Nutrition Humor – “Diet” Woes

Deprivation is NEVER a good tactic when it comes to weight loss or maintenance.  It’s tough because sometimes we really want to stick to “clean eating” but we don’t realize that we aren’t having enough food.  Too little = bad news!

Adding in “volume” foods can REALLY make a difference – an extra serving of steamed or grilled veggies (seasonings can really jazz these up), a helping of fresh fruit, an extra serving of protein as a snack in between meals, maybe a dash of good fats in there…those things will really help you to stave off the “let me eat my whole kitchen!” later in the day.

NO ONE can eat a tiny amount and not have their body, later on, say “uh…excuse me?  I need some fuel to function properly…?”

Having TOO LITTLE is a quick way to derail your plan, and it will set you up for failure.  So make sure you add in a healthy snack or two, or double up on the protein and water-and-fiber-based foods that can help keep you fuller longer.

We’ve all been snookered by a massive wave of hunger when we try limiting our intake.  Not only does restriction SLOW your metabolism, but your body is designed needs the proper fuel (and enough of it!) to function properly.

Article Share – How a Healthy-Food Obsession Can Eventually Turn Into an Eating Disorder by YourTango

This article came my way recently, via a general feed of Bloglovin’ posts – it of course caught my attention, as I myself battled eating disorders, once upon a time. 

“How a Healthy-Food Obsession Can Eventually Turn Into an Eating Disorder” by YourTango discusses how endeavoring to be a healthy person – a noble, and in fact common pursuit – led to an incredibly unhealthy way of life. It happens far more often than I’d say the broader public knows…or openly talks about.

Despite having a different catalyst, I know that scenario all too well.  There’s a massive control component to such an illness, not unlike any other addictive disorder.  As I’ve maintained, and always will, the only thing that separated me from an alcoholic or drug addict, was simply the poison with which I chose to destroy myself.  None of us are better, none of us worse…but all of us need(ed) help to see that we do / did not have the control we believe(d).

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The reality of our situation at that time is one we will find a million ways to justify.  We ignore the signs glaring us in the face, we allow our vision to be clouded by the perceptions we want to have (“I have control of this”…sound familiar?), and we try rather desperately to convince ourselves of truths we know – deep down – to be false. 

It’s terrifying…and it can be our end if we allow to be.

Even more frightening is that while human beings have always been a visual species (eg: I see a massive, tusked animal charging at me, I need to run for safety) there has never been MORE pressure than the present.  And I mean that in an unfortunately negative way.  

Social Media has brought with it several new layers of “I have to be perfect”...or at least present myself that way.  Some people bravely portray the “real” stuff…the nitty, gritty imperfections of life, of our bodies, etc.  But the overwhelming bulk of it is a filtered, seemingly flawless facade, leaving not only the more vulnerable of the crowd questioning themselves and how they appear…but even the stronger and more secure individuals.  Even when a post is meant to be happy, supportive, motivational…there are bruises, bumps, and failures beneath the surface.  Ones we may never see.

When I saw the quotation above about loving your size I thought “that’s a huge part of it…”  If you don’t love yourself the way you are, you aren’t necessarily going to love yourself MORE when you eat less, get high, get drunk, get more money, get a new job ect. . .  

Sometimes you actually feel worse, leading to more abusing of the self.  In my own case, and many I know, there are layers of insecurities, breakdowns in self confidence, frustrations with things we are not capable of controlling.  Any number of internal battles could lead to seeking external sources capable of dulling the pain, and allowing us to avoid facing ourselves fully.  But, at the end of the day, being plagued with a deep-rooted turmoil is often a common thread.  

Sometimes those struggles last after the worst of the storm has past.  It never is about being recovered so much as we are all still IN recovery.  We still have to take each day one at a time, and be open to where we need some work and help.  We have to increase our awareness so we know when we stumble. . .  And we need to seek a courageous path so we can take ALL the steps we need to get better.

Yes, we SHOULD love ourselves. But we don’t’ have to beat ourselves up if we don’t every second of the day – self-love is hammered home so much that this message gets lost a lot of the time.  Beating yourself up for being hard on yourself is adding more judgment and hurt on top of what you already have. You’re human.  Trying to will reality away, or pretending, isn’t the answer. It’s about learning to observe and be more gentle with ourselves – re-wiring a habit takes time and overnight expectations will derail someone very quickly.

In order for real and lasting change we must recognize that we are out of control.  Of our thoughts, in this case, in particular – thoughts lead to actions, right?  When we observe negative thought patterns, and allow ourselves to see without judgment…we are on the way to healing.  I personally work on this daily – and sometimes it feels like a massive struggle. I’ll hear myself say something, or catch a negative thought… Rather than try to squash it, I notice it, I hear it, I feel it, and then I either reframe it, or replace it with something positive. It hasn’t necessarily stopped the pattern fully, but it’s a step in the right direction. Another saving grace for me is having a husband who is good about pointing out when I’m putting myself down – I need that reminder. I need to be called on the behavior. Even if I don’t believe the jab I’ve aimed at myself…I spoke it.  And the Universe hears EVERYTHING.

We also need to accept and allow that help is OKAY.  Uncovering the true reasons as to why we are “self medicating,” seeking a “better looking / skinner” version of ourselves, spewing negative things to ourselves about ourselves…is necessary for growth and “re-wiring.”  Having a professional to guide us through that process of discovery is a massive help – there are countless variations and modalities available, ensuring that no matter what works best for you, you are sure to find something.  

Getting back to the specifics of the quotation above… Health is important, and looking great helps us feel more confident – it’s both mind and body at work, and really can’t be contested.  Having the goal to lose weight, for example, and with it gain more energy, better health, more confidence…that’s GREAT.  It’s a wonderful goal, and no one should feel badly about it. What one must understand, however, is that no one thing is responsible for our happiness.  No ONE thing is the magic ingredient that “if I just had it, life would be perfect.”  That doesn’t exist. 

We are ALL flawed.  But that’s okay.  You are also incredibly beautiful, inside and out, with amazing things to offer both yourself and fellow human beings.  Getting to a place of MORE self-love and appreciation is at the root of true happiness. . .it is not about whether you fit into your clothing with with less “snug.”

Having been through my own issues with dying-of-starvation and malnutrition – a very slow and painful death at that – the quote really hit home.  I was on the opposite side of it, at a meager 90-something pounds. . .and it was horrifying.  While I have many areas in which to continue my learning and growth, I know that I have come leagues from that dark, dark place.  

I know that there are days when I do not appear – to MYSELF (and I’m pretty sure ONLY myself!) – as “in shape” as I want to be.  But in my recovery I’ve learned that fluctuation is normal, and healthy…and that beauty isn’t relegated to those “last few pounds,” or being more “defined.” 

It’s OKAY to be human, which means it’s ALSO okay to be imperfect.  In that imperfection lies a good deal of your beauty.  Remind yourself of that…and remind yourself OFTEN.

 

Freedom To Make Healthy Choices

My hunnie and I went out the other day for lunch, which is something at one time in my Life I could not do.  As a result of PTSD I developed two severe eating disorders about a decade ago – anorexia and exercise bulimia.  The prospect of eating away from home was not only daunting, it was debilitating – it would trigger panic attacks, tears, and crippling anxiety.  

Fast forward ten years, through treatment, learning, growing…and the will to survive…I am able to be “human” again. I am incredibly specific about what I eat – in part it is just the nutrition I choose to have as part of my Lifestyle.  And in part it is due to allergies…so I feel less badly about that part! *LOL*  But I am not bound to fear in such a way that I can’t go out for coffee, or dinner, or take a road trip.  The ability to do those things is a HUGE deal when you know what it’s like to be beholden to disease.  At that time, it was seemingly impossible.

When I go out, I will always ask for what I want – I’m not embarrassed to do that anymore either, nor to eat with another person around.  And honestly, as I have mentioned in other posts, I am always met with the sincere desire to give me what I want.  Not every restaurant will have something simple, but it doesn’t hurt to ask…and no one is offended if you do!

We went to a casual restaurant, known for its shellfish and seafood – yay for me! 🙂  But I was in the mood for some dimple protein and, fortunately, they had exactly what I was hoping for!

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What I really loved about what they brought me was the portion – oftentimes I notice places either go way too heavy-handed, or on the skimpy side…the latter situation being the one I’m less fond of (who isn’t!?) But I do prefer that they go easy, so that I am not encouraged to stuff myself beyond what I really need at that time – overeating is really easy to do because you are paying for that food…and there it is, right?!

Right!  

So I LOVED that they portioned the food so well – it wasn’t too much, and it wasn’t too little.  I really enjoyed it, and felt great about the choices. It’s a gift to be free of the anxieties that can plague someone struggling with body dysmorphia or EDs – it isn’t easy to fully understand without having been there, but so many illnesses are similar in the addictive behaviors they are rooted in.  Breaking that cycle and finding a way to honor and respect yourself and your experiences is so important.  Giving yourself the gift of freedom is like giving yourself a new Life – you can take baby steps if you need to, but don’t be afraid to ask for what makes you comfortable, or stays in tune with your goals – you ARE allowed.

Making The Cut

This skin-baring Spring / Summer 2015 Trend – Cut-Outs – does account for the climbing thermometer, but I’m not sure it is all together the most wearable trend.  

In small peeps, and demure doses...of which you can see the likes in Style.com’s Gallery…you can absolutely get away with it.

A judiciously-placed geometric cut-out, a well-designed array of straps…a tailored crop hem, or petitely-punched pop-outs could work really well…but a light touch is really all you need.  

Runways are notorious for pushing the envelope just a hair too far…which is okay when pop stars and uber-celebs need something for an awards show! – it is, after all, survival of the fittest / sassiest / most ostentatious-OR-show-stopping (in which case ostentation is kind of a no-brainer!)  

So, sure, paired with an elaborate, pointed gel mani and bold baubles, I think this all would work nicely…

I am, incidentally, having flashbacks to some of my International Latin Ballroom competition costumes -swaovskis in spades, and cut-outs like fabric was “so not ‘in’.”

But for the rest of us mortals...(and, dancers,  for non-competition days), the trend is best toned-down.  It isn’t as friendly for less-than-tiny frames either – I’m not sure if any of you saw the Seinfeld’s HILARIOUS piece on Elaine buying a dress at Barney’s only to discover that the mirrors MUST have been “slimming”?  

I think at one point she said she looked like a sausage in a casing – I nearly split my sides.  She didn’t, honestly – she’s rather slight!  But the point is that sometimes these snazzy patterns don’t translate as well when you have any substance to you.

Trust me, no judgements here – I am a mesomorphic body type with some endo tendencies, who has been through eating disorders….so I’ve been UBER tiny (not good), and more womanly and athletic…  Cut-outs have to be REALLY strategically placed on me…so I DON’T look like a walking sausage!  *LOL*

So the trend is an interesting one… I loved the summery halter up top, for one.  There ARE ways to do this, and if you are comfortable, who really cares!  

But I know I am sometimes a bit self-conscious with cut-outs.  In my Latin competitions, my extra coats of self tanner were ALSO strategically placed. 😉  

My Ninjas and My Samurai…

So I was going through a LOT last year.  A. LOT.  It tore me apart and broke me down and I was, frankly, a total mess.  Couldn’t leave my apartment without having a total, bawling-mess meltdown!  In somewhat a desperation, I went to visit a dear friend of mine – truly, like a sister – who I hadn’t seen in FAR, FAR too long.  Her home was, and always will be, a home-away-from-home…something I’ve never found elsewhere in my Life.  I get there and it is instantaneous PEACE.

Many years ago I was suffering through something almost as painful – a situation that resulted in two eating disorders and severe PTSD – ugly, painful, TERRIFYING…nearly lethal.  Fortunately, through some serious determination, discipline, support around me, and a silver “brass knuckle” that I wore around my neck every day…I fought through it, and came out stronger and healthy. ❤

But I am still firm in that the two cats I adopted were my truest Life-savers…because there was nothing easy about it, and they gave me one more reason to Live and love.  They weren’t “typical” in ANY way, and definitely not for the faint of heart – they were melanistic F1 Chausies…and the most beautiful animals in the World to me (saying a lot because I am a HUGGGE animal lover.) ❤  They also happened to be NINJAS on the HIGHEST level…not just in spying, but doing “ninja things!”  I’d catch glowing eyes in the dark often! 😀

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They grew up with me as “mom”…and it was a love story from day one.  

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But then my Fashion career picked up, and Life got crazier and crazier… Trips to China were longer and more frequent…and my “babies” just weren’t doing well…at ALL.  Deciding to find them a new and permanent home…at 5 years old…was EXTREMELY painful…but I couldn’t bear to leave them for those trips – no one could replace me while I was away on business, and I knew I had to do the best thing…for THEM. Loving an animal is the most extreme exercise in selflessness.

Between searching, and interviewing, and corresponding, and MORE researching…I was beside myself.  I prayed every Night to find them a good and loving home.  I didn’t want money.  I didn’t want ANYTHING.  I wanted them safe and happy.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy…for any of us.

By some great fortune, for which I am still so utterly grateful (there are NO words!), a woman named Michelle caught wind of my scenario.  I was adamant that the new owners had NO pets and NO children.  She sent me an e-mail to say she DID have many pets…  In fact…MANY.  But she took the time to write one of the most loving and thorough and THOUGHTFUL e-mails I have ever gotten. ❤  This was about 4 years ago and I am getting goosebumps as I write this now.  The moment I read her first e-mail, I knew.  I connected with her all that time ago and have loved her, and her husband, and her “family” of animals since.

Michelle manages her farm, teaches Natural Horesmanship, and runs a formal non-profit Cat SanctuaryAvalo Cat Sanctuary – in Wagener, South Carolina.  https://www.facebook.com/AvaloCatSanctuary http://www.avalocatsanctuary.com.  She has about 100 cats, a dozen or so horses, chickens, hens, and about four German Shepards.  The woman is AMAZING.

So she made a beautiful enclosure – indoor and outdoor – for my babies…and they have lived their since.  My male passed away in September of last year – we were both devastated – but my female is there, and as gorgeous as ever.  Going down there gave me time with her, and time to try to pull myself together.

In the meantime…a beautiful black male was rescued – he was as sweet as could be but…as a melanistic feline, everyone assumed he was “bad luck.”  Fortunately a friend of Michelle’s kept him safe!  He was adopted…and then returned…because he was melanistic (can you even IMAGINE?!)  

MY fortune, because Michelle said…amid my tears…“why don’t you get a KITTEN!?!”  I hadn’t even PONDERED it because I was such a wreck over rehoming my babies year before… But I thought about it… And I decided it was a GREAT IDEA.  

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I went home, bought some supplies and was ready to bring home a new baby boy.  In the meantime, a SECOND melanistic domestic male was rescued!  He and the one I was bringing home got along FAMOUSLY.  It was FATE!

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A few short weeks later, I came home with two baby boys – six and seven months old.  I’m not entirely sure what I would do without them – they make me giggle, and bring such joy to my home.  They are the sweetest, most wonderful boys…and they also happen to LOVE Martial Arts.  Musashi (my Samurai) likes to Aikido roll over all the toys, his brother, and even the laser dot.  And Keku (my Ninja) is as sweet as can be, and SUPER stealthy with food.

I feel so blessed.  I would never be where I am had I not brought them home.  Animals are such amazing treasures and I cannot imagine Life without them – everything seems so much brighter when they are around.  EVEN when causing trouble!