The Image We Tell Ourselves

 

Up until age 12, I was skinny. I’m talking beanpole skinny. I had a barely there butt, zero point zero hips and wore slim jeans forever and a day (my favorite were the ones with the roller skates applique with REAL laces on the pockets.) I see my youngest child and he is built just like my daughter when she was his age. Abs for days and arms and legs like a colt. But you know what I used to say when people commented about my kids’ physiques? They take after their father.

Me to me: Um, hello?! Have you SEEN pictures of your husband at that age? Remember, he wore Huskies. (Sorry, babe. I’m just trying to highlight a point here.)

It’s time to call bullshit on myself. I had forgotten that skinny little kid even existed. She’s so far removed from my brain that I can’t even recognize myself in my own children. Sure, my son Kysen and I have the same coloring and Avarie and I sound just alike but that’s all the credit I gave myself.

For so many years, the image I’ve been carrying around, the one I see when I look in the mirror, is still that chubby cheeked teenager with thick thighs and a bubble butt. But I KNOW I’m not overweight. I know I’m healthy and strong but there she is, every damn time, always looking back at me. I see her at the gym, in the dressing room mirror, when I walk down the street and see her reflection in the store window, and in the rarest of rarities, in a photo of myself. The chubby girl is relentless.

But I’ve realized something. By hanging onto this image of her, I will never attain me. As long as I keep imagining her when I think of myself, I will only become more of her. You’ve heard of visualization techniques, right? Well, imagine what I’ve been doing all of these years by visualizing her when I think of myself. Hello, self-sabotage.

I will never look the way I feel if I keep up this unhealthy habit. And not that I’m trying to become a size zero or that appearances are the most important but there is a level of frustration here. I eat amazingly well, exercise 4+ times a week on average, rarely drink alcohol, and sleep at least seven hours a night. What does a girl have to do to get some results around here? I believe that would mean some serious shifting. Specifically, perspective, mindset, and gratitude.

Perspective

What could happen for me if I stop thinking “Damn it, I hate my legs” to “Nice abs, rockstar.” If I stopped focusing on the negative and shifted to the positive, what else might I find? Or perhaps my legs will get jealous from all the attention my abs are getting and they’ll decide to finally show up.

Mindset

What’s important is that I’m eating what’s good for my body and what fuels me with the right kind of energy. I exercise because it feels good and I love how strong I feel because of it. If I keep telling myself my metabolism is slower than molasses and that I’m just destined to look this way than guess what? My body is probably believing that story and sticking to the script.

Gratitude

I’m healthy. I’m strong. I’m a healthy role model for my kids. I never get sick. This should be on repeat every day in the gratitude journal. Instead, I tend to focus on the scarcity in my life. I can’t see the muscles in my legs. I look gross in shorts. 

Who wants to hear that effing sob story every day? Not me. Not anymore.

The more and more I read, watch and learn, changing my perspective, mindset and level of gratitude can shift my life in ways that I thought that were for other people. As I listen to podcasts (seriously addicted these days), I find that this is the common denominator in people who have fulfilling lives. They see things in a positive light, they believe in themselves and acknowledge their strengths, and they express gratitude every day for what they have.

I am not this image I’ve been carrying around with me all of these years. I am so much more than I am giving myself credit for. So, to keep up with my word for the year, freedom, I’m setting that chubby teenager with the thick thighs and bubble butt free. I’m letting her go forever.

This is the only me I need to see, the one sitting right here and now. The one who loves herself for what she has, who she is inside, and how I love others. Not the one who hates herself for what she doesn’t have or for her faults. Life is too short to keep living life through lens of my past.

I am who I tell myself I am. I will become what I tell myself I will become.

It’s amazing what you see when you let go of that image you’ve telling yourself for far too long.

  • How many of you are doing the same thing?
  • Do you have an image you keep playing in your head on repeat, like an old film reel? 
  • What can you do to finally set that image free? 

******

FYI, I’m back to regular newsletter programming and if you’d like to get some insider info like my favorite podcasts, healthy products, book recommendations, and lots of other goodies only subscribers get, then go here or go up to the right hand corner of this page and look for Subscribe Here! Enter your email address in the box below it and you’ll get my weekly newsletter in your inbox every Saturday. 🙂

 

 

 

The Struggle is Real

the-struggle

 

I did a FB live session a couple of weeks ago about five healthy habits you can start for your family. One of the first things I talked about was cutting out sugar. It seems if it is processed, there’s a good chance it contains sugar: high fructose corn syrup which they try to mask by calling it corn sugar, dextrose, sucrose, glucose, yada, yada, yada. Keeping the sugar out of my kids’ bodies is an EVERY DAY STRUGGLE.

It’s a major lifestyle change to let go of the sweet stuff and the transition is still hard for my husband and kids. They fight me all the time but I know it’s the right way to live. I know too much to turn back now, but damnit, it’s hard!

Just because I gave “Cut the sugar” as my number one habit from my FB live session doesn’t mean it doesn’t kick me in the teeth every single day. My kids whine, bitch and moan about the lack of anything to eat in the house when the fridge is stocked. They still want food from a box, a drive through or a rip open bag. I offer apples, smoothies, string cheese, fat bombs with pithy eh as a response. They are carb junkies, every single one. The deprogramming of my children has been like trying to get a bill passed in Washington.

I’ve learned a lot over the years and I know there is a direct correlation to the quality of food I eat with how well my body works and feels. For the past ten years, I’ve been on a journey to feeling better. It started out with trying to solve some chronic health issues (it worked), then I wanted to lose some weight and get in shape. I did for a while but got too comfortable and slid back down into some unhealthy habits. I hit my forties and realized more than anything I just wanted to feel good. The scale didn’t matter, nor did the macros, and I was just tuned into what my body was telling me.

Within the past couple of years, I’ve cut out over-the-counter meds (really, haven’t needed them), chemical-laden soaps, shampoos, and lotions, and use paper or glass over plastic whenever I get the opportunity. I use essential oils to support my body and the health of my family and we don’t clean with toxic chemicals. I’ve switched our family to mostly organic and non-processed foods, eating that way 85% of the time.  I even make my own deodorant. Yes, I’m a modern hippie.

I constantly get No one else has to eat like this or Why can’t we just have normal food like everybody else. I usually pop back with I guess you’re the unlucky one being born to who a mom who loves you so much that she wants you to be healthy, now and forever. My bad.

I get constant push back, rolling of the eyes, and behind my back begging to their father. In which he often gives in because he wants DQ as well. There has to be some balance so I let those times slide because I know they had good food most of the day. I’m not a complete witch.

But I will carry on and fight the good fight. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. I know what an unhealthy diet that starts in childhood will do to their adult years. I am undoing MAJOR DAMAGE from the unholy amounts of fake, sugary, processed foods I had as a kid. I don’t want my kids (or their kids!) to suffer like I have as an adult. I know that they can’t understand it because they are young and stupid and their frontal lobes are underdeveloped. I am older and wiser, therefore, I win.

However, that is only part of the struggle I’m referring to. If I’m going to keep it real, I’m frustrated as hell because I’m eating better than ever and I’m actually gaining weight. Do I have to cut off a limb or something to make ten pounds go away?

I’ve been eating a mostly ketogenic diet for the past few months and I’ve gained a pound a month since May of 2015. I’m fully aware, though, that am doing some things to sabotage my success.

  • I don’t drink enough water
  • I don’t eat enough calories
  • I haven’t given up alcohol completely
  • I don’t exercise enough
  • I haven’t been to the doctor to find out what’s going on. (Is it hormonal, food allergies, genetic mutation?)

There they are. My ugly truths. So now that that’s out in the open, what am I going to do about it?

I need to stop the steady climb from the scale and find out what’s going on but I want to make one thing clear. I am worried about my weight as much as why I’ve been gaining so rapidly. My attitude has been that if I fit in my clothes and feel strong, I don’t care what the scale says. BUT, with that said, I’m concerned about how rapidly I’ve gained weight over the past year and a half for all the things I am doing right. It truly makes no sense.

I do think a big issue is lack of water. I’ve been bad. Water flushes the body and helps with water retention. If I don’t drink enough water during the day, my body is going to hold onto the water it does get because it knows it is precious and doesn’t know when the next time it will get some.

Same goes for food. I listen to my body’s hunger signals but I think my lack of hunger is due more to lack of exercise and just a slow metabolism. I know I end up undereating every day so that can also work against me.

I decided the weekend before Labor Day that I was going to allow myself only one glass of wine a week. I’ve stuck to it except for one week (I had book club, enough said) and that has been nice but I might need to go cold turkey to really get things moving.

Finally, I’m not exercising enough. I used to be a 3 x a week to lift weights and cardio on the off days. Then I joined ClassPass because I loved all the yoga options then I have been working out 1-2 times at home with either light weights or body weight, maybe one yoga class a week and a walk. While it’s still exercising, it may not be enough. I’ve noticed a lack in muscle tone and but I think that’s really due to a lack of protein rather than from me switching to low impact exercise like yoga, walking and body weight exercises. I’ve seen plenty of buff individuals who don’t slave away at the gym behind squat rack. Again, it’s about balance but I think I need to get back into some heavier weights to kick up the metabolism.

You would think a pretty healthy diet would be enough. It’s not. But the one thing I do know is that I’m going to keep at it. Eating healthy food, living a non-toxic lifestyle, and a having a healthy attitude are non-negotiables because if I quit those, my kids will be watching. If I base my decisions solely on trying to lose weight and be thin, then I’m sending them the wrong message.

Living my best life also means giving my body the chance to live up to its potential and work as it was intended. I just want this sucker to go the distance and allow me to do all the things I want to do at any age.

So I will fight through this struggle and continue to unravel the mystery of this crazy weight gain. When I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.

Have you had some struggles yourself? Cut back on sugar but haven’t lost pound? Started exercising more but haven’t seen the scale needle move?

Stay the course.

Get curious instead of frustrated.

Examine what could be sabotaging your progress.

Switch things up to shock your body into action. 

Find a good doctor (endocrinologist or functional medicine) who can help you get some answers.

We’ve got this!

 

 

 

 

 

Going Back to Where I’ve Never Been

photo-1426086800127-2601510ca027
Photo by Josh Nezon/Unsplash

Earlier this week, I let my son put a damper on my Monday morning. He didn’t complete some homework over the weekend in which we had six hours traveling in the car that didn’t occur to him as the ideal time to get it done. He finished it before school on Monday morning but he was late…by a lot, and I let it get to me.

I was ready to get started on my list of things to accomplish that morning…wait, no I wasn’t. I was up late the night before working on changing the font in my MailChimp newsletter (I still haven’t figured it out) and then as I finally gave up on that, I realized I forgot to fill out the 6 pages of forms for my daughter to take to high school soccer tryouts the next morning. My eyes saw 2:30 a.m. which was totally stupid. So no, I wasn’t ready to tackle Monday like I thought. I drug my ass out of bed and drove my middle son to school, looking all of my 43 years and then some.

So whether it was the rough start to the day, I have no idea but as I sat at my computer to finally get that final bit of tax info to our accountant, I started crying. I will blame this on lack of sleep and Lord Huron. No, he’s not a character in some book or what my husband makes me call him when we’re alone; it’s a band that I found a couple of years ago which I’m completely in love with.

Almost every song makes me feel an ache for something unknown. It’s like I’m have nostalgic moments for places I haven’t been. Maybe it’s because I’ve pictured myself living a different life than the one I’m living now and these songs take me to those places I’ve only traveled to in my mind. Anyone out there relate or even understand what the hell I’m talking about?

It’s such a weird feeling. I know there is something bigger waiting for me on the other side of this, whatever this is. If I could satisfy this itch, I would take my little family, get in an RV, and set off for parts unknown. I want them with me to explore this great big world and see what is possible for us all.

I want to give them all the experiences I’ve craved for so long. I want to show them how to live a purposeful life. On the flip side , I want to show them how to appreciate the little things in our days. I want to show them what following your heart looks like. I want to do so much with them, for them, and yet, I want to do so much for me.

Each day I don’t get to satisfy that itch is another day that the ache grows and this nostalgia for unknown places whispers a little louder. My heart knocks on my chest wall with a great urgency, asking me if I’m listening. I’m pulled in two directions. One pulls me to serve my family: clean the house, pay the bills, drive the kids to appointments, be that mom who whistles with her fingers jammed in her mouth so elegantly from the bleachers, and hold them when the tears come. But…but, there’s more to me than that.

The voice inside my head whispers from both sides of the fence.

You signed up for this…deal with it. What did you think motherhood was?

Same shit, different day. Are you really just going to keep doing this?

No one is going to listen to what you have to say.

Seriously, 2015 came and went. How long are you going to keep waiting?

Monday morning during my melt down, I reached for my beloved diffuser like a lifeline, pulling out my favorite essential oils to see if I could create a “shake off the Monday blues” blend. I saw a fleck of glitter floating in the reservoir of my diffuser (I use them in my handwritten letters because when I receive mail that isn’t a bill, I feel pretty damn special) and on Monday morning, I needed both glitter and essential oils to spew from my diffuser like Old Faithful.

But then, that might be my problem. Am I desperately looking around for the glittery parts of life, as if it’s out there having fun without me. Perhaps I should be looking inside for the glitter that is already within me.

Maybe I’m craving to explore all the places I’ve never been in my physical world because I have yet to explore all the amazing places inside myself. As I’m going through my soul-searching phase, I’m learning every day that there is much more to me than I had realized and perhaps that’s where this yearning comes from. All that glitter I’m looking for is not “out there” somewhere, like a party I wasn’t invited to. There is plenty of sparkle right where I am which I’ve been ignoring.

And then, all of a sudden, I’m back. I’m right here where I stand and type at my desk. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, inside this awareness and self-realization. Every day I explore more of who I am, the closer I am to following the right trail and going back to the places I’ve never been. 

This song, She Lit a Fire, stirs up all kinds of stuff inside me because I picture that I’m singing it to myself.

Take a listen…

 

 

Any of you feel this same ache for an unknown yet strangely familiar place?

What makes you feel restless about your own life? 

How have you handled this feeling?