Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Not Quite The Start I Was Hoping For

Well, I'm certainly not off to the start that I was hoping for! Monday was a write-off. I ended up having a child home sick from school and that threw everything into disarray. Yesterday started off well- I prepared healthy meals for myself and packed a very healthy lunch with no sweets, but it ended up not ending up quite as well as I thought.

I work shift work; I rotate two weeks days and two weeks afternoons. When I got home last night I was very hungry and instead of grabbing something healthy, I reached for the chips. Eating that late is not good for my body, so I was essentially not loving myself or my body.

Since this isn't about a diet, though, I am choosing not to look at this as a "failure" or "falling off of the wagon" like a dieter would. Instead, I'm looking at this as a reflection of what will be challenging for me throughout this journey, and I have the opportunity to find out what some of my challenges will be right from the very beginning. I am going to be hungry after work so I need to have some healthy snacks ready to go. I can't keep junk food in the house. And I need to count my successes as well. Yesterday I ate healthy for the majority of the day. It started off well. While I was eating my dinner of chicken breast and asparagus last night, I thought about how much I was enjoying it, and how it truly is fuel for my body instead of just junk.

Today has started off better. I have already taken my dog for a walk and walked the kids to school. I have a healthy lunch packed already and my husband and I have plans to go to the gym in a little bit. Another success? I bought a dress off of the Internet a while back. Since it was coming from a Chinese company it took two months to arrive. Learning from those before me I ordered it one size larger than I normally get, making it about my size. It arrived yesterday, I put it on, and instead of focusing on my body flaws as I usually would, I saw how beautiful my shape is. I'm overweight, yes, but I'm beautifully curvy too. I can't wait to feel this way more of the time.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

We All Have to Start Somewhere!

If you are one of those people who hates lists and planning, then this post is definitely not for you! I am a planner! I love to make lists with bullet points and check in regularly to determine my progress and level of success. Very few things make me happier than being able to check off an item on my "to-do" list.

When I came to the realization that I really do want to stop hating my body and learn how to love it instead, I happened to be at work. That means that I had a lot of time to go over my game plan in my head while performing the monotonous tasks that I know so well! I am posting my overall plan and guidelines here so that I remain accountable to them (and to myself) as the weeks wear on and the going gets tough.

I'm starting with a 30-day plan of sorts. Many of the diets that I've gone on in the past start with a 30 day jump start plan so I initially shied away from using that format for my personal growth. After all, this isn't a diet plan, this is the beginning of a journey. However, this process is about me, after all, and I need concrete dates with which to measure my success, as in "well, I haven't (fill in the blank) for 30 days! Yay me!". That's just me, and I doubt that I could change that part of my personality. So, without further delay, these are the guidelines that I will be following, TO THE LETTER, until July 1st. I will take the opportunity at that point to assess what is working for me, and what is not, and I will adjust my guidelines accordingly, but this is my starting point. For the next 30 days I will:


I used to drink about a bottle of wine a month, at most. Now? I can honestly drink one of those big bottles a night. By myself. I think that I started drinking to ease my social anxiety (my husband is super social and I am more content staying in for the night), but in truth I don't really like myself when I'm drinking. I turn into the worst version of myself. How does this relate to loving my body? I also find that I wake up puffy and tired the night after I have drank, not to mention how many empty calories sugary alcohol drinks contain. I just don't see the "win" for me here, so I'm going to give up drinking for 30 days and see what happens. I may introduce the occasional glass of wine back into my life later on, but we will have to see.


I have a sweet tooth, big time. I love chocolate and candy and ice cream. Those are my go-to feel-good treats. Sugar is bad for you, d'uh, so I'm cutting it out completely to (hopefully) get over my constant sugar cravings. I will still be eating fruit and whatnot, just not any manufactured treats.


As I mentioned yesterday, I'm a pretty busy person. I work a full-time job and have three busy kids. There always seems to be something going on on any given night or day. As a result I turn to the ease of ordering fast food more times than I would like to admit to! For the next 30 days I will resist the temptation and make food at home instead.


I'm great at making excuses to not go to the gym! The hubby and I have an (expensive) gym membership that we do not use enough. We always use the kids being busy or being tired from work as an excuse not to go. For the next 30 days I commit to working out at the gym or at home at least 4 times a week, whether or not I want to. I have some Beach Body programs ready to use at home for in case I don't have time to get to the gym.


The reality is, this one will be a challenge. I work many 12-hour shifts and only get about 5-6 hours a night in sleep. I know that sleep is important, but I just don't know where to find the extra hours in my day! When I am on afternoon shift I get up early to see the kids before they go to school so I pledge to get as much sleep as I can as often as I can! This one will be a work in progress....


Honestly, I drink a lot of water already. The factory that I work in is HOT and we re-hydrate as much as possible. But since I won't be drinking anything other than water, milk, or green tea for the next month, I will up my water consumption as much as possible.


This one could be a stretch for me. It feels like I'm hard-wired to find something bad about myself every day because that behaviour has been going on for so long! I know that repetition helps, so I plan to focus on one good thing about my appearance or body every day! Maybe some day I will actually believe these things that I tell myself!

So, there it is- a beginning. This is my personal place to start. These guidelines wouldn't work for everyone but I do think that they will work for me! I'll be honest, I'm a little worried about how this will all go down (the sugar cravings and the alcohol scare me the most!) but I know that I will stick this out and hopefully be on a better path towards loving myself and my body.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I'm Declaring Peace With My Body....I Hope!

I am almost 35 years old, which means that for more than 20 of those years I have been at war...with myself. Every day I grimace at my reflection. I poke my belly fat and analyze the shape of my hips and thighs. I compare myself with other women and always come up lacking. I examine my face for new wrinkles, and I berate myself for being unable to fit in to the clothes relegated to the far left of my closet. When I go to work and put on my work uniform, which fit three years ago when I started there but now digs painfully into my belly flesh each day as a constant reminder of how much I have strayed, I tell myself that I am simply not good enough to be the leader there that I hope to become one day. Each time my husband so much as glances at another woman, even if it's not with interest, I compare myself to her and determine that he would be better off with someone prettier than myself. It is truly exhausting to hate myself this much.

I'll give you some background information on how I got to be this big. In reality I have always been a larger girl. I'm big-boned and big hipped, thanks to a family history of "birthing hips". As a child this meant merciless teasing and bullying, the pain of which was often soothed with food. I became pregnant with my eldest son as a teenager, and while he truly is such a great gift to me, that meant new challenges that I had to face, again often with the help of food. The birth defect that he was born with, although not life-threatening, meant that his newborn and toddler years were extra busy, with surgeries and doctor's appointments, and I often relied on fast food as I parented, went to University full-time, and worked a full-time job. I lost a little weight towards the end of University thanks to the gym membership and personal trainer that were provided to me courtesy of my school. It was at that time, at a curvy 160 pounds, that I met my now-husband. We fell in love and when I was 24, I got pregnant with my middle son. 19 months later I had our third (and final!) son. With each pregnancy, I gained more weight, and now, as I balance a management position in a very busy manufacturing facility, shift work, a husband, three children who seem to almost constantly need me, a dog, and multiple social obligations, my weight has reached an all- time high. I am at least 20 lbs heavier than I was while pregnant with my second son. The other day while doing laundry, I picked up a pair of shorts that fit me four years ago (after a vigorous and temporarily successful bout with the weight-loss program P90x) and almost cried. I doubt that they would fit over even one thigh now.

Before you wonder why I just don't go ahead and move more, eat less, and lose the weight already, let me assure you that I have tried and am trying. I have participated in multiple fitness programs, including many of the Beach Body programs. Some have been successful, others not so much. I have been on so many diets that I can't remember them all. I have eaten more salads than I care to count. I wear a FitBit and track my steps. I belong to a gym and have participated in their weight-loss challenges. I walk the dog. I eat tuna on cucumbers for days on end. I have taken more "miracle" weight-loss pills than I care to admit to. I subscribe to multiple fitness magazines. I track my food and keep a journal filled with healthy recipes. But it is just not working for me. I constantly "slip up". I yo yo. I celebrate a 4 lb weight loss by gaining 5 lbs the next week. Something is just not clicking long-term for me. My doctor has suggested losing weight, so I just stopped going to see him. I hide under shapeless clothes and the colour black. I slowly up my clothing size when I just can't take how tight my pants are anymore and wear bathing suits that hide my lumpy belly.

This brings me to where I am now. I was reading a magazine article about Kate Hudson the other day and she mentioned that not every fitness program works for her, but that she just focuses on loving her body. That comment hit home for me. It has been so long since I have loved my body that I don't even know how to. I don't love my body, I punish it for not living up to my expectations. I hate it. I hide from it and I ignore it. I fill it with sugary and fatty foods but yet expect it to still perform for me. This has got to stop. I need to learn how to love my body. I need to treat it like someone that I love, instead of someone that I detest.

So, I have come up with a plan, and hopefully this is a plan that will stay with me long-term instead of being short-lived since it is not just about losing weight (although that is part of it, considering the fact that my BMI is well within the obese range right now) but about learning to finally declare peace with myself. I hope to stop warring with my inner demons and instead embrace my body and the things that are great about it. Instead of eating and doing things to "punish" my body, I hope instead to do things to thank it for being there for me, day in and day out. I want to learn to embrace my imperfections because I am even more focused on the things about me that are wonderful. Lofty goals? Perhaps. I know that my eating and (alcohol) drinking issues are coping mechanisms, and once I remove those I will be confronted with some pretty nasty feelings that have been suppressed. I'm not looking forward to that, but I realize the necessity of facing myself head on.

Join me tomorrow as I outline my plan in detail. Please join me on the days afterwards as I carry through with it, and hopefully I begin to find love for myself within myself. I'm not expecting that to come easily or quickly, but I'm hoping that some day down the line I will not onlny look better in a bikini, but will love myself, warts and all. And I know that I will need some encouragement on the dark days. Journeys are never easy, but they always have to start somewhere. This is my rock bottom. This is my starting point.