Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Watching what I say

I read the other day (a common phrase with me) that what we say about others reflects on us. So if you tell a friend that someone you know is selfish and petty your friend will unconsciously attach those qualities to you. I found that to be rather interesting. I have mentioned before that I am trying to stop being so judgmental, here is just one more good reason to actually implement that goal.

As I have been striving to cut myself a little slack what I am finding is that I am much more willing to cut others slack as well. It is still much easier to be more generous towards others than towards myself, but I'm making progress, and that is worth something.

So I am going to try to watch what I say. I suppose if I say only nice things about everyone than others will think only nice things of me whether they are true or not.

Update on Day 13: My baby is sick again which is frustrating. This time with the stomach flu. I abhor the stomach flu worse than anything. I am terrified of getting it. So, I am washing my hands a lot and hoping that my healthy diet has boosted my immune system enough that I can simply be the caring, concerned mother and not the mother who is laying in bed sick along side her baby.

Other than that things are going well. I got to start Tamari today (which is basically soy sauce) and have been in heaven. I cannot even begin to tell you how marvelous the flavor is. I appreciate flavor so much more than I used to. I am even learning to savor my food, which has never been a strong point for me, I usually just inhale.

My headaches are all but gone. The pain in my legs is gone except for when I spend an entire day up on them, then they ache slightly in the evening, but nothing like before. My back pain also only flares up when I do things like dishes, play the piano, or walk a lot, but even that pain is minor compared to what I'm used to. My energy level is incredibly high. My feet only hurt in the morning, and my mood has been much lighter. I am happy to report that I feel great and am excited to continue eating better.

One area that needs improvement for me: breakfast. I struggle with eating a decent breakfast, but in order to rev up your metabolism eating a good healthy breakfast is so important, so my goal for the coming weeks is to eat a decent breakfast.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 11

I apologize for not posting more last week. On Thursday my little one crawled into my lap, laid his head on my chest, and just sat there for a good half hour. The rest of the night he would start doing something, get sad, climb in my lap, and just lay there. He also stopped eating. So Friday morning we went to the doctor. Poor boy has an ear infection, so I have been up late at night and been needed all through out the days. I love all the cuddle time, but I sure miss my chipper, energetic little friend.

If that wasn't bad enough my poor hubby came down with something awful on Saturday as well. So I have been nursing everyone back to health this weekend.

Why do you care? Well, the exciting news is that I am usually the first to come down with anything that goes around in this family. I have had a minor headache and sore throat, but other than that I have been the picture of health. I am thrilled. I attribute it all to my healthy diet I've been on.

I was talking with my sister last night about this diet, and I was telling her how much fun I am having learning how to cook in a whole new way and with different foods. It has been thrilling. And I don't like to cook much. But there are few things more satisfying than taking a bite out of something that took you all day to make, but you know with every single bite it is nothing but ridiculously healthy for you. I love it.

So, how am I doing on Day 11? Great. I think about food a lot less. My cravings are easing up. My pain is all gone in my legs, almost gone in my feet, and reduced in my back. I do have more energy (I would have even more if I wasn't up all night rocking a sick baby), and I am just pleased as punch that I have stuck to my guns this time.

Life is good. And so is Lemon and Lentil soup, if you want the recipe just let me know, it is so, so, so good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kicking it up a notch-Day 7

About an hour after yesterday's post I crashed. Too tired to do much of anything else that day. But it is an improvement. Today I'm feeling about the same. Pretty good energy this morning, not so much this afternoon. The pain is still there, but it seems to be easing up. I am still dreaming about food.

Today I decided to put some of my new found confidence to good use. I have always wanted to take a kick boxing class. Always. I've never had the guts to do it. I think I mentioned before that I recently joined a gym. Well, like all good gym's this one has classes. I have been going for nearly two months now and haven't gotten up my courage to attend any of the classes. I've wanted to, but I didn't want to be the fat girl that couldn't keep up. So I've avoided them.

Yesterday I picked up a schedule and set up a time with the daycare that would coincide with kick boxing. I told the woman at the daycare that I thought I would try it out. She mentioned that I would need gloves or wraps and asked if I had any. I didn't, but she did, so she wrote it down and said she would bring them for me to use.

This morning Cormac slept in. Which means I slept in. Oh how I wanted to back out. I was nervous to go. I'm already horribly intimidated by doing anything at the gym that doesn't involve the dark Cinema room where no one can see me, but alas, we woke up with about a half hour to spare before the class. Since I knew someone had gone out of their way to bring wraps for me I figured I shouldn't chicken out now.

The class was exhilarating. I loved it. I was even able to keep up almost the entire time. I wasn't the only person wearing something larger than a size 4, and I had a blast. What's even better, no one noticed or cared that I was new. The one person I told I was new to was encouraging and sweet. She helped me get lined out and the rest of the class was pie. I'm pleased with myself. Other than rolling my ankle (for the second time in a month) I'm feeling great.

Now as for my diet. We are on day 7. Doing well, but I have noticed that I get really cranky in the evening. I've been trying to figure out why. I thought it was just because I am tired, but the truth is, I'm not eating enough. I feel like all I do right now is eat, but since the food that I'm consuming is high in nutrients, but low in calories, I need more of it. So my goal is to do better and to honor my hunger signals a little more. I don't want my body to go into starvation mode, and I'm sure the hubby would like a mood lift over here.

So I am challenging you to all go try something new. Something you've always wanted to do. It will be worth it. I promise. Just push those fears aside and act like you do this kind of thing all the time. Let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dreaming of Food on Day 6

Last night I had a dream that my family had come to town. They wanted to go to dinner and then to a movie. I knew that the restaurant would not have anything I could eat while on this diet. I went back and forth for what seemed like forever: should I just eat something there? Is this really making a difference? It was hard, but I decided that I would either miss the dinner or take something for myself and not order from the restaurant.

When I woke up this morning I felt so pleased with my subconscious. The last few days have been hard. I've been craving carbs and meat. I want anything super sweet. Getting to eat fruit helps a lot, but even so, I still walk through my pantry and want to reach out for a handful of Goldfish or an animal cracker. But I have been good. Other than occasionally forgetting to rinse and cook with filtered water and not always eating organic, I have been very good these last 6 days.

And I believe it is working. First of all, I'm sleeping so much better at night. It's heavenly. If only my baby would sleep through the night every night. Sleep is such a beautiful thing. You have no idea how beautiful until you are deprived of it. The fatigue is not yet gone, but today, for the first time, it seems to be easing up just a little.

Secondly, the numbness in my back is fading. I still don't have full sensation back there, but I'm getting close. I'm thankful for the feeling that is starting to come back. It may never fully recover, I don't know, but anything is good. At least we aren't going backward.

Thirdly, I'm losing weight. More importantly, I'm losing inches. It is thrilling to finally see the scale moving in the opposite direction than where it has been going.

Something that has been keeping me going is the idea that this is temporary. After reading Intuitive Eating I knew that if I tried to convince myself that I would never eat chocolate again I would never make it. Even today I know I can eat anything I want. I have chocolate in my house, I can eat it. There's nothing stopping me. Nothing but me.

I love knowing that this a choice and I can stop any time. And even though I know chocolate (or even a string cheese) would taste good, I don't want it. I just don't. I want to feel better.

I have been watching the scale climb the last year and feeling more and more helpless. As the pain began to increase as did my fatigue I didn't think I had the energy to make things better. I didn't think I could stop myself. I felt out of control. I've realized that even at the end of this diet if I find that nothing I'm eating is causing me pain or fatigue, it will still all be worth it. I have proven to myself that I can make healthy decisions. I have proven to myself that I can still take care of my body.

The better I treat my body, the more I love it. It may seem strange, but it's true. Ammon and I went out on a date last Friday (our neighbors were kind enough to watch our son). It is the first time we have been out in a long time. I got dressed up. I wanted it to feel special. At the movie theatre I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time in a long time.

Don't get me wrong, I look in the mirror every day, but I really, truly looked. I looked at the overall picture. And you know what? I felt pretty. Even with all my extra weight, I felt pretty. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

And then, the real break through, I acknowledged that I felt that way. I didn't even try to look for a single thing wrong. I didn't think to myself that I would look even better if. . . I did none of that. I just allowed myself to enjoy the feeling of being pretty.

I even told Ammon how I felt. I'm telling you now how I felt. It's amazing. Saying out loud that I thought I looked pretty is liberating. It gives me confidence. I don't think anything had changed much in my personal appearance (other than I wasn't wearing a ponytail), but my attitude is shifting. It's wonderful.

So, on day 6 I look back at how hard this week has been and I say it has been worth it. If nothing else, it has helped me to see that if I care enough to care for my body my attitude can change. And I do have the power to lose weight. The key is to not become obsessed with losing weight. The key is to be healthy. That's what I'm striving for.

Oh, and eat some pasta for me tonight will you? Enjoy every single bite.

NieNie is Coming!

Hey all you that are in the Utah area, I just thought you might want to know that Stephanie Nielson will be here at BYU on September 30th at 7:00 pm. I think I'm going to try to get a babysitter. If you are in the area I would recommend you go hear her. I'm sure it will be amazing.

You can read more about it here.

Check out her blog here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

11 Months Old

My baby just turned 11 months old. He is so much fun. I can't believe how much he's grown and changed in the last year. It has been crazy. My life is nothing like it was a year ago. All in good ways though. I am so blessed to have such a sweet little boy in my life.

But with this new milestone I have realized that I am having a hard time. In less than a month my little one will be a year old. I thought that by now I would be back in my pre-pregnancy clothes. I'm not. In fact, I have out grown many of my pregnancy clothes. It's heart breaking in many ways. Now don't get me wrong, my little guy was worth it. He is worth every pound, every stretch mark, and every bit of extra skin that I have. But I feel I have done both of us a disservice by not making more of an effort to take care of myself after he was born. I didn't have to gain back all of the weight I lost after I had him. But I did.

I have this horribly unhealthy relationship with food. I horde food. When I am not at my own house I eat enormous portions because I'm afraid I'll go hungry. I'm not entirely sure what prompted this considering I used to be the opposite about food consumption. Perhaps that's why. Perhaps my body and subconscious remember those years of semi-starvation and they are combating it. Maybe. I don't really know.

I do know that over eating is dangerous. Just like under eating. And I have been over eating for far too long. Since I have started this elimination diet I have noticed how often I wander aimlessly to the kitchen looking for something to munch on. I stop myself now, but I never used to. I didn't think I really ate that much during the day. I was wrong.

So as my son's first birthday approaches I am trying hard not to allow myself to despair the added weight. I have learned so much this year. Even though it has been difficult and the lessons have been hard won, I am grateful to be where I am. I am making changes, and I will lose weight at a healthy pace. I believe that. Now I just need to learn to not be so hard on myself and allow myself to remember that even though I'm not where I want to be I never would have learned what I have learned otherwise. And for that I am grateful to be where I am.

Diet update:
Today is day 4. The first two days were hard because it was all liquids. It's amazing how even if you are full you still feel like you need to eat something solid to make it a meal. Yesterday was nice to start eating solids again. I'm on only hypo-allergenic food. Mostly fresh fruits and veggies. Some grains. I cooked with seaweed for the first time yesterday. That was exciting and eye opening. And let me just say that life is not the same without butter. I'm feeling about the same. I've had a headache more frequently the last 4 days, but other than that not too bad. Today I feel sluggish and exhausted. Better go grab a nap while the baby is asleep. Only 24 more days to go.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day One, again

Yesterday was supposed to be day number one for me and my elimination diet. I learned two very valuable lessons yesterday:

1. Don't let yourself get hungry.
2. Don't try this kind of diet with fragrant, delicious smelling ranch chicken pizza in your refrigerator. 

Every time I opened the fridge yesterday I could smell the pizza, it was amazing. We had a really busy morning and I hadn't had anything to eat. By about 2:30 I was ravenous and even though I had started on my green drink, I decided it wasn't worth it right then and I ate the pizza. It was delicious, but not as good as I had built it up in my mind. On top of that, I was just disappointed in myself for not sticking to my diet. But I learned a good lesson. So today I am starting fresh. I just have to keep a full stomach and I think I'll be fine.

It occurred to be yesterday that perhaps not everyone knows what a green drink is. Then I got Jennifer's comment which confirmed that thought. So I thought I'd go ahead and share how one makes a green drink. They are also known as green smoothies. The key to a green drink is to only use whole foods, but to make it taste delicious. 

Just so we are all on the same page, a whole food is a food that is in it's natural, unrefined form. When it comes to a green drink pretty much anything goes. I also recommend going organic if possible and using purified water. Even rinsing your produce in the purified water. However, if it is a choice between not eating the greens if you have to buy organic or just regular produce, go with regular. It's so much better to eat the greens than to abstain because you can't buy organic (I don't always buy organic).

What you will need;
~ A variety of fresh greens and fruit.
~ Frozen fruit.
~ Cutting board.
~ Knife.
~ A fabulous blender.
~ About 10 minutes of time.

If you are new to this I would recommend starting out slow. Use only spinach at first. Spinach has a mild flavor. As you get used to the green drink start adding in one more green at a time. You want to vary your greens as well. The greener the better. This is an excellent way to get a huge dose of vitamins and minerals.

Put about 1 cup of purified water in the blender. Then fill it a little over half full with spinach.

Other greens you might consider:
~Collard Greens
~Romaine lettuce
~Beat tops
~Dandelions (get these from the store, not from your yard if you use fertilizer)
~Peas (pods included)
~Brussels sprouts
~Collard Greens
~Anything else you have in your fridge or see in the store and want to try

Blend up your greens to get a good base for your drink.

Next you can add fruit. When I add fruit I leave almost everything on it. For example, don't core your apple, just cut it into fourths and leave the seeds in. They are healthy. If you use fresh strawberries leave the tops on. There are a few exceptions: bananas and avocados for example. Don't leave the peels on these and take that seed out of the avocado.

Here's a cool little cooking secret that my mom (the greatest cook in the world) taught me: leave the pit in the avocado and it won't turn green. I used half of the avocado pictured above yesterday. I put this part in the fridge and this morning pulled it out for today's green drink. Still looks amazing and tastes great. Avocados are amazing power foods. Eat them. Often.

Other fruit you might consider:
~Berries of any variety (I usually put in frozen berries to give it a nice smoothy feel)
~Bananas (these are great to make a smooth texture)
~Grapes (go ahead and take these off the vine)
~Lemons (once again, take off the peel)
~Goji berries

Remember to blend as you go. Especially if you add something frozen. You don't want to overwhelm your blender. If you are like me, texture can make or break a food item for you, so the more you blend the more smooth your drink will be. For me that is key.

Then you can add a few other things. Ginger is a great one. But I don't care for the taste of it. So I try to only add a tiny bit if any. It is a powerful tasting thing. If you do chose to add it, make sure to grate off the skin and only add a 1 to 2 inch piece, anything more than that will overwhelm the drink.

If you are using bitter greens (like Kale) feel free to add a little sweetener, but make sure it is natural. Xylitol or Stevia are the only two I really recommend for this. One to two packages of either should do the trick.

I also add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds to each and every drink (excellent source of Omega 3s). Some people chose to use flax oil, which is also okay, but the seeds are more natural as they haven't been refined.

Here's what you'll have when you're done. See, it doesn't look that bad. It tastes great. What's even better is how good you are being to your body.

Everyone in the family can enjoy it.

Just a little reminder, you should not add everything listed to one drink. Vary up the ingredients. Play around with it. Some things you will like better than others. Today was the first time I had tried ginger, I'll probably never try it again, but now I know. The key to liking these is to start small. Add mostly fruit and just spinach. Then slowly start adding more greens.

Drink one over the weekend. I dare you. They are fantastic.

Here's what I put in today's drink:
~ Spinach
~ 1 large collard green leaf
~ 2 medium Kale leaves
~ Handful of fresh parsley
~ 2 apples
~ 1/2 avocado
~ approx 2 cups blueberries
~ 2 pears (from my own garden:)
~ 3 tbs flaxseeds
~ 2 inches of ginger (too much in my opinion)
~ 1 cup water

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A new thing for me

I'm afraid I haven't much to say today. As my family might tell you, that's a rare thing. I've always got plenty to say. Usually too much to say. But today I'm blank.

Today I am going to go and work on some projects for my house. Every Fall I get anxious about getting things done on my house. This year is no different. I am making drapes and decorations and things for little Cormac's upcoming 1st birthday. Crazy. I also need to get into my yard. There are pears that need picking off the 6 trees that we have. I think some of the peaches are ready as well. I need to do some weeding and cleaning up. I need to tape, mud, texture, and paint my bathroom. The kitchen ceiling needs attention. Ah, lots to do. I love Fall.

So I think I'll go get to work. Oh, and today is Day 1. So far so good. I am only allowed green drinks today. Which I happen to like pretty well, although I do get tired of them from time to time. I have been wanting a sandwich, but I think once I get busy I will get over that. Still feeling fine. This first week should get pretty ugly though. We'll see.

Have a happy and productive Thursday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Living with pain

Image from here.

I've mentioned before that I live each day in constant pain. Sometimes the pain is worse than at other times, but it is always present. I ache through my entire lower body. I frequently have headaches. My back is in a constant state of burning. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night. It keeps me from doing many of the things that I need and want to do during the day.

For example, I love playing the piano. I find great enjoyment in making music. To sit at my piano for more than about 10 minutes causes me so much pain I have to lie down afterwards. I haven't really played my piano much in years now. And that makes me sad.

The pain is horrible, but what is worse, in my opinion, is the fatigue. It is awful to try and take care of a very active 10 month old (soon to be 11 months old) when all I want to do is stay in bed. I want to be involved and excited to be with my son. I need to be active in teaching him. But I'm so tired.

Recently my back started to go numb. I thought perhaps something was out and pinching a nerve. I went to physical therapy and it was decided I should have an MRI. My neck was fine, but there was some concern about my brain. For about a week we thought it was possible that I had MS. Although we haven't entirely ruled that out, we don't think that is what it is now. We went through so many tests, many of which were rather invasive, only to end up back where we were. As far as the medical eye can see, I'm perfectly healthy. Which is wonderful. Except that I hurt. The plan of attack? Try a new medication and see where that leads.

I have done a lot of research on Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I am not one of those people who have entirely lost faith in conventional medicine, but I do believe that sometimes they just don't have the answer. I am willing to take medication if that is what I need to do. But I have decided that before I resort to that I am going to do an elimination diet. I have a theory that perhaps what I am eating is causing my problems. Based on the research I have done so many people benefit from this type of diet. Once I am done with the program I hope to know what triggers what in my body, then I can decide if I like that food enough to deal with the consequences.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am sure that I will need some support. It's a 28 day program. I'm starting it tomorrow. It's pretty intense. You cut out pretty much everything but the very basic greens and beans (that sort of thing). I will only be consuming foods that are hypo-allergenic for a while. Then I'll start adding things back in slowly. I'll be reporting my progress and findings here. If it works I'll let you all in on it. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I want

Last night I laid in my husband's arms and told him what I want and what I am hoping to get out of this whole journey/blog/goal. I said I want to go from a girl who was anorexic and somewhat bulimic, a girl with a horrible relationship with food and with her body, a girl who became a compulsive over eater to a girl who is healthy, a girl who loves her body for where it has been and what it is today, a girl who is more than her waistline. And even though that girl will have an occasional bad day and wish something were different, she is at peace with herself. She is whole. That's what I want. And I believe it is attainable. I can learn to love my image, even if it isn't an "ideal." I will love that image because it is me and it is enough.

I am more than a superficial being. I have a brain, a sense of humor, talents, interests, and skills. I have people who love me and people that I love. I live a fulfilling life. And I want to be healthy and happy so that I can enjoy all that I have been blessed with to the fullest. Ammon is my number one supporter. He is one of the main reasons I decided to stop criticizing myself and look for the good. To be honest, I still don't know how I ever enticed him to marry me. He is just so wonderful. So, I guess since I did catch him, he must see something in me. I want to see it too. He's also a great listener. It helps to spell out your goals to someone who cares.

So, there you have it. That's what I want. Is that too much to ask? Some may argue that it is, but I don't think so. I don't think we were put on Earth to go through life unhappy and finding fault, especially with ourselves. Life is too short to always look back or to always wish for the unattainable.

One of the best ways I have found to feel better about myself when I get down is to serve others. I know it may sound counterproductive, but it works. It's amazing. I think that this quote really sums up what I want and how I would like to answer to my Maker someday:

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. 
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. 
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. 
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. 
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. 
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Loving others helps us love ourselves. And though I'm not all the way there yet, I know that we can learn to love ourselves as we are, even if we occasionally wish that this or that were a little different. Go do a good deed today, you might be surprised how much you get out of it. Now, to the kitchen with me, I have dishes to do and then to the craft room to make a surprise for a friend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

When I look at you. . .

I used to be a rather judgmental person. I loved people watching for the sake of pointing out all of the flaws in others. This is something I am truly ashamed of today. And though I cannot say that I no longer judge at all, I have been getting a lot better at not jumping to conclusions.

Perhaps one reason is that I shutter to think someone would judge me by just looking at me. Especially with my recent weight gain. I have been trying to establish myself as a person. Someone who is more than the number on the scale. I get nervous about others judging me based on my appearance. I truly believe that someday this won't bother me. Someday, when I am comfortable in my own skin, it won't bother me one bit what others think when they look at me. But as of today, it still makes me squirm.

But here's another reason. I think I've touched on this briefly before, but it has really hit home to me recently and is something I would like to explore further. I believe that most of time we pass judgement because we are afraid. I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but hear me out.

Before I was ever pregnant I was rather harsh on pregnant women. I would see a woman in her final trimester without her make-up on looking thoroughly miserable, and I knew she was just a lazy fake. Surely it could never be that bad. I looked at women who gained extra weight during and after pregnancy as lazy as well. I knew I would never have that problem. Ha. Naive.

Since that time I have become both of those things, but I learned a valuable lesson. The reason I was so hasty to judge those women was because I was terrified I would indeed end up like them. And I did. And truth be told, it's not so bad.

You can apply this to most areas of judging. There is a stigma against divorced people. Why? Because we don't want to be there ourselves. When someone is severely overweight we tend to assume that they are lazy. When someone has depression we often think that it is their own fault. We don't want to see that perhaps (almost always) there are legitimate, innocent reasons for these things to happen. We assume that bad things don't happen to good people (even though we know better).

If I look at someone in a situation that I am afraid to face I distance myself from that by demonizing the person. Perhaps "demonize" is a harsh word, but if you think about it it's not so far off. I have always feared being a "fat" person. I never, ever wanted to be overweight. So in my mind I assumed that all people who were overweight deserved it. They did or didn't do certain things and so they got fat. They were lazy. Somewhere along the line they were "bad" and thus they gained weight. I am not a "bad" person and therefore I will never gain weight.

Ah, how my eyes have been opened since that time. Now, let me just say this is a bit of an over exaggeration and most of this was done on a subconscious level at that, but you get the idea.

The reason I feel this is important to address here is that we need to not be so harsh on others. First of all, we have no idea what that person has had to face and what has led them to whatever fate. Second of all, I think if we truly pay attention, when we are passing harsh judgement we are showing an area where we feel vulnerable. Perhaps there is something in our life that we need to address or that we at least should acknowledge is a fear that we have. Maybe then we will see people in a different light.

Since I have made this discovery about myself I have been able to stop judging harshly (or at least, I'm close). It is amazing how much more you appreciate those around you and love others when you are no longer concerned with making them into bad guys. I feel that in turn that makes me a more likable person that others are less quick to judge.

Now let's sing Kumbaya.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Today I am happy. I don't know why. I'm just really happy. I have a lot of energy which is a rarity these days. I got a lot done this morning. That always makes me feel good. And I'm about to start some new craft projects, which always energizes me. 

So I think I would like to share with you something exciting that happened to me today. I went out of my house like this:

That's right folks. I went to Costco and JoAnn's without any make-up, with my hair slicked back, and in need of a shower. So maybe that's not that big of a deal, but here is the exciting part: I didn't feel self-conscious. In fact, I didn't even remember that I didn't have make-up on until about halfway through my Costco run. It made me smile that it hadn't bothered me. I finished the shopping trip without feeling awkward without my make-up and am thrilled to say that I feel great. 

So while I know for a fact that I haven't "arrived" by any means, I am making progress. You want to know what else is strange. I kind of like this picture of me. How odd.

Have a wonderful weekend. We'll talk more on Monday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What I meant was...

I think this picture is funny. I think I make that face a lot, and Cormac always makes the face he's making.

It seems that once again I have alarmed my family. My mother has been getting calls from undisclosed family members asking after my well being. Unfortunately I don't get to see my mom all that often anymore, so she doesn't get to see me on a day to day basis. But my husband and I have had many discussions about if what I am feeling is normal and we both feel that it is.

I have to admit that I was a little discouraged by all this yesterday. I thought maybe I should be venting these things in a more private setting. I think it would make a lot of people I love more comfortable. And that is worth a lot. But as I was thinking about what I am trying to do here I realized that what makes this blog unique and what keeps you people coming back is the personal nature of it.

Pick up any book about a journey and you will find that the hero or heroine never makes it to their final destination with out road blocks, detours, and bad days. It just doesn't happen. And as I have said before, this blog is a documentation of my journey to self acceptance and overall health. I guess I have shown you all a few of my road blocks and detours of late. But if I didn't include those things in this blog it wouldn't be a true documentation and the honesty is what makes this blog special. I'm not trying to sell anything. I'm not trying to put myself up as a shinning example of what you all should achieve. I am human. And sometimes painfully aware of it. Like I was the other day.

And while we are on the subject of my break down, I would like to clarify something. I ended that post by saying, "I don't know where to go from here." I want to tell you what I was thinking. Right then I was thinking that perhaps I was wrong in trying to love myself where I am at. Perhaps it wasn't possible for me. I don't believe this today, but right then I did. I was concerned that perhaps I truly did just need to lose some weight in order to start loving myself.

What I have concluded since then is that I do need to love myself independent of my weight, but that it is crucial to be taking care of my body and to feel good about what I am doing to be healthy for me to feel happy with myself. So while the two are independent of one another, they are at the same time incredibly interdependent, if that makes sense.

Let me put it this way. It is hard to feel good about anything when your body is not properly nourished, has not had some healthy physical activity, and is not thoroughly rested. So how could you expect to feel good about yourself as a person when your body is not well? You can't. You must take care of both. Once your body is taken care of, even if it is a little on the heavy side or what have you, your mind is more clear and can be free to think. A clear mind will tell you that you are more than your outward appearance and you can then learn to love yourself. This is what I have been doing wrong. I was trying to just like myself. All the while I was feeling guilty that I was stuffing my face with goodies and not exercising.

So, this is the last time I will justify myself like this, I promise. I want to share all the nitty gritty details of my life in order to make this blog the truth about this journey. I don't want to preach. I want to share my life. And this is my life. The good days as well as the bad. From what you have all told me, this could be your life as well. So I don't think I'm as crazy as all that.

Besides, I told you I was dramatic didn't I?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm Back

My husband's dear family. These people are some of my biggest supporters and I adore them all.

First of all, let me just say that I have amazing friends and family. Thank you all for your love and support. I am the luckiest girl alive. I appreciate all of you and your kindness. Next time I'm having a bad day I'll just post "Having a bad day. Need some love," and let you all work your magic. Before I get into this much further let me also say that I am a dramatic person. I always have been. You can ask any one of my family members. When I write that drama seeps in and can sometimes be heavier than I intended. I apologize.

Yesterday I wrote some pretty awful things about myself. I had been letting my negative feelings fester and build up inside of me. I confessed to you before that we have had a bit of bad luck over here and that I had been feeling blue. I just hadn't told you how blue. I was trying to cover it up in hopes that it would go away. I had been having a hard time for a few weeks. I let it build up. Then when I was asked if I was expecting again I just lost it.

Yesterday when I used the word "hate" I meant it. I truly did. Right in that moment I hated myself. A funny thing about me is that I do my best thinking when I write. The entire process: planning it out, writing it, checking for errors, and then thinking about what I have just written. For some reason this whole process is extremely enlightening for me.

Yesterday I read that "experts say that denying bad feelings intensifies them: acknowledging bad feelings allows good feelings to return." I honestly believe that's what happened to me.

Yesterday I hit rock bottom. I said mean, hurtful, and wrong things about myself that should never have been said. I meant them in that moment. When I wrote them I meant it.

But then after I wrote everything out I was able to step away from my feelings. And then I was able to look at what I just said from a distance. And then I read all the encouraging things that you wrote to me. And then I calmed down. And then I was able to make a break through and a change.

Today I am a new woman. I was frustrated with my situation, but that was yesterday. Today I have decided to take action. I have been feeling as though some miracle was going to help me change my life and my body. That's not the case. I took responsibility for my body being where it is. Now I am going to take responsibility to change it.

Today I am committed to eating right. No more junk food for three meals a day.

Today I am going to start working out regularly and rebuilding muscle that has been lost or damaged through the course of the years and the course of whatever is happening in my health.

Today I can honestly say that I do not hate myself. I appreciate my body for what it has gone through. I know that I have not always been kind to it. I know that I have not always been easy on it. I know that I am way too hard on it. I know all of these things. Thank you for reminding me. I am more than the number on the scale. I am more than all of that.

Today I am filled with love, hope, and energy.

I'm starting over from today.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Now What?

We are going to get personal for just a moment here. So, I began this blog in the hopes that it would inspire me to be a better person. I wanted to be kinder to myself. I wanted to accept myself and love my body. I wanted to learn ways to take better care of my body. I wanted to lose weight, but not actually care or have a "need" to lose weight. I wanted all of these lofty goals. But right now, at this very moment I don't care about any of that anymore, I want to be thin again. I'm sick and tired of being fat. I have been in denial about my situation for a long time. When I think of myself I still think of this:

Not this:

This second picture was taken just this last weekend. Granted I wasn't happy with myself when I was the former, but I wasn't "fat." I knew I wasn't. I wanted to be thinner, but I wasn't fat. Now I am.

A series of events have happened lately that have really made me miserable where I am at:

1. I had to go to the doctor. When I got on the scale I was shocked by the number. Much higher than where I thought I was.

2. The doctor told me I need to lose weight. Thanks for that.

3. I have been around a lot of people lately, many who have children. Most of these women have had multiple children and are thinner than I am. There are so many of these women who have had babies after I have had mine and they are also super thin. I know I shouldn't compare, but I do.

4. For whatever reason, being around family makes it harder for me to be fat. Maybe it's because they have known me my whole life and have known me before I was fat. I don't know, but it is so much harder to be around people who knew me before.

5. I have only 4 shirts that fit me. Only 3 are comfortable. I had to buy new clothes recently because I couldn't find anything to wear. I only had 1 shirt that fit. I have outgrown my maternity clothes. I was shocked at what size I had to buy.

6. I joined a gym. I had to. My doctor wants me to swim to help manage my pain. The only place with an indoor pool is the gym. Walking in there is awful. Oh the looks I get.

7. Thelma's recent guest post really got me thinking. She talked about a roommate that had always been beautiful and didn't know how to be anything else. I have to admit that even though I have always found fault, I have lived off of other people's praise of how I look. I am that person as well. I just didn't know it until now.

8. So I was already at my breaking point with all of this and then this weekend someone asked me if I was expecting again.

I hate my body right now. That is very, very wrong of me to say and I know it. It goes against everything I have tried to create on this blog and I'm sorry. But the sad reality is, I truly hate my body right now. I am ashamed of my appearance. I want to crawl in a hole and hide. I can't stand that I look like this. I don't even want to try to accept myself anymore. I want to lose weight by any means, preferably fast.

So there you have it. In case anyone out there thought I was perfect, which I doubt, I certainly am not. I had a few good posts where I was able to admit to myself that this was all my fault. I think that was progress, but beyond that I have just been trying to cover up how I truly feel. I give reason after reason why I should love myself where I am. I truly have tried. I know that I should accept myself, I do know that. But despite my reasons and despite wanting to, I don't. I don't like myself. And I don't know how to change that. I don't know where to go from here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's Universal

Image from here.

In one of my literature classes I remember discussing the following concept: That which is most personal is most universal. At the time it made sense, but didn't seem to apply to my life. The idea was that when we write about personal things it is more powerful than when we don't. I get it now.

I get emails and comments all the time from people telling me how much they appreciate me telling my very personal story. Then each one of these people tell me that they get it. They've been there. They feel exactly the same way. It's interesting. All of us have been held up to the measuring stick and found wanting. Each story tells about a mother who didn't care for her own body and then her children took it to an extreme level. Or of the pressure from friends to look a certain way. Or watching T.V. and feeling like you just don't have what it takes. Or. . .

Everything I share on this blog pertains to me and my particular situation. When I share quotes or findings it is because it meant something to me. It gave me an "ah ha" moment. Yet my readers seem to get those moment too.

Something else that is interesting, we have all bought into this whole image thing. As I think we have already established, it's all about money. But I believe it is more than that. I believe that now it is a culture thing. Since I have decided to attempt to stop dieting, obsessing, and otherwise body bash I have often felt left out of certain circles and conversations.

Here's the funny thing about it, from what people tell me, you all want to stop too. But we all feel peer pressure to keep going on this destructive trail. These have just been a few of my observations the last few months. It's interesting.

So, what has helped me to be okay feeling left out and to commit to this anyway? Because let's face it, sometimes it's hard to remember that I truly do want this for myself. Well, one is my child. I don't want him to ever feel like he isn't good enough. Study after study has shown that children feel about themselves the way their parents feel about their own bodies. Something else that is interesting, men have a huge influence over how girls and women feel. So if you had a father or brother who was hard on you that may have influenced you.

Back to what I was saying. My son is motivation. But even more than that, sharing my story is motivating. Getting feedback from readers is motivating. It is making a huge difference. Knowing that people are watching to see if I can pull this off is helping me so much.

I thought I'd share those motivators today because if it is helping me in my personal situation, perhaps it could help you in yours. After all, that which is most personal is most universal.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Enjoy Now

Image taken from here.

I wanted to share a little of what I have been reading from The Happiness Project. This really hit home to me the other day:

"As I worked, and especially when I was pushing myself to do things that made me slightly uncomfortable, I kept reminding myself of my resolution to 'Enjoy now.' As a writer, I often found myself imagining some happy future: 'When I sell this proposal. . . ' or 'When this book comes out. . . '
     "In his book Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar describes the 'arrival fallacy,' the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you'll be happy (. . .) The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate.
     "First of all, by the time you've arrived at your destination, you're expecting to reach it, so it has already been incorporated into your happiness. Also, arrival often brings more work and responsibility. It's rare to achieve something (other than winning an award) that brings unadulterated pleasure without added concerns. Having a baby. Getting a promotion. Buying a house. You look forward to reaching these destinations, but once you've reached them, they bring emotions other than sheer happiness. And of course, arriving at one goal usually reveals another, yet more challenging goal. Publishing the first book means it's time to start the second. There's another hill to climb. The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the 'atmosphere of growth,' in the gradual progress made toward goal, in the present. The unpoetic name for this very powerful source of happiness is 'pre-goal-attainment positive affect.'"

As I read this it brought another thought to my mind: I keep thinking that once I get back to a size _ I'll finally be happy. Realistically, I was never happy when I was that size to begin with. If I can't learn to love myself where I am at, what makes me think that when I do finally get to whatever size I will be satisfied? There will always be something. Especially now that I've had a baby. I may eventually lose all the weight, but there is a good chance that I will always have extra skin around my mid-section thanks to the great stretching acts I performed so recently.

But more than just the whole losing weight thing, I think it needs to go deeper than that. I always find fault. I always think that I'll be happier once this zit goes away, or once my hair finally grows out, or once my eyebrows are waxed, or. . . The list just goes on, and on, and on. Truth be told, there will always be something. And let's face it people, we aren't exactly getting younger. Living in a world where we try to will our bodies into being like they were when we were 18 is unrealistic. It simply sets us up for a lifetime of disappointment and unhappiness.

So, when I look in the mirror it is my goal to start seeing at least one thing I'm happy with. Maybe if I can start seeing one thing I like and build up from there I will no longer see all the things that bother me. I don't even notice other people's imperfections most of the time. What makes me think that I'm so special that everyone else will obviously notice mine? And if nobody else is noticing my imperfections shouldn't I cut myself a little slack? After all, we only get this one life. Better enjoy every minute of it now because there is no going back.