Sunday, January 29, 2017

Exercise is the hard part- for me

Lest y'all think that I am off the struggle bus completely, in light of recent rants and opinions that I have espoused, I am not.  I do manage to get through the day pretty happy with life in general.  Of course everyday has its irritations but as a rule, I do not fuss about my internal workings.

The last several weeks I have not been myself exactly.  I really have been sort of irritable and at times short and more than a little down.  We are all entitled to these out of the ordinary feelings, as human are an unpredictable and sometimes unstable sort.  I just had a super duper coaching call today that helped me discover a lot- a lotta, lot of things that I realize were coloring my outlook and bringing me down.  Coaching calls are what keep me growing and realizing how many things that I hear myself thinking are skewed, off-base or simply untrue. Thoughts are really messed up sometimes.

One of the main things that I continually try to make peace with and find true freedom in is my activity and exercise.  The thing is that I was identified in my childhood as the reader of the family.  I really preferred to just be reading thank you very much.  So therefore when my more active sister came along, she was deemed the athletic one- and the boys- well "boys will be boys".  She could do the cartwheels and the flips and all that stuff- which is cool.  They all dragged me unwillingly into baseball games.... So, when one is labeled something like that one tends to believe it.

When I hit college I discovered (notice how we skipped the horror of high school gym??  I will say I sort of loved doing gymnastics- the easy stuff as I sucked at it, and tennis which I didn't suck at) that I loved doing dance aerobics.  I found a class - which was shocking- when I moved to the northwoods after I got married, and did different forms of it for years.  Combine that and walking, and that is what I did, sporadically, until about the time I turned 50.

During my time of dieting with a capital D, I was fortunate enough to have a very nice little gym open up in our time, and I bought into the gym culture big time.  I felt included and loved and I definitely was told I was good at weight lifting- which was a shocker!!  I have never been good at anything athletic - I was the reader, remember??  But as I did with the dieting, I took it to the extreme, to a place where I was basically doing nothing with my life except cooking, eating, making food, thinking about food, planning my food and exercising- and I slept a few hours a day.  I rarely took a rest day, and I worked out up to 4 hours on some days.

One of my biggest difficulties has been finding balance in my exercise.  Stopping dieting and weighing myself was relatively easy.  Dialing back my exercise obsession proved to be much harder.  One really good thing that happened when I was on the diet thing was that I found myself and my joys.  I found my courage and I have had many experiences that scared me to DEATH  that have made me what I am today. Turns out I sort of like being scared on my adventures.  I do not regret my past, but I am very glad to not be restricting and overexercising myself to injury and exhaustion.

So my goal- my eye on the prize- has become moving and doing things that give me joy, give me pleasure and support my adventures.  I became an adventurer and  am doing things that I never considered doing before.  I need to be strong to have my particular flavor of adventures. But finding balance and peace took a long time and then there were the continued notices from the universe that I am not in charge of everything.  I wrote in my main blog** about my broken elbows that really turned my life into something different.  With that one fall, I quit over-exercising.  I couldn't any more. And my mind was apparently relieved.

One of the things that bothered me over the last few weeks was the fact that I had a HEAVY mirror fall on my foot and I am pretty sure that my toe was broken- before Thanksgiving.  My toe stayed and indeed stays a bit sore even now, a long time.  It bummed me out- that and the ridiculous weather of either way below zero or then the crazy slippery roads that happened from the big thaw we had- kept me off the road for anything more than only a 2 mile walk once in a while.  I have the need to be outside and take pictures and walk and find my peace and my joy.  It is definitely a therapy and a meditation.

It made me question if I was still that person who could go on adventures and be strong and able to enjoy my life as I want to live it.  Thanks to my coaching, I know I will be ready to do the next thing.  I KNOW I will be heading out into the kayak early in the spring with my camera- go hiking on big hills again, and generally be who I want to be.  Sometimes I need to be reminded that I actually do know what I am doing and I can trust myself, in spite of the voices in my head.

The key to my sanity is doing what I enjoy- I love to walk, kayak, lift, hike, bike...... fun stuff like that.  I should get a tennis racket and a partner- I actually forgot how much I liked doing that!  What I hate doing and for the most part is avoided- ellipticals and treadmills (running in any form)  and stationary bikes (though I do the stationary bike to train for real bike riding- though it is deadly boring.  I am looking for someone to hire to talk me through that 30 min. twice a week- any takers?) Why should I do an activity that I detest?  What is the point of that?  I would rather go for a short walk in nasty weather than spend an hour on a machine looking at a wall.

I am not exercising to change my body's look- I am exercising to make my life easier to get through every day.  I can lift the 50lb clay boxes, the 50 lb horse feed bags, lift my grandkids, do my gardening, kayak for  hours, climb ever mountain.....  you get the picture.  I don't do it to fit into the image of what we see on TV or movies or ads or anything else.  It took some time to get here, but here I am and I am happy.

Don't let anyone- no trainer or tv personality or seller of snake oil or unpleasant exercise programs tell you what is right for you- you actually know.  You know deep inside, when you are not kidding yourself, what makes you feel more than good enough.

Peas and carrots.  :)

**This is the first post of my elbow injuries, you can see a slow awakening of reality in this and the following 15 or so posts.

Yelling at the TV - again.....

I mentioned that I was using this blog as a companion to the Escape Diet Prison Podcast, and I want to do a short postscript on the "Oprah" episode.

People, I've been yelling at her again.  This time Oprah and her pretend best friend that she is "interviewing" ostensibly,  are chatting about how the friend feeling since she has restricted her food and artificially changed her body to suit the needs of other and by extension, lined the pockets of Oprah and the other shareholders of Weight Watchers.  You can not accuse me of being unbiased here- HA! Anyway, these two are so delighted that they can eat all sorts of foods!!

This lovely, blonde, fair skinned lady is being all yippee skippy about her weight loss and how she can now eat CHIPS!!  CHIPS!!  Isn't that special, she "gets to" eat chips because Oprah and WW says it is ok- in moderation and balance!?!  And Oprah LOVES them too!

As was discussed in the Podcast the idea that one of the most powerful, successful and wealthy woman in the WORLD feels the need to diet is absolutely crazy.  She has everything.  As she sings in her commercial (slightly altered) (she's) having it all....  Of course we cannot know what goes on in her mind, we are  not her, and we do not know what her demons are, but using that power and influence that she has on the general public- to sell a diet product for a company she owns a controlling portion of- is so so wrong.  It is close to amoral in my humble little ol' opinion. People are crazy about her, and will follow her anywhere.  I do not get that, but that is ok.  I used to admire her a lot for her story, but that shine has dulled.

BUT in this commercial, perhaps with the implication that she is "just like us", she gets all giddy over eating chips- I LOVE THEM TOO!!!  she says.  For the love of God, stop it.  WHY are you making yourself look foolish and trite with the squee-fest over potato chips.   And then to say you will live a fuller life because you have lost weight???  ARE you fucking kidding me?  sigh.  Live your full life now, without waiting. LIVE IT!!!! People don't care how much you weigh, and if they do then that is their problem- not yours.

Oprah, honey, I have a hot tip for you, if you let yourself eat potato chips when you want them i.e.: quit fighting with the chips-  the chips don't hold any more power over you.  And since it is a deep fried piece of potato, that seems like it should be completely doable.  Think about it- its a potato.  They really aren't all that powerful.  They are food.

Anyway, that is my mini-rant about Oprah, I am using my mute button on her as I have been for the "news" these days because I can't stand that either.  I'm done with Oprah- for now.  Lol.

The take away here is I hope so hard that you will look at these WW commercials for what they are- a company that is banking on the hope that you trust Oprah, and the company's reputation and name recognition, to guide you to a world where you get to restrict your food and feel bad about yourself over and over when the diet fails you, because you know it will.
Diets don't work- Live your life now- you are definitely MORE than enough to live a full life at this moment/day/week/year/lifetime.

Love and smooches!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Down to the nitty gritty- no diets

No diets- huh, how does that even work?  I have heard that from more than one person. It really is a complex subject, but it is as simple as that too.  Just don't diet.   Just don't be restricting your calories.  Now that is the easiest and hardest thing in the world.

We are constantly told that we can't be trusted to feed ourselves.  There are books, commercials, tv shows, blogs, apps and food companies that tell us that we have no idea what we are doing.  If we eat what we want- we will gain all the weight.

A few basic issues with this premise and our belief of this premise:  first- you are a freaking grown up and you really can eat what you want.  Seriously, you really can.  Your mom is not in charge any more (ok, that is a loaded statement, but you know what I mean).  Second the "if"- this industry is blackmailing and sabotaging you.  It is using its visual influence to make you think that you are not worthy of having a fulfilling life at the weight and shape you are right now.  Next- what business is it of anyone if you gain, lose or stay the same?  You, my dear, are not put on this earth for someone else's viewing pleasure.

But we will stay with the idea of not dieting here.  About 3 years ago,  I still struggled with my weight- meaning, I was struggling to stay at an artificially low weight, at which I had no business being.  I literally was starving myself for what??  Any way, I was very low weight and on the one hand I wanted to lose even more.  But on the other hand I was panicked and dissatisfied.  I did NOT want to keep doing this same thing all the time: cooking all weekend for the week, prepackaging all the lunches, planning my foods, buying ridiculously expensive things.  It was exhausting and drained my checkbook and between that and going on 2 hour walks or hitting the gym for hours, I literally had no time for anything or anyone unless they accompanied me in someway on the above mentioned activities.  These are not bad in and of themselves, but it was to the exclusion of almost everything else in my life.  Except of course getting on the scale about 10 times a day.

So through the process that I outlined in a previous post, I discovered the blogs and podcasts that recommended throwing away the scale and quit dieting.  So one weekend I did.  I didn't throw the scale away, because the hubs thought he needed it.  (note: he doesn't anymore- broke him of that habit by never replacing the batteries.  lol)  But I put it out of my sight.  And mostly I refused to get ON IT.  I apparently am the sort of person who can just suddenly do something like never weigh myself again when I FINALLY decide to.  It takes a while but I am like that.  There is no weaning myself of something- I just do it.  And I quit dieting in one swoop as well.  Soon after that I joined the Body Love Writing Circles that Anne-Sophie hosted, so I had some consistent support.  But for about a month I read as much as I could and sort of just "did it".

By "did it", I mean I quit dieting.  I quit following a food plan, filling in the diet app, counting my calories in and my calories out.  It was a little scary and really confusing.  When you literally can eat what you want, where do you start?  You tentatively go and make yourself a big peanut butter sandwich on yummy, smushy, white bread, that before would have had to be almond butter on heavy whole grain whatever.  You have yourself an ice-cream sundae for supper because you have given yourself permission- full fat ice-cream from the freezer (and nary a banana in sight!) that you always have there for the hubs and he just would willy-nilly enjoy when he felt like it at night!!  (Remember the grown up comment from up above?  He has no problem eating something he wants, because he doesn't diet or care what he eats, really) While I never actually binged out on chocolate, because I had been giving myself permission to eat chocolate- with some guilt, mind you- for several months, a fair share was consumed during this time period.   I had been giving this technique the side eye for a while;  it felt good to jump in.

I actually stood (and sometimes still do) by the refrigerator and imagined a variety of foods in my belly.  I imagined what I would feel like if I ate it.  I want what I eat to make me feel good, now. When you quit dieting, you can literally eat anything you want- seriously anything.  I mean it!!  It was immensely freeing and a bit frightening.  You go through a refeed period where your body demands you to eat without restriction the things that you were afraid to eat the most.  But you have to trust the process and just go with it.  Honey, you won't eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and supper for the rest of your life.  Chocolate will become just chocolate.  You will discover things that you were freaking CRAVING- like OMG GIVE ME ALL THE COOL RANCH DORITOS RIGHT NOW!!!!  and discover that they just don't taste all that good. Neither do Oreos---  Now Cheetos, they continue to taste amazing to me- a bit salty but sometimes that is what I want.  And I have them in the house most of the time, and they last for several days or a week.  Because I know I can eat them if I want and I can buy more if I run out.  Cheetos have no power over me anymore.  None.  Eat things that feel right to you, regardless of what anyone else says.

Food is no longer my hero, my savior, my enemy, my nemesis or my friend.  It is just food.  To get to this point you have to stop dieting.  That is the first thing.  Then stop weighing yourself, because for this to all work, you have to stop measuring and knowing a thing that is truly meaningless in your life and that is your weight.  BMI, weight, etc, etc.  You don't need to know those things- especially when you give them the power to make or break your day, your mood, your life.

This is the first step and having a tribe helps.  Having people who are escaping diets and are rebels of the most awesome kind are essential.  There are many people who are body positive coaches and bloggers who can help- I recommend going to Facebook and request to join Escape Diet Prison page. Don't be afraid- ask a question, people will give their thoughts and ideas.  Read the things going on- consider buying Anne-Sophie's 365 journaling prompts- it is stellar and just the right thing to continue on this journey to become the best person you can be without worrying about your weight.  You are far more than good enough to succeed.

Friday, January 27, 2017

What this is all about

So I posted the first of this new blog a whole 10 minutes ago, and already there are 4 views??  How does that even work? I have advertised this to no one.  Oh well.  My idea here is that I plan to share this blog only in the bopo groups I belong to, and perhaps twitter/instagram realm.  As we all know there are a lot of folks who are not ready for the message of body positive and inclusiveness and all the things that make haters gonna hate, so to speak.

I have had a few haters that lurk around on the internet- the chicken-livered jerks that they are.  People who actually send unsigned letters with vague threats- seriously this has happened to me, who does nothing but try to find the joy in life.  ugh.  So, seriously, if you have a point of discussion, please be adult.  I deal with children all day long and I just can't with drama and bullshit in my downtime.  Thanks!

So, as I alluded to in my first post, I plan to use this blog as a companion to the podcast that I am part of.  I never in my wildest imagination thought I would ever be on a podcast.  Crazy talk.  First of all, I do not really feel particularly qualified for said podcast, but I have been assured that I have plenty to contribute, and I am getting more comfortable with the whole thing.  I even listened to us whilst driving down to the oldest son's house this past weekend- the weather and driving was pretty miserable and I couldn't deal with my phone to change the broadcast.  yikes!  So I heard the one about about weight stigma and bias- (episode 43)  I sounded kind of awful, I barely had a voice, but I have to say we are pretty entertaining.

We have covered a lot of ground in the last 6 or 7 weeks.  From a solo episode where I talk with Anne-Sophie about how I got to where I am now, to discussing Oprah and her shady weight-watcher involvement.  We are three diverse people coming from very different backgrounds.  I am the person who is not in the business of coaching in one form or another and I did not have an actual eating disorder as they did.  But what I do bring to the table is my age and experience, and the whole decades of thinking that I sucked because of my weight.

After my previously mentioned search for something different than diets, I definitely looked around for help.  I read the blog of Isabelle Foxen Duke (and someone else I can't remember)  and some information on the websites of a couple fitness trainer type people.  I was at that time so far down that fitness rabbit hole, I had no intention of being anything less than buff, even if I gained a little weight....  oy did the universe let me know that I was not in charge eventually, but that is for another time.  The podcasts were helpful, but I felt short changed- I needed more.  I needed something as intensive as the support I got for dieting.  I found  some free short programs and I checked around for prices for this new thing I found called life coaching.  Everything seemed so expensive, or not enough, or just not quite right.

I happened upon (this is sort of a love letter about my coach, she literally helped me regain my sanity and life) Anne-Sophie initially through her previous- Your Life Your Success- podcast.  She has a lovely voice, and I love her accent so so much.  She has always had a very calming effect on me.  I have been known to get a little anxious about things and I am drawn to calming people.  Anyway, I was LUCKY ENOUGH to find her when she was working on one of her certifications and I got some really great sessions from her in her earlyish career.  I began doing occasional private coaching calls and then I entered her 6 month small group writing circles, which was based on journaling, meditation and Skype calls.  This was the life changing time for me.  This is where I discovered the things I needed to about myself and where I made change and accepted myself for who I am.  I have not stepped on a scale in my house in 3 years this month, I do not know my weight and I do not care what it is.  Big changes have happened.

I guess my years of teaching, plus my dedication to wanting to be free of the whole dieting culture and mentality has given me some perspectives and opinions that are worth sharing.  At least I hope that is true!  Like all of us, sometimes I feel insecure.

 BUT we are MORE than good enough to share our opinions.  No matter what we look like, what we weigh, what our size is- we are all worthy.

Another blog?!?

Hello everyone!

I have been writing off and on almost since the inception of my main blog about my personal journey of losing weight, gaining fitness, losing my actual mind, gaining weight, breaking things, and generally noticing what the universe has been telling me- sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes with a nice smack between the eyes with a flyswatter.

After a life of feeling like I need to alter my body, and feeling SO MUCH SHAME about how I look, I have found peace and freedom.  This is the first installment of my journey- and I am definitely not a linear person, so don't expect much of a timeline after these first few paragraphs!

You see, I have spent my life, like many or most women- and some men- imagining that I was not good enough.  I was told over and over through many venues that I did not look like I should.  I did not have the right body, I could not trust myself and I had no idea what I was doing.  Whatever I was doing- it was most certainly wrong.  Now of course, there is a lot more to life than just this- everyone has their crap.  Junk from their childhood, stuff from adolescence, garbage that comes from adulthood, sketchy things gleaned from your family.....  all the imperfect crap that has indeed contributed to making up the unique person that is me/we/us/you.

So about 6 or 7 years ago I found a weight-loss app, and then a running app and a BMI app and 100 pushups app and all the other apps, and apparatus and such, that comes from being sold a program for weight-loss.  I was solidly immersed in this life for 3 years while I lost a lot of weight and attained my "goal weight".....  isn't that lovely?   The ugly side of it was the fact that I was starving myself.  I was tired and hungry and freezing cold---  I, in that whole entire 3 years, never once ate and exercised "perfectly" and so I was never really satisfied.  I was miserable and cranky a lot.  I also over exercised myself into numbness in my hands, wrecked knees and other various injuries that just didn't need to happen.  Now, I can't totally discount those years as I have made some AMAZING friends, people I would never trade for anything, and I did find my voice, my courage and my self-confidence.  All of those experiences have made me uniquely me.

I remember a time when I was eating supper with my hubby at a local restaurant, they specially made me a lovely pasta and veggie plate with marinara.  I planned to eat only half and take the rest home.  I was so close to my goal weight I needed to "watch" every bit.  But my body betrayed me and I ate the whole thing. Because I was freaking starving...... I cried when I got home.  I cried over eating fettuccini.  I remember having people tell me how they wish they could have my willpower and not have bread and the potato when we were out.  I remember standing on the other side of the teachers lounge dying to have a cookie and I had to eventually quit going into that room so I could avoid being tempted.  I remember telling someone that nothing tastes as good as thin feels.....  wow I was full of crap.

When I hit my goal weight, no angels sang and my life did not become better.  I had no idea what to do with myself.  What could I eat- how could I have that many calories and stay the same weight?  How could this work?  It didn't, because diets are not sustainable and they do not work.  They do not. During this period of time, I remember thinking underneath of the calorie obsession that I really wish I didn't have to think about food all the god damn time.  That I could just eat and not think about what  or how much or what time or whatever.  I admitted to myself that I needed to change my life.

So, I was introduced by a well meaning friend to an exercise coach/writer, who had a really good post about smashing your scale- or throwing it away or some such thing.  She is on the right track, but still talks in her blogs about losing fat and gaining muscle.  Which is not a negative thing per se, but she is in the biz of encouraging women to change their bodies.  Well, that led me to another blogger, who I really like- Isabelle Foxen Duke- and I read her blog and found out that she was on this thing called podcasts.  I searched around for more podcasts and found the likes of Summer Innanen and eventually found the work of Anne-Sophie Reinhardt.  And so guess who is podcasting with her now??!!  ME! YAY!  I and a wonderful woman named Leila Hays have teamed up with Anne-Sophie and we have been podcasting for several weeks now.  It is an exciting and amazing thing to do.

I began this blog that is dedicated to body positivity because I am not part of the industry like Anne-Sophie and Leila.  But I have a lot to say and I didn't want to have this all on my other blog.  I have the other one for my personal life and my photography and a bit of art teaching and all, and wanted to have a separate spot for this.  I  have felt over the past few weekends like adding to and responding to the podcast I am on and also to some I listen to.  SO many interesting things.... so much good stuff.  So many ways to say that we are more than good enough.  We don't have to change to suit anyone.