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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

What I Eat

Today, I posted this on Facebook:

"This morning I put my belt on and found that the belt no longer had any holes that fit me. So I got my measuring tape out and discovered I lost yet another inch - I'm officially the smallest I've been since I was about 16. I'm still not weighing myself, but I have a pretty good idea of what this means..."

Here was the sequence of events this week:
Monday - I feel like my running pants might fall off during my run.
Tuesday - My wedding ring is getting too wiggly.
Wednesday - My shirt definitely needs to be put in the "too big" section of the closet.
And here we are at Friday and the above results. How do I feel about it? I'm flabbergasted, even though I know exactly what habits caused this to happen. What with running 3x per week (3 miles each), yoga 3x per week (30 minutes each), and retraining my body to recognize when it's had enough food (a.k.a., my appestat). 

Anyway, now that we've covered that... I've had a lot of requests to know what I eat and feed my family. Today a good friend of mine specifically requested I post a sample week on my blog so that she could share it with others she knows who have been interested.

This blog was created with the topic of body image in mind. However, at this point I feel that most of what I needed to work through has been accomplished. So... Why not dedicate a post to discussing specifically what I eat?

We eat oatmeal every day. This takes variations. My husband does the same thing himself: he microwaves rolled oats with water, then mixes in ground flax, a little agave or Grade B maple syrup, and chooses a fruit to chop and top it with. My 3 year old eats similar. He's the only one of us who eats eggs with any regularity. Mornings are his chance to ask. Most of the time we don't have eggs in the house, and even when we do he doesn't always ask.

As for me, I do the same oatmeal as my husband quite frequently, except sometimes I top mine with slices almonds, and I skip the agave and do three pieces of fruit instead of one - I'm a breastfeeding mom, after all!

Sometimes I do steel cut oats instead. Sometimes I do overnight oat. Sometimes I make almond milk and use this with rolled oats, treating them just like boxed cereal.

My version of almond milk:
Soak a big bag of almond overnight. Drain and freeze in a Ziploc bag. When making fresh milk - use 1/2 cup soaked frozen almonds with 4 cups warm/hot water, plus 1 tsp vanilla. Blend on high in a high-speed blender. I don't strain it, but most people do.

On the rare occasion, I make pancakes:

After a few years of marriage, we figured out what worked the best in terms of lunches was for me to cook dinner for four so that we could eat leftovers for lunch the next day. We keep an ongoing list of what pre-made food we have in the fridge, and it goes in order so that we know what food is oldest and should take priority in getting eaten up.

I have two moods that I go through when I cook: the recipe mood, and the wing-it mood. With practice, my winging it has improved.

Here's what we ate for dinner in the last week:
Saturday - Potato salad and Tomato salad - bot were the wing-it sort of meals. However, they turned out so good that I wrote down what I did.

You'll notice the word "Veganaise" in the ingredients. I bought a jar of this six or so months ago, and it was still good. I had no tahini and no avocado on had, and really felt like making the potato salad creamy (which isn't always necessary in my mind). So I used this. It is a processed food free of additives, however it does include oil, which I almost never consume. We really enjoyed the potato salad, but it upset my digestive system a little, and messed with my ability to stop when full because of the lovely fat molecules.

Sunday - A tomato and parsley dish served with lentils and brown rice. The tomatoes were dry-sauteed with garlic, and the parsley was mixed in last. For some reason in the last year, my husband has come to believe that lentils are synonymous with sauerkraut (we use Bubbie's from the whole food store because it has live cultures), so we also had that.

Monday - Jungle Curry:

(roughly triple produce)
2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 green onions (sliced, reserve some dark green parts)
pinch red pepper flakes
1+ cup veg broth
1 bell pepper (seeded, sliced)
1 cup green beans (trimmed, 2-inch long)
1 sweet potato (sliced thin) or carrots
Sauce, in high speed blender:
1/4-1/3 cup soaked almonds
2 cups water
1-2 tsp yellow curry powder (or red curry paste)
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp agave
1/2 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Saute garlic, green onion and red pepper flakes in broth for a few minutes. Add peppers, green beans and sweet potato, and more broth as needed. Cook until fork tender. Meanwhile, blend all sauce ingredients on high. Pour over veggies and simmer until tender, and potato starch has thickened the curry sauce. 

Austin said it might be good with jalepeno instead of red pepper flakes.
My own variation of recipe from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean (I don't actually own this book, the author recently gave this recipe away for free on Facebook)

A note on ketchup: I use a "clean" brand; I prefer the kind sweetened with agave.

Tuesday: Mushroom Risotto. I'll give you the link. It was okay. I added spinach. In general, risotto takes too long for me to get very excited about it.

Wednesday: Broccoli stir-fry and baked sweet potatoes. I dry-sauteed the broccoli (I have a non-stick pan) and added this sauce towards the end:

Funny about the sauce though - I only chose that particular sauce because I had date frosting (i.e., dates blended on high with water until proper consistency is reached) to use up. Isaac loves date frosting, but I think everyone's feeling a little done with dates around here lately, so no one was eating it. Anyway, I just added the frosting in addition to the other ingredients to a mason jar, gave it a good shake, and poured it in with the broccoli.

Thursday: Corn on the cob, cauliflower stir-fried with tomatoes and jalepenos, and leftover lentils.

"I didn't realize I was craving brown rice until I saw it." -This is what my husband said as he started chowing into his second serving. By the way, these were huge plates. All our other plates were in the dishwasher:

This was a hodge-podge of things that needed to be eaten up, combined with things that we have in plentitude: onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and spinach. I know, very random. It turned out very tasty though, surprisingly.

The sauce recipe I used was from this, though you might not be able to read it:

Here's a close-up of the sauce part. Um, I took my leftover stir-fry sauce from two nights ago and added the vinegar and ketchup. . . It truly turned out fantastic, and now there is absolutely nothing else that needs to be used up!

So, that's our last week of dinners at a glance. Roughly once a month, this will also happen:

Those are Native Fries, from Native Foods, which is a 100% plant-based restaurant. I took the boys here a few weeks ago. My eldest ate fries, I ate salad, and my baby ate both (though I had brought freeze-dried mango so that he wouldn't get too attached to the fries; he ended up only having four fries, which I felt was success). The salad was way too greasy. Their dressings always sound good, but they are never worth the yucky feeling in my stomach afterwards. I need to remember to ask them for no dressing, and then get some balsamic vinegar instead.

My eldest son does not usually eat what we eat at dinner. The starch tends to be the only sell for him. He loves brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. If he does not want what I make, he has two other options: fresh fruit, or a can of beans. These are both options that he loves, and means I'm not cooking a second dinner.

Snacks for the kiddos and me include the following:


Ice cream - roughly four or five bananas, a little honey, a little vanilla, and then whatever flavor or color additions that my eldest requests. Here we have "pink" ice cream:

(a.k.a., triple berry)

And "green" ice cream (a.k.a., peas). It's important to use honey as the sweetener of choice here, because it lends flexibility to the ice cream when refreezing.

Fresh fruit:

Fruit is always the most ideal snack because it's tasty (obviously) and convenient. It takes little to no preparation. We go through around three bunches of bananas a week, and a couple Costco boxes worth of other fruit (though this isn't always the fruit's origin).

We will also occasionally make a "treat." Yesterday we made carrot muffins:

I added less sugar (coconut sugar), used oat and einkorn flour instead (I have a modern wheat sensitivity), and didn't do any frosting or glaze.

This has been a tough one. I have gone through many habits here, but have finally settled into eating fruit as my evening treat. It took a while for this to truly feel like a "treat," but now it does. My go-to evening fruit treat is melon. When I eat melon alone, I just cut it in half and use a grapefruit spoon, no matter the type of melon. It's so much easier than when I have to cut it up for the kids, and thereby I enjoy it more. All the other fruits I can easily eat throughout the day, and so melon has been my favorite in the evening.


Baby's 1st birthday were banana blueberry muffins:

As always, I subbed the flours - this time I used einkorn combined with almond, which made it taste practically like wedding cake :o

This was my birthday cake:

It was utterly delicious, and meant I didn't have to do baking only two days after my baby's birthday. Fruit = convenience, remember? ;)

Since moving to our newest home, a lot of our produce has come from a local provider who sells the items in bulk. This makes it extremely cheap to eat the way we eat, as long as we're doing it seasonally. When you eat plants all the time, you can handle buying 20-40 pounds of the same thing all at once.

This was my dill for the year. I froze most of it:

There are several things I do each week that carry through for most of the week. This week, I batch-baked sweet potatoes twice. We have 40 pounds of them from our produce guy, and they go like hot-cakes around here. One night this week, my husband opened the door of the fridge and was disappointed to discover the pre-cooked sweet potatoes had been eaten up. I made more the next day.

I also made some delicious pickles:
The first time I made them, almost the entire jar was devoured by the four of us within one meal. Yes, both kids loved them!

A note on our plant-based status:
We are not 100% plant-based. We're about 98%. My husband and eldest son occasionally have a dab of butter. My baby and I are dairy-free, but both my husband and I eat chicken, fish, or eggs a few times a month. Like I mentioned in the breakfast section, my 3 year old eats eggs with semi-regularity, but animal foods still make up less than 10% of his diet.

Through my own study, I have determined that eating animal foods is okay within that 10% confinement. If you eat at least 90% of your diet as whole plant foods, you should be able to have all the benefits of full health.

When we began this journey, my husband really couldn't afford to lose any weight. I proceeded with our diet change anyway, feeling his health would benefit in too many other ways to be concerned about his weight. He lost about five pounds at the beginning, two years ago. This was a real stress point for me, but he's maintained ever since, and his appetite is actually growing now, he's begun craving real food for the first time in his life, whereas before it used to be a chore, even if it was a treat like pizza or ice cream.

There might be more I missed, and I know this post probably could have been done better - there was so much to say! - but I think you've gotten the gist. Below are some resources you might like:

Websites: (also check out the documentary) (recipes)

The China Study
Healthy at 100
Super Immunity
Disease-Proof Your Child
Discovering the Word of Wisdom
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I lost weight

Some of you read the post I wrote a month ago here, where I mentioned how my husband thought I looked a little smaller. Well, I was sure he was wrong. But then I started paying attention to how all my clothes fit.

I was the one who was wrong. Ultimately, I got out the measuring tape that I had ignored for the last few months. I've lost an inch.

I don't think that's especially surprising. Since I quit the scale for a year, I have kept up a workout routine that I didn't previously have. In the last six weeks or so, I have managed to quit my overeating habit (this plagued me for one meal each night: dinner, the most interesting meal of my day). I had reason to drop a bit. I also quit eating dates wrapped around unsweetened chocolate at night - an innocent enough habit, until my consumption went from 2 dates to 13 dates a night.

What was surprising was the emotional roller coaster the knowledge of my weight loss took me for. First, I reveled in the loss. Next, I started stressing that I was going to regain. Most nights I would consider my overall intake for the day and wonder if it had been too much. I wanted to maintain, but wasn't sure what was going on because I couldn't weigh myself. There was also the pesky problem of my favorite capris being too loose - I know, huge problem. However, I feel like I'm constantly in need of new clothes because of my changing body - weight loss, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, etc. I really desire a reliable wardrobe.

Then a thought struck me. Do I even want to lose weight? And if I didn't care about losing weight, why was I so stressed out? The obvious answer was to chill, move on, and practice healthy eating habits - same as I had been doing before.

So I moved on. Wonderful, right?

The lack of knowledge still torments me though. My mom visited in the last week, and pictures of me were taken so that I could truly see myself from the angle others saw me - I'm slender, and have more tone than ever before (it isn't much, but still). But I also indulged more last week than the usual habits that got me that one inch loss. So I still worried.

Ultimately, I don't think completely getting rid of the scale is the right thing for me. Weighing myself quells my anxiety. And, while that number isn't necessarily an accurate reflection of what's going on inside, it brings my mind some peace. It was my husband who said that, after this year, I might want to go back to weighing myself - if only once a month. For now, I think that'll be my long-term plan after my year is up.

But I still have five months left! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Help yourself, and then help others

As evidenced by the fact that most of you didn't get notified about my blog post last week, I didn't feel quite right about it. Not that there was anything wrong about the post - it just wasn't in the right tone. I wanted to radiate more positivity and confidence than what it had to offer.

So here's this post's theme: help yourself, and then help others.

We've all heard this analogy before: you're on an airplane and the oxygen masks are released. What do you do? You secure your own mask before securing the masks of those around you. How has this idea been applied before?

1. In terms of physical safety, as in the situation with the oxygen masks.
2. Spiritual safety. For an example, see Elder Anderson's talk from the October 2014 General Conference.
3. Health and wellness. I've seen this a lot lately online: take care of your own eating habits (clean them up), and THEN worry about helping others.
4. I don't know how new this idea is - it only just occurred to me for this blog post: CONFIDENCE AND LOVE FOR YOURSELF.

I'm a mother. As a mother, I want to teach my children how to see value in themselves, how to love themselves. I want to teach them how to be confident - a healthful confidence, not an overly prideful confidence. What is the most effective method to do this?

I think what is typical is trying to fill each individual with that confidence. We shower our children with praise and approval, hoping to see the light in their eyes as their confidence grows. We are basically TELLING them how to feel confident. Which is great. . . But isn't SHOWING the more effective method of teaching?

How can you SHOW your child how to be confident?

Could it be that the key to self worth, self confidence, self love, for our children is mastering the same for ourselves? We need to learn how to be confident with ourselves, and then we may lead by example.

People spend a lot of time showing OTHERS their approval, trying to convince them that they agree with what the other person is doing, and they spend less time showing THEMSELVES their own approval. Sure, we spend time rationalizing things. But how often does each of us look in the mirror and approve of what we see?

It is absolutely wonderful to praise others. It's been said that it is WRONG to withhold praise. But we naturally resort to TELLING them the reasons they should love themselves. We don't even fully realize that they're learning from what they see us do EVERY DAY.

Here's the part you've heard before: what expressions does your child see you make when you look in the mirror? Does he/she see you grimace or frown? Does he/she see you smile? Does your child watch you weigh yourself? Does he/she hear you use the word "fat"? Does he or she hear you fretting about your appearance? Talking about how much or how little you're eating? Whether you think it was the right amount or the wrong amount?

If it's possible to gain a negative perspective on self through example, is it also possible for them to find more balance with themselves if you show them the way? Let's turn this on it's head. What can your child hear from you to learn how to see the good in themselves ON THEIR OWN?

Does this fit here?: Teach your child how to fish, don't always just hand him the fish.

Handing out compliments is great, but your child needs to know how to see those compliments on his own, without someone pointing them out. Help him or her create a positive self voice by setting the example of what that can sound like.

Do you approve of yourself? Why or why not? What can you do to change that? If you know what you can do, why aren't you DOING it? What is keeping you from loving yourself?

Learn how to love yourself. Whatever the way you believe you should eat, come to harmony with it. Find harmony with your heart, your spirit, your body. Learn to like the PERSON you see in the mirror. Spend less time looking for imperfections and more time reflecting on the happiness there. Then walk away and let that happiness, contentment, and harmony radiate outward and change others.

On another note, if you can't learn to stop focusing on what's wrong with yourSELF, then how can you ever learn to be selfLESS? You need to learn to love yourself so that you are MORE CAPABLE of loving others. Find that harmony within so that you can stop centering your thoughts on yourself: what you're doing wrong, how you look wrong, how you feel wrong, etc. What are you doing RIGHT? How can you do more RIGHT? And how can you spread that RIGHT out so that others can benefit from the difference?

But don't let what I'm saying deter you from doing RIGHT for others immediately. Serving others can be incredibly healing for the soul. It can boost your spirit, and help you to love yourself.

Whatever you do, it's a cycle. Love yourself so that you can love others, and love others so that you can love yourself.

And don't get deterred by the small mistakes you make on the way! Love yourself AS you make yourself better.

Come into harmony with your body so that you can better reach harmony within yourself, your spirit, with your children, with the earth, and with God.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


I really only have one reason to have a new post right now - I said I would once a month. My commitment to staying away from the scale stands. There's not much interesting going on there.

So I've racked my brain for thoughts I've had this month about body image. I actually had a conversation about my body image with a friend via Facebook Messenger - which is convenient, because now I can quote it back to you word for word:

"I'm actually pretty self conscious about how I look quite often, and actually more so since I've become so vocal about my diet. I don't want anyone blaming the diet for how I look, or claiming that it's not working. 1: acne. It's there, and I worry that people see it. I think I mentioned it seems worse if I eat fattier foods, so maybe I can hope it disappears in the future. 2: I'm really not THAT thin. I worry that people think I should be thinner if I'm really eating right. 3: I quit wearing makeup only recently. This is a mark of my growing confidence in myself, but also I worry that people think I SHOULD wear makeup.
"As for how I FEEL, I'm amazing. I feel amazing most of the time. In the last six months I've slowly developed a routine where I rotate between running and yoga each morning, and this makes me feel even better. Yes, I can do everything I want. The eating though? I often eat too much. Even on this diet, I've been known to unbutton my pants at the end of dinner. Which is what I'm working the hardest at! Pregnancy makes it harder to master this. . . Every time I get the portions down, I get pregnant and it's harder to feel my stomach underneath the baby. Hunger is so demanding, and I'm really good at not eating the foods my body doesn't crave [I mean, crave nutritionally - I can tell what my body NEEDS and doesn't NEED when I'm pregnant], even if I'm hungry and nothing better is around, but the boundaries are different. It's hard to get good habits back in place after pregnancy, especially since newly-breastfeeding hunger is almost worse than pregnancy hunger. And I have a history of starvation-binge dieting from when I was a teenager. . . [All my past habits] work against my natural ability to stop eating when I'm full."All I can say is, I'm working on it!"

So that's how I feel. I AM constantly hoping that I will lose another ten pounds, but I no longer count on that.

My husband DID say earlier this week that he thought I might be smaller in the back area [ahem], but I wasn't convinced that was true, and all my clothes fit the same (except a brand new pair of capris that I should have tried on before checking out at Walmart - I just ASSUMED that a size 8 would fit, because size 8 ALWAYS fits. Unfortunately they fit like a loose size 10, but it wasn't worth the effort of returning them, so I've been doing a lot of tugging up, and dug out a belt that I haven't worn in two years).

What was my brilliant response to my husband's comment? "Well, that's not where I need to lose it." I think all of us women have a fixation on having a flat tummy with no rolls, right? Good thing my husband doesn't care about either! He wasn't intending to give a compliment, it was more like he was commenting on the weather.

Anyway, I'll plan on having another update next month. If at some point I run out of material to talk about, I'll mention that I'm going to cut back on posts. But we only have six more months! I'm pretty confident that I'm going to succeed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Forget the Rest

Here we are, at the deadline for my monthly update. How is it going not weighing myself? Like I said  a few months ago, the habit is definitely broken. I don't even think about it anymore. It's just gone. And that's good.

But how is my body image? Some times are better than others. Like right now?

I am 10 months postpartum. I think most people don't realize how long it takes to "recover" from pregnancy. I mean, get back to normal. My recovery is always swift - I feel like a normal person again by the end of the week. However, hormone roller coasters are another thing, and I'm sure it has a huge amount to due with breastfeeding. When I was breastfeeding my first son, at 10 months I magically dropped the last 10 pounds of baby weight - but I went into an emotional roller coaster for a few months that involved a lot of negative thoughts.

I look at my first experience with this as a mixed blessing. I did research into the birth control I was taking, and determined to get off it to help with my sudden depression (that lifted a great weight off, by the way). This was also about the point that I found The China Study and began changing my diet for the better.

I'm going to stop here and remind all my readers that I'm not here to talk about diet. Some of you will know that I have strong ideas here, and I am trying to stay away from "preaching." I am here to deal with body issues, and to hopefully uplift a few people. However, some things are hard to detangle in regards to this, so there might be some references that you disagree with.

When I was 10 months postpartum with my first son, he stopped needing quite as many calories through breast milk (thus the change in hormones). Both then and now, it's confusing to change my perspective on how much I need to eat after that. First, without realizing what's happened, I find myself feeling overly full after each meal. So, I rein myself in. Then, I start thinking too much about how much I'm eating, some thoughts about calories creep in, and, before I know it, I'm wondering if I'm too fat.

There you go. The "F" word.

Previous to this, I had spent several years with my husband guiding me into healthier thoughts about food and my body. When I realized how my thoughts were becoming "dark" once again with ideas of weight loss and calories, I decided I needed to pray. I prayed for inspiration to know how to take care of myself for health, and I prayed that I could pursue that and forget my thoughts about weight and calories.

The answer came, etc, and I was put back on my path breaking down body image issues.

And here I am again, the same place (though definitely not as bad this time around - I personally thank my lack of prescriptions, and my diet change). My hormones are all over the place in reaction to changes in breastfeeding. I've had to look at how much food I'm eating and consider how not to eat too much.

And the thoughts have crept back in.

I started this blog on a very positive, upbeat note. I would like to continue that. But I also want to write the truth. Negative thoughts about your body can consume you if you let them.

Don't let them.

Focus on the good. Focus on health. Focus on vitality.

Numbers mean nothing. God did not give us calorie charts. God did not give us scales. God gave us good, wholesome food to partake of.

We need to take joy in this. And we need to forget the rest.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


This week we borrowed a Curious George (TV show) DVD from the library. The very first episode was about Ted's (the Man in the Yellow Hat) annual physical exam at the doctor's office. He steps on the scale. In a negative tone the doctor informs him that Ted's put on some weight. Ted is shocked, and reports that he only eats one donut a month. Ultimately it's revealed that George was standing on the scale with him, artificially boosting his weight.

Maybe this part of the episode wouldn't have stuck out to anyone else, but my mind has always zeroed in on this stuff - and especially in light of my resolution this year. I almost felt like shutting the TV off. Why were they unnecessarily exposing my child to weight-consciousness?

With further thought I realized it wasn't a big deal, and the episode moved on to more fun, educational stuff that did not (whew) revolve around weight.

I know some think that weight-consciousness might be healthy, but there's several things wrong with this line of thinking. And I'm sure everyone reading knows by now why we're here.

If I'm going to teach my children how to be healthy, I don't want it to revolve around man-made numbers. I want it to revolve around nature-based principles. I want them to know the general principles of how to treat your body for optimal results. I don't want them worrying about numbers. In fact, at this point, the only reason I think there is to keep weighing them is to make sure their car seats fit appropriately.

Oh, by the way, my resolution is going strong! I also believe this is the longest I've gone without weighing myself since I was a child. I'm going to be honest about something though: I have pulled out the measuring tape several times. The nice thing is, this hasn't been interesting in the least. What would I do? Obsess over which centimeter line I land on each day? There's nothing there for my mind to fixate on, which means I have very little reason to get it out regularly. And anyway, the way my pants fit don't lie. I haven't changed at all.

Let's get used to it! There's comfort in predictability.

Friday, March 27, 2015


I'm obviously not thinking about my weight as often now, since I'm posting less often. The big reason I'm writing now is because I committed to posting at least once a month, and that deadline is getting closer. What with going out of town soon, it felt safer to get started now.

I feel great! No more obsession over numbers. I have to admit, about a week ago I had a few days where I was really down about how I looked. You know what had changed? The location of our full-length mirror. My husband had finally gotten around to hanging it up for me, and, for the first several days, I noticed it every single time I passed. And, whoa, are those my thighs? You get the picture.

Today, I took the boys swimming, and it was packed with kids. And their half-naked parents. Golly, does that help with perspective. Sure, I was wearing a normal suit that any self-respecting Mormon mom would wear, but there was still a bit more uncovered than usual. It didn't matter, because some women were wearing less, and the really self-conscious ones (or maybe they just have swimsuit issues) were wearing more - and yet most of us had some extra flab. Most of us had cellulite (even the "skinny" people have it). But we were still there trying to have fun.

Seeing everyone like that brings home the idea that it doesn't really matter what size you are. What matters is your health. I'm pretty sure that if I were a size smaller, I would still look similarly to how I do now. I'd just have to buy a new swimsuit (actually, I'd probably make do with some workout clothes - shopping is a pain).

The great thing about the water park was that people were so exposed for an extended period of time - they didn't have the energy to continually fret about it, so most of them stopped caring, if only for the time being. (Though yes, I know, lots of us still avoid this situation.)

I hope more of us can care less about how we look - more often. The body is a tool for use - like splashing and having fun with my giggly boys, running for the adrenaline high (did I mention I run now?), or moving around the kitchen like crazy trying to feed people. If you're not using your body, you're really missing out. Time to eat the food you need to feel good, get the exercise you need to feel good, and always THINK POSITIVELY and love yourself! Only then will you have an extended ability to do good and love others.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Background Pt. 3

I'm into my third month of scale-free living and going strong! I feel that 
I've truly broken the habit of thought now. I do wonder sometimes, but it's no longer at specific points of the day. I think if the scale were back in the bathroom again I'd remember not to step on it accidentally. I feel that this is a huge jump in progress!

Every night before bed I used to think about whether I wanted a snack during our show or not - how would this affect my morning weigh-in? Would the food in my gut make the weigh-in higher? If I skipped my snack, would that get me a new record low, just because I wouldn't have food digesting?

No more of that. Now, I just eat.

Let's get back to my fourteen-year-old self.

With my starvation method - fasting off and on, skipping breakfast and lunch but eating dinner, etc - I got back down 13 pounds. I did have the occasional binge, my body's way of fighting against the starvation, but these were minor setbacks. I still had the goal of losing 10-12 MORE pounds. That is, until the binges got closer together. 

Binge-eating: Letting go of the limits. No longer caring about calories or carbs or fat or sugar and eating. Whatever you want. Without stopping. Without listening to your body's cues. Without listening to your mind screaming at you to stop. Just doing it. Any food you thought of at all while being hungry. Until there's nothing left. You. Empty packages. Pain. And failure.

I managed to maintain my weight loss until summertime. Then I gained 6 pounds back. I spent all my time thinking about it. One day, it "clicked" that I needed to count calories. I went on a 900-calorie-per-day diet, with exercise. It seemed reasonable to me that, if 1800 calories were what I needed to maintain my weight, and if 3600 calories were in a pound, then I could lose 3/4 pound a day, or 3 lbs a week. Of course, that's not how it really happened, but the numbers were promising.

I lasted three weeks, and I got rid if those 6 pounds. Then my metabolism slowed down and my weight stalled at the same place as before. I was so tired. I broke, and the weight came piling on. 

The beginning of sophomore year saw me at the same weight I had been at pre-pneumonia in 8th grade, and ready to try again. Up and down, up and down. I read somewhere that being a vegan helped with weight loss. I tried that. I read that avoiding carbs helped. Nope. The new year brought my first "resolution" diet. When that failed, I went on Weight Watchers. I felt like the slightest comment from my peers threw me off and ruined everything. Weight Watchers got me back down to a size 5, but it didn't last. Right when I thought I'd mastered portion control, I lost myself again.

The beginning of junior year I was 10 pounds heavier than ever. I followed the same usual pattern. I got my hands on several different diet pills, and tried my own combinations. The suicidal thoughts started. I thought it might have been a side effect of the pills, but I didn't want to stop taking them. That summer, I tried cleanses involving lemons and cayenne, etc. I was obsessed with a few European documentaries about getting down to a size 0. They were supposed to discourage against starving to be thin, but they fueled me on. Once, I ate a whole tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil because I'd read that it could suppress appetite. To this day I hate the taste of raw olive oil.

I tried to throw up my food after binges. Oh, did I try. Once, I almost succeeded. 

I started my senior year of high school 7 pounds lighter than the year before. I felt like this was progress, even though I was 9 pounds heavier than I had been before ever going on a diet. I kept working at it. I started over repeatedly. I kept thinking THIS time I would stick to it. THIS time was different. THIS time I wouldn't be weak. My weight didn't go anywhere. Then, I got caught with an empty bottle of diet pills.

The woman I spoke to then is someone I'm still in contact with, but we rarely speak. She touched my life for a short time, but it made all the difference. She explained the havoc diet pills could cause for my body, that they didn't work, that they were a waste of money, and that I was worth too much to treat myself this way.

She didn't know about the 10+ different bottles in my drawer upstairs. But when I walked away from her that night, I got a trash bag. I threw away every single bottle. Even the vitamin C. And the caffeine pills that I took to ward off the exhaustion of hunger. I knew that if I was going to quit, I needed to quit it all.

I spent the next three days in a stupor of caffeine withdrawal. But I never went back.

The diets, however, weren't over.

As I end for the night, I want to make a disclaimer. Compared to others out there, my eating disorder was minor. My pain was only a sliver of what others go through. By talking about my background so frankly, I don't want to discredit those who are currently living through much worse.