Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

From my little buccaneer to you, we hope you have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elimination Diet Sum-up

So, it has been a few weeks since I finished my elimination diet. I have been meaning to write and tell you all what I thought, but I just haven't gotten to it. So, here it is.

I am amazed how much of a difference eating strictly whole foods and cutting out problem foods (like those that cause allergies most commonly) has changed the way I feel. I finished my 28 days on October 16th. At that point I was feeling fantastic. I still was not eating gluten, dairy, red meat, yeast, and a few others. The problem I ran into was that we were planning a trip to Boise to celebrate my Father's birthday. Since we were traveling it was assumed that we would be eating in restaurants at least 2 or more times a day for the entire weekend. The way the elimination diet works is to challenge a single "problem" food every 3 days. This presented a problem for me since I would have time to challenge each of these foods that I would likely encounter on this trip.

So what did I do? I decided to just give myself permission to eat and then after the trip to return to the diet I was on for two weeks to allow my system to recoup and then challenge the foods one at a time. The reason the foods even need to be challenged is to find out which one might be causing you pain, fatigue, etc. Up to this point I had not really found a culprit other than refined sugars and flours.

It was nice to see my family this last weekend, but the entire trip wrecked havoc on my system. I went from having energy and feeling great to feeling more sluggish and having more headaches and more pain with each successive meal. By the time we started the drive home I was feeling so miserable I didn't think I would ever eat again.

To be honest I'm thankful that there was such a stark difference in the way that I felt. I now know how much of an impact my healthy diet was having on me. Not only did I lose 17 pounds during my 28 days, but I had energy to get through my entire day. My mood was improved, and the pain that has been my constant companion for so long was almost completely gone. After this weekend I see how incredibly important it is for me to continue down the path that I began.

On a note unrelated to the way I feel physically, I want to tell you how much fun I have been having learning to cook in a new way. This is shocking to me because I DO NOT like to cook. That's right. I occasionally get in the mood to bake, but cooking, not so much. I have been baking and cooking and loving that everything I make is healthy and good for me and my family. It has created a whole new relationship with food that I never knew I could have. You may recall my complaining that my relationship with food was not so fun before, but now, well, let's just say that food and I are getting along just fine these days.

So I would like to tell you all that I think making changes to our daily diet is crucial to feeling better physically. For me, a dramatic change was necessary, however, I have been changing the diet of my entire family much more slowly. You can't expect a one year old to suddenly love vegetables after all. I have found that in most cases just making small changes, like switching to whole wheat rather than white, one at a time is much better for life long change. Look at your own diet and see what you can start changing. You'll feel great and be so glad that you did it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Look and Feel

Well my dear readers, I have been absent a lot lately. But even though my time has been demanded elsewhere and I have had very little time to blog, my thoughts have not been far from you. I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future of this blog, and what I want to do with it.

I started this blog as a way for me to document my journey to self acceptance (as you well know), but to be honest, some days there just isn't that much to report. I find anymore that most days I am at peace with myself and my situation. There are moments and days that I still struggle, but I am making progress overall. There are times when I really don't have much to write about. You see, most of this is internal and undocumentable (is that a word?). So the question I have had is what to do here.

Since starting Mirror Health I have found that there are so many people who are struggling along with me. I have found that this is a place where people can come to be uplifted and to feel that they are not alone. As I have thought about this and the direction I want to go I have decided that I would like to move Mirror Health in a more collaborative direction. I would like to hear your voices. I think everyone can benefit by moving in that direction. We can all come together to share our good and bad days. Here is a safe place to express all your thoughts on body image.

So, I am going to be making some changes very soon. Good changes, I hope. I welcome your feedback. Please let me know what you think of this idea and any others that you might have as well. If you are ready to share your story, send me an email with it all typed out (and a picture if you can). I'll be posting your stories as they come in.

Thanks for caring about my journey. You have no idea the strength I have gathered from this blog. I hope now to share that strength, and to allow everyone to participate.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Harboring Thoughts

I have been amazed these last few months to realize how much control I have over my feelings. I guess in the past I have done a rather poor job of screening my thoughts. Rather, I have allowed all kinds of influences in and have just let them bash me around. But as I have struggled to redefine my body image in my head I have been extremely cautious what I let in. I am careful what I think. I excuse bad thoughts, and I am learning to be kind to myself. It is a wonderful way to live.

I have been reading Eat, Pray, Love and have found some of the things she says in this book to be incredibly profound. But as I was reading tonight I came across this passage and I was dying to share it with you. I love this. She is talking about how she just realized that she is in control of what comes and goes in her mind.

'So I've started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all day, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: "I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore." Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow. I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore. The first time I heard myself say this, my inner ear perked up at the word "harbor," which is a noun as well as a verb. A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry. I pictured the harbor of my mind--a little beat-up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self (which is a young and volcanic island, yes, but fertile and promising). This island has been through some wars, it is true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now--let the word go out across the seven seas--there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.
     'You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts--all these will be turned away. Likewise, any pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pimps and seditious stowaways--you may not come here anymore, either. Cannibalistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened carefully, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor. The entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquillity. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind--otherwise, I shall turn you all back toward the sea from whence you came.
     'That is my mission, and it will never end.'

Beautiful. I love the way she puts that. I can't add anything to it. I just agree whole heartedly. Let's all guard the harbors of our minds more carefully and only allow good things onto our islands.

Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs

I think this talk is wonderful. She has such a unique and wonderful perspective on beauty. Take the time to listen if you can.

Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs | Video on TED.com

Note: Some of the pictures shown are a little revealing. Consider yourself forewarned.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family pictures of a beautiful family

A few months ago I entered a blog giveaway and somehow won. It was a miracle. What did I win? A photo shoot with the amazing Staci D. I love her work and am glad that I was introduced to her by our mutual friend Heidi. Check her out, you'll like what you see. Here's a sneak peak.

We had the pictures taken in Midway. Isn't it beautiful? Incidentally we also lost our only car key while we were out there, and after searching for it for nearly an hour in the dark, tall grass we ended up having to call a shuttle to come pick us up and take us all the way back to Lindon. It's a long story and one I'm sure we'll laugh at some day. But I think the pictures are worth it.

I may have won the giveaway, but Staci has won a client out of me. I love these pictures. And what can I say, I think we are a pretty good looking family (and I truly mean that).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Hey friends. I'm sorry it has been a while. Life is crazy busy. I'm frantically attempting to get a whole bunch of things done around our house before Saturday because we are having Cormac's First Birthday party. On top of that we are having family pictures, my dad's birthday, and family in and out. It has been wonderful but busy. To make blogging worse, our internet is on the fritz. So, this is going to be short and lame, but I'll try to update you more soon.

In the meantime, I'll be done with the elimination diet on Saturday. My days of being a vegan are almost over. It will still be a while before I have everything in my diet again, but I will have completed the 28 days. I'm feeling great. I've lost some weight and have more energy. No complaints here.

I hope you are all well. Stay tuned soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Self Discovery

I am sitting here at my computer savoring the most delicious artichoke that I have ever eaten. It is divine. The dishes are done, the laundry is started, I finally got to go to the gym today after a week of everyone being sick, my baby is sleeping, and all is right with the world for this brief moment. Sure I have a million things on my to do list, but nothing can beat this quiet little moment while I take the time to enjoy every. single. bite of this food that I didn't know that I liked a few weeks ago.

Since beginning this blog I have been discovering so many new things about myself. The elimination diet, for example, has shown me how much I adore cauliflower and artichokes, but I hate sweet potatoes and yams. This last bit makes me sad. They are so good for you. I truly tried to love them. I really wanted to, but I don't.

I have been reading The Happiness Project. In part of the book she talks about learning what exactly it is that she enjoys doing and then doing it. She also talks about how this can be liberating and sad at the same time.

Let me explain, in my own life I love to read. I just adore it. All kinds of books. So, I try to take a little time each day (even if it is just a few minutes) to sit and read. I am also allowing myself to finally accept my true nature as a shy introvert. All my life I have wanted to be one of those outgoing people who have a million friends and are always doing something, like my sister. But I'm not comfortable with that. I don't even like to talk on the phone. It is sad for me to think that I'll never be super outgoing and never be comfortable going from one social engagement to the next. I would love to do that. But I don't enjoy it. It stresses me out.

I have really learned a lot from this deep reflection on my true nature and what I do and don't like to do. I have come to realize that if I want to love myself then I need to come to terms with the person that I am, my true nature. Now, this is not to say that I would never try new things and that I can't learn to like things, I most certainly can and do, but knowing that if I want to pick up tennis and then learn that I don't enjoy it I can drop it without guilt is a wonderful feeling.

So, today on day 20 of my diet I am happy to report that I am feeling more at home with myself than I ever have in my life. I am trying new things, accepting who I am, and learning to find joy in each and every day.

Diet Update: Day 20. I'm adding in cashews today (although I haven't had any yet and should probably go eat some). Two days ago I went and got my hair cut. I had Cormac with me at the mall and it took so much longer than I had planned. I hadn't brought anything for us to eat. Cormac was starving, so I stopped at the food court and bought some french fries for the crying boy. He didn't eat them all, of course, and I didn't eat any. I didn't even lick my fingers, I was so proud of myself (I adore french fries). I went the grocery store today and walked past all the Halloween candy without so much as a look. I walked straight to the produce aisle and felt giddy over the enormous apples and grapes on sale. I picked out beautifully colored greens to eat. I was in Heaven. Who knew that one day I could get as excited about fresh produce as I used to get over sweets. So, I'm doing well. My back pain is still present and actually getting worse, I'm not sure if it is food related or just in need of a good Physical Therapist. Other than that I have been feeling great. Hooray.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


While we are on the topic of my religion I would like to say a few more things. I am ashamed to admit that I have been rather shy about saying anything concerning my beliefs because I didn't want anyone to feel alienated when they came here. But I'm afraid that this has been ruining the authenticity of this blog.

You see, my beliefs about God and our mortal existence are enormous factors in this little journey of mine. I doubt I would ever have really taken this challenge to like myself seriously if it weren't for those beliefs, and I'm sure I wouldn't be succeeding as well without them.

Let me explain. I believe in a Heavenly Father who is the literal father of my spirit. I believe He is also the creator of my body. Not only did He create my body, but He created it in His own likeness. In other words, God has a body and my body is like His. Or to be more accurate, my body is like my Heavenly Mother's body because I believe I have one of those also.

I also believe that the reason I have this body is to house my spirit. Together my spirit and body become my soul. I believe that my soul is a beautiful creation of God. And though this creation is not yet in it's perfected form, it is beautiful and a masterpiece of Deity.

So, when I put down this body, I am in turn putting down a creation of God. And when I try to manipulate my body to look like something that is unrealistic I am telling God that I do not like my body or His and that I can do it better. This body I have been given is a gift from God. It is one that I need to take care of. When I treat my body with respect by choosing to be healthy then I show God respect and love. By taking care of myself and loving myself I am showing God that I am thankful for the masterpiece He created and allowed me to have.

I also believe that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me dearly. He loves me for who and what I am. I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to be happy and to see me the way He sees me. So when I struggle I know that if I pray I can feel His love for me, and He can help me to know that I am special and someone worthy of love.

I understand that some of these beliefs are a little strange for some. If you would like me to tell you more I would be more than happy to share, just let me know. But regardless of your relationship with God, if you do believe in a God, wouldn't you say that all things created by Him are beautiful? And if that is so, aren't you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Expressing Gratitude

This past weekend I was privileged to listen to the voice of a prophet as he spoke to the people. I love that every six months I can hear his words and know what my Heavenly Father would like for his people. It's a big deal. I know that many of my readers are not members of the LDS faith and probably have no idea what I'm talking about. To learn more about what I believe go here. To learn more about General Conference go here. To listen to the Prophet speak go here.

President Monson spoke of gratitude and how if it is not expressed then what is the point of it. I had never thought of it that way. I often feel gratitude for things but fail to actually voice that opinion. So today I thought I'd express gratitude.

First to my husband. It is hard for me to even put in words how I feel about this amazing man. How do you tell someone that they are everything without sounding cliche and nerdy? I don't know if that's possible. But either way I need him to know that every day I am thankful for him. Every day I realize more and more how much I love him, and every day I realize what a good decision I made marrying him. I'm so glad we have eternity.

Next to my sister. Birdy is a wonderful woman. I have felt so much love and support from her throughout my life, but even more so these past few months. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders. And even though she is my younger sister, she is a shining example to me.

I want to thank my parents for being my parents. These two sacrificed so much to raise my siblings and I. I love them dearly and know they love me. I am thankful for them. I have great parents.

I need to thank my sister-in-laws. These women are the reason I decided to make this journey of personal acceptance in the first place. They are amazing women, all 5 of them. There is something about each one of them that I want to incorporate in my own character. Every time I am near them I feel inspired. I adore them all.

Thank you my dear readers for reading this blog. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Thank you for holding me up when I feel down. Many of you are my dear friends that I have known for a long time or are family members. I appreciate you and love you. Some of you are those that I have never met, I appreciate you giving me the time of day. I am glad that we can be acquainted in this way.

To my anonymous commenter who said they think that I am prettier today than on my wedding day: thank you. What a sweet thing to say. Your kind words brought tears to my eyes.

Lastly I need to express gratitude for this body of mine. Thank you for putting up with me for the past 26 (nearly 27) years. Especially when I wasn't always as kind to you as I could have been. I have had a wonderful life and I owe it to a healthy and sound body. And most important to me right now, thank you for giving me this:

I adore this little boy and every time I look at him I realize how blessed I am. I didn't think I would be able to get pregnant there for a while, but look what I did. Look what my body did. Thank you.

Diet update: I think we are on day 18, I think. I started tomatoes which was wonderful. But I am sick. I finally succumbed to the flu stuff that my boys have been suffering with. So I am going to stay stuck at day 18 or whatever it is until I feel better. I need to recover before I move on. I am suspicious of soy at the moment, so I'm cutting that out as well. But other than that it is going well. What I want most right now? Bread.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Last night I went and saw Stephanie Nielson (Nie Nie) speak. Wow. That's all I can say. Boy do I feel like a little brat. Here I am complaining that I weigh a few extra pounds and that I have stretch marks. Well boo hoo. Here is a woman who was burned over 80% of her body. She looks completely different than she did before the accident and she can stand in front of a group of hundreds and declare that she is beautiful. And she is. She truly is.

Here are some things that she said that I would like to remember.

Beauty is health,
Beauty is harmony,
Beauty is peace,
Beauty is self-confidence,
and Beauty is your inner voice sharing God's love and reminding you to return to Him. (I'm paraphrasing).

"Our beauty is a gift given to us by God and no one can take it away."

I'd like to end on that. I'll update you on the diet and such later. For now, just let those last words of hers sink in. How powerful to think that our beauty if from God and not something defined by anything or anyone here on Earth. And even more powerful is the knowledge that it is ours and cannot be taken away.