Category Archives: WARRIOR

FitBloggin15 Recap – Part 1

Another year gone, and now I’m settled back and home and trying to make sense of everything I did, everything I felt, and everyone I hugged. For now, a more functional recap will have to suffice.

 

What I Did

I ate wonderful food. I drank great local beers. I saw beautiful street art.

I did hours of yoga, walked 10 miles, did Zumba, did strength training.

I sat in sessions where I cried with pain or hope or joy. I felt proud and scared and inspired.

I hugged people who are painfully precious to me, even when I only see them once a year. I hugged people I didn’t know yet, people who I was only just beginning to make connections with, and who I’ll stay connected to as the year goes on.

I laughed so hard I cried, so hard my abs hurt. I cried so hard I hiccupped.

I WALKED IN A FASHION SHOW, as my tribe clapped and cheered. The generous sponsorship from Soybu meant I got to wear (and keep!) gorgeous, CRAZY comfortable clothes.

I had my butt slapped more than once, by several different people.

I had my picture taken in nothing but capris and my favorite ENELL bra, standing arm-in-arm with several other ambassadors, proud to represent the brand and our own spirits.

I wandered off-site for a yoga class and a sound healing session, both of which left me rejuvenated.

I went to bed early, stayed up late, got up early, and ate a lot of bacon.

I sang along to other people’s lip sync performances until I nearly lost my voice.

I danced so much that I was sore the next day.

What I Learned

I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

By just being me and seeking my own joy, I’m helping other people to do the same.

I should spend more time on my blog, for my own sake and for the support and love of this awesome community.

I definitely deal with some very real anxiety issues, and need to be better aware of them so that I can ask for help.

The friendships I have forged (and continue to make) as I attend these conferences are life-changing, and stay with me even when I see these people only once a year.

Denver beer is amazing. Really amazing.

Yoga lights up my soul. It’s not a new lesson, but apparently one that needed reaffirming.

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The thing about FitBloggin? Somehow, every year, it meets me exactly where I need to be met. I talk to the people I need most, do the things that most need doing, learn the lessons that most need to be learned.

So if you’re on the same journey, looking for the ways and paths and people that can support your growth? Join us. You won’t regret it.

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The Year of the Body

I’m tired. Tired of not sleeping well, of too many stomach aches, of not enough energy.

But you know what else I’m tired of? I’m tired of looking at this body of mine with hate or anger or disappointment or, on the worst days, disgust.

This body. It does headstands and upward bow and lizard pose. It takes me where I want to go every day, carried me 13.1 miles without giving up, and it gave me my awesome kid.

It’s squishy and jiggly and huggable. It’s strong in places and weak in others. It’s bigger than many, smaller than lots, rounder than some, straighter than others. It more flexible than most.

This is the year I let this body come into its own. I gave up the diets and the weigh-ins and the focus on weight loss. I focused more on movement I love. And I made huge progress, but only now do I feel like I’m coming out of the fog of more than twenty years of feeling too big and knowing a diet was the answer, of feeling shame and fear and hurt when my willpower gave out, when I failed, when I wasn’t enough.

Turns out it takes a while to find your way out of that forest. I’m lucky to have found some pretty incredible guides along the way. I have Erin Motz and Anna Guest-Jelley to teach me the power of yoga in terms of knowing my own strength and remembering that I love my body. I have Ragen Chastain and my Fit Fatty friends to remind me that my body is worthy of love and respect, and that moving it in ways I adore is well worth my time. Tess Munster’s Eff Your Beauty Standards helped me remember that size is not a determination of beauty, and Weightless gave me anchors to help keep my self-love journey going.

So this is the year I make room for this body to be heard, to take up the space it needs without shame, to move with joy and abandon, to slough off the expectations of others. This is the year I explore some of the deep stuff yoga has brought up lately. For starters, I was doing flamingo pose today. Even in flamingo, which felt nice on my lower back, binds are not my friend. I’m wondering where to start working through that, and if there isn’t some deep reflection in there about why my body is so willing to bend and flex but resists binds at every turn.

Exercise is still linked to weight loss in my head. I’ve spent nearly two years now moving purposefully away from weight loss as a goal, and it’s done wonderful things for my head and heart. And yet here I sit at 230#, nearly the heaviest I’ve ever been, and I don’t know what that means for me. I don’t feel comfortable in my body, but I didn’t when I was smaller either.

Some days I believe my size doesn’t matter if my habits are healthy, and other days I get scared that every ache or issue is a sign of how bad my weight is for me. Lately I’ve been having what I’m fairly certain is sciatic nerve pain, and I worried and wondered about whether it was because of my weight, which just made me feel guilty and awful.

It’s impossible to get an objective answer. There’s sound science backing both sides, smart people in both camps. I try to leave it all by the wayside and just do the things that make me feel good…but food is still an issue, and I still hate to exercise.

I stress eat. I watch tv to unwind. I walk, meditate, do yoga. Sometimes I manage some strength training.

I want to feel good in my body and proud of my choices. And the thing is that sometimes I really do. Other times I journal at midnight because I feel guilty for skipping yoga and eating cookies. I’ve come to the late night conclusion that I can’t fix anything by focusing only my weight. It’s proven to be unhealthy for my mental state, and nothing is worth that.

So let’s say the sciatica is because of my weight? Is getting on the scale and tracking my calories and beating myself up going to help? Past experience would suggest I’d, if anything, gain…so if weight is aggravating or causing the pain I’d just be making it worse. Instead I’ll keep focusing on what I know is good for me, the food and movement that makes me feel awesome, and I’ll remember to be gentle with my mind, body, and soul.

It’s time to be my own best friend again, and to allow the fragility that’s settled over me lately to just be, without poking at it or pushing it away.

Nothing changes without me (a poem for open, terrified hearts)

A poem from Danielle LaPorte

Sometimes, my heart is so open
I can’t tell
if it is a gaping wound
or a portal
for everything
that ever was and ever will be.
I’ve learned to love the beautiful terror of eternity,
and scenario planning how shattered I could be
if the dark things got tall
and if I fell backwards in my forgetting of the Light.
But you can’t fall backwards in Space,
You can only only only ever unfurl.
More than anything,
I’ve wed the certainty that nothing changes without me –
not coal becoming diamonds
not fertilizing eggs
or migration patterns
or medicine dreams.
And what I thought was a net cast to me from a higher God
is actually
strands of truth and filaments of desire
that I have
strung together with my own hands.
In precious encounters,
I tie what I know & want to you,
so we can ride the winds of wonder.

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One Month In

In an attempt to keep up with my new habit of more honestly evaluating my work, and also posting Anamaniacs gifs, here’s another installment of where I think I did well and where I think I need to focus harder. To start, I’ll just repost the goals from last time:

  • One baked good/dessert sort of thing per day
  • At least 2 veggies AND 2 fruit servings daily
  • 3 strength workouts
  • 5 conditioning workouts
  • Less than 50% processed foods
  • At least 20 consecutive minutes AWAY from my desk every day

So how did I do? Well…not as well as I would have liked. This week turned out to be a culmination of extra busy, car issues, kid’s lacrosse camp, awful sleep, and extra work hours, and a lot of things fell through the cracks.

What I did well:

  • 2-4 veggies every day
  • 2 strength workouts a week (might still pull off three this week)
  • 2-3 conditioning workouts a week
  • Continued the less sugar route
  • Reduced my processed foods by about 10%

What I’m aiming for now:

  • One truly worthwhile sweet a day
  • At least 2 fruit servings a day (right now I get NONE on most days!)
  • 5 conditioning workouts a week, which include walks and yoga and essentially any purposeful movement that isn’t strength training
  • Another 10% reduction in my processed food intake
  • 20minute break every day at work – this week I missed a day so I’ve had ZERO breaks while trying to make up those hours and, as such, get paid for them
  • 3 strength workouts – at least one done in the morning

I’m liking the way I feel after the workouts, but I’ll admit that I’m finding them a little bit boring. And with the warm up and cool down, all told they take about an hour. I’ve discovered that working out right before bed is a recipe for not sleeping. I’ve just been SO TIRED lately, but I’m still determined to try working out in the mornings instead. I might be exhausted, but getting it out of the way before the day even starts sounds pretty perfect right now.

I also retook my measurements and saw zero change. It was super frustrating, until I posted about it on the FB group for Nerd Fitness and realized a few other things I’ve done that are showing progress:

  1. One pair of my pants feels baggy now
  2. I’ve moved from the Recruit Workout to the Bodyweight 1 workout, and I’m ready to move to Bodyweight 2 now too
  3. I’m completing the workouts faster and some of the really miserable moves (lunges, Spidermans) are getting a little easier.

So I AM making progress. I’m not giving up. I’m also really enjoying the quest features on the revamped Nerd Fitness Academy site, which has now allowed me to give my “character” a goofy cool name and set myself up on the Assassin track (because how could I choose anything else?). I really am a nerd.

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Owning My Warrior

I completed my second Warrior Dash last week, this time alongside my incredible brother. I was super scared heading into it as I hadn’t trained the way I had before my last one, and I knew the obstacles were going to be tougher. I’m not running like I was before the last one either, and my fear of heights is no better than it has ever been.

Essentially, I was incredibly nervous and scared. My brother wasn’t feeling much more confident, but we went into the day trying to focus on the excitement, the fun, and the INCREDIBLE pride and gratitude that we’d managed to raise money for St Jude’s and get access to the special Warriors tent (yay showers!).

This year’s race was…really, really hard. A lot more mud, a lot more soggy, squishy distances, and a MEGATON of super steep hills to navigate. It was incredibly difficult before we ever saw the first obstacle. I managed a pretty hard fall down a very muddy hill, so I was scraped up on my right side and feeling a little tweak in my back.

First up? I’m not sure I remember the right order anymore, but I’m pretty sure it was crawling through a tunnel. I was fine with it, except the rocks hurt my knees a little. Another obstacle involved crawling under a tarp (there was a little light) and then over a wall – it was called Shocktop Unfiltered thanks to the awesome sponsor. Got that one too. Crawling under barbed wire? Done. Crawling through the Pipeline-a raised tunnel made from rope-was actually sort of fun and resulted in a pretty cool photo.

It’s entirely possible that this is my new favorite picture of me. I was coming out of the Pipeline and I felt awesome. I felt strong and happy and I was kind of having fun. Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I skipped something in there. In short, it ended up that there were obstacles I skipped. The first one was a height thing…I got a little over halfway up and just couldn’t make it over. I froze and shook and my brother had to help me down. The second one was the Warrior Peak, which I should have tried and didn’t because I was afraid I didn’t have the upper arm strength to make it happen and I didn’t want to fall again. Number three was Diesel Dome, which was where the frustration started to set in. Again, it was the fear of heights that got me on this one, but I’d managed to complete a slightly lower version of the same one in my previous WD and not getting through this one was where I started to struggle. I was mad at myself, and kept going back again and again in my head to the idea that I should have done more or tried harder.

I kept pushing through, and I got through the Trenches just fine. My brother was amazing and stayed with me through everything, and I am so happy he was there with me. I skipped Deadman’s Drop, mostly out of fear of heights but at this point also out of a bit of deflated confidence. We got through the Mud Mounds without anything more than another good layer of dirt, which… who even can tell, right?

Finally we were down to the end of the race, and stood facing the biggest, highest obstacle yet. Goliath. up a super high cargo net, down a much shorter one, across a narrow plank over cold water with water jets hitting from all sides, down a water slide and into a super muddy pool of very cold water. Honestly, I was sort of looking forward to the water slide.

I stood looking at the net for a bit, and maybe that was my mistake? I don’t know. I felt like I could do it. I started climbing. I got about halfway up, and I froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t go up or down or sideways. Honestly, I wasn’t even freaking out. I’d just gone entirely blank and utterly immobile. My poor brother stood beside me and waited it out. I finally managed to get back down from the net, where I stood off to the side shaking as my heart rate finally dropped a little. And then I cried.

I was so disappointed in myself. I was frustrated with the fear, mad at my body, and certain I could blame a fair portion of my lack of stellar performance on my failings when it came to nutrition and/or weight loss. I hadn’t trained. I hadn’t tried hard enough. I hadn’t…I didn’t…I couldn’t…I wasn’t.

Did I even deserve this? Does it even count to wear that finishers medal? I was coming unraveled, and the only reason I made it through was because my brother was there. He took my hand. He reminded me how awesome we both were for even showing up. He made me smile, maybe even laugh a little, and we went around the obstacle. But internally? I was still so MAD at myself. I tried to shake it off, and we made our way through the last two obstacles, by far the most fun.

We held hands as we jumped the fire for the Warrior Roast. In that moment, maybe I did forget the rest of the crap. I was having fun. We were laughing and smiling and being silly. We could see the finish line and we knew we were moments from crossing it, collecting our medals, and enjoying our showers and free beers.

We jumped right into the Muddy Mayhem mud pit, and happily dragged ourselves through the muck as everyone got kicked and squelched and spattered. I honestly love that part. Like so much. Yes, it’s gross. It’s also awesome. And at that point you’re so tired and wet and muddy and sweaty and sandy that you don’t care anymore.

We did finished. We crossed that finish line. We stood on the other side of that mud pit and laughed a little. We’d done it. We’d finished the race, imperfect though it may have been. We’d collect our medals, get clean, grab some food, and revel in our official status as 2014 Warrior Dash finishers.

As I always do when I finish a WD, I felt pretty darned awesome. I felt strong and amazing and energized and wonderful. I loved knowing we’d done it. We drank our beers (we had Shocktop Honeycrisp Apple Wheat and it was INCREDIBLE) and had some hot dogs. I’m not a huge hot dog fan, so it was probably the fatigue that made these taste like the Best Food Ever.

We got cleaned up, drove home, took real showers… and then it set in again. The doubt, the disappointment, the frustration. Do I get to be proud of this if I completed it imperfectly? Can I claim WARRIOR status if I didn’t conquer every obstacle? It took me a few days to finally find my answer.

Yes. HELL YES. I conquered a lot more than a few obstacles. I conquered ME. The doubt, the disappointment, even the fear. I faced them up, the best I could, and I finished the race. I’m incredibly proud of myself, of my brother, and I WILL be doing another WD sometime very soon.

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The BFG

I’m $230 away from my goal for SATURDAY’s ! Help my brother & I support . Any amount helps. 

I haven’t been posting much, or talking much, or writing much. I’ve had ten million things to do and think about and handle, and I’ve been pinging off of my stress maximums for a little while now. Finally, things are officially, and so I introduce the source of much stress and much joy.

The BFG.

DCtoFLThe Big Florida Geo-relocation. Yes, it’s possible I made up that last word just so I could use BFG.

So…we’re moving to Florida. Like now. In fact, we’re moving in a little over two weeks. I gave notice at my office. I found an incredible new job I’m super excited about. Evi is enrolled in a great school. This week I’m trying to arrange movers and storage space, since we’ll be crashing at parents’ for a week or two until we can see some apartments in person. We have to sort and trash and clean and pack and stack and donate and sell. There’s a ton to do, and almost no time to do it in. I’m trying not to freak out, because the truth is that the move is a wonderful thing for us.

The move was initiated thanks to a region transfer at the husband’s job, and it meant we had a lot of flexibility around where we’d live. So thanks to luck and circumstance, we’ll be less than half an hour from my parents, my sister, and my new job. The only really tough part is that we’ll also be moving away from my incredible brother. Evi in particular will take some soothing when she doesn’t get to see her beloved Unkin every Wednesday. Thankfully we’ll have so much time with my sister and parents that she’ll be just fine, and we’ll see my brother more and more as we all have time to save up money and fly him down.

So… things are crazy. Everything is hectic and right now and go go go, and I’m trying to stay afloat and get everything done. Once we move, find a place to live, and get settled? It’s kind of going to be awesome.  Florida, here we come! Now I just need to figure out how to survive a 14hr drive with a 5yr old and a dog.

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6am

It’s 6am on a Sunday morning and my house is quiet as everyone else sleeps. I’ve been up since 5 to walk the dog, then surf random bits of the internet and drink a big huge mug of coffee.

And here, in the quiet darkness, I’m finding my head buzzing with thoughts and ideas, criticisms and pride. I’m a complicated place, it appears. Lately, mostly due to a potent cocktail of too little sleep and too much moodiness, I’ve been struggling with body image again.

Almost pincha...

Yesterday, this happened. That’s me, thrillingly close to a forearm stand. In fact, even as I was up there I could tell that most of my hesitation in getting that other foot off the wall was about nerves and not doubts about my strength.

In short, I’m actually very very awesome. It’s not perfect, and I’m not there yet…but I’m close and I’m excited about it. I felt awesome as I came down from the pose. I uploaded the pic, opened it in Instagram…and then all I could think was “I look so fat.” I’m UPSIDE DOWN, balancing on my forearms, and all I can think about is how my body looks. THAT is a problem.

Now again, I’m not in the most stable mindset thanks to hormones. I am at my most vulnerable when it comes to doubts about body image, and I hope to revisit this picture in a few days and wallow in pride instead of worrying about the shape or size of my body. That being said, and while I recognize I’m focusing on all the wrong things right now, I am trying to examine these feelings and find their use. More and more I’m seeing things lately that reinforce a barely understood thought that feelings we perceive as negative or unpleasant aren’t to be escaped. In fact, they’re often the ones we stand to learn the most from if we can just stop and sit with them a bit. So I’m trying to find a way to sit with this without it turning into an epic struggle over my weight or body size or shape. And in this morning’s moment of quiet, I thought it through.

Actually, I was in the midst of two simultaneous streams of thought. The first was that I ought to get a nice big journal for my vision “board” and make it a dream journal instead, since I’m really digging the idea of putting together the first few pages as generalized inspiration, and then creating new pages all throughout the year to revisit important reminders and to recenter me when I’m struggling. So maybe when I’m having an “I’m fat and awful” sort of day, I create a new page to help me work through those feelings, and then over time I’ll have created all sorts of resources for myself to reflect on the good when my head wants to produce nothing but storm clouds.

The second train of thought was around strength training. I’m trying to make this the month I return to Gorilla Workouts because they’re manageable. So then I was considering maybe doing more official strength training. Maybe I’d spend February with Shrink Sessions, then Beautiful Badass in March, then Jedi Training in May, and finally working up the nerve to tackle the vaguely terrifying Stronger workouts I found on Livestrong. Then I thought more about it and realized that a lot of these programs are more than just a month if you really follow their full plans, so I thought about putting together a (hopefully simple) calendar to work through them all back to back, just to see how it works.

I’m still not sure if that’s the right path, though I’m still considering it because… well, why not, right? No hard and fast rules to it, just trying a bunch of new things to see what sticks. In the end though, what it had me realizing is that something is still not sitting well for me. Something is still not feeling settled even in the midst of daily yoga and meditation and feeling increasingly in tune. In fact, maybe all that tuning in is what has me finally seeing that there’s a glaring area in which I continue to ignore my body’s most reverent requests.

I bet you’ve got a guess on this one, huh? Yep. It’s food. And it finally hit me when I was reading an email from Nia Shanks. Her one food “rule” was super simple. All she said? EAT REAL FOOD. And there it is. There is why I continue to struggle with making the right food choices, with cravings, with feeling satisfied with my food. Most of the time, I’m not eating real food. Due to a lot of things including being very busy and often tired, having a commute to deal with, and being somewhat more than occasionally overwhelmed by being Evi’s sole caretaker a lot of the time I’ve created a life built around a whole lot of packaged, processed, convenience type foods. And finally, finally I see it. I know all of the reasons why I make those choices, and they’re all super legitimate reasons, but I’m tired of letting them matter. I’m tired of making the easy choices when it means my body is worn out and I crave too much sugar and I struggle to provide better foods for Evi. I don’t feed her the way I feed myself. I would never. And there is the big, glowing issue. Why would I EVER feed myself in a way I wouldn’t condone for my beautiful, incredible little girl. Didn’t I just settle in to the reminder that a very similar little girl is still in me too? So isn’t it time I treat her with similar respect and care?

So there it is. It’s time for real food. I’m still trying to work out a game plan, a shopping list, something to help me make this shift. I intend to make it in baby steps, and to blog about it along the way. Let’s see how this works. 🙂

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Intentions

My brother and I are running the Warrior Dash together this year. Donate if you can, and the money will go to supporting St. Jude’s. 

I’m back for what I hope is a weekly blogging session, and I wanted to share a few things. First, a look at my bullet journal habit, which keeps me sane. Then some insight into my plans for this year, and finally a quick bit about how I stopped dieting since a few people have asked lately.

Bullet Journal

In short, it rocks. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. It’s essentially a planner, but one that’s so easy to customize that it’s amazing. I love it. It combines my love of list making, my several calendars going at any point, and even helps me keep track of weekly and monthly goals.

I finally splurged on a real moleskine journal that I love because it’s got a bookmark so I know what page I’m on. I keep everyday tasks on a single line, one after the other, and then fill in the rest of my daily tasks in a column. Each task gets a checkbox so I can mark when I did it (LOVE checking things off) and there’s room for bulleted random thoughts, shopping lists, and monthly calendars in the front so I can track future dates. Basically, SO worth the effort of setting it up and getting used to it.

My 2014

I have big plans for this year. No resolutions in the traditional sense, but lots of thoughts about what I want more/less of, how I want to feel, and some concrete plans to get me there.

Highlights:

  • weekly schedule – blog on Monday, write on Tuesday, call my sister on Wednesday, practice Italian on Thursday, do yoga on Friday, take a nap on Saturday, long walk on Sunday
  • More: yoga, meditation, time outside, produce, unplugged time, gratitiude, sleep, strength, sweat, date nights
  • Less: stress, sugar, negative self-talk
  • A few things from my 100 Things To Do in 2014
    • celebrate our ten year anniversary
    • send Evi to kindergarten
    • hike a new trail
    • unpack
    • visit a brewery
    • buy nice bras
    • no phone day

Just a glance! This month in particular, I’m focusing on my word of the year (strength) and of the quarter (balance). So far, I’m meeting almost all my daily goals every day, since I was careful to make them achievable and enjoyable. I’m doing a few IG yoga challenges because I love them, and I’m in the midst of a 30 day green smoothie challenge right now too… just a smoothie every day (as a snack or a meal). I do mine for breakfast and love them.

Dieting and the Scale

I stopped dieting and weighing myself because it was hurting instead of helping. It was making me crazy and stressed. I wasn’t changing my habits in sustainable ways because I wasn’t really listening to myself. In the end, my husband was the reason I stopped. He said tracking was making me downright unpleasant. So I gave it up.

Was it hard? It was terrifying. I spent the first few weeks constantly fighting the urge to track and count and weigh and measure. On the other hand, I also almost immediately felt a sense of relief.

Did you gain weight? Yep, and I expected to. In the first few weeks I was still learning what my body wanted, so I did a fair amount of overeating since suddenly food was no longer “bad” or “not allowed”. That being said, I’m not gaining anymore. I haven’t lost, because I’m still working pretty hard on the food thing, but I’ve gotten to a place of easy maintenance. I have no idea what I weigh, and I don’t want to know. I don’t care.

How do you feel? Free. Strong. Happy. I’m lighter, less stressed. Not tracking and measuring everything has taken the stigma away from food, and the farther I distance myself from that, the easier it is for me to cut through the noise and really hear what my body wants.

Do you still overeat? Yes. I think I will always struggle with that. I am, however, working with a fair number of coping tools that work for me. I have tried drinking tea or water every time I feel munchy, and while that works well it makes me pee alot. Now I’m just working with recognition – being honest with myself about WHY I’m eating what I eat. Slowly, that’s helping me stop eating when what I’m really looking for is an answer for something else.

It’s a process. It’s not smooth. There are a lot of ups and downs. I still stress eat. I worry sometimes that I’m doing the wrong thing, and I still fight the urge to track when things get super stressful. Overall, though? I’m so much happier. Life is easier. I’m less obsessed. I wear better clothes because I’m paying more attention to my body. I eat more produce. Sugar is still a battle, but I’m getting there.

Whew – that’s quite enough for now, huh? Back next week with more updates!

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Curvy Yoga + Gut Healing

I finally tried out Anna’s Curvy Yoga DVD on Monday morning. I was feeling cranky and tired and unprepared for a new week, so I settled down for the twenty minute restorative session, which turned out to be a slow, stretchy, rejuvenating meditation.

As I began the practice, I found myself having some shockingly unexpected thoughts. Here is just some of what went through my head in the beginning:

“This is too easy.”
“This isn’t for me.”
“I’m not really that fat.”

Wait, what? Whoa. Check that negativity and fear out! Most days I consider myself to be doing pretty well on this journey to loving my body and myself, so this shocked me and led to even more negative feelings. I was ashamed, angry, embarrassed, sad… I felt like a failure, a judgemental bitch, a bad person.

And then slowly, quietly, as I went through the motions, something began to shift. Anna’s words, her calm, the grace of her movements… everything began to change. I remembered that I own this body, that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I settled into the reality that I AM curvy, and many people would happily call me fat. I certainly am by the measure of any BMI chart.

So what? Does that define me? Well, yes. It does, along with ten thousand other things that define me. It goes part and parcel, hand in hand with my identity as a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend. It strides alongside my strength, my wisdom, my devotion, and my fear. It dances with my amorphous spirituality, skirts the edges of my fearless silliness, and twirls about amongst a laundry list of other physicalities that matter almost as often as they don’t matter.

Anna shared beautiful, powerful quotes. I made myself repeat the words aloud. My fighting mind began to soften, giving my heart room to speak. And there I sat, alone in my crazy leggings, crying on the living room floor at 6am. I cried to let go, to let it out, to let it in. I cried to apologize to myself and to remember that love is all there is. Just love.

Only love.

In the vulnerable, extra sensitive wake of that morning I began to slowly admit some hard truths. In terms of acceptance and self love, I’ve made incredible strides. I’m capable of looking at my body with respect an awe instead of disgust. I posted yoga pics in just a sports bra and leggings because I’m happy with my shape. I recognize my own strength and beauty more often than not. And in seeing all I’ve accomplished and all I continue to allow to blossom, something else drifted up into the light.

In one big, important way, I’m still denying myself the love I deserve. I’m still punishing the body I spent so many years hating.

It’s all about food. As I thought about it, I realized I’ve spent nearly every one of the last many days feeling tired and sick. My colitis is flaring again. I’m unconsciously but quite intentionally overloading on sugar. My head hurts every day. My body aches like an old woman’s. Even my compartment syndrome is raging again.

My body needs ALL my love, not just the superficial stuff. I don’t deserve constant stomach pain and embarrassing emergency bathroom trips. I refuse to take the auto immune meds the doctors offer; medication I’d take for the rest of my life, with a 65% chance of eradicating my symptoms and a 45% chance of nuking my gut and leaving me worse off than ever. I don’t like those odds. I tend I end up on the wrong side of statistics.

But those meds aren’t the only answer. There are options. There’s a damned good option… one that’s hard and scary and unpleasant and exactly what I need to be doing right now.

I downloaded the Gutsy Girl Bible. I read through the 21 day gut healing plan. I thought about how much I needed to heal. Then I spent three days talking myself out of it.

“I don’t need something so extreme.”
“It will be too expensive.”
“Thanksgiving is coming and I don’t want to miss out.”
“And Christmas is right after that.”
“It will be too hard.”
“My family will hate it.”

Sure. Because dealing with moderate to intense stomach pain EVERY DAY, pushing a body too tired an aching to thrive? That’s much better than three weeks of mild inconvenience, right?

Right?

Huh. Maybe…maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s time I honor the body I’m working so hard to love. Maybe it’s time I trade pain for purpose, habit for healing, battling for blossoming. I’m sure it won’t be perfect or pretty sometimes, but it’s worth the effort. I created a Pinterest board full of (not officially approved) recipes I think are aligned with the healing plan. Honestly, some of it sounds pretty darn fabulous. I’m actually EXCITED by some of the recipes. I’m going to work on a meal plan this week and then hit the farmers market this weekend to stock up on supplies. I love that everything will be fresh and local and in season and just.. clean.

I want to say I’ll make changes to the plan, but the whole point of this is to eliminate ALL possible irritants and then add them back slowly to determine our culprits. Sugar is DEFINITELY one for me. I won’t lie. I’m hesitant…because it’s hard. Because it’s scary. Because it might teach me things Idon’t really want to know. Because, sadly, living with GI pain has become “comfortable” for me.
Right now I feel like the fear is exactly why I DO need to do this. Maybe I’m scared because it might work. And what the hell would that be like? It’s as terrifying as it is potentially awesome. Honestly, I’m freaking TERRIFIED that this WILL work. That it will fix things. That I’ll be eating this way, feeling all fixed and healthy, forever. I’m so damned attached to the awful foods I eat that I am feeling a little bit of real panic at the thought of “losing” them even though I know what they do to me. Will I feel like a freak? Will eating out be awful?
It doesn’t matter. It’s time to try. Off the list for three weeks: corn, gluten, grains, eggs, dairy, sugar, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onions, soy, eggplant, potatoes, legumes, beans, alcohol, shellfish, and chocolate. (The list is longer than this…) So… recipes? Please?
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‘Tis the Season for Scary, I Suppose

And suddenly there it was… the unexpected realization that I am approaching contentment. That when I am actively engaged in regular yoga, long walks, and semi-regular sugar detox, I keep my mind and heart and body and soul in relative bliss.

If I keep living this way, keep working to LISTEN TO and LOVE myself, I can maintain the (newly established) overall peace and wellbeing my husband says he adores.

But none of that was the real, shockingly realization…not really. The real (scary) part? In a way it never has been true before, it is suddenly entirely clear that if I never lose another pound while living with awareness and self-love… I DON’T CARE. I mean I really don’t care, and neither does my husband.

And there. THAT is what is so utterly terrifying. I’ve wanted to lose weight since I was fourteen. For almost twenty years it’s been a part if my life, influenced my decisions, warped my body image, driven coasters of praise and punishment, of restriction and excess.

And now here I am watching all of that slip away, and I’m scared. I don’t know how to live without the shadows.

My husband smiles his shiny, Prince Charming smile and laughs softly. “I think you’ll figure it out,” he says.

Yeah, I think so too.

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Awakening

First of all, the Orange Rhino is working. I told Evi to say “orange rhino” every time she felt like I was getting too angry, and my promise to her was that I would then be nicer and laugh, even if I didn’t think I was overreacting.

The result? Nearly overnight change. She has ABSOLUTELY called me out at times when I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, but that was the deal, so I backed off when she charged “orange rhino.” And damn if it didn’t work. She’s easier. I’m easier. It’s all… easier. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel lighter.

And then I came across The Fantasy of Being Thin. It’s a great post and one everyone should read, but it struck a particular chord for me. I’m doing a lot of good things when it comes to body acceptance and awareness. I’m making progress. But I’m still struggling with emotional eating (and it’s less friendly cousin, sneak eating) way more than I should be, and it’s frustrating as hell. And then I read this…

I spent ages in the cognitive dissonance phase, thinking it made perfect sense that the OBESITY CRISIS hype was way overblown, and even if it weren’t, dieting doesn’t work anyway — but still wanting to lose weight, still feeling like I, personally, needed to be a size 10, max, before I could really get started on my fat acceptance journey.

Wait, what? Well, crap. That’s me RIGHT THERE. Every body is beautiful (and mine will be too, in fifty fewer pounds). I love myself (almost as much as I love the fantasy of a smaller me). I am worthwhile (but not quite as worthwhile as I will be when the weight is gone). I enjoy my life and am proud of my body (unless,  you know, someone is looking at it…). Dieting doesn’t work (except when it does, which is never for long, but hey… if I can just string a bunch together…).

THAT is where my head has been, and I didn’t even know it until I read that post. All of THAT is why I’m still struggling with consistency in my workouts even though I flipping LOVE the workout Deb made for me. THAT is why I’m still bouncing around when it comes to good food choices, and why my trash can at work still sports more than it’s fair share of candy wrappers on any given day.

I’m trying to change it. I’m on a mission to edit my photos less and appear in them (fully) more. I’m also taking on a Militant Baker inspired challenge to conquer a photo of myself doing everything on the list of 25 Thing Fat People Shouldn’t Do. I started with walk through a doorway. I plan to do one every day to help me own my body as it is RIGHT NOW.

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