Patience

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Patience might be my least favorite word.

As a Leo, I have absolutely none of it.

Leo likes the big picture, not the small details and fine print. Things that are too complicated, involved, or boring, they have no patience for.

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Blah.

While I consciously try to work on different things about myself –  like being present, or cultivating discipline – I tend to ignore my dislike of being patient. Why? Because it seems hard and will take a long time, and I have no patience for it.

Yep. I know.

I’ve faced two of my biggest fears and obstacles in the last year and a half. One being binge eating and another I’d rather keep private. The thing that was hardest in dealing with both of those was being patient with myself. I want to succeed and keep succeeding. Both of those things were about learning about my own triggers, patterns and behaviors, a process that takes patience.

I tend to want things to happen as immediately as I think them up, which isn’t always bad, but it has caused me some discomfort. Want to travel? Open up a new credit card. Want a new job? Take the first one that’s offered. Want to have a cleaner space? Throw everything out. Want new clothes? Buy the first thing that kind of fits.

A lack of patience is the reason I don’t like baking, or following a recipe really at all. I love putting together Ikea furniture but there’s a lot of tables and other things I own that are jerry rigged together because I had no patience in figuring out the directions. I get bored and restless two minutes in to watching youtube videos about how to french braid or curl my hair with a flat iron because it’s not immediately clear to me how it’s done.

Right now at my job I have weekly deadlines, which pleases my impatient heart, but when I worked at a quarterly magazine before this, being patient with the three month process of writing, editing, layout and printing was too hard for me to handle.

It took me years (until senior year of college, really) to learn how to study effectively and to this day I tend to give up easily on concepts that aren’t immediately clear to me. In high school, I applied to exactly one college and went to something called an “Immediate Decision Day” because they tell you right then and there if you’re accepted. Perfect for me.

I’m starting to run (slowly) again and the hardest thing for me is to be patient with where my body is at.

I don’t absolutely hate my lack of patience. In some ways it has served me well. I LIKE that I take risks easily. I LIKE following my intuition and own voice instead of always learning about how others do it. I LIKE that I don’t spend too much time thinking about the consequences of my actions. I LIKE that I’m quick to make decisions.

All that being said, there are some things that I simply can not control, and must wait for.

And what I’d like to change is my attitude while I’m forced to be patient. My brain tends to go in to freak out mode when I can’t control the timeline of what’s happening. I panic, I tense up, I cry, and then I self-soothe by thinking of an immediate escape route that I solely have control over. It can be pretty dysfunctional and frustrating.

Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. – Joyce Meyer

With body image, weight, and all that, my lack of patience had (has?) resulted in isolating myself. As I recover from binge eating this time, I’m trying to do it with the support of other people. I’m consciously trying not to isolate myself from life and say yes to things that would have made me uncomfortable before like going to parties, dinners with friends, and other places where I couldn’t control what or when I would be eating. On vacations and other getaways, I usually don’t even try to be patient with myself in adjusting to being without the comfort of my routine.

But learning to do all of those things, I believe, are CRUCIAL to being healthier and certainly to being happier.

Patience pays off, so I’m told.

I don’t have a lesson here to share. I don’t even know how I would try to address it, but I’d love to hear from some more patient-minded, tedious-loving folks. How do you do it?

Any quick tips to learning patience?

Kidding. Kind of. Comment immediately :)

Why dieting usually doesn’t work

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This morning I watched a video I thought I was going to enjoy.

It’s scientist Sandra Aamodt giving a presentation on “Why dieting doesn’t work.” Total click bait for me.

She begins the presentation with: I gave up dieting, starting mindful eating, and lost 10 pounds!

Not the most promising start.

And in fact, during points of her presentation, I was downright angry.

She was giving me all the facts I already knew:

From losing a lot of weight, my metabolism has slowed, meaning that I would forever have to eat less than a person who weighed the same as me naturally.

Diets don’t work. The biggest predictor of weight gain is a diet.

But she also gave some points to feel good about:

People who are obese but eat fruits and vegetables, exercise three times a week, don’t smoke, and practice moderation with alcohol have no greater risk of dying because of their weight than a person at normal weight.

A few weeks ago I did a biometric screening at work – now let me preface this by saying right now I’ve gained back about half of the weight I lost, and not feeling so hot about it - and the woman doing my screening looked at my weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar and deemed me very healthy.

Um, what?

Even though I’ve gained weight back, I’ve consistently (with a month or two off here and there) kept up the habits of exercising and eating lots of veggies. That’s something to feel good about.

There’s a lot of times where I feel like I failed because I gained weight back.

But like I talked about in my last post, my job is not to control the outcome, my job is to do the work. For me that means exercising daily and continuing to investigate and work on my triggers for binge eating.

If I’m attached to the outcome, then it becomes a diet, and then slip-ups become failures, If I’m not attached to the outcome, It’s me living the best life possible, and using my happiness - not my weight - as whether I’m succeeding or not.

Eating sugar does not make me happy. Cooking for myself makes me happy.

Binge watching Netflix does not make me happy. Being outdoors and moving makes me happy.

Waking up at 3 a.m. with the spins from a night of drinking doesn’t make me happy. Enjoying a glass or two of wine with good friends makes me happy.

Happiness has nothing to do with weight, and if that’s the message Sandra Aamodt is preaching, then she can have my full support.

 

The struggle and the work

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For a few weeks now I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a post about what I’m struggling with.

This will surprise no one, but it’s food. I’m struggling with food.

sigh.

That’s not really the truth though, is it?

Behind food there is always something.

Behind every struggle there is always something that you’re (me) not facing.

For me, it’s a lot of things. I never quite know where my discontent comes from but recently I’ve been doing the work of unpacking a lot of my guilty thoughts.

As in, it’s a nice day out and I’m inside lying on my bed listening to This American Life and playing Candy Crush instead of being “one with nature” so I feel guilty.

As in, none of my clothes fit and I’m eating m&ms instead of broccoli so I feel guilty.

As a side note, as someone who binges, I’ve gotten the advice a lot: why not just binge on carrot sticks? It’s kind of like saying to a depressed person, why not just think happy thoughts? Ok maybe not exactly the same, but still, I wouldn’t be a binge eater if I was craving string beans.

Anyway.

The struggle, my struggle, is how do I stay with myself in the moment that I want to binge…how do I stay with myself long enough to move to the next moment. To not fear that moment that at the first twinge of discomfort I turn to food.

And then, after I do the thing that I don’t want to do, to not feel guilty about it and keep the cycle alive.

So I’m working on unpacking my guilt, which is a self-helpy way of saying that when I feel guilty about something I try to immediately question it.

An example: I was looking through social media (don’t all bad stories start there nowadays??) and I saw people out enjoying nature and I immediately felt guilty over the fact that I had NOT spent all weekend enjoying nature. But since I’ve been working on this for a while now, I was able to feel suspicious of that guilt and I was able to remind my self that feeling that was silly. I am in control, I can do whatever I want, if I wanted to spend all weekend lying in the grass somewhere I could, and just like that, the guilt dissipated, as did some of my self loathing, because obviously guilt + self loathing are bffs. duh.

I’ve struggled with guilt my whole life, and I’ve struggled with self worth my whole life, and I’ve struggled with food my whole life.

Here’s what I think about all of this: the last few days I’ve been feeling good. Gratitude has come easy, and I’ve felt blessed in all of my friendships. As a result of that, I’ve felt more in control.

Now, I won’t pretend that this is the norm for me lately, because honestly my life has been more struggle than ease, but there’s a few things that I keep coming back to that have brought me to how I’m feeling right now.

One:

Burdens are the foundations of ease. (Rumi)

and two:

Do the work. (Maria Bamford)

To me they mean essentially the same thing, that the longer I spend in my head with thoughts of fear and failure, the most paralyzed I get in taking action. Make the hard choices when they are in front of you, embrace the discomfort, and don’t worry about the outcome.

So easy right? Ha. Haaaaa.

But, there’s so much beauty that comes from facing your discomfort.

I think I get caught up in my head a lot with my struggle, the food struggle, because it can feel so trivial.

Trivial in that it’s FOOD. It’s not a “real” problem, or even worse, it’s a #firstworldproblem (barf) so I almost don’t give myself permission to face how out of control and anxious I feel about bingeing.

Yet doing the work of self care means supporting myself and showing up for myself no matter the struggle.

Jodester, I give you permission to stop struggling.

To stop pretending that you’re okay when you’re not.

Struggling is not virtuous. You don’t have the be the tortured fat person that every media outlet everywhere portrays. You don’t have to live in a world of self hate because of the size of your thighs and belly.

You can love yourself WITHOUT guilt. You can celebrate your body as it is. You can jump and run and be outside.

You can take up space in the world, as much as you want.

I give you permission to make the hard decisions when they are made with love and an open heart.

I give you permission to say “no” to anything for any reason at all. Even if that reason is listening to This American Life and playing Candy Crush.

I give you permission to be CONSCIOUS of your food choices because I believe that food + well being are intrinsically tied. Eat the food that makes you feel good, and stay with yourself when the pain wants to be soothed with sugar.

As a fat person, it’s really easy to turn the judgment on yourself and say, well, I deserve to feel bad because I’m fat so this is the price I pay, but that mental clutter is bound to build up one day and explode.

I’ve strayed so far from the wonderful body empowerment that I used to feel (another thing I have guilt about. oy). But there’s no secret to self acceptance. There’s no magic that will give it to you in the future. Accept yourself in the present and and end the struggle of self hatred. Face the discomfort that is self care.

You don’t have to hate yourself. End of story. You are enough, right now. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how you’ve been treated, you deserve your love.

(Healthy) Odds and Ends

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It’s Tuesday! It’s July! It’s finally consistently hot out!

I’ve been having a blast the last couple weeks getting my drink (and food) on watching tons of World Cup action but am finally starting to CRAVE healthy food and exercise again! All the hydration!

I’m still kind of figuring out what HEALTHY actually means to me. It’s officially been a year since I was at my lowest weight, and last I looked at the scale…. yeah.. I don’t want to share. It’s my blog. Sorry.

So if HEALTHY isn’t my weight right now, what is it? Is it eating well M-F and hitting the sangria pitcher hard on the weekend? Probably not.

Here are the odds and ends that have been feeling “healthy” to me:

Kabocha squash

This was a food trend that I never really took to until NOW. Kabocha squash all the time. I’m not going to tell you all about its calorie count and vitamin stats, because I just don’t know it, but it’s delicious! Unlike other squash, you can eat the rind so there is little prep wok involved. I cut it open, stick it on a baking tray and am DONE. To me it’s also sweeter than a sweet potato (my favorite carb) and goes with everything. I’ve paired it with greens and eggs and even with some almond butter, inspired by Kiss My Broccoli. The other best part, it’s smaller than most squash, which is perfect for my cook-for-one lifestyle.

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Not feeling guilty over not working out 

In the last two weeks I quit one job, started another, and had my bestest of best friends in NJ, which is a rare occurrence now that she’s doing her thing down in NOLA. So… I skipped CrossFit in favor of sushi dinners and shopping one week and then skipped CrossFit again last week in favor of hustling at my new job. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty about not working out. I do…but I know that guilt is NOT a useful feeling. It’s not motivating, it makes me feel bad about myself, blah blah blah. So, I’m working on RECOGNIZING the guilt (instead of just feeling it and being all waaaah) and separating myself from the emotion. This is how adulthood works, right? Go away guilt.

Because HEALTHY is so undefined to me right now, i’m working my best to remove the guilt from certain foods and behaviors, because all it does is trigger my binge eating and make me want to be a shut in. AND, it takes away from my happiness when things are genuinely fun. Food is not moral. Eating m&ms does not make me a bad person. BUT – I WANT to be living consciously. I know that sugar makes me feel like poop, so in conscious, dedicated living, I don’t eat sugar and I’m happier. There’s a point in there somewhere.

A lot of times I FEEL like I should be doing one thing (not eating m&ms) when I’m doing another (eating m&ms), and that is the definition of pain and then I feel guilty and then the whole cycle starts all over again. Eradicate my guilt, live happier, Keep it Simple, Silly :)

I WANT to be moving my booty every day

How many times have I written here that I am happiest and feel the best when I exercise in some form EVERY DAY.

So…. I quit CrossFit. Basically, I’m at a job that I chose because it makes me happy, not because it makes me rich, and I can’t justify the expense when I’m barely even going three times a week. I’ve been floundering for a while with consistent exercise and I think I’m going to keep it simple (see above) and just head back to Retro Fitness. It works for me because I can walk to it and it’s open early and late and is cheap.

Listen, I don’t need to justify my choice of fitness center to anyone.

I’m a big believer that there is no ONE way to be healthy (hello, that’s the main point of this post), so if you’re not going to the box, or gym, or fitness class that everyone else is going to, it really doesn’t matter. There are a million ways to get your sweat on, and an air conditioned room where a movie is playing on a giant screen (yay Retro movie room!) seems more attractive to me than a CrossFit box right now.

Plus, gym selfies.

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Exploring the Great American Landscape

Ha, I wish! But I am going to Baltimore this weekend to celebrate the nation’s birthday and heading to Maine to eat some lobstah at the end of July.

I LOVE travel but I also happen to get very STRESSED by it because I LOVE my routine (well, I do now. yay new job!). I’ve yet to find away to embrace eating well and exercising on vacation, but I’m not giving up trying!

Note to self: Ice cream is not “special” because you’re not in New Jersey. You won’t regret not eating all the ice cream when you travel but you will regret major sugar/mood crashes.

I’m not really sure what this post is about anymore

But I’m having a great time writing it and certainly THAT is HEALTHY! I’m embracing my every desire to write words in all caps and pouring out every little thought that crosses my brain.

I’ve also now been writing this post over THREE hours because I had TWO great phone calls with my favorite ladies in Baltimore and NOLA. LDR friendships are hard but so, so, so worth the effort.

I hope this is the beginning of me again writing more spur of the moment posts that are more about life and less about free stuff I received from Influenster.

I think a lot of the guilt and stress and such really relate to the emotional roller coasters of losing weight and it feels so good to share and get it off my chest.

This week for my job I got to interview Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my all time favorite authors, and she talked all about how shame lives in the shadows and can’t exist when you bring it out into the light.

It’s something I never felt good about doing, but the more I talk about how I’m eating m&ms instead of working out (or something) the more I’m able to release myself from the GUILT that I feel. Things are just things. They are not good or bad, but I’m happiest when I’m dedicated to living my best life (SUP OPRAH) and sometimes that means sacrifices and courage and punching fear and guilt in the face. Hello new motto. Anyway, in random conclusion, that’s where my relationship is right now with HEALTHY.

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Go VoxBox Review

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I’m back with another Influenster review.

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I received my Go Vox Box about a month ago and like usual couldn’t wait to tear it open.

This box included:

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance

Vitamin Shoppe Next Step Fit N Full Protein Shake

Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored Almonds

Profoot Triad Orthodic AND Profoot Pedi Rock

Aqua Spa Body Creme 

1 Voucher for a FREE Muller Yogurt Product

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I’ll cut right to the chase: the only thing I really liked were the Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored Almonds. I’ve been a big fan of Blue Diamond products for a while and knew these would be great. They were sweet, crunchy, and surprisingly blueberry-y.

photo 1I’m not going to review Playtex. They’re tampons. They do what tampons do. Let’s move on.

The Vitamin Shoppe shakes were the most disappointing. I only tried the berry flavor and honestly couldn’t stomach the thought of another one. I’ve tried many, many different protein shakes and have loved most of them. This was the first time I almost considered tossing my smoothie out completely. It was sickly sweet and reminded me of cough syrup. Nothing I would ever want after a workout. The protein powder also came with a shaker cup, but I’ve been using the Blender Bottle for a while and love it and have no plans of switching anytime soon.

With the Profoot Pedi Rock… it’s okay. They say you don’t have to use it in the shower…but I tried out of the shower and then your skin just kind of gets everywhere. Because you’re exfoliating. Plus, pedicures might be my only consistent indulgence.

The Aqua Spa Body Creme.. I really wanted to like this. The creme was thick, always a good start, and not greasy, even better, and LAVENDER. I love lavender. But this lavender just kind of smelled like old lady. And don’t get me wrong, I love strong lavender smells. I always toss lavender essential oils in at bath time, but this was so perfume-y. I wouldn’t use it for everyday wear… but I do find myself slathering it on now and then when I know I’m not going to see people right away and the smell has a chance to dilute.

Last, Muller yogurt. To be fair to the yogurt, when I got to the store most flavors were sold out. I tried two kids: vanilla with granola and plain greek with strawberry. The vanilla with granola was too sweet. I’m a fan of Fage 2% plain yogurt and don’t like the sugary flavors. I wasn’t impressed with the greek/strawberry combo either. The strawberry was too sugary and the greek yogurt wasn’t very tart or thick. Overall, no.

But, it’s so, so, so fun trying tons of new products. Thank you Influenster! These products were all given to me for free, but this subpar opinions are 100% my own.