A place of joy

While I don’t celebrate Christmas, I do enjoy the spirit. Dec. 25 began with my new favorite green monster of spinach, avocado, coconut milk, stevia, cinnamon, and ice cubes. I topped the smoothie with a few fresh cranberries for a festive look.

I spent my days off from work before Christmas appreciating small joys. Like sipping tea and playing scrabble.

There is nothing quite like spending time with people you love. Who feed your soul in all the right ways.

This year I was blessed with so many wonderful moments of connection.

A night of driving around and looking at Christmas lights with one of my oldest, and best friends. We started this tradition in college!

A night of discussing blogs, boys, and positive thinking with my friend Tracey, who at this very moment is boarding a plane back to New Orleans :(!

There was also time spent reconnecting with myself. I finished reading “A Complaint Free World” by Will Bowan, gave myself a pedicure, finally unpacked from Costa Rica, and wrote (and mailed!) a few letters.

Sometimes, life just works.

Being happy is effortless and words of gratitude flow easily. Of course 🙂

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” – Gandhi 

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What I know

For the first time in over two years I don’t know my weight
I put away the scale about a week before my trip to Costa Rica and haven’t taken it out since.

Here is what I do know:

Last week I took my first (of hopefully many!) solo vacations to Central America. I wasn’t uncomfortable fitting into the seat on the airplane. The towels at the hostel easily covered me. I had confidence to talk to people and make friends in ways I wouldn’t have before.

I signed up for hikes without worrying about whether I’d be able to keep up with the group.

I signed up for zip lining without needing to check if there was a weight limit requirement.

When I went out to eat with the people I met, or when I raved about the the sugary snow cone I enjoyed on the beach, I didn’t feel shame for eating in public and enjoying it.

I also know that after five days of eating bigger meals than is normal for me, and daily treats like chocolate and ice cream, I felt tired and cranky.

I don’t know what I weigh right now, but I know how I feel and I’m putting that first. I’m not going to let a number cloud what my body is telling me.

My first night back after dumping my bags at my apartment I rushed out to the grocery store to make sure I would be stocked with nutritious food for work the next day.

It’s been a while, but I’m slowly working my way back to a place of love with my body and for me that means spending more time focusing on the positive and hopefully no time focusing on the number.

I will trust and believe that the work I have already done in changing my life will prevent me from gaining all the weight back – the biggest fear motivating my scale obsession.

I know that if I focus on the fear, that is what I will continue to attract into my life, so I choose to live in a place of joy, of happiness, of love.

A number, a clothing size, an extra piece of chocolate do not change those things for me. That is what I know.

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present – Jim Rohn

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La Pura Vida

It’s my last day in Costa Rica and I’m hoping all the sun I soaked up will be enough to last me through the rest of winter.

The trip has been full of breathtaking views, delicious food, meeting new people, and living, as the Costa Ricans say, “la pura vida” – the pure life.

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I think the majority my photos are of sunsets! Just when I think they can’t get any more impressive…

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I’m off to explore San Jose and enjoy 24 more hours of Costa Rican heat.

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Adios!

Hola!

I am in Costa Rica!

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I just arrived last night but already my schedule is packed with plans to tour the rain forest, cruise on the rivers, lay at the beach and zip line through the trees!

I just had a dinner of rice, beans, plantains, and fish at the hostel and now am going to relax in a hammock before a full day of exploring tomorrow.

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Have a great weekend!

All over the place

I’m having trouble getting my thoughts together right now.

A few things are on my mind.

This weekend, I reacted to uncomfortable situations by eating. A lot. Although honestly, the amount or type of food doesn’t matter, but it’s how I felt eating it. I was pretty conscious of the fact that I was eating to avoid having to feel what I was feeling. As long as I kept eating, I didn’t have to think about what was happening or how I felt.

Also, I put away the scale this week. Although I’ve been counting calories, I haven’t weighed myself in a number of days and the freedom I first felt from not stepping on the scale has turned to fear of what the number will be when I eventually do weigh myself again. I feel like I’m living in a catch-22 of weighing/not weighing. When I do weigh myself every morning, I know where I’m at, but the number seeps into all of my thoughts and actions. When I don’t weigh myself every day, I fear that a day of overeating has caused me to gain 10 pounds and it’s easier for me to keep overeating when I know I won’t see the number. Gah.

I had more vacation time than I had anticipated at work to use before the end of the year so I decided to take a solo vacation. I leave Thursday! I’ve done some travel alone, but I’m still nervous. I’m excited to get out of the country and my comfort zone for a week but now that It’s only a few days away some fears are setting in – mostly about being lonely. The best of traveling is feeling empowerment and the worst is feeling overwhelmed and lonely, but I’m keeping in mind that all emotions fleeting. I tend to have a worse reaction to anticipation of an event than the event itself, so I’m just trying my best to honor what I’m feeling without letting the feelings paralyze me.

The holidays are an overwhelming time for everyone, so I’ve been letting myself be completely non-restricted when it comes to food. This doesn’t do me any good, however, when binge eating and too much sugar make situations worse than they are.

This post is all sorts of all over the place, but that’s where I am right now.

I’ll leave on a good note. The only thing that I found that helps when I’m feeling out of sorts is to be grateful. Practicing gratitude reminds me about all the good things in my life and lessens the stress and anxiety about everything else.

A few mindful quotes:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear” – Ambrose Redmoon

“Action is the antidote to despair” – Joan Baez

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it” – Brian Tracy

 

Having faith

Here’s some truth: For the last six months, I’ve basically been at the same weight.

It’s gone down a few pounds, up a few pounds – but no significant changes.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having a hard time dealing with this.

There’s one side of me that knows that I choose foods that make me feel good and exercise in ways that make me feel strong, so the number shouldn’t matter.

And there’s the other side of me that wants to reach 100-pounds lost. That wants to wear smaller clothing sizes. That wants to be thin-thin-thinner.

But underneath all that, my true desire is to look in the mirror and be happy.

To walk down the street and feel confident.

When I think of it that way, when I get to the core of what I want, my heart and mind know there is only one way of to accomplish those things.

Believe it. Right now. Without any qualifiers.

Think it, even if it doesn’t feel true.

Visualize it, even if it’s never been experienced.

Positive energy is my religion and mantras and visualizations are my prayers.

I know that this is the only path to happiness, because women smaller than me are searching for the same thing – confidence and self-love. To get these, they typically turn to a diet hoping to change their life or a dress that will pump up their strut.

From everything I’ve read, from everything I’ve lived, I know that the only way create lasting change is to give love to what you seek.

My new blogger obsession, Rachel W. Cole, has a great post about primary hungers.

From her experience as a life/wellness coach, she says most people say they want things like “to lose weight” or “a night out” – but those wants are secondary to what’s triggering needing those things.

In her words:

For example. If a woman desires for weightloss, her primary hunger may be to feel good in her body, or to feel vital, or for companionship (if she believes weightloss is a prerequisite). The primary hunger below a desire for weightloss can be a multitude of things. And, importantly, she can feed the primary hunger without, in this example, ever losing weight.

Yes, you read that right. We can feel great in our bodies, feel vital, and have companionship without losing a pound. [Please, no need to leave comments about how obese people can’t possibly feel vital or good, etc. See Dr. Linda Bacon’s work]

I was in that place once, feeling great. It was when I weighed 243 pounds. I knew how to love that body. I knew how that body looked and felt and how people reacted to that body.

My vision of my journey was to lose weight without sacrificing my belief in size acceptance and the belief that how you feel about your body is not related to how much you weigh or what it looks like.

I thought I could do it. I still think I can do it, but I know it requires more attention than I’ve been giving.

The last thing I would ever want for myself is to have lost 100 pounds and hate how I look – and I’m scared that that is the direction I’m heading.

It’s time to take a step back and focus on what is important:

1. Fostering a peaceful and nonjudgmental relationship with food.

2. Seeing my body as powerful, beautiful, and capable.

3. Re-framing my media-tainted and unfortunately moderately ingrained beliefs about size and self-worth.

In the spirit of honoring these points, I will no longer be posting weekly weigh-ins. The number was never meant to be important, and it only takes on meaning if I let it.

Instead, I offer love:

 “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

 

Lessons from fat acceptance

Things I know to be true, but regularly forget:

1. My body, its size, my fat, does not define or dictate my happiness or self worth. My weight does not stand in my way of life.

2. Fat is not the worst thing you can be as a woman, despite the media telling you so every minute of every day.

3. Health is not the size of my jeans. Health is not how many calories I ate yesterday. Health is not the number on the scale.

4. Food is not a moral issue. There are no “good” or “bad” foods. Similarly, eating a cookie does not make you bad and choosing a salad instead of fries does not make you good.

5. Smile at your reflection. Take pride in your rolls, stretch marks, dimpled skin. It is your beautiful, lived-in skin. Also, sleep naked as often as possible.

6. I am enough at my current weight. I was enough at 243 pounds. I am not broken or in need of fixing.

7. Self love, body acceptance, does not just happen. It will not magically be something you are blessed with when you reach a certain goal. It takes work and effort. Visualize yourself happy. Visualize yourself at peace with food. Visualize a full, joyful life – fat or not.

9. Don’t waste energy with comparison or wishing for another reality. Settle in with what you’ve got.

10. Breathe in. Practice gratitude. Breathe out. Be thankful.