Old Habits Die Hard, Then Come Back to Life, Then Die Hard Again

I’ve been MIA lately busy living life. Today we came home from my nieces first birthday! We have three February nieces/nephew birthdays not to mention Valentine’s Day, our dating anniversary, our siblings wedding anniversary, and a friends birthday to boot. It’s a busy month! M also spent a week away in Iowa for business and Jackson and I stayed behind to work as well. Our schedule has been upside down and our routines were not normal. (If you couldn’t already tell I’m building into some pretty convenient excuses.)

 

The beautiful birthday girl.
We’ve been off track. We’ve been eating mindlessly. It’s really the mindlessness of eating that trapped us. My brain is well trained to shut off my mindful thinking when it comes to food. “You’re hungry? Here eat this quick! Don’t worry about what you’re eating you can worry about that later! While you’re at it this looks good to eat too! I know! Let’s eat all the foods! Shh I said no thinking!” And then I get mesmerized in the charm of not worrying about it. This past weekend for example it seemed I was on a non stop express to binge eating town. Cake and ice cream, pizza, popcorn (the buttery kind), Cheetos, beer, and ranch dressing (a.k.a. Ketchup of the Midwest). I fell back into that horrible cycle of the mindless eating, feeling bad about it, saying I’d fix it tomorrow, then continue to make poor choices the rest of the day because this day was already shot.

Yes I’ve been faced with a lot of food challenges lately (mentioned above) but I know I’m capable of tackling them. Take this weekend for example. I could have made some eggs and whole wheat toast with fruit to fill me up for breakfast (all items that were available to me) instead of skipping it and not eating until the afternoon when I was so hungry I didn’t care what I ate as long as it was food. I could have skipped the bag part of taco-in-a-bag and had a nice taco salad with tomatoes and onion and a reasonable amount of sour cream and cheese. When grocery shopping with my sister I could have let her buy the kind of ice cream I don’t like there for wouldn’t have eaten but instead I told her to switch to my favorite kind. There have been plenty of opportunities that had I done a little bit of prepping on I could have overcame. What I chose to do instead was live in the moment. Which can be great advice in general sometimes but for me when it comes to food I’m not at that point yet.  Now I did have some small successes but they’ve definitely been in the minority lately.

So let’s make a plan right now! Less “worrying about it tomorrow” and more planning today.

I will charge my Fitbit. I will have Shakeology for breakfast. I will have an apple for a snack. I will have veggies and turkey brats for lunch. I will have salmon, quinoa, and veggies for dinner. I will drink a lot water. I will start fresh again (as many times as it takes to create success). Just stay along with me to push me when I stumble.

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How Do I Love Thee? No, Really…

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Tonight’s dinner: grilled chicken breasts topped with spinach, mushrooms, and provolone with a side of mashed butternut squash. 

How can you both be unhappy with your body but still have body love? That’s a question I’ve been pondering lately. When I have children I want them to love whatever body they end up with and the best way they are going to learn that is by example.

A lot of people have been talking about the importance of a before photo. Take a picture or find a picture that shows how “bad” your body is. You know the picture I’m talking about. The one with all your extra chins showing or you muffin top protruding over your jeans. Or the one in your sports bra with your pale tummy sticking out, poor posture, and a look of despair on your face. In theory I get the point of this picture, to show in your after photo how far you have come and the transformation you have undergone. But does that promote body love? And does that send the message that you can’t be both fat and happy?
Why do I have to be thinner to be happy? I have some of those pictures where I look at it in fright. What angle was this picture take from? Do I really look like that in real life? Yuck. I disgust myself. Most of the time I delete said picture right away to make sure I never see it and that more importantly, people never see it! I do have a few that I have saved for a before picture or for “thinspiration”. But every time I look at it all I do is hate on myself so hard that it makes me sad, angry, disgusted, and discouraged. And that is not the kind of attitude or feeling I want as I go along this journey. It’s not who I am. I am generally a very happy person. I’m coming of age I think. I’m comfortable with the person I am. I’m happy where my life is at right now. My life is brimming full of family and friends that I love. I love my job. I have a husband who supports me. I find it offensive that because I’m fat (scratch that, because I have fat) that I don’t deserve the right to be happy. And the sad thing is most of my life I’ve been the biggest promoter of this myth to myself. I used to think that I should try to be invisible. I hated drawing any kind of attention to me because I was so self conscious of my size and what people would think of me. When anyone would compliment me on any kind of physical level in my head I was either secretly calling them a liar or reading between the lines. If someone were to say, “you have a nice shape.” I knew they really meant to say, “you have a nice shape for a fat girl.”
This became such a problem that it would actually cause conflict in my relationship with M. He would tell me I was beautiful and I straight up did not believe him. Maybe I believed him a little bit when we first met but 9 years and sixty pounds later it’s impossible. I don’t look the same, I’m a lot heavier. How can he still find me attractive? How can he still love me? And he tells me that he doesn’t love me for the way I look that that is just a bonus. He tells me that he finds me attractive at every weight. As my body changes he finds different things that he loves about it. And for so many years I didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t believe him. Until one day he had had enough. He said that it was bullshit that I kept telling him what he thought was beautiful or not and whether I liked it or not he loved me and my body. He was right. How had I become so unbelievably critical of myself to the point where it was actually an issue in our relationship. And I know I’m not the only one that does this.
This is a topic that has recently just started to click for me. I fully believe my husband now when he tells me I am beautiful. I try not to talk nasty about myself both to myself or to others. I’m trying to honestly love my current body. But I also want to change my body. I want it to be stronger, smaller, and healthier. So let’s go back to my original question. How can you both be unhappy with your body but still have body love? Why can’t you be fat and beautiful? Why can’t you be fat and happy? Why can’t you be fat and love your body? (Side note: I say “be” fat as a common term in our society but I personally don’t believe being fat is what you are or who you are. It is something you have, like long hair.) I think the answer is you absolutely can be both. But what does body love look like and sound like when you are actively trying to lose weight? Your advice would be greatly appreciated!
Below is my official “before” picture. They are pictures from December when I was the heaviest I have ever been. In all of these pictures I think I look (and I know I sure felt) happy and beautiful. I hope my “after” pictures are the exact same just with a little less of me in them.
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Midwinter Blues

Early morning summer sunrise in North Dakota.

We have made it through the holiday madness, wished each other a happy new year, and had a busy month of January filled with the enthusiasms of the new year and a new you. We are done with the chocolately temptations of Valentine’s Day and now find ourselves staring into the dreary cold stretch of midwinter. We have gotten into the full swing of cold and flu season. At least at our house anyway. I’ve gone through a whole box of Kleenex since Friday and go into a coughing fit if I move faster than a slow walk. My skin is so dry I look like some kind of strange racoon because my eyes and the skin around them are red and itchy. I miss summer. I miss sleeping with all the windows open. I miss the sound of crickets chirping. I miss the sun!  

I don’t know about everyone else but besides being sick I feel tired too. According to my Fitbit my quality of sleep hasn’t been all that great lately. All of these put together gives me the midwinter blues. I’ve been eating too many things I shouldn’t at portion sizes I definitely shouldn’t be eating. I can’t remember the last day I exercised. I need to find some motivation and energy. I’ve made a list of some possible motivation and accountability checks to help power me through this challenging time of year. 

  • Take more vitamin D
  • Drink more Shakeology
  • Participate in more challenges with my Fitbit friends
  • Drink more water
  • Get more/better sleep (no more staying up on my phone!)
  • Track track track my food

Do you have any other ideas to add? Let me know if you do!

Breaking the Rules

  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We spent this weekend of love with my high school best friends (although it’s really more like elementary best friends) and their significant others at a beautiful destination lake home. We started the tradition of couples weekend last year. We rent a cabin or lake home and we all meet there for the weekend. We bring food and cook and spend the entire time just catching up. The best part is that none of us have to drag along our s.o. The menfolk get along and enjoy each other just as much as the women. 
Friday night we all arrive and sit down to a tastey meal of ravioli and red sauce amped up with all kinds of veggies and garlic bread of course. Now if you remember I was horribly ill this week with the stomach flu and a cold. I had not planned on drinking too much because I didn’t want to be feeling any worse than I was. But when you make a good drink it turns out it goes down pretty nicely. So of course dinner round two happened at about 10:30 that night. But what a fun night it was. 

Saturday morning I awoke to my poor hubby sick as a dog with the stomach flu. We were hoping it was just a hangover but he was conservative of his alcohol intake much more so than I had been. He also had  the chills and a fever and spent the whole day laid up in bed. But the show must go on as they say. 

We had soo much yummy food this weekend. Breakfast burritos and cookies and cakes and potatoes and chips and popcorn and the list goes on. Saturday supper included porketta, Brussels sprouts, more potatoes and salad. Food so good that I kept eating even when I was stuffed full.

The table all set for Saturday’s dinner.
 
I did not track anything. I did not listen to my body. I did not have any successes to speak of other than having a good time. It’s not how I was hoping the weekend would go. I thought I would be able to exercise some control but I didn’t. I did realize that Minnesota nice still flows through my veins. There were many moments when I didn’t want the tortilla for my breakfast burrito or the bun for my sandwich but I didn’t want to be rude and not take something that someone took time to buy and provide for me. Maybe it’s Minnesota guilt. And I’m almost positive they wouldn’t care whether I eat it or not but still it’s really hard for me because it seems wasteful in my mind. And I hate to be wasteful. 

Another thing we figured out was how much accessibility to the snacks made a difference to the amount of food a person ate this weekend. The boys were downstairs away from the food majority of the weekend and they ate a significant amount less than the girls. We were upstairs mostly either in the kitchen or playing games at the dinning room table. All the snacks were on full display on the counter constantly whispering our names. And they were easily eaten snacks like popcorn and chips and cookies. It’s amazing how much of those things you can eat mindlessly. At home now besides Skinny Pop we have no foods in the house like that. There’s nothing in our pantry to open up and immediately snack on. Snacks for us now are basically just fruit. And food that we want has to be prepared and cooked not just opened. 

Right now I am still reflecting on everything. Reflecting. Not beating myself up. One thing I do know is that the harder I am on myself the more I actually shut down to this whole process. So for now I am reflecting. We were going to have a romantic Italian dinner tonight of heart shaped ravioli but I think I’ll toss those in the freezer and postpone that for another time. I think tonight will be a Shakeology for supper kind of night for me and soup for my sick hubby. 

Chicken Noodle Soup and a Husband for the Win

IMG_5978I had so many exciting things I wanted to share with you all like how I conquered my nieces 6th birthday party weekend which included a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, the Super Bowl, and Monkey Bread. But instead I think I’ll take this time to thank my husband for being such a great partner in life and this adventure we’re on.

I ended up coming down with the stomach flu yesterday and there’s nothing I hate worse than that horrible dilemma of whether this trip to the bathroom is a toilet seat up or down kind of “episode.” I’m just thankful that it wasn’t both at the same time! I felt awful and because of bad weather M couldn’t make it home last night either. I was all alone feeling miserable and I had a fever to boot. I don’t think there is anything better when you are sick than having your mother dote on you. At least my mother who was always a fabulous caregiver. When I first starting living with M I realized he did not posses this skill at all. In fact he just ticked me off because he had no sympathy towards me and carried on with life. I don’t want to be that pathetic sap on the couch who whines about how sick they are but come on aren’t we all a little bit like that? But somehow over the years he’s grown into this amazing caretaker. He goes to the store in the middle of the night for a new box of Kleenex. He fluffs my pillows and refills my juice. My mom did leave me a wonderful worded sympathetic voicemail but I needed my husband to come home and do the dirty work of holding back my hair and kissing my clammy forehead. He checked on me during the night last night and when he was finally able to come back home he stopped at the gas station for Gatorade. Well that gas station didn’t carry Gatorade only Powerade and because he knows me so well and knows that I’d rather have Gatorade he went to a second gas station to find it. And when he came home he couldn’t offer his assistance enough.  For supper he went to the grocery store and found the noodle soup I like and made that with an egg for me to eat. I’m happy to report that I am feeling much better than I did yesterday and am able to keep foods down. And I just want to say thank you to my sweet husband who has been cleaning the house and taking care of me all day. He’s not only there for me today but he’s been my biggest supporter and teammate of this whole healthier living thing too. You are the best. #teammatesforlife

The One Month Mark

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Thursday night dinner…One of my favorites: turkey brats with peppers and onions. 
It was a month ago now that M and I had just gotten home from family Christmas and New Years celebrations out in Nebraska. (Side note I miss all my nieces and nephew sooo much!! Auntie loves you!) We had eaten ourselves silly knowing that it was the last time we would be willing to overlook our choices. Our family had officially seen us at our heaviest. We drove home on a Saturday afternoon and although it is an eight hour drive to get back to North Dakota we took an hour long pit stop in Sioux Falls, SD for the best Mexican food they had to offer.  On Sunday we ordered in Chinese food which is my favorite. But Monday, unlike all other Mondays that had come before it would be the real start. The Monday of all Mondays. And it actually was. Although I hate to call what we are doing a “diet” it has been the longest lasting diet that we have been on the entire time we’ve lived together. We want a family someday and hopefully someday sooner rather than later. We want to be healthier not just for ourselves but for each other.

So progress check. The numbers on the scale are going down although we try not to get too hung up on them. With my PCOS it makes weight loss go at a slower pace so if I wait for the scale to reflect my progress/happiness I’m going to give up and say it’s not worth it. Well I’ve done that before and that got me nowhere but heavier still so I try not to focus on it too much anymore. Now we use the scale as a tool to celebrate milestones but that’s about all.

I feel better and so does M but it’s hard to describe in what ways. It feels like all around I’m feeling better, inside and out. I’m not so bloated I don’t think and my pants are looser. M has gone down a pant size and is definitely less bloated. In the beginning I was tracking all his food for him on his Fitbit app. Now he knows how to do that all on his own and checks product labels and researches food chains before eating.

And since it has been a month since I’ve started this new change that means it’s also been a month of my work out challenge with Michele. We have put out a lot of combined sweat over the past month and many sweaty selfie snapchats.

winner

Michele!! Congratulations on coming from behind and kicking my butt. I can’t say this is how I wanted it to go but I’m so happy that we were able to give each other that incentive where there might not have been one at all before. The next time we challenge each other don’t expect to win. 🙂 I will hand over your well deserved prize the next time I see you.

Tell me, how has your month been? What’s working? What needs more work? Any tips or insights for me? Comment below!

It’s Winesday

IMG_5890I’ve been subbing in the same class all week and today was a tough one! The younger grades are harder for me especially at high need schools like the one I’m at this week. Things started off on a challenging note and unfortunately didn’t make any positive progress. That’s not to discount the great day I had with them yesterday or the fact that we will start fresh again tomorrow. But for today, here and now it took a lot of my patience. At lunchtime (btw I’ve remembered my crackers the past two days and the soup is much more palatable!) I knew it would be a glass of wine when I walk through the door kind of night. M is out of town for work and he even took Jackson so I’m all by myself. Usually the dog is still here so I never feel really alone but for the next two nights it is just me, myself, and I.

For me food equals everything. Great day at work? Let’s celebrate with food! Rough day? Let’s make ourselves feel better and indulge. Feeling sad or upset? Food can help with that too! But that was obviously a problem because I had no control over it. And I’m not claiming that after a month I’ve figured it all out. I haven’t. It’s definitely a process with challenges and successes. But I’m starting to have some control over how I deal with my emotions. I totally get how people say they can be addicted to food. I’d choose a big bowl of buttery popcorn over heroin erryday. But back to the topic on hand.

Somehow I’m starting to find the balance. I knew I’d have a glass of wine after a tough day tonight. But the key word there is glass. It used to be just wine. I’d have wine. And I could let my emotions tell me how much I could have. Oh you had a bad day? Drink as much as you want! Oh you’re home all alone? You poor thing! Order yourself a pizza, hell get the bread sticks too. Don’t get me wrong I still thought about ordering that pizza but now I want to save it for a time when I really really want it. Like if friends come over from out of town and want to order a pizza or if it’s the last day of school not just any old “bad day.” I love my job and I’m happy with it but honestly I can have many days like today in one month. I can’t fall victim to the mindlessness of saying yes to my emotions each time. What I’m trying to do instead is create a new habit where I try to calmly assess my feelings. How strongly do I really feel about what is going on (good or bad)? How can I use food which I love to help deal with these emotions (like having a glass of wine on a tough day) but also not let food take over (not drink a whole bottle)?

I say eat good quality things for your body all the time. Eat naughty things for your emotions in moderate proportions sometimes. Eat whatever and however much you want rarely, like on Thanksgiving.  Just find the balance.

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