating, or if you are trying it and find yourself on a roller coaster know that this is normal. It's okay. It's all part of the journey. Even though it can be difficult I believe it is worth it. I haven't been this content in my own skin since I was a very young child. And though I think I have a long way to go it's nice to feel liberated.