Feb 29, 2012

Putting the "Why" Behind Weightloss

Worrying about your weight can consume your life. Counting steps. Counting calories. And most of all just thinking all the time about how you are perceived by others at your current weight. It's a crippling effect. And one that I go to great lengths to avoid.

I'm always the girl bringing in cupcakes to work, encouraging my friend to "just go for it!" when she's not sure if she should have another. Enjoy life! Eat the cupcakes. Live a little.

While I do still like those principles in general, I think I take it a little overboard sometimes. I almost go the opposite just to prove a point to myself, eating extra, indulging myself to NOT go on that walk... I'm trying to prove to myself that I accept myself at my weight, beauty doesn't have a weight limit, I'm comfortable with who I am as I am....and so on.  Unfortunately my body is not designed just to ignore those things. I gain weight. Easily. I lose it, also. But not so easily.

What's so bad about weighing more? I do still think I can be beautiful at my current size. I can love myself and my body. So what's wrong with it?

  1. First of all, nothing is wrong with it. But my body will perform at its best if it's in shape. Digestive system, bones, my heart, organs, brain, hormones, everything does better at your optimal weight. Not that those things are a big deal right now, I'm only 25. But if I don't form good health habits today, when will I?
  2. I will fit into clothes better. The truth is, when you're at a healthy weight, things fit better. Like it or not, it's true. Pants, bras, shirts...jeggings. The proportions are designed to fit best without extra bulges.
  3. Even though I do love and accept myself, whatever size I am, the truth is I am physically more comfortable and feeling good when I manage my weight. I do an extra double take in the mirror and do a little "damn girl, you look good". There is nothing wrong with acknowledging we look better when we're fit. Not skinny necessarily, fit. I have curves and will always have curves, and that doesn't mean I'm not healthy.
  4. Because self-discipline actually is good for us. It has nothing to do with what other people think. It has everything to do with doing it for yourself because you know you can. Prove it to yourself!
  5. My doctor said I should. And he encouraged me and told me I can do it! And I'm pretty sure he's a lot smarter than I am. And he's kind of old, and still healthy looking, so he knows what he's talking about.
 Those are all the reasons I can think of at the moment. I know weight isn't an issue for everyone. But maybe it will be in the future. Or maybe you have someone you love who struggles with it.

If you're going to tackle the problem, you have to do it for good reasons. What are your reasons?

In related news:

I'm officially a Y member now! And since I'm paying a fee every month, I definitely cannot let it sit there and go to waste. They've recently re-branded and I'm really liking the feel with the new bright colors:

Ew. The old one was so black and angular. source
I love all the colors! So much energy source

...a little sidetracked, sorry. That's all I got for now. I'm just getting back on track with all this again. To make things easier, I'm using myFitnessPal. If you're working on managing your weight I highly recommend it! It makes food & exercise tracking SO easy and encouraging! There's a great community of people on there. I'm putting the little ticker on the side to keep my progress posted!



Feb 24, 2012

Beauty Through the Eyes of Men

Why do men get to decide what is beautiful and what is not?

I remember growing up, a confused, awkward adolescent... I would sit metaphorically at the feet of older and wiser women (high school age girls) and try to learn from them how to become something men would want. My cousins were beautiful, and I remember them telling me how we need to save ourselves (I didn't even know what that meant) for our future husbands, out of love for them. They would talk about how to wear make up, how to best accent certain features of our bodies modestly, but beautifully. All of these things were specifically designed... to please men. So they found you attractive, but also irresistibly godly. The ideal Proverbs wife.

I think as girls we grow up seeing our beauty through the eyes of men. We are taught to filter our choices based on what we think they want. It's very complicated, challenging task, especially for a young girl who's just trying to figure out who she is. She also needs to figure out who she is supposed to be according to what they want .

In Mad Men, Don tells Peggy bluntly that the ads for women are not about what the women want for themselves, it's about what the women trying to be what they think the men want. I know that is set 50 years ago, but I'll bet you some of that same talk is still going on in advertising firms today.

You don't need to show skin to be sexy...
So what about what women want for themselves? We have a "man's man", but what about a "woman's woman"? What about just being what you're meant to be, regardless of what the opposite (or your own) sex thinks?

I think by only basing our definition of female beauty on the limited male viewpoint, we are missing out on the full realization of what beauty is!

I always get ticked off when my boss comes in and asks a question about beauty, it is always, only directed at my male co-workers. "Do you guys think she's attractive?" I have no say in the matter because I'm missing a certain body part. My opinion is void!

A friend in college was in a puddle of tears because she was facing rejection from a guy she liked. "I just don't think I'm pretty enough", she sobbed to me. I looked at her and honestly told her she was beautiful, and her reply to me was a quick, "but it doesn't matter what you think... you're not a guy!"

*sigh*

This issue bothers me to no end. I'm not sure there is an easy fix. How do we dig ourselves out of this pile of bullshit? I guess it just has to start with individual women saying "I don't care about the male ideal of beauty, I'm going to be who I am."

I'm sure that's easier said than done.


Feb 22, 2012

The Evolution of Self-Sabotage

Think of all the creatures on the earth. Big ones, little ones...bugs and bats and fish and monkeys. These animals know instinctively what they need to survive, and they do whatever they can to make that happen. Sleeping. Eating. Mating. Whatever they need in their little world to make themselves happy and fulfilled.

Humans are the only species on earth, that I'm aware of, that deliberately does things that are counter-productive for our health, happiness and survival. Our body craves sleep, so we stay up late. We crave company, so we isolate ourselves. We crave nutrients, so we fill our bodies with processed, empty calories. We are so evolved, that we have learn how to sabotage ourselves. Something other living creatures would never think of doing.

I don't think people have always been this way. Once upon a time when we were hunters and gatherers and living in tribal communities and everything, I think humans worked more with nature. We ate natural things. Slept when it was dark, woke when it was light. Moved with the seasons.

In some sick twist of fate, our constant effort to evolve has somehow strayed us away from our natural inclinations for health and happiness, and instead we get caught in this massive web of "what do I want NOW" in our heads.

And this is what it leads to.

biggest loser contestants

I'm not hating! This includes me just as much as anyone. I've formed some nasty habits in my lifetime of just getting what I want when I want it and sacrificing the long term for the short.

You know what I mean.

Tonight, I was thinking about going for a swim at the Y because I knew it'd be good for me. My body needs the exercise, the stress relief, the elevated heart rate and the stretching of muscles. I need those things to stay healthy. But after work I was tired and stressed and I drove straight home to have dinner and watch hulu and curl up in my bed. Need vs. want. Want wins!

I know I need to do a few chores around my apartment, wash dishes, put some stuff away. But I ignore it because I don't feel like doing it. What we feel vs. what we know. Feel wins!

I know those are just stupid little examples. But all those stupid little things add up to a 30 lb overweight slob who watches way too much TV and is unhappy. (That is not a completely accurate description of me... but that's where I'm headed with everyone else!)

I love the feeling of doing something I know I need to do! So why don't I do it? I want it to just do itself while I sit back and watch. I don't want to have to make any sacrifices, but I want all the benefits.

That simply isn't how life works. Humans are meant to have to exert ourselves to get what we need and want. It's good for us to have to strive to reach a goal. Mentally and emotionally we'll feel good and satisfied. Physically our bodies will agree and thank us. It's rewarding. It promotes our health and happiness.

Baby steps. Right now, I don't want to do my dishes. I'd like to take a hot bath and go to sleep. But I know I'll be happier tomorrow and feel more positive about the day if the kitchen is all clean in the morning, so I'm doing 'em! And tomorrow I'm taking that swim. No more excuses!



Feb 20, 2012

Good Things on the Way

Busy and happy weekend away with K visiting family and friends. Now I only wish I would have taken more pictures!

Did a little shopping with my big sis and K and got some cute fun stuff, including this beautiful stationery set. I love shopping locally whenever possible, it's a little too easy to find wonderful cute things!

Pam's Tweats, Envelope Set

Look how cute! And the owl too!

I've started writing a lot more letters now that I've joined Handwritten: a penpal project for 2012. If you love letter writing you should take a look at it! Tabitha at Glitter & Ganache started this wonderful project to help encourage her readers to start writing letter again. Now I'm excited more than ever to check my mailbox!

I also got to spend a little time with my best friend who is so cute and pregnant! They're getting the nursery ready, and I made her a string of letters to hang over the crib. His name is going to be Micah. :-) He is already so loved and I can't wait to meet him. I got to feel him kick! How amazing and exciting and wonderful to know this little human being is on his way here.



I was also able to use some of my tax return to buy something I've been drooling over in a local shop window for almost a year! It should be coming along next week sometime and I will be posting pictures... I'm so excited!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend full of good things coming your way.

Feb 14, 2012

Dear Google

Dear Google, thank you for the lovely Valentine. I especially loved the part at the end with all the little couples! The bi-racial couple, the gay couple. Nice touch! I'm not really sure what's going on with the alien and the astronaut...

Anyway, it was subtle but sweet! I love the message that love is not about what you give someone, it's about what you share together. And I think the best thing you can share with someone you love is time. I hope the whole world enjoyed it as much as I did.

Love, Ruth

 


May you all find the milk to your cookie! Here's the animated clip if you'd like to see it, I love the Tony Bennett song. Hope your Valentine's Day is sweet.

Feb 12, 2012

Warm Buttery Comfort Bread

I find few foods as comforting as bread. Fresh warm, doughy, topped with melting butter. Crunchy toasted bread with jam. Gooey french toast drenched in maple syrup. It cozies you from the inside out, and gives you a happy, full feeling.

Someone passed along a breadmaker to me, and for the past few months I have had the pleasure of making my own fresh bread. I had no idea how wonderful and convenient these things are! I would definitely recommend one if you are a bread lover like me.

This week I made Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread. I found the recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cups orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Add liquids, dry ingredients, and then yeast on top. Select the regular bread cycle for a 1.5 lb loaf and your crust color. A little ways into the kneading cycle, add in the cranberries and walnuts. Wait patiently for 3 hours, and then voila!


Freshly baked comfort and joy. 

Warm fresh bread!
The breadmaker doing all the hard work.
My little assistant chef, marred in battle.
Sometimes it tastes more delicious when you tear off a piece.
A few days later, it made sublime french toast.

Feb 10, 2012

Celebrate Everylove

The Starbucks "Celebrate everylove" cup.

Big things are happening in our nation and there is no stopping it. You see, progress doesn't move backwards. Once people begin to open their minds, it's harder to close them. And once people see the truth, it's harder to convince them of a lie.

There are lies being told. Lies that say letting gay people get married will destroy marriage. Will destroy families. Lies that say gay marriage will lead to people raping children and having sex with dogs. Lies that say the whole country will go to hell in a handbasket if we let the gays have their way. Fire and brimstone! Ultimate destruction! THE END OF THE WORLD.

So let me tell you the truth. Here is what destroys a family: lies, hate, fear, distrust, selfishness. Here is what destroys the institution of marriage: not letting people get married who love each other. Here is what gay marriage will lead to: gay people getting married, eventual acceptance from society, lessening discrimination, and more security for their families. Here is how gay marriage will effect hetersexuals: you will be free to practice your personal beliefs, get married as you always have, and you may be invited to a few more weddings than usual.

And our country? We will only be fulfilling the purpose of our original founding. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Congratulations for Washington State and California for your major victories for truth and justice this week. Thank you to companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, Nike, Apple and Amazon who have made a bold statement of support for what is right, despite possible backlash.

This Valentine's Day, let's celebrate every love. Your love. My love. We're different, but when it comes down to it, we're really all the same. Why don't I deserve the same rights as you?

Feb 7, 2012

Sugar Rush and the Big Crash

I have an excruciating weakness for sugar. There is no such thing for me as "too sweet". Cupcakes, chocolate, frozen custard... you name it. But I know all to well the effects of caving to the cravings and crashing afterwords.

And that is exactly how things went down this weekend.

Only I wasn't on a sugar rush, I was on a K rush. This is the problem with long distance relationships. You crave, crave, CRAVE each other for weeks at a time, and then finally you're together for a couple of days and it is wonderful. Just like that tingling rush of sugar when you take a big spoonful of ice cream. In that moment, there are no consequences, but only pure joy and satisfaction!

But afterwards... always... you will crash. She will leave. You will be left alone, staring wistfully at the indentation in the empty pillow next to you. You will return to every day life without her.

This is what I call the "big crash" in long distance relationships. The feeling you get immediately following a parting. It doesn't matter if you'll see each other again in a couple weeks, days, or months. The crash gets me every time.

I like to completely ignore that it's coming while I enjoy my time with her. I like to casually toss out comments like "I'm so glad you're staying here forever" and "It's so great you never have to leave again, isn't it?" to her throughout the weekend, to keep myself in denial of the oncoming crash.

But you know what? It's worth it. That blissful time together is worth the crash every time.

Valentine's Day came early this year.

Yes, ridiculously cute and pointless as always. She knows me.
One yellow rose for our year as best friends, four red for our years as a couple.

Elephants and little bugs!

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