Give Yourself The Gift Of Self-Love

wp-1448999133321.jpgI used to spend the month of December in self-reflection hell. It meant I only had a month to get everything on my resolutions list done (remember that thing from January you’ve forgotten about?) It also meant having a month to think about everything I wanted to change about myself.

This year is different. I don’t need self-hate to motivate me into the new year. I don’t have to fight my body composition to win my self worth.

I know that putting pressure on myself doesn’t help me deal with my nervous habits.

I know that I will never fit the narrow definition of perfect. No one does.

Though, I’m disappointed I put off trying Stand Up Comedy. By the time I got the courage to try it, there was no longer open mic comedy nights. Either I’m going to have to travel to a bigger city (which I suppose is an option) or release this goal into the nether. It was one of the many lessons I learned this year: Some challenges in life you are never ready for. You have face them now, or never get the chance.

IMG951083I don’t need a new year to create new goals for myself. I have spent 12 months working on the goals that matter. I continue to work on my journey towards becoming fully body positive. I saw some new waterfalls. We did a couple parks for our park tour. I’ve even learned how to cook some great, healthy food. (This time last year, I was still slightly afraid of raw meat and my slow cooker.) 2016 will be another year full of loving myself as I am, and embracing all the wonderful thing I can, and already, do.

I can love and support without reservation, because I am worthy. I can befriend without fear, because I am a good person. Radical Self Love isn’t just about being able to love how you look in the mirror. It’s about letting go of any negative thoughts about yourself. It’s about believe you are a decent person worthy of the space (no matter how much) you take in this world.

If I could give my friends any gift this holiday, it would be radical self love. They deserve to see themselves how I see them: Beautiful, amazing human beings who light up this world. I wish they knew the differences they make in peoples lives, and how perfect they really are.

wp-1448999148219.jpgUnfortunately, radical self love isn’t purchased in a store, put in box, and wrapped up with a gorgeous bow. Radical self love is a gift you truly give yourself everyday, all day. When you look in the mirror, when you chase your passion, and when you give unyielding love to those around you.

Give your self the gift of freedom. Pamper yourself with the gift of radical self love this season. You are wanted. You are loved. You are worthy.

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The Healthiest Thing I Ever Did Was Become Body Positive.

IMG_5639624664301When I first started to identify with the body positive movement I was neck deep in myfitnesspal.com and counting calories. I began to wonder if it was really possible to focus on losing weight and become “body positive.” It almost derailed my journey to self acceptance.

I was stuck in a logic loop that said that in order to become healthy I had to change my outward appearance. I couldn’t love my body, or myself, until I hit a certain weight. Luckily, the dark side of the health industry did not win the battle for my soul.

Of course, as I’ve talked about in my previous posts, focusing on becoming body positive has lead to a healthier lifestyle. The conundrum really solved itself. Unfortunately, I hear all too often about women who love the idea of loving themselves but they have too much weigh to lose.

Becoming body positive is not about ignoring my health, or pretending like the rules for healthy living don’t apply to me. Fruits and vegetables are still an important part of my diet. Soda is bad for me, and I’m doing very well with kicking it to the curb and detaching from the sugary teet. I still struggle with finding well rounded, healthy, meals that appeal to everyone in my family. I am confident I would be having these struggles either way. It’s the way I go about these struggles that has drastically changed.

In my previous post, I talk about how I’m winning the war against emotional eating without having to wage a single battle.

It’s about health. Honestly, it’s not about losing weight anymore. I no longer buy into the 20150822_111131mind-washing BS that I have to be a certain size to enjoy my life, or to be viewed as a decent human being. Because I’m learning to love my body, and all the wonderful things I can do with it, I want to treat it with care. My focus on eating better comes from a more caring and loving place, making it easier to focus on. It’s not fueled by shame, fear, or rules.

It’s about doing things I love. I’ve found physical activities that motivate and inspire me to move my body. I don’t know if I would have found the confidence to explore hiking and dancing without the body positive movement.

I hope you notice what is missing. My health goals aren’t about conforming my body to  the unattainable standard of beauty. It’s about living life to it’s largest potential.

We should all want to be as healthy as we can possibly be. We only have one life, one body, and treating it with care is so important. The problem is that we live in a time when so many people confuse healthy with skinny. Not every skinny person is healthy. Not every fat person is unhealthy. Health is not an outward appearance thing. Being healthy is not about how pretty you look. Once I separated pursuing health from pursuing beauty, it made it much easier to focus on trying to live a healthier life.

I have to admit, most of my lifestyle isn’t about pursuing healthy habits at all. I hike because I love the outdoors, and the feeling of exploring something new. I walk because it’s a great way to socialize. I dance because I love synchronizing my body with music. (Let’s be honest, I also like to pretend I’m a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.) I found hobbies that recharg my soul. Yet, because of these hobbies I exercise, and sweat, more every week than I used to in a year.

The healthiest thing I ever did for myself was become body positive. I can honor my body’s unique needs without guilt and shame. I realized that my path to being healthy is something very personal and specific to my body. I could explore what options were right for me.

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It’s okay to be body positive and focus on a improving health. Being body positive means being free to find the path that is right for you, and works with what your body needs. The movement is all about recognizing that every body is different, and each person has different needs and health issues. Whatever it is that makes you feel fulfilled and happy, go for it.

It’s your life. It’s your path. It’s your decision. Don’t believe that you have to hate yourself in order to be healthy.

 

Why I Broke Up With My Scale

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I was blessed with some time around a campfire recently. Like most conversations, we got to the topic of weight. Everyone was sharing their weight loss strategies, and how it was going. A friend asked, “How much weight have you lost dancing?”

“I don’t really weigh myself anymore. I had my yearly appointment a couple weeks ago and didn’t bother to look.”

The sad thing is, I was somewhat embarrassed to admit I broke up with my scale. It was a relatively amiable split. He (of course my scale is a “he”) still hang out in my bathroom and wants me to climb on top of him in the morning. Because of my neglect, he is so covered in dust that it’s almost gross. I have daydreams about taking it out and just destroying the hell out of it, Return of the Jedi style.

Weighing myself was such a rough part of my morning ritual. It reminded me of when teachers would hand out grades. I was either going to feel like a good student, or like an idiot.

The scale has the same effect on my mood. Even though it only measures my relationship with the gravitational pull of the earth, I would read so much more into those three numbers. They measured my worth and dictated my self esteem. If I gained weight, I would punish myself with negative thoughts until the number improved.

It was until I stopped silently flogging myself that I realized the damage I was doing. My constant focus on the scale didn’t make eating better easier. If anything, the constant self loathing and focus only made it more difficult. The doubt I carried only sucked away the energy and courage to be active. I felt shitty about myself. When I don’t like myself, I have a hard time believing anyone wants to be around me. If I’m feeling ugly and lazy the last thing I want to do is work out in front of people.

I know some people really benefit from using a scale. It’s an invaluable tool. In the beginning of a diet, when the weight is coming off but you don’t see it, it’s hard to stay motivated. Seeing that number slowly drop is a huge help.6FDL31x

But, for me? I stopped worry about the number a long time ago. I focus on non-scale victories now. I focus on my health and “performance.” A year ago, walking three miles would have wore me out. This year I’ve done nine miles in one trip. I used to get incredibly winded doing one line dance. Now I can make it through four. And, yes, I have dropped a couple pants sizes. I can notice all of these things, and really be in tune with the changes of my body, without having to weigh-in. My focus is on what I am able to do and how my abilities are increasing.

RamonaBreak ups can be hard, especially when your Ex still lives with you. I bet it’s hard for him to see me so happy. He lays, dirty and unused, on my bathroom floor while I get dressed to go dancing. Goodness knows, it must hurt him to see me all covered in dirt and sweat when I come home from hunting another amazing waterfall.

I suppose my scale does remind me that I have lost a lot of weight in emotional baggage. Maybe that’s why I keep him around.

Lost Track… Again

I am really good at setting goals. I am not always good at keeping up on them.

I have a post for some pulled chicken I made, gosh, almost a month ago, that I haven’t written. I also have everything to make my next meal. I also got distracted, and sick, and blah blah blah.

I imagine there are so many people who feel the same way about their new years resolutions by February. I can’t be the only one who lost the fervor.

Part of my problem, is I picked too many goals that really tested my willpower. I believe willpower is a finite resource, I seem to run out of willpower by mid day.

So now, what do I do? This is my plan of attack.

1. Forgive – Seriously, I need to take a breath and let it go. I don’t think anyone, other than myself, really cares whether I keep these resolutions or not. They are for me. So what if I lost myself for a couple weeks. When you get a flat tire, you don’t throw all 4 away. You fix it and move on.

2. Reevaluate and Plan – I certainly do not like going through the same road blocks over and over. So I need to take some time to look at my resolutions again, and  more particularly look at my tools for accomplishing them. This will also help me get re-motivated, I think.

3. Pick it back up, one piece at a time – My apartment is a mess again. I’ve lost track of my workouts. I have lost my motivation for cooking. There’s no way I’m going to have enough willpower in my bank to tackle all three of these, and all the others, on the same day. Slow and steady will win the race.

How do you restart on a goal?

Resolution Meal #2: Enchilada Balls

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So, I’m about a week behind on these posts. It seems when I start this weeks meal I remember this I didn’t post about the last week’s. I suppose I’ll have to do two of them this week to get on track.

This week’s meal is currently in the crock pot. I’ve already had to called friends twice because of my own innocent confusion. My fingers are crossed and I’m hoping for the best.

I found these Enchilada Balls on pinterest about two years ago. I have a board called “If I knew how to cook” full of pins of stuff that looks delicious but I never thought I’d ever get to try.

Pin here.

Website with recipe here.

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The ingredient list is small, but not a lot of what we currently had. My husband was initially hesistant to let me go shopping for the list by myself, and didn’t want to make a family adventure out of it. Apparently he had a lack of faith in my ability to recognize enchilada sauce in the aisle. He also didn’t want to wait a sunday evening at the store for such a small haul.

After some wife manuevering, I got him to let me go (without our son!) on a quick trip. I came home victorious. (Well, I did spend an awful lot of time in one particular aisle, but I won’t tell him that.)

The chicken is from a bag, already in strips, you find in the freezer aisle. I know I’m using the term “from scratch” loosely.

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I followed the recipe to the letter, and mixed all the stuff up in a bowl. I immediately didn’t think it looked right but dismissed myself. What do I know, really?

At this point was when I realized that I really am scared of opening at can of rolls. I don’t know what, but I am. I’m a big ol’ scardy cat. I called a friend of mine who lives in the same complex and begged her to come open the can for me. But, like a good friend she refused. I ended up having to do it myself. It wasn’t as scary as I thought…. but I still don’t want to do it again.

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Even though I got the jumbo rolls, they still seemed way to small for what I was expect to accomplish. I learned a valuble lesson… they get bigger later.

20150106_170921I had a hard time, in general, trying to keep the filling inside the rolls. The recipe made it sound so easy. My filling looked nothing like the original picture.

20150106_171047When I filled them all, I looked back at my bowl and realized I had over half of my filling left. After I put my Enchilada Balls in the oven I went back and reread the recipe.

Another valuable lesson was learned….

I had just assumed (my first problem) that I used the whole can of enchilada sauce. I only needed a 1/3 of a cup. I also only needed a couple tablespoons of the seasoning, not the whole bag. This explains why it was soupy, and why at least at this point, it looked like a fail.

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I was shocked when I pulled them out. First, they got HUGE! I figured they would grow a little, I guess I had no idea they would get so big. They were almost a little too brown.

I didn’t mention the mistake to my husband at first, determined to see if the meal would be praised on it’s own. To my pleasant surprise, my husband absolutely loved it and said he would eat them again.

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Even with the mistake, they really did turn out well. I’m hoping to try it again in the near future, this time paying closer attention to the recipe.

I would also like to try a taco ball variation sometime. Using hamburger, and taco seasoning, and such. My husband and his best friend have a game they play together called “taco ball.” Well, I don’t know if game is the right word. They through things at each others….. and yell “taco ball.”

It would be nice to have a double date meal commemorating that portion of their friendship.

Resolution Meal #1: Garlic and Herb Stir-Fry

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One of my New Years Resolutions is to cook a meal from scratch once a week. Learning to cook was never really a priority growing up, I also just ate from vending machines as single girl, and I married a man who loves to cook. That being said, my husband works all day and it’s not fair (not that he has ever complained) that he also has to make dinner.

For me to make dinner, we have to buy those boxed dinners from the freezer aisle. Sure, it’s great on occasion, but 4-5 nights a week is a little much.

I also have to admit this isn’t my first attempt at a goal like this. My past “failures” were just stepping stones that helped me understand the roadblocks a head.

I know much of my hesitation can be helped with habit, so now my phone bothers me at 4pm every day telling me to start dinner.

My other big problem is my fear of cooking meat. I’m fine eating it, but I have this irrational fear that if I cook meat for my family I will kill them. Yea, I’m a little crazy.

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My first meal for this resolution is a tad bit of a cheat. I have made it before. I was actually introduced to the Garlic and Herb Squash Stir Fry by a friend on the medifast diet. She came over last year and helped me make it the first time.

You can find the recipe, here.

Despite what it looks like, this meal is very easy to do. I do tweak it a bit, depending on what butter we have in the house. I also use the frozen chicken, already in strips, in the freezer section. It’s a step in the right direction, and I’m sure eventually I’ll learn to cook my own chicken.

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I cut up two Zucchini and two yellow squashes into slices. This is less intimidating than it looked to me at first. And, despite my distaste for vegetables, I find this dish pretty tasty. So, don’t be too turned off by what you see.

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Then you add the chicken, water, seasonings and such. I am by far not a master in stir frying vegetables. I would not presume to give advice. I have a feeling I tend to cook them a little long, especially before I put the meat in, seeing as they cook for longer after that.

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Then you cover your pan with it’s lid and let it simmer. Or, you cover your stir fry pan with your pizza pan because you don’t have a cover. I’m learning improvisational skills are critical to home cooking.

And then, Voila!

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A Garic and Herb Chicken Stir Fry, easy enough for a beginner. My husband enjoys it. This was the fourth or fifth time making it, and he doesn’t squirm at the idea, so I must be doing something right. I admit, this picture doesn’t make it look that great.