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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Fat Talk Free Week!

I’m late to the party, but very happy to be an active participant!

Today something completely ridiculous happened. My pants split, right up the middle. Luckily, I live thisclose to my school, so I was able to run home during my lunch break in order to change. When I returned to work I figured I might as well laugh at the situation, and I told my co-workers about the split. Lots of omg!‘s and laughter erupted. I could have made a comment about how I needed to cut back on my lunch, or that I needed to bust out my fat pants. But I refrained. The fact is, pure and simple, the pants were cheap. I bought them at TJ Maxx, and they fell apart after the first time I washed them. True story. And in honor of Fat Talk Free Week, I didn’t make a fat talk comment about myself.

Are you ready to make the same pledge? Visit Endfattalk.org today! Afterward, send an e-card to show you care. You’ve only got one body, one heart and one mind. Be nice to yourself!

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!

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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!

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.

(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.

Weigh-in Wednesday 10: The Thin Ideal

In honor of NEDAwareness Week, I am not weighing in with a number. Instead I am weighing in with my thoughts on the scale: it’s power, the thin ideal and why you shouldn’t let a number determine a worth.

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You know the rules of the scale: first thing in the morning, after your first, ahem, bowel movement, no clothes, and tada! The lowest number should appear. But wait, why do we think we need to follow a certain pattern to weigh ourselves? And why does the scale at the doctor’s office always result in a higher number?

Simple. Our weight fluxuates daily. Sometimes two to four pounds, sometimes up to eight or ten. You know how I had food poisoning last week? I lost six pounds in six hours. Six measly hours. Of course it all came back after I guzzled enough gatorade, rehydrating my body. The old me would have jumped for joy, riding the quick weight loss happy train until I weighed in again, only to discover I had “gained the weight back,” and I would have spiraled downward into a depressed funk until the scale revealed that magic number again.

You would think I could be more logical. I’m a fairly intelligent person, I promise. But for some reason this small piece of equipment with batteries for a brain held control over me for many years. And I’m not alone. Americans, in particular, have a strange obsession with the scale. A simple google search of “fluxuate weight” results in 19,500,000 results. The majority of the first few pages were from diet and weight-loss chat boards, where women and men were freaking out because they’re weight changed from day to day, or even mere hours apart.

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So why is a number so important to us? It represents happiness, after all, thin is in, right? Advertising execs would sure like you to think so. My least favorite quote is one Oprah promotes, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” As Oprah is pretty much the most influential person in American society, it is no wonder she parrots the same sentiment the rest of the media throws in our faces.

Some researchers believe that advertisers purposely normalize unrealistically thin bodies, in order to create an unattainable desire that can drive product consumption.(1998,Hamburg, P.) The media markets desire. And by reproducing ideals that are absurdly out of line with what real bodies really do look like…the media perpetuates a market for frustration and disappointment.

Body Image and Advertising

What you see is not what you get with the media. Not even the models are safe.

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Sorry Kelly.

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Apparently Faith is too big now?!

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And when a model, weighing 120, is airbrushed to freakishly tiny proportions and then gets fired for being too fat,

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what are we, the normal people, supposed to think about our weight? No wonder we obsess over an insignificant number that pops up after one to five seconds.

What we desperately need is more of this.

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And this.

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And this.

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Because real women don’t live in an airbrushed world. We have jobs, children, money issues, car issues, bad hair days, stress, etc. And what the media presents to us isn’t normal. It isn’t even close.

So the scale, which gets more prayer than a parish on Sunday, is taking our sanity. Sure it can be a good gauge for weight loss and weight management when used correctly, but the way your clothes fit can do the same thing.

Yes, I’ll admit, I weigh in once a week. But I have mentioned that I am thinking of taking a break from the scale, and focusing more on how my clothes fit instead. As a former slave to the scale, I know how difficult it can be to step away and see yourself as more than a number. It can so easily consume every thought of every day.

Only you can change the way you relate to yourself. And only you can determine your self worth. Why let the media, with all of its unrealistic representations of the female role in our society, tell you how you should think, feel and act?

A few years ago I was weighing myself, on average, eight times a day. Now I am down to once a week. As of today I am giving up the scale for one month.

I challenge you to step away from the scale for one week/month/year. You are MORE than just a number.

Want to read more? clickity-click below!

Women ‘suffer poor self-esteem due to airbrushing in advertising’

Airbrushed adverts of “thin ideal” models pose a “significant risk” to the health of young women.

On the CL: The Picture You Can’t Stop Talking About

Love your body campaign

About-Face

Positive words

Today was the first day back to school after a four-day weekend(!!). To kick off National Eating Disorder Awareness Week at school I posted a positive words wall. It was Mirrorless Monday meets Operation Beautiful.

*I wanted to play Bruno Mars Just the way you are on repeat in the hallway during passing periods, but I neglected to purchase “D” batteries for my CD player.

I don’t know if you had the same experience as me in middle school…but it surely wasn’t the best three years of my life. I remember being gawky, nerdy, wearing high-water denim with vests and a perm. While perms were all the rage in ‘94, I didn’t quite know how to style it, and always felt a tad out of place. I remember wondering is anyone going to like me? Why am I the only one not allowed to shave my legs? When will I actually need a bra? Ugggh, my nose is so big in comparison to the rest of my face!

I certainly could have used a little self-love. So why not give my students the chance to give themselves some self-love?

I posted these signs near the positive word wall:

Each passing period, during lunch and after school I stood in the hallway with a bucket of markers, encouraging the students (and teachers!) to write uplifting notes to one another, (or themselves). The response was overwhelming! I had to put a second blank positive word wall up during 4th period 🙂

Here are some of my favorites…

This one is my absolute favorite!

How can you not love that? Adorkable? Adorable!!

The rest of my day was so bland in comparison.

I decided to see how long it would take me to run 3 miles…38 minutes. Have I mentioned I am suuuuuper slow? But, I was impressed with myself for not giving up. However, I did NOT realize a news crew was behind me, filming my derriere, for the majority of my dreadmill experience. Erica was kind enough to inform me around the 30  minute mark. No wonder everyone cleared out of my little cardio corner.

After my run I dove into my pumpkin quinoa muffin.

I’m really glad I added the chia seeds – perfect crunch factor.

Lunch was a kiwi + Olive Garden leftovers.

I was at work until 6, and many snacks filled my afternoon.

Babybel + pink lady

Chobani + decaf chai tea

And then it was dinner, prepped by Libb. Bean burritos w/onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and tapatio.

Rikka decided she needed to take control of my ear warmers.

And I decided I needed to take control of these cookies.

What would you go back and tell yourself in middle school?

For me it would be, don’t worry, life gets much better!