Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Confessions Of An Imperfect Life: Food, The Scale, & Me

Today, I'm starting a new series that I hope to share on both blogs.  See, the thing about writing a blog is that I'm the one writing the words.  I can leave out any unpleasant details and paint any picture I want.  I can also leave out any unflattering pictures of myself, so you only see my good hair days and non-pajama ensams.

So, to keep this blog from becoming some surreal documentary from the likes of Pleasantville, I wanted to do a series that would force encourage me to be a little more open about our dysfunctional moments around here....and the dysfunctional places in my heart as a woman. Cuz I'm not a man, so I'll leave that stuff to the menfolk.

Now, don't go thinking I'm going to start posting pics of myself right after I fall out of bed.  That would just be mean....to you.  And I like you, so we won't go there.  But, that very subject....how you see me and how I see myself, is probably a good place to start. 

I could lie through my teeth and tell you that I'm totally content with the way I am.  But I can give you a detailed list of all the things I hate about my body and the features I wish were different.  I think most women can.  It's a self-critical voice in my head that I constantly have to give the beat-down, and usually I come out of those bouts with at least one black eye.  It's something that has gone to a whole other level after having kids.

Extreme weight gains/losses in a short amount of time, changes in my body's shape, and an unspoken expectation to be back to pre-baby weight (or less) in record time have all played on the strings of my ego and self-worth.

I've been stuck at this place....this "15 pounds from ideal" place for about a year.  I've had this internal arguement with myself over simply accepting that I had 3 babies in 4 years and this is just the way my body is going to be vs. taking control and making sacrifices to lose those last 10-15 pounds.  Because it will take sacrifice for me to do it....preparing for meals/snacks in advance, saying no to foods I'm accustomed too, and turning down other things in order to get a workout in....and going to bed on time - which will always be my nemesis.

The quickie story about my relationship with food is this....as a teenager I was an athlete that trained hard and never had to worry about what I ate.   I joined the Marine Corps, so throughout college and my time on active duty, I was again, always training hard and didn't really need to think about food.  Then I got pregnant.  And older.  It became harder to lose weight just by working out.  Compared to the average Joe I feel like I know a lot about food and healthy eating habits.  I've just been too lazy to actually follow them.

There have been times that I've gone on a healthy eating kick or a sugar detox, but I've never been consistent, and I've never been consistent with both food and exercise at the same time.  In the past I basically worked out to support my eating habits.  Well, this ole girl just aint what she used to be.  It will take the right food choices and regular exercise to get and keep my body at a healthy weight.  I also have a back injury, so even carrying just 5 extra pounds makes a huge difference in how I'm able to function.

Back to pre-baby weight after a 50lb pregnancy weight-gain with Mia......
prebaby weight

6 months pregnant with Sully...
pregnant with baby #2

Today, after three 50lb weight-gain pregnancies...
 After 3 babies

Please let me be clear.  I do not consider myself "fat" or even overweight.  It's not just about the scale.

I don't feel good....
I'm tired all the time (even after 7+ hours of sleep)....
I get food cravings....
My nails are weak and break easily.... 
My teeth hurt....
My patience is non-existent.... 
I wake up with back pain almost every day...
My digestive system is all over the place......

I know that I have significant deficiencies in my diet and that I haven't taken very good care of myself.

In lieu of a New Year's Resolution, I felt like my theme for this year was to "take care"...better care of our home, better care of my relationships, and better care of myself.  I've been a bit of a hypocrit in that way....I make sure my kids get to bed at a decent hour every night, serve them healthy/balanced meals, and try to give them physical activity every day.  It's been a lot of do as I say, not as I do.

I've been really inspired by Carmel's candid journey in Paleo eating so, I finally decided to give it a real shot.  A month of better eating (without cheating) and regular exercise.  And we'll see how I feel. (We decided to try the Perfect Health Diet and I'll share more about the food details tomorrow).

I really don't care what the scale says.  Of course I want to like the way I look in my clothes, but more than anything, I want to feel the best that I can and to know that I'm taking proper care of myself.  I want to feel strong, fit, and able again.

So after all this healthy eating and exercise, I'll feel awesome about myself and never think or say anything negative about the way I look again, right? .....you did, didn't you?  You just snorted out your coffee onto the computer screen.  It's ok.  I know that critical voice will always be there, but I know that if I feel better, confident that I'm taking care of my body, hopefully I'll be able to deliver the defeating knock out to the voice of "you suck" in the first round instead of the fifth.

When I prayed about this post and for a piece of Scripture the first thing that came to mind was "there is no flaw in you".  So I looked up the whole verse and it's this...

Song of Songs 4:7 
"You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you."

The words from one lover to another.  The words our Lord, speaks over us.  The words, I constantly reject.  Because sometimes all I see is flaws.  In my appearance, in my heart, in the way I just snapped at my husband, in the way I just chastised myself for doing it.  God knows.  And His response?  Nothing but love for the child He created. 

Part of me feels guilty that I'm not writing a post about embracing yourself just the way you are, but I think that's because it's more important to embrace who we are.  If we only knew how much we are loved by our infinite Creator, and that through his loving eyes He sees no flaw, maybe we could see less of them too.

If you are overweight, you are amazing.  If you are a supermodel, you are amazing. If you are average, you are amazing.  If you are anorexic, you are amazing.   If you secretly need anger-management classes, you are amazing. And you and I are both worth the fight to claim our worth and our health everyday.

With so many other images and voices telling us otherwise, it's important that we are reminded of the truth.  And so I tell you dear friend, no matter how you look right now (good or bad) or what you've done/said this week...you are altogether beautiful and there is no flaw in you.  Now, go tell someone else who needs to hear it too.



4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this honest post. I too have been feeling a little down, and not my greatest (mostly mentally, a tad physically), so it helps to hear what you're going through. I've read a lot of good things about paleo, but here's my one reservation - not being able to go through it 100% for a decent period of time because of the mental strain it is to do so, and never being 100% committed in the first place.

    I'm just tired of fretting and stressing over *what* I'm eating. I used to eat oatmeal and cereal/milk everyday, and was OK. But now, it's so stressful to think of what I should eat for breakfast that I just want to go back to simpler times (in fact, I had oatmeal this morning). I think following paleo is a great thing - but like any regimine, you need to be committed (or not, but don't expect all the benefits of the diet) and you can't down on yourself if you make a mistake(s).

    What's going to help me lower my stress is not being perfect and attempting to eat the right things every meal, but instead just eating well overall (giving up most grains) and letting go. I too, am tired of hearing that negative nagging voice in my head and want to KO it in the first round (btw, why do guys not have this as bad as us?!).

    Anyway, thanks again for an honest and timely post. BTW - I came here from Fresh Coat of Paint. Cheers!

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    1. Thank you for this! From your comment I realized that the post wasn't clear - we're actually going to follow the Perfect Health Diet...a less strict version of Paleo. I updated the post and will share details on the diet here tomorrow.

      I think you make a great point - we can get so down when we don't stick to something perfectly, but overall progress in the right direction is victory in my book. I don't want food to be stressful either (and it has in the past), I'm hoping I can develop some better habits this month so it feels less like work. Thanks for sharing your struggles with food here too!

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  2. Deme, I feel like that too, except I am overweight where you are not. I know you aren't looking for this, but I think you are a truly beautiful person outside and more importantly on the inside.

    I like you have the problem of eating good/exercising well for a little while and then stopping and then picking it up again and then stopping. I know I need to be more consistant, but I think I need someone to push me to get my butt in gear and tell me, "No don't sit down even thought you just got home from work, change clothes and take the dogs on a walk/jog".

    Check out this youtube video, I found it inspiring and really eye opening as to how I look at myself.....


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk

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    1. I just saw that video link on FB last week - it's very powerful so thank you for sharing it here! I think having someone to push me (i.e. James) and keep me on track is going to be key for me too. I know you weren't looking for it either, but you are beautiful inside and out too Stacey, and we just keep celebrating each other and every little victory we have along the way!

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