Wednesday, May 23, 2012



Did I ever tell you that I got my internship?  The one I applied for back in February? 

I did.  I got it.  It's going to be awesome.  I'm going to be working with horses and ropes courses and skiing and bike riding and people with disabilities all summer.

Yeah, it's awesome.

And, it starts tomorrow.  It goes until August 30th.  And it will be crazy/busy/awesome.

And, I just wanted to let you know, in case I'm completely awol for the next 3 months, it's because I'm learning to be crazy/busy/awesome.

Wish me luck!

Also, send blessings and prayers to all the people who are helping me to do this, because seriously, they're all amazing.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Interesting Discovery

*Please disregard any typos, repeats, or things that don't make sense in this particular blog entry.  I've been sick for days, and about 5 minutes ago I took some NyQuil to help me sleep tonight.  

So there I was, with permission to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it.  I also had the guidance of the Gospel.  And, as circumstance would have it, I discovered a fascination with whole grains.

I don't know about you, but "whole grains" in my mind generally translates to "whole wheat" or, occasionally, "oatmeal."  I figured there had to be more out there, and I wanted to discover possibilities.  I went to Good Earth and bought some quinoa, a couple different types of rice, and some oat bran.  I enjoyed them all.  Quinoa, in particular, has a fun texture.  Plus, I really enjoyed making muffins from scratch using the oat bran.  Yummy stuff!

*Ooh... the NyQuil's starting to take effect.  

Of course, I also ate a lot of wheat products.  After all, the stuff is everywhere.  Ev-er-y-where.  I mean, there are very few recipes, and probably even fewer boxed foods, that don't contain white flour.  Which, of course, is made from wheat flour.  This translates to eating wheat almost every single meal of almost every single day of my life.

But that's not a big deal, right?  Except for the argument that everything's over-processed and "the whiter the bread the sooner you're dead" which I've heard all my life, wheat flour is still pretty healthy.  Get whole wheat flour and make your bread yourself, and you're among the healthy elite. 

Except that I was paying attention to my body.  For the first time in my life, I was paying attention to how my body felt before and after eating.  You know what I discovered? 

I know.  The buildup is killing you. 

My body doesn't like wheat.  Wheat turns my stomach to knots and inhibits digestion.  Usually, the knots aren't awful.  Usually, the guilt of eating outweighed the discomfort in my midsection, and I would just bemoan the fact that, once again, I'd eaten too much, or the wrong food, or put too much butter on my bread. 

Once I let go of the guilt and the...

*Huh.  That's some powerful stuff.

What was I saying?  Oh yeah.  Guilt.  Once I let go of the guilt and the fear that, for me, surrounded the food, I was able to actually listen to my body and to what it was telling me.  I think it's a significant step towards a beautiful relationship with this body I've been riding around in for 29 years.

Long story short, I stopped eating wheat.  I stopped eating white flour.  I dove into oatmeal and oat bran and rice flour instead.

So far, it's only been a week.  Two?  One and a half.  Ish.  But within an hour or two of every meal, I feel the difference.  My body feels cleaner.  I feel stronger, and healthier, and even more able to think.  My digestion has improved, and even my hips don't hurt as much.

*Is anybody else's room spinning?

For most people, eating wheat is probably a good thing.  For me, it's not.  But I like feeling freer and stronger and knowing that my body is working as it should.  That outweighs the need to change my diet.  And while I am changing my diet, I could start eating wheat products again if I wanted to.  The point is, I don't want to.  I like the feeling, now, of having my body working.  I may lose weight.  I may not.  Right now, I don't really care.  Right now, I'm eating for a healthy body right now.

And that feels good.

*Also, I need to go to bed now.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Gospel Perspective on Eating

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I believe most, if not all, of my readers are both aware of this and are or have been members themselves.  Hence, we all know about the Word of Wisdom.

Generally, it is accepted that we don't drink, smoke, do drugs, or drink coffee or tea.  However, a few months ago, I came across an article in the Ensign (the Church's magazine) that details the word of wisdom a bit more in detail.  This is what it said:

  1. Fruits, vegetables, and wholesome herbs are to be used “in the season thereof” and “with prudence and thanksgiving” (see D&C 89:10–11).

  2. Meat and poultry have been “ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly” (D&C 89:12).

  3. “All grain is good for the food of man” (D&C 89:16).

  4. We should not “labor more than [we] have strength” (D&C 10:4).

  5. We should develop proper sleeping habits so “[our] bodies and [our] minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).

    There you have it. Plain and simple. Eat fruits and vegetables in their season. Eat meat, but do so sparingly. All grain is good. Those are straight from the passage that talks about the Word of Wisdom. The others, don't work more than you have strength and get enough sleep, are found elsewhere but, I think, equally important.
Eat fruits and vegetables.

Eat meat sparingly.

All grain is good.

Don't work too hard.

Get enough sleep.

Sorry.  I had to repeat that to myself.  It's so simple!  Given that there are so many views on eating out there, it was nice to read something from a very reputable source that was so simple.

Of course, there are so many other things that I have learned over the years:  Don't eat fats and oils.  Don't eat carbs.  Processed food is bad.  Salt is bad.  Sugar is bad.  Dairy is bad.  Calories are bad.  Please eat only vegetables and this fake sweetener and spend 6 hours a day at the gym so you can look like Jillian Michaels.

At my most fit, when I was walking at my job approximately 25 hours a week (including mucking out stalls and riding horses) and exercising 2-3 hours on my days off, and counting calories each day, I got down to a size 10.  I was still 5 pounds over my goal weight.  Don't get me wrong- I enjoyed looking in the mirror!  For the first time in my life, I enjoyed buying clothes.  Of course, then I got pregnant, and that lifestyle was no longer a possibility.

But, oh, I so wanted to be skinny!  I wanted to stop hating my body!  Geneen Roth gave me some of the tools to achieve that end, but I was tired of guessing.  Was this just another thing to try but that, in the end, wouldn't get me what I wanted?

So, I prayed.  I spent all of General Conference weekend praying about it.  My answer?

"Eat what you're supposed to, and don't worry about it so much."


So, follow those simple steps outlined in the Word of Wisdom, and recognize that my waist size doesn't matter in the eternities?  Simple, but oh-so-hard!

In subsequent weeks, I've been trying to do just that.  Have you seen Beauty Redefined?  They're on facebook.  They also have billboards up in my neck of the woods.  Their goal is to help women see themselves as more than things to be looked at.  They are trying to combat the harmful messages so prevalent in the media.  They are helpful, but it is so difficult to get past the beliefs, so central to my being, that my body is too big.

How do you feel about your body?  Do you love yourself, body and all?  Do you struggle with liking the person you are inside your body? 

How do you eat?  Do you subscribe to a particular diet plan?  Do you listen to your body when you eat, when you're hungry, when you're full?  Are you happy with eating?

I'd love to hear your input on this!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The First While

I made Oreo truffles.  They're amazing.  You blend up Oreos (Or mint oreos, or double stuf, or peanut butter...) and mix them with cream cheese.  You form them into balls, and dip them in melted chocolate.  Let them sit and, voila!  Oh, the yumminess!

I ate those for breakfast a couple of mornings.  They were fabulous, and I enjoyed every bite.  Then, when I was done, I was really done.  I haven't really had the desire to make them, since. 

You know the best thing about it?  I haven't wanted any.  I ate them, and now I'm not fighting with myself and trying to resign myself to never being able to eat those, because my hips can't take it.  No, I ate them until I was done, and then I moved on.

In the weeks since, I have come to realize that I fear hunger.  I also fear feeling full.  You see, if I feel hungry, it means that soon I'm going to lose control and eat too much of the wrong things.  If I feel full, it is because I ate too much, period, and the guilt will soon be taking up residence on my shoulders.  Both of them.  Because we all know the guilt of eating is a back-bowing heaviness that settles on our hips and bellies and under our arms.

Are you afraid of hunger?  Are you afraid of fulness?

I'm trying to overcome that. 

I am a person.  I am a beautiful, wonderful person.  I am strong in many ways.  I work hard to be kind, to be smart, to do the best I know how to do.  I will never be stick-skinny, and I will probably never wear size 2s.  My body is beautiful.  It is unique.  It houses the essence of who I am and deserves all my love.  And, as I learn to love myself more, I increase the ability I have to love others. 

I've decided that the clothes manufacturers are wrong.  I'm not too fat; they're too skinny.  (It's a step, and if it's not in the right direction, at least it's in a different direction.  I'm experimenting, here.)

When I'm hungry, it means I'm alive, and I get to sustain that life and nourish it.  When I'm full, it means I've cared for myself and given my body something it needs.  Every sensation, I think, is in some way a celebration of life and all that it means. 

Bring on the truffles, and the corn on the cob, and the bread, and the sugar, and the apples, and the love.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On Weight Loss

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."  -I don't know who said this, but it's on Pinterest all the time.

Here's what I've always done:  Feel fat, start exercising, try to eat less or healthier, lose some weight, don't reach my goal weight, get sick of feeling hungry and deprived all the time, get discouraged because I'm not reaching my goal weight and it's taking FOREVER, eat little snacks througout the day, justify that said snacks are okay, and eventually give up for awhile, having lost some weight but still feeling like a failure because I didn't do what I set out to do.

I do have a couple of advantages.  The first is that I do know a lot of the principles of eating healthy.  Also, once I lose weight, it doesn't immediately come back.  I attribute that to knowing mostly how to eat healthy.

You want to know something interesting?  A lot of people think they'll be happy when they lose the extra weight.  A lot of those same people aren't happy if and when they do.

There is no magic pill for permanent weight loss.  Weight loss is not a magic pill for feeling happy.

What is the phrase?  Mind Blown.

Have you ever read the writings of Geneen Roth?  She has some interesting things to say.  Plus, she's an interesting writer, which makes her books fun to read.  Basically, she decided one day, after years and years of dieting and bingeing and being anywhere from anorexic to obese, that she was no longer going to diet.  Ever.  It wasn't worth it.

The first year on this plan, she ate ice cream and cakes and cookies and learned to love and listen to her body and her instincts.  She gained 15 pounds.

The second year on this plan, she practiced loving and respecting and listening to her body.  She lost 30 pounds, and has been there ever since.  She learned to be happy being herself at whatever weight she was, and because she loved her body, she wanted to take care of it.

I like that plan.  I want to listen to my body.  I've been trying it for the last few months.  It's been fun.  It's been surprisingly hard.  It continues to be hard.  It continues to be fun.  I'm still learning.  I don't think I went quite as batty as Geneen did when she stopped dieting, but I have begun to enjoy this whole eating thing. 

Stay tuned... there will be more to come on this topic!