Thursday, August 1, 2019

On Hope and Healing


You've seen my healthy selfies. My posts encouraging you to move more and to put healing foods in your body. I'm sure they can sometimes be annoying- blah, blah, blah Tara, shut the heck up already. But perhaps you don't know the reason for my relentless pursuit of health. It's to help me to live my best life in spite of having a chronic neurological illness and to empower you to take control of your health. 


The girl on the right in this picture was suffering. But I love this picture because 2010 was the year that my life changed. I’ve had trigeminal neuralgia for 18 years, but it’s only over the past 9 years that I figured out the importance of slowing down for complete self-care and opened myself up to holistic treatments. Once I had an open mind and became curious (instead of angry) about my illness, my health started to change. I went from someone who was bedridden, at the end of her rope, lost, sad. I just laid in bed and cried, but crying triggered pain. I also ate to soothe my pain gaining 40 pounds. Some days my husband and kids couldn’t touch me, I hurt that badly. I was desperate for hope. I went to a depressing support group and didn’t find a ton of hope or help online. All people did was talk about their suffering. I was on heavy meds and was about to go out of work on disability. The meds were making me lose my mind. I got lost driving home from work. I’d go to the grocery store and forget why I was there. I withdrew from family and friends. I wasn’t sure how I could go on. It was a dark and painful time. Out of desperation I went to an acupuncturist who also happened to be a holistic practitioner and health coach and slowly we started to change my lifestyle.

Of course I didn’t do this all at once, I tried one new thing at a time to see what worked for me and what didn’t. I lost the weight. I changed my job which was creating a tremendous amount of stress for me. I discovered how much fitness impacts my neuralgia in a positive way. I armed myself with some great practitioners. I have an excellent neurologist- I now take Maxalt as needed to control my neuralgia flare ups instead of the daily harsh meds in combination with the holistic practices below.
I have bad pain days, especially in the winter. But I went from taking anti-convulsant meds like candy to only needing them about once a month. I recently went 85 days without pain meds! For the most part I’m active and healthy and I’m living my best life in spite of my illness. It doesn’t control me, I am in control. I refuse to be a victim, I will be a victor!

I have a friend whose mother was recently diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and I wrote this to help her. No matter what chronic illness you're facing, many of the below actions might help you too. 

What helps me:
Prayer/faith- couldn’t get through this without it!

Exercise- daily movement is a natural mood enhancer and pain reliever. Even just walking daily and light stretching.

Managing stress- meditation, setting boundaries, counseling.

Acupuncture- allowed me to stop using the heavy daily meds like Neurontin that were ruining my life. I did acupuncture once a week until my nerves settled down, now I do it every other week. Here’s my testimonial: https://acupuncturecure.com/testimonials/

Nutrition- reducing inflammatory foods. Adding in anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. Removing gluten, dairy and soy is quite the commitment but has been a game changer. I could feel my nerves relax within 2 weeks of going gluten free. https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/no-grain-no-pain-the-book/

Finding a holistic practitioner- https://myfunctionalmedicinedoctor.org/ that can blend eastern and western medicine. I’d strongly recommend Micronutrient testing. Many nutrient deficiencies can mimic nerve pain. The supplements that have helped me the most are:

https://www.metagenics.com/ultrainflamx-plus-360- can only be prescribed by a practitioner.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076B6JTMW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1- - I take this twice a day with water and it’s really settled my nerves. You can find it on Amazon.


Massage- I was afraid to get massage but this year discovered that massage helps me greatly! Craniosacral therapy has given me incredible relief. I was going once a week and now go once a month. I wish I had discovered it sooner!

Journaling- I keep a daily pain journal, rank my pain from 0-10 in the morning and again at night and note any triggers or what made me feel better.

Knowing my triggers- Extreme cold and heat, humidity, noise, stress.

Having a good support system- My closest friends and family know what I’m going through. They know my triggers and my limits. They understand when I say no or have to reschedule. It took a while for me to be able to share with them because I didn’t want to be a whiner. But it’s been important to me and to our relationships.

Mindset- I have to choose to live in faith over fear. This illness can be depressing, exhausting and you can become paralyzed by fear. Many people with trigeminal neuralgia stop living their best life because they fear the uncertainty of when the next attack will come. So they just hunker down and don’t do anything. I surround myself with positive people, books and podcasts. I stay engaged in things that bring me joy. I practice gratitude daily, even on the days I have pain. I moved from a mindset of “why me God” to “what will you have me learn from this God.”

As I write this I'm extremely overwhelmed with gratitude of the angels who've been put in my path to help me heal and give me hope. I want you to see and believe that there is hope for you too. You might be in a really dark place right now and you have no idea how you're going to dig yourself out. Just the thought of doing something different is enough to make you want to quit before you start. Just do one thing. Just one. Once you master it, do one more. Soon you'll find that your life is changing. One change, one choice at a time. Things will get better. You can get better. 

Hugs and friendship,
Tara





Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Space and Grace

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by life? Like you're swimming in the ocean and the waves just keep crashing down on you and it's hard to find air?

I remember a time clearly when just returning a library book became an overwhelming task. It was in the early days of my neurological illness, before I got diagnosis and treatment. I was in bed daily, crying through the pain. Struggling to be a Mom to two young kids, a wife and work a full time job. A library book sat on my bedside table for months. I'd give it a glance every once in a while, knowing it was overdue. I could have easily asked my husband to return it for me. But I simply didn't have the mental wherewithal to make it happen.

Maybe you can relate. You're muddling through life right now and the smallest things can throw you into a tizzy. The dirty dishes or laundry piling up, unpaid bills, your kids homework. Let's not even talk about focusing on self care. And you can't remember when you took time for the f word, fun. There are some days when just taking a shower feels like an accomplishment. You do what it takes to survive the day at hand, roll into bed, and do it all over again.

I hear you friend. I was just venting to my hubs about my neck/disk injury. I've spent the past 18 months in a battle with myself. Don't tune me out, I know that you might be facing something way harder than a physical injury. But I think we can both agree on a few things:

1) It sucks when something or someone you love is taken away from you.
2) Change can be long and slow and painful and seemingly without reason.
3) The only road to found is lost.

OK, so I stole #3 from Toby Mac's new song Scars.
"Life ain't got no sequel.
We all broken people.
The only road to found is lost.
Oversimplifyin'.
Ain't no shame in trying.
Passion never counts the cost.

As I was having a little pity party for myself tonight, because I've had another painful physical setback, God threw that Toby Mac song my way. It's like He was in my head and in my heart. Because I wanted to stop trying.

For the past 18 months my goal has been to be patient, present, persistent and positive. To do this I've needed to rely on my faith, in God and in myself.

Being patient requires presence and trust. Those who know me know, I am not a patient person. I'm a doer and I'm always thinking ten steps ahead. I simply don't have time for patience. I had to learn to  slow down and focus on the day at hand and to trust God with the rest. This is a super difficult discipline because I'm also a control freak, ha! But I need to truly trust and believe that God has got me and my future in the palm of His hand and that His plan is good. 

Being persistent requires obedience. There are some days when I'm just too exhausted to do what I need to do to heal. Physical and emotional healing is hard work and it requires consistent behavior. Obedience is taking consistent action even when we don't feel like it. Obedience is trusting that God will show up when we just don't think we can take another step.

Being positive requires gratitude. I have a quote in my office "worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude." Gratitude can cast out fear and doubt. When we're grateful, there's no room in our hearts for anger, frustration or sadness. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's easy to put on your positive pants when you're in the thick of it. When I'm in one of my mental pity parties, I do a lot of different things to dig myself out. I open my bible/devotional. I pray. I breathe. I call a friend. I do DIY. I exercise. I listen to my favorite jams. I watch YouTube or Ted Talks. I read a personal development book. I write down 5 things I'm grateful for. I intentionally seek out joy. Every night when I lay down my head, no matter what kind of day I had, I thank God for the gift of another day.


I'm not saying that we shouldn't feel the pain. We should sit with it for a while. And that time period  is different for everyone. We need to allow ourselves the space and grace to get through it. I love the quote below "so far you've survived 100 percent of your worst days. You're doing great!"


Maybe that sounds trite, but it's true. Whatever sheer hell you're facing right now, you will get through it. Give yourself the space and time to heal. Be willing to be still. To listen for God's whisper in the midst of the chaos. He's loves you so much and He's trying to tell you something. What does He want you to do next?

And for the love of it all, please dear friend, give yourself some grace. However you get through this, it's the right way for you. Patience, presence, persistence and positivity don't require perfection. Change happens when you show up and do the work.

Don't ever give up on yourself and your dreams. No matter how many times we fall down, we get back up. We keep trying because "passion never counts the cost." 

Hugs and friendship,
Tara




Thursday, January 17, 2019

The F Word (Fear)

My saying in 2019 is "F the F Word", how about that?!? Well actually it's "I will rise", but lately I've been feeling feisty about the F Word (fear) so I thought I'd post about it.

Fear. It can be exhausting, exhilarating or both. It can push us toward our goals or away from them. It can spring us into action or stop us in our tracks. The kick in the pants? Our brain doesn't know the difference from perceived fear and actual fear. Perceived fear can send our brain into the same fight or flight path as an actual fear driven situation.

As I continue to heal this herniated disk in my neck, I've decided to become curious about pain and learn what I can do differently when I experience it. I just finished the book Why I Hurt by Adrain Louwe. In all my 19 years of having a neurological illness, it's the most game changing and easy to read neuroscience based book about pain I've ever read.

They say that knowledge is power. Knowledge is also freedom. Understanding how the brain responds to pain, or even the fear of pain is helping me to better manage both my injury and my illness.

As a person who is passionate about wellness, it got me thinking about the role fear plays in our weight loss journeys. It's why for several years I got in my own way while trying to lose weight for the gazillionth time.

Change is downright uncomfortable. I prefer to hum along in my nice and cozy comfort zone. What makes me really uncomfortable is unpredictability. That's why it was easier to stay 40 pounds overweight than it was to lose the weight. I knew how to be tired. How to be sad. I knew what it felt like to have no energy. To box myself in. To avoid the hard. To limit myself. And I sat in those feelings like toddler running around in a dirty diaper, uncomfortable yet not quite ready to be changed.

I feared what my new life would look and feel like and what I'd look and feel like (but it feels oh so much better than I ever imagined). I feared losing friends and gaining friends (and both happened). I feared people would judge my efforts or give their two cents along my journey (and they sure did). I feared that I wasn't disciplined enough (turns out it's not so much about discipline as it is consistency). I feared I'd mess up (and of course I did). I feared that I'd lose the weight and gain it back (#reallifehappenssometimes).

These fears are real, but they don't have to stop us from reaching our goals.


The thing about fear is that it's all about perception. If you asked me to hold a snake I'd be terrified (not sure I'd do it by the way) but many reptile lovers do it every day. The snake is scary depending on how we view it. It's the same with weight loss.

We must change our mindset in order to reach our goals. Because if we are afraid, the brain starts sending out S.O.S. signals and we are unintentionally blocking our own process. Our brain goes into self protection mode and will send us back to our old habits because they feel better. The cool thing is that the choice is ours. We get to choose how we see the journey and how we view ourselves along the way. We hold the power.

Once I started viewing my pain in a different way, moving my mindset from victim to victor, I was filled with a sense of peace.

I've been working with an awesome PT to help me to push past my fear of pain. Until I'm willing to push through past it, I won't be able to move forward. I'm realizing that I'm fearing a perceived fear. I'm fearing the "what if" and that's super unproductive (but a natural reaction).

That's why it's important to focus on the day at hand. Not what you looked or felt like in the past. Not how far you've fallen. Nor how far you have to go. Just today. Just the next meal or movement. One healthy choice at a time. Instead of fearing the future we can embrace the unknown.

I am working on saying "God, I'm open to what you put in my path today." Keeping my mind and heart open to change. Replacing the "F word", from "fear" to "faith". Faith in myself. Faith that change is possible. I also want to be grateful for my current circumstance, no matter what phase of life I'm in. Gratitude also brings about peace and reminds me that my life is abundant.

The choice is yours. Make a choice. Commit to the choice. Continue with courage.
Hugs & friendship,
Tara

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Settle for More

In what area of your life right now are you settling? Your wellness/fitness? Your job? A dream you want to pursue? Your marriage? Your finances? Your friendships? Your education?
The next question is...why?
There are plenty of reasons as to why we settle. Because change is so damned hard. Because fear of the unknown is paralyzing. Because addressing the issue at hand might just turn your entire life upside down.

A few weeks ago I had an aha moment during an appointment with my spine doctor. He's been treating me for a herniated disc in my neck which is triggering my trigeminal neuralgia and has turned my life inside out. I did (yet another) neck pain analysis and we determined that my pain at that time was a 2 (much better than the 10+) and he seemed tickled. He leaned back in his chair almost like he was going to clap his hands together like it was a done deal, I was healed. Now I do really like my doctor and he has a great reputation and his job is pain management and in that aspect, I suppose he succeeded. But I was thinking "WTF!!! The only reason my pain is low is because I'm not doing anything...for the love of Pete!" <insert lots of cursing here>

I didn't truly embrace a wellness lifestyle (nutrition, movement, self care, prayer, meditation, sleep, positivity, stress management) until I was 40 and it was only 3 years ago (at 43) that I discovered how much I love being fit and active. I have waited most of my life to get to this place. A place in which I feel delighted with every aspect of my life- mind, body, spirit. A place in which I feel whole. Where I live my life around being active and enjoying that time with my family. Here is my doc asking me "Is level 2 pain manageable for you"? Ah, n-o. And so I made this collage of the active life I have built for myself and my family. A lifestyle I've used to help others embrace fitness and wellness and I took it to my next appointment. Because it's taken me all these years to see that I was settling and was living a shell of myself, minimizing my potential because I didn't think that I deserved more or could even do or be more. I made myself small and I boxed myself in due to the limits that I put on myself. 


For so many years, I didn't think that I was good enough. In some ways I thought that I had to earn my way to being more. Through people pleasing, rule following, perfectionism. And so I just survived, went through the motions and accepted less. Less in my relationships. Less in my finances. Less in my job. Less in my wellness. It's crazy the limiting beliefs that we put on ourselves but I can say that if you look at my childhood and the trauma I went through, my adulthood makes sense. I have created a zone of safety for myself. Because I fear judgment. I fear rejection. I fear failure.

In 2012 my family and I went to Guatemala on a mission trip. It was a risk for me because of my trigeminal neuralgia. The climate, construction noise, food, uncertainty, all potential pain triggers. But it turned out to be an incredible life-changing experience and I promised God that whatever He led me to, I would say yes. That was a grand promise while I was in Guatemala, but when I got home, it was a little tougher to put into practice. It took faith, trust and a belief that something/someone greater than me is guiding my life. But I've done it. I've said yes over and over again. Risking failure, risking feedback (man oh man, perfectionists hate feedback). And every yes has led me to where I am today. Becoming a Weight Watchers leader. Starting a wellness related small group in my church. Opening myself to new friendships. Organizing Saturday morning fitness classes at my church. Becoming a Beachbody coach. Becoming a fitness instructor. Expanding my reach on social media. Being willing to put myself out there for people to judge me. I've shared my story of being sexually abused and my recovery. Starting my Color Street business. Taking on a new role at work. I have listened and I have tried to go wherever God wants to take me. I want to be obedient, even when I'm afraid. I want to continue to live my best life. By continuing to say yes even when I'm terrified. By being open to new experiences that feel paralyzing. By pushing past the fear to reach for more.

And so I ask you again "In what area of your life right now are you settling and why? What changes do you need to make to settle for more?"

You are worth the work. You are worth the discipline. You are worth the minor or major life alternations.
Because guess what? You are already more. But we can always get a little bit better. One decision, one action, one change at a time. Believe it and keep moving forward.

Xoxoxo,
Tara





Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It's OK To Not Be OK

There are moments, seasons, phases of life when it's OK to not be OK. Contrary to many of the pretty, shiny and often fake social media posts...there are times when you just might not have your shit together- and that's OK.

This past weekend, I met up with one of my besties for lunch. She asked me a simple question "but really, how are you doing?" I knew what she was asking, she knew that I wasn't doing that fab and she was giving me the opportunity to talk about it. And so I replied "meh" and then I rambled on a bit and got totally off topic to what I really wanted to talk about. Not because I don't trust my bestie to share my heart (bestie if you're reading this, I love you), but because I wasn't ready to say out loud what I've been feeling for a few months now- I'm not OK.

Last night at my REFIT class during our post-workout discussion, I got a little emotional. I couldn't get out of class soon enough (REFIT ladies if you're reading this, I love you) because I knew that an ugly cry was about to commence. When I got home, I said to my husband "we need to talk" and so it all came out along with some tears. An aside, my husband has been my best friend since I was 17 and knows me like no other. He is a patient listener and in general a saint for putting up with me. Husband, if you're reading this, I love you.

I started in with "I'm not sure I'm OK"...

Have you ever gone through a time in your life when things seem a bit off? That's where I'm at. Not necessarily depressed or anxious (I've been down that road before), but lost and restless. As I've blogged about before, it's been a year of change and while I don't think this is a mid-life crisis (gasp I am at mid-life), I've lost my way a bit. I've lost my focus and dare I type this, my purpose. Not my purpose for life so don't get all freaked out and worried about me if you're reading this but that statement will hopefully make more sense as I go on.

As my "kids" are now 25 and 19, I'm not really needed much in the parenting department anymore. Well, I'm needed, but not in that day to day grind. So last summer to fill that void I became a certified fitness instructor. It was great to learn something new and to challenge myself. It kept me mentally and physically busy. I launched a class at my church and things were humming along. And then, injury. Little did I know it (it took almost 8 months to get the proper diagnosis) but I have a herniated disc in my neck. And while I don't want to ramble on and on about it, the disc is sitting very close to my trigeminal nerve and it has flared up my trigeminal neuralgia (think child birth lightening bolt pains in the head) something fierce. So I had to stop leading class and my mobility is limited. As I was hashing this out with my husband last night, I came to the conclusion that 2 of the main things I use as coping mechanisms for my illness I cannot do because of my herniated disc. I can't exercise much (not what I usually do to heal and relieve stress) and I can't do DIY/art work which also keeps me occupied and content. Many times my neurologist has recommended counseling to deal with my illness, because it can be a real pisser. Until now I have found other positive ways to deal with it. And God has blessed me with some serious mental fortitude. But this herniated disc has emphasized just how much my illness takes from me (and my family and friends), so I'm considering the counseling.

I could blog (and I have before) about focusing on the things I can do, as I firmly believe in the power of taking control of your thoughts and actions. I could talk about how my life is truly abundant, and it is, and about how I should be grateful. But what I really want to write about is that feeling of not being OK. I don't like it. Feeling "meh" or "blah", that sense of complacency. Because I am a go getter. I like to be driving toward a goal. I'm extremely impatient. I don't do well with stillness. I'm not a dweller. Yet here I am like a toddler in a dirty diaper, sitting in it. And it's downright uncomfortable. I do believe that for a moment, a season, a phase of life, it's OK to sit in it. Sometimes it's necessary. To acknowledge, to feel, to accept that our feelings are true. That what we feel is real. To cry, lament, scream, beat our chest. Yes, life could be worse and yes, life could be better but this is how life is feeling in this moment, Fortunately I know it won't be forever.

You may be sitting in it right now. A marriage on the rocks. An issue with your child. Job loss. Death. Addiction. Illness. Injury. Change. A life transition. And it sucks. And some well meaning people are going to give you all kinds of platitudes. But sometimes we want to hear that it's OK to not be OK. In this moment, in this season, in this phase of life, it's not OK, but it will be.

I've had this song in my head all day- Exhale by Plumb.

It's okay to not be okay.
This is a safe place.
This is a safe place.
Don't be afraid.
Don't be ashamed.
There's still hope here.
There's still hope here.

No matter what you've done or who you are.
Everyone is welcome His arms.

Just let go let His love wrap around you.
And hold you close.
Get lost in the surrender.
Breathe it in until your heart breaks.
Then exhale.
Exhale.

Breathe it in and exhale my friend. No matter what you're facing, let God's love wrap around your heart. As I type this I'm exhaling because I know that God's got me. It fills me with a sense of peace. He has lead me to this very place. As uncomfortable and lost as I feel, I know that this time in my life is for my good, my growth and His glory. And so I welcome it, gratefully broken.

Hugs and friendship,
Tara

PS- If it's been a good while and you're still not OK, it may be time to get some help. Seek wise counsel, from a friend, a family member or professional. You are not alone and you don't have to go through it alone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Changing my Weigh

A little over 2 months ago, I was tossing around the decision to try Beachbody's new nutrition program the 2B Mindset. My biggest challenges to overcome were:

Facing the scale on a regular basis
Veggies Most
Believing that I could lose weight without exercise

As I was seeing some awesomesauce results coming in from my Beachbody friends, I cast my doubts aside and decided to give it a whirl.

After month 1, I wrote this post about my love/hate/hate/hate/hate (did I mention hate) relationship with the scale and how my mindset was starting to shift.

http://chewingthefatonskinny.blogspot.com/2018/05/lost-my-weigh_10.html

As I just closed out month 2, I thought I'd share my continuing shift in mindset.

Facing the scale on a regular basis
It seems like a bit of an oxymoron, but facing the scale on a more frequent basis has released me from the bondage I've felt to the scale my entire life. Fear of the scale was literally weighing me down. My weekly weigh ins used to cause anxiety and stress. What the scale showed could ruin my entire day. Blah! Life is stressful enough, know what I mean? One of the premises of the 2B Mindset is to weigh in every day. The reason behind this is to simply view the scale as a tool to help you to assess your journey and recalibrate your choices as needed. I was super duper afraid of this premise because as a recovering perfectionist, this could seriously mess with my mind. I was fearful that I could become obsessed with it. But as it turns out, the more frequently I weigh in, the less afraid I am. And let me emphasize, this is not because I'm having rockstar weight loss weeks every single week- I'm certainly not. I have fluctuated between the same 2 numbers, I have lost and I have gained. I am not weighing daily but I am weighing in 3 times a week. Monday so I can see how I did over the weekend and I can break the mindset of "eating whatever I want" on the weekend and "getting back on track" during the week. Wednesday as a mid week check in. Friday as a reminder to not go ape shit crazy with my eating over the weekend. This pattern is working for me. It may not work for you. Maybe every day works for you. Maybe once a week works for you. But here's the deal and my biggest revelation- the scale doesn't lie. Of course our bodies will fluctuate due to hormones, water weight, strength training and so forth. But all in all, the scale is a tool that reflects our efforts- the good, the bad and the ugly and I'm OK with that. I know full well that when I weigh in and have a gain, that I will look at my tracker and see that I've been making crappy choices.

Veggies Most
Due to my absolute hatred of veggies, I should probably dedicate a whole post to this topic. But let me break it down for you. If I can try and eat new veggies, anyone can. Before the 2B Mindset my veggies were starches- peas, corn, potatoes (and oh I did like green beans). I set a goal to try 2 new veggies a week. I must admit I got "all veggied out" by the end of month 1, but I did it. And lo and behold I found a few new veggies that I like. Roasted/grilled peppers, onions, carrots. Sautéed snow and snap peas. And the biggest shocker, cauliflower rice. As a matter of fact I've got Asian chicken in the crockpot and I'm serving it over cauliflower rice tonight for dinner. My biggest veggie issue is texture. So I keep trying different ways to cut and cook veggies and I'm hiding more and more veggies in my recipes like spinach in my lasagna rolls and cauliflower rice in my stuffed pepper skillet instead of brown rice. My 2nd biggest veggie issue is appearance. Broccoli is a no go as it looks like little trees. Snap peas look like caterpillar cocoons (I got over this one). Zoodles look like worms and I've tried zucchini every which way but it's still a no go. I know, I need counseling. The bottom line is that I did find some go to veggies, I'll continue to try more and my health is all the better for it. Coming from the woman who is a veggie detective and used to pick them out of everything, including getting the chunks of tomatoes out of chili- change is possible. Full disclosure, I am still not eating veggies most, but I am eating veggies more. Progress, not perfection.

Believing that I could lose weight without exercise
Once again, I need to write an entire post on this. I have used exercise to compensate for "treats" my entire adult life. If I had a donut, I'd do a Core de Force kickboxing workout and burn off the 500 calories. The 2B Mindset promised weight loss without exercise. It was challenging to wrap my mind around this yet I know for sure this is possible and true. Abs start in the kitchen. I know that nutrition is everything and exercise is a bonus. Yet I have fought against this because...well...I love sweets...and food...and to eat...Yet as I went into month 1 of the 2B Mindset, I also had a herniated disc in my neck and I could not exercise. In the past I would have just waited until I could exercise to start a new program. But I went for it and guess what? You can lose weight without exercise. I'll be darned, the scale went down!


So that's my report at the end of month 2. The knowledge I've gained about nutrition on this program is more than I learned in my 20 years of being a Weight Watcher (disclaimer I still love Weight Watchers, it works). The 2B Mindset has truly shifted the way I eat and how I view food. It's a comfort to know that I'm not "on a diet" I am just living my best life. I am choosing foods that will fuel my body and leave me feeling satisfied. I have dropped the "woes me I can't have this" deprivation mindset. I am having treats. Food freedom means being able to find a way to eat better for the rest of my life and treating my body with respect and care, while enjoying myself along the way.

Hugs and friendship,
Tara

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lost my Weigh

I started my love/hate relationship with the scale way, WAY back in the day. In elementary school I was aware that I was chunky, and by the time I hit middle school, I was already body conscious. I was a part of a baton twirling corps and it was basically my life. My husband is probably laughing as I read this but I had mad baton twirling skills and I had found my tribe. To be a part of the senior baton corps, there was a weight requirement. Gasp! Can you imagine if an organization did that now? The parental outrage. The thing is, it was just one weight requirement, they didn't base it on your height or body make up. On top of that, even though I am only 5'3", it was an unhealthy and unrealistic weight for me, about 15 pounds lower than what my body was meant to be. But of course, I was determined to be a part of the senior corps, so I lost the weight. I was only 13 and had no clue about fitness or healthy eating. So I drastically cut calories and did heavy cardio and the pounds came off. So began my obsession with the scale.

As an adult, I've lost 40 pounds twice, once through Weight Watchers in 1996 and again through Weight Watchers in 2011. In that 15 year span of gaining control of my wellness, I had a major fear of the scale. My Saturday morning weigh ins were angst provoking. I would fret all the way to my weigh in. Sometimes I wouldn't sleep the night before. If I lost weight (or maintained once I got to the maintenance phase), life was good. If I gained weight, even a quarter or a half of a pound, I would mope about it all day. Argh! It's kind of embarrassing to share this, but I share this knowing that many women (and men) have this kind of relationship with the scale.

Fast forward to 2016, in 2016 I started Beachbody and started a new relationship with the scale. Beachbody combines healthy eating, exercise, a positive mindset and group support. My thoughts about the scale started to shift. Because there is a strength training component to many of their programs, I was building lean muscle which meant that sometimes the scale wasn't giving a complete picture of my progress. I could be losing inches yet the scale wasn't moving. I began to focus more on how I felt and how my clothing fit. I weighed in after every program (basically every 21-30 days) and let me tell you, it was freeing to let go of the vice grip hold I had on the scale that was unhealthily linked to my self-perception. "I am more than a number" was my motto. In my mid-40's, I was healthier than I've ever been. Last summer I was able to rock a Mother of the Bride dress that I never dreamed possible.


 <Insert real life here>. Sometimes life comes at you hard. Late summer and fall of 2017 into the winter of 2018 has been a season of change. My daughter and her husband moved to the Middle Easter for work. My son went 5 hours away to his first year of college. I wasn't as prepared for the empty nest as I imagined I was. Change. I found out my job role was coming to an end. Fortunately I was able to continue to work for my company, but it was touch and go there for a while. I ended up in a brand new role, with a new boss and a new work team and getting there took some hustle. Change. My son had a rough start in his first semester and it was super stressful for my husband and me. Change. I injured my shoulder and it triggered my neurological illness so badly that 7 months later I'm still dealing with it. Change, like seriously, who needs it?!?

A month ago, I heard about this new Beachbody program called the 2B Mindset. It's a program that focuses solely on nutrition. I started to think, maybe this is perfect timing since I can't move my body much right now. I hesitated. Did I really have the mental capacity to start something new? I decided that sometimes what seems like the worst time to start something turns out to be the best time. I began the program on Monday and faced the scale for the first time in 10 months. Yep, you read right, 10 months. Ugh! I not only let go of the scale, I forgot all about it as it sadly gathered dust in the closet. To prep for the program, I weight, measured and took before pics (double ugh)!


My weight is up, my measurements are up and it's time to get my butt back into gear. I've got to say that I am loving this program so far, but there is one scary part that I am not quite ready for. Accepting that the scale is a tool and using it daily (yes daily) in combination with a food journal to analyze what went well, what did not and to recalibrate. I understand the principle, but I've worked so hard to not become so reliant on the scale that this is almost a turnoff to the program. I fear it could lead to obsessive behavior. The creator of the program suggests that in place of a daily weigh in (baby steps), you weigh in on Mondays to see how you did over the weekend and Fridays to see how you did during the week. And that's my plan.

Let's face it the scale IS a metric that I need to maintain a healthy weight and to check in. I kind of went too far when I neglected the scale. I'm above my comfortable weight range and without starting this program I may have continued to gain weight. Those pounds are sneaky, they come on a little bit at a time until OMG, I can't fit into my pants anymore.

So that's where I'm at. I am letting go of my fear of the scale and reminding myself that it's just a tool to get me to my goal. It doesn't define me, but it can help to refine me. I'll keep ya posted on my progress, here we go!

Make the choice. Commit to the choice. Continue with courage.
Hugs & friendship,
Tara