Sunday, May 21, 2017


In April of last year, I bought a Fitbit.

As a mom, I do a lot of unaccounted-for activity throughout the day; I wanted to know how many steps I was taking. But the Fitbit needed access to an app to tell you how many steps you had taken.

That app had a calorie counting feature. Maybe that would have meant nothing for some people. For me, it was a trigger. I fell. Hard.

I spent the next year obsessing over the numbers. I know, right?? After all that progress I had made in 2015, only a few months before? Gone!

I lost 15 pounds. I felt good about my body. I was finally where I always wanted to be. I felt like I was attractive. People noticed me when we were out, sometimes looking twice. It was awesome.

You know what wasn't awesome? My face lacked color. I frequently snapped at my family. I was tired. My period had stopped almost immediately (I'm still breastfeeding, so no one is too worried about this).

After the first few months I stopped losing and started eating more, which helped a lot. However, I was at constant war with the scale, working to keep it down.

In November, I ran a half marathon distance around my neighborhood. That was awesome! I felt so good that month.

Switching gears, I'd like to talk about WHAT I was eating around this time. While calorie counting, I ate my normal foods - whole grains, beans, lots of fruits and veggies, with a little bit of nuts and seeds. I just restricted how much I was eating. Shortly after my half marathon, however, my diet took a higher fat turn. I mean, I was eating TOO MUCH fat. Some of my readers haven't studied up on how this taxes the body, but when I realized I was getting more and more run down (so much so that I stopped exercising as heavily in the month of December), I knew something was up. I discovered that fat clogs insulin, trapping any sugars in your body from being able to fuel your muscles. Now, some people on a high fat, low carb diet might not suffer from this as much (though I far from suggest you try that, since it's very detrimental to the health). However, I was eating high carb AND high fat- and that doesn't work very well.

I finally found my "magic number" for fat intake and reduced low enough that I got my energy back and went back to my usual high-energy exercise routine.

By then I had gained almost all the weight back. It's taken a couple more months of me slowly letting go to completely regain all the lost weight. I am more muscular than I used to be at this weight, but I am far more aware of my belly than ever before - because I spent over 6 months without it!

So, here's a breakdown.

Skinny me: restricting food intake on a whole foods, plant based diet. Running completely on grit. Cranky. Brittle. Hungry. Self focused. Anxious. Turning heads of others.

Me now: eating as many whole, healing plant foods as I want! Tons of energy! Super happy every day, cheerful with everyone, fun for my family to be with. When I'm around others, I've started reaching out more and trying to connect with them, give them a huge smile, my attention. I watch their face change, their day get a little better. I have energy to make the world a better place! Oh, and my acne finally cleared up (hahahahaha). And I have a belly.

Seriously, which of these is better?

Now, I want to talk about something for my readers who are coming from plant-based Facebook groups. In many circles, there are suggestions that we need to purposefully eat by lower caloric density, filling up on vegetables and potatoes. We should never eat nuts or dried fruit if we want to lose weight. We should try potato-only diets. We should eat only 1-2 pieces of fruit a day.

I say this is baloney. You know where this left me? Cranky with an irritable bowel. Your gut NEEDS fruit. Chef AJ has all these crazy restrictions to her diet, and then she ended up needing to supplement soluble fiber in order to resolve it. Do you know where soluble fiber comes from? FRUIT! Her problem was her body needed more fruit.

I don't care what Dr. McDougall says about fruit and nuts. Your body has its own happy spot for what it needs from both of those food groups, and it will feel better with the right amounts of each. Right now, I'm eating 15+ servings of fruit, and 1-2 servings of nuts/seeds a day. Not to say this is right for everyone. Some people like to eat way less fruit, and that is fine. Just DON'T RESTRICT!

Because what happens when someone is restricting their body from what it naturally craves? Well, here was me, feeling guilty for bingeing on half a jar of peanut butter because my body was craving both fats and sugars, which are both present in nuts. By eating as much fruit as I crave, I cured my "nut addiction" that seemed so horrible at the time. Now, I naturally eat the right amount of nuts, have resolved my blood sugar issues, and enjoy all the delicious fruit I want. 

It's really sad to me that people are coming into plant-based eating with these obstacles before them, slowing their body's healing progress with these unnecessary complications, feeding their previous dieting mentality of deprivation.

Needless to say, I don't spend time in Facebook groups focused on these restrictions any more. I have since found a few places where I can feel normal for having a belly at the end of the day because I "indulged" in so much healthy, healing, high fiber, whole, plant foods!

For goodness sake, please don't restrict yourself from any foods that can be considered whole, nutritious, and healing! Your body needs the nutrients, and IT knows how much it needs! Once you take out man-made foods that are unnaturally stimulating, there's no need to worry that you'll eat more than necessary; you will eat what's right for your body. Please have faith that God designed your body to thrive.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Hi everyone!

I just wanted to share this post from another writer:

She addresses the sensitivities there might be to compliments we often give to people who lose weight. It resonated with me because of what I've tried to express in several of my own posts. For me to want to have been good enough BEFORE losing weight is reasonable. And I guess I'm not the only person who feels like the opposite might be the case if someone compliments the change. We all try to show our support in our own ways - however, this made me feel validated in some of the insecurities I've felt towards compliments on my physical appearance.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

I weighed myself

Not immediately. We were out of town until the 4th, and I waited until the 6th just in case of any travel "water weight" (right?). But I did it.

The night before, I pulled the scale out of the downstairs office closet and brought it up to the bathroom in preparation. I really wasn't sure whether I could do it. It sounded kind of scary, actually.

I lost 6.5 lbs this year. I am 2.5 lbs less than when I got pregnant with my youngest, 12.5 lbs less than when I got pregnant with my oldest, and 26.5 lbs less than when I got married (my highest weight). That's lifestyle for you.

How do I feel about this? 

This was a good experience for me. I spent a lot of time this summer feeling good about myself. When I looked in the mirror, I was always surprised because I FELT like I looked better than I actually looked.

Then I got a haircut and replaced a few items in my wardrobe and started THINKING about how I looked. I started feeling negative again.

There are a lot of places I could take this reflection. Maybe I'll pursue those in the future. What I've found to be the conclusion of my New Year's resolution of 2015 is the discovery that my self consciousness, and, deep down, lack of love for myself, disdain for myself, is merely expressed through my focus on weight; it goes deeper than that. This is an issue that is going to take more than one year's resolution.

What tips me off in this regard is that I FEEL fat. All the time. Even when I know I'm not.

As far as goals go, I'm not sure where to go from here. Just one step at a time, right?

In the future, would I go so long without weighing myself? Probably not. Even after months without weighing myself, I would still have random bouts of anxiety about whether I was gaining weight. My plan is to weigh myself once a month and see how things go.

If you've stuck with me this entire year, thank you for the support!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Almost There

We are 25 days away from 2016. Can you believe that? This is me, 25 days away from goal.

This post is a little late. I had it on my calendar to post monthly, but somehow I forgot to check my calendar that day. It took another week to realize I'd missed it. How many days late am I now!

Anyway, this will likely be my last post before we're on the other side of my 2015 New Year's Resolution. I think it's safe to say I've made it! I didn't weigh myself for an entire year. 

Yes, this was difficult. Would I do it again? Nope. Have I gained something from this experience? I'd like to think so. Am I going to weigh myself in 2016. I'm DYING to.

What does this mean? I still have frequent anxiety about my weight. I think this is going to be a challenge for me throughout my life. I would like to acknowledge this, and use this knowledge in how I approach the scale. It IS just a number, but it's a representation of what's happening to our bodies, something that's hard to discern for ourselves without that measurement.

What do I hope I weigh? I have a general idea that I'm 7-10 pounds lighter than a year ago. I might be wrong, because I'm also a lot more fit, and we all know muscle weighs more than fat. 

Then what? What if I've lost two inches this year and the scale hasn't changed? Maybe that will be a good experience for me. It will be an opportunity to acknowledge that the scale is a number that's not always accurate. Do I really need a number to tell me how I look. Do I need a mirror?

I think I've learned to rely on my inner self a little better than that. I find I have more confidence about my appearance than in the past. Maybe it's simply believing I'm 10 pounds lighter. Will that be shattered when I step on the scale?

I dearly hope not.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


In June, I wrote this post about how loving yourself can lead to better loving others. Soon after that, I read ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Runkel. Late in the book, I was surprised to discover some very applicable thoughts from him. This month's post will be made up mostly by quotes from his book.

Over the course of the year, I think I've been pretty clear on my feelings of inadequacy about my body - or my inability to accept that my body is changing for the better. I know that this is a common feeling among many of us. What I did not know is the following:

"Other cultures do not seem to share our false dichotomy. The way the Hebrews and Jesus spoke, they already assumed a strong self-love. The Christian apostle Paul made the same assumption, at one point saying, 'After all, no one ever hated his own body.' This conclusion was logical at that time and in that culture."

Runkel continues:

"But who do you know who doesn’t hate his or her own body these days? Very few, I’m sure. Body image issues surround us so much that we cannot escape breathing in a culture of endless comparison and resulting self-hatred. Recently the Dalai Lama spoke about a conference he attended in the early 1990s of Western psychiatrists and psychologists discussing self-hatred. The Dalai Lama said that for the first hours of listening to these doctors, he thought his English was failing him. He asked himself and others, 'Are they really saying "self-hatred"?' He says he had never, in his vast experience of Eastern philosophy and politics, even considered the notion of self-hatred. But these doctors were speaking as if it were a very common, even epidemic, condition in the West. The Dalai Lama had no folder in his mind to categorize this human experience.

"But we do. We know it all too well. And in one of the most futile moves possible, we hate how we feel about ourselves, and yet we try to use that hatred to motivate ourselves to change. Let’s return to the weight issue. Fat Bastard, the obese Scotsman in the Austin Powers movies, summed it up this way: 'I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.'"

Runkel had a very important point in bringing this self-hatred, this cycle, to light:

"As long as your motivation is your own self-loathing, there is no possible way to make a lasting positive change in your life. And the reason is simple. It’s because the bad pattern you’re trying to change, like overeating, is itself an attempt to make yourself feel better. So by trying to cut it out you are trying to cut out the only thing that makes you feel good. No wonder we sabotage our diets and exercise plans! As long as we’re motivated by our self-hatred, then we’ll never sustain any effort that feels like deprivation, hating ourselves more. Even if it’s ultimately good for us.

"This is because we don’t feel or believe we have a legitimate right to treat ourselves well in the first place. Loving ourselves, and all the effort that takes, feels far too selfish or narcissistic."

There! That was the point from my other post! Why does it have to feel selfish to take the time to love ourselves? I have managed to do it, but just barely. Over the course of several months, I slowly took more time for myself in the morning, even while feeling guilty for asking my husband to watch the children before work. First, it was just fifteen minutes every other day. Then, it was thirty. Soon, I had a solid hour booked for myself EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

Sometimes, I feel ridiculous. Seriously, my husband arrives at work anywhere from 10 A.M. to 11 A.M. just so I can have free time to run, do yoga, shower, and get dressed for the day. I feel absolutely ludicrous most of the time, especially as I'm centering myself with slow yoga breaths, grasping my "intention" (okay, so there are a lot of things that feel silly about yoga, but I still deeply enjoy it).

Am I just trying to escape my family? Hiding myself away with the iPad, and maybe sneaking a few extra moments to hang some clean laundry while I'm alone in the closet anyway?

No. I am taking my requisite time to myself before I start the day. I am having a retreat.


"Let’s look at the difference between an escape and a retreat. In the context of relationships, an escape is a purely selfish act. An escape is an unplanned action. It is often unintentional, and it is always done in haste. When you are attempting to escape from a situation, all you know is what you are running from—you honestly don’t care to know what you’re running to or why you’re doing so. An escape is based on the need for self-preservation, and it hardly ever involves a plan of return. At its heart, an escape is simply another form of screaming. It is an anxiety-driven reaction, and it carries all the seeds for creating the very types of relationships we’re hoping to avoid.

"A retreat, however, is quite a different animal altogether. Retreats are intentional breaks from the action with the specific intent of regrouping and returning. In taking a retreat, you know where you are going and you know why you are going. You are retreating in order to benefit others as well as yourself. Retreats are a way to focus on yourself in order to become the best you imaginable. If you think this sounds selfish, consider this: Every great religious leader in history spent a significant amount of time in retreat before and/or during his or her service to the world. Consider Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Muhammad, Gandhi, Mother Teresa. I’d venture a guess that not one of these figures was ever called selfish. Heretical, yes. But never selfish.

He continues:

"Here’s how escape and retreat are related: The fewer intentional retreats we take for ourselves, the more we will find ourselves unintentionally finding ways to escape. If we’re not diligent in carving out retreats for ourselves in the form of healthy activities, we are sure to find an escape somewhere. Escapes for you may include obvious bad habits, such as smoking, overeating, or drinking to excess. You may find yourself getting completely lost in pornography, or romance novels, or fantasy lit. Or you may mentally or even physically 'check out' of your family’s life, pursuing an affair or just running away.

"One way to lessen the likelihood of this desire to escape is to plan intentional retreats for yourself. Exercise, pamper yourself with a manicure, learn to play a musical instrument, meditate, seek personal growth. Pursue profoundly deep relationships with friends outside of your family. Take your spirituality to new heights, leaning on a higher power to provide you all the validation you need as a human being."

I felt so validated reading that! THAT was what I was doing! I finally had permission - and from a parenting book no less. My morning routine is my retreat (though I do love my young adult romance novels). That is my chance to love myself, so that I am more prepared to go out and love my family.

More Runkel:

"You may be asking yourself 'Who has the time?' You don’t. That’s just more evidence of the problem. You must create the time by choosing to put on your own oxygen mask first.

"It is in the fabric of our culture, and it has been handed down to us generation after generation, that it is far better to deny ourselves, even hate ourselves, than it is to openly love ourselves first. ... In an amazingly confessional interview near the end of his life, baseball great Mickey Mantle made a touching realization. In reflecting on his broken body and disintegrated relationships (especially as a father), the mighty Mick sighed, 'If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.'

"How we live today determines so much of how we will live tomorrow. And how we live today and tomorrow determines so much about our relationships with our children.

"I want you to think of it this way: What has to last is what has to come first. YOUR HEALTH. A broken body makes it extremely difficult to provide for and protect your children. Your health is not an 'extra” in your life, it is your first responsibility.'"
[All quotes from ScreamFree Parenting, Hal Runkel, 131-134]

There you have it. Love yourself so that you can truly be there for everyone else. In the last ten months (only two more to go!), I have carved out that time for myself that now feels hallowed. That time (and the use of endorphins) has allowed my to feel a deep sense of contentedness, well-being, and control. It gives me the ability to smile at my children like I mean it, to kiss and cuddle them, and to say yes to requests that are going to take more energy than I really want to spare. By putting myself first for that one hour, I gain the emotional strength to tackle the rest of the day.

Please learn how to love yourself. That love will pour out and uplift others around you.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


My calendar says I'm due for an update! Here it is:

Why can't I forget about losing weight? Because I spent a decade thinking it was true. I spent all of high school telling myself to lose weight. I spent all of college telling myself the same. I even spent all of middle school saying this to myself. Was this ever true? Sure, a small fraction of the time. Barely. Is it true now?


I'm quite happy with how I look and feel. I might need a better haircut, but I have definition in my shoulders, thighs, and calves. Sure, I still have that little pooch of stomach fat. Does it really matter? I have some pretty good muscle under there.

I'm still drawn to talk of weight loss. It entices me. Like I just can't get used to the fact that I'm fine where I am.

I'm healthy. I feel good. I look fine. The end.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Don't look at me!

As far as body image goes, I think I'm way more confident than I used to be. However, I have issue with the weight loss thing, and how people view me. I seriously keep panicking about the entire thing. Last April, a family member commented that I'd lost all the baby weight. I totally closed in on myself and could barely get a word out about it. This weekend, a different family member who we haven't seen since November asked me where I had put the rest of myself, because I'm so much smaller. I laughed it off and said that was my baby weight. Inside, I wanted to know whether she thought I'd looked bad before. 

Finally, after much thought, I realized I had a different problem. Sure, I thought I had gotten past caring what people think. But no, I still do. I don't want people to look at me. I just want to hide. I think I'm radiating much more confidence these days, and a bit of that is acting, and a bit is trying to shove off some of the realization that people are looking at me. I try to forget that my hair, when down, looks like Hermione's hair in the first Harry Potter movie - except there's random crimps in it all over; when up, there all sort of flyaway "bangs" from the hair regrowing my postpartum hair loss faze. I haven't gotten a hair cut in 10 months, and I need to, but it's not a priority.

It try to forget that my pants fit my middle weird. I try to forget that I'm not wearing makeup anymore, or that my shirt is stretched out from nursing or that, whoops!, my nipple is hanging out because my 13-month-old surprised me and took off during our session. And the snot on my shirt. And when did I bathe the kids last? Yes, that smell is coming from us, sorry.

Okay, maybe it's no wonder I don't want comments about my body. My point is, I need to let go. I need to stop caring. Why do I seize up so much about the weight issue when I'm not doing anything to change the rest? Sure, I accidentally dipped my hair in the smoothie, but comment on me losing weight and WHOA! Stop right there!

Okay, yeah. I've gotta work on this.