A New Challenge

Hello!

Happy Wednesday! Since I am out of school for summer break, my weeks are very different and all of the days of the week seem to run together. What I mean is, I do not have “weekends,” because most of my days follow a “weekend routine.” It is nice, but I am very excited about getting back to school in less than a month!

The past 3 or 4 weeks have been very laid back and filled with errands, school prep, trip prep, and appointments, because the family I babysit has been our of town. They are back this week, and it has been so much fun! We have played baseball, gone “rock climbing,” played games, and all other things kids enjoy. The energy and excitement for anything we do, is contagious and brings such innocence to life.

My husband and I leave for a week long trip to Boston and Cape Cod, bright and early tomorrow morning. I am sure I will have all sorts of pictures and stories to share when we return! In speaking about our trip, this brings up a new challenge I have joined with my dietitian to institute throughout our trip, and I will, hopefully, be able to continue after our trip.

Over time, I have, mentally, created a “list” of foods which I deem foods I will not EVER order. In saying this, there I foods I really enjoy and foods I do not like too much, and I want to honor what my body desires to have. However, I am not at a point to simply eat intuitively, because this would mean I would not eat what I need to nourish my body, and soul. I have to literally force myself to eat foods outside of my comfort zone, because this is not my habit. For example, my husband and I went to dinner with my family at a deli. Rather than order a sandwich, I ordered a salad, because salads are “safe.” My dietitian and I talked about this, and the interesting thing is I could have even “built my own” sandwich and chosen exactly what I would enjoy, but a sandwich is something I have written of my list of foods to eat.

As my dietitian and I talked about our upcoming trip, she gave me the challenge to order one thing that I would not normally order but really should try and want to eat. I promise, this sounds easy, but it is not, for me. Since we are eating out all of our meals, there will be many opportunities for me to do this over the next week. I will have to mentally prepare myself to do this and make the resolve to follow through with it.

This aspect of my trip will be a fun challenge for me, because I do enjoy the experience of food and eating at restaurants. This will only enhance my trip and bring more enjoyment to living, for a week, in 2 new cities. I am super excited to visit Cape Cod and Boston, and I am already packed and ready to go. I have been in a bit of a “tizzy” and lacked sleep this week, as I have made preparations for the trip and thought about preparing to leave for a week long trip. This stems from true excitement, but it has left  me a little overwhelmed and tired. However, we are leaving soon, and I will say, I am totally able to disconnect and relax whenever I am on a trip, so I have no worries about a full rest and relaxation time to recover and prepare to return and jump into beginning of the school year preparations.

As I close this post, I do want to address a picture I saw on instagram this morning. It was a picture of “diet pills” next to a piece of cake, and it was boasting that this pill would reverse the after affects of eating the cake. WHAT??? Is it possible to eat the cake and realize, one piece of cake is not going to expand your waistline? This is a true picture of the pressures we experience to “make up” for unhealthy food choices, and the distortion of true health our society has created. We are surrounded by it, every day, and it can be a battle not fall prey to this.

Enjoy your Wednesday and the remainder of your week!

Much love!!

 

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Some Tips to Talk About…

Hi There Friends!

Today, it is, of course, raining where I live! This seems to be our summer trend. While I am glad out state is no longer under the never ending drought, I would seriously love some more sunshine and pool time! Sigh… I guess we need to count our blessings?

I wanted to check in and share some tips from my last meeting with my dietitian, who, as I said, I LOVE. All of the advice I have been given has told me to choose health care providers who you trust and who you believe are working with and for you. I believe these things are true of her, and I am willing and open to share with her and take her advice. Sometimes, I feel like I should pay her to be my counselor, as well!

One newer aspect of our work is, that I now send her pictures of my meals. She looked at my blog and said the pictures of food were very helpful for her, because it allowed her to see, not just read in a food journal, my food portions. I have been doing this for her over the past couple of weeks, and each time we meet, she assess the pictures beforehand. At our meeting, she takes time with me to look at each picture, and we talk about which meals were on point with food choice and serving size, as well as, the meals where I need to make some adjustments.

After our meting earlier this week, one of the main areas I will be working on is increasing the amount of food in my meals. This would either be accomplished by me eating more in terms of portion size or adding something to a meal. For example, the meal below really seemed like a good amount of food when I made it, but I was hungry about an hour later! She suggested that I need to add a cup of yogurt or cottage cheese with berries, which would also round out the meal by adding some dairy.

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This meal consisted of lasagna made in an 8X8 pan. Although it seemed to be a generous portion, she said I might could have tried to eat half of the lasagna from the pan, rather than just a fourth to a third of the pan.

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Hopefully, you are beginning to gain some understanding of where she is seeking to guide me in my eating habits. I will be honest, it is not easy for me. It has become habit for me to eat a certain way, and I feel comfort and control in this aspect of my life. None of us like change, because it takes work, chiefly mental work. In light of knowing this about myself, I asked her if I could take pictures of almost all of my meals and snacks and send them to her, and she said bring on the photos! This will not only allow her to see what I am eating, and it will keep me accountable, preventing me from cutting corners or reverting back to previous habits. As I said, it takes work, but I am willing to do it!

Thank you, once again, for reading my thoughts in the space. I hope you and your family have a fabulous Fourth of July!

 

Back from a Break

Good Monday Morning!

We have experienced SO MUCH RAIN in the past week, and I am thrilled that the sun is finally making an appearance. This morning, it actually feels like a crisp fall morning, which is highly irregular for our part of south. I got out and enjoyed a slow walk earlier this morning soaking up the scenery and weather while listening to a podcast. It was truly relaxing.

The family I babysit for has been out of town, which means I have had a good bit of free time. This is a gift, because I have had extra time to see friends and can pretty much spend my days how I choose. However, I have struggled with this lack of routine and schedule, and I found myself googling “classes,” such as calligraphy, smocking, and pottery, I could take, but all of the classes I found were taking a break for this portion of the summer. I am trying to think of a house project I could complete, but our house is pretty settled for the moment. I will certainly update you if I choose a new venture in my current downtime!

I have made the decision to throw away my planner and not make, “to do,” lists. This sounds counterintuitive to being productive, but I see this as a challenge for me. I decided, that if I forget something in the day or do not complete a task I had envisioned, it was either not that important or it can be done another day. I do still have specific events stored in my i cal, but these are specific items which, generally, would affect someone else if I was to forget them. I will be honest, that it has been somewhat freeing, but I have had to be intentional about not, “listing” and “to do-ing,” because this has been my default for as long as I can remember.

In speaking of living more in freedom, rather than in my default desire to control myself, this has been a similar theme in my work to restore my health by gaining weight and gaining freedom from my control and restriction of food. I will be honest, this has been much harder, than I predicted. I think this has been due to the fact, that I have learned more about myself and have been more truthful with myself about the reasons why I have struggled to gain my health through gaining weight in the past. I will begin by telling you, that my dietitian does not weigh me in our meetings. I thought this strange at first, but when we talked about it, she told me she wants me to EAT and not be obsessed with the number on the scale going up or down. I agree with her in this decision, because I had always thought I was a goal person and needed to see this to make progress. I have realized though, that I also want control in this area of my life and the number on the scale is something I cannot and should not try to control. My progress is based, at this point, by eating foods, I had previously deemed, “unhealthy,” if there is such a thing. I also am working to eat much more in the quantity of food than I have in the past, instead of restricting what I eat. Controlling and restricting, both the type of food I eat and the amount of food I eat, has become second nature to me, and I do it without thinking about it. This is the key, I have to think about ordering the salmon from my favorite restaurant, not just with a salad, but with rice or potatoes. I have to think about eating, because I am hungry, even if it is not my typical mealtime or snack time. Why has this become such a struggle for me? I believe, I have made this a habit in my life, and like all habits, it is hard to break.

Throughout this journey I have been on this past month, I have also become so aware of the, “diet culture,” we live in today. I have had to unfollow some people on Instagram or stop reading certain blogs, because they were filling my mind with thoughts which are not beneficial for me. Rather, I have tried to listen to podcasts, look at Instagram or Facebook feeds, and read blogs that encourage me in my pursuit to gain health by gaining weight. In honesty, listening to and reading these resources is what has made me realize I cannot do this on my own, and that this area of my life is something I am mentally struggling to overcome. As I hear others stories of growth and recovery, I have seen, although health is defined in our culture by size and weight, this simply is not a way to live life. Fitting into this mold, becomes the definition of who you are and sucks the life out of you. What is still so difficult, is, although I can be mindful of what I see and read, I cannot escape this culture in my daily life. EVERYONE talks about weight loss, diets, and body image. I was at lunch with a couple of people a few weeks ago, and every single person there was on a diet and talking about their diets for a portion of our meal. They said they could only order certain foods, because their trainer would see what they eat. Without even realizing it, I began to think about what I ordered in this same light, but I do not believe this was their fault. I am just sharing where my mind quickly goes. I do know this can be an aspect of some gyms and could be helpful for some people. However, for my situation, I am glad, that where I choose to give movement to my body, does not carry this mindset or these practices. I do have friends and family who model for me and encourage me to live healthfully rather than constrictively, but even they are human and sometimes fall in the same arena in topics of discussion and lifestyle practices. It does seem, everywhere you turn,, there are people who are trying to loose weight and change their bodies, and this quickly becomes the topic of conversation. In these moments, I have to speak truth to myself and remember who I am. That I am faithfully loved and fully accepted, and I am created for a far reaching purpose in this life, which is beyond myself.

I thank you for reading this post, friends, and I hope it is a wonderful week! I will check in soon with more thoughts and updates.

Much love!

Thoughts on the Docs

Hi There!

I have not posted much this week, because first, my time has seemed to run short each day. Also, there has not been much update from last week! However, I am waiting to have my oil changed and just saw my OBGYN, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Let me dive in, first, to some of the thoughts I have been having on the work I have implemented from my last dietitian visit. Overall, it has gone really well. She did a great job helping me implement a plan that fits my lifestyle and preferences in food. I have, though, had several “a-ha” moments, since my visit with her last week. I had dinner with a sweet friend earlier this week, who is also a dietitian, and we talked extensively about what the dietitian had recommended for me. We also talked about some of the mental labeling and rigidity I can tend to carry with my lifestyle, particularly in food. In saying this, I completely agree with my dietitian, that at this point in my journey, I need to have a “plan” which I am following. Otherwise, I will fall right back into my old habits and fail to make any progress. On the other hand, I want to practice giving myself the freedom, mentally, to eat as much food as my body needs to gain weight while also giving myself freedom to eat whatever my body desires, even if it deviates from our “plan” which can cause me some anxiety.

Another aspect of our work, I want to discuss with my dietitian is the use of an online food journal. Once again, due to my tendency to become OCD about tasks and following instructions, I get very uncomfortable when I don’t hit the required calorie mark or if I go above my calorie goal for the day. At this point in my work, I almost feel like e-mailing her, each day, with the foods I have eaten, might be best. This way, I am accountable, but I am not becoming obsessive about logging food. As I mentioned, I need a plan right now, because my major need is to gain weight. In the past, when I did not have a plan and accountability, I fell extremely off track. However, I also think it is important to train myself to eat more intuitively, rather than restrictively.  I really want to be intentional about choosing foods which are healthy, fuel my body, but challenge my current food rotations.

If you have made it this far in reading this post, you are a champ! For my final update, I did go to my OBGYN today. He is very caring, listens intently to me, and is intentional about our time. I will not go into too many details, because this is a public post.:) I will say, though, I left feeling great comfort. I was not able to do any blood work today, but my husband and I are making plans to do this near the end of my summer break. Although, it will not be an easy road without complications and challenges, my doctor assured me, that he will be able to work with me to get my body where it needs to be, to one day, bear a child. I am going to continue to seek out further information, on my own, regarding this aspect of my health, but I am also going to trust him. In the future, if I am not confident in the medical advice I am given, I will need to, wisely, seek out further medical advice. At this point, I am doing what I need to do to gain my health and will work from that place.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope this offers, at least one reader, less of a feeling of being alone in a life event similar to my own. Remember, gain what you might have lost, by giving yourself the gift of the freedom to do this! I will be back soon with updates from my dietitian appointment tomorrow.

Much love!

 

Rotating Breakfasts and Lunches

 

Hello!

I am a creature of habit. I literally could eat the same schedule every day, and it would not bore me or phase me one bit. Granted, as life changes, my schedule changes, but this more evolves over time. I do not necessarily set out to change habits and routines in my life, because I am content with and find comfort in a set routine. I do understand this mindset can be a very positive thing. However, I also know my comfort in routine can cause me anxiety and frustration when this routine is changed or challenged. I would assert this is one of my main struggles in gaining weight, because it is difficult for me to make changes to my set routine. I am seeking to gain by giving myself the peace to make changes which are beneficial for my growth.

As I speak about routines, I want to share with you two breakfasts and two lunches, which are dietitian approved, and are easy, quick, and tasty!

To start us off, I have been loving egg and toast breakfasts! I cook two eggs in coconut oil or ghee, toast two slices of sprouted grain bread, and top the bread with an avocado and hemp or chia seeds. A second breakfast I have enjoyed is overnight oats. I combine 1/2 cup of oats,  1/2 cup of Fage whole milk yogurt, 1/2 cup of canned coconut milk, and 1T of chia seeds, and I stir this all together and save it in the fridge. I then top it with almond butter and more nuts or seeds when I am ready to it. Both of these breakfasts are delicious and filling, which is a major plus!

I also have two different lunches I have been enjoying recently. First, I hard boil 6-8 organic eggs, and I roast 2-3 large sweet potatoes ahead of time. Then, I can quickly combine 3-4 eggs, 1 sweet potato, an avocado, hummus, and sauerkraut, and throw this on top of spinach and mixed veggies. Another lunchtime meal I have been making includes a can of tuna or salmon combined with a container of whole milk yogurt or cottage cheese and hummus, and I will usually add a squirt of dijon mustard and sprinkle on some herbs. Then, I put this mixture on top of a salad, and I will chop up a large apple to throw on top or have a large sprouted wheat wrap alongside of the salad.

I hope this gives you some breakfast and lunchtime inspiration. For me, packing a breakfast and/or lunch can become a chore, so it is always nice to have some “recipes” in your back pocket! Have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend, and I will be popping in with a recap of my weekend which I am sure will include some pool time. Much love!

 

What am I learning?

Hi There!

This week has been relaxing, as well as, full of fun activities I enjoy, and I hope this has been true for you! I am currently sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops here in Birmingham, Alabama, which is the city I have lived in for my entire life. I am in LOVE with their turmeric ginger tea, and I also find their decaf coffee incredible which is hard to say about most decaf coffees I have tried.

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Moving on from the tea and coffee ramble, I promised, that I would update you on my meeting with my new dietitian, whom I met with on Tuesday. We had a 2 1/2 hour meeting, and at the end, I felt encouraged and motivated to set new and high goals for myself. She went above and beyond in her time with me, and I connected really well with her, and I also felt supported by and encouraged by her. She has sent me several “meal plans” which include foods I would regularly eat, but this plan will also give me a baseline for the number of calories, carbs, protein, and fat I should be eating at each meal. She will also track my meals, every day, on an online food journal, and I will meet with her each week. Honestly, many of the foods and amount of foods, are how I might eat, but the key is frequency. In the past, I have really been diligent for about a week. Then, I fall of the chart with my goals, which is when the weight I might have gained, falls off, as well. I am confident her daily tracking of my food choices will be beneficial for me and her accountability will be the changing factor. I will need to be very conscious of choosing the healthy and nourishing, but higher calorie food, which is a different mindset than I have carried in the past. I will be honest, cooking chicken in actual coconut oil, rather than just a “spray,” has tickled my taste buds, in a delicious way!

P.S. I am supposed to eat a handful of granola or nuts every time I get in the car which has taken some force and intentionality to implement, but I will do it!

One things I have thought about a lot recently, is how I can only control my response, not others’ responses, to my actions and choices, in all aspects of my life and, specifically, in my journey to gain weight. I want to continue to exercise and eat foods which fuel my body. I have found some people are very supportive and desire to come alongside me in this, but I have also been experiencing people in my life who doubt me. They doubt, that I can do it. They doubt, that I can change. They even look at me with pity and judgment. Yes, this is frustrating, particularly for the affirmation-seeking girl that I am, but I believe, this same thing happens for each of us in our daily life choices. However, it is our choice in how we respond. We cannot try to control other people’s thoughts or actions, or we will go into a crazy tailspin. We can only control ourselves, and our convictions and beliefs should be what drives our thoughts, choices, and responses, not how we think others will view what we choose to do or not do. This is difficult for most people, but I think it can be life changing.

I will return soon with further thoughts and updates! I leave you with a quote I saw on Pinterest this morning…

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Happy Monday!

I am officially finished with my school school year! Most of you would probably think, “You are so lucky to be off for the summer!” I have two responses for you. First, I love being a teacher, and I love the the children I teach. I become close to the families whose children I teach, and it is really difficult for me to close a school year and move forward. Secondly, I like to feel like each day has structure and purpose. When I am not working, I feel very unsettled and carry some anxiety about slower paced days. I do believe we are given seasons of rest, and in my case, I think I desperately need this season to slow down my life, give myself rest, and gain back my health. In saying these things, I will still hang out with friends, take part in various activities, and babysit for a family whose 4 children I have kept for over 6 years. I tell them they are my children, since I do not have any at home! I will be honest, that I still go to bed early and wake up early, and I make a plan for each day. My husband thinks I am crazy, as he would spend any day he has off working in the yard or playing golf. I remind him, I am created this way, and I truly enjoy living this way!

 

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This is a photo from last summer’s shenanigans. I spend a good deal of time at the pool and golf course during the summer and have no complaints! 

This summer, my desire, as I said, is to give myself permission to give my body rest and the fuel it needs to be healthy. I am meeting with a dietitian in the next week to create a meal plan which suites my body’s needs to gain weight, based on my metabolism and activity level. This gives me excitement, as I love a plan and know I will want to commit to it! I am also going to my OBGYN soon, for a yearly checkup, and I plan to have him test all of my “levels” to make sure these things are where they need to be in order for my husband and I to start looking at having a baby, at some point, in the near future. TMI for you??? I do not think it is. As I stated, my goal for this blog is to encourage and motivate other women, going through the same struggles as myself, to gain a full life. Gaining more information is one tool to make this happen, and hope I can give this gift to my readers!

I will return soon with updates on my appointments, and I plan to post some recipes of my favorite meals and drinks. Everything I make is easy, as cooking is not my passion or gifting! Much love!

IMG_0366Hello!

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog! My name is Laura, and I am in my late twenties. I am a kindergarten teacher, and I will have been married two years this July. I love my job as a teacher, as being a teacher has been what I wanted to do since I was very young. I also truly enjoy learning about and practicing healthy food and exercise habits in my daily life, and I set these as a high priority in my life. I am a very routine and disciplined individual who rarely has to be reminded to complete a task or accomplish a goal. I am very driven by keeping peace and receiving the affirmation of friends, family, and coworkers, and this can heavily dictate my day to day actions and choices. As positive as these traits can be, at times, these things have controlled my life in a negative way, which is why I mention this aspect of myself.  My heart and mindset in these areas has led to a long struggle to control my circumstances. In seeking to create a coping mechanism, I believe I have sought comfort in an unhealthy control of my health habits. I have gone through a long struggle to gain weight and keep my weight at a healthy place where I look and feel healthy, strong, and confident. After many dear friends and family members have spoken truth to my heart on this issue, I am now earnestly seeking to begin the journey to live at peace with my food choices and exercise practices. I desire to do this by giving myself the freedom to gain rather than suffocating my joy in life and my ability to be the strongest woman, wife, daughter, and friend I know I can be. This journey is what I want to document on this blog. The posts I write will vary, as some will be more personal and others will be more light-hearted. My hope is that, as I share my story, you, as well as others, will be encouraged to break free from whatever chains might bind your heart and mind and are taking away the great freedom you can experience when you give yourself the gift of gaining joy and peace!