Humaneness

I read an awesome essay the other day called Fat in Every Language by Jonatha Kottler. In it she shared her experience of having lost a whole lot of weight and working for a company for weight loss, being praised for it all the time, etc.  She struggles with her self image even though she has a husband that thinks she is sexy as she put it. She gave some examples of things that hurt her, like making an effort to bring back a toy from the US for her neighbor’s child.  The child asked, ” Mom why she was so fat?” She said ” She is a fat lady but don’t say so.”She was also asked by a complete stranger at a movie theatre if she was really going to eat all that popcorn. She listed all the beings she has in her life that love her but concluded, what has to change is how many f***s I give about all this.

And that’s my question.  How can I stop caring so much about what  I look like. Is it the aging, or all the expectations society burdens women with? I think I need to be brave and just kick up some attitude.  I went to a family event, it was a high school fashion show and one girl, who I say is brave and beautiful, truly, had some rolls show through the gown she had designed and sewn herself.  But she strutted confidently and I thought, “Man, I don’t think I could ever do that!” But wouldn’t you know it.  I had two women, clearly in their 40’s sitting in the row in front of me snickering and laughing.  I was infuriated, but did not want to make a scene.  It was and is upsetting. Looking back, I wish I had just leaned forward and said, “You are being rude, knock it off.”

The second entry of my writings shares an incident in which I worked with a consultant for our business. We sell cars if you are wondering.  The young man said, you should do a video.  My girlfriend is a model, so she can come in and do the video. This was, as in, she would do the video with my husband, when he and I are the owners.  It crushed me. All the negative thoughts flooded my head, like a loud radio of annoying rock music. Am I too old  (then 47), too fat, too unattractive?  So much noise went off. That’s when I decided to take a good look at myself from the outside and dive inside. Am I overly sensitive?, I don’t think so. The irony is that in a society where we find ourselves being sensitive to not offending this person or that group, we have lost our ability to empathize with others. Just like the two women mentioned earlier, just because they did not have rolls down their backs, could they ever imagine walking down a runway, knowing that there are people out there snickering and mocking? Do they have anyone in their life that may be overweight, and know the obstacles they face, simply based on looks?

Like Jonatha, I too have a loving husband, kids and friends that love me, and 2 really great dogs that really, really love me! Seriously- they get me! (If we could be more like dogs, who love us without judgement, it would be simple and lovely AND LOVING.)  And yet, either because I’m aging, or because while I wait in the grocery store line, society dictates what women should look like, I  do care about “looking good for my age.” But it doesn’t stop there. I care about how out of rhythm society is about our humaneness, and what really matters. How about a person’s positive contributions? Productiveness? Talent? Compassion? These attributes come INSIDE all kinds of body types. But it seems like society has stopped right at the line of , “what do you look like?” to measure people. I can see how easy it is to get self absorbed ( not to be confused with self care) when you are trying to attain a physical goal. What’s important is that you don’t let that physical goal , which is such a tiny representative of who you are, consume you. Be an example, give off positive energy, confidence and even some attitude when the moment strikes. Train your eye to look beyond the LOOKS and focus what really is important when you look in that mirror.

Day 264- Eating much better and feeling much better. Love my Family AND my dogs! Thank you for stopping by my blog today.  I hope something in it made you reflect on something positive.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Traditions to Take Us Into

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Heading into 2017, I think about what I have to look forward to this year and how I want to receive this year. Since I was a little girl, we always had grapes around in the New Year. My relatives trace back to Spain and Cuba and this is a Spanish tradition. I like red grapes as they are sweeter and I equate that to having a sweet life. I normally have a “mental war” on New Years because I tend to be a person that looks back.  I have worked this year on shifting my idea of beauty- mind, body and soul, so I am actually looking forward to gathering with friends and if I’m lucky enough my children, adults now but always my children. A New Year is a time of renewing commitments.

My resolution this year and every year is to be a better woman- a better mom,wife, branch to my step family ( when possible), friend, aunt, sister, daughter, dog owner, writer and literacy advocate. Our children graduate this year, 2 from high school, 1 from college. My nephew will receive the blessing of confirmation.  My husband and I will continue to grow, with opportunities to grow before us.

A new tradition I started just last year was to keep a separate journal for my daughter and son. Whenever I am having a moment with them , good or bad, I write to them and I may put cut outs of stamps, tickets, pictures throughout. I will also write a bit about their family history, such as my grandfather had a family tree in which he traced our bloodline to Junipero Serra a controversial Saint. There was also a rumor this same grandfather had lunch with Al Capone in Miami Beach once.  I don’t write in them much, but the times I do write are significant. I just want them to know that being a mom to me was a privilege and not a burden. This was brought on by a couple of things: one a dysfunctional upbringing which many people can identify with I’m sure. Two: A woman in my neighborhood passed away in her mid 40’s of breast cancer, leaving 2 middle school ers and 1 high school er behind. I thought to myself, how terrible to loose someone so central to your life at those developing ages. They would not have their mother witness their graduations, successes, and celebrations any longer. Wouldn’t it be somewhat comforting to read on how proud  mom was because they couldn’t hear her voice any longer? Or know their ancestral stories…

So there you have it, a little of everything…two traditions to carry into the New Year and a resolution to be a better woman. I look forward to growing followers for this blog and making new friends, and sharing in the journey of aging with grace and peace. Cheers and Happy New Year to my new friends out there! Don’t forget your grapes… bring them in a cool presentation to a party. Skewers, Mock champagne glasses… I haven’t decided how I will bring mine to the party I was invited to, but I will make it fun and festive .If you have any ideas, send them on over. And hey, for those of us watching our weight, it’s a good way to keep our habits in check.

Day 208 Still hanging on under 147. But I want to eat cake!

 

“It’s the Little Things that are the Big Things!”

 

hershey-kissesWhen my husband and I were dating he used to say, “It’s the little things that are the big things” all the time. When he explained it to me, he referred to the Bronx Tale movie and  the door test . Set in early 80’s I think,  the main character was giving a young man dating advice. He instructed the young man to open the door for his date and walk behind the car to see if she leans over to unlock the door for him.  If she didn’t, it was a sign of selfishness and he should go on to drop her like a bad habit (my own movie reference to the Rocky series I grew up with and love even today.) The point is that small gestures add up like quarters in a jar. John and I have been together for eight years now, and we have actively adopted the phrase to maintain the value of our marriage.

If you think about it, simple gestures are attached to beauty. So if I were giving dating advice today, I would tell our young men and ladies out there to try to look beyond the exterior. It seems logical, but again in our times of selfies and loving ourselves in a narcissistic, boastful way, it may not be as easy as it sounds.  I would also encourage posts with their pics be kept to a minimal, so the interaction remains more genuine. As  far as the door test goes, I would pick a test setting more durable.  One that has withstood the test of time… the kitchen. I may have thrown you for a loop, but don’t worry, when you know you are being valued, other doors are bound to open. You know the old question,  “Do you live to eat, or eat to live?” Well if you follow my blog, you know that I’m on a weight loss journey, but the only reason I’m on that darn path in the first place is that I live to eat. To me the kitchen is the sexiest place where testing the little things has an array of possibilities.

Everyone remembers the first time their spouse cooked for them. That’s like a huge romantic gesture! After eight years it continues to be a huge romantic gesture for me.  Honestly whether my husband washes the dishes, or cooks for me, those small gestures, signal my inner self that I am loved.  By that same thought, I like to think that bringing him coffee each morning as he wakes up, or go by the office with lunch lets him know I dig him. These are tiny, tiny gestures, with colossal impact. And for young couples raising a baby, the sexiest room in the house may be the one that has a changing table in it.  I think offering to help is the sexiest thing a man can do for his wife. “Honey why don’t you have a glass of wine in the next room or take an extra long bath, I’VE GOT THIS.” Again very sexy.  If more couples experienced those tiny moments, we would have less divorce, I guarantee it! As a matter of fact all those small gestures, the ones that say we are partners and I love you, were missing from my first marriage and indeed it ended up in divorce.

The little things are the big things! What a great idea to live by and such an easy way to enhance one’s beauty and attractiveness. Tiny actions- no strings attached- like insider trading.  Your stock will definitely go up!

Post Note– Day 157 of my weight loss journey 148.0 ( Got off track last weekend, but back on track now)

A little on edge with Thanksgiving this coming week.  I plan to give myself that day, then hopefully make healthy turkey leftovers. Any healthy recipes much appreciated.

 

 

 

What is a Superhero?

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With the prompt “Superhero” I am inclined to think about a homily in which we were directed to think about the saints in our lives.  I took the message in, and just thought for a few minutes about the positive influences/supporters in my life. It was a peaceful exercise.  I reflected on the times where I was just struggling to be a parent, a school teacher and a provider all on my own, or so I thought.  The timing in which my friends appeared in my life, just as my fridge leaked and flooded my living room after a full day at work, as my car broke down over and over again, and as my sister was diagnosed with leukemia… at the most challenging moments where I felt I could drown in a glass of water, they appeared, reassuring me that I could indeed get through all of it.  Up to that homily I had always thought, “I don’t know how I did it.” Now I realize I had saints, I had real live superheroes pick me up and get me through those hard times.

Those experiences have humbled me because now I look to those very “heroes” who pulled me out of my stress and held me up. They are now widowed, parents to autistic children, and people that face their own challenges with grace, and even a sense of humor. What’s more, even though their hands are quite full,  they still find it in themselves to offer people around them help, or even dedicate their small bit of leftover time to  something positive to the community. They taught me to say the words, ” Can I help you?” to the elderly or to the overwhelmed parent whose toddler may be melting down in the grocery store.

Our society’s vision of super heroes is all wrong. We get so stuck on exterior appeal, we forget to look at the real make up of a hero. For example, would we ever think of Mother Theresa as a super hero? I remember she died right at the time Princess Diana died.  (Not to take away from the Princess, for she too had the compassion to visit hospitals and was active in projects that promoted peace.)  I understand the death was unexpected and tragic and I think most people remember what they were doing when the princess died. Truly, I don’t remember what I was doing when Mother Theresa died. I was young and did not value life and actions as I do now. My vision was blurred.  But perhaps if the media/society had stressed a little more on the loss of Mother Theresa, maybe I would have started to value life and actions at an earlier age.

Superheros do exist. They are the people whose inner beauty oozes out.  They have compassion and drive and make a difference whenever possible. No excuses. If I was cornered into choosing only one superhero, I guess it would be Mother Theresa with her blue and white cape.  But I also recognize that I  witness other superheros all the time. Because of them I can  take comfort that in this crazy, self centered society of “selfies and me me me!” there are people that can look beyond exteriors and extend their hand to help others.  They  “walk the walk.” Not only are they Superheros to me, they are truly beautiful beings and I’m glad I can see them very clearly now.

Post Note- ( I might add that I am married to a Superhero myself- LOL)   It is day 80 of my journey and I did have a major slip up this week, but am back on the path.

An Open Mind to the Inner Child

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On the subject of being opened minded I look at a situation I am in right now.  My life coach is also a therapist but one title has a positive connotation to it, signaling self improvement, the other signals something is broken somewhere.  I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly is broken, but she asked me to get in touch with my inner child at our last meeting (not session).  She encouraged me to talk to my inner child, calling her by her childhood name, saying “It’s ok ____, you’re ok” as I gently pat my heart.  I thought “Oh my goodness, this is bad.” I have crossed over from someone sane trying to improve herself and see her self in a “beautiful light as she ages” to reaching deep into my psyche to talk to… well basically to myself.” I’m having a hard time keeping an open mind on this. It’s odd.

A couple of months ago I was watching an old movie where Kevin Klein was talking about his therapist telling him to take his inner child on his knee and gently hold him.  I remember being drawn to that idea but dismissing it as something that was just in a movie. And now my “life coach” is asking me to do the same kind of thing.  Since then I have looked up the concept of the inner child and my mind is opening a bit.  It is quite interesting.

There really is something to the phrase “a kid at heart.” I talk to older people and the common link is that they still feel young inside. I feel that our bodies are  a vessel for “our kid.”  Who we become happens at the earliest stage of our life. This is where our confidence develops or does not depending on the upbringing and surroundings provided.  Even if one parent falls short on the nurturing side, as long as the other parent picks up the slack, you have a good chance of becoming a competent, confident self being. At least that is what I have witnessed with two people I know. I really hate it when they say, ‘ I became successful BECAUSE of how crappy my father, for example, treated me.  I say, No, You became successful IN SPITE of how your parent treated you. Credit your other parent who took the time and love to nurture you, and did the best they could.

I always take in such happiness when children are around me.  Their innocence and happiness is contagious and you just know they have not become marred by life’s disappointments. I saw three boys playing at a sandbar the other day.  They were collecting crabs and making a “living room” for them by digging out a shallow hole and filling their beach buckets with water for the hole. I was taken in by their sense of innocence and brought them a crab to add to their collection. A little action like that made them even brighter with happiness.  What a great place to be I thought to myself.

My early inner child is gentle, shy, quiet, and has a vivid imagination.  On a completely dark canvas, she bubbles up with colors, rising towards the surface, but not quite to the top. She wants to be brave and ask questions and express the curiosity that comes with young inquisitive minds, but she never does. She was graced with the title the “good child” never asking for attention, but really needing it. Thank God she has a dog! ( which explains why she loves dogs so much.) She delights in sweets which will carry into her adult self and become a defense trigger for stress.

So me today is supposed to view myself as a beautiful, smart, loving woman, and I am. But I don’t say it easily.  It comes with hesitation. I am a person of faith.  I hope I did not disservice my children, for I was conscious as I raised them that I needed to spend time with them, play with them and put them in social settings that would encourage self confidence.  That experience also gave me a chance to revisit my inner child though I did not know this was going on.  Active parenting is very important and I do hold a few regrets as my children were growing up. I wish I would have focused more on some areas less on others, but I suppose that comes with the territory.  I can only control what I can control.

Self Care is empowering.  I can count on myself all the time.  I can challenge myself to be more social and to establish healthy boundaries with people who may not have my best interest at play.  I can treat myself to new experiences and push myself to be a better, kinder, positive influence in this crazy world( no offense to my therapist, a compliment to my life coach), to be a better mom and wife. I can be a better listener to my inner child, and take comfort that she is with me.

Post Note- Day 82 152.4

Really love the online support of peers that know the journey of weight loss and achievement.  A man wrote me the other day saying he knows my blog is meant for women going through a similar aging acceptance process as I am, but he enjoys reading my blog.  By all means, I invite men to read it as well and see the amazing, beautiful women in their lives in a new light! Come join the ShiftinBeautyMovement with us!

No Witnesses

truffs passed out

So this is how my life was to end…on the floor of a restaurant bathroom, gagging in front of a toilet, all because I swallowed too large a piece of steak…the irony. “47 year old woman found laying next to toilet in local steakhouse at wine tasting event. She died doing what she loved most- eating out with friends and tasting wine with friends, but she died alone.”

Two of my longtime friends I had not seen in a while invited me to a five course wine tasting event.  It was a great time catching up with each other, but at one point someone came over to our table to sit with us, and I wanted to swallow my food quickly to say hello. Unfortunately it was a thick piece of sirloin. Saying hello quickly turned into a vision of throwing up in front of someone I was just introduced to. I was not gonna have it.  I was able to ” keep it together” and quietly excused myself from the table. I  walked over to the restroom with a great pain in my chest just hoping to make it to the restroom. I walked in relieved to be able to cough, burp, heave, breath deeply and found myself and the mercy of the toilet holding my hair back as clear, thick phlegm protruded out.  Do I call an ambulance? Maybe text my friend at the table? Oh no phone I left it there. So this is how it ends… alone, no witnesses, no help. This is what I get for dreading the aging process, I would die at 47.  But somehow I was able to stop the panic, and was able to breath clearly again.  I made my way to the sink, refreshed myself, and walked out with my head held high and feeling quite lucky AND YOUNG.

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my successes, and set backs as I challenge myself to become a healthier woman inside and out. I call for witnesses and support from others going through a similar journey. The bulk of the blogs here are about weight loss and aging with some kind of handle on it though it’s a very slippery grip. Sometimes I wake up and reaffirm my commitment to exercise and eating right, and then other times it will only take a small moment- watching tv and having a supermodel guest appear on morning news program, or have cheerleaders host a car commercial, and I think to myself, “Why am I even trying?” Would I ever feel great about myself and say to myself ” You look good for your age.”? Blogging, jogging, logging it can be very hard to stay motivated. When I eat I’m happy, I gain weight and I’m not happy.  Then I cut food intake which does not make me happy, but I lose weight and that makes me happy. It’s a vicious cycle. But on the very bright side, Hey, I’m alive, I have healthy kids, a loving husband and two great dogs that give me a whole lot of love. So to all those women going through something like I am- let’s lighten up on ourselves. Allow your friends to witness the successes and help you through the setbacks. And most importantly keep your sense of humorand chew your food thoroughly.

Post note: I’ve lost 12.4 pounds though pic reflec

So this is how my life was to end…on the floor of a restaurant bathroom, gagging in front of a toilet, all because I swallowed too large a piece of steak…the irony. “47 year old woman found laying next to toilet in local steakhouse at wine tasting event. She died doing what she loved most- eating out with friends and tasting wine with friends, but she died alone.”

Two of my longtime friends I had not seen in a while invited me to a five course wine tasting event.  It was a great time catching up with each other, but at one point someone came over to our table to sit with us, and I wanted to swallow my food quickly to say hello. Unfortunately it was a thick piece of sirloin. Saying hello quickly turned into a vision of throwing up in front of someone I was just introduced to. I was not gonna have it.  I was able to ” keep it together” and quietly excused myself from the table. I  walked over to the restroom with a great pain in my chest just hoping to make it to the restroom. I walked in relieved to be able to cough, burp, heave, breath deeply and found myself and the mercy of the toilet holding my hair back as clear, thick phlegm protruded out.  Do I call an ambulance? Maybe text my friend at the table? Oh no phone I left it there. So this is how it ends… alone, no witnesses, no help. This is what I get for dreading the aging process, I would die at 47.  But somehow I was able to stop the panic, and was able to breath clearly again.  I made my way to the sink, refreshed myself, and walked out with my head held high and feeling quite lucky AND YOUNG.

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my successes, and set backs as I challenge myself to become a healthier woman inside and out. I call for witnesses and support from others going through a similar journey. The bulk of the blogs here are about weight loss and aging with some kind of handle on it though it’s a very slippery grip. Sometimes I wake up and reaffirm my commitment to exercise and eating right, and then other times it will only take a small moment- watching tv and having a supermodel guest appear on morning news program, or have cheerleaders host a car commercial, and I think to myself, “Why am I even trying?” Would I ever feel great about myself and say to myself ” You look good for your age.”? Blogging, jogging, logging it can be very hard to stay motivated. When I eat I’m happy, I gain weight and I’m not happy.  Then I cut food intake which does not make me happy, but I lose weight and that makes me happy. It’s a vicious cycle. But on the very bright side, Hey, I’m alive, I have healthy kids, a loving husband and two great dogs that give me a whole lot of love. So to all those women going through something like I am- let’s lighten up on ourselves. Allow your friends to witness the successes and help you through the setbacks. And most importantly keep your sense of humorand chew your food thoroughly.

Post note: I’ve lost 12.4 pounds though pic reflects less because I started photos later.

progress

Establishing Healthy Habits Takes Time

Here’s My Take- Take Note of What You Can Change and Do It!

Several things got me started on this journey to make a positive change within myself.  One was a stressful event I do not feel comfortable putting out there, but suffice it to say, though I was Large in the sense of weight, it made me feel incredibly SMALL inside- painfully embarrassed.  I made a promise to myself that I would not allow myself to feel that way again.  Though I struggle with the emphasis society puts on how you look, I ironically fall into the quicksand, reaching for any limb I can get my hands on to pull me out. It’s crazy how weight is tied to my self view. And while for 66 days I have made a conscious effort to slim down, this is the first time I have focused on getting stronger.

How did I choose 66 days? I saw a post on Twitter that stated it takes 66 days to establish a healthy habit.  I then did some online research on a study that gave four simple steps on establishing a healthy habit- 1. Announce it which explains my blog site 2. Do it till it becomes automatic.  I have to say, if I miss out on exercising and recording it somehow, my day gets thrown off.  3. Once you get to your 66th day, don’t just say, “Ok, I did it.  It’s over now.” Find a way to keep motivated. Push, push,push!  (That’s why I started my Spark Team, but haven’t had anyone sigh up yet.  Hope you consider it:) 4.Celebrate your accomplishments.

So where’s the Shift in Beauty Movement I started? It seems to be a very small shift right now, but I see little bits of growth as I write. What the 66 day journey has taught me is that there is a big difference between “pretty” and “beautiful.” One deals with temporary dumb luck, the other is proven through actions. Your actions make you angelically beautiful, or utterly ugly. It’s a matter of determining what kind of person you want to be. If you were to die today, what would people remember you like?  Would you be beautiful? Could it be proven?

As I push past 66 days of establishing a good habit, I feel good about the other lifestyle changes I’ve made to confirm my beauty. They are simple habits- pay a small compliment to someone, come up with a positive affirmation to believe in, make charitable actions, even small donations can make a huge difference, invite people into the journey to motivate one another, celebrate the blessings that touch us every day, offer help whenever possible,make a conscious effort to contribute something positive to all the relationships I value (my children, spouse, friends &family).   All these little changes along with the time I have made for self care have helped me move in the direction I wanted to move towards. I continue to set new goals because I think it’s important not to get stagnant.

I think my biggest challenge is adapting to social settings and eating out.  My decisions are very conscious of calorie intake vs activity . Knowing I eat out up to five times a week, I keep my calorie intake low throughout day. I start off with a bagel and honey butter to kick carb craving out and then follow up throughout the day with fruits and lots of water, sometimes a salad.  I exercise to know I can enjoy a light beer or glass of wine with dinner and make wise choices.

If you are in a “heavy” place in your life, lighten your load with the help of others and a plan for self care. It’s worth the effort!

Post Note-   153.8 this am.

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