To buy or not to buy… a bathroom scale

I do not have a bathroom scale.  I did have one but my old roommate accidentally took it in the last move.  So now I have no way of measuring the number I seem to base all of my hopes and dreams on.  Dr. Oz, as well as other random sources on the oh-so-trustworthy internet, say that weighing yourself is an excellent way to keep up motivation and be more successful at dieting and losing weight.  And I have to admit, watching that number steadily go down, with wedding photos on the horizon, seems very attractive.  Assuming, of course, I can get that number to go down.

Unfortunately, as I have been trying to get into a healthier mental state regarding how I view my body, I have been reading books by Geneen Roth.  And in her newest one called Women, Food and God she brought to my attention a study done by UCLA in 2007.  This study concluded that 83% of people who go on diets gain all the weight back and more and as a result, are even worse off then people who never went on diets in the first place.  I looked up the study to read it for myself and they say quite bluntly “diets don’t work.”

Now I have heard this phrase before.  The first time was over 11-12 years ago as I was watching a video that came with Suzanne Somers’ Somersizing kit.  Dressed as a private detective, she explained to her mystery client that the reason he could never keep the weight off was because dieting doesn’t work.  Then she went on to highlight all the ins and outs of the somersizing “eating plan.”  For some reason, the idea of “diets are bad” didn’t really sink in.

Back to my bathroom scale conundrum, should I buy a mechanism that will motivate me to partake in a practice that is 83% likely to be futile and most likely harm me both physically and mentally?  No, probably not.  I still want to but the logical part of my brain is telling me I should avoid the weight-loss corner of Walgreens for a while, say… forever.

But I am still confused.  What is the difference between a diet and an “eating plan”?  I suppose one is supposed to last forever and the other does not (eating plan = lifestyle change).  But how does that translate into action?

“Eat more veggies”  But they’re expensive and don’t last long.

“Everything in moderation”  This one drives me crazy.  What does moderation even mean!?  A dietitian once told me that it isn’t good to eat nothing but chocolate cake for dinner, but it isn’t good to eat nothing but broccoli either.  OK…  awesome, thanks.  And the perfect meal is somewhere between those two extremes?  Where?  I mean, she made an excellent point but in between broccoli and chocolate cake there are a lot of foods, and quantities of said foods, and things get hazy again. (I only met with her once.  She is the dietitian who told me I was a big girl and had to learn to live with it.  I never went back.)

“calories in vs. calories out”  Alright, somewhat true.  But where those calories come from does make a difference.  Everyone needs fat and protein, vitamins and minerals.  Not every calorie is processed the same or provide the same nutritional benefits.  And is counting calories considered a diet or is it a lifestyle change I’ll have to do for the rest of my life?

It is so overwhelming.  Over a year ago my doctor did tell me she would like to see me lose some weight and I’m pretty sure, even without a scale, that I have gone up a couple of pounds since then.  But what changes can I implement without going into that dark place that is dieting and self-loathing?  Matt and I were at the grocery store last night trying to find something for dinner that was fast, healthy and reasonably priced.  And for the life of me I did not know what to do.  I literally wandered the aisles in a fog, my gaze drifting over colors and words, packages and marketing ploys.  And I kept thinking, what should I eat?  If only I didn’t have to eat anything, this would be so much easier.  Of all the diets I’ve tried and food knowledge I’ve accumulated… why don’t I know what to do?

And then I realized what I wanted.  I wanted to put something beautiful into my body.  Something with vibrant, natural color and tastiness that made me feel good just thinking about eating it.  Ruby jeweled pomegranate seeds, deep green and purple lettuce leaves, impossibly small, delicate couscous granules and flaky, pink salmon.  Something gorgeous that made me feel gorgeous.

I didn’t find it last night.  I ended up eating leftover pizza, though I did track what I ate on the fitbit website (I’m not sure if I should be or not but I have been keeping track of my food occasionally).  And I savored that slice of pizza and I followed it with Chobani strawberry greek yogurt.

Even though I didn’t find what I was looking for, I think I am a step closer to figuring out what changes I want to make.  Changes that will make me happy and appreciative of who I am, where I am and what I eat.  And letting my happiness factor into my lifestyle choices is definitely a new approach for me.

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Thank you for the words Elizabeth Johnson

OK, I am not the most religious person in the world for various reasons.  However, I am taking a very interesting theology course and a handout I was given the other day contains a quote I would like to share.  My thanks to Elizabeth Johnson who wrote these beautiful words in her book Quest for the Living God.

“The point is this: people who courageously accept themselves, who accept their own life with all its quirks and beauty and agony, in point of fact accept holy mystery, who abides within them addressing them as self-offering love…”

 

 

An attempt at bragging

Step 1 challenge to myself: write one paragraph about my looks without saying anything negative… and post it so everyone can see.

My heart flutters just thinking about it.  I am so accustomed to talking bad about myself to people so this, unfortunately, is out of my comfort zone.  Why do we girls do that anyway?  Talk bad about ourselves to people so that they feel more comfortable around us.  I guess because if they are more comfortable then we are more comfortable.  And we don’t want to come across as self-important or stuck up.

“Oh, I feel so fat.  What?  You feel fat too?  OMG, we have so much in common!”

Hooray for the common ground that is feeling bad about how we look.  It brings people together.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, my positive paragraph.  I was in the bathroom this morning and as I was looking in the mirror I noticed some nice things about myself.  So, I am going to write those things down.  Here.  Without sprinkling in any negatives to protect myself from the scrutiny of others and/ or inspire them to tell me it’s not that bad and I’m really beautiful.

So here we go.

*deep breath* *clears throat*

My skin looks really nice today.  My old roommate, when she saw me doing my makeup, would tell me I had skin like a china doll and today I think I can see what she meant.  The sea buckthorn oil I have been taking and my new Chartreuse acne cleanser have been working very well and I am happy.  I have very pretty hair.  It is thick and shiny and goes down almost to the small of my back.  This is the longest I think my hair has ever been.  I dye my hair a dark red (the box calls it “crushed garnet”) and it really brings out the greens in my eyes and the rose tones in my skin.  My eyes are pretty and are a stormy blue-green color.

And done.  Not bad.  I still gave credit to products I use but one step at a time.

Now I just have to end this post without saying anything negative.

Yup.  I can stop typing now.  It’s over.

I noticed a double chin when I looked down at my ipod and saw my reflection

Ah, damn.

Backwards and forwards

I have a lot of homework to do.  And I mean a lot.  And as I have often done in the past I am sitting on a couch wondering what to do next.  And the result?  In the last hour or so I have once again downloaded a weight tracker onto my iPod and I have read about the ideal waist measurements for men and women.  My waist is 7.5 inches too large.  My love’s is 17 – 21 inches over the ideal.  We both have a greater chance of developing diabetes, heart issues and other scary stuff.

And I am still unsure what to do.

I wonder why, when I am avoiding homework and other such responsibilities, I often end up researching diets, workouts, beauty treatments and other such “miracles.”  I guess when I am anxious over school I am most susceptible to my desire for perfection.  Every health-oriented article, website or book holds so much promise.  So much possibility.  I could be the thin girl who has it all together rather than what I am now… whatever that may be.

In January I requested an early birthday present from my mother.  $200 to hire a professional organizer for 3 hours to help me figure out how to put a house together.  I simply had no idea what to do or where to get started and professional direction seemed like a fantastic solution, which it was.  I learned a lot and I am much happier in my current environment.  And the biggest thing she taught me was that you have to stage all of your stuff before you can find a place for it.  You have to take inventory before you can actually find places for it all and as a result, things would get worse before it got better.  So that’s what I did.  The dining room was covered in boxes and piles, all with their specific categories.

I had always thought that I had to know where things went before I unpacked and/ or organized them but that was completely backwards from what actually worked.  Perhaps I am doing the same thing in other situations.  I have been tired for a very long time and I always assumed that if I had the perfect diet plan, the perfect workout and the perfect supplements I wouldn’t be tired anymore.  Then I could get my homework done and I would be thin and I would get everything I had ever wanted.

Just one problem.  When you are exhausted, cooking and exercising is even harder than usual.  And when you are exhausted and stressed and you have been putting off a paper because you have been putting together diet plans… well, ice cream suddenly becomes the best tasting thing I have ever had in my life.

I wonder how many empty pints of Ben and Jerry’s I have hidden from roommates over the years.

Perhaps it was trying to do everything at once that was one of the reasons I was so tired.

So I have decided on my step two of… whatever it is I am doing here.  I am still going to try to change but I am going to a.) take it slow b.) get my homework done first and c.) do it all with love.  Everything I do I want to have saturated with absolute and unconditional love.  I want to take care of myself because I love myself, not because I hate who I am.  So I am going to take African Mango extract everyday (I’ll explain why in another post), I’ll take my omega 3s and walk more.  And I am going to get my lab report done.

I think that’s plenty for today.

Love,

Me

What to do?

Yesterday morning the sun was rising over Lake Michigan, filling the sky with glowing reds and oranges and making the water glisten.  The mist was beginning to recede from the shore and the waves were lapping against the sand of a small deserted beach.  It was here that my love gave me a ring, asked me to marry him and I happily agreed.  And I mean very happily.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed and cried at the same time.  And the ring is absolutely gorgeous.

But now I have a wedding to think about.  As well as a wedding dress and photos I will have for  the rest of my life.  My future mother-in-law has already proclaimed we all need to lose weight, especially my fiance who needs to lose quite a bit of weight and has a family history of serious heart problems.  Both she and I are worried about his health so I completely understand.  I truly do love her (I am marrying into a fantastic family!) and her intentions but… as if I hadn’t felt pressure enough before to be thin and pretty.  Wow!  Not only do I want to look absolutely spectacular for the biggest day of my life, I want the man I am marrying to be healthy.  Us losing weight seems to be the best thing to do.

But what should  I do?  I am so tired of dieting.  I have so much information about food in my head, I swear it will explode.  And what about my “self-acceptance no matter what”?  If I do this again, will I fall into the same patterns that bred my self-loathing in the first place?  What should I do?

I’m going to have to think on this.  I should probably mention that I bought some African Mango extract and I measured my waist today.  This all feels familiar; too familiar.  But I’ll expand on that later.  For now, I already decided my step one was to actively look for good things in myself.  I guess I should continue by finding my step 2.

Is it possible to love who you are now while still striving for change?

Am I an adult yet?

Well.  When I started this blog, oh so long ago, I was 24.  Now, as of sometime in the afternoon on March 15th, I am 25 years of age.  So… shouldn’t I be a grown up now?  Shouldn’t I have it all together and at least somewhat figured out?  Not 100% sure but better than this.  I still feel so awkward, overweight with zits.  Not even my skin is aging properly.  And I’m still in school (at least it is not high school, Thank God).

I guess that’s why I started all this in the first place.

So I could have a platform to conquer my biggest hurdle and truly move forward.  I won’t feel stunted for ever, right?

But if I were to offer some advice from my vast 25 years of experience, it would be this.  You always find what you are looking for.  Always.  Angry people always find things to be angry about.  Happy people find things to be happy about.  Now, I don’t know if it’s coincidence, simple shift in awareness or some sort of “law of attraction.”  But it doesn’t matter.  Because it still works that you find what you are looking for.

As for me, I was always looking for things I needed to improve on and now, when I look in the mirror, those are all I see.  I don’t know if I even truly see myself anymore.  So I suppose that will be step one of what I am trying to do here.  Because if I look for the good things about myself, I will find them.  I have to find them.  Because I deserve to be seen.
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Summer fast approaching

My insecurities are making it hard for me to truly enjoy the nice, warm weather.  Summer is swiftly approaching and I am already missing the safety of over sized sweatshirts.  I saw a number of thin girls in itty bitty shorts today and that did not help matters.  I was actually quite fascinated how their thighs connect seamlessly into their calves like perfect, long, slender cones.  But then I thought of my own lumpy thighs…

I can’t help wondering how they feel about themselves.  Do they realize how lovely they are?  Or are they dissapointed with what they see in the mirror as well?  Are they content with life because they are thin?  Do they even know what they have?

But I don’t know them.  Any assumptions I make would just highlight my own ignorance.  Just as someone assuming they know me based on my size would highlight their own.  But this knowledge does not stop my envy.

I wonder what I should do when I finally love my legs.  Like truly love them.  Maybe a little heart tattoo on my upper calf.  Or Japanese kanji for love which I’ll find out later actually means lettuce or apple or something.  Hmmmm…  I don’t know if I could make that kind of commitment.

What I will probably do is wear shorts on a walk along the river and just relish the feeling of a breeze on my knees.  Simple I know but if I could walk confidently in such a situation without feeling like I should apologize to everyone who sees my thunder thighs, I will know I truly have arrived.

 

 

This is gonna take a while.

 

 

 

I probably should start by not referring to them as “thunder thighs.”

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