who is influencing you?

Several of my twitter friends have shared a New York Times article over the last couple of weeks. I hadn’t had time to read it, but so many people I respect kept commenting on it. So I saved it in my handy Instapaper to read later. Having now read it, I can see why it’s so popular. So today, instead of writing about my ups and downs, I’d like the share the article with YOU and to also make some comments.

First off, it’s an opinion piece by a novelist that I really like, Jessica Knoll. I read her book “Luckiest Girl Alive” a while back. If you like suspense books, give it a go. Anyway, her piece in the Times is called “Smash the Wellness Industry.” I’m going to put several excerpts here, but I’d really encourage you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

In sum, the entire piece is about the fallacy we are all being fed about “wellness” in our society. I like how she said it in this paragraph:

The wellness industry is the diet industry, and the diet industry is a function of the patriarchal beauty standard under which women either punish themselves to become smaller or are punished for failing to comply, and the stress of this hurts our health too. I am a thin white woman, and the shame and derision I have experienced for failing to be even thinner is nothing compared with what women in less compliant bodies bear. Wellness is a largely white, privileged enterprise catering to largely white, privileged, already thin and able-bodied women, promoting exercise only they have the time to do and Tuscan kale only they have the resources to buy.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

All day long we see “influencers” on Instagram. Thin, barely-clothed, tan women pawning us shakes, or waist-trainers, supplements, or workout programming. They are telling us what we need to do to inherently be happy and feel good. Or trying anyway. Because, as she says in another part of the article, wellness equal thin and thin equals wellness.

I liked this quote as well:

I no longer define food as whole or clean or sinful or a cheat. It has no moral value. Neither should my weight, though I’m still trying to separate my worth from my appearance. They are two necklaces that have gotten tangled over the course of my 35 years, their thin metal chains tied up in thin metal knots. Eventually, I will pry them apart.

Most days, I feel good in my skin. That said, I am probably never going to love my body, and that’s O.K. I think loving our bodies is not only an unrealistic goal in our appearance-obsessed society but also a limiting one. No one is telling men that they need to love their bodies to live full and meaningful lives. We don’t need to love our bodies to respect them.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

I don’t love my body right now. I’m not comfortable in it. But I’ll be honest, this has given me pause to ask myself if I’m uncomfortable for the right reasons. Am I healthy? Yep, I just had a whole bunch of blood tests that tell me so. I can run and strength train. So is it all about being thin?

Anyway, go read the piece and give me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. I think we all need to strive to be healthy and WELL, but are we really doing in society today? And how do you define it now that our measuring stick is so very skewed?

TODAY I LOVE: thought-provoking discussion
SONG OF THE DAY: “Killing You, Killing Me” by Jamestown Revival

green grapes and gray water

This *might* end up being the most random post I’ve ever written. Then again, I write a lot of random stuff all the time so who knows. Hang on for the ride.

On Wednesday of last week I flew to California to visit my fella. First off, it was so, so great to see him. Even though I just saw him in April, it felt like forever. We spent the fourth of July in Napa, and OHMYGOSH. It is like heaven. The hills were green, the grapes were green and growing, and the wine was very red. There were flowers EVERYWHERE. Everything was bright and vibrant. We also went to Monterey so that I could see the sea otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium. We took a behind the scenes tour of the otter stuff and I just giggled like a five-year-old the whole time. It was pathetic but I was in love. I should have tried to stuff that baby otter into my bag. I KNOW George would love a friend. The rest of the time there we just hung out in each other’s company. And I might have loved that just as much.

The downside of last week was that I was/felt sick pretty much the entire time. And I’m still sick. Something is going on with my insides and I don’t know what it is. Gallbladder? Ucler? Hernia? Pretty much any time I eat, I’m crazy nauseous for forever. My diet change hasn’t really fixed it. So off to the doctor I go.

Sooooo right now I’m eating a lot of carbs. It seems to be the only thing that upsets me the least. And let me tell ya, when you already have body image issues and THEN you eat a lot of carbs…it’s not good. Just call me Sarah McBloaty. Sarah McBloaty likes to eat bread, pretzels, and crackers. She really hates skinny jeans and swimsuits. She’s a barrel of fun (when she doesn’t want to vomit.)

Back to real life. With no wineries and no sea otters and no boyfriend. But I still want to puke. So…I guess I didn’t leave everything in California. So far 2019 is The Year of Nausea. I started the year with the flu and it’s still goin..

TODAY I LOVE: peppermint
SONG OF THE DAY: “Hold You Now” by Vampire Weekend

I really like your dress!

Does anyone else out there struggle receiving compliments? Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing them in my soul. They make me feel so good. It’s almost like every one you get, it is a helium balloon tied to your thoughts…it just keeps lifting them up. And when you’re not used to hearing compliments in a while, it’s like 5 balloons at once. It is the best feeling.

But nevertheless, after someone gives me a compliment I almost always say something self-deprecating and then I convince myself they only told it to me to be nice. I mean, they couldn’t possibly mean it.

I mean, why do we do this to ourselves? I read a tweet the other day that said, “Rejecting a compliment is like asking for it twice.” WHOA. It’s kinda right. So then you have to ask, why do we do that to the people giving you the compliment?!

On Friday a co-worker complimented my dress and instead of just saying “thank you” and smiling, I replied with “Thanks, it’s not flattering at all and makes me look huge with the stripes, but it’s comfy.” To which, she had to say, “No, I think it’s cute!” WHY DO I DO THAT?! I was not nice to myself and then I made her say it twice. Bleh.

I have to get better at this. There should be some kind of training on being better at receiving compliments without attaching strings and conditions.

Anyway, those are my thoughts this week. 🙂

TODAY I LOVE: cucumbers from the farmer’s market
SONG OF THE DAY: “Movement” by Hozier

Soft.

It’s been a week since I admitted to you all that I’m struggling with stress and anxiety. Truth be told, I’ve been struggling for a while but it’s just gotten to the point that I didn’t feel I could handle it without help. So I’ve made changes.

I’ve tried several changes in lifestyle this week. Here’s what I’ve done that has worked (so far):

  • Taken a break a work; at lunch. The weather has been super crummy, so I haven’t been able to leave the building, but I’ve intentionally locked my computer, silenced all notifications, and read. I’ve been able to lose myself in a book for at least 30 minutes everyday. It has been so nice!
  • Started having a glass of Nuun Rest before bed. I’ve had 4 nights in a row of great sleep. Only one night have I woken up at my trademark 1:30am and started thinking about work, and I consciously changed my thoughts, focused on some old meditation/relaxation tricks from therapy, and I went back to sleep.
  • Started taking Super You vitamins from Moon Juice. I didn’t get them until Thursday, so it’s only been a few days. It might be all in my head, but I do think they are helping me focus and not overreact at things. I’ll be keeping those up for sure.
  • I intentionally do not talk about my faith here. After my divorce I was very ashamed and I kinda left church or a bit. Looking back I don’t think it was a conscious decision, but it happened. I’ve been to a new church these last two weeks and I can’t explain the joy it brings me. I’m already looking into a life group; to bring more people into my circle. We aren’t meant to do life in solitude.
  • I’ve forcefully (and sometimes audibly) stopped all thoughts of negativity about my weight and body image. I’ve stayed within my macro limits this week and I’ve gotten over every ugly thought (again, sometimes forcefully). Eventually, if I keep training my thoughts, the ugly thoughts won’t come so much.

What hasn’t worked:

  • I answered a few emails the weekend and I said I wasn’t going to. Grrr.
  • I’ve continued to be negative and a bit closed off at work.

Three times this week I’ve been talking to people and I’ve said something that I want to remember for later. I’ve openly admitted my struggles, and I’ve said that I’m trying to become soft. After I said it the second time I caught myself and then packed it away to examine later. I had become a very hard woman. I’d become jaded and abrupt. I didn’t want to listen to anyone about anything. And I need to become soft. I need to be a sponge. If I’m letting people and words and love wash off me like water off a rock, I’m never going to be better. I need to soak it in. What if what I’m repelling is what I need? What if it’s the cure? While I understand in our culture today it is seen as….wrong…for a woman to be soft. Man or woman…are we sure that’s a good thing? Being hard all the time?

My goal this week, and for the next several weeks, is to continue to be open to change. To be soft. To expand.

Do you need to be soft too?

TODAY I LOVE: the color green…it’s everywhere right now
SONG OF THE DAY: “Love Me Anyway” by P!nk

Black coffee and honesty

acs_0254-1One of my compromises with myself when I started this blog (in deference to my last one) was to be completely honest. You get the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the wins and the losses. Why be fake? Why try to trick everyone into believing that life is rosy all the time and every single goal I set, I reach?

Somewhere out there (if you don’t have this song in your head right now I don’t know you at all)…anyway, somewhere out there I’ve lost my focus and drive. For some reason the journey seems a lot more difficult this time around. And yes, I’m talking about weight loss. I think I’m always talking about weight loss. When you’re uncomfortable in your own skin (and your own jeans) it is always what you’re thinking about.

I keep finding excuses!

  • I’ve had a rough week, I deserve this treat.
  • PMS…give me all the things I’m craving.
  • Whew…I’ve got meetings all week. They’ll feed me. I don’t need to count.
  • I’m cold and I don’t feel that great. I should just eat what will make me happy.
  • I’m going home and nobody cooks like my mom and grandma. I don’t get home that much, I should enjoy it.

Anyone ever say some variation of those? I usually have really great discipline and can bypass all that stuff. Not this last month. Frankly, I’m scared to get on the scale for what it is going to tell me. I know I haven’t lost but I’m terrified to see if or how much I’ve gained. I’m failing at all my self-talk. I’m failing at saying NO.

I’m failing. And I want to leave it at that. Throw a fit. Say that I just can’t do it; the plan doesn’t work for me. I want to tell everyone how hard it is to be me. But guess what? That doesn’t help me either, it just makes me fail…more.

So I’m not going to do that. Because deep down I know these things:

  • I’m not failing at everything. Those are just lies that we tell ourselves.
  • If I fix my self-talk and start thinking about things on a decision-by-decision basis, I can choose to say no and make better choices. I can make choices that aren’t based on hormones, emotions, and circumstances.
  • I’m not failing at workouts (for the most part – I’ve had to miss a few.) I’m pushing myself and not giving in. I like getting stronger and seeing what new things my body can do.
  • It is going to be hard. It just is. I’m not in my 20’s anymore and things are just HARD. Recognize the challenge, say “game on”, and do it. Just do it.
  • Again – don’t look at weeks at a time. One decision, one good choice, one moment.
  • Plan better.

This post was for me. It was public self-talk and public accountability. We don’t always win. It’s so easy to fall down the social media rabbit hole of how all things are perfect. They aren’t. There is no quick fix. It isn’t easy. I haven’t won; I’ve lost this round. I let myself lose this round.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t win the next one.

New moment. New day. New week. New month. As the character President Jed Bartlet says in one of my favorite shows, “What’s next?”

TODAY I LOVE: finally finishing the “Downton Abby” series on BBC

SONG OF THE DAY: “Forever” by Mumford & Sons

food sensitivity and me

There are all these companies out there these days that want to examine your blood/DNA/saliva and let it tell you all about you. I’ve always been curious about what my blood might tell me. So at the end of the year I purchased a Food Sensitivity and Metabolism test from Everlywell.

The Metabolism test needed my blood and a whole lot of saliva. It tested my cortisol level, thyroid, and free testosterone. The cortisol level is a bit of a stab in the dark, as it was only tested at one point in the day instead of 4. I had to take it with a BIG grain of salt. But overall, that test gave me results I expected. My thyroid and cortisol were fine, and my free testosterone was in the tank. If you take any kind of hormonal birth control (which I do for some woman issues), it zaps that testosterone level. It’s not good to have super low free testosterone, but sometimes it can’t be helped (like my situation.)

The Food Sensitivity test surprised the crap out of me. First off, let me explain. This isn’t an allergy to certain foods, it’s an immune response. Kinda. I’m going to copy this directly from the Everlywell site so that I don’t mess it up:

A food reactivity is different than an immediately life- threatening food allergy. Food reactivity is a delayed immune response by the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody, the most abundant circulating antibody in our immune system. Studies suggest that an IgG immune response may contribute to headaches, joint pain, eczema, gut malabsorption, and other chronic conditions. Identifying your sensitivity to certain foods can be difficult since you probably eat many different types of food every single day. While reactivity does not always correlate with symptoms, it serves as a tool to help you assess your food intake, guide an elimination diet, and hopefully get you to feeling your best!

So yeah, I really wanted to know what foods might cause me some kind of internal reaction. Who knows if that is what might cause me all my headaches or bloating or whatever. I just received my results and I am SHOOK. A lot of the foods that I have some kind of sensitivity to, I eat EVERY DAY.

My highest reaction was to crab, which I don’t eat everyday and don’t really even care for for the most part. It did say I could have a cross-reaction with other crustaceans like shrimp and lobster which would make me really sad. I love shrimp. Sigh.

The biggest surprises were egg yolk, egg whites (um, eat these EVERY DAY), cow’s milk, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and BANANAS (again, every day). Other things that caused a response were things like peanuts, coconuts, gluten, wheat, barley, tuna, and oats. There were more, but you get the drift. There were spices too but it is too much to list. They checked 96 different foods/groups.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this information yet, but it’s so fascinating!! The test encourages you to try elimination diets to see if you remove certain items that cause the response if they make any change in your body/life. I will probably do this.

It might be a bunch of garbage, but information is power and I’m willing to see what this might change in my life. If something that has shown sensitivity in my blood might reduce my headaches or bloating or inflammation…I’m so game.

Everlywell did not pay me for this nor provide free testing. I did it all on my own. It was very easy and they give you all the tools for at-home collection of blood, etc. They have lots of different tests out there and I’d totally recommend it if you’re interested.

Giddy up! Good thing meat didn’t cause much of a reaction…I use egg whites as a big source of protein. I might need to rethink some things.

SONG OF THE DAY: “Two Doors Down” by Dolly Parton

TODAY I LOVE: maraschino cherries

the calm and the storm

Flying over a thunderstorm outside of Dallas this past October

I think I’ve stared at the “Add title” part of this post for a good 20 minutes. I just finished writing a very mopey post about memories and pain. It’s still in my drafts but I’ll probably never post it. I’m sure everyone is tired of me mulling over my divorce and the never-ending tentacles of it’s reach in my life. It still just amazes me how I can go from moments of pure joy and happiness to watching one video of a concert we attended and I’m zapped back into sadness. It has to stop hurting at some point, right?

Anyway, I really just wanted to update you on my goals and such. I’m entering week 3. I can say without hesitation…it’s been hard. I’ve pushed myself in workouts (which is a good thing) and it’s made me so sore. Week 1 of my “diet” was hard but I was 100% perfect. Well…I fell off the wagon hard this weekend. I had cravings that I haven’t been able get rid of so I indulged them. The scale scolded me HARD this morning, but it was necessary. I’m in a much better place today. Overall I have lost and not gained any weight. I wish it was more, but this is for the long-haul, not in the day-to-day ups and downs.

Little wins and little falls…it is life and going to happen. It’s how I even out and recover that matters. It is not letting my “little fall” take me all the way to “I don’t care anymore.” And guess what? I still care. A lot. All of this matters.

So if you’ve had a weekend like I have, where you’ve celebrated birthdays and you’ve enjoyed some things outside of your norm…find your way back. And remember your “why.”

Now. I’m going to go watch something that makes me happy and not sad home videos on my phone.

TODAY I LOVE: Milk Makeup Kush Lip Balm

SONG OF THE DAY: “Girl” by Maren Morris