Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Losing a Gallon

My body is a miracle. Ever since I wrote about women and flesh--I've realized that I needed to pay more respect to my body. Since then, a good friend recommended I read The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel. On April 20th, I started putting different things into practice. It took a month, but over that time, I've felt myself heal.

I used to have a raging sugar addiction. I remember the night when I said no to candy. It was difficult, but the strength from being next to a bag of candy all night long and not once having a piece--that was pretty spectacular. Not that I won't choose to have candy again--but it's the "needing" the candy that I don't want. I want to choose to savor a piece because that is my choice.

Food has been my enemy. I get frustrated with it. It doesn't make me happy.

Now--I LOVE food!

Last night, I sat down and had grilled Salmon and yellow squash and read about the benefits of summer squash. I read about the fiber, the vitamin A, C, and beta carotene as I enjoyed the flavor of the squash and the salmon. It was a joy to eat. I enjoyed shopping for food last night and filled my cart with fruits, vegetables of all colors.

I don't even know how I got to this place. It's just every day, cravings went away. Little by little. My body feels incredibly healthy. I feel I have more energy than I've had in ages.

You read in the book not to weigh yourself for 6 months because the body takes time. You lose, then plateau. But I wanted to anyway. At first, I dropped 12 pounds in a week. Then back up 5. (That was discouraging.) And then it just kind of held on for a while. I finally hid the scale from myself. Despite what the scale said--I could feel my body getting healthier. I felt lighter. I felt stronger. It didn't matter what the scale said. I had gone from wanting to eat at least two candy bars and three bags of candy a day to no sugar at all. Who cares if I lost any weight? I hadn't been to McDonald's in almost a month!

Sunday night, I was lugging a gallon of water into my room. I had decided to carry around a gallon of water to make sure I drank the whole thing throughout the day. I placed it on my night stand and thought about how it was so heavy. I decided I wanted to weigh it! But I didn't want the temptation to weigh myself. I fell asleep instead.

Last night, I couldn't resist the temptation to pull out the scale. I wanted to weigh that bottle.

I just thought--if I've lost one of these bottles of water in weight from my body--what a relief to my skeleton! I weighed the bottle. It was over 11 pounds.

Then I stepped on the scale. Since April 20th, I've lost 18 pounds!

It's a great start! I've lost more than a gallon of weight! I feel really good. More than the weight, I've lost the cravings. And I've gained a really nice relationship with food.

I feel spectacular.

Everybody has to do things in their own way and in their own time. The exciting thing is--I find myself adding a healthy new habit every day--which makes it fun. I created a meditation for myself to listen to as I drive so that driving can be a way of destressing. I have started stretching every day at work to oxygenate my muscles. I'm just adding little things to help find happiness in getting healthier.

I understand why they say not to look at the scale--it's because the inner changes matter more than whether the scale reflects those changes--but it was nice to see that things are working.

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Private Spring

Yesterday, I met up with a friend I made about 3 years ago. We spent the afternoon sharing our thoughts and playing with her cute baby.

This week, my brother Matt turned 32. On Monday, Matt, Nick, and I all drove up into the mountains to look at the stars away from the city lights.  On Tuesday, we had breakfast for dinner.

Wednesday, I had friends come and visit from church. And then Michelle and I went to visit a couple of women from the church ourselves.

Last night, I went for a 20 minute walk in the early evening and listened to scriptures. The holy words in my ears, the sun shimmering on the trees, blood in my vessels, oxygen in my muscles.

And then I met up with 4 beautiful friends for frozen yogurt.

Monday night, I said no to McDonald's and ate almonds and strawberries instead.

Tuesday night, I said no to sausages and instead of eating candy, I ate an energy bar.

Every day I spend more and more of my time with happy, uplifting friends. Every day, I find it easier and easier to make better decisions.

When trying to decide what to do last night at 10pm, I decided to go to bed! How novel!

I don't know if anything has changed much on the outside, but on the inside, I feel clear. I feel strong. I feel invigorated. I feel like every day possesses its own magic.

I've been watching Call The Midwife all week. I fear it has touched the language in my brain. I cannot help but think in this strangely formal 1950s British speak.

I don't know whether there's any outward indication of a change. The scale hasn't budged. But inside I feel lighter.

Right now, I'm sitting at my computer watching a man try and fit a thousand pieces of furniture into a small storage unit. I'm waiting for impending crisis. I cannot imagine how this will work. It can't. Oh--they just came in to ask for a broom. My magical shimmer is starting to dwindle. I think shimmer is my word today.

So nothing too dramatic to report. Just little bits of changes that mean the world to me, but mean nothing to anyone else.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Being a Mother and Other Traumatic Tales of Womanhood

I'm 36.

I'm in that post 35 year old world. As a woman, you know what I'm talking about. "A woman's chances of..." "After 35, the baby risks..."  "It's easier for a ...." Blah. Blah. Blah.

Some of the blahs seep in though.

And so I start thinking. I realize I need to make peace with some things.

I will get married.

But I might not be able to have children when I get married.

My mother is the only daughter. My grandmother was the only child. I'm the only daughter.  My great grandmother was one of several children, but her mother died very young.

We have a history of fun times with our lady parts. Each generation has its own super fun tales. I think that's part of the rites of being a woman though. Traumatic stories of child birth, or lady bits. All in good fun.

My gynecologist used the word "infertile" in a general way a couple weeks ago.

To solve an ongoing problem, he suggested I get an IUD. My insurance provider has said that I'm covered if it is to prevent pregnancy. The problem I have actually prevents pregnancy, so I'm not sure if I'm covered or not because I'm not actively trying to prevent pregnancy. I'm also not really sure how getting an IUD is going to solve my problem. But my doctor casually walked over the word "infertile"... and that's the part that has stayed with me. I casually glanced at the word too. And I acknowledge that because of the problems I currently face, I would be unable to get pregnant, if I were to try to get pregnant. But still... you just don't think of it as an unsolvable problem. We solve one problem at a time... But still... infertile.... And that said... I'm not really comfortable taking something for the express purpose of stopping pregnancies that I will one day want. It just feels counterintuitive.

And so I need to make peace. I need to identify with my weaknesses.

I might not ever be able to have children. I might be infertile forever.

A woman's relationship with her hypothetical offspring is an interesting one. Everyone thinks about their children differently. I never really imagined them. They're abstract to me. I guess I didn't want to allow myself to hope for them because they're going to bear the mark of their father. That's generally how it works. And I could never really figure out who their father would be.

So I don't feel the loss of my hypothetical off spring. I have never had visions of them. I can't picture them in my mind.

But I have had visions of what it would be like to mother them. I would like to teach them to play the piano. I would like to take them to the park and to the zoo. I would like to fill their bellies with healthy and tasty foods. I would like to play with them. I would like to read them stories. I have plans to keep my kids home for school because I don't have the patience for schools. I want them reading Shakespeare in the second grade and conducting scientific experiments in the 3rd grade. I want them studying computer programming in the 4th grade. I want them to experience learning with passion.

I would love to have babies. But I don't know if I will be able to have them anymore. I do not feel the loss of my hypothetical children. I feel the loss of my hypothetical motherhood.

My motherhood remains this idealized dream instead of this real, gritty, dirty, mindnumbing, crazy, painful reality. I hear your traumatic stories. I understand the ways in which I am blessed.

But it's always greener and all that.

I don't believe in certain conclusions when it comes to this topic. Life has a way of turning everything on its head.

I guess I just wanted to share my perspective on being a mother on the Mother's Day weekend of my 36th birthday. I know many women who have had similar musings. And some of them have gone on to have beautiful babies. And if my life changes in that way, I'll write about it from that perspective.

It's all a part of the traumatic tales we tell as women.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning to Deal With Stress

I realize I don't process stress very well.

I absorb it.

I read recently that fat protects your organs from toxins. The fat holds onto the toxins. Often as you release fat, you're also releasing toxins.

I have a lot of fat with which to absorb toxins.

But if I'm releasing fat--I'm also releasing toxins.

Yesterday, the combination of incoming stress and outgoing stress made me feel just horrible.

I had a massive headache. My guts felt disgusting. Everything just felt icky. As for eating, I didn't realize until 10pm that I really didn't eat a lot yesterday. I had a couple servings of rice and a green smoothie. But I wasn't hungry. Probably because I was around food all day. I made a big meal to refrigerate for work. I went grocery shopping, etc. I think I satisfied my hunger with my eyes.

I tried to release the stress through meditation. I went outside under a tree and meditated. I meditated inside. I spent much of the day trying to release stress. But I still felt crappy.

Finally, I went to the temple.

I almost didn't go. But I made a commitment to myself. I ironed my dress. I got in the car at 6--hoping to get there 45 minutes early.

I managed to take the world's slowest route to the temple.

I missed the 7pm session and ended up going on the 7:30pm session.

As I sat there, I felt myself lifted up. The ugly feelings left me. I felt the words resonate clearly, so clearly in my mind. I felt lightness flow through my body. I felt good energy flow through my organs. I pondered the things of the flesh. I pondered the sacredness of the physical. In the temple, a good deal of time is spent talking about the creation. I felt my faith in the sanctity of the flesh and of  creation grow. I felt God bless my new path of healthy living.

Letting go of the protective barrier of fat is difficult. Carrying around the protective layer has made it possible for me to face many stressful situations in the past. I have to learn how to deal with stress in a different way. I do not have the luxury of absorbing it. I have to figure out different tools for dealing with stress.  First, I'm going to allow myself to be bad at it. I'm going to patiently accept that I might have a day where I feel yucky and where I have a temper tantrum.

If I don't say the right things, if I lash out--I apologize right now. I'm learning.

It's going to be a journey, but I am so grateful for this new adventure!

(Lest this entry scare people into trying the latest detox diets--let me share what I've learned.)

To Detox:
1) Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
2) Drink plenty of water.
3) Oxygenate your body through exercise.

Monday, May 5, 2014

15 Years

It's been 15 years since I began my LDS mission.

I've been looking at some pictures. May is always gorgeous in Utah. Look at that snow-capped mountain!

Here I am with my mom, my brother Jack, and my brother Nick. I think Nick was about 6 at the time. He was in kindergarten. I know this because he had decided that he was going to shave his head like Michael Jordan for school that year.

This is one of the best pictures of my brother Jack.

Here's me with my step-dad Brent. Everyone else looks great. I'm apparently distracted by the sunlight or something like that. Look how red my hair is?? Good grief. I hate how red hair fades over time.

My mission lasted for 18 months. I served in Dallas, Texas and surrounding counties.

While I was there, we taught lots of people, served, visited, discussed, served, rode bikes, etc.

The Coley's are the first family I got to see baptized.

I still talk about them from time to time. I'm so amazed by their faith and their hope in the gospel. I am friends with Talia and Leandra on Facebook and it is so much fun to see how their family has grown over the years.

Last night, I went on a walk around my apartment complex. I didn't think about it being 15 years since my mission started until this morning--which only adds to the magic of this moment.  I ran into the sister missionaries on bikes. (I was on a bike the first 5 months of my mission.) We had a great talk at the picnic table next to the duck pond. As I talked to them, I remembered similar conversations that I had with the members of the LDS Church in Texas. I learned so much from the people of Texas. They say missions are about teaching, but they're really an amazing opportunity to go into homes and learn at the feet of amazing people--whether they're LDS or not. I shared some thoughts with these sisters that I hoped would help them on their missions and thought of the women who shared with me.

Today I'm grateful for the many people who took the time to teach me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to witness conversions throughout my 18 months. I'm grateful for my many companions.
I'm grateful for my mom and for my step-dad who paid almost $400 a month to support me while I was on my mission. I'm grateful for two great mission presidents, Pres. Hanks and Pres. Morgan, and especially for Sister Morgan, who taught all of us missionaries with power and testimony. 

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody! I love that the anniversary of the beginning of my mission is a big holiday!