Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happiness. It's a decision.

Picture taken from Chookooloonks

I recently stumbled onto this blog and have been captivated. I particularly liked this post on deciding to be happy. I think that what she has to say is really relevant and applies to what we have been talking about here on this blog. You can choose to be happy. Just like you can choose to love yourself. Granted there will always be things to cause pain and hurt. There will always be days where life gets you down, but how you choose to deal with it really is up to you.

I believe that it comes down to positive self talk. I'll admit that saying positive things in the mirror wasn't really my thing, but I think it works for some people (check out the movie at the end of this post). What I have learned is that if I talk nice to myself in my head it makes a huge difference. When I look in the mirror and starting thinking, "wow I'm fat," I have been consciously trying to instead say, "I'm getting there," or "I've got a ways to go, but I'm trying," or if nothing else "My husband loves me just as I am." It's amazing how just this small change makes a difference.

Being happy is an important goal that I have. That's why I think I'm going to take on a mini happiness project of my own. I'm going to start with a few suggestions that I found on the Chookoolonks blog.

1. Separate myself from the media. But instead of separating myself from the news (which I already do to some extent) I'm going to be separating myself from all those ads and things that tell me how I should look. I don't have to buy into it anymore. I may be just one person, but I'm boycotting it anyway.

2. Journaling. I need to journal more. I love doing it. It is just time consuming. I often use my blogs as a journal, but I want to do more than that. I'm going to try to fit that in somewhere.

3. Read more. I love, love, love, love, love to read! It's hard to read when you're a working mom, but I need to do it. Even if it is just reading to my son.

4. Start a Life List. I'm super excited about this one. I've done several before, but never really done a good one. You can read more about creating your own life list here.

We can all use more happiness in our lives. Even if you are already a happy person, I feel like there is always room for more. Going through life in a mist of self imposed misery is just not worth it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Blogger: Objectifying Ourselves

I'm excited to introduce Sarah. Sarah and I were in the same yoga teacher certification class. She is an inspiration to me. She used to struggle with a lot of the same body image issues that I struggle with, but she has overcome them. She is inspiring. You can read more from Sarah at her blog Claim the Gift. I think that what Sarah has to say tied right in with my rant on magazines. I think that she has hit the nail right on the head. Enjoy!

I often hear women complain about how the media portrays women, how it distorts reality and how we are really supposed to look, how because of the media we all have body image problems. I agree. To a certain extent. It's true that a lot of what the media teaches us is wrong. But we need to look closer to home in order to see where the problem truly lies. The media does this because it sells. The media gets away with it because we believe them.

We like to think that we really are supposed to look a certain way. That's why we buy the right clothes, the anti-wrinkle creams, the diet books, the beauty magazines. Or if we don't invest in this idea with our pocketbooks, we still do it in our conversations with others and with ourselves. Think about it, how often do you hear women you know and love (yourself included perhaps?) talk about dieting or losing weight, talk badly about their body, or even just refuse to pose for pictures? How often do we place our own self-worth in our appearance? We say it's sick how the media objectifies women, but here we are, treating our own bodies like objects, rather than a part of our own souls (as a Mormon, I have been taught that your soul is your spirit AND your body together), a part that needs love and nourishment just as much as the rest of you.

Every time a woman puts herself down for what she sees in a mirror or a photograph, she is objectifying herself just as much as those who feel the need to flaunt their bodies in public.

Your body is a part of you. And an important part. We often treat ourselves as separate pieces. I have a spirit. I have a mind. I have a body. We like to disconnect all the parts, right? It makes everything seem so much more convenient. Because then we think we can avoid accountability with ourselves. In reality, the way you treat one part of you affects the other parts of you. So, when you objectify your own body, you are hurting your spirit and your mind.

Try today to think of your body as a part of who you are. It is not an object. It does not define who you are. Just like your mind and your spirit, it is going to change every day. If you can think of it as a part of who you are (not this thing you are stuck in), it gets easier to get to know it from the inside out. Rather than letting a mirror or a picture tell you about your body, let your body teach you. What sensations do you feel as you move around cleaning the house, playing outside, exercising, or as you eat your meals?

It's just as important to know these things as it is to know what books you like to read, or what things make you laugh or cry. These things are also a part of who you are.

I know that as you get to know your body from the inside out, you will have a harder time actually treating your body as an object. It will teach you how it needs to be treated. You'll learn that it is a glorious gift that not only deserves your respect, but your love as well. You'll feel more like a whole person and living life will be a richer experience for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Wow! I don't know about you, but it seems to me that summer took forever to get here. Now that it's here I feel like we're making up for lost time and desperately trying to get in all our summer before it's too late. Just to review, last week we put away our scales and measuring tapes, then we decided that we were going to work out just for the sake of working out and see how it made us feel. I was so excited about last week's challenge, and then I got busy. So busy, in fact that I only worked out once last week. Instead I spent my time changing this:

Into this:

Yes, there is still a ton of work to be done, but this is one project that I have been working on since March, and I'm so excited that I have gotten it to this point. Then we went camping with our neighbors. It was a wonderful time, but exercise fell by the wayside.

I am happy to report that despite my lack of exercising. I did take the time to put my scale away. It was wonderful that way. Last week was. At one point my dear husband told me he thought I was looking a bit slimmer. Instead of rushing off to my measuring tape like I normally do I just enjoyed the moment. I was able to feel good about myself. No pressure. No disappointment. It was great.

So, that brings me to this week. I would like to invite you all to keep your scales in the closet for another week. I think that they can often be a problem and we just don't need that right now. So, keep them hidden. I would like you to join me for another week of exercise for exercise sake. Just because. Let's keep up on that. If you did the challenge I would love it if you would share your experience with me as well. I'm very curious to know how it went. I will be doing it this week for sure to see for myself, but please don't hesitate to share your experience, I would really love to know. It is motivating.

In case you were thinking we were getting off easy I'm adding another dimension to this week's challenge as well. We have focused on our physical bodies a lot the last few weeks which I think is important, but now I feel it is time to move on to something else. This week when you get a compliment you need to take it. That's right, no arguing back. Even with people close to you. Just say thank you and enjoy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Relationships-Fat Friends

What are the knots that hold you back? If you look in your life you will find many. I want to explore some of those knots. I think that often time people can be knots.

When I was in high school I had a leader tell me that he would "be my fat girl." We were just joking around, but he said he would stand next to me at the next event and be my fat girl. Huh? He explained that he believed all girls have a friend that they know is fatter or uglier than they are. They have this friend so that they can be the better choice. At the time I thought that was hilarious, but it has stuck with me.

It makes me ask myself if I'm someone's fat friend. Are you? What kinds of people are we surrounding ourselves with? I have thought about this a lot and realized that in the past in my life there have been people in it that were perhaps not the best. We need to be surrounding ourselves with people who want for us the same things we want for ourselves. We need to be with people who want us to succeed. We need to be with people who think we are beautiful as we are.

On the flip side, do we have fat friends in our own life? Are we hanging on to someone like that? Because I think that is probably even more detrimental. Not only to the friend but to us. Think about it for a second. If you need a fat friend what does that say about you? Well, for starters you probably aren't happy with your appearance and feel the need to have a way to make yourself feel better. Not good. What a terrible way to boost our self esteem.

I think it is time to look into our lives and assess the people that we are spending our time with. Do they uplift us? Do we uplift them? Do they want what is best for us and we want the same for them? Relationships with people are so important. Let's make sure that the relationships we are in are the best kind on both ends. Stop having fat friends and start looking inside. We should truly care and love our friends from the inside out and know that they care for us too. No more basing our relationships on outside appearance. That will get us nowhere. Get rid of this knot and we may just find that learning to like ourselves gets a bit easier.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekly Challenge

So I didn't make it 6 days of working out last week. I only did 4. But one of the days I didn't workout I was painting a house. Another day I didn't workout I spent a good chunk of the day lifting heavy boxes and bags, so I guess I feel like I did a pretty fair job.

Here is what I learned through last week and what I would like to do for this week's challenge; working out to lose weight does not work. I know that sounds strange, but trust me on this a little. If you are working out with a weight loss goal in mind chances are you will eventually give up in despair. Not always, but sometimes. If you do reach your goal you will then feel as though you no longer need to workout. I know this is not always the case, but I think it often is. Between my experience last week and what I've been reading this week I believe that working out to lose weight does not work.

Last week I weighed myself every day! Every. Single. Day. People, this is not healthy. Sometimes I weighed myself more than once in a day just to see how it fluctuated. Not good. On Friday I was so sad that I hadn't lost weight. I had no expectations for myself that day. I went to my yoga class like that. It was the most amazing class I have been to in a long time. I did things I know I couldn't have done a few weeks ago. It was exhilarating, and I loved it. I came away from that class pondering what was so unique about that day versus the others. What I have concluded is this: working out in order to be healthy and to enjoy working out for it's own sake is wonderful. It is motivating. It is healthy. It is fun!

Have you guessed where I'm going yet? Well, here it is. I want you to STOP working out to lose weight. That's right. I do not want you to stop working out. This week we are going to try to move our bodies at least 4 or 5 days this week. But there is no time we are going for. No huge goal. What we are going for is listening to our bodies. When you begin your workout see how you feel. During your workout listen to your body. If you feel good, push yourself. If you are tired then stop. Or change activities. Just listen to your body. How do you feel after your workout and later in the day? Do what makes you feel good. And most of all rejoice in what you can do. Because you can do a lot.

Oh, and the other thing is that we are putting our scales away. That's right, no more weighing or measuring for a few weeks. Not forever. Just for the time being. Put them in the attic, garage, basement, wherever you can to get them off of your mind. The focus is not on weight at all. Give up on that. Forget about it. Just enjoy being you and being where you are now.

I'm so looking forward to this week's challenge. I hope you will all join me. I think that I have made a huge break through and I hope that others can experience it also. How'd you do last week?

P.S. I'm still planning on working toward my marathon, but this time it is to fulfill a life goal I've had, not to lose weight. So much more motivating.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Guest Blogger: Why I Love my Stretch Marks

Melanee's Note: I've never actually met Heather in person. I was introduced to her blog from a mutual friend and have become addicted. One post that she wrote really stuck out to me and I asked her if I could share it with you here. She has graciously said yes. This post speaks so true to me and I think can speak to everyone no matter what your faith is or what you believe in. Enjoy!

Do you remember that part in Gone With the Wind when Scarlet has just had her baby and is upset because Mammy can only get her corset laced up to 21 inches instead of her pre-pregnancy 19 inches ?

Mammy tells her, "Honey child, you done had a baby. You ain't never gun a be 19 inches again."

I think those are some of the wisest words of the entire show and lately they have been circulating through my mind a lot.

My little nursling will be 7 months old soon and my body is still not back to how it was before I was pregnant with her. Even though I've been back to my original weight for a few months (breastfeeding works wonders on my metabolism) my body is still different. I'm sure you wouldn't notice anything by looking at me, but I've lived in my body for a quarter of century and I can tell you that things aren't the same as before-- my hips are wider, my chest is a bit more saggy, my core muscles aren't quite as tight, and I have six purple marks on my side that remind me my belly really can stretch to an unfathomable size.

I just have to keep telling myself, "Heather child, you done had two babies. Your body ain't never gun a be the same again."

It has taken me awhile to come to terms with it, but it is true. No matter how hard I try my body is never going to be the same as it was before I had my children. My children are literally parts of myself and they exist because my body sacrificed blood, cells, calcium, iron, and millions of other particles to make them. I am literally missing pieces of my body that I will never be able to get back because they are now walking, talking, breathing, laughing, crying, and living in the form of two beautiful children. Becoming a mother, even if you don't physically give birth to a child, requires a huge sacrifice from your body and spirit. It is a sacrifice, that according to Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS church and his wife Marie K. Hafen, greatly parallels the sacrifice made by our Savior, they said:
"Just as a mother's body may be permanently marked with the signs of pregnancy and childbirth, [the Savior] said, 'I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands' (1 Ne. 21:15–16). For both a mother and the Savior, those marks memorialize a wrenching sacrifice--the sacrifice of begetting life--for her, physical birth; for him, spiritual rebirth" ("'Eve Heard All These Things and Was Glad': Grace and Learning by Experience," in Dawn Hall Anderson and Susette Fletcher Green, eds.,Women in the Covenant of Grace: Talks Selected from the 1993 Women's Conference [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994], p. 29)."
It gives me strength to remember that just as Christ bears marks in his hands, feet, and side as symbols of his blood sacrifice I too have stretch marks on my side that bear testimony to my sacrifice of blood and my willingness to bring life into the world. I find strength to go forward with my mothering by remembering that just as Christ's body was resurrected, making him complete physically and spiritually, that my body is constantly renewing itself and that one day I too will be complete, physically and spiritually. I also know that my joy is more full because of my children and that because of the sacrifice my body has made life will go forward and my family will go on eternally.

So for all the mothers our there I want to remind you to rejoice in your stretch marks, to be grateful for your extra weight and wider hips, to accept your c-section scar, and to find joy in the tired bags under your eyes because they are symbols of your sacrifice.

For all you who have yet to become mothers I want to remind you to rejoice in the blood you shed each month because it is a beautiful symbol of hope and it bears testimony to the promise of continuing life.

And for all you women who are struggling with loving and accepting your body I want to remind you that anything or anyone that belittles, exploits, demeans, or mistrusts your body is not from God. Your body is beautiful, mind boggling amazing, and so deeply symbolic of Christ. Also, remember that in the eternal scheme of things-- frankly my dear, no one will give a damn if you had a 19 inch waist or not. If you are shocked by my swearing, you need to watch the end of Gone with the Wind :)

This guest post is from Heatherlady who blogs at Tales From the Cottage Cheese Cottage and Women in the Scriptures. Heather is currently working on a book with some other LDS women called "The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth" and is looking for LDS women who'd like to share their spiritual experiences about pregnancy, birth, or becoming a mother. If you are interested you can go here to read more about the project.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What we read

Image taken from www.mediabistro.com

The other day I was soaking in the tub and flipping through a copy of Good Housekeeping. I love magazines. I enjoy reading all kinds from Better Homes and Gardens to Fitness magazines, to Cooking Light, to Parenting magazines. Anyway, as I was reading through this magazine I noticed how many pages I had been reading that were telling me I needed to get this or that product to solve this or that physical issue. I didn't know that in order to be a good housekeeper I couldn't have bags under my eyes, stretch marks of any kind anywhere, or spider veins.

We read that we should wear sunscreen always so that we don't get skin cancer, or worse wrinkles and sun marks. But you had better have a tan. Especially during these summer months. If you bought and used all the products that were in those 16 pages of beauty tips you would spend probably a good half of your day just applying stuff. Who has that kind of time? Oh, and those 16 pages didn't include the ads which are on every other page.

Now don't get me wrong. I love magazines. I love reading them. But as I sat there and realized what I was reading I noticed that I was mentally saying, "Oh, that's true, I do have such and such, I had better get that product or do something about it fast." Why?

I think we as a society are sick. I think we have some serious issues. Even my Parents magazine devotes a large portion of its publication to beauty musts. What does this say about us? Why are we so obsessed?

My husband and I don't have TV. Whenever I do have the chance to watch I'm shocked by the ads. You all know real people don't look like that right? Or do we? I don't know if we actually know.

I don't have any answers here. In fact I have no idea where this post is heading. These have just been a few of the thoughts that I have been rolling around in my mind for the last few days. Our society is ill. These magazines wouldn't put that in there if we weren't eating it up. What is wrong with us and how do we separate ourselves from all of it?

If you figure it out, let me know.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Me

There has been some concern in my family lately that perhaps I'm not doing so great. I like to think it is because I appear to be such a well adjusted person that when I started this blog and bearing my soul people were shocked and amazed that I felt this way. But maybe that's not the case, who knows.

I would like to tell my family and the world that I'm doing just fine. Let me explain myself a bit. You see, I have never, ever had high self-esteem. Growing up I always thought I was rather homely. I felt like I was dumb. I was pretty sure that I lacked any and all talent. I was convinced that I was fat. Most of all, I felt that I was simply not good enough.

I've always had very high expectations for myself. No, that's not right. I've always had unattainable expectations for myself. That sounds better. High expectations are achievable, but a challenge. What I expected from myself was not achievable. So, when I failed to reach those unattainable goals I would beat myself up about it. I've done this my whole life.

During my Junior year of college I really did it to myself. I was taking 21 credits. I was working about 30 hours a week. I was working for one of the school literary journals. I was trying to eat healthy (but failing and beating myself up about that). I wanted to work out but struggled to find time. I was out of control. Then one night Ammon and I were in a car accident. It wasn't that big of a deal, but I did have some whiplash and some other pain. The truth is, I never really recovered. That was the straw that finally broke the camels back. Comparing oneself to a camel isn't really that attractive is it? At any rate, it was too much for me.

I started having aches and pains all the time. My already screwed up sleeping became worse. I was so, so tired. I just couldn't do everything anymore. I scaled back, but it killed me. I knew that I just needed some time to recover and I'd be back on my feet, but it got worse. I started seeing doctor after doctor after doctor. None of them knew what was wrong. I tried medication after medication after medication, nothing worked. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Most doctors and people in the world consider Fibro to be a dumping pot. It's what you get diagnosed with when they have no idea what you have. Some believe that, some believe it is an actual real condition. Either way, I live in pain.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not one who believes that I have been handed a lot that is unbearable. Oh no, I know for a fact that there are those out there who suffer so much more than I do. I am thankful that even with the pain that I carry with me each day, I know that I'm going to be okay. It's not life threatening. It's hard, some days more than others, but I know that it could be worse. Please don't think that I am one who believes that my life is just too much. I don't.

This is getting long so let me just say that things got pretty ugly for a while. I found that when I cut out refined sugar and white carbs I did a little better. I found that when I exercised regularly I did better. I found that when I did yoga I felt better. So, that was where I was at. But my idea was still that I had to get back to achieving (or attempting to achieve) my unattainable goals. I still constantly beat myself up. I would push so hard one day and be unable to function for the next 3. It was so so hard for me to accept that maybe things had to change. I was harder on myself than ever before.

I suppose it was around this time that I started doing some soul searching. I started realizing that something was screwed up in my way of thinking. When I started yoga I started to appreciate my body so much more. I was happier with myself. My husband will tell you that I finally stopped making snide comments about my body and even accepted a compliment now and again. I knew then that I had to change something.

Then pregnancy and weight gain and all of that happened. I hated being pregnant. I was so miserable. I knew it was worth it and there were moments of joy, but really I just felt gross. Then having Cormac about killed me, but we won't go into that. After my son was born we moved into this dump of a house a week later. The house was our dream come true in so many ways. But it was too much too soon. I couldn't handle the mess and the unpacking and the needy baby. I turned to food. I turned to sugar. I gained weight.

Having a child makes one think a lot about what they hope for that child. I knew that I never wanted my kids to suffer with low feelings of self-worth as I had always done. I put up a good front, but deep down I was never happy with myself. I want my children to have high expectations for themselves, but I want those to be attainable and realistic.

So, more soul searching. In order for my kids to be well adjusted they need to learn from their parents. In order for me to be healthy I need to have reasonable expectations. In order for me to be able to enjoy my children and life I need to be healthy. In order for all of these things to happen I need to learn to love myself as I am. I need to be able to tell myself that I am beautiful just as I am. But more than that, I need to believe it down to my very core. That is what I'm striving for here. That is what I want. I want to know and feel that I am worth it.

To all of my dear family and friends let me just tell you that I am doing well. I love life most days. I have bad days here and there, but who doesn't? I'm happy. I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I love my little family. I love my big family. I love my dumpy house. I love the beautiful sunshine we've been having. I love to work in my yard (even though I haven't been doing much of it lately). I love learning. I love trying to figure out new ways to help my family be happy and healthy. I love all my dear friends. I'm doing just fine. This blog. All this is is me thinking out loud. I hope that other people will look at this and realize that they are worth it too and that we have the power to change ourselves. Feeling trapped in a body that you don't like is a hopeless feeling. I've been there. It doesn't have to be that way. We can change our bodies to be healthy. We truly can. And you know, those things we can't change we can learn to be okay with. So I have stretch marks or what have you. Think of why you have those and the battles that you have won because of those things. That's what we need to learn to do.

So all of this is to say that I'm happy. I'm going to be just fine. And if you made it to the end of this I can honestly say you are a trooper.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This week's Challenge

Well, first of all I will tell you how I did last week. Not so great. I totally and completely forgot all about saying nice things in the mirror on two different days. So that was bad. I had read somewhere that saying nice things in the mirror out loud was therapeutic. That's why I thought I should try it. Honestly, I just felt like a moron. So, I guess that one isn't for me. If it worked for you I think you should keep it up. This is about finding what works and what doesn't for every individual person.

For this next week I have decided that I need to focus my attention on being better to my body. Life gets so busy and even though I intend to work out each day it just doesn't happen. So, this week it is my challenge to work out 6 days this week for at least 30 minutes each day. I think that making this commitment will help me feel better about myself, because at least I'm trying after all. I also think it will help me sleep at night so that my body can heal; something I desperately need right now.

Image taken from http://www.southwestern.edu

I have always had a dream of running a marathon or participating in a triathlon. Right now there is no way I could do either, but I believe that eventually I could get there. So, this week's challenge is to work out 6 times a week, but this challenge does not end with this week, even though I will have a new challenge next week. The ultimate challenge will be to participate in some sort of race. Anybody want to join me in training for something big?

So here goes. Lace up those shoes and get moving. How did you all do last week?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tuesday Morning

Yesterday was a big day for us. We had 68 visitors. That's our highest yet here at Mirror Health. I'm so excited. Our grand total for the 8 days is 234! Keep spreading the news.

Just a reminder before you run off and enjoy your fabulous weekend, I will be in the park on Tuesday morning for Yoga. Please join me if you are in the area.

"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured."
~B.K.S. Iyengar

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Wagon

As you probably gathered, Tuesday wasn't one of my prouder moments in life. I decided to wallow that day. After I spent the day wallowing I realized that I didn't really care for wallowing. But isn't wallow a fun word? While it seemed like it was too much effort to try hard to like myself that day I realized that it also takes effort to not like myself and makes everything else so much harder. When I don't like myself I can't be a good wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, or person.

I had an Ah-Ha moment. Or maybe a thank-you-captain-obvious moment. It's fascinating how often the two coincide. I realized that when life's storms start to rain on us the first things we let go are sometimes the most important. When we become stressed out about money, raising children, work, school, family, or any combination of things the first thing we let go is exercise and healthy eating. We also start to feel bad about ourselves. Obviously the only reason we are dealing with these stresses is because we simply aren't good enough. Then we fall off the wagon and watch as it carries on without us.
Image taken from http://mosquitomediaserver.com

So back to my Ah-Ha moment. I think we are too quick to assume that the wagon has fled. So we had a bad day. So what? If instead of falling off the wagon we would continue our healthy, happy habits we would find that dealing with all the other stuff gets a lot easier. We can actually deal with our stress with style and may find that those things we thought were such a big deal are no longer such a big deal.

So that's the goal. But let's face it, we will all have a day on the ground now and again. We are not perfect and we will eventually give in to our desire to wallow. That's okay too, but don't stay off the wagon long. It won't get that far in front of you. Spend your few minutes or even a day in the dirt, but then get up and get back on. 

You only fail when you give up. So do what you need to, but never give up.

Image taken from http://www.therealmartha.com

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Bother

Despite the fact that this is my blog, I can tell you that I am not perfect at this healthy image thing. I want to do all the things that I'm preaching, but a person can't simply change a lifetime of habit in a few days. Today I wanted to give up. As I was sitting at the park waiting for someone to show up for yoga I began to get depressed. As the minutes ticked by and still no one showed up I started going over the reasons no one would come. Instead of thinking rationally my first thought was, "They've all visited your blog and seen how fat you are and no one wants to take yoga from a fat girl." I kept trying to drive that thought out of my head, but there it was. I came home depressed. I looked in the mirror and tried to say something nice. Nothing came to mind. I decided I didn't want to try anymore. I can't lose weight. I've been doing everything right for a week and the numbers are climbing fast. I'm tired. My body hurts so bad all the time. I just didn't want to try anymore. So I turned my attention to taking care of my son.

As I was feeding and caring for my little one I was reminded of the reason I started down this path in the first place: my children (well, child right now, hopefully children in the future). Children watch their parents and emulate that behavior. If my kids see me hating myself and not taking care of myself as I should, why on Earth would they value their own bodies and lives?

But that was just the first reason. I don't want to hurt anymore. I don't want to feel bad anymore. I want to be a better person. I want to be a happier person. I know that these things take time, even though I don't feel like they should. Honestly, there are probably a million different reasons why people didn't make it. Each of them good reasons. And even if I never ever get to teach a yoga class again, that has nothing to do with me and my personal journey.

Besides, I know that I have two amazing fans rooting for me every day and wanting me to succeed:

And these two are most definitely worth the trouble. So even though I had a huge Craft Macaroni and Cheese binge today, I will get back on the trail and continue on. We all have set backs and bad days. I am determined to make sure that every day is not like this. So, here's to seeing the glass half full.

Oh, and I will be in the park again next Tuesday just in case, unless the results of the poll I'm taking convince me to do it at another time.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Challenge

Lest ye think this is a weight loss blog, let me clarify. This is a quest for ultimate health. I want to have a healthy body, but most importantly, I want to have a healthy image of my body and myself. I do hope that weight loss will be a side effect of the quest along the way, but that is not the ultimate goal.

It has become clear to me over the last few days that I am not the only one tired of hating who I see in the mirror. So, I have decided that I would like to do a weekly challenge. Every Monday I will post a new challenge for my readers and me to complete together. This way we can journey together. Leave me a comment or become a follower so I can know just how many people are looking in the mirror with me.

This week's challenge is to say something nice about yourself. Here is where the real challenge comes in. I challenge you to say something different every day this week. You need to say it out loud to yourself in the mirror as well. This is a serious challenge. If you can work it into a conversation with someone else then you get bonus points. What you say is up to you, but at least twice this week I want you to say something nice about your appearance.

So, will you take the challenge this week? I'll let you know how I do.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Wow! Since I've announced this new blog the response has been overwhelming. I am embarrassed that I was so hesitant to share. Let me tell you a secret. I used to be rather judgmental. I didn't understand people who struggled with weight and health issues since I had never gone through it. I never liked myself and I was so hard on others as well. I get it now. I was scared of one day having to deal with those things myself, and so I tried to make it seem as if those people were in the wrong. Now I get it.

The last few years have been such an eye opening experience for me. I am ashamed of how I used to judge myself and others. I feel as though I needed my eyes to be opened and that is one of the reasons I've been asked to struggle with some of the things I struggle with. I was so scared to share because I was afraid of other's judgement. Now I see that I'm not alone in this boat.

Good news. We are in this together. We all need support. I know I do. I am humbled by your responses. Thank you for making me feel special and beautiful. Let's help each other. Please visit often. Please share your thoughts, experiences, and comments. Together we can improve our quality of life. If nothing else, perhaps one day we can all look in the mirror and say, "Wow, that is one beautiful person."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yoga in the Park

I love yoga. It has helped my life in so many ways. Yoga has helped me along my journey to accept myself as I am. Yoga has helped me to cope with the stress in my life at various stages. Yoga has helped me deal with my intense pain that I sometimes have. Yoga has helped me to get in shape. Yoga has helped me to be more flexible. Yoga has given me a whole new perspective on life.

Now before you say, "That's really nice for you, Melanee. But I can't do yoga because I'm not flexible," or I'm not strong enough, or I don't understand it, etc., etc., etc., let me tell you that I know all your excuses and they won't work on me. Yoga is for everyone. People look at yoga and they see people doing things like this and think they could never do yoga:

I once was in this camp as well. But yoga isn't about doing crazy things with your body, although that can be a fun side effect. Yoga is about being good to your body. It's about turning your attention inside and nourishing your body. Yoga should be about you and only you. It is about what your body needs to help it along the path to health, peace, and enlightenment.

True yogis are non-judgmental when it comes to yoga practice. I could barely touch my toes when I started. Now I can touch my toes and then some. If you have never tried yoga I encourage you to try it out.

Good news if you want to try, or if you already do yoga! If you are in the Utah County area I am going to be teaching a FREE yoga class on Tuesday mornings in the park. This is going to be a really laid back event. Please bring your kids, they can participate or play at the park. Please come ready to enjoy yourself. Right now it will just be once a week. If we get more interest I'll do more.

Please look at the tab called Yoga in the Park for more details. I really hope to see you there. It should be a rewarding and fun experience.


Once upon a time this was me. Do you know that I thought I was fat? I was so embarrassed of my appearance. Before my pregnancy and before I decided to start eating like a crazed animal, before all of that, I still was unhappy with my appearance.

This is my hubby and I not too long before the weight gaining spree. Yes, I was embarrassed in this picture too. Thus the sweater draped over the arm strategically placed in front of me. Oh, and I'm really not that short. My husband is just that tall. Although I was wearing heals. Maybe I am short.

When I meet new people now I feel the need to work into our first conversation that I used to be much thinner. Like they care. Like that's what they need to know and want to talk about when they meet me the first time. I think if I were on the other end of that conversation I would think that I'm a crazy, obsessed person. I think that is probably not too far off the mark. Especially the obsessed part.

I avoid seeing anyone who might have known me before I gained all my weight. Even family. I don't want to be around anyone who knew the skinnier me. If I am around those people I find that excuses for my current shape pour out of my mouth faster than water from a fire hydrant. Once again, I doubt they care that much.

Here I am today. Well, a few days ago. Am I that fat? Well it depends on who you ask. If you ask SparkPeople.com I am considered obese. I think that's bull. I'm certainly not where I would like to be. But I'm still fitting through doors. But you probably can guess that I'm not happy with where I'm at. You have no idea what it took for me to get up the courage to post this picture. As well as this next one:

Once again, doing everything in my power to hide behind something. This time it's my adorable 8 month old son looking handsome in his shades. I post these pictures to help myself face who I am today. I need to stop obsessing. I need to stop trying to pretend like I am something other than what I am. I need to learn to be happy with where I'm at. I wasn't happy when I was thinner. I'm not happy now. Obviously this problem is not just about my size.

Here's the kicker, I did this to myself. Once again, I. Did. This. To. Myself. Pregnancy and nursing certainly helped, but I was losing weight after I had my baby. I was doing fine. I obviously had some baggage after delivering my rather large little boy, but I would have been fine. The months after my son was born are when this happened. You want to know what I ate? I ate toffee, fudge, and caramel. Lots of it. I also ate as much of everything as I wanted. I used excuses like, "I'm nursing." I believed that all I had to do was nurse and the weight would fall off of me like it does for some people. But it didn't. I also didn't exercise at all. So why am I 40 pounds overweight? Because of my actions and my choices.

Ouch. That hurts to say it, but there it is. It wasn't until recently that I decided that I was tired of seeing the scale climb. When I hit 48 pounds overweight I decided it was time to do something. Here I am. But this isn't just about the weight. In fact, my hope is that eventually this will have nothing to do with that stupid number. My hope is that I will be able to start distancing myself from the image that the world, and currently myself, thinks I need to keep up. My hope is that one day I will look in the mirror and like what I see. But most importantly, I hope to be able to accept myself where I am at and know that where I am is right and healthy for me.

So here I am. Shedding light on all those little disclaimers and lies. No more. I am done with excuses. This is me. I did this to myself. But I am in control. I will be healthy, and I will be happy. I have that power.