Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My weight doesn't equal my worth.

Do you ever wonder if people you see online and in magazines really eat the way they say?  And exercise as much as it appears?  I do.  I don't mean for that to come across as negative.  I just wonder sometimes, what are real life gals like me doing to stay healthy? 

I've written about my health and eating habits on the blog a lot.  I'm not intending to be a broken record I can assure you.  It's just one of the topics I get asked about the most.  I can't count the number of times someone in real life has quietly mentioned something to me about that "post about food."  So this food topic, it matters.  And as long as we're living and breathing on this earth, it's going to continue to matter and I suppose I'll continue to write about it.  
If you go back and read over my food posts they're pretty positive for the most part.  They detail the healthy ways I've learned to eat and the realization that in order to be healthy you really do have to exercise.  It took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure that one out.  Healthy people don't have a magic trick up their sleeve.  They work really, really hard.  And then I've also realized there are a small number of gals who can, admittedly, eat a lot more freely than I am and still be thinner.  It's just a difference in body type and composition and metabolism I suppose.  

One thing I wouldn't ever want to do is give off the impression that I have it all together.  I want you to see the whole picture on this topic.  This is a subject where I choose to carefully pull out the broken, dirty pieces of the story and put them on display, without bothering to clean them up first.  Because that's real life.  This food topic is such a big one for women, with many, many layers.  Don't think so?  Try to name five gals in your life who have a completely healthy handle on their eating and exercising...

Can hardly do it?  Me either.  So let's get real about this topic.  It's such a game changer when we invite God in to this part of our lives.  I love reading in the Bible when the people feasted and enjoyed food.  I believe in food.  I also believe our bodies are temples made by God Himself and it's worth exploring what "healthy" looks and feels like to you.  
With that said, as I'm writing this we've been taking care of a very sick Anna Ruth all weekend and sleep has been meager. And it's moments like these where my shift changes from eating the most perfectly healthy meals and running 4 miles at night to just eating and making it 'till bedtime. 

That's real life.  On my "good" days, which occur about 75% of the time,
I eat an egg and oatmeal or whole-grain peanut butter toast for breakfast with coffee.

Lunch is leftovers (which are generally healthy), fruit, and a smoothie.  Always a smoothie.  Made with plain Greek yogurt, spinach, fruit, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, ice, and cocoa powder.

An afternoon snack consists of a graham cracker with peanut butter a lot of days with another cup of coffee. 

And dinner is a meat and veggie, or a Mexican dish, or tacos or spaghetti, or a meatless meal once or twice a week.  

Most nights I don't have an evening snack.  Unless I get hungry and then I do.  I don't ever think it's a good idea to make yourself go hungry.  At least for me, I end up getting a massive headache.  So, I eat every time I'm hungry.  I try to reach for a fruit or veggie first, but honestly we love Saltines and graham crackers and probably eat a few too many.  

Treats usually happen on the weekends for me in the form of hash browns and bacon for breakfast, a dessert here or there, and cheese (the good kind) and crackers.  And peanut m and m's.  Not always all those treats in one weekend. (but this one-yep. EEEEEKKKK)
I do pretty well with that eating schedule and exercising after the girls go to bed, most days of the week.  Here's where the not so pretty part comes in though.  The truth is on the days I've been up most of the night (with two gals there are many reasons for this) and I wake up really, really tired I don't do so well.  I almost always make worse eating choices than normal and if I'm so tired I'm about to cry, I skip the exercising.  

I'm not a die-hard exercise addict who makes myself do it anyway.  I probably should.  But I draw the line for myself sometimes and just say "enough."  

And so those kinds of days combined with the super healthy, very disciplined ones add up to a pretty healthy me.  I've also been learning to plan my treats in advance.  Just meaning I don't need a bag of peanut m and m's a day.  Maybe one bag a week.  :)   This way I'm not saying "yes" to every treat ever time every day.

The tricky part about my body type (especially after having two girls so close together) is that after even a few days of not eating perfectly healthy I look and feel different.  And my weight goes up.  I mean, even after like 4 or 5 days.  I don't think that weight matters more than health, but it does matter some to me.  Probably too much.  That's sad to admit because I'm a healthy weight now, and was last spring even when I was about 8 to 10 pounds heavier.

But in our society we've been so ingrained to think we need to be our absolute skinniest selves.  I'm still waiting for a friend to say "Let's enjoy this bread, extra pounds and all. Cheers!"  If you find a friend like this, send her to me! :)  I do know a few people who dig in and they are some of my most favorite, favorite people to be around.  The friends who immediately start discussing their weight or exercise routine as we're eating a treat, in effort to explain that they'll work it off later...I love them but it's hard for me to relate.

I don't think food should always be served with a side of guilt.
And if I feel bad and guilty for gaining a few pounds every now and then (when my overall health is good) well....Houston, we have a problem,
a major one.
Is the point of this post to embarrass myself and others?  No.  I just want you to know to me, a normal healthy lifestyle includes treats and nights where you let yourself have a break.

I certainly do.  I so wish we were all sitting around a table discussing this together.  I'd probably want to make a pact with you before we got up and dishes were cleared.  A pact that we can stop trying to get to our skeleton selves.  A pact to let it be okay that our tummies show we've had babies or turned 30 (when things REALLY do change).  A pact to be healthy and treat our bodies well.  Because we matter so, so much.  And if we totally ignore our eating and exercising it'll catch up to us.

I'd grab your hand and agree to love you on the days this food thing is just hard.  I'd want you to do the same for me.  I'd compliment how beautiful you look because of the light in your eyes and the cute outfit you put together.  Not because you look skinnier than ever.  (I've been complimented for this before and it sends such a confusing message to my brain).  I'd ask you to "pass the dip" and we'd talk about practical ways to be our best, healthiest selves.  The meal would most definitely include black bean and sweet potato tacos.

And then over a reasonable slice of cake, we'd laugh and share our unique personalities.  We'd compliment and appreciate humor, wisdom, grace, accomplishments, funny stories, each other.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?
Let's eat friends.  

7 comments:

  1. I just love this, Sara! We've got to enjoy our days, which includes moving our bodies and eating without being accompanied by pesky guilt. Ugh, no fun! I try to remind myself that Norah hears and sees the way I interact with both movement and food. I'd never want her to get the impression that she has to justify eating something she enjoys. Likewise, I want to help instill a healthy love of "movin' it." :)

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    1. I like that term, 'movin' it" so much better than exercising. It sounds so much more fun! :) You are such a great mama...Norah has a wonderful example!

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  2. I love this post. I seriously have been asking myself and my husband why the only thing preschool moms talk about is eating and crossfit... drives me crazy. Eating is my favorite and I have come to realize that you can be so creative and make really delicious healthy meals. I probably have way to many treats, but I am really not one to stress about it. Always remember Julia Child said, "People who love to eat are the best people." :)

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    1. oh and when I say that preschool moms talk about eating I actually meant they talk about dieting and a lack of eating. Seriously hand me a donut please!! A vegan one.. ;)

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    2. As always, Julia is right. On so many levels about so many things! :) :) If we ever meet in real life we will most definitely quote Julia Child and eat a delicious plate of food together :)

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  3. Sara,
    Thank you. I've always struggled with weight and image and honestly, it seems the whole world is on a diet but me.

    I've been thinking about health this week and plan on writing a few posts about it soon.

    If we ever meet, we will most definitely enjoy our food together :)

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    1. The whole world may think they're on a diet, but we're over here enjoying our food so I think we're at an advantage :) :) :)

      I can't wait to read your posts about health! And yes to enjoying our food together :) :)

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