Alone, but not

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Some days, when you’re on this eating regime (see how I didn’t call it a diet), you feel alone.  All alone, but supported at the same time.  This photo I took reminded me of how I am feeling today.

I am down about 6kgs on and off and that is really good, but I expect way too much of myself. I need to take the time.  Enjoy. Read. Recover and rediscover the love I have for my body and all it gives me every day.

A change of mind (and heart)

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I don’t know how many times on this blog I have said the words “it’s finally time.  I am taking responsibility for my health and happiness”.  Well my friends I am going to say it again.

I’ve had quite a hard time of it lately. I was not looking after my health, I was drinking way too much, I was eating about three times the average amount of food a normal person should eat, sometimes secretly.  All of this ended up with me gaining not only weight but also questioning who I want to be for the rest of my life.

On July 11th this month I turned 47.  Now I’m not big on the age thing.  It is what it is, but this time I could actually notice myself aging. I could see my skin getting that little bit thinner and dry.  My period, which was as reliable as Big Ben, was now all over the place, sometimes not coming for months at a time.  Gravity was beginning to really come calling and I was feeling VERY sorry for myself.

Knowing that I hadn’t had proper ‘get on a plane with a passport vacation’ for years, my oldest and dearest friend talked me into going to Phuket to a luxurious villa.  Needless to say from the picture above it was amazing.

Unfortunately the second night I fell over and badly sprained my ankle leaving it incredibly difficult to walk for the rest of the holiday.  For me this was a real wake up call.  If I don’t start doing something about my health, my weight and my work/life balance the rest of my life is not going to get any better.  If anything, worse.

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Our private infinity pool.

We talked a lot on that vacation about health and our lives and where we wanted to be.  He had a good friend who passed away some years ago now.  She tried for years and years to give up smoking but couldn’t. During her career she worked incredibly hard for all they had. She was the hardest of workers.  It came to her one day, a little too late, that if she is such a hard worker, then giving up smoking is just hard work and I know I can do that.

Now I am sure I‘m not doing this story any justice but it rang true with me.  I work bloody hard, so this is just another something I need to work hard at, and to me it makes total sense. I have worked hard all my life in my career; surely I can work hard at something that is going to keep me alive and feeling good.

Yes, it does sound way too easy but it’s put my head into a totally different space and that’s a good thing. So here I go.

But, just a little bit differently this time.

Recipe for a great day

Tomorrow I go on vacation near the water for three days.  Alone.  All by myself. I am so nervous and excited at the same time.  I’ve not really done this before, and whilst it might not be a long time, it will be much needed time for me to heal and to re-evaluate what I’m doing and where I want to be going.  Being sick in the middle of the year has taken it’s toll and I’ve finally realised I need to take stock, put my feet in ocean and ground myself. Literally.  I have my Kindle full of books, an ipod full of music and nothing but the ocean to look at.
I will shop at the Farmers Market, eat fresh fish that have been caught the same day, find a yoga class, get a facial or massage and realise how very lucky I am to have this opportunity to reflect.
I found this post just now about the ‘Recipe for a great day’ and couldn’t agree more – let’s see how many I can tick off – but only if I want to.
  1. Smile at a stranger
  2. Wear a really silky dress
  3. Listen to your favorite three songs on repeat
  4. Gulp down your favorite drink
  5. Don’t consider buying a single thing, just go out into the world with total control and complete contentedness – you have everything you could ever need
  6. Take photos
  7. Write a letter to someone you miss
  8. Talk with someone you miss
  9. Ride a bike and only think about the wind on your face
  10. Breathe deep

Found here – fab blog – well worth a look.  Pictures thanks to Aubrey Road, another blog well worth checking out.

Another, yes I’m still here post

I know I’ve not been around lately but I’ve been really all of your great posts and finding motivation in all of them.  I had a terrible accident in June which lead me to a 10 day hospital stay in July and still trying mend now.  I really need to document what happened (fall, bruise, septicemia from abscess, operation…) but I will leave that for later.

I realise how much we all struggle with those bad days and I have just come across this wonderful entry on a blog called ‘Internal Acceptance Movement’ on how to take care of yourself during a bad body image day.  I found it so helpful as I am having more of these than normal given my injury has not allowed me to be active in any way.

Below is the post in full and here you will find it on the blog.

1. Recognize that fat isn’t a feeling.
There are always underlying emotions that we attach to feeling fat. When the “I feel fat” thoughts start up, try to identify what you’re feeling underneath the body dissatisfaction. Are you feeling lonely? Anxious? Invisible? Scared? Ashamed? Inadequate? Whatever the feelings are recognize that they are separate from your body. 

2. Treat yourself as you would a friend.
Because it’s difficult to be kind to ourselves in the moment when the body hating thoughts take over,try responding to your thoughts as if you were supporting a friend. What would you say to someone you loved who was battling your same struggle with body image?

You wouldn’t tell them to not eat for the day in order to compensate for what they ate the previous night. You wouldn’t tell them to punish themselves for their body size through over-exercise, self-harm, or abusive eating habits. You wouldn’t tell them they were worthless or unloveable because of their weight. So why do you tell yourself these things? Break the cycle and start treating yourself like a friend—you deserve that kindness and love from everyone, especially yourself.

3. Recognize that you are so much more than the size of your body.
What you look like does not define you. It doesn’t discount your worth as a human being. You are so much more than a number on the scale. As a living, breathing, feeling human being you have inherent value. You are special and important and loved. You exist and therefore you matter.

Your appearance is such a small part of who you are, and it certainly doesn’t warrant enough power to discount the person you are inside. You aren’t your body or your weight—you are your goals and dreams and passions and values. You are your strengths and talents and insight. You are a soul and a spirit and a force of nature. Your body does not define you.

4. Shift your focus from the external to the internal.
Make a list of all the people you look up to and are inspired by—not because of their weight or appearance, but because of who they are and what they do. Write out all the qualities they have that make you appreciate and value them.

Use the list as a reminder that it’s the internal things—our dreams and passions and goals and morals and insight and character—that truly define who we are and draw people to us; not how we look.

You are no exception to this. Try making your own list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with appearance or body size. If you have a difficult time creating one, ask some friends and family to help you.

5. Think about what you want to be remembered for after you die.
I don’t want people to remember me for what I looked like, what size jeans I wore, or what I weighed. I want to be remembered for the person I am. I want to be remembered as someone who brought about positive change in the world. I want to be remembered as loving friend, partner, and family member. I want to be remembered for my passions and my creativity and my strength. I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference. What do you want your legacy to be? Chances are, it doesn’t have to do with weight.

6. Instead of focusing on the size of your body, start focusing on what your body allows you to do.
The human body is an incredible force. When we get caught up in the number on the scale and size of clothes however, we forget just how lucky we are to have a fully functioning vehicle to engage in life with. So stop hating your body for the way it looks and start acknowledging and appreciating your body for all that it allows you to do.

Make a list of each activity and feat your body helps you to partake in and accomplish. If you want to be even more specific, list out each body part and describe all the things you wouldn’t be able to do without it. Your body is strong, powerful, and beautiful, regardless of it’s size. Choose to treat it with love, compassion, and gratitude instead of hate and judgement.

7. Challenge your negative thoughts.
You may not be able to change the way you feel about your body today, tomorrow, or a month from now, but you can begin the process by challenging the thoughts in the moment. Write out a dialogue between your negative voice and a healthy voice. If you have a hard time coming up with positive counters to the negative thoughts, pretend that you are speaking positively about a friend or loved one.

Even if you don’t believe the things you say to counter the voice, it’s still important to speak out against it, because each time you argue with the thoughts, you are taking away some of their power and reclaiming your own. The more you challenge the thoughts, the less you will believe them. The more you argue back, the easier fighting the voice will become.

8. Allow yourself to feel your feelings.
There is a lot of built up energy and emotion underlying the way we feel about our bodies. Holding in how we feel or engaging in behaviors to numb out may make us feel better in the moment, but in the long run, it doesn’t remedy the pain we feel. It doesn’t make us feel better and it keeps us stuck.

Releasing the energy and painful emotions underlying our body shame requires us to feel our feelings.Whether that means throwing a tantrum on the floor, venting to a friend on the phone, punching a pillow, screaming in your car, or crying in bed, you need to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Let go of the judgement you have about what you feel and recognize that you are feeling these things for a reason. Give yourself permission to release your emotions and let everything out.

9. Do self care.
When you’re struggling with body image, distract yourself with healthy coping mechanisms. Take a bubble bath, get a message, ask for a back scratch, cuddle with a pet, make plans with a supportive friend, watch your favorite movie, get a manicure, listening to calming music, do deep breathing—whatever it is, make sure it’s something self-soothing and helps you get out of your head.

10. Be kind with yourself.
You may not be able to control the way you feel about your body, but you can control what you do in response to how you feel.

Instead of beating yourself up, you can choose to treat yourself with compassion. Instead of engaging in unhealthy and abusive behaviors, you can choose to do self-care. Instead of treating your body as an enemy, you can choose to treat it as a friend. Instead of isolating yourself, you can choose to reach out for support and surround yourself with positive people who make you feel loved and accepted. Instead of agreeing with the negative thoughts, you can choose to challenge them.

You have more power than you think
Don’t let the way you feel about your body keep you from living.  Coping with bad body image days may not be easy, but it is possibleDon’t give up. You aren’t alone. Things can and will get better.

Image thanks to the original post @ Internal Acceptance Movement.

Summer Tomato

I really really love Darya Pino’s website called Summer Tomato.  She’s a smart, young cookie who really is making a difference in the world with her blog and her passion for eating right.  It’s well worth checking out.  I loved this post and had to share it with you.  Some fantastic lessons for all of us.  Read about the top 10 food facts that everyone should know.
  1. “Vitamins” are not the same as whole foods. Instant ramen and a multivitamin is not a healthy meal. There is no substitute for a diet of whole foods rich in vegetables, beans, grains and fish.
  2. A healthy diet can prevent or even reverse four out of the six leading causes of death in the US. Evidence indicates that diet ismore important than genetics in the vast majority of heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes cases.
  3. The thinnest, healthiest people in the world eat “high carb” diets. But they definitely do not eat the processed, refined carbohydrates that flood Western culture. If you want to lose weight and live longer without disease, eat more vegetables and whole grains.
  4. You get plenty of calcium. Americans consume more calcium than most countries on earth, yet still sport some of the highest rates of osteoporosis. This debilitating disease is more likely caused by insufficient vitamin D, not enough exercise and/or too much protein. Also, excess calcium is linked to prostate cancer and milk to ovarian cancer. Calcium does not support weight loss either.
  5. “Fiber” is not the same as vegetables and grains. Fiber supplements do not offer the same benefits as fiber-filled foods, and do not help with weight loss or protect against disease.
  6. The best sources of protein are plants and fish. It is relatively easy to get complete protein (i.e., all the essential amino acids) from a diverse diet. Protein from red meat offers more risk than reward. (Yes, pork is red meat.)
  7. Fruits and vegetables protect your vision. Both cataracts and macular degeneration are strongly tied to diet.
  8. Fats from factories are dangerous. Processed oils and trans fats (not total dietary fat) are associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity. Replacing them with natural oils could save your life.
  9. Fats from plants and fish are essential. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and memory loss. In moderation they can also aid in weight loss, since they increase the satiety you feel after a meal.
  10. You can lose weight on any short-term diet, but you will probably gain back more than you ultimately lose. This is often true even if you stay on the diet. Focusing on long-term health is the best strategy for sustained weight loss, but it requires patience.

If you subscribe to her food blog, you get a great book to download called ‘How to get started eating healthy‘.  I loved it.