What do mindful eating and exercise look like?
The photos were taken within almost a one year period (July 2013 – present):
Left: bikini competition, July 2013, living on bars, shakes and some food but definitely not eating properly.
Middle: post 7 months bikini comp and living a more active social life that included eating/drinking more and exercising less, February 2014
Right: finding a balance between left and middle photos and getting back to a more regular exercise routine and eating more mindfully and properly: actual food and not skipping meals.
I have my own fitness and health objectives but I have had to reset my mindset and beliefs to align with a healthy sustainable lifestyle and it’s been difficult b/c what wasn’t healthy is a look that the media promotes.
I support re-set systems and jumpstart programs for just that: to help ease into new habits that are sustainable.
A close friend recently stated that I have an eating disorder. I was shocked to hear this as I had always associated an eating disorder with being diagnosed with either bulimia or anorexia both of which I’m familiar with the symptoms. I don’t purge and/or starve myself so therefore I do not have an eating disorder.
I started thinking more about it in general terms and what my friend said was an abnormal relationship with food. So I googled it and came across a few links one of which was http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org where I took a diagnostic test and this was my result:
“Your screening results are consistent with symptoms of an eating disorder. However, this screening is not a substitute for a complete clinical evaluation. It is recommended that you see a health professional immediately for a complete evaluation.”
I have an eating disorder. What?! I think about food, reflect on what I eat during the day, am aware of the approximate caloric and carbohydrate content and will adjust accordingly throughout the day or week to maintain what I consider an ideal weight for my height and frame but is my ideal healthy?
A week ago, I had my measurements taken and myself weighed at my fitness facility where metrics are used to monitor progress. I avoid the scale because I like to pride myself on how I feel rather than what I weigh to determine my lifestyle. I have gained weight and my body fat has increased in the past 9 months because my lifestyle has changed: eating and drinking more and exercising less. So while I wasn’t surprised by my results, I wasn’t thrilled so I am making adjustments.
I am posting two photos because my unhealthy me is the one that I know is more universally appealing than the healthier version of me today whom eats more balanced meals and proper food more regularly throughout the day as opposed to skipping and replacing meals with bars and shakes.
I could go on and on about this topic because I can’t recall the last time I met a woman who declared that she was happy with her body as is including myself. I think about my weight (consciously and subconsciously) as long as I’m not at my ideal (based on how I feel) and though it doesn’t impede and affect me on a daily basis nor is it obvious to the outside world, it’s a constant chatter in my head that I hope will one day subside, dissipate and eventually disappear.
I am guilty of falling prey to the media’s look of ideal health but I hope to inspire and encourage a healthy sustainable lifestyle that involves eating to enjoy and fuel and eating anything but in moderation: treats and all. To health!
There will always be those who will disagree, judge and toss-out negativity but, as a friend wisely advised, “don’t allow others to choose your future”.
As a Mom of a teenage daughter, I am not only aware but sensitive to the power of words. To an adult but especially a teen who is navigating their way through life and establishing an identity, a negative comment can have the power to be not only unsettling but somewhat debilitating. Our children model our behavior and words and so, it is our responsibility to live with compassion, care and kindness.
After reading the book entitled, “Odd Girl Speaks Out” by Rachel Simmons, and seeing the movies “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Lone Survivor”, I believe the message is the same and, that is, when our lives are at stake, it’s basic emotions of love and kindness that matter and override any pre-existing prejudices, judgements and negative feelings towards others. We are kind and loving by nature and negativity stems from pain, anger and hurt.
“We can’t control the actions of others but we can control how we respond”.
Yesterday I had a conversation that left me thinking again about health and fitness.
I feel fortunate that fitness has become part of my lifestyle and is a passion and serves a purpose. I never set-out with a particular goal but I have been asked how and what. I attribute how I am to part genetics, eating (though I am far from a model example) and a regular routine of exercise. I have been asked on a few occasions about how to get arms like mine? I am now tempted to say this:
I have been on a 6 year program of regular exercise and mindful eating without depriving myself of the occasional treat. I still enjoy my daily granola/oatmeal mix and venti peppermint mocha but I realize I can not eat everything I’d like at any time.
There are days when I’m tired but I’ve identified a facility where I enjoy their group fitness classes which serves my purpose and which I complement with yoga and running during the week. I don’t know when this plan will end as I intend it to be a lifestyle plan.
Happy Thanksgiving! Thankful for a lot on this day and for my family’s encouragement to share my journey…helping one person find strength in making a decision/creating an opportunity will be but a bonus to the therapeutic exercise this page and my blog has provided me this past year.
There will always be different interpretations of experiences in life but our choice as to which one we choose. Believe!
drawing credit: daughter 12 years
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
I read and am re-reading because as a dear friend pointed-out, I need to understand and incorporate into my life and not just read words.
I know for sure as I navigate my new life and transition from where, what and how I was as a wife, daughter, sister, mother, friend and individual to who I am and wish to be today that the Four Agreements are the key to successfully making the change: impeccability, not take things personally, not making assumptions and doing my best.
To responding from the inside out and not playing victim to circumstances and others because what is said and done is usually a reflection of them not you: this is not taking it personally. Reading into what someone says is making assumptions so taking what someone says at face value is essential for mental health. If we have a question, asking for clarification prevents misinterpretation and possible unnecessary angst. If we do our best, we will reflect upon life without regret and being impeccable with our word will leave us at peace knowing we said what we meant and meant what we said.
I am living change and family, friends and those around me are living change as well interacting with me. Who, what and where I was a year ago is not who I am today because it required an enormous amount of strength to regain control and be captain of my life realizing that I was FULLY accountable and responsible for my happiness and not laying blame on others, my situation and every other reason I could think of for not making change.
“Life is to be enjoyed and appreciated, not endured and tolerated. Which is why today is a perfect day to stop tolerating…””7 Sources of Stress You Tolerate Too Often”, by Marc Chernoff1. People who are purposely difficult.
Don’t let anyone’s negativity stop you from being happy. Negative company will never give you a positive life. Examine what you tolerate. Every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive. Happiness is found around encouraging, loving people.
Learning to ignore certain people is one of the great paths to inner peace. Life gets easier when you delete those who make it difficult.
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
Like with habits, I think we get used to being around certain people, friends and family members alike, and may or may not always be aware of their influence and impact on us.
In the past few years, I have learned to stand firm with whom I was becoming which was someone who no longer sought to please others. The irony of being someone else is that often times we end-up unhappy and out of alignment with ourself and attract those who aren’t true to who we are and may not appreciate who we are trying to be.
With maturity and experience, we gain the confidence to be who we are truly and some of us are just born and discover early on who and what they are. If we think about the people who are endearing, they are often those individuals who emanate happiness, laugher and comfort in themselves.
As I get older and my priorities shift and change, I have made the conscious choice to surround myself with those who uplift me and, almost by default, they have replaced negativity.
To choice !
— at FNS Training Center.
If I stayed with should, I would be living a very different life today. I would have convinced myself that my circumstances were permanent to a certain degree and that change was not really an option and not something I had the strength to make. I would have continued fulfilling the prophecy that I started believing about myself.
When two people start generating negativity unintentionally or by habit, it becomes not only detrimental but toxic. I know this is what happened to my relationship. We didn’t intend for this to happen and each of us on our own were and are not negative people but together we became negative.
So my should told me to work it out and that it could be done and was possible. My should also told me that we had to make it work for our children and that being a product of divorce myself, I knew what the potential effects and consequences would be and that I couldn’t perpetuate the cycle.
Should also questioned my dedication and passion for fitness because it meant replacing “volunteer mommy time” with “me time”. I felt guilty but then I asked myself exactly what and why. I had spent the first 6 years of their lives completely dedicated and devoted to them and their lives from diapers and nursing and being on call 24 hours to being a member on a school PTA, in class volunteer and teacher of an after school elective…
I know I could have been more involved these past few years but the fact is that at the time, I made choices and decisions because that is where I was at and what I wanted and no longer what I should. By following my wants and needs, I regained my identity and along the way, who I am as in IS started replacing SHOULD BE and today I am now a product of IS. I am no longer a should and I have had to transition and it has been hard at times.
I had an exchange with a friend this morning and I told her that I have purposefully chosen to distance myself from certain groups because of the transition I am currently living and she asked, “why, you didn’t do anything?” And she’s right but I choose to take time and create space as I settle into my life of IS and no longer SHOULD.
BELIEVE…your heart will not betray you, follow it as you navigate your life.