Maybe your changing body isn’t about you not doing enough

Last year I started to notice that I was getting larger around my stomach. It was a little weird for me, I don’t normally carry extra weight there, it’s usually on my hips and legs. But I thought, it must just be my age. I’m 45 and I know that as a woman approaching perimenopause, it becomes more difficult to lose weight and it is common to carry it around your stomach.

It was frustrating, though. My eating wasn’t any different. In fact, I started cutting out certain foods from my diet as I thought maybe the bloat around my stomach was a sign of a problem with gluten or soy. I went to a gastroenterologist but he wasn’t concerned and he thought I just had Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is a catch all for any digestive problems when they don’t know a specific cause. I’ve had some trouble with constipation since my 20s but my stomach has never looked this large.

At one point last year, I told my sister I didn’t think it was possible, but my stomach looked like I was in an early pregnancy. I was getting so discouraged. I was working out, my food was good; I thought age was just being mean to me. Why wouldn’t this weight come off, why did it feel like all of my clothes wouldn’t fit? I tried to have acceptance that I was getting older and my body was changing but it just didn’t feel right.

Over the past summer, my periods also started getting heavier. I asked my mother if this was normal and she said yes, she remembered that happening. So, again, I accepted that this was normal and it was the cost of being a woman and getting older.

In September, I went to the gynecologist for my annual exam. I thought she would just tell me the heavy periods were due to perimenopause but instead she sent me for an ultrasound. A few years earlier the doctor told me I had a small fibroid but I didn’t really understand what that meant and she didn’t seem concerned so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Well, when I went to get the ultrasound, they found 5 fibroid tumors. If you don’t know what a fibroid tumor is, here’s the deal… A fibroid tumor is not cancer, it is a growth from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus.

“Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Fibroids aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer. A single cell divides repeatedly, eventually creating a firm, rubbery mass distinct from nearby tissue. The growth patterns of uterine fibroids vary — they may grow slowly or rapidly, or they may remain the same size. Some fibroids go through growth spurts, and some may shrink on their own.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/basics/definition/con-20037901 Fibroids, on their own, are not dangerous and many women aren’t even aware that they have them.

Fibroids can range in size from a walnut to the size of a watermelon! Crazy, right?! And, this can cause a woman to look like she is pregnant! So, what I thought was weight gain around my midsection from age or because I wasn’t doing enough at the gym or because maybe I needed to eat less was really due to 5 golf sized fibroids in my uterus. My heavy periods are probably from a combination of changing hormones and these growths.

This past year, while I was getting frustrated with myself and thinking I wasn’t working hard enough, I was really having hormonal issues. In fact, due to the heavy periods, I became very anemic and had to have three iron infusions to get my blood levels back to normal. Over the past few months, I’ve been to multiple doctors to get information and opinions on how to manage the fibroids and had tests to rule out any other reasons for the bleeding. There was a stressful week while I waited on the result of a biopsy to make sure there was no cancer.

Thankfully, those tests were negative and it is just the fibroids wreaking havoc on my body.

So, why am I sharing this with you when I normally talk about weight, food and body image? Well, I spent most of the past year, as I said, thinking I must be doing something wrong. I thought I’m not working out like I used to, I’m older, my back hurts, it’s just my fault. Maybe not fault, but the weight gain and change in my body is because I’m not doing enough. So many of us think like this! We think if we gain weight, if someone doesn’t like us, if we didn’t get that job, we did something wrong. We are in control and if something doesn’t go our way, it’s our fault! Right?! Not necessarily!

We are not in control of everything. If someone doesn’t like us or respond to us in the way we think they should, many times it has nothing to do with us. When we don’t get the job we’re up for, maybe the company decided to cut back on costs or hired internally. When our bodies change, we might have a health issue that is making our best efforts to lose weight or get in shape very difficult.

We think we have so much control and when things don’t go the way we want, many times we blame ourselves.

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My lesson from the past few months is yet another reminder that I am not in control of everything! That I can do my best but I cannot worry about results. That my outer appearance is not a measure of my worth or my success and not always of my efforts. That weight and how I look is not a good measure of my health. As someone who has finally found peace with my body, I am thankful that in this stage of my life I am learning to let go of judging myself by my weight and how my body looks. My stomach being bloated is not connected to how I am viewing myself. As someone who has struggled with weight and body image, I can give in to the old beliefs and think that my bloated stomach is a reflection of my worth. Or I can get frustrated that my eating and exercise won’t eliminate my belly so I should just give up and go eat crap because it doesn’t matter anyway. But, because I’ve worked on my feelings about my body and weight, because I know that eating crap or overeating is a way to deal with frustration, I don’t have to do any of that. In fact, I know that continuing to eat healthy and move my body is how I show that I love myself. I know that my bloated belly is separate from all of that.

For any of you who might have fibroids, as they affect nearly 80% of women by the time they reach menopause, I will share what I have learned. I am not a doctor and this is based on months of researching options and alternative treatments.

After much research and contacting the HERS foundation, a non-profit international women’s health education organization which provides information about alternatives to hysterectomy and the aftereffects of the surgery, I decided to not have any medical procedures to remove the fibroids. I learned that many times these procedures don’t work and can cause more problems. This is my choice at this time. If you are dealing with fibroids, you have make the best choice for you. You can read more here.

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I started working with a nutritionist who focuses on hormone balancing. Fibroids may be caused by excess estrogen. During the years leading up to menopause, a woman’s hormones are all over the place. Progesterone drops which can cause an imbalance with estrogen. From my understanding, if the imbalance isn’t corrected, even if fibroids are removed it is very likely more will return. And the concern is that too much estrogen can be a precursor to other problems, such as uterine and breast cancer. So, my focus is to lower my estrogen, balance my hormones and work on the cause rather than the fibroids, which are really a symptom.

I have eliminated soy, dairy, and gluten from my diet. There is some debate on whether soy increases estrogen, but I prefer to avoid it. Dairy and gluten can make the digestive system more sluggish. I avoid all plastics as much as possible, as the chemicals have been shown to affect the endocrine system, which can increase estrogen. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134196209/study-most-plastics-leach-hormone-like-chemicals  I added Vitamin D3, which has been found to be low in women with fibroids. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493030  I drink lemon water with apple cider vinegar every morning to cleanse my liver. (When the liver is sluggish it makes it more difficult to expel excess estrogen.)  I am taking a high quality probiotic which aids in digestion. Again, I want to help my body eliminate estrogen. I have been loading up on cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale which also help to eliminate bad estrogens.

In addition, I have also added a whole food source of iron to keep up my blood levels because of my heavy periods. Synthetic iron can be hard on the stomach and cause constipation, which is not what we want when we’re trying to keep things moving. I alternate the iron with liver. I don’t like liver, but it is a good way to keep up your iron. To be honest, I couldn’t handle eating the liver, so I recently started alternating the iron with grass-fed beef liver pills. I don’t usually eat red meat, but I don’t want my iron to drop again.

Please note, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. This is what I have been doing. It’s only been a few months since I started changing my supplements and completely eliminating certain foods. I also am trying to incorporate more gentle exercise that doesn’t tax my body along with more mediation to alleviate stress, which has so much of an effect on our hormones. I cannot tell you this is the magic answer. But I am trying and I am on my side!

I am not blaming myself for my changing body or for my health. If you think you’re always to blame when your body changes or things aren’t going your way, I hope this helps you to see it’s not your fault. You can eat healthy, move your body and be kind to yourself. That is what is in your control. The rest of it….you can just let go!

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Posted in Body Image, Emotional Eating, health, Self Acceptance, Uncategorized, Weight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Veggie Scramble & Sweet Potato Fries

Many people get overwhelmed when they think about making changes in their eating. I’m not someone who spends hours in the kitchen. I like to make easy meals that aren’t complicated, so I do a lot of one pan cooking.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard!

This quick recipe is a great way to get those veggies into your diet. Feel free to leave out the veggies you don’t care for and add in what you do. You can’t really go wrong!

Veggie Scramble

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • handful of spinach
  • handful of kale
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

veggie scramble

Add coconut oil to a heated skillet. Saute garlic, onions and mushrooms until brown. Add in tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and kale. Sprinkle in basil, and salt and pepper if desired. Reduce heat. Stir until spinach and kale are wilted.

Add the eggs and stir until cooked.

Top with 1/4 of sliced avocado.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients and baking them is a much healthier option than frying in a lot of oil.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut one sweet potato into thin strips. In a bowl add the sweet potato to 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, pinch of salt, pinch of black pepper, sprinkle of paprika. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Space out the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I prefer to not to use aluminum foil as it can be toxic and the fries don’t get stuck to parchment paper).

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping the fries halfway.

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You can have this meal at any time, not just for breakfast. Enjoy!

 

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Do you feel like you’re always starting over?

stating over

A few years ago, I was going through hell. I don’t know how else to explain it, hell seems to be a pretty accurate description. I was a single mom, raising two daughters alone, and my youngest was having some issues that were affecting school. I was in constant meetings with the middle school and trying to get the right help for my daughter. It was one of the worst periods of my life. If you’re a parent, you know how painful it is seeing your child suffering and not knowing how to help. It was devastating. The school treated me like I was a bad mother and my daughter was drowning. After three years of arguing with the school I took them to court and was able to get my daughter the help she needed. I’m proud to say she is currently a bright, hard-working college student. Life is very different today.

But I didn’t come out unscathed from that period. I became severely depressed while we were going through everything. My only concern on a daily basis was waking up my daughter and trying to get her to school. If you haven’t had a child with special needs, you might not think this is a big deal, but it was awful every single day. I had so much stress, and when my depression got bad I stopped doing any physical activity and turned to food for comfort and relief. I put on about 20 pounds and then started having unbelievable back pain. I felt so embarrassed. People would ask me what I did to hurt my back and I didn’t have a good answer. I didn’t have a car accident, I didn’t fall, I just stopped taking care of myself and my body fell apart. That’s how I felt too, like I physically and emotionally had fallen to pieces.

I wrote about this on my About page, how I was such pain for a long time until I found a great physical therapist. What made her great was that in addition to giving me practical physical therapy and exercises that I could incorporate into my workouts, she had had her own experience with physical therapy as a patient. She understood my pain and when I went to appointments with her, I would talk about how I felt so depressed. During the first few sessions, I cried through parts of my appointment. My physical pain was so entrenched with my emotional pain. Three months later I came out of physical therapy in much less pain and almost 20 pounds lighter. I was back into my old workouts, I spent about two hours a day in the gym, 5 days a week. I cleaned up my food, stopped bringing home half-gallons of ice cream and six months later I was down a total of 40 pounds and at my lowest weight.

I was feeling great, so when I saw an ad for an Interior Decorating position I applied and got the job. I thought this was the start of something great. I’d gone to school for marketing but I’d always been interested in Interior Design and I thought this was a chance to try something new. My girls were doing well and I was so excited. Well, the job started out ok, but I had to be on my feet all day and the hours were very long. I was exhausted, I couldn’t get to the gym and I started having terrible pain in my hip and leg. After six months, when I realized how bad it was getting, I had to leave the job. I had bursitis on my hip and I had gained back 10 pounds. I was so frustrated and upset. I thought I was making a good decision and moving on to something I would enjoy. Instead, after a year of a lot of hard work getting my body well, I was in terrible pain again.

It’s been two years since I left that decorating job and I’ve been in pain since. I’ve also gained back some more weight. I can’t work out like I used to, just walking up stairs is very painful. It’s been hard not to feel upset and frustrated. If you’ve ever lost weight, gained it back, and then done it again, you know what I mean. If you’ve ever felt like you worked hard to get somewhere and then felt like you were starting over, I get it. It can make us feel defeated, like whatever work we did was pointless, because, now we have to work harder just to get back to where we once were.

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There are people out there who will try to sell you their weight loss or exercise program, promising that this will be the time things stick. That once you find the right plan, you’ll be thin at last and never struggle with your weight or eating again. But life isn’t linear, things don’t usually go on a straight, easy path. Even if your eating is great and you’ve lost 20 pounds, if your workout routine changes because you’re busy at work or taking care of the kids you might gain weight at some point. Even if you seemingly overcome depression, are less stressed or you get your finances together, life happens and at some point you might suffer through another depression, feel overwhelmed, and it’s possible the market will crash and you might lose money. This isn’t doom and gloom. It’s just life.

sign 2Last month I started going back to see my physical therapist. It feels a little bit like déjà vu. It’s five years later and I’m working on getting my core stronger again. It hasn’t been easy, but instead of seeing this as starting over and getting frustrated, I have been reminding myself that I’m not starting from scratch. My weight is not as high as it was five years ago, I’m not eating my feelings, my daughter is well, and I know what I need to do to get better. I know the exercises, I know how to eat, and I know who to go to get help and support.

There will be times in your life that will be easier, and ones that will be more difficult. Sometimes you may be more into physical activity, sometimes you might be more into your career, or there may be times when taking care of someone else will be your priority. When we learn to accept that life is constantly changing and are able to more easily adjust and accept change we won’t feel as devastated when something happens that knocks us off course. When we learn to be present in our lives, to focus on what is important to us and have acceptance with ourselves and our bodies then we’ll be better able to roll with the punches and stop seeing setbacks as starting over again.

If you have a setback it doesn’Oranget negate your achievements. You get to keep your experiences and wisdom. If you’ve changed your eating habits or you learned how to enjoy moving your body, those skills stay with you.

Setbacks can feel frustrating, aggravating, and upsetting. When you have one you are allowed to have all of those feelings. But it doesn’t mean you have to start all over. It just means you have to keep going, even if it’s just one small step at a time.

If you’ve had your own experience with feeling like you’ve had to start over, please feel free to share.

Posted in Body Image, Emotional Eating, Exercise, Self Acceptance, Weight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Different New Year’s Resolution

new yearIt’s that time of the year when we’re bombarded by messages about losing weight, getting in shape and becoming a new you. The holiday stuff is cleared off the store shelves and the diet books will soon be front and center at Barnes and Noble. Many of us overindulged over the holidays and it can be dark and depressing during winter, making it easier to cuddle up at home, not move and add on some winter weight. So, it’s understandable to be tempted into thinking that one of these diets or cleanses will finally help you lose the weight, get in shape and feel sexy. It makes sense that you’d be tempted by their promises of helping you finally stick to your plan.

But, how many times have you made this resolution to lose weight? How many mornings have you woken up thinking this would be the day you’d clean up your diet? Did it work? If it did and you’re all cool with how you feel you can stop reading. Go you! If you’re still making these promises to yourself and you’re constantly frustrated and feel like you’re letting yourself down, stop making these promises! They’re not working.

I get it! I personally never made New Year’s resolutions, not because I didn’t struggle with my weight and get frustrated with myself, but because every day for me was a new resolution.  Every morning I woke up after a nighttime binge, every time I got on a scale and the number looking back at me made me cringe, I resolved to get my act together and finally get thin. But those daily resolutions to stop overeating and bingeing didn’t work. What they did was made me obsessed with my weight and kept me thinking about food.

It’s only when I let go of trying to control that I was able to move on. It’s when I stopped worrying so much about the size of my body, that I wouldn’t be attractive enough, desirable, or loved if I looked a certain way, that I was set free. Because thinking that your worth is conditional on your looks is what feeds the diet, restriction monster. It’s that voice in the morning, before a special event or that resolution whispering promises of being thinner or better. The diet monster tells you when you lose weight you’ll be great and your life can begin, it tells you being thin and fit will bring you happiness, love and make you worthy.

You are worthy, beautiful and desirable now. The New Year is just a continuation of your life. If you want to make a change, start with letting go of rules and restrictions. Start by giving yourself the acceptance to just be. Most times resolutions focused on trying to change your eating and your body actually lead to more overeating. In actuality, when you love and accept where you are, you won’t need food to comfort you, because you’ll be capable of doing that yourself. When you stop worrying about your body you’ll stop trying to control your eating.

eating worrying

That’s why I work on small changes with my clients that are focused on nourishing themselves, not on restrictions. We focus on feeling good about yourself now and slowly doing things differently; whether that means doing things for yourself like taking a bubble bath or slowly adding more vegetables to your diet. Big lofty goals can be overwhelming, difficult to sustain and downright destructive. That’s why the gyms will be overflowing the end of this week and back to normal in a few months.

An exercise I sometimes give clients to help them focus on their feelings rather than their weight is to make a Vision Board. This is also a great way to use your creativity to envision your goals for the New Year. If you want to make a resolution this year, how about focusing on how you want to feel, not on how you want to look. You can cut out pictures from magazines, use photos of places you love, of things that symbolize how you want to feel about yourself. You can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Put your Vision Board somewhere you’ll see it on a regular basis so it keeps you motivated and inspired.

If you’re ready to let go of weight loss resolutions and you want to free yourself from the control of food, why not try out a free discovery session with me.

If you want to get moving but you’re overwhelmed by working out, check out my sister, Arial’s, GrooveAnywhere workouts. She shares my philosophy that small changes lead to a healthy lifestyle, free from dieting and trying to reach a size.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Posted in Body Image, Emotional Eating, Self Acceptance, Weight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Pain Be Causing You To Overeat?

emotional-eating girl

I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve been really into working out; I’ve been into weight lifting, kickboxing, step classes, running, the elliptical. Then life would, at times, get busy and I would fall out of my routine and my workouts were more infrequent. But for the past 20 years I’ve been a pretty regular gym goer. A few years ago, I had a back injury that I worked through with physical therapy, but when I started a new job, my old back problems were aggravated and since then I’ve had a hard time with hip and back pain.

Working out for the past two years has been very difficult for me and lately I’ve noticed that I don’t want to go the gym. I just haven’t felt like working out and I started to get very frustrated with myself. So, the other night, I had to sit my feelings over this. Why is that I don’t feel like working out even though I need to? I know it’s important for my overall health and that I need to keep up my routines to keep my core strong to manage my back pain. As I sat with this, I had to be honest with myself, sometimes I do things that physically hurt me. I’ll still go to my kickboxing class, which I really enjoy but I know isn’t the best thing for my back. I’m not always doing the best things for myself when I go to the gym, I sometimes get overzealous in my workouts when I want to feel strong or get my endorphin rush. Because my underlying injury is still causing problems for me and it hasn’t been corrected, I’m still in pain. So, I’ve been avoiding going to the gym because my workouts usually hurt. There’s a valid reason why I don’t want to go, I haven’t been lazy; it’s that I don’t want to be in pain.

When we don’t understand where things are coming from, we can start to beat ourselves up if we’re not doing things we think we should be doing. Many of us do the same thing with food. If you keep trying to lose weight and you get frustrated with yourself, because you can’t stick to a food plan or you’re bingeing at night, it will probably keep happening until you see there’s an underlying reason for it. What’s in your life that’s leading to your struggle with food? What pain are you not recognizing? Are you happy in your relationships? Is work really difficult so food is a crutch or comfort at night? You might think you’re not strong enough, you don’t have enough willpower and you’re not disciplined enough to overcome this thing with food. But it’s not that you can’t overcome it, it’s that food might be playing a specific role for you and helping you avoid dealing with other things in your life that feel uncomfortable or unmanageable.

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Source: www.everydaypeoplecartoons.com

This isn’t really different than me avoiding the gym because my back hurts. When we think we’re not strong enough, or not disciplined enough to control our eating it could be that we’re not recognizing that there’s uncovered pain we’re not addressing. The food and the eating is just a symptom, a signal trying to get our attention so we can address what’s off in our lives. Our urge to eat might really be us crying out to address what’s uncomfortable or painful.

If you’re continuously having the same struggle with overeating or bingeing, have some compassion with yourself. If you’re always going for food at night when you’re not hungry, can you identify what it is that you’re really craving? If you’re snacking at your desk at work, might you be eating because you’re overly stressed? If food is controlling your life, what is it trying to tell you? Until we notice and address that the eating is really a symptom of some unidentified pain, we’ll continue to struggle. Just like I’ll be in pain and have a hard time doing exercise until I find the right help to address my back problems.

Listen:

 

If you think pain might be a factor in your overeating or binge eating, contact me for a free consultation.

Posted in Cravings, Emotional Eating, Exercise, health, Mood, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to not worry about overeating on Thanksgiving

happy_thanksgiving_hd_wallpaper_widescreenOver the past few days I’ve seen a lot of articles and blog posts about how to not gain weight over the holidays. Drink a lot of water, use a small plate, wear a tight outfit, plan your meal…these are all suggestions I’ve seen. Some of them might be helpful in not letting yourself get out of control with your eating on Thanksgiving, although, I don’t think I want to wear a tight dress. Ugh! That sounds so uncomfortable. But, here’s the thing that bothers me about these well-intentioned lists, their focus on not gaining weight is just another way of getting you into a diet mentality. And, as many of us have learned, when we try to control our eating it usually ends with a binge.

Instead of trying to drink tons of water or working out before you go to your Thanksgiving dinner because you’re worried about gaining weight, here’s another option. I hate to sound like that annoying Frozen song, but let it go!  Don’t worry that you’re going to gain weight, or that you’re going to overeat your relative’s amazing desserts. Relax a little, and just let all that worry go.

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what we have and to enjoy being with our family and loved ones. Don’t let yourself get so stressed about eating too much that you don’t enjoy your day.

Here are some tips for a calm and enjoyable day.

  1. Start your day with taking a little quiet time for yourself; meditate, write, breathe. Do whatever you need to feel centered and calm before you go into a house full of people. Being with family can be stressful. Take a little time for self-care.
  2. Enjoy your food. If you’ve been waiting all year for your sister’s amazing apple pie, pay attention when you’re eating it. Savor the flavor, notice the texture. It’s fine to eat dessert, but slow down, taste it and enjoy the company of the people with you.
  3. Check in with yourself. While you should enjoy your food, remember to check in with how you feel. As a kid, I remember going to holiday meals, eating, and then waiting for my stomach to make some room so I could eat more. I made myself too full and uncomfortable. Listen to your body, and eat so you’re comfortable and you don’t feel sick.
  4. Don’t let family push your buttons. If Aunt Shelly starts giving you unsolicited advice about your kids, your job, your love life, politely excuse yourself and walk away. Breathe, go help move chairs, take a walk…but make sure you’re enjoying those mashed potatoes because they taste great and not because you’re trying to stuff your feelings about what someone said about your unruly child.
  5. Don’t worry. Don’t stress yourself out over what you might eat. Be in your day and visit with your people. When you’re more focused on that than worrying about what you might eat, the day will be less about the food.

You might overeat on Thanksgiving. If you do, that’s ok. It’s one day. Don’t beat yourself up about it. If you eat too much, let yourself sit with the feeling of fullness. Don’t punish yourself, you don’t have to make up for it with unhealthy behaviors. You don’t have to get stricter with your eating or feel like you have to go burn it off at the gym. Let Thanksgiving be one day and then let it go. Be thankful you had a day with loved ones and be thankful that it’s just one day. Because that’s all most of us can take.

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Cravings, Emotional Eating, Self Care, Uncategorized, Weight | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are you missing moments because of your body image?

Last night my car indicator alerted me that my tire pressure was low. I pulled into a gas station and went to fill the air in my tire. As I walked over to the pump to ask the attendant for change for the air machine, the car that was parked to get gas started to drive toward me. I was right in front of the car, but the guy driving the mustang didn’t see me and he kept driving toward me. Right before he hit me, he saw me and slammed on his brakes. He looked at me, with shock on his face, as he realized how close he came to hitting me. The gas attendant gasped as he saw what had happened and then the car sped off.

I breathed a sigh of relief and then asked the attendant for change. He said the air machine was out of order, so I cautiously drove home. When I got home, it occurred to me how close that car was to hitting me and I thought, “Ok, I am supposed to be here” and then I remembered how yesterday, before this happened, I was having a bad body image day. Yes, I work with women to help them realize they are more than their bodies, but I sometimes still have a hard day. Yesterday was one of those yucky days. I had bought a new pair of jeans. They looked ok in the dressing room but when I put them on yesterday, suddenly it seemed like my ass had grown two sizes. And I got really annoyed and cranky.  I got stuck thinking about how I wanted my body to be different and how I felt uncomfortable with myself.

Then that car almost hit me. What if I had gotten really hurt last night, or worse? Would my last thoughts be that I didn’t feel ok because my butt looked too big? Would my last day have been wasted because I wasn’t in an accepting place with myself and I spent my day cranky because of my body?

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How many days of your life have you spent worrying that you don’t look ok, that you need to change your body, that you’re not good enough? How many diets have you tried over the years to control your eating and get into your skinny jeans?

You are more than your body. I’m sure you know that on some level, but how much time are you spending worrying about your size or your shape?

When your body image defines you, it usually means your self-esteem and your happiness are tied to how you look.  You measure your worth against what you eat (if I ate clean, I’m good, if I ate chocolate, I’m bad) and your fitness (if I went to the gym, I’m good, if I didn’t, I’m bad).  Am I saying that it’s not important to be healthy and that you should just eat crap? No. Am I saying that it’s not important to move your body and be fit? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that when you eat and exercise with the end goal focused on how your body looks, instead of how you feel, the preoccupation with how your body looks can take over and then you don’t focus on the other things in your life.

In the end, what do want you written on your tombstone? “Here lies Jane, she got down to a size 6 and went to the gym 5 days a week”? You’re so much more than a number. Go enjoy and live your life, eat food and do things that nourish you, move your body because it feels good and keeps you strong to live your life. Your body is just a small part of who you are. Don’t give it so much attention that you miss the other moments in your life.

Posted in Body Image, Confidence, Self Acceptance, Uncategorized, Weight | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments