You are beautiful!

I saw this today on The Skeptical Mother’s facebook page and loved it!

 

Love yourself today, tomorrow, always!

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Guest Post: Carly Love!

Hi everyone. I’m enjoying a wonderful weekend with my best gals from college. Today’s guest post is from Carly, of Carly Love. I’ve been reading Carly’s blog for a few months now, and I love it. She reminds me of myself 🙂 Carly just picked up her life and is on an adventurous journey with her main squeeze. To find out what I mean, read more on her blog. And enjoy her post below!

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Hi everyone! My name is Carly and I blog over at Carlylove, where I talk about life, love, and all the speed bumps and adventures along the way!

I was thrilled when Leila asked me to write a guest post for her! Although I write about my life of LOVE, I definitely did not always have such a positive spin on life, and didn’t have an ounce of love for the most important person in my life: me.

This pretty much sums up how I used to feel about myself!

As a teenager and young adult, I struggled with disordered eating, a skewed perception of my body and self, and some serious negative talk.

After getting help with my Eating Disorder, I still struggled with the task of loving myself. Not only was this the more difficult task to master, it was the most important; how can you enjoy life living every day hating yourself?

I wish I had a formula for how to love yourself, but it is a personal journey, and there is no clear way there. I do however have a few reasons WHY you should love yourself.

1. You wake up every morning with a choice: love yourself or hate yourself. It’s YOUR choice! It takes more energy to hate yourself, so start loving yourself and use that energy to pick up a new hobby! You might even discover you’re good at something 😉

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2. Think about the reason you don’t love yourself. For me, I was angry at myself for not being skinny enough. Take whatever reason is holding you back and make a plan. How can you stop focusing on the negative or the “problem”? Since my weight was my issue, I stopped weighing myself and tuned into how I feel! Would you tell your best friend that they were fat/stupid/ugly/not good enough? Probably not, so don’t talk that way about yourself!

Source

3. As cliche as it may sound, you ARE awesome! Stop comparing your deficits to other people and start recognizing how many unique attributes you have, no matter how small they may be. You’ll see, you’re a pretty awesome and unique person.

4. Because once you start loving yourself, others will follow! Awesome attracts awesome! It’s just a law of physics.

What’s something you do to love yourself?

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Thanks Carly! Carly’s journey is very similar to my own, and I know how difficult it can be to see yourself in a positive life. Right now my therapy is running. I never thought I would say it, but the endorphin rush is killer! Running gives me a sense of pride and some major body confidence!

New and Improved! Weigh in Wednesday

Wow, haven’t had one of these in a while!

If you’re new to the blog (hi!) you may have noticed a Weigh-in Wednesday tab at the top. You may have also noticed that it promptly stops on Week 10, when I discussed the scale, the thin ideal and why I was giving up weighing myself for one month. Turns out I enjoyed NOT weighing so much (after a few anxiety striken days, mind you) that it has now been 8 weeks. Last week I discussed how much better I feel now that I am not weighing myself daily on my Running Foodie guest post. I can’t say that I wont ever go back to weighing myself (never say never), but for right now it is working out quite well.

So my new and improved! weigh in Wednesday will be centered around other means of determining my weight loss, mainly inches lost (which I don’t obsess over, like I did the number on the scale), exercise goals and accomplishments, and most importantly, how I feel!

Up first, my measurements. I am pleased to say my waist is 1.5 inches smaller than it was in January (this is the only area I’ve ever consistently measured). My exercise goal is to finish Bloomsday (a 12K in 11 days) without dying.

And today, I feel awesome. Last night I discovered the wonder that is the Epsom salt. I knew they were for soaking, but I didn’t know the difference between Epsom salts and bath salts. I figured they were one in the same. So I never explored them. But yesterday I was so incredibly sore and stiff that I decided to stop at Walgreen’s on my way home to pick up a bag. I took a nice 20 minute soak, read my book and went to bed at 9 pm (glorious!). I didn’t feel any different last night, but when I woke up this morning. Ohmigawd! I had absolutely no stiffness! My 5 mile run this morning was a breeze. I know, I know, I was totally living under a rock. But now I am a believer. Epsom salts rock my socks.

After my 5 mile run I inhaled another eggcellant breakwich.

And then I ran into my PA (Principal’s Assistant) and double high-fived her – she ran the Boston Marathon on Monday! Woot Woot! I was annoying the crap out of asking her lots of running questions and learned I should also take magnesium pills at night to ease my soreness/stiff muscles.

My lunch was composed of fabulous leftover potato pizza and a colorful salad.

Later on I snacked on an apple and a pineapple chobani (the BEST flavor).

Oh, and I also had a Fresca. I haven’t had soda in quite a while, but I saw my co-worker drinking one and immediately HAD to have one. It was fabulous.

After a quick trip to Costco, (yes, twice in one week), to pick up more Epsom salt, spinach, (no skittles), and lettuce I assembled leftover meal #2 for the day.

Butter-not squash enchiladas + salad

I can hear the Epsom salts calling my name. I am looking forward to a nice hot Epsom salt bath this evening. I’m sure you probably aren’t supposed to take an Epsom salt bath two days in a row, but I felt so amazing that I decided I would do one on evenings I run. While running is the form of exercise I feel most amazing and fit after, it is also the one that causes the most stress on my body.

What is your favorite form of exercise?

America, the beautiful

It’s happening. Every inch of my body can feel it.

Spring Break (woo!) is over.

Last night I stayed up way past my bedtime in an attempt to delay the inevitable. All it resulted in was crappy sleep and waking up much later than I should have.

In an effort to get on track for the work week, I decided to intertwine my normal Sunday evening routine with more enjoyable lazy Sunday activities. One activity was watching America The Beautiful, a documentary about America’s obsession with beauty.

Have you seen this documentary? What I found most interesting was that the film was made by 4 male filmmakers. Generally speaking, documentaries that focus on beauty/weight/body image are from a female perspective. It was interesting to listen to the filmmaker talk about our obsession with all things beauty. The film covered many areas of beauty interest including makeup, a 12 year-old model’s career (yes 12),  a group of male chauvinistic pigs (there just isn’t a nice way to describe these fellas), and plastic surgery…for animals.

It wasn’t the most amazing documentary, but it is one I would recommend to others. Because I am very interested in the subject matter, I already knew a lot of the information presented. But I kept thinking about the media and advertising unit that my students finished a few weeks ago, and thought this documentary would be a great supplemental piece to the curriculum.

I found this quote to be quite sad:

Health doesn’t become an option in this business. If you’re going to worry about your health, go to college.

– “anonymous” model

Obviously I have a number of issues with this statement. But I’m interested to hear what you think about it. Think back to your middle and high school years, were you obsessed with beauty? Did you think being skinny was important to your self worth? Did you think skinny = healthy? Did you not worry about what was actually healthy because it wasn’t a concern at the time?

Below is a clip from the documentary. At :26 into the video, model Garren Taylor (then 15), discusses how she wasn’t able to get modeling jobs because she was told she was too fat. In fact she was labeled obese. She’s a size 4.

This documentary sheds light on America’s obsession with beauty, and how our definition of beauty is shaped by the media. But we, as a society, keep buying into this unrealistic ideal and in turn drive the steam engine that rolls over us. It’s a vicious cycle, how do we stop it?

Why are we afraid of…

Fat?

Carbs?

Sugar?

Eating intuitively?

Today is the last day of NEDAwarenss Week. As my final post in this years blog series, I decided to take a look at diets fads, why I used to fear certain food groups that are essential to my overall health, and how I overcame these irrational and unnecessary fears.

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First up: Fat. Everywhere you look there are low-fat and fat-free products, which I used to be a constant consumer of. Yes, I still purchase some items that are low-fat, (milk, yogurt and sour cream), but for the most part I purchase products in their natural-fat form.

Somewhere along the way we got the idea that all fat is bad. Unfortunately, limiting our consumption of healthy fats, (think avocado, salmon and peanut butter), can interfere in the storage of energy, absorption and transportation of some vitamins and insulation of vital organs. Roughly 30% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. There is no reason to be afraid of it. I’m not saying pile up your plate with french fries and a marbled steak every day, but don’t immediately lunge for only fat-free products at the grocery store either. And please, please, please if you are going to buy cheese, never, ever buy low-fat or fat-free! Gross!

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Since introducing healthy fats back into my diet, and eating roughly 30% of my calories in fat form I’ve noticed I am much more satisfied with my food. Things just taste better when I don’t remove the fat. Crazy, I know.

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Next at bat: Carbs. Carbohydrates get an equal bad rap from the diet world. Between Atkins and South Beach you would think carbs are the root of all evil and they are coming to steal your baby in the middle of the night. Plus when celebrities drop pounds fast they always cite cutting out carbs to slim quickly. But wait, do those pounds stay gone? Ummm, no. Sure cutting carbs can be a quick fix, but if history has taught us nothing, quick fixes never actually stick long term.

So unless you are diabetic, there really isn’t a need to cut your carb consumption. Roughly 50% of your diet should come from carbohydrates. Yes, complex, (think bananas, barley, yogurt, yams), are better than simple, (think high fructose corn-syrup, packaged cereals, cake). Carbs serve as the preferred source of fuel for your body. Simple carbs might give you a quick energy boost, (which is why someone with anorexia-nervosa often reaches for candy when they eat), but complex carbohydrates offer sustaining power. Pure and simple your brain needs carbohydrates to function properly.

I used to think I could never lose weight if I had a diet composed of 50% carbs. Pasta for dinner? Pssh, no way! Bananas? Don’t you know they are the most calorie and carb dense fruit? I shied away from carbs like they were, well, the Devil and they were coming to steal my baby* in the middle of the night. But then I realized something, I was kind of an irritable B when I didn’t eat carbs. My apologies to anyone who spent any amount of time with me in college. I probably wasn’t the most enjoyable person to be around.

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Now I eat 50-60% of my calories via carbohydrates. And I think I am much more enjoyable to be around. Only you can tell me if that is true, but I know I feel better and I can focus on a task much longer. Amazing how fueling my brain really, ummm, works.

*in this case baby = Rilo the dog. Sorry, Rikka, I don’t think you eat enough carbs, you are kind of an irritable B most of the time.

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Third round: Sugar. Oh sugar, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with you for years. Popular diets always tell us to trick our body with a serving of fruit after dinner so we trick our sweet tooth. I don’t know about you, but if I am craving candy, an apple might fill me up, but it isn’t going to satisfy me. Why? I’m slightly addicted to sugar. But I also (used to) have an irrational fear of it. I downed splenda and other unnatural sweeteners to satisfy my urges, but all that really did was make me crave sugar more.

Remember how I said I’d had a love affair with Mr. Diet Dr. Pepper (DDP)? Funny thing, I am no longer desiring him as I once was. I kicked him to the curb in favor of water. The weening wasn’t fun, not gonna lie, but I feel so much better now that I’m not drinking a can with my lunch every day. Now when I pop a top to pair with my noontime meal my stomach reacts very poorly. Indigestion sets in and a cluster headache will quickly take over my brain. It isn’t fun, and it isn’t worth it!

I’ve also noticed I crave candy, (in the afternoon), a lot less than I did when I was relying on the DDP to get me through my afternoon slump. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a sweet treat every.single.day., but these days it comes in the form of home baked goodness, rather than high fructose corn-syrup treats.* I’ve learned that I can satisfy my sugar tooth without feeling guilty, if I approach it with a healthy mindset. Everything in moderation after all. Plus sweet treats make me happy, so why not give into my brain’s limbic system.

*aside from the occasional serving of Crazy Cores Skittles or Sparkle Jerry Laffy Taffy.

And finally, we come to the fear of eating intuitively. For years I did not trust myself to do this. When I say eating intuitively I mean: eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and eating what I want. I had a complex and unhealthy relationship with food for years, and didn’t know how I could possibly eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. I was always hungry, always. And full? Ha! I didn’t know what full meant because I would just keep eating until I was completely and utterly disgusted with myself. I could write a novel about my unhealthy relationship with food, but that isn’t what this post is about. It is about my acceptance of food and how I use it to fuel my body, while enjoying myself at the same time.

In October 2010 I finally had my “healthy tipping point,”* after 10 years of struggling to find the healthy balance I knew was hiding somewhere inside me. I started making small changes, starting with exercise. Initially I hit the gym after work, but I really hated doing that. By the time I got home it was 6:00 or later, which meant I didn’t get started with the prepping of dinner until at least 6:15. After any chores that needed to be done, cooking, eating and prepping for the next day, I had no time to relax at night. I decided to switch to morning workouts and haven’t looked back since.

After getting my gym routine down, I started slowly adding more things to my diet*, rather than taking away. I added chia seeds, quinoa, (more) greek yogurt, new fruits and vegetables.

Once I added these things I noticed how much better I felt about, well, everything. I had more energy, my hair had less split ends, my headaches weren’t as frequent…I just felt better. Better than I had in years. I also didn’t give up anything. If I wanted something I ate it. I still had my glass or two of wine, or beer, on Friday nights. I still hit The Flying Goat for pizza. I still purchased cupcakes and baked brownies. And I indulged in every food item you are supposed to avoid when on a diet.

*I do not consider myself on a “diet,” in the traditional sense. By diet I mean what I eat on a daily basis.

Since October I have lost 2 sizes and approximately 10 pounds. I set out to lose 21 pounds, because that is how much I gained since getting married. But by finally taking care of myself, and filling my body with all nutrients needed, (rather than pre-packaged chemicals), I feel like I’ve achieved my “weight-loss” goal, and so much more. For the most part, I lost the negative thoughts, guilt and anxiety surrounding food. (Yes, I log what I eat in myfitnesspal.com, but I do so more as a guidance to ensure I am eating enough nutrients, and it helps me pinpoint what may have caused my stomach ache/headache/lethargic feeling so I can attempt to not do that again.) Every so often a small twinge of guilt will sneak in there, but I quickly stomp on it and force myself to do something positive instead, (get some Vitamin D, listen to Katy Perry, read a fluffy chick-lit, catch up on healthy living blogs!). I’ve gained an understanding of how my body responds to food and exercise, and also how to be happy without stressing about what I am eating and when. The “rules” about food are gone, and it is so freeing.

There is much, much more to my food and body acceptance journey. It is a continuum, and I will never truly be finished learning how to treat my body with respect. I can’t even begin to describe what my day to day life was like prior to finding a healthy balance. But I can say that I am so much happier NOW than I was THEN.

And so I end this NEDAwareness Week on this note: if you are struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating please get help now. Talk to your doctor, therapist, family, or friend(s). You don’t have to suffer silently anymore. You may feel like nobody could possibly understand how you feel, or wouldn’t understand your relationship with yourself and how you relate to food. But there are so many people who do. And so many others who may not understand it, but who will want to help you.

Love yourself, today, tomorrow, forever.

Fashion Friday: Inside-Out

Today was dubbed “Inside-Out” day at school, in honor of NEDAwareness Week of course. Who you are on the inside is more important than what you look like on the outside. To symbolize this fact students were encouraged to wear their clothes inside out. Unfortunately, yesterday’s snow day threw us off a tad and I was one of the only teachers who showed up today wearing her clothes inside out.

Yes, I am totes awesome. Tell your friends.

In case you weren’t aware, it is really difficult to wear jeans inside out. Luckily I wore a pair that are a tad too big, so zipping and buttoning them wasn’t as big of an issue as an issue as I thought it might be.

All day long I had students asking me if I knew my pants were inside out.

Umm, yes, I do. Apparently the snow day threw them off as well, since all week the same students had been looking forward to Inside-Out day.

They were also totes impressed with the design on my pockets. They are 80’s fab.

I can’t share a full weeks worth of work outfits for today’s Fashion Friday. Monday we didn’t have school, (President’s Day), and Thursday we didn’t have school, (snow day). So all I have are Tuesday and Wednesday to add to my Fashion Friday post. I could really get used to 3-day work weeks.

Tuesday w/jacket:

and without…

Wednesday (wear purple for NEDAwarenss!)

What else do I have to share with you re: NEDAwareness Week?

Ummm, lots! But I will try to be sort and sweet, as I’ve been o my soap box all week. Today I stumbled across Stop Hating Your Body.

Stop Hating Your Body is a user generated website. It’s mission is,

to love ourselves, every last inch! To support others, help build positive self esteem! This is The Beauty Revolution! This is a place of encouragement, a place to talk about body image, a place for feeling beautiful. No matter what you look like, what color, what gender, what size or however many “flaws”, healthy, not healthy, working on it, we are all human, we all deserve to be happy, we all deserve to love ourselves.
With this blog you will see all kinds of REAL bodies, REAL people, REAL stories.

Great mission, right? Users post their journey to love and accept their body. Sometimes they are already at that point. Sometimes they are still struggling to be okay with who they are. If a post may be triggering, it is noted. Although I only discovered this site today, I knew I had to pass it along. Stop beating yourself up! Treat your body with the respect it deserves, it is the only one you are going to get, the only life you are going to live. You have the power to change your perception. In the words of Nike, Just do it!

Love yourself, today, tomorrow, forever.

(s)no(w) way, snow day!?!

My district NEVER takes snow days. Ok, that isn’t really true. Since I’ve lived in Spokane, (9 years), there have been 3 winters where snow days were taken. Rumor has it they are the only 3 in the past 20 years, and during that time there hasn’t been a single 2-hour delay. I don’t know if there is any truth to this, but it does make sense. We are within city limits, which means major roads and bus routes should be plowed. Therefore there should be no reason we can’t make it into school.

Should.

This morning I rose at 5:04, ahem, with my alarm(!), and poured the freshly brewed joe into the carafe. I knew it was supposed to snow last night, so I quickly assessed the driveway and determined I was not going to attempt to shovel in the dark for a 30 minute date with the dreadmill. Back to bed I went, resetting my alarm for 6:00 a.m.

At 5:37 a.m. my phone started buzzing. No way is it 6 already, (check phone), some asshole is calling me at 5:37! Uggh! And back to bed I went. ZZZ’s did not come my way. 6 a.m. phone starts buzzing again, (check phone), weird, Kammi texted me, and I have a voicemail. (Check text from Kammi), Can you believe it, no school! (switch from text to phone log). Hmmm, better check my voicemail. (tap number) ring, ring….Hello? (oh crap, I am in call, not voicemail),

Oh, hi, ummm sorry.

Whose this?

Leila. Sorry.

Oh, hi, it’s (co-worker), I just left you a voicemail. School’s are closed today, you’re on my phone tree list. You need to call (another co-worker).

Oh, thanks. Sorry, I thought I was checking my voicemail. I’m still asleep.

Attempt to fall back asleep. Fail miserably. Get up, pour cuppa’ joe, settle in with my MACbook Pro on the couch watching KHQ. Hear that Spokane Federal Court is closed, alert the hubs. Bummer, although the court is closed his office is open.

He was not thrilled to be clearing off the 10 inches covering the Volvo.

The cat and dog, however, were very pleased to have company today.

I spent six hours transferring my blog from tumblr to wordpress…exhausting! Pumpkin Banana Bread + more coffee fueled me,

and before I knew it, it was 1 p.m.

Well hello boots, I thought we had broken up for the season.

Blizzard conditions turned into bright blue skys.

After shoveling away the better part of an hour I was determined to eat some leftover goodies. Mmmm bean burritos by daylight, so much prettier!

My afternoon + evening was spent catching up on blogs, watching Oscar nominated movies and cheering on my Zags. If you didn’t see it (shame!), the Zags won!!

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I decided to spread a little blog love for my NEDAwareness post today. I recently started following Laury at The Fitness Dish, and Nicole at Yuppie Yogini. This week, both of these ladies had fabulous posts to support NEDAwareness week.

Laury, a personal trainer, pointed out the myths vs. reality of eating disorders. The biggest misconception is that someone must be severely underweight to have an eating disorder. Not true! Clickity-click to read more.

Nicole, a therapist, brought up the fine line between dieting and disordered behaviors surrounding food, which often lead to full-blown eating disorders. It is a sad fact that our society has turned food into something we agonize over, make deals with and compromise happiness for. Yes, eating disorders are a real issue, and as Nicole points out, they are a big enough problem to warrant an AWARENESS WEEK! Clickity-click to read more!

If you’re a skeptic about eating disorders, and how dangerous they really are, I highly recommend reading both of these posts. And even if you aren’t a skeptic, I hope you will take the time to educate yourself regarding this issue. Remember, it is just as harmful not to do/say anything, as it is to do/say something negative regarding body-image. Treat yourself, and others, with respect. We all deserve it.