Love. Move. Create.

I’m as guilty as anyone else when it comes to getting caught in the comparison trap.

“I don’t make as much money as…, I’m not as thin as…, I don’t lose weight as fast as…, I don’t write as well as…,”

These thoughts are not helpful.

They do not create joy.

They are not loving.

Basically, they have no place in my life.

I’ve been thinking about how I compare myself to others because I just ended a month-long hiatus from the gym – and it’s taught me a lesson that I continue needing to relearn which is that I must always walk my own path with my priorities leading the way.

I was literally feeding myself excuses about why I didn’t have to work out based on comparing myself to others and it got me nothing but sadness.

When this happens, I get predictable.

Drink a lot (I mean…a LOT) of wine. Eat a lot of junk food.Regret it and then spend the next few days journaling so I don’t end up back in that place.

Through my personal pen-and-paper writing I’ve decided my philosophy for being and staying happy can be summed up in three words:

Love.

Move.

Create.

Simple, yet effective words that I’m hoping will become a road map for me as I go into an uncertain future.

They are open enough for interpretation of how they will be accomplished, but for me, energy must be devoted to these concepts every day.

For the last month I had been stuck in a lazy trap of get up, go to work, come home, watch Netflix, go to bed. Repeat.

The first week was great – it felt like I was visiting an old friend with this schedule. My former self was relishing in my return to the couch. The second week I knew I should start going to the gym again, I began to feel lazy, but still ok. The third week I started to make excuses. It’s cold, I’m tired, I don’t have any motivation, I don’t have any time.

And then in the fourth week I was in a hole. I wanted sugary foods all the time. I wasn’t happy.

It was time to kick my own butt. To remember that there is no such thing as “having motivation” – you either do it or you don’t.

Finally, finally, finally I went to the gym. My muscles are screaming today after running, squatting, lifting and planking – but I’m happy.

I KNOW that I need movement in my life to be happy. This is a fact. I ignore it and I live with the consequences. I spiral into unhappiness, other parts of my life fall apart.

The same is true for LOVE and CREATE.

Together, they add up to happiness for me.

There is no secret to living a life you love just like there is no secret to weight loss. You do the things that you know work. All the time.

Before I go – I wanted to share some recipes that I’ve been making (and loving!) lately. My posts have been kind of wordy and emotional, so here is my offering of a delicious break. They are all grain/nut/dairy free and paleo. Make these. Eat well. Be happy:

Honey-candied ginger <— My whole life I never had a taste for ginger and now all of the sudden I can’t get enough! I eat pieces of these every day. Also, I used mostly stevia to sweeten the ginger and only about a tablespoon of honey.

Pumpkin Custard Cups <—- Again, I substituted stevia for the maple syrup.

Meatloaf – no eggs/tomatoes <—- Paleo Mom uses a couple of different ground meats for this recipe but I used just lean turkey and it came out AMAZING. I went with the flax seed option instead of eggs, and stevia instead of molasses. I’ve made this recipe now three times! I know there is debate about flax seed being paleo…so if it doesn’t work for you, use eggs.

Lemon Garlic Crockpot Chicken <—- my roommate got a crockpot for Christmas and I finally got my hands on it this weekend. I used about 2 lbs of chicken breast instead of a whole chicken and after 6 hours on low, it was moist and delicious.

And finally, the Paleo superstar…

Bone Broth!! <— I also used the crockpot for this. You can use any type of bones – I went with a chicken carcass from a rotiserrie chicken and then four chicken legs and four chicken thighs that I roasted and removed the meat from. I bought one of those vegetable soup mixes from the supermarket that comes with a parsnip, carrots, celery, onion, etc and chopped everything up and set the crockpot on low for 9 hours. After, I strained everything, tossed the bones, ate most of the veggies, and stored the broth in the fridge. The next day I was able to skim the fat off and underneath was jell0-y nutrient packed bone broth!

Women, food, the Universe, and me

Here is what I believe.

That there is an intersection between spirituality and how you feed yourself.

Geneen Roth can back me up.

When I first began whatever journey I’m in right now, my influences were fat acceptance blogs. Like Lesley Kinzel, like Kate Harding, women who preach “just say no!” to dieting. I fell in love hard. With the concept. With the freedom. With my body.

The love inspired me to want to change. I cared, for maybe the first time, about the direction my life was headed. My influences then became healthy living blogs. I was soon part of a cult that worshiped KERF and Healthy Tipping Point, Meals and Miles and all the other ladies who have made a living by posting every meal they eat.

But now,

Now.

Now, I read spiritual blogs. Zen Habits. Roots of She. Tiny Buddha. Medicinal Marzipan. Christie Inge.

Blogs by life coaches. Blogs by (mostly) women who are living in the intersection between spirituality and food.

Who also believe that eating whole foods does influence whether you have an inner feeling of wholeness. Where showing your local farmers’ market some love also means showing your body some love. Influences who see and feel strongly about a gut/brain connection.

I’ve never had any kind of connection to a religious spirituality. But I do feel strongly that my faith, my love of all things of the Universe and the law of attraction, has gotten me to where I am and to wherever I’m headed in terms of loving my body, being able to change, and subsequently losing weight.

There’s so much talk when you discuss losing weight about how to “outsmart” hunger, how to eat less, how the “wrong” foods are sabotaging your efforts.

Focusing on these things will only draw more of those feelings to you. You will continue to feel hungry and continue fueling with the wrong foods.

Instead, savor your food.

Create peace with food.

It is not the enemy

Food is healing. How and what you choose to put in your body should be celebrated and enjoyed and not feared.

I’m saying this because I think if you’re someone who is like I used to be – consistently using food as a cure-all for anxiety, loneliness  fear, sadness – then this is the only way of escaping that pattern.

There is no cutting food out of your life. As much as you would like the hand off the responsibility of your health to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, that’s not how life works.

As someone who has lost 85 pounds, I get asked a lot about what is or is not healthy, what I eat, what I’m doing to burn calories.

But what I want to say,

How I want to answer,

Is that none of that would matter if I didn’t believe, every single day, that my weight loss has everything to do with finally believing that I deserve the effort of taking on my health, waking up early to eat breakfast, packing a lunch and snacks for work, and coming home and cooking dinner.

Sure, it would be easier some days to grab lunch out or heat up a frozen meal in the microwave for dinner, but I deserve better.

It’s these small acts of showing myself love that keep me engaged, keep me going in my own path of healthiness. Keep me invested in my body.

A while ago, someone commented on my blog asking if I believed there was space for someone losing weight in the fat acceptance movement. I want to believe there is, because a large part of me still truly and lovingly identifies with fat acceptance even though I do think losing weight has benefited me. The gap, I think, can be bridged through spirituality.

At least for me, I don’t feel like I am being untrue to myself in wanting to lose weight when I know that faith should be filling me up instead of food. I know that my issues with binge eating, emotional eating and the like will be taken care of when my head is in the right place through positive thinking and conscious thought.

As always, in order of importance:

Love,

change,

and losing weight.

Get naked

Here’s my number one tip to looking good, feeling great and being happy and healthy: Get naked.

Get naked without regret.

Get naked with someone who loves you naked.

Get naked in front of the mirror and smile at what you see.

Get naked and dance.

Get naked and talk about how much you love being naked. Talk about how much you love your body.

Tonight I read a piece written by my hero. A woman who is my body-love savior. The woman who taught me that fat is not the worst thing you can be. The woman, whose words I try to remember above all else as I’m learning what “healthy” means for me, that says its okay to be fat.

Please read it. It’s about the media and society’s reaction to Lena Dunham and her body. Even if you don’t watch Girls. Even if you HATE Girls (you shouldn’t, it’s the best show ever), even if you don’t know who Lena Dunham is, Read it.

It made me angry. It made me cry. And it made me remember that I have to work hard at loving my body.

Before I went to Costa Rica, I decided to put away my scale. I saw the familiar patterns creeping up and I didn’t like it. The pattern of me eating according to the number on the scale that morning, and not according to how I felt or what I wanted.

Since then, I’ve weighed myself just once, on New Year’s Eve, and then the scale went right back under my dresser.

In the time that I’ve stopped weighing myself, I’ve started looking at myself.

Seeing my body, without a number on it. Remembering all the bits that I love.

I’ll give it to you straight: It’s fucking hard to love your body. I know this because almost no one I know is happy with how they look.

This is also why I know that it is possible to love your body now, not after you’ve lost weight, or after you start going to the gym, or after you fit into a size 2.

There’s no place except the present that will suddenly make you like what you see. You just have to do it.

To get there, stop reading women’s magazines. Stop watching TV (except for, ya know, Girls, keep watching that), and start paying attention to what you’re saying about yourself. Only allow the thoughts that are loving. Only allow the thoughts that are positive.

Strip down and strip away literally and figuratively whatever doesn’t fit with your commitment to loving yourself and your body.

Get naked.

Love being in your skin.

No if’s and’s or jiggly butts.

Fat or not.

 

 

Paleo, take three!

Let’s see…I haven’t posted since…Christmas?!

Things have been fairly calm around these parts and I 100% credit my triumphant return to paleo.

Let’s just say, third time’s a charm!

My first experience with paleo was rocky and difficult. I was overwhelmed, unsure, not entirely motivated. My second time with paleo was the (not so perfect) month of Whole 30. I did better, was more sure of myself but something still didn’t feel right. I remember being nauseous a lot and just, not happy.

This time, I went into it with totally different goals. I’ve posted a bit on the blog about having bouts of sadness and having some anxiety. For me, the sadness and anxiety always felt like something I wasn’t supposed to have. The best way I can explain it is to say, those terrible down moment truly felt like something was off IN me, instead of external forces making me sad/anxious.

I started doing some reading on autoimmune disorders and how they affect mood, and how a lot of the banned ingredients on the Paleo diet also contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression and I knew I had to give it one more try. For my mental as well as my physical health.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I have an autoimmune disorder. But I do think I have symptoms of a leaky gut, which contribute to those feelings.

So, here’s what’s on the no list for me this time around:

NO sugar (honey, agave, etc.)

NO dairy

NO eggs

NO nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.)

NO nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, pepper)

NO coffee or chocolate <;—torture!

The NO list also includes all the typical list of banned Paleo foods like all grains and legumes.

However, and this is a HUGE however – I learned my first two times doing paleo that I get a bit crazy with restriction mindsets. So, let's just call this a "perfect health" list and who's perfect? Not me. And I don't plan to be. Today I had black coffee. Last week I had dark chocolate espresso beans. On New Year's Eve I ate bread, drank wine, and had ice cream for desert.

Life still has to be lived, with these rules as a blueprint, I feel that I have better control over my mood as well as my health.

So, what have I been eating? TONS of vegetables and all things coconut.

My vegetables list includes:

Spinach, kale, okra (new favorite – try roasting!), cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, and collard greens.

My protein list includes:

Chicken, pork, ground turkey, tilapia, salmon and beef.

My fats list includes:

Coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk…are you getting the theme? Also, avocado and olive oil and olives.

These foods are supplemented with sauerkraut, coconut kefir, coconut flour, and all kinds of fruits but mostly berries and apples.

That's it.

Pure, simple, nutritious.

I have none of the nausea that I experienced my first two times on paleo and *TMI alert* my body didn't…clog up…like it did the first two times on paleo. These results were pretty much the only proof I needed that taking paleo a step further to eliminate eggs, dairy, and nuts was totally necessary.

Each time I try out this way of eating I come in with a different perspective and with more education on why the paleo way of eating is so beneficial.

Another thing that has helped this time around is having a friend be on the Paleo train with me. Tracey started paleo a few weeks before I did and hearing all of her great reactions made me excited to try it out again.

I don’t have pictures to share with you of my meals, but here are some recent recipes that I’ve tried and loved:

Dairy-free shrimp chowder (I substituted pork chorizo for shrimp)

Roasted Okra

Dairy & egg free strawberry mousse (AMAZING. make immediately!)

Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (I subbed coconut milk for almond milk, stevia for honey, and instead of chocolate chips put in a heaping teaspoon of ginger. Delicious.)

Happy eating and HAPPY Friday!