Appreciate the Now

A lesson is repeated until it is learned.  I heard that from my mom about a million or so years ago and it’s always stuck with me.  Especially in times of frustration when I feel like the same things keep happening over and over again and I can’t figure out why, that little eight word sentence pops into my mind and I’m reminded that maybe the same thing is happening over and over again because I don’t ‘get it’ yet.

Back on December 30th, I decided to detox from my Christmas Binge Extravaganza and do a Whole 30.  The purpose of my involvement at that time was to try and detoxify all the chemicals and sugar and inflammatory foods out of my body that I had willingly (and joyfully, no shame!) jammed in there over a month.  At the time I was also running about 2.5miles every second day in an effort to get ready for a big run (5K) that my sister and wanted to do (and did).  I took a before picture as per usual and then took the after picture.  Now, here’s where the lesson returns with a vengeance.  That after picture… I was dressed in my yoga pants and my favorite hot pink tight fitting yoga top.  Looking back on that photo four months (and a considerable amount of stress later), I’m very proud of the girl that stood there. The problem is that that girl didn’t appreciate the results of the hard work and dedication that it took to get her there.  And that’s the lesson.  I’ve seen pictures from when I was much younger and I was told (and believed) that I was an overweight cow and should be on a perpetual diet.  To put that overweight cow in perspective, I was a size 8/10.  For 5’10 that’s a pretty healthy, in shape size.  In the photos from then and from January, all I could see at the time were the flaws.  A roll of belly fat here, an arm that ‘seemed’ too fluffy there… a poor angled photo that implied a double chin or some other ‘ghastly’ flaw.

What do I see when I look at those photos now?  Wasted opportunity.  I see wasted opportunity to be loving and compassionate to myself.  I see wasted opportunity to be proud of myself and confident that I am worthy of wearing shorts and tight fitting tanks.

The reason that this is coming up is because I’m frustrated with the body shape progress I’m making in my current Whole 40.  I’m looking at the pictures from January, where I was much slimmer than I am now (truth be told… it’s not MUCH… it’s some) and wishing I would have appreciated the place I was. I’m looking at those pictures KNOWING that I didn’t see the progress and didn’t see the victories.

I actually believe that my stalled progress (if it’s even stalled… it’s only been 15 days) is BECAUSE of my current obsession with photographing myself and then comparing it to January.  Stress like that can make you hold on to fat and adipose tissue.  It can keep you inflamed and puffy.  I’m sure there’s science behind that to back up the statement but I’m not about to go look it up.  I’ve read it before, I know it’s true.

So my next 15 days (the duration of a standard W30) will be dedicated to appreciating where I am exactly in the moments that I am there.  I really want to work on appreciating that the reason that I have puffed during Puffer Fish Week is because I am a health and presumably fertile woman. I want to appreciate that the size of my quads makes easier work of propelling myself home on foot 3 days a week.  (dudes, at the end of today, I’ll have logged 60KM in 15 days!)  I want to appreciate that my favorite hot pink tanktop fits, looks good and makes me feel powerful as I motor down the street.  It’s really hard in this day and age of exceptionally high beauty standards for women (even for those of us that know that health is first and foremost) to appreciate your current place. I always say that if someone is working toward making themselves healthier, then I will give them all the kudos in the world because they deserve it.  So why then, would I not give myself that same appreciation.

I don’t know what this next 15 days looks like in terms of actual measurable success, because it’s pretty hard to measure appreciation.  I do think that it’s reasonable to not take another body selfie to compare to January until at least the 30th day.  Right now I’m comparing a 30 day accomplishment to a 15 day accomplishment… how insane is that!!!

If anyone else out there is doing a Whole30, rock on with your bad self!  You’re (we are) doing something that presumably 99.9% of the regular everyday people around you (us) wouldn’t attempt.  That’s huge!

One Year Ago

Today is my one year anniversary of living the Whole9 lifestyle.  I started my first W30 a year ago today and never looked back.  Have I fallen off the wagon and done some food things I’m not proud of?  Sure…. Anyone that says that they live a normal life for a year and don’t make any off roading choices or make any slip ups are probably lying to you. 

The greatest thing about the last year has been that it has not been entirely about food… in fact, it was really only tangentially about food.  

I’m not going to list all the things I learned here… I’m going to share instead, something I wrote for the Whole 30 blog, which you can see here… It was edited down a bit, so this is the whole copy… 

The motto of my blog and my life is ‘Time passes anyway.  Do something useful with it.’.  This is one of the first times in my life that I can look back at a year and know I did the best I could do with that year to be in a better place than I was a year ago… 

After existing for many years in a vacuum of love and respect and allowing the trauma of that to colour my own vision of myself, I had finally come to a place where I knew I could no longer sustain the way I was living.  Although I didn’t know what the outcome would be I knew that when I really made an effort to love & respect myself is when my whole world would start to change. I started a Whole 30 in February of 2013 and I have never looked back. I choose to eat good whole foods because I truly want to and because it makes my body feel better which, in turn, makes my mind feel better.  It has never been about my size or a pair of pants, it has always been about how I could best show love to myself.  

The most amazing part of choosing to approach my health and fitness from a place of love is that I truly do love myself. I look in the mirror and into my own eyes and see love and beauty, calm and kindness and above all, respect.  I could have punished myself with the gym and obsessed over calories, but the success that I have achieved by doing it from a place of self-love and self-respect is worth so much more than the size of my pants.  When I started this in 2013 I chose to work on my happiness (or lack thereof) and decided that I would focus on how I felt.  Even now, as I’ve seen incredible results and changed my life, the driving factor has always remained how I feel.  Do I feel in control, happy, sane?  I have found that focusing on important internal things instead of a number on the scale or a pants size has turned Whole30 into a lifestyle for me and that means that it’s sustainable. (I’m pretty strict Paleo even when I’m not doing Whole30) Going for a run and eating good, whole, nourishing food because I want to express love for myself; that will stand the test of both good times and bad.  

The side effect of loving myself through a framework of Whole30, has been a weight loss upwards of 80 pounds and many skin and pain conditions have completely resolved themselves.  My life will never be the same and I have Melissa, Dallas and Whole30 to thank for that!

Today is the last day that I compare YearAgoMe with CurrentMe.

Here are the pictures.  Now I just live life as this new me.

IMG_5940 IMG_5687

Done… or Am I?

Okay so I was going to cheer a little celebration that yesterday was the 30th day of my Whole 30… but really… nothing changes.. I don’t go back to eating bagels and cheddar cheese for dinner or accepting the offers of chocolates in the office.  I don’t bust into my 18 bottles of wine in my bar (I need to have a PARTY!) or drink Jack Daniels straight from the bottle… (no I didn’t actually used to do that…. Did I???)

A Whole 30 is a great reset… a great way to remind myself of all the reasons that I choose this lifestyle.  It’s a tool to break the bit of a rut one (me) can kind of get into every once in a while when we (I) let too many treats go by.

The thing is… even the book says… No one is expected to do Whole365… not a single person.  We are ALL expected to build in off roading to be able to keep some balance, participate in life events and generally feel some modicum of sanity… sometimes ice cream IS sanity.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I didn’t know what I was supposed to learn from this Whole 30…. Well, I think what I’m learning right now is that it is important to listen to my body… it doesn’t want to be done.  It doesn’t want carrot cake yet… it doesn’t want wine with a friend and it doesn’t want to stop at 30 days.  Maybe it will want to stop at 35 days… or 40… I don’t know… what I do know is that I am going to let it tell me… in the meantime, I’ll keep Whole30ing on…

I also think it’s wildly unfair that my 30 day success picture was taken today, at the 2nd day of my Puffer-Fish Week… and the numbers… well they’re off too now… I know I lost 8lbs in the first three weeks… now the scale says I’ve gained it all back plus some…. That is not accurate and is yet another reason why the scale is kind of useless…

Anyway, here is the December 29th picture and today’s picture, 30 days later.

January W30

Also a before and after from when I first started this little journey… I’ve made a pact that once my 1 year W30 anniversary passes, I will no longer make before and after photos using the old 2013 picture.  I am not that person anymore… in any aspect of my life.  And to keep comparing after the 1 year anniversary seems a bit pointless.  I will keep them all tho… printed out and put in an envelope with all my other important documents and then I will erase them from my phone.

March to January

Good luck to everyone on the last hundred yard dash of January Whole 30 and to those starting! You can do it!

What it looks like

I think it’s time for the before and after pictures.

Prior to now I didn’t want to put them up… the internal, mental and emotional changes going on in my journey right now were far more important to me than the way that I looked.  But like with everything that is going on for me right now, change and perspective and lessons are happening at an incredibly rapid pace and things literally change from day to day.  I’m confident with the knowledge that the internal changes will always be the most important and they’re always the first thing I tell people when they ask me why/how I am doing what I’m doing.  I always say I didn’t get into this as a diet.  And that’s always truthful!

Now, all that aside, here’s my thoughts on the past few days… and then the pictures.

I got all dressed up on Saturday night to go to a party.  There’s a lot in that sentence that is a big deal for me.

  • I got all dressed up.  I haven’t gotten ‘dressed up’ in about 7 years… when I was with my ex we never really went and did anything that required being ‘fancy’ and then as I gained weight, it was harder to find clothes that fit and made me feel confident enough to go out with other dressed up pretty people.
  • I went to a party.  Where I knew exactly one person.  That one person was the belle of the ball tho so it wasn’t like I was going to get to sit and chat with her for the whole night.  My friend told me a few weeks ago to put myself in uncomfortable situations to learn more about myself.  I’d mentioned at that time that I knew a lot about myself and I didn’t need to feel uncomfortable to know what I did and didn’t like.  However, about 30 min in to the party I wanted to leave.  I didn’t know anyone, all the girls were so beautiful and they all knew eachother.  Recipe for uncomfortable city extraordinaire!  But my friend’s words quietly whispered in my ear and I decided to at least give it an hour.  At just the time when I wanted to leave, more people showed up at the party and came and sat where I was sitting.  They were nothing short of spectacular and I had an amazing time!  I laughed till my stomach hurt and I had tears in my eyes (which is not unusual for me in general but is for being in a group of people I don’t know).  I stayed for four hours, laughing and getting to know my new friends.  We had some crazy conversations and I told some silly stories that made them laugh too.  I went home and sent a message to my friend mentioning that it was his words of wisdom that kept me there that long and that I was glad that I’d stayed.  His response?  “I’m always right”.  How modest!
  • Here’s a grainy photo of what I wore on Saturday night.  And you can’t see it, but I wore heels… I was VERY tall!

Outfit

 

  • I know I shouldn’t care what the scale says… lots of people who have Whole30’d and gone on to keep it as a lifestyle have given up their scales.  Which eventually I will too.  However, while I’m still in the active weightloss stage of my journey, it’s nice to step on and see the number go down occasionally.  I don’t live and die by what the scale says… I’ve said from the beginning and it remains true that I’m not doing this for the purpose of losing weight.  I started and will continue to do this for the goal of feeling better, healing myself mentally and emotionally and all the side effects, including weight loss are just extra perks. But it’s still nice to know where you came from and where you’re going.
  • I told my weight lifting coach on Saturday that I turn 35 in 6 months… and that I wanted the best forearms money could buy for my birthday.  He thinks it’s a completely reasonable goal and I think so too.  My favorite muscle in my entire body is my Brachloradialis.  It’s the muscle that runs along the top of your forearm that you can see (maybe) and feel if you hold your arm out in front of you and then flex your wrist backward toward your elbow.  I originally said in March when I started my first W30 that I would give myself 6 months with no concrete goals to just work at feeling better and I would end up where I would end up.  Three and a half (ish) months in, I think I need to set some actual goals.  I didn’t realize until the conversation with Al that I turn 35 in exactly 6 months and one day.  It seems like figuring out goals for a new six month stretch is meant to be.  The problem is that I don’t know what the goals should be.  I don’t want it to be a number on the scale because that’s just a recipe for obsession and disappointment.  Should it be wearing a certain outfit on my birthday?  Lifting a certain amount of weight by then?  Running a specified distance?  I don’t know.  But I do know that I’m all about goals and writing down journey plans so this is right up my alley… if I can figure it out.

So, all that being said, here are two pictures…

Left Photo was taken on New Years Eve.  Right photo was taken May 31st.

Left Photo was taken on New Years Eve. Right photo was taken May 31st.

Left Photo was taken March 15th.  Right photo was taken June 13th.

Left Photo was taken March 15th. Right photo was taken June 13th.

 

Boxes be Damned!

I have an ongoing aversion to things in boxes.  (unless you’re planning on getting me presents, in which case I don’t mind those types of things in boxes… especially things in those really pretty Tiffany blue boxes… )

Anyway, since that’s unlikely to happen, I think it’s safe to say that I have an aversion to things in boxes.  I don’t like the looks of boxes stacked up anywhere…. I know that’s what a lot of people use their basements or garages for but even then, I think that things in boxes just invites critters, bugs and anxiety.

Around last August, my friend and I went through some boxes that I had packed before I moved of clothes that didn’t fit… we looked at them, threw some definitely ugly things away and then packed it all up and put it in boxes in my spare room closet.  And ever since that day, the spare room closet has bugged me.  My toolbox (which won’t close anymore, but that’s another story) has sat precariously perched on a pile of clothes… which sat on a lidless Rubbermaid tote with all manner of miscellanea in it… which sat on an empty cardboard box.

Needless to say, anytime I needed my screwdriver or a hammer, it was a nightmare going into that closet.

On Sunday, after sleeping late and then making breakfast and putting a load of laundry in, I happened to stumble across a pair of jeans in my closet that I tried on.  They were almost two sizes too big and after a little dance of joy (I’m not a good dancer… please don’t try and picture it!) I remembered the pile.  Since the size of me is going down and the size of my irritation at the boxes of stuff in that closet is most certainly going up, I decided that the best place for those clothes to be is in my closet.  Hung up, folded nicely and waiting for wear. Why would I, a woman who hates boxes, keep beautiful clothes in boxes just because they don’t fit yet?  Good question and one I couldn’t come up with a decent answer for yesterday, so I took on a little project.  Hundreds of articles of clothing, some with the tags on were picked out of the boxes, unfolded, examined and then hung or folded up, based on the size.  I thought it would bug me to see tiny sizes of clothes that I most certainly don’t fit right now but obviously used to.  You know what?  It didn’t bug me at all.  Because every day is a journey to where you are and every day is a journey to move from that spot.  I’m moving.  I’m getting healthier and stronger with each growing minute and while I don’t particularly care to be the size and shape I am now, I don’t cower at pictures of myself or the fact that I don’t fit into my old clothes.  I’m getting there, one step at a time!

The thing about these clothes that are now hanging and folded neatly in my closet is that if I’m not careful, some of them aren’t going to get any wear.  I already see items that are the next size on my journey that will be too warm and bulky for summer and by the time winter rolls around it will be unlikely they will fit me.  I found some articles that were already too big and those have been put in a bag for the donation pile.  I have a lot of beautiful clothes… clothes with great memories, clothes that made me feel strong and empowered and the appropriate place for those is in the closet, not in a box hidden away somewhere. They need to be tried on in a somewhat regular fashion and they need to be respected, just as I am starting to respect myself.