Monday, June 13, 2011

Loving the new blog

I love the new blog. And we've been having some fun. What is your opinion? How do you like it?

Make sure to click on over there to see what Kendra from Voice in Recovery has to say.

And there is still another day to enter this giveaway.

P.S. And the next giveaway is not a book. You'll want to check back for that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blogaversary Party

Well friends, it's been an entire year since I first started writing down my thoughts here. It has grown in that year, to be sure, but we have remained a pretty small group. Through this blog I have felt more support than I ever expected. I love the sense of community that I feel when I'm here with all of you.

And since I do indeed love that community I have made a few hard and big decisions about the future of LITM. Today I have 3 big announcements for you to celebrate this special anniversary. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

Announcement #1: Looking in the Mirror is changing location. I have decided to become self-hosted and to grow the blog and site. I'm so excited. The blog has been rebuilt from the ground up.

Want to see it? Of course you do. Jump on over to the new site. There are more fun things to discover once you get there.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Let's go shopping

Today we are going to talk about that thing that most women have a love hate relationship with. The thing that creates both excitement and despair. Shopping. Clothes shopping that is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I finally did it. I cleaned out my closet. I knew I needed to. I didn't want to. All those wonderful clothes that I used to fit into. All those clothes that I was ashamed of because they were a size to big back when I bought them (oh how wrong I was). All those clothes I would love to fit back into (I know, I know, I'm trying to be accepting). Those clothes that represented a different stage in life. Those clothes that I was so sure I would be back into within months of birth. So many memories in those clothes. And I cried when I cleaned out my closet. And then I went and ate something very sugary and unhealthy. Yes, I did.

Now the space is empty, and I get excited about filling it back up. Until I hit the store. I walk in thinking I'm going to find the most beautiful piece that will compliment this body of mine to perfection. It will make me look stunning. Not even I will notice the extra. Nope. Not one bit.

To the dressing room I go. Uh oh. Most of these are a size too small. That's depressing. And then my favorites would have looked great pre-baby. But we aren't pre-baby. They don't have this one in my size, and it's probably better to buy this one a size too small anyway because I know I'm going to get there at some point. No, no, you need to dress the body you have now. Wow, that's unflattering. Even more unflattering. That's decent but so expensive. . .

Tell me I'm not alone and you've been there too? Tell me, please.

So my closet is still largely bare. By the time I come out of the dressing room my little one is so fed up he can't stand it. So I just buy a few clothes that I only marginally liked just so I can get out of there. Or I walk out in frustration. Sad. Especially when I came in the store with such elation and excitement.

Here's a beef that I have. Did you know that the average woman in America is a size 14? Did you know that this particular size is too small for plus size clothing in most cases. But the clothes in a regular department store are made to look great on a size 4 or smaller? What is the average woman to do? Plus size clothing is designed for that body type. And it looks great. But no one is designing clothes for the average Jane. pfff.

This is an expert from an article in the Los Angeles Times:

When it comes to shopping, the average American man has it made. At 189.8 pounds and a size 44 regular jacket, he can wear Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel or Armani. Department stores, mall retailers and designer boutiques all cater to his physique -- even when it's saddled with love handles, a sagging chest or a moderate paunch. In menswear, shlubby is accommodated.
But the average U.S. woman, who's 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14, is treated like an anomaly by apparel brands and retailers -- who seem to assume that no one over size 10 follows fashion's capricious trends.


So because life is hard in the dressing room I have two things I wish for you to read. These things are amazing and I love them.

The first is about how to survive in clothes shopping trip with your sanity and self-esteem in tact. I love this.

The second is just beautiful. She talks of a woman who grew up in Ghana with a tailor. A person who would measure this lady's body and make clothes that fit her specific body to perfection. She talks of how if those clothes didn't fit we wouldn't blame our bodies, we would get a new tailor. Please, please read this. It's beautiful.

In the meantime my fellow shoppers, know that you are not alone. Everyone suffers distress in front of a mirror imaging the clothes without tags. Take heart, there is more to you than your wardrobe. I'll try to keep it in mind as well.

P.S. Thursday is a big day! It's my one year anniversary for starting this blog. And I have a big surprise for you. Really big.

*Image Source*

Monday, June 6, 2011

Perfectly Perfect

When you look at someone, do you automatically assume they're perfect? Does it depend on their body type? Let's say they have a fit, "perfect" figure. They dress well. Seem very well put together. And even though you know very little about them, you do know that they volunteer in the hospital twice a week. Perfect.

And what about your life? Are you perfect? Probably not. So, what does that mean?

Sorry for all the rhetorical questions, but I am leading somewhere, so bear with me. Friday I spoke about my issues with comparison. Tis true. I compare. Why do I tear myself down compared to others? I have this overwhelming need for perfection, complete with an all-or-nothing attitude.

For example: if I cannot clean my house top to bottom at one period of time, then I may as well give up and do nothing at all. If I am going to put in a garden, it will have every type of fruit and vegetable that I can grow in Utah, it will look picturesque, and it will be all organic, or I'm not going to bother growing one this year. If I can't be accomplished in every area that there is to be accomplished in in life, then clearly I am a second rate human.

See? Perfectionism is dangerous. Though not altogether evil or wrong. It certainly has a place.

I think that we often project perfection on those who do not want or deserve that title. Then we rate ourselves lower due to our lack of that "perfection." And to be frank it is not fair to either party. Sure we all want to better ourselves. Sure we all have areas in life we wish for improvement. And that's okay. Healthy even. It becomes unhealthy when we no longer have any value because of those areas.

So, you know that lady in your neighborhood that has it all? Cut her some slack. She isn't perfect. And cut yourself some slack. She may be looking over your fence wishing she were you.

*Image Source*

Friday, June 3, 2011

Who do you wish you were?

Oh the evils of the comparison game. It is a dangerous sport. Nothing can lead us to feeling false quicker. You either put yourself above others, or you trample upon the pitiful creature that you are. So, so sad. And I have to admit, I am the worst offender. Which to be frank is something I had no knowledge of until just recently. Oh, I knew that I compared myself with others. I had no idea to what extent until it was pointed out to me.

I mentioned yesterday that I finally broke down and went to see a psychologist (a fact that is still very difficult for me to talk about, let alone blog about, but I want to share my experience as I think others may benefit from it). I couldn't stop binge eating. I was becoming out of control again. I finally realized that my eating disorder had never gone away, it just shape shifted over the years. It was time to get some help.

During the conversation the doctor pointed out that I was comparing myself to a lot of people. Everything I said was how I wasn't doing this as well as so and so. Or I didn't like doing something I felt I should like doing, like so and so. I had walked into these meetings with the express intent of learning to love me for me. Yet here I was pointing to everyone and declaring myself a failure in their wake.

This great lady stopped me and asked me to tell her about myself. She wanted to know what my interests were. What I have done that I'm proud of. Where my talents lie. So I started in. Within a few seconds of telling her about me I began to tear up. She asked how I felt telling her this. I felt ashamed for having wasted so much of my life not realized how great I was. I felt like I am a decent sort. The kind of person I wouldn't mind getting to know better.

What a waste of time. And yet today, a couple days later, I caught myself comparing the size of my stomach to someone else's. I even felt sad that I'm not a better blogger. I always, always compare my blog to others. I always wonder why I don't have more readers (but I love my readers; you are all so very wonderful). Do you know what I'm saying?

I have homework to write down everything I like about myself. I've been avoiding it. It somehow feels to. . . what's the word. . . conceited? I have this belief that I'm inferior to everyone else. I don't know why or when this began to form. No clue. But I'm either worse or better than others. Which is false.

I wanted to share this story today because I think it illustrates a very stark point: we can destroy our lives by allowing comparisons to be our ruler of worth.

Let's face it, we all do it. It's human nature. I think the trick is to be careful not to allow it to direct our lives or self-worth. As I've started playing the comparison game again this week I've been trying to call to mind my good points anytime I think someone is better. It's helping. Sure they are a better piano player than me, but I am amazing at painting walls. Or something to that effect. It helps.

Be wary however. We aren't trying to tear other people down or make ourselves superior. Rather, we are remembering that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. So do we.

For more on this topic check out this awesome post.

*Image Source*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back Story

It is true that we are bombarded on every side by images of tiny, fit, muscular people. It is true that 2/3 of the ads we are exposed to involve some form of body manipulation (diet, liposuction, botox, etc.). And it is certainly true that as a culture we are obsessed with size. But I don't think that this alone causes disordered eating.

You've heard that when couples argue about money they are rarely arguing simply about money. Right? There is a bigger, deeper problem that needs to be addressed. But for one reason or another the problems manifest in a monetary way. Thus the arguing about money.

I have a theory. I think disordered eating is less about our actual body and more about something deeper. Our deeper issues are likely subconscious. We likely have no idea about them. But our subconscious rebels against these problems and it spills out consciously as food abuse. There we are thinking that what is wrong with us is that we are ugly and fat. If we could just lose that extra weight all our problems would disappear.

But when the weight is gone happiness doesn't just appear. The person may still feel like more weight needs to be gone. Or there will be something else at fault with the person's appearance. The picking will never stop. Acceptance will never happen. And the person will always be unhappy. All because they were never really upset about their body in the first place.

This is tricky business, finding out what is at the root of disordered eating. And there are as many reasons as there are people. Some think they aren't worthy of love. Some wish they were like someone else. Others have a drive for perfection that is stifling. Some people are just longing for freedom. And some people are going through all of those things at the same time.

As I have taken this journey to love myself as I am I have gone through periods of time where I thought I was cured. I had stopped abusing food. Then out of the blue I start bingeing again. And for a while it seemed to me that I wasn't going anywhere. Just when I thought I was better I would end up right back where I was. Well, maybe not right back where I was. But certainly not where I intellectually thought I should be.

So I broke down and went to see someone. I didn't want to. I was even a bit defensive in that first appointment with the psychologist. I basically told her that my doctor thought I should come, but I had it all under control. My doctor also said that he felt everyone should visit with a psychologist. He believes that we can all benefit from a few sessions. And now I can say I whole heartedly agree.

With each session I have been feeling as though the knots that have been keeping me stuck in the same patterns are finally being untied. I feel relief and freedom as I finally see the back story. I don't think I could have untied these knots alone.

I tell you this to illustrate that if you find yourself in this unbreakable pattern it is time to stop blaming yourself for failing. No more guilt. Instead, find help in whatever form you think would be most beneficial. There is a lot more underneath that you need to discover and untie.

You are beautiful. You are wonderful. And you are worth the effort.

*Image Source*

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Vote is In

It's been over a week, and it is time to unveil the results of the voting. It was close between two pictures. The close up and the glamor move.

But all the pictures received multiple votes except for the one where I'm sitting in the chair. There were even a few votes for this one:

My all time favorite comment was this:


Melanee, D- the glam shot is a beautiful photo, but taking into account the name of your blog etc. I hope you pick the shot that best reflects who you are and what you love about you. Enjoy being there for your cutie- I've got to get back to mine! 

I love this. Thank you Annathea. And thanks to all who voted. The one I think is most me is probably this one:

But I'm going to save it for a special surprise I have brewing. You see, my blogaversary is June 9th. Right around the corner. And I have a something special in mind for that. But in the meantime here are the results.

Coming in second place is this one:

And coming in first is this one:

I'll be using both. Thanks for helping me pick a new pic. You guys are the greatest. Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fully Present

How many things can you think about at once? Think about that for just a second. For me, it's a lot. At any given moment in the day I would estimate that I have 5 or more things going on upstairs. And today I'd like to explore this a little further.

On Monday we talked a bit about balance and doing what is needed to create balance in our lives. I referenced Kendra from Voice in Recovery saying, "I was being an active participant in my life." I have been thinking about what that means. What does it mean to be participating?

So the other morning I was:
~ eating breakfast,
~ feeding my son,
~ thinking about:
     ~ this blog,
     ~ the painting that needs done,
     ~ exercise,
     ~ taking dinner to the neighbors that night,
     ~ homemade bread,
     ~ Ammon (I think about my husband a lot during the day),
     ~ Cormac needed a bath,
     ~ when was the last time I vacuumed,
     ~ this floor is nasty, I have got to mop.

While all of these things were running through my mind I realized that Cormac was cracking up. We were sharing a bowl of oatmeal. I'd take a bite and then I'd give him a bite. Without even thinking about it (surprise) I had started making the spoon dance before I'd give him his bite, and he thought it was funny. And I realized, that because my mind was off and running I nearly missed this moment to connect with my son. I was so busy thinking about stuff that hadn't even happened yet that I wasn't fully present. I wasn't actively participating in my life; I was letting it run on without me.

Okay, I know what you may be thinking, "But if I don't think about my 'to-do' nothing will ever get done." I agree. There is a definite need to think and plan ahead. But I have this sneaking suspicion that many of us (me) spend so much time thinking about the future and the "to-do" that we often let whole days pass us by without a single moment where we are fully present.

Buddha was once asked: “What are the teachings of you and your disciples”? He answered: ”We walk, sit and eat." The man who asked the questioned was confused: “But so do I”, he said. The Buddha answered him: “Yes, but when we walk, we know that we walk, and when we sit we know that we sit, and when we eat we know that we eat”
This is to be fully present – the concept of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the art of living right in the centre between future and past – in the present.
It is when body and mind are synchronized
Full presence replaces automatic perceptions of situations with actual experience of the moment.
Being healthy, being well, involves more than eating well. It involves the entire balance of mind, body, and spirit. Being fully present in our daily lives allows us to be active participants in that life. Being fully present allows us to create relationships and bonds that are special. Being fully present allows us to create memories. And being fully present allows us to be happy.
Today try to spend a little time fully present. You may have a chance to experience something that you otherwise would have missed.

P.S. I'm getting rather fond of the P.S. you may have noticed. There is still time to weigh in on your favorite picture.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love the camera, love me

I have to admit that I have been a bit camera shy the past year and a half or so. Well, maybe I've always been a little camera shy (except when I was living in Russia and going through Europe, then I wanted all the pictures of me the camera could handle). But here on this blog I'm embarrassed that most of the pictures I use are old. Including all the profile pictures I have up. This is partially because they are the only ones of just me that I have, and partially because I'm still not completely comfortable with the way this new me looks in photos. So instead you have been viewing things like:

Circa 2005

Circa 2008

Circa 2006

I know. I'm ashamed. So this last Sunday I finally got fixed up and recruited my beloved to take pictures. He's seen it all, so maybe this wouldn't be so bad. At first it was a little rough:

But after a little while I warmed up to the camera. Maybe a little too much?

And then it got silly:

What can I say? I suffer from not being able to take these things seriously. But we did finally manage to get some real shots that are actually somewhat decent. So now, dear readers, I am enlisting your help. I need to pick a new profile picture for here and elsewhere. Please vote and leave your sweet comments (hint hint:) in the comments section, or send me an email, facebook message, or tweet letting me know your favorite.

A: The half smile.

B: The full smile.

C: The I'm-getting-away-with-something look.

D: The glamor move.

E: The lounge char.

E: The close-up (maybe too close).

To the polls. Or something of that nature. And thanks for your help. I'm in need of it. This is sort of a big break through for me. You know, the whole showing myself to the world (and possibly people who knew me before the weight gain). But I'm excited to finally have gotten up my courage.

P.S. In order to leave a comment you need to click on the title of this post to make sure you are in this specific post, then scroll down and comment away.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dear Readers,

Are any of you still out there? Anyone still interested in this blog? Well, actually I know there are at least a couple. Thank you to those who let me know that you love this blog, even when I wasn't updating. I appreciate your love and support.

You see, dear readers, I needed to take a break. In life it is so important to have our priorities in order. It's important that we keep our life in balance. Once out of balance it becomes incredibly difficult to get through each day with any semblance of grace. The days start to go off kilter. Then the weeks are no longer balanced. Soon your life begins to feel crazy and hard. All because your balance was a bit off.

I made a decision before I was ever pregnant that when I became a mother I wanted to stay at home with my children. My mom stayed home with us, and it was the greatest gift she could have ever given me or my siblings. I loved coming home to my mom. And on the rare day that she wasn't there when I got home from school my day felt off. I hated those afternoons until she came home. Even if I had nothing to talk to her about, even if I planned to go to my room and start on my homework, even on those days I wanted to know my mom was in the house. That's what I wanted to give my children as well. I mean look at him, wouldn't you want to hang out with this cutie too?

I am fortunate enough to have a husband who is willing to be the sole bread winner. I'm so thankful for his support so that I can indeed stay at home. But I get romanced by the idea of doing everything all at once. I am in awe of all the wonderful things that women manage to do. And I want to be part of that as well. I want to make a difference in the world. But you see, I made a choice. There is a season in our lives for all things, and right now is the season for me to chase a crazy toddler. I love being at home with my son every day. But there are times when I feel I need to be doing more. More blogging, more yoga teaching, more cooking, more exercise, more service. There is always more I want to do. And then when I bite off too much important priorities get all mixed up. You know, like life with my family.

So I decided to take a break. I decided to just stop most of the "extra" and get the basics back in order. And it felt oh so good. I have to admit that there are times I feel pressure to write really awesome material on this blog for all of you good people. And sometimes it overwhelms me. I forget that this blog is about being raw. About being me. I don't have to put on a show. The point is to stop that show and just be un-apologetically me.

Today I came back to this blog ready to start over. Ready to keep going. Life is back in order. And you know what I found? Kendra over at Voice in Recovery also took a blog hiatus to get life back in order. Ah, validation how I love you and wish I didn't. She said something very important: "I was being an active participant in my life." Yes. We all need to do this: actively participate in our lives. And when we find that the balance is being taken over by just one thing, it is time to take a break and reassess.

I highly recommend it.

But dear readers, you have not been forgotten. I thought about you while on my break. And now that I am rejuvenated I think that we will all be happier with this blog. Thank you for your support and kindness.

Love to all,

P.S. Tomorrow I have a special assignment that I need help with. It involves lots of pictures of. . . me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The edge of the world

I fell off the edge of the planet. No really. And let me just tell you it is a long, painful, arduous hike back up here. And because of that I feel like I need a rest.

My entire little family was sick last week. All week. For three awful days Cormac was running a fever of 102 degrees. My husband was home from work a lot (which was nice, I like having him around, except we were all sick). I felt miserable. The aching in my body was nearly unbearable. And if all of that wasn't enough to deal with Cormac dealt with his misery by crying nonstop for those three days.

And now that we are mostly recovered I'm tired.

With that in mind, I would like to say I had a wonderful Mother's Day. Mother's Day is tricky for me. We dealt with unexplained infertility for a little over two years. And we are going through it all again. During those two years I yearned for a little one. I had spent a good portion of my life thinking I would never be a mom. But when we decided that we wanted to become parents I was ready. I was ready right then. But I had to wait.

Every Mother's Day was hard. While I knew it shouldn't even be about me, it should be about celebrating my own mother and my mother-in-law, the truth was, it was all about me. It was a painful day all about what was lacking in my life.

I could go on. Those were hard years. They were painful. And while two years isn't very long compared to what some are asked to deal with, we all must deal with the trials handed to us, and for me, that was a trial.

I have now celebrated two Mother's Days as a mother. Last year I was ecstatic about being able to proudly walk through church with my 6 month old in tow. I was a mother.

This year I was still proud of my little one (now 18 months old), but I was plagued by other feelings as well. Mostly feelings of guilt.

Guilt over the fact that I am a mother when others are not.

Guilt over the fact that I've been so upset that I'm not yet expecting my second baby. Who am I to want another baby when others don't even have one yet? And why am I feeling down about it anyway, we've been through this before and I need to not feel down. . . right. . .?

Guilt that I'm not a better mother.

Guilt that I was making my husband wait on me for the entire day. I mean, the poor guy was sick all last week too, he could use a rest as well.

Guilt over the two beautiful dresses that my boys got me as a gift for Mother's Day.

But mostly guilt that I was a mother while so many people are in pain because they are not.

This really isn't all that logical. I know that. But Mother's Day is really a loaded holiday (I didn't mean for that to rhyme). Even more loaded when you throw in a bit of infertility. For people who are dealing with a body that isn't working the way that we all feel like our bodies should work Mother's Day is a slap in the face. And accepting and loving your body on a day like that may be harder than ever.

And I wish I could tell you I have the answer right now. The magic bullet for how to love yourself, especially in the face of hard trials (like when your body isn't functioning like you think it should). But I don't. That is still a lesson I'm trying to learn on a daily basis.

But I do know that it gets easier to love yourself. Even when dealing with health trials. I guess the way I do it is by taking it one day at a time. When I try to take it in bigger chunks I become overwhelmed. But when I take it one day at a time; when I honor my body by eating healthy, exercising, and getting rest just for today; when I stop negative thoughts before they are able to form barriers that can't be crossed; when I tell myself I'm worth something those are the days when I am at peace with who I am and with this body. It's nothing big, or magical, but it seems to work.

You can love your body despite pain and heartache. You really can. Just give it time and lots of practice.

P.S. I want to give a shout out to all the wonderful mother's in my life. My amazing mother-in-law who never ceases to amaze me. I love her dearly and hope she had a wonderful day. My incredible sisters-in-law who are inspirational to me. I want to be a mother like these women. They are wonderful in so many ways. I love all 5 of them. Happy late Mother's Day.

And most of all to my own dear mother. Mum, I love you so much. I could never have survived my first year and a half as a mother without you there to advise and cheer me on. I am still in awe at how you were able to do so many things and still be there for me and my siblings. I appreciate you and love you. Thank you for being an incredible mother.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unsightly Armpits

I'm off to Women's Conference at BYU lately. Thus the no posts. I had vowed quite solemnly that I would never attend Women's Conference. Just goes to show that we often eat our words. When I was a student at BYU I despised Women's Conference. Hoards of women EVERYWHERE! I was even late to class a few times because I couldn't get through the throngs. And here I am, excited for my first experience as an attendee. It is my personal mission to make sure that I make at least one student late for at least one class.

Anyway, since I'm gone today I thought I'd send you on over to Voice In Recovery where I have written a love letter that you will want to be sure to catch.


 Oh. . . And because it's the weekend, and because I got a kick out of this video, I hope you enjoy it as well. I think anyone with armpits can appreciate this:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The fears of a formerly skinny gal

Fear is a funny thing. The emotion of fear is so dynamic. Some people avoid being scared whenever possible (yes, I fit in this category; no scary movies for me please). Some people thrive on it. Some people never confront their fears. Some do (yes I do on occasion; I've been skydiving twice and it was amazing).

When I hear the word fear I think of horrible scenarios: man hiding under my car grabs my ankle in a dark parking lot, attack by wild beasts of some sort, motherhood :). Maybe I'm a bit dramatic, but I would imagine that there are others out there who have these same horrible thoughts when they think of the word fear.

But maybe we are over thinking this. Because I am beginning to believe that we all deal with fear to some degree every. single. day. And for those of us who deal with body image issues I think those fears can sometimes be crippling (and likely we aren't even aware of them).

Here's what got me thinking about this: I have heard women talk about how they had tried everything and simply couldn't lose weight. Then they realized that they were actually terrified of losing weight. They didn't know who they would be without the padding. They were afraid of losing friends. They were afraid of the attention that may come (both positive and negative) if they were to lose the weight. They had no idea these fears were there. But once they discovered the fear, and let go by accepting their body as it was, accepting that change would happen and they could love that person too the weight just started to come off.

When I first heard about this idea I thought it was a bit absurd. Who is scared to lose weight? But I've been doing some soul searching and guess what I found? Fear.

I believe that giving up dieting and becoming an intuitive eater takes a great deal of courage. Because it certainly can be scary. There is a lot of unknown. For a person who has always had rules, giving up the safety of rules can be terrifying. And learning to love your body just as it is can be intimidating.

But here is something else I've found in my own life: Fear of the setpoint. In order to be an intuitive eater you need to accept that every body has a weight and shape that is most comfortable and healthy for that body to function. That weight is your body's setpoint. And I'm okay with the concept.

My fear is that my setpoint is high.

Then it hit me: As a formerly skinny girl I have been holding on to this fear that my setpoint isn't as skinny as I used to be (and after having a baby it likely isn't). And I've been afraid to accept that. I've been afraid to give in to being an intuitive eater completely because I'm afraid I will, in fact, stay the size I am.

Wait! That completely undermines the whole journey here at LITM. Isn't the purpose to learn self love and acceptance?

Yes. That is the point. And yes this fear undermines the journey. But you see, up until a few days ago I had no idea this fear existed. I had no idea that deep down I was harboring this belief that intuitive eating needed to help me get thin. Because there are people who have indeed lost weight when they became an intuitive eater. But there are those who didn't either and that fear has been holding me back. The difference between me and those who live intuitive eating? They truly gave in to intuitive eating. They learned love where they were. And they found the best place for the best health for their bodies. And they feel great.

I believe that my heart has been in the right spot, but there are still barriers yet to be discovered and overcome. And guess what, dear readers, if you are embarking on this journey as well you will have your own road to walk with your barriers to tear down. And that's okay. This is a process after all.

No decent story about a journey has ever been written where the hero/heroine reached the final destination without a few hiccups. The hiccups and the unexpected are what make the story so good. So welcome to your journey. It may get bumpy.

*Image credit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The price of gas isn't worth the price of friendship

Last night as we were drifting off to sleep I asked my husband what I should blog about today. Speaking of which, isn't "blog" a funny word? It's the "g." The letter "g" has this uncanny ability to make words funny: frog, goofy, garage, gamble, and here's a doozy, giggle.


Anyway, I asked the hubby about a subject. He said I should write about the price of gas. I told him that if I was going to write about something in the popular media it would be about the Royal Wedding. Because well really, do I need a "because?" Then I asked him if he had heard anything recently about what is going on in Japan (you know, while we were on the subject of popular media). Neither of us had heard much. You see, we have all moved on.

It's kind of incredible how short our attention span is. I get it. I'm there too. We all have really busy lives to live. That's why we have things like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. That way we can update our status and let the people we love in on our lives. Then if we find time we can check up on our loved ones as well. Who has time for a whole phone conversation (I'm horrible at phone conversations, I have a phobia of the phone) let alone a lunch date with friends?

I have family that lives out here close to us. I think the last time I saw any of them was the first week in January. I'm so bad at keeping in touch with people. Even the people I love.

My cousin Jared, sister Sera, Me, and my husband Ammon at my brother, Nick's, football game.

But this very short conversation with my husband got me thinking. The goal of this blog is to help us all create happy, healthy lives. And one subject I've never explored is the importance of making time for meaningful relationships.

So as a society we have a short attention span because we are B.U.S.Y. We have a million things that must get done today. Time is ticking. And I am including myself in this category. Time is a scarce commodity.

I get that. I really do. But my favorite memories (the ones in which I am the happiest) are when I was taking time to connect with someone. Those times when I went to lunch with a high school or college friend, or when my sister and I sat in my living room and reminisced about growing up, going on hikes with my family, having a wrestling match with my toddler (even when the laundry, dishes, and vacuuming needed some attention) are the happiest times in my life.

I love the sense of accomplishment when I cross something off my "to-do" list. And things do, indeed, need to get done. But perhaps we should slow down a little and take time to be a friend and a family member before the opportunities pass us by. The dishes will wait, I promise.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Bunny Loves. . . Granola

It's been a long time since I've shared a recipe on here. In fact, I bet my fellow Whole Living Community members are wondering if I even know what whole foods are:) I thought perhaps now would be a good time to share. Maybe some of this tasty stuff could find it's way into an Easter basket or two. It tastes as good or better than most candy I've tried. And it's so super easy.

And while we are sharing wonderful Easter goodie ideas I thought I'd share a video as well. This Easter we can all rejoice and be thankful (as with every Easter) that the Lord has risen.

Peanut Butter Granola

5 cups Six Grain Cereal
1 cup sugar free peanut butter
1 cup Honey or Agave
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 pkg sugar free, organic chocolate chips (or about 2 to 3 cups depending on preference)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Mix the cereal, peanut butter, honey, and olive oil in a large bow. 
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.
  4. Spread cereal mixture evenly on the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Place back in a bowl and allow to cool.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips (if desired, it tastes awesome without them too).
  8. Store in Ziploc bag or airtight container.
Have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Perfection, oh what a slippery slope

[The body is] a marvelous machine. . . a chemical laboratory, a power-house. Every movement, voluntary or involuntary, full of secrets and marvels!
~Theodor Herzl

The only energy left in this household of mine is being used to throw or control a fit. We are tired and headachy. And sore.

I guess you could say we (I) fell off the wagon. And I've been feeling guilty about it. What wagon? The listening to my body and giving it what it needs wagon. But I've been ashamed to admit it. I mean, I write a blog about taking care of that body. How can someone who writes a blog like that fall off that wagon?

But then again. . . I write this blog about my struggle to learn to love my body right? About the struggle to learn to take proper care of it. So isn't this a perfect example?

I still fight this fear that I simply can't be human. My drive for perfection has not really gone away. To a certain extent I think that's okay, but it can also be damaging. If I preach intuitive eating, then I feel I must always be an intuitive eater. I can never have a day (or a couple weeks) where I binge and eat to mask emotions. I must be perfect.

But I'm not perfect. I'm not. I'm also extremely new to intuitive eating. I've really only been doing this since January. That's only 4 shorts months. Not a whole lot of time to wipe out a lifetime of destructive eating behaviors.

I've known all along that I've been eating to avoid feeling something. I just wasn't ready to deal with it. So I ate. Then I despaired because I was eating poor. And down we went. Not too far, but not great either. My pain has been back, my headaches have returned full force, I'm not sleeping as well at night, and the fatigue has returned. But unlike my life 4 months ago, I know what is happening, and I know how to fix it.

That need for perfection has been freaking me out though. That all or nothing approach is dangerous. If I "screw up" just once during the day and eat when I'm not physically hungry I've felt like I can't keep going that day. I'll just have to start tomorrow. Dangerous train of thought.

So here's the conclusion that I've come up with: If you are like me and feel overwhelmed at times just slow it down. Break down your day and say, "for this one meal I'm going to listen." Nothing else matters. If you want to pig out after the meal, go for it, but for just that one meal listen. And be mindful. Notice how you feel. I'm willing to bet you'll like the way you feel. Then continue on to the next meal if you are ready. Just one baby step at a time.

I started doing this earlier this week and within only 3 days I want to take better care of myself. I've started exercising again because I want to (not because I feel obligated), and I'm eating healthier already. I've not fully recovered from my 2 weeks of ignoring my body, but I'll get there quickly. Our bodies are remarkable like that.

And maybe, just maybe, someone out there will be relieved to know that screwing up happens. Even to those of us who preach.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The work of self-discovery is never done, even when you look the same

When I hear the word "change" I automatically think "diapers." Oh, that's not what you had intended by picking that word this month, Mara? Well, in that case I guess the next thing that comes to mind is the following.

I love change. I think that puts me in the minority. Granted there are certain things I like to be consistent, but on the whole I'm a big fan of change. I rearrange my furniture regularly (much the the dismay of my husband who thinks I shouldn't move certain pieces of furniture (the pianos) on my own), I have looked forward to every move we have made, and I adore living somewhere with seasons just so we can constantly be in a state of change. I'm not good with routines, maybe that's why change is so attractive. It seduces me into thinking that around the next corner good things will come. And usually they do.

Personal change is a different story. I've spent a good chunk of my life trying to change who I am. I've never been very successful at it. I've tried to force myself into being an athlete, musician, artist, and fiction writer among other things. I've also tried to force my body to be a size that was unhealthy for me. I've often sought clothes, makeup, and other looks that were not comfortable for me either.

So I recently gave up trying to "change." Instead I was going to learn who exactly I was/am and learn to love that girl. I guess this in and of itself was a change. I needed to learn who this girl was that I've been living with for 27 years. But this sort of scared me too. No change anymore? Does that mean that I'll be exactly the same my whole life? I wasn't exactly a fan of the girl I was back in high school, does getting to know myself mean I'll be that girl the rest of my life?

How can a girl who loves change live without change?

I mean, aside from the recent weight gain I've pretty much looked the same my whole life. See:

The first one is lacking the handsome man, but has some pretty sweet bangs. Otherwise I've stayed pretty constant. The only thing that changes is my hair and weight. You can see how maybe I've been afraid that I'll just be the same as always. And what if I don't like the person I find?

I found this quote and love it:

"'People change and forget to tell each other,' Lillian Hellman once observed. Very often, however, it's the inner you who changes at the speed of light. Problems can arise when your authentic self and your conscious self don't communicate about the new direction you are moving in. And they probably aren't communicating if you're not using an introspective tool. . . It's no wonder if you feel confused and disoriented. Don't panic. This is a healthy sign of new growth." (Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach)

While I may look the same as I did when I was 10, 15, 20, and 25 I'm most definitely a different person. I guess I'm not going to be stuck in my role as a flirty, dramatic teenager the rest of my life (thank goodness).

I still think of my brother as the little kid he was when I left home. He was 11, scrawny, and shorter than me. Sometimes it surprises me to see him now. He's tall and built. His voice is deep. He has the most hilarious sense of humor. Oh yeah, and he's 20. He forgot to tell me that he changed over time. And sometimes I find myself wondering how it happened. I think the same thing happens with our own changes as we age. We forget to tell ourselves.

But this quote brings up another interesting point: We will change. If we take the time to get to know ourselves and think our work is done we are going to find ourselves at a disconnect at some point. Because we will never be the same. We change and evolve as we age. As a result it is our job to always be in touch with our inner desires.

I noticed this recently with me. I've always been the girl who needed mascara. I also like to wear brown eyeshadows. But I've found that I don't like the result as much as I used to when I do my my makeup the way I've always done it. Instead, I need to have my hair done. Even if I don't wear makeup, I like the way I look when my hair is done. Not so much a ponytail girl anymore (although I still do that plenty). When I do want makeup on I like to have a nice shimmer instead of the dark brown I used to wear. I've changed. And that's okay.

So I guess my point is this: We will change. Life is about change. Learn to accept and love yourself through (and maybe because) of the change. Keep in touch with your inner authentic self. She may surprise you with what she wants next.

This post was written as part of the Self-Discovery Series. Mara, from Medicinal Marzipan was the fantastic host of this month's word: change. Learn more on Medicinal Marzipan and check out Mara's post on change.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Moms can't be wimps

I've got a dumpster diving, fit throwing toddler on my hands. The last couple of weeks have been full of extremely dramatic meltdowns. At least he is old enough now that when he melts down he gingerly throws himself down so he doesn't cause any damage to his person anymore.

Oh, and the dumpster diving? Well, he loves digging in the trash. I struggle to keep him out. We spend a lot of time cleaning up garbage and washing hands around here.

The poor kid is teething. But even so, mom is getting a little tired of all the tantrums. It's hard to believe that something this cute is capable of such drama:

And probably for him it's a good thing he's that cute. I can't hold a grudge against that. Even after what happened yesterday. . .

Yesterday I was sitting at the piano playing the opening song for Family Home Evening. Cormac wanted to play (and was throwing a fit about it) so I put him on my lap after the song. He pounded for a little while and then I closed the piano. That didn't go over well. He threw a complete fit. He threw all of his not insubstantial weight against me and pushed off the piano, hard. And over we went. I bundled him up to keep him from hitting his head on anything. Ammon responded in time to catch my head before it hit the ground, but everything else made contact with the ground and the bench against the floor.

I can't bend my left knee without significant pain in the back of it right now. I ache all over. Man I'm getting old.

Why am I telling you this here on this blog? No idea. Maybe I just wanted to explain my lack of awesome posts yesterday and today. Maybe I just wanted some sympathy. Perhaps I wanted to write an ode to mothers. Maybe I wanted to tell my own mom that she's awesome (Mom, I'm so sorry if I ever threw a fit). Who knows.

Uh oh, I can see another meltdown coming, I suppose I should get going. Thanks for listening. Thank heaven they outgrow this. Right?. . . Right?

Motherhood. . . it's not for wimps, that's for sure.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Learning from my toddler

This morning I sat down at my computer to write a blog. I really didn't have anything specific in mind just yet. A few ideas here and there. I sat down to see if I could make something happen on the screen when my little one had a complete and total meltdown. Apparently, sitting on mommy's lap eating crackers and watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox while mommy blogged was just not going to cut it this morning. He needed mom's full attention. And honestly, I needed his as well. So we played. Had a good breakfast. Gave him a bath. And made funny faces. It was a wonderful morning.

I admire Cormac for his knowledge of exactly what he needs. This isn't always the case. And he isn't always able to communicate those needs, but he seems pretty direct. Some days he can play on his own. Others he needs more love and interaction. Some days he doesn't want to eat much, others he does. The poor little man is trying to grow in some molars right now. If you were growing molars you might just need some extra love from your mom too. He is just so in tune with his needs. 

It makes me wonder why and how we ever become detached. I got the following comment from my aunt yesterday (I have the most awesome aunts):

"I always love your blogs. You always make me think. I find it interesting that we don't have time to have our bodies get sick. Been there, done that! Who is this "we"? Our spirits? Perhaps the goal should be to get our spirits and bodies more in tune with each other. Then maybe we can heal faster. Great post!!" 

First off thanks for the compliments. It's good for my ego. But I know I'm not the only one that stays separate from my body in a sense. There is me, and then there's my body. Huh? Cormac isn't two, he is one. Shouldn't we all be one?

So often I don't pay attention to what I really need. I'm too busy doing this, that, or the other. Look at yesterday's post, for example. We've been BUSY around here. So busy that I haven't taken time for exercise or eating really well. I've just been going from one thing to the next. Trying to make sure that I spend some time with Cormac in between everything else.

Last night as I was teaching my first class in the new studio (!) I realized how much my body craves yoga. I needed to do it. It felt so so good to move. In the effort to get a studio I had left behind my personal practice. All the weeks of heavy work have made me sore. What better way to fix it than to do yoga.

Anyway, as I was thinking about things that our bodies crave I came across a fun post from Already Pretty, check it out. What does your body crave and need? Why not take some extra time this weekend to do something nice for your body. And enjoy the beautiful weather (if it is indeed beautiful where you are).

Just a little teaser. This is the back wall of the studio. We still have a lot of work to do, so stay tuned at a later date for before and after pictures.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aches and pains: They do serve a purpose

"Bringing awareness to your body, to its unique reactions and processes, and to its symptoms and strengths, sets you up for growthful insights. For where you founder--precisely where your system begins to break down--provides a valuable clue to what needs to change in your life. Working from the perspective of this process of discovery permits you to approach a health crisis with curiosity instead of fear, and with optimism instead of disappointment. Sickness and health become a major way you learn from life. Although dysfunction and disease point to what you need to work on, they also hold the seeds of your unfoldment. From this point of view, illness is an opportunity for growth and transformation, while "recovery" is only a return to an obsolete status quo. Authentic healing will often involve radical changes in how you live. Old habits and attitudes that supported the development of disease will fall away, to be replaced by new ones that go with a new way of being in the world." (Radical Healing, Rudolph Ballentine, M.D. pg. 5)

Do you look at every health challenge as a way to transform your life? Do you see it as a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with your body?

I'll admit that I often don't do this. Lately I have been working by the side of my husband day in and day out trying to get my yoga studio in order. The last two weeks I have started to hurt. . . a lot. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, but lately more often than I am able to live a comfortable life with little to no pain most days. But I sure have been hurting the last two weeks.

Instead of listening to my body, and trying to figure out what in my life is causing this sudden flare up I have seen the aches and pains as a hinderance to my life. I mostly feel like I don't have time for this right now. My body needs to just deal on it's own. I have been pushing and pushing so much. With each new day I get a little more sore and a little more run down. But I just feel like I don't have time to stop.

So I was reading (I guess I haven't cut everything out of my life) Radical Healing the other day (yes I read random texts on healing in my spare time) and I came across the quote above. Huh. Then I had a friend ask for advice with her chronic problem. As I was telling her that it was a blessing for her to have this problem so that she could slow down and remember to take care of her own needs I realized that I wasn't taking my own advice.

Our bodies are truly remarkable things. They are capable of so much. But in our busy lives we often take them for granted. We push and push and push. Then when our bodies speak up, "Hey, remember me? You haven't had more than three glasses of water in 3 days. I'm thirsty!" we get annoyed. How dare our bodies get in our way. We have things to do. We do not have time for these sicknesses.

Rather than taking this attitude, our lives would be so much fuller if we were to actually tune in enough to care for our bodies when minor problems arise (and better yet, take care of them before anything arises). Our bodies would reward us by doing more, clueing us in on problems sooner, and by helping us live healthy and pain free every day.

Slow down enough to listen to your body. I'm going to try to do better. Though I still have plenty of work to do I'm going to start listening. My first step will be to address my sleepiness. Early bedtimes tonight and tomorrow. Then I'll reflect more on my food choices and make eating better meals a priority. Lastly exercise. Though I've been painting walls and working every day, I need to do something that makes me feel good instead of sore.

Those are my steps. What are you going to do? For more wonderful ideas on caring for your body look at Medicinal Marzipan. She had an amazing post this week on taking a vacation for our bodies.

Image source.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yoga Studio times and prices

If you are interested in attending a class (here in Lindon, UT) shoot me an email or drop me a comment and I'll get you the location information (I should have been a poet). Classes start tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Objectification: no longer gender specific

It seems I hit a nerve last Friday with my discussion of the objectification of women. We all know it happens. We are all tired of it. We all want it to stop.

But here is something that we maybe don't consider as often: objectifying bodies is not limited to women. Instead of getting rid of the problem of turing women into sex symbols the problem is spreading. Men are under increasing pressure to fit an ideal standard as well.

Women are generally pressured to be ridiculously thin. We are portrayed as weak, dependent, thin. Men on the other hand need to be strong, muscular, manly, capable. There is little room for men to be anything else. Varying body types are not looked on with favor in this idealized media world. Neither are varying interests. Men are supposed to be able to fix the sink with their shirt off. No room for a guy who likes to spend his afternoon tucked in a book instead, for example.

Don't really think it's happening in the media to men as well as women? Have you seen the Old Spice ads:

Don't get me wrong, I think this particular group of commercials is hilarious, as I'm sure many of you do, but behind the humor is the objectifying once more.

There has been a recent rise in men with eating disorders, and many more who have some disordered eating. In the United States it is estimated that there are 8 million people with an eating disorder. You may be surprised to know that at least 1 million of those are male and the number is on the rise (source). There is a lot of pressure for men to have a muscular body (a body that is not attainable for many). This pressure leads to the abuse of steroids and exercise.

When I was reading up on this I found an article with this quote:

"Those who felt their bodies didn't measure up to the ideal reported that they worked out so much that weight training interfered with other parts of their lives. They also took protein supplements, were likely to report eating disorder symptoms, and thought about using steroids to enhance muscle growth."

This is not just a problem for women anymore. Another article said this:

"A 2002 study by the University of Wisconsin suggests that this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxiety and personal insecurity that women have felt for decades."

We have moved into a whole new realm in the media world. A place where men and women are portrayed as always fitting into a specific stereotype. It allows no room for diversity in any way. And we are buying into it.

So here are my thoughts: This needs to stop. So when we are teaching our sons to respect all types of women, and we are teaching our daughters to own their beauty just as they are we need to make sure we are looking at both sides of the issues. Our sons don't have to be a specific body type either. Our daughters need to be taught to respect differences in men as well as women. Sons need to know that they are amazing, handsome, and talented even if they never become a lumberjack.

Image source
Old spice image source

Monday, April 11, 2011

Big Announcement: When dreams come true

About a month ago I got a crazy idea. Fortunately I have an amazing husband who was on board right away. But before anything could happen we had to clean out the chicken coop. Yes, we have a chicken coop. We have lived here for nearly 18 months. We have carefully avoided the chicken coop during the entire year and a half. It wasn't hard to avoid, this place was (is?) a fixer upper from the start. We have had to haul of truck load after truck load of junk. Since the coop was enclosed the mess within was easy to ignore. But in order for this idea of mine to come to fruition the coop had to be addressed.


But we got it cleaned out and began the work of moving all of my husband's shop into the newly clean coop. When we were looking at this property one of the big selling points was the amazing shop next to the house. Finally my husband would have a wood shop. Almost 900 square feet of shop (that's only slightly smaller than our last house). And now all he has to show for it is a chicken coop full of stuff. That's true love for you: the sacrifice of a wood shop for your wife's dream.

We have been working every night and free Saturday to get everything in order. And while we still have a lot (I mean a lot) of work to do, we are close enough that good things are going to start happening.

I guess I can't stall any longer. So without further ado let me announce the opening of:

We have turned that 900 square feet of prime real estate next to our house into a yoga studio! I've been wanting to teach since I was certified back in 2008. But apart from a few private lessons and a few group classes here and there I haven't been teaching much. And I so love to teach.

Classes will begin Thursday evening. And your first class is free, free, free, so if you're in the area (the Lindon, UT area) you should stop by. 

This is sort of a dream come true. I had convinced myself that I wasn't able to teach until my dress size was smaller, but as I have branched out and taught anyway I have found that I have been accepted without reservation. Having this little home studio is a bit of a leap of faith for me, but I'm thrilled to have a chance to share something I love so much with others.

A huge thanks to my husband for everything. He's amazing. I also need to thank my awesome sister for designing my logo. She's talented huh. Pictures of the transformed shop to studio will come soon. And if you want to come to a class let me know.

Friday, April 8, 2011

We are not objects of lust

With all the work my hubby and I have been doing lately we haven't had much time for a date night. So, last night we finally went out. We went to the Jazz basketball game. We had a marvelous time. But on the way home I started to vent. After declaring my disgust for the outfits worn by the women who participated I told my husband not to worry, my rant would probably be a blog post the next day. And thus:

My rant: A post in which I share my feelings about professional sports, women, and skimpy outfits.

So here's the deal. We get to the game and out come the cheerleaders. They are simply wearing a tiny, skimpy, flimsy little dress that covers basically nothing. Then they start to dance. The moves are very provocative. Then at half time this group came out to do some trick dunks. Included in the group were two females. While the men were wearing basketball shorts and t-shirts, the women were wearing bottoms that looked like a pair of very tight boy underwear. On top they had a sports bra. That's all. And the women didn't really dunk. Instead they did flips and splits while the men did the dunking (they were all jumping off of trampolines, so really, anyone could have dunked it). The purpose of all the women? To be a sex symbol. End of story.

Why are the women who get to participate in professional men's sports there only as sex objects?

Why aren't the women able to do fun trick dunks in a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt?

Why are the dance moves geared only to get the mind thinking about one thing?

I'm sorry, but I feel that these things are wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

Women have so much more to offer to the table than their bodies. And speaking of those bodies, their bodies don't have to be on display like that in order to be fantastic and amazing. Dancing, dunking, whatever the talents these ladies have they shouldn't need to be mostly naked in order for those talents to be appreciated.

And truly, are they being appreciated? No. They are being lusted after. I'm so disturbed by the trend in men's sports to make women into objects. Now I've been aware of this going on for years. But lately I've been surrounding myself with all kinds of body positive resources for women. So last night the contrast was extremely disturbing. I think my husband even thought it was ridiculous and a bit disgusting.

My intent was to get on here today and beg the women and girls that read this post to stop this pattern. Let's refuse to take part. I wanted to appeal to my readers to realize the worth of women beyond the physical.

But this morning as I got up and read some of the blogs I normally follow I was heartened. There really is a large community of people out there trying to take back the dignity in being a woman. And as I mentioned,  I have been so immersed in this community that I had almost forgotten the objectifying until last night.

And I realized that I may not be able to stop the tidal wave before me on a global level, but here in my little corner of the internet good things are happening. We are fighting back. And in my own home, that is where I have the most power to influence for good. You have that as well. Lets teach our sons to respect women. Then lets teach our daughters to be confident, strong, capable women who are more than their appearance.  We will change the world, one amazing girl at a time.

*Image source

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Forgiveness: the key to self-love and intuitive eating

Learning to love ourselves takes on many shapes and forms. For me, I had to give up my battle where food was concerned. I also had to grapple with the voice in my head constantly telling me I don't measure up (I'm an over achiever and am often way too hard on myself). But to be honest, those are only a couple ways where feelings of inadequacy plague us.

In fact, I believe that often times we don't even realize the fight going on is in fact a fight over self-acceptance and love.

For example, there are people out there who can eat whatever they want. They are strong and confident in their abilities. They don't have body shame. So in essence, it would appear that anything and everything said on a blog like LITM would not appeal to them. But I don't think this is always true. Self-love can still be difficult for people like this.

I have a dear friend who wrote to me recently. I hope she doesn't mind me talking about her:) She can fit into all of the categories up above. I just adore this woman. She is amazing. Her daily responsibilities are heavy, but she never complains. She takes them all on with happiness and does amazing things. However, she has developed a health condition that can often cause her great physical pain. Having lived most of her life being able to eat whatever she felt like (and taking great pleasure in doing so) she now has to deal with the idea that her health could be greatly improved by eating a specific diet. A very healthy diet. One that includes mostly plant foods and whole grains. A diet that does make her feel better when she eats it. But (there's always a but) it is difficult to adhere to this diet.

I have theory.

You see, as someone who has dealt with food issues most of her life I can say that we are very emotionally tied to the way we eat. Even my dear friend who has never had to adhere to a diet is emotionally attached to her food choices. That is why learning that she must change and take on a diet that feels restrictive is difficult for her.

On the outside, we could look at her situation and say it's not fair. If I preach that we should all throw out rules and become intuitive eaters how does that work for someone like her? She has rules.

The truth is, we all need to write our own code of what we eat. Our own Word of Wisdom, if you will. Making this code hard and fast is not helpful. Actually writing the code is not helpful, but we need to know and understand our bodies and their needs.

For me, I am borderline PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). That means that my body often craves sugar and simple carbs. But when I indulge in these foods I feel awful. But I crave them. As an intuitive eater I know that while I may be craving something it may not make me feel well. Being an intuitive eater doesn't necessarily mean we give in to all of our cravings. Rather, it means we tune in and understand our bodies well enough to know that our food choices affect how we feel. And then with that knowledge we can eat the foods that allow us to feel our best. And sometimes that means telling that sugar craving, "not now." But "not now" doesn't mean never either. Sometimes we can, will, and should go ahead and indulge in the craved food. But observe. Always observe.

Does this mean we have rules? Well. . . yes. . . and no. We understand our bodies. We understand what will make us feel well, and so it could be argued that there are "rules." But think of it more as a guide to what makes you run in optimum condition.

On the flip side, there are no rules. You really can eat whatever you want. Decide if eating whatever you want makes you feel great though. Really great.

I guess where I'm really going with this post, however, is here: You must forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is key.

For my friend, she very clearly knows foods that will help and foods that will harm her. But she needs to take the long journey of learning to become an intuitive eater. Yes, even people who have never had food rules can benefit from intuitive eating, as it involves tuning in with the body and learning to eat in a way that promotes excellent health. So while my friend has "rules" before her, she needs to stop trying to force herself to abide by those rules. Instead, learning to tune into her body and really loving and honoring her body will allow her to lovingly choose the foods that make her feel amazing. She won't need a set of rules.

BUT. . . she will screw up. I screw up. Everyone makes mistakes. When we start getting after ourselves for eating something that doesn't make us feel well we are no longer intuitive eaters. Rather, we have become dieters once more. There is no room for harsh judgement in intuitive eating. None. You must forgive yourself. Observe how you felt when you ate the offending food. Learn from that particular experience. Then you can choose if you would like to repeat that experience ever again.

So, loving our bodies takes many forms. It's not just for those who have struggled with food and body image issues. It's for everyone. And the key, in my opinion, is learning forgiveness.

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