Treat People How You Want to Be Treated

I touched on this a bit in my last post. Since gaining some weight, I have been fat shamed. People ask me why I stopped working out and say things like, “oh no, you have gained weight,” or “maybe you should seek a second opinion because I do not know why a doctor would ever want you to gain weight.” I also had a family member point out to another family member that I looked much thinner last year, thanks Facebook for those walks down memory lane. It makes me feel horrible.

Then after being put down so much, I start shaming myself. You should never put yourself down. I gained weight and that does not make me a bad person. It was the result of going through a tough time and hormonal issues. It is ok. I am working on the problems and feeling better. No one deserves to be treated poorly because of their physical appearance.

When I hear someone say, “they look disgusting,” I think, “no, your disgusting.” We should be bringing each other up, not putting people down because think about what it really does for your life to treat someone that way. I was bullied heavily as a child and what I regret the most are the times I bullied others. Even right after I did it I felt horrible about it because I knew what it was like to be in their shoes. I did not know how to handle myself though and had way too much going on at home to become self aware until I went away to college.

I am deeply sorry for the times I have passed judgement on or hurt others. I sometimes meditate on how I have moved on from these negative past behaviors and what I still need to work on. If we have children, I already know there is so much I am going to teach them. So much that I feel I was not taught that is valuable to becoming a great human being.

While their are still these negative attitudes in society about certain physical appearances, I have to say I am really loving some of the steps that have been taken to opening up everyone minds and expectation. Such as the inclusion of women of all shapes and sizes in clothing advertisements. I think the more we normalize things that no one should feel ashamed of, the happier everyone can me, and therefore, the healthier we all can be.

Just some food for thought. You are beautiful.

Hormonal Update

I mentioned that I had a cycle in September, but then things were quiet for a couple months. Nothing happened in October and I only spotted for a few days in November. Exactly one month after spotting in November, I got an early Christmas present from mother nature. I was pretty happy and finally felt like I had an update to provide on the matter of my hormones.

All I have done was stop working out and focused on managing my anxiety. I have not full on binge ate since November. I did not gain a single pound over the holidays, but that could have been due to the food poisoning I experienced on Christmas day which made it impossible to really eat much for a week. However, I feel different when I am full. I keep thinking that I can not imagine putting anything else in my mouth. I just stop eating because I am full and not in an uncomfortable way at all.

My anxiety has mainly been due to not letting things go and avoiding things. I have avoided issues, such as responding to questions regarding planning my wedding when I am not even engaged yet, and tasks that for some reason seem daunting, such as completing a written sample that was requested of me. Of course, avoiding these things ends up increasing my stress levels.

One of my faithful readers who is a dear member of my extended family and my partner have provided me with much help. Telling me to go with the flow of the visit or family gathering and to remain calm with people or I will just be projecting my anxiety onto others. I do not want my anxiety to sabotage my life and hormones. It has not been easy, but what is? I am getting there the best way possible and enjoying it.

 

Motivation and Body Image

I want to be completely honest with this blog and Wednesday morning I watched a YT video that made me realize that I was leaving out part of my story. I mentioned that I gained weight and I know I can get back on track. I had gotten up to 31 lbs heavier than a year ago and slowly it is coming off from the hard work I have been doing. Hard work being saying no to all the fried food and sweet temptations.

Motivation has been challenging. I see myself struggle to walk as much as I use to or put on size 12 pants I have not fit since early 2015. I have had times where I looked at my body in disgust and that action disturbed me because I know I deserve to treated better than that including by myself. Its so funny, 4 years ago it seemed like I was going through all these exact same emotions. I had just completed an internship at the end of August 2013 and then started a job in November 2013, which brought my spirit back to life.

Now, I may not have just started a new job, but within the last 2 weeks I have been seeing a upswing in my overall well being. I really needed this. I use to feel beautiful and sexy at this size. I know others see me that way too. Last weekend, I started to see it again. Granted initially I was trying on all the dresses I own to wear at the family wedding this weekend, but once I found one that would work I looked at my legs and thought, “I have nice legs” I smiled.

It is just proof that whatever may be going on, you have to remember to be there for yourself and love yourself as you are at that moment. Loving yourself is not this smooth easy going thing, just like our lives. I am still working on giving myself the love I deserve and keeping motivated during this period of healing and change. This stumbling is just part of the process to getting back on track.

Nothing, I Feel Like Doing Nothing

Honestly, this time off of work and activity has been both good and bad. I have had a chance to relax, de-stress and spend time with loved ones. I have had a lot of time to help my partner prepare for interviews, research the areas we might move to, look into places I could potentially work and develop future plans. I also have had the opportunity to just do exactly what I would like.

Lately however, I do not know what I feel like doing or feel like doing nothing. This is an unusual feeling for me. It worries me too because being active regularly supports my happiness. Walking, yoga, running, working out and even just dancing around my apartment are things that are part of who I am. I have not been doing them and I worry about what that means. Is this a sign that I am depressed or taking a turn toward that direction?

I went for a walk yesterday. A long walk, 5 miles. I forced myself to do it and I was glad I did, while also telling myself I was miserable. I think part of the reason I felt that way was because I had to watch all these other folks on the river path doing what I use to do, run. Being active was the way I de-stressed and boosted my mood. It has been difficult to do so without it and I know my partner is tired of my wining.

I have been venting to him about my feelings and concerns. I am fortunate to have someone who listens to me even when I know I am being irrational. I am also lucky to have friends and family who support me. Maybe this is just a low time in my life and I need this to rest up for all the changes we will experience this Spring.

I am going to continue to push myself to go for walks and try to play some music to get me moving around the apartment more because it makes me feel like more than nothing.

Blog-iversary!

I have been writing this blog for a whole year. Sharing my life, product reviews and experiences openly through this venue has felt influential. I appreciate all the likes, comments and support from those who have read my blog. Writing has been a great weekly practice for me and I feel as though I have learned a lot about myself in the process. In addition, this means its my birthday again and I am excited to share with you how I celebrated.

What I have learned…

I really thought of myself for a long time as a weak writer and story teller. I had this assumption that because I had done poorly in a subject (in my case English grammar and literature) when I was in school that I could never write well. I feel that I can communicate my points and keep things concise.

I also thought I was not interesting enough. I do not live a very dramatic life nor am I a thrill seeker, but it seems like that is not what people are looking for. When I look at who I follow on social media and blogs, I realize I am looking to see how other people live to become inspired and feel secure in the actions and feelings I challenge myself on. I get the sense that others are like me in ways I was once made to feel was uncool. Learning from others and sharing myself has made me more confident with my intelligence, awkwardness and capabilities.

I do not let the haters in. I had a few not so nice comments through this blog and Instagram. I wondered how they would make me feel before I began this journey. I really did not think of the negative comments as something about me though. I feel they are more about the pain that person may be going through. Although, I wish they would find a different way to express their pain, I really hope things become better for them. I want a lovely life not just for me, but for everyone.

What I did for my birthday, affordable and balanced

I started this blog on my 30th birthday and tomorrow is my 31st year. I am someone who prefers a low key celebration with close family and friends, such as a BBQ that is focused on just bringing those I cherish together. I like some adventure, while I enjoy the things I love most (eating, moving and laughing).

This weekend my partner came to visit and yesterday, we ate like the French. A delicate pastry for breakfast, a steamed mandoo as a satiating lunch, a shared slice of Bavarian raspberry torte for our sweet afternoon treat and a healthy, hearty dinner of falafel beet hummus salad with a bratwurst. We focused on eating the delicious things that we would miss in this town.

As for activities, we explored a couple neighborhoods and worked on designing a computer for me, since the computer I have been using will be returned to the museum on my last day of work. My partner is a computer and electrical engineer, so he this is something he loves being able to show me how to do, especially because it can be a much more affordable computer. The first computer he built for himself lasted from 2009 until just a week ago… thats 8 YEARS! It cost as much as the last machine I purchased from HP, which only lasted 3 years…

As for tomorrow, my actual birthday. I am going to wake up and have a slice of cake for breakfast. Yep, I purchased a special slice of cake from one of my favorite places just to eat for breakfast on my birthday. It was one of the things I really wanted for my birthday and it only cost me $5. I will Instagram this beautiful slice for you. ūüôā

Thank you for reading my posts each week and look forward to more on the way! I am looking forward to what this next year brings ūüôā

Post Bulk Update

Currently, I still feeling stronger than before the bulk, but tired from all my work trips. And although I have indulged a bit during these work trips, I have maintained weight and size since I last spoke of my bulk. My digestion feels much better from the switch to more produce than grains. The focus on protein and carbs through fruits and vegetables has me not experiencing bloating so regularly.

I have also stepped up my cardio routine and am up to running 4 miles instead of 3 every weekend. I was getting in 5-7 miles per week when I last spoke to you and now it is 6-8 miles per week. In addition I am doing a circuit of HIIT once or twice per week with my strength training.

Now with the conferences I have been able to keep up with workout out and doing yoga, but I have been also able to get in a lot of walking which likely has helped with any extra calories consumed due to the snacks provided.

I feel like I am on a good track to maintain my strength even with all the unhealthy opportunities over the past 2 weeks. However, I am looking forward to returning home today and eating as gut friendly as possible for a while. This week I am planning to consume sauerkraut, tempeh, sourdough bread, kombucha and maybe yogurt. Plus, I am going to try to not eat outside my meal times.

Hope you had a great week!

Sugar: Marketing Impact Part 4

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I want to “discuss” (because it is not like I am sitting with you to talk about this) the how companies are impacting what we consume. I will just present my thought in main points, but I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.

I Feel:

  • You can see sweets are in your face EVERYWHERE! Next time you are in the convenience store or grocery, pay close attention to what is eye level for you and children. What is the most accessible and visible products¬†when you first walk into your grocery store?
  • Sugars (processes, artificial and natural) are included in ingredients lists for things that it does not even make sense to have sugar in it. Look at the ingredients of the snack and packaged food items in your pantry:
    • How many of them have sugars in the list of ingredients?
    • Where is sugar on the list? Is it within the first 5 ingredients? Should it be so prevalent in the item you are looking at?
  • Sugar is not the devil, but companies are making it out to be. Most companies have their profit in mind, not our health. If adding certain ingredients creates a product that you can get hooked on, they will do it regardless of whether it is good for people to be consuming it.
  • Snack foods and sugary beverages do not solve the world’s food problems.

We Can Do More:

  • Easiest thing, make different choices.
    • Educate yourself. This can be as easy as watching Jaime Oliver’s Sugar Rush, That Sugar Film or the documentary Fed Up.
    • Learn to make simple healthy food.¬†Not enough time? Consider how you can make it work for you.
      • Slow cookers can save you time.
      • Pre-chopped vegetables and fruits may cost more, but could be worth the time saved.
      • Keep it simple. Salt, Pepper and Olive oil can create a lot of great flavor to your protein and vegetables.
    • Reduce or stop purchasing processed foods.
    • Request products at your grocery with simpler ingredients (5 ingredients or less) and that do not contained additives of which you have¬†no clue what they are. Did you know you can submit requests for certain products in your local store? I even submitted a request at my local Whole Foods and they listened! ūüôā
  • Contact your politicians to voice¬†your priorities.
    • They should listen to their community to vote on legislation and make decisions
    • If they can propose groceries stop distributing disposable bags, then they should be able to propose a tax on junk food and beverages or change up requirements of how stores are set up.
    • They could impact what is provided in schools.
  • Get involved at your child’s¬†school.
    • Provide whole foods for your kid’s snacks and lunches.
    • Talk with the science teacher about a field trip to a farm or garden to help the students understand where their food comes from.
    • Members if the PTA at some schools can work to make changes to what kind of foods children are provided.
  • Contact brands with¬†the number/email on the back of the package and provide your feedback on the ingredients they use.

The research I have been doing for this blog has me chanting, “I want to be more active in my community regarding this topic, I expect more from the food provided to me¬†and I can not sit by anymore listening to¬†the¬†statistics of our country’s health crisis. I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.”

So now what? I take action. I continue picking up that phone to call my city representative, making requests at my local grocery stores, purchasing whole foods to make simple, healthy meals, taking advantage of opportunities when someone asks me about what I am doing to feel so great and writing posts for this blog to show people it is possible on a budget. I want to impact people in a positive way, the same way I have seen people change how they feel about science in my work at the museum everyday. Positive experiences are long lasting. I hope my passion and actions are providing that to others.

 

Lesson Learned: Spring Slim Down Challenges Do Not Support Me

I have debated a post like this because I do not like to focus on appearance or size. Why? It causes me to have pretty negative thoughts, but slimming down is an important part for many folks to get healthy. I like to promote doing what makes you physically and mentally feel good. When I feel good, I like the way I look. So for me its all about feeling good. Getting to that state happens when I take care of and support myself.

Knowing what does not serve me

April typically kicks off all the challenges for Summer and media ploys toward looking your best in your swimwear. I loved participating in these until I made the connection that the language used by these challenges¬†had me being unfairly negative and harsh toward myself when I did not meet “my goal”. A typically¬†an¬†unrealistic goal which was generated by the expressions from the challengers. I believe for many they can be a great way to kick start getting healthy, but I question how some of these events may be designed.

The wording specifically could be used to market products to you, while hindering you feeling good about the progress you have made. This is what I noticed in myself. I wanted all the stuff they were selling and the body they said I could have if I follow everything they instructed me to do, but then the statements made caused me to feel like the amount of progress made was not enough. So no more Summer body challenges for me. Lesson learned.

Coming off my bulk

If you do not know, bulking means that you eat more calories than you need to maintain your weight so that you gain weight. This weight gain can be in the form of both muscle and fat. I was bulking from November to February. The time of the year you typically eat more any way due to all the winter comfort foods and holiday get togethers, so I figured it to be the best time to bulk.

I am currently changing how I eat after my bulk during the Winter. I took about a month and a half to focus on eating when I felt hungry to halt any over eating habits I had developed during the bulk. I have definitely put on muscle, but also fat. I gained about 6-7 lb. during this time. I now want to stop gaining weight though to see how much muscle I have really put on. I notice I am stronger, but this was really the first time bulking so I am trying to learn what process works best for me to gain strength and hopefully maintain it without becoming over weight again.

I am taking a step back from all added sugars, as well as changing up the distribution of fat, carbs and protein. My calorie in-take will remain the same now that I am back to maintaining. I have seen in the past that when I focus on eating my carbs in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, reduced the amount of fat by more frequently skipping out on fatty additions (mainly the fried foods, extra cheese, sauces, dressings, nut butters, etc.) and get out of the habit of consuming dessert, I see a more lean body. So to summarize, same amount of calories, but replacing the more frequent treats with high quality, real food.

I will plan to do an update in a month to let you know what I have learned from my first bulk and especially whether or not my strength was maintained. Hope you have a beautiful Earth Day!

My Reset Week

This past week I decided to try to do exactly what I mentioned I like to do in my Motivation post, focus on pushing myself to get inspired. I just really needed to do something for myself to feel mentally and physically back in the game. It has been a couple of weeks of waking up tired, sore and listless. It is not as though I got nothing accomplished, but I was no where near my finest functioning self. So last Sunday I made a plan to work toward changing that.

Sunday, March 19th

Fitness

Ran 3 miles, lower body strength training and Root chakra yoga practice

Personal growth

Journaled to set intentions for the week, this mainly consisted of creating a schedule like this. However, I did change it each day after thinking through goals and meditating on what I wanted to accomplish.

Monday, March 20th – Vernal equinox

Fitness

Sacral chakra yoga practice and walking

Personal growth

I looked back at my long and short term goals. I considered what I had accomplished and any personal changes that occurred since last evaluating these and how they should change.

Tuesday, March 21st

Fitness

Solar Plexus chakra yoga practice, Yoga for Cyclists and walking

Personal growth

Clean up my space, my intention was to remove thoughts and belongings that do not serve me to create a peaceful space at work and home.

  1. Cleaned and reorganized my desk and cubby at work. I threw out, recycled or repurposed objects, especially those that I just did not use or felt hindered my workspace.
  2. Went through all my clothing, shoes, accessories to collect items for donation. Then researched where to best donate them to.
  3. Cleaned my home.

Wednesday, March 22nd

Fitness

Heart chakra yoga practice, Healthy Energy Flow yoga and long walks (4 and 2.5 miles)

Personal growth

Take time for myself and to spend for others. In the AM I got out for a walk and did exactly what I felt like doing. Then in the afternoon and evening I had a great chat with my partner and meet up with friends for dinner. I had not really socialized like that in a while and it felt great to see those friends again. ūüôā

Thursday, March 23rd

Fitness

Throat chakra yoga practice and walking

Personal growth

Meditate, something that I have been struggling to do well lately. I focused on clearing my mind of thoughts that do not serve me, like my self-hate kind of talk.

Friday, March 24th

Fitness

Third eye chakra yoga practice and walking

Personal growth

Set those short and long term goals for the next 3 or so months. I want to grow as a person in my life and in my career, the only way I have found to do this well is to make myself conscious of what needs to be done and accountable to do it. I have a Google document that I keep track of these in and make note of the short term ones on my personal white board that only I look at everyday.

Saturday, March 25th

Fitness

3 mi run, upper body strength training and Crown chakra practice

Personal growth

Enjoy every minute of the day. I babysat the sweetest little kiddo, chatted with friends and cooked something I love. It was all around a bliss-filled day. Perfect way to end this week.

Motivation

We just entered March. I am not going to lie, my motivation in all aspects of my life is wavering. The surge of the new year inspiration is dying down. However, it does not seem realistic to be inclined to always accomplish what needs to be done. Motivation can come and go, but I have ways to keep myself coming back to feeling encouraged and determined. This blog for one.

Commitment

I made a commitment to testing, researching and writing up material for blog posts at least once per week. It is something that no matter the status of my motivation I want to do for myself and those who read my blog. Its a goal of mine to keep this up, grow from this experience and help others cultivate the motivation they need to achieve a happy, health life within their means.

Goals

Speaking of goals, I have a white board in my home that only I have to look at everyday where I keep my short term goals listed. My short term goals are linked to my long term ones since those can not be accomplished without actions and improvements to my present self.

For instance, I need to provide positive words of affirmation each day to show my partner love in his love language in order to maintain a healthy relationship since a long term goal of mine is to have a strong, loving relationship. Especially after growing up with parents who were so clearly unhappy and expressed disdain toward each other daily. I saw first hand that your relationship status can impact overall happiness and how you interact with others.

Mood Booster

When I am not mentally in a good place, I try to recognize that. In recognizing that I push myself to change the negative emotions and take the time to heal my wounds. I will usually start off with cleaning, walking long distances (5+ miles), taking spontaneous day trips, meditating and cooking up lots of comfort food. These are actions that help me heal.

I learned toward the end of graduate school that just laying around, sleeping in and feeling sorry for myself did nothing for me. It felt like if I continued down that path that I would never come out of it. It also only made me feel more depressed. I know myself well enough to know I need forced motivation to boost my mood.

What helps motivate you? I would love to hear about your methods in the comments below!