30 in Paris

My husband and I went to Paris for my 30th Birthday, and it was magical. My birthday is the end of January so it was the off season and lines were short to museums and places were not busy. It was amazing.

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Boredom.

I’m having one of those days, months, maybe is more accurate where I am starting to feel so restless, so bored. I have all this free time and instead of using it to do anything really productive I waste it. I have to be here, I want to be here at home with my kids, and being at home can be a lot of work some days, but others I have these huge chunks of time that I could be really building something for myself in. I feel like I have all these tabs open on my  brain of paths I could take to build a career for myself. I have a general idea of where I want to end up but the here to there is so blurry. I’m nagged by this feeling that someday I will be even more busy and I will look back on all this time and wish I could have saved it all in a bottle for the days that I just don’t have enough hours.

That’s the thing about motherhood, about being at home, these stretches of time that are so boring. If you let it, it can overwhelm you and drive you mad. In the silence of waiting all the things that need to be done become so big, you think them into these huge creatures and feats impossible to tame. With my anxiety I’ve found that everything is so much less daunting once you are doing it. I think that’s why I love being in motion so much, I feel like I can conquer anything, without the time to grow it into something looming and terrifying and untamable, you just conquer it. I feel like I should make more lists of the things I want to do and when I find myself in one of the spaces of time just pick one and do it.  I have got to the point where I have no trouble keeping up on my domestic life, the chores the diners the kids the laundry, I do pretty well with balance. I work out, I spend time with friends and my husband and just myself. It’s almost as if being efficient has backfired on me and now I feel just as unsatisfied as when I was scrambling to get everything done. I’m thinking that no matter what you are doing the stay at home person always feels this anxious feeling of not doing enough. Is it a trap or am I really not doing enough?

Spring, spring makes me restless. So much newness, so much life, it excites me.

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Seeing Love.

This year: I will turn 30, happily. Aging is a gift we don’t all receive, and I feel I’m doing it well. No complaints.
This year: I will focus on living and loving each day, will choose that life and love over fear, choose happiness over any negativity that attempts to invade me.
This year: I will focus on all that I have gained, and not what I have lost. Although I don’t feel I will ever be done learning from my past, I need to learn to flip through it quickly, instead of pouring over it and letting myself get lost in those memories.
This year: I will do what I can, with the means that I have, to help others conquer fear and enjoy living.
This year I will make myself no promises, I will set no deadlines on becoming who I want to be, and things I hope to accomplish, but I will grow and change and succeed and fail, and choose to Live and Laugh and Love in each moment, and do my best to let nothing ruin that for me. 

“And I feel love in spite of myself
And I feel love to frighten myself
And I feel love and I feel nothing else”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfpKLd3gmyg

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Creating the Habit-Challenge

I really want to keep up on this, so right now it is 12:38 am and I am wasting time on Facebook and twitter and goggling random things. So what I decided to do instead, now is writing here even though I have nothing to really write about. But hopefully it will help create the habit. AHA I can write about that! 

The thing that is difficult when it comes to making a lifestyle change is creating the new habit and making it part of your daily routine. Most of us wouldn’t go without brushing our teeth and hair and bathing, and you have time for it daily because you make time, because it’s become habit. Exercise is the same thing, so for all of you struggling to create a habit and make some change: I challenge you to take 20 minutes every evening and just sit quietly without distraction in a room of your choice, doing nothing. If you “don’t have time” take 20 minutes out of what you would usually spend watching tv. Do this every day for a week, find something that works for you, commit to it. Create it!

That is all. If anyone does this, notify me if you want further instruction.  

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This gets easier.

When I started this journey to lose weight I didn’t start by counting calories, that seemed WAY to hard. I started by cutting out grains and limiting portion size, and because I had been overeating SO much it worked for a long time, and I thought eliminating grains was “the answer”. Clearly it was grains making me fat. With more knowledge and time it became clear that it was the calorie deficit that was important, not a certain food group. In the beginning I had such a hard time staying under my allotted calories, without the huge amount that running burned I would never have been able to manage it. But lately I have noticed that even on days that I haven’t worked out, without even trying I end up below my calorie goal (1600 in case anyone is wondering). It’s been two years and now I find I just make better food choices and eat smaller amounts so that it’s no longer a chore. Sure I have days where I eat something indulgent, probably more days than you would think. But it ends up balancing out and maintaining a healthy weight is easier than I ever thought it would be. Well really I am still losing, even when I wasn’t working out and was barely watching what I ate I was still losing. As someone who was sure that she was just meant to be a big girl this is amazing to me. I cannot imagine how many mindless calories I must have been eating to maintain a weight 90lbs heavier than now. Today I do still track though, I have a bit more I want to lose, and I don’t find tracking to be a chore, it keeps me aware. But it is nice to know that if I want to eventually I can just rely on the habits and the tools I have gained and continue to live in the body I have now, a body that I am really loving lately. A body that I am excited to put into a size small mint green dress this weekend. 

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Thigh gap? CRAP!

I have to admit, I quickly slip out of the know of what is going on in media. We don’t have cable, I only have 215 friends on Facebook and most of them are relatives or fellow moms. I give twitter a half asses attempt every 6 months and besides scrolling through it occasionally just don’t really care for it. My phone no longer has enough memory to use instagram, and I just recovered the password after not caring that I forgot it that long ago. About a year ago I started hearing about how having a “thigh gap” was a thing, about 10lbs ago I looked in the mirror and said, cool, I almost have one of those, now my thighs won’t chafe when I wear a dress on a hot day! I saw the backlash about how “thigh gaps weren’t healthy or possible for most women” and wondered what the big deal was, I’m not that skinny and mine barely touch, why all the hate? Until yesterday I had no idea that thigh gap does not mean standing with feet positioned hip width apart, NO! You are supposed to have this gap with your KNEES TOUCHING! So I googled, and pinterest came up, ( I loathe pinterest) and I was appalled to see all these pictures you can “pin” to your wall to aspire to so so skinny that when you touch your knees together your vag still catches a breeze. I don’t understand. I get wanting to look good, I get wanting to be in good shape, I get not wanting blisters on the inners of my thighs because I just want to wear a summer dress without apparatus underneath to protect me from the fiery pain of my thighs loving up against each other. But when you lose so much weight just to get one part of your body to do ONE certain thing because it’s in style? What about all the other good things you are giving up, like breasts (real breasts) like hips, curves. Cushioning between your organs, hormonal balance. FOOD! How can this be worth it? I have hear many times that society keeps encouraging women to keep making ourselves smaller and smaller, in body, in voice, in personality, that we should take up as little space as we can in the world and by doing so we increase how attractive we are. Ugh. I have an offbeat mindset on my own beauty, so a lot of the time I don’t look at a photo of a woman and start adding up the ways in which she is supposedly better than me, for whatever reason I only match up what I Do have, I look at an image and instead of seeing her thigh gap or whatever I don’t have and I see blue eyes like mine and think “I’m glad blue eyes are appreciated for their beauty, I love mine!” Because of this I have a bad habit of not noticing how skewed the image of beauty in that the photo could be, and I feel like if I was more aware of it I would be angry about it. I get lovely comments about my weight loss, and I appreciate them. Sometimes I get comments cloaked as a compliment that have a weighty insult lying under the surface. Comments that refer to me as something “more” now.  That I must “feel” so much better about myself now. I respond to that with “yes I’m a lot more comfortable now, carrying extra weight isn’t comfortable, and I usually am met with silence because that’s not what they meant, they meant “you must feel so much less ashamed of your body now”, But I never was, and I had a 2x bikini that I wore frequently at my heaviest to state that.  I have always seen myself just as good, as sexy and attractive as I am now, so when I get comments like that that say how much my looks have improved although I get that it is a compliment something always twists inside of me with sadness that says “they never really saw Me before”.

Off track as usual, I beg you all to set reasonable goals and recognize healthy vs a standard dictated by media that doesn’t make sense.  If it doesn’t increase your health and your quality of life steer clear of it. Try to look at the imagery that the media throws out, and even if you look nothing like her try to see what beautiful things that You have, that you are, are being celebrated there and feel good about it. 

Or, just cancel cable, ignore most media and live in a cave live me, that way the only thighs you have to look closely at daily are your own, and when there is only one of something it’s obviously the best!

 

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Where have I gone?

I felt like I was doing fantastic and things were going the way I wanted to, until the floor fell out from underneath me on January 10th. I was out having lunch with a friend when suddenly I just didn’t feel right, looking back it was likely blood sugar and exhaustion, but at the time I had no idea and I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I was under a lot of stress, I don’t know how I was managing all that I was. I got up from the table and walked around, then went and stood outside for a bit. The feeling kind of passed but I continued getting these waves of feeling dizzy. I dropped my friend off at home and started driving back home, I was almost there when I felt like I was having a heart attack, my legs and arms went numb and I could barely move them, I was sure I was going to pass out, I was sure I was dying. I was at a red light and when it turned green I paused for a minute before continuing to drive, but then felt it was my best option to go the next block and go to my neighbour for help, luckily she was home and I scared her badly by asking her to call me an ambulance. While we waited I started to feel better and texted a friend asking them to come over right away, my kids were still strapped into the car in front of the house and my husband was away for work and would be for another week. The ambulance came, and there was nothing wrong with me, I was having a panic attack. This was the kickoff of 6 months of near constant anxiety, and very frequent panic attacks. I withdrew from my program, I lost and ruined friendships, it was awful. I felt like I was losing everything I was working for. But really I was lying to myself in a lot of ways, and I needed to be derailed. I wasn’t putting the time into my marriage that it needed, and I didn’t think I cared, I was missing out on time with my kids, and I thought that was OK with me, it wasn’t. The anxiety made me crazy, I was convinced I was going to die at any moment and was terrified to be alone, especially with my kids. What if something happened to me with only them there? This thought plagued me, owned me. There were times I couldn’t drive, times I couldn’t walk down the street without having a panic attack. Once it starts and you get that feeling and that fear it is Hard to come out of it, so even after things in my life started going the way I really wanted to and started making the changes I was still stuck in this terrible mindset. Something awful was going to happen to me. I haven’t written about any of this yet even though while I was going through it I really wished I could, but writing about it made it worse for some reason, like acknowledging it made it stronger. 

So here I am 6 months later, we now live in a different city, and I am back to being a stay at home mom. I stopped working out for months and am now getting back at it, luckily I’ve continued to lose weight so I don’t have that to restart. Eventually when both my kids are in school I’d like to go back myself and try again, I do really believe that fitness makes a huge difference in people’s lives and I want to be part of that. With this experience I think I can do it even better, anxiety, depression and panic attacks are so common, and to be able to say that I have been there, that I struggle with it too means a lot to someone also struggling. 

There is all those saying about God closing doors and opening windows ect, and I do think this experience was to put me back where I needed to be. As with every experience in life that comes my way I will grow from it. 

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A Reflection

I’m standing in front of a mirror looking at myself with hard eyes, I see the way my belly bulges at the top of my workout pants, the way my arms have extra flesh on them, the way the extra flesh pools around my bra strap. I see the marks on my face from my recent pre menstrual breakout, I see the way my thighs touch at the top, the way my rear is shaped, and I sigh. She looks at me with soft eyes, watching the way I’m picking each flaw apart, she says “I think your curves are absolutely gorgeous! YOU are absolutely gorgeous!” I nod, digest the words. If only I saw myself the way she sees me every time I looked in the mirror. I’ve recently dropped another 10lbs and with the constant changes over the past 18 months I don’t really know this body, I’m still expecting to see a reflection that is heavier, and I’m looking at myself searching for proof of it, proof that I shouldn’t like this body or feel pride in it.

She looks at herself with hard eyes, she sees a waist that is too frail, arms not muscular enough, thighs not curvy enough, points out her lack of visible abs. She sees a “plain, skinny girl” and she hates it. I look at her with soft eyes. She’s 5’8″, blonde, and only 19. Her waist is small, and her hips flare out in a smooth curved line.  She’s the hourglass that so many of us including myself strive for and see as beautiful. I don’t see her as anything but lovely, and youthful, and I don’t know what I can say to her to convince her of that. I complement her but it falls flat, she doesn’t believe me.

I see myself in her, at her age, feeling unsure and awkward about my body, feeling it wasn’t enough, wasn’t good enough or sexy enough. I’ve had a woman’s body for close to 15 years now and I’ve just recently learned how to dress it and work with it, how to play up the good and not worry about the not so good. Just recently stopped trying to hide my hips with pants too small and turn me into a rectangle.

Fifteen years and two pregnancies to really accept and Love this body, even though I do still see it’s flaws, I accept that there is no such thing as perfect, and there doesn’t need to be. How can I find words that can fast track her to where I am so she can start loving herself that way now? I can’t. But I can stop hating on myself and show her how to look at herself with soft eyes and see the good. When you focus on the good the bad isn’t relevant.

At her age I would have traded mine for another body in a minute. Now I wouldn’t trade it for anyones, none is “better”, none is without flaws, none is Mine.

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Well played, God.

Last night I was prepping for an assignment that is a presentation in front of the class on a health subject that we know and are passionate about. The subject I chose and that lies close to my heart is food/clean eating to prevent/end disease. This is so close to me because of the disease that took my Grandmother, my Mother really. And reading about the disease to refresh names and facts and how it works is stressful to me. Stressful because I don’t even like to acknowledge that it exists, stressful because it brings up memories and emotions that are uncomfortable. It’s like any time or thought I give this disease brings it closer to me, makes me feel more likely of it happening to me. And I’ve never spoken about it in front of a group of people, and although my class is odd as far as college classes go it’s still a lot of myself to put out there to put myself in a situation where I could be overwhelmed by emotions while trying to speak about something that is more than just about me. I don’t want to discuss it in a way that is only about me or have me be the focus instead of the information. 

As I’m sitting there sweating, reading about how I could potentially die, (to be fair it’s actually really unlikely but that doesn’t stop my emotions from getting the best of me) a msg pops up on FB of someone who’s just read my blog and is thanking me for putting myself out there like that, telling me how much she appreciates it. Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve definitely found in the past 18 months that the more of myself I put out there the more I get back, in all aspects. But still I struggle with it, it’s not easy and I often have to give myself a hard shove out of my comfort zone knowing it will be for the best and I would regret not doing it later. Sometimes I need a shove from outside sources, and just when I needed it I got it. You can call it coincidence, I don’t. 

It was also a good shove to get back at this, and I do have something I wanted to share in here but wasn’t finding the time for it, but now here it is. 

I had an interesting lecture a few days ago in functional anatomy that put something into perspective for me. The class is all muscles, and we were talking about the abdominal section. He put up a picture of a guy and girl with 6-8 packs and said: “To have these muscles show like this you have to have around 7% body fat, at that low of a percentage women lose their periods and the visceral fat surrounding the organs is depleted. Is it healthy to have that low body fat? No, it’s really hard on your body and organs. As fitness and health promoters you have to decide, do you want to promote this look?” 

I never had the aim for the well defined abs look, I would like some tone to my tummy, but even if that never happens it won’t affect the way I view my level of health. Everything is attainable, but there can be costs, it’s up to you on whether it is worth it and how you weight your decisions. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to sacrifice health for a certain look, and I hope that I never promote something that leads people to make that choice. 

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Just so you know…

I am Tired. I am not supermom, and this IS hard. 

I am now three weeks into this course and the material is heavier than I expected, being away from my kids is harder than expected, and being on my feet most of the day walking from class to class and participating in the physical classes while on top of my workout routine, is Hard. I went from four years of waking when the kids woke me, and getting out of the house when I felt like it (most days) to getting up to an alarm, getting us all fed and dressed and out the door by about 9am, finding classes, staircases, so so many staircases. If I have a long break between classes I go to the gym, if I don’t I spend the day in classes, pick up my kids, come home, make supper (because I am determined that my families nutrition will not be sacrificed by my choice to be outside of the home) bath, spend what is now precious time just Being with them until bed time, read a story, give cuddles. If I didn’t go to the gym I then go for a 7k run. Then I try to do the reading I should be doing but I’m finding evening is not a good time to get things to sink in, and go to bed. Repeat. On wednesdays I am done by 12:30 and my plan is to do something with them on that afternoon, park, playdate, playcenter. It’s my one weekday where I can feel like I’m still a SAHM and I hope to make the most of it. Saturday is a completely free day where none of us have to be anywhere, but my kids arn’t big on that so I will hopefully make the most of that day also.

On top of the huge switch in how my days have gone I have also dealt with my street being completely gutted, the first two weeks there was a huge hole in front of my house, making it so the car had to be parked half a block away. Making it so that in the morning if my husband wasn’t awake yet that I walked half a block carrying two kids (because I’m paranoid of the hole and the equipment) a back pack and a diaper bag. Then drop them off, something that is getting easier every day, and then heading to a school where I cannot find any parking! Oh and have I mentioned the construction on almost every main street I need to go down? The last two days I missed 3 classes because the kids were sick. I was also sick the days before they got it but I just ignored it, no time for that, more vitamins! I really felt like things have been stacked up against me. 

But. 
I wouldn’t change it, and I’ve enjoyed it. Hard does not mean impossible. A few friends have asked me how it was going, saying they wanted to see how I was doing before they made the decision for themselves, I feel like that’s been a theme for my life this past year and a half and knowing people are paying attention to what you are doing and how you are doing does give me a push I don’t think I could replicate through other means, and I appreciate it. 

I Love my course, I Love being back in school. I am glad that it’s taken me this long to find what I want to do as a career and don’t feel “to old” at all, it feels like the perfect time. As far as life goes I (and you) am so young and have so much living to do, and pursuing something that I am passionate about and can make a career out of is such a gift, I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to struggle and start building something. We filled out a sheet that asked what we wanted to do with our Fitness and Health education and I wrote something like “I want to inspire people to live better.” 

If I hadn’t taken the time to start living better a year in a half ago I’m not sure I would be able to keep up to this life now, taking this course sooner was really never an option, I had to start with me.  Starting is the hard part. 

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