Love Your Body – Guest Post by Lorie Walker

One of my favorite things about blogging and having a facebook fan page is “meeting” people I would never have otherwise met. I’ve made some really great friends and frankly I’ve asked virtual strangers some pretty personal questions. ha ha Last week, Lorie Walker, posted something on my facebook fan page about “loving her body”. She didn’t say this in a way that was like, “OMG I’m so awesome, look at my hot body.” What she did was exude confidence exactly where she is. I don’t even have to know what she looks like to admire that. Too many of us pick ourselves apart even when others can’t find a single flaw. I messaged Lorie and told her how much I admired what she said and would love for her to share her story with us. And you can get more of Lorie’s awesome by visiting her facebook fan page and website. Lorie, thank you so much for sharing . YOU are an inspiration.

lorie

So many people struggle to be comfortable in their own skin… been there done that.

I spent 30+ years feeling this way. However, in the past two years on my own “healthy lifestyle” journey where I set out to lose weight, be healthy, fit and wanting that “perfect body” I have learned to be proud and love my body the way it is. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but hold on.  You are not going to love yourself, your image until you get there? How fair is that?

It hasn’t been easy; there have been a lot of past reflection, tears, sweat and a lot of hard work.  But even though my image has slowly changed, my body is still mine, the way I see myself I the mirror is still the same. Yes, I may be more toned, have less flab here and there, but it’s not that perfect body that I have dreamed up in my head.  That image, is that realistic?  Not even close. Waiting for the day whether it happens or not to love what I look like I am missing out on all the moments, days, years of what I look like right now.

Last winter I set out a goal for myself by summer I was going to wear a bikini out at the beach, on our boat in front of people. I didn’t do this to impress others, I did this for me. I did this because I am proud of what I have achieved. I still have cellulite, stretch marks, and scars from surgeries, some tummy flab from my two kiddos but that is never going to change. I have learned that no one is perfect.

 I want to be smiling in pictures and mean it, not hiding in pictures, or lack of pictures, because I thought I was having a fat day.  I want my daughter to be proud of who she is, no matter what she looks like. Not loving my body what kind of example will I be?  Keep telling yourself you are great, accent your best features, show confidence in who you are… it will take time, constant work but worth it. Love your body.

Lorie Walker

Facebook page:  WalkertoRunner

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/walkertorunner

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I Wish The Universe Was More Like Kohl's

photo credit: theskinnyveg.tumblr.com

Ever get a gift from the Universe? One you thought you really wanted but once you received it you wish you could return it? Too bad life isn’t like Kohl’s. Hell, they’ll take back anything. The Universe’s gifts, on the other hand, are like your Great Aunt Ida’s knitted sweaters. There is no returning that shit.

See, I’ve been kind of complaining about something. Mostly just to my husband because he has to listen. Plus, I don’t care if he judges me. The judge who married us said “til death do we part” and I fully intend to make him live up to his end of the bargain. But, I’ve been complaining about maintenance. Weight maintenance. I don’t do this often OR publicly because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. Losing weight was hard. It was a mental game for me, but once I conquered the mental part of it the rest came easy. Those numbers dropped on the scale pretty quickly for me and each pound lost was motivation to keep pushing forward. Once I reached my goal weight, it was AWESOME!

Of course, every once in a while bad habits would start to creep back in and I would have to reign myself back in. I would have to remember there is a reason powdered donuts are not allowed in my house. I kept it in check for a long time. After a while though, I got frustrated. I felt like I had nothing I was working toward. I no longer needed to lose weight. I wasn’t training for any “event” nor did I care to. I basically had to eat healthfully and work out just to look exactly the same way I always do. (Yes, health benefits, live longer, blah blah. I know. Those things don’t drive me. They aren’t tangible things to me. I’m talking about working toward something that drives me.)

So I kept complaining that I needed something to work toward. I felt like I was just floating along on auto-pilot. Going through my workouts, breaking a sweat, and going home. I wasn’t excited about anything. Buying single digit clothing sizes for the first time in years was exciting for me. Crossing the finish line at a 5k with a faster time than I had set as my goal was exciting for me. Having nothing new to look forward to – not so exciting. So here I am, whining and moaning and groaning like a little sissy that I don’t have anything to work toward. Guess what? The Universe gives me a “gift”.

I went to buy some new shorts (at Kohl’s, would ya believe?) and took my usual size into the dressing room. Except that size didn’t fit anymore. Uh oh. So I grabbed the next size up. It fit (thank GOD!). “Congratulations,” said the Universe in her snarky little voice. “Looks like you have something to work toward.” “NO!” I shouted inside my head. “I don’t want this. I want to return it. I didn’t know what I was saying. THIS is not what I had in mind.” But, you can’t return the Universe’s gifts. She’s a little bitch like that.

So now here I am, five weeks before Memorial Day and the start of bikini season. And I’m up a size from last year. Careful what you wish for. The Universe is kind of sneaky.

Uh Oh! Are You A Bully?

photo credit: comingsoon.netPerhaps I’m just hyper-aware of bullying right now because my baby will be entering middle school soon. But it seems evertime I turn around I’m hearing, reading, or watching a story about kids being bullied and in some extreme cases even killing themselves over it.

These kids are bullied for so many stupid things. They are different, they are gay, they are small, or big, they are too fat or too skinny, they believe in Jesus, or they don’t. Whatever it is these bullies decide is “wrong” with them, these victims are relentlessly reminded of it. Oh and it’s not just at school anymore. It’s on facebook, twitter, blogs, wherever. These kids can’t escape it. There’s no safe haven for them.

In some cases the parents figure out what’s going on and step in and something gets done about it. I suspect we don’t hear much about those cases. It’s the cases where these kids keep it all bottled up inside. Or the parents’ plea for help falls on deaf ears at the schools. Perhaps even the schools’ hands are tied. For whatever reason, these kids find this bullying so completely unbearable they just can’t possibly live with it anymore.

It’s not just kids, of course. I read an article the other day that a German model living in the UK committed suicide. It is suspected it may have had to do with on-line trolls bashing her for her appearance. A model!

Think about how you talk to yourself. Let me write that again. THINK.ABOUT.HOW.YOU.TALK.TO.YOURSELF. Are you a bully? Do you look in the mirror and curse yourself for your appearance. Do you say disparaging things to yourself because of cellulite? Do you have a bad day because of a number on a scale? Do you call yourself fat? Worthless?

Don’t be a bully. Be kind to yourself. The victims of bullies are tortured. It changes how they feel about themselves. Maybe they didn’t know they had a big nose. But for the rest of their life that’s all they’ll think about in regard to their appearance. Why would you do that to yourself? Imagine if your son, daughter, brother, sister, or friend came home and said someone made rude remarks about their appearance. Imagine if you were standing in line at the grocery store and some bitch behind you told you that your ass was huge. Um, really? No, it’s time to put a stop to this. It’s time to stop bullying.

Getting Fat – Part 3 – My Highest Weight

Okay, where was I? That’s right! I told you about how I was thin when I met my husband but our bad habits caught up with us quickly. I also shared with you how I gained waaaay more weight than I was supposed to when I got pregnant the first time.

Of course, right after I had the baby in 2001 I decided I was totally going to get in shape. When I wasn’t staring at her beautiful little face, which was A LOT, or sitting around watching soap operas I did start walking. We lived in a super hilly neighborhood at the time and I was determined to get the weight off. Breast feeding just wasn’t working fast enough for me (ps, breast feeding didn’t cause me to lose ANY weight). So, I strapped my little girl in her stroller and headed out into the blazing August sun for a walk up those moutainous hills every single day. Until I got crazy sick. I soon learned I had mastitis, which luckily took care of itself. However, by the time I recovered from it, my only concern was being a mommy. I totally didn’t care anymore how I looked. I learned how to dress cute “for my size” and just said screw it. I look “good enough”.

I was obsessed with being a mommy and I despised going back to work. Not that I didn’t have a decent enough job. I just wanted to be home with her. An opportunity came up that allowed me to change jobs and take her to work with me. She was in the same building as me, with a nanny, but I could see her anytime I wanted. I thought this was a decent compromise. Somehow in the early weeks of taking this new job, I got into the habit of going to the gas station next door before I went into the office. Every single morning I would buy a Mountain Dew and a six pack of chocolate donuts. Every.Single.Morning. Couple that with sitting on my butt all day at work and absolutely no exercise and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out I was getting fatter by the day.

I ditched this habit a few (six) months in and started walking with a friend. Then I joined a gym. I went there probably about…ten times. We paid for a year. Those first two years I just honestly wasn’t concerned enough with how I looked (or felt) to do anything about it. I was still in double digit clothing, but as I said before I learned how to dress my body well enough that it wasn’t a big deal to me. I told myself that if I could do what I was doing and look no worse than I already did, then I was satisfied. And what I mean by satisfied is “settling”.

Fast forward to November 2003. We decide to add to our family and I have a positive pregnancy test on New Years Eve 2003. New Years Day I tell my husband this pregnancy is going to be different. I’m not going to let myself gain all that weight again because it was just ridiculous. We even went for a really long walk that day. I weighed 205 pounds the day baby number 2 was born in August 2004, which is even more than I weighed with baby number 1. I think I actually outweighed my husband on that one. Oh, and she was induced one week early.

Right after baby number 2 was born, my mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer. My daughter was 9 days old at the funeral. We were also in the process of selling our house so we could move from Illinois to North Carolina for my job. I didn’t get to participate in the purchase of our new house because I was too pregnant to fly. So, after giving birth at the end of August, dealing with the death of a beloved family member, and selling our house literally the day we left Illinois, we drove up to our new home (which I had never seen) the last week of October 2004. Needless to say, this was a damn stressful time in our lives. Oh, did I mention I also had post-partem depression? Weight loss was so far down on my list of priorities it never even crossed my mind. I did lose most of the baby weight within six months or so. I think more from sheer exhaustion than any effort on my part. But I was still considered overweight. It would be another two years before I would care enough (or have the energy) to do anything about it.

The "F" Word

The lady who does my eyebrows called me fat.

Okay, that totally didn’t happen. Not exactly.

The lady who has been doing my eyebrows (I get them threaded)  for the longest had been on maternity leave, so I hadn’t seen her in several months. I walked in and she recognized me right away, even remembering my name. I thought that was pretty impressive. She did her thing and I was done in just a few minutes, as usual. We do the whole small talk thing and sometimes I can’t exactly understand what she’s saying due to her thick accent. I’ll be honest, sometimes I just smile and nod. I know she probably does the same and I’m cool with that.

On this particular day she said, “oh, you have put on some weight, yes?”. I smiled and nodded yes. Then said, “wait, what?!” She was smiling very brightly, as people often do when giving a genuine compliment and said, “you have put on some weight. Your face, it’s very full. You look good.”

*blink*

Did this bitch just call me fat? Her words and her face totally didn’t match. She was smiling as if she were very proud, but those words – those were nothing to be proud of! Now, of course I know I’m not fat. (Although I have definitely not been as committed to my work outs as I would like.) But I immediately went on the defensive. My response to her was some mumbling version of, “oh yeah, I probably have. Thank you.” The dude that was waiting his turn (yes, apparently dudes get their eyebrows threaded too) had an “OH SNAP!” look on his face.

I won’t lie. I was devestated when I left there. I called my hubby and he didn’t answer. I had to run some errands for work. So, I went to an office where I’ve developed a good friendship with some of the girls that work there (had to pick up something for my office) and relayed the story to these girls. They had the proper, “oh no she didn’t” response. And they let me complain about it, all the while telling me how great I look. Hubby had a similar response. (Which is what supportive people are supposed to do when you are acting completely irrationally.)

After a couple of days I could laugh about it. I know that eyebrow lady genuinely meant what she was saying as a compliment. It was in no way any type of insult. Of course, I was a little sensitive since I hadn’t worked out in some time, so I let it get to me. (I also have a new eyebrow lady.) I almost let simple words of another change the way I feel about myself. I determine my self worth. I create my own truth. No one else. Don’t let anyone else create yours! You smell what I’m cookin’?

My Anti-Resolutions

image via nyc-architecture.com

I hate New Years’ resolutions. To me it’s like saying, “hey, check out this big list of shit I’m going to fail at, probably before January is even over”. I have no idea why that is, but I’m thinking it’s not just me. Why else is it impossible to get in a spin class the first three weeks of January and then everything goes right back to normal by February?

Our list of resolutions are pretty awesome though. It’s a list of ways we want to be a better person. Perhaps even a perfect person. That’s completely impossible obviously, and maybe why most fail. Maybe the lists are too big and overwhelming, so we just give up. (I mean, how can you lose 30 pounds, bake cookies for the PTA, call your mom every day, AND run a marathon by January 2nd to prove your awesomeness?)

It’s hard to resist the call to “be a better person” when the calendar rolls over, though. Everyone’s talking about resolutions; getting in shape, drinking more water, giving up sugar, etc. I propose the anti-resolution. I’m not going to ADD to my list of awesomeness. I’m going to whittle it down to the three things that are most important to me. If what I’m doing doesn’t fit into one of these three categories or can benefit it in some way, I’m not wasting energy on it.

Family, fitness, and finances. Yep. That’s my focus. My anti-resolutions.

My family obviously deserves to be a priority. I’m sure my kids won’t look back and say, “well, mom ran a kick ass facebook page”. But they will remember the time I spend with them. My husband won’t care how many hits I have on a post, but he will care about how much time I spend with him.

Fitness is also a priority. I do care about how I look. Part of it is vanity and part of it is wanting to be around a long time for my family and not laid up in a bed at age 70. I want to be the crazy grandma that people can’t believe how “old” she is. I want to go out dancing when I’m 80 and be the Queen of the Bingo.

Finances. I don’t want to be an extreme couponer. Those people totally freak me out. But, I’m pretty sure there are ways our family can save money and I plan to find those ways. Without giving up shoes.

What? These sound like resolutions, you say? I guess to some they could be considered resolutions. I consider them anti-resolutions because by focusing on just these three things, I’m freeing up a whole lot of myself. Instead of spreading myself too thin, I’m giving myself only a few things to focus on. Like I said, if at any given time what I’m doing doesn’t benefit or contribute to one of those things in some way, I’m out. I will turn my focus on those three important things. If I’m stressed out about something, I’ll ask myself, “is this helping the big 3?”. If the answer is yes, then it’s obviously important. If the answer is no, then why am I wasting my precious time on it? There doesn’t seem to be enough time as it is! (In case you’re wondering, writing contributes to my mental fitness. It serves as an outlet for me.)

I encourage YOU to whittle down your huge list of ways to be perfect and consider what’s truly important to you. A person can’t be perfect and they certainly can’t be perfect at everything. What do I want to remember about my life when I’m old? Do I want to remember surfing on facebook while my kids watch tv? Or do I want to remember playing games with my kids and talking about their day? What do I want to be remembered for? Being “too busy” to talk to my kids, or looking in their eyes completely undistracted while they talk to me? What legacy am I leaving? What legacy are YOU leaving?

Valuing Others More Than You Value Yourself

English: Sunrise.
Image via Wikipedia

Remember not so long ago when I vowed to become a morning person? Well, I’m still not a morning person. My alarm goes off early every single morning. And every single morning I turn it off and roll over for the best sleep ever for the next hour and a half. Without fail, I always end up regretting it at some point during the day. Regret typically sets in when my workout time gets blown off because something unexpected came up. By the time I deal with said “unexpected event” I’m “too tired” to work out. How pitiful is that?

Last month because of a work project I had to wake up an hour and a half earlier than normal. Yes, a whole hour and a half. For three days in a row. Guess what? I did it. I didn’t like it. At all. But, I did it. I was on time (mostly) and accomplished what needed to get done. I didn’t die or even kill anyone for that matter. I thought, “wow, I made it. I should totally be able to do this for myself.” Guess what I did the first day the project was over? Sleep in. The next day? You guessed it. I valued my commitment to my job more than I valued my commitment to myself. Wow. Until just now when I wrote that, I didn’t realize how much that totally sucks. Sadly, I know I’m not alone. I hear all the time “I don’t have time to work out”. These are the same people who are at every school function, every game, and every birthday party.

Why do we put everyone around us first? By putting others first, we’re most often putting ourselves last. We can’t continue to do that. Whether it’s working out, finishing a degree, enjoying a hobby, or anything else you’ve put off because your day is filled with doing for others it’s time to commit to yourself. Maybe you’ll have to get up a little earlier (oh Lord, help me). Maybe stay up a little later. Or perhaps even send store-bought cookies instead of home-made (GASP!). Do not value your commitment to others more than you value your commitment to yourself.

What specific commitment will you begin valuing right now?

December Is NOT a Free For All

image via hotfrog.co.uk

“I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just going to gain weight during the holidays.”

Uh, say what? I resisted writing this post for a couple of weeks because it’s so cliché. You can find “holiday survival guides” all over the place right now. Unfortunately, the closer we get to Christmas the more often I’m hearing some variation of this. So, I’m chiming in. You’ve probably heard most or all of these tips. But, I promise you, December does not have to be a free for all. Why undo all the work you’ve done this year? Why start in January?

1. Pick your poison. Chances are you don’t LOVE every food that’s being offered. So, be a food snob. Only put the things you love on your plate. Don’t eat it because that’s what you’ve always eaten at a party. If you take a bite of a pig in a blanket and it isn’t absolutely divine to your palate, STOP EATING IT! This is an opportunity to eat fabulous food that you don’t normally get to eat. Don’t waste the room in your belly on crap.

2. Don’t go hungry. For heaven’s sake, don’t think you are “saving up your calories” for the party. Do you know what will happen? You will be famished when you get there. You will pile your plate with a bunch of junk you won’t even taste because you’re wolfing it down so fast. You will end up eating more calories this way and you won’t even taste them. I promise. Trust me on this.

3. Have water between each adult beverage. This will help you save some calories. It will also keep you from getting buzzed and eating 42 cookies and a whole bowl of dip.

4. Don’t stand around the food. It seems like everyone always gravitates toward the food. And just stands there. That makes it easy to grab a chip when there’s a lull in the conversation. Or when someone else is talking. Or when no one is looking. Prepare your plate and step away from the table.

5. Be active! If the kids are playing Wii, play with them. If there isn’t 10 feet of snow outside, grab some people and go for a walk. This may seem awkward, especially if your family isn’t particularly active. But you might be surprised by who will join you. OR who you inspire to get moving who might not have otherwise. Being active also goes for your workout routine. If your schedule is tight do some lunges, squats, push ups, tricep dips and planks at home. You can do these any time you have a little free time. You CAN squeeze activity into your day.

Don’t let December blow all your hard work. You can enjoy all the festivities without regret, guilt, and feeling like crap. Keep your goals in mind and make this the year you become even MORE awesome in December.

Bad Boys and Chocolate

English: Studio publicity portrait for film Giant.

Image via Wikipedia

Bad boys and chocolate? Say what?

I’m honored to have another post at The Well Written Woman. So what do bad boys and chocolate have in common anyway? Let’s just say you may have to tap into your inner teenage girl to relate.

 

Embrace Your Inner Seven Year Old

Little Girl

In a previous post, I wrote about how we’re all just awesome little kids in grown up bodies. Unfortunately, as we “grow into” our grown up bodies, we lose our child-like zeal.

My seven-year old daughter embraces that zeal. I often catch her looking in the mirror genuinely admiring what she sees. She leans in close and opens her eyes wide lifting her eyebrows up and down. She opens her mouth and inspects her teeth and pushes her tongue in and out of her mouth. She shakes her head to make her hair move all around. She lifts her shirt and pats her belly admiring its roundness. She even turns around and does a little booty shake. Throughout this entire inspection she’s smiling wildly.  There isn’t one thing about her body she doesn’t love.

When does our inner dialogue change from “you are fabulous” to “you are fat” (even when we aren’t)? I’m sure the answer is different for everyone. Perhaps someone else’s voice became louder than your own. It’s time for YOU to be heard again. Your voice should be the loudest of all. You need to be your biggest cheerleader. There should be no room in your head or your life for negative talk. And if you are speaking negatively about yourself, you’ll allow others to do so as well. Can you imagine walking up on that seven-year old girl admiring herself in the mirror and saying negative things to her? Why would you do that to yourself? You are awesome. Embrace it.

Be seven again. Look in the mirror with zeal and LOVE what you see. Maybe even do a little booty shake.