Just Because Everyone Says It’s OK…

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One woman reached out to total strangers on a health/weight loss site social chat. Normally one would post, who is having trouble with getting to the gym, or reaching this goal weight. But she stated it was her anniversary, and in 6 weeks she would be having a baby, but caught her husband with porn. He had promised to stop, but he did not follow through with his promise. The replies poured in…” Porn is natural.”” Pornography is not anything to worry about.” “If watching porn upsets you, then there may be a deeper issue on your end.” “Well look at it this way, at least he’s just looking at porn, and not hiring hookers.” ” Maybe indulge with him in some of these fantasies.” Of course there was another side to the responses. The ones I tend to align with.  I wonder if these women ever held their new borns and thought, ” I can’t wait till you grow up to be a porn star, or stripper.”

How have we come to justify pornography and sex on the big screen? The excuse tends to be ” Oh, they are artists, and they are portraying the story line because if we don’t see the strip club, or the complete physical act of sex in the scene, we may not understand the story line…” Yes, of course I am being sarcastic. How come ( AND NOT THAT I WANT THIS- this is only a question) we never see normal people engaging in sex on the screen? Because it simply wouldn’t generate money.

I remember having a conversation with a friend about ten years ago now.  She was having problems with her husband.  Her husband was ” friends” with a woman who was being very flirtatious and even showed her boobs at a party. The husband said my friend was making way too big a deal of it. My friend explained to me , and her husband, that she did not want him fantasizing about her while engaging intimately with each other in their bedroom.  That made sense to me. It wasn’t porn, but his attention was drawn to someone else, not his wife. And the same thing goes with porn as far as I’m concerned. How have we set the bar so low in our relationships to allow our spouses to engage in this behavior? I did some research to get some outside input on this and there are other harsher views on pornography leading to violence towards women. If anything else it’s demeaning to women- our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends.

It is so difficult being a woman in today’s times.( And being an aging woman is one big party!) There is so much pressure to balance what we look like, our employment status, raising and nurturing our families, our spouses. I really felt hurt for the woman who reached out on the chat, and hope she can draw strength from family and friends, and see if she can get through to her husband on why this has hurt her so much. Just because people dismiss this issue as women being overly sensitive, and porn is ok, does not make it ok. OK?! Just like shortening the word doesn’t make it cute.

The movie Embrace is dedicated to getting to the bottom of why many  women feel badly about their bodies. I have only seen the trailer, but I know I identify with a lot of women out there that doubt their beauty because of the exterior ( their perception of their bodies).  I think it has something to do not only with all the model types that are put out there in  fashion magazines and movies for us to emulate, but the casual way sex is viewed, how movies and tv portray it, and how people are willing to sell out their diginity for it. In my opinion we need to hold ourselves in high esteem.  Too much emphasis is placed on looks and being “sexy.” Nothing to do with BEAUTY.

Personally I am on a journey ( Day 271). I decided to make more time to care for myself mostly so that I don’t feel uncomfortable in a room full of women at social events. ( There was an event that stirred up a lot of hurt, and the only person that could resolve it was me.) I am thankful for a great marriage of ten years now, (my second marriage) in which we hold each other in high esteem, and I value that. I value him! If you are a person about to take on marriage, make sure you’re willing to put each other on the highest level of respect, because if not, what’s the point? Give your spouse and family value and more importantly give yourself, self worth so that you CAN value those close to you. And look inside for BEAUTY because what we look like is such a small piece of who we are.

Progress Post Note-Day 272- Realizing that eating healthier is also good for my brain chemicals, skin and nails. Going into the closet makes it easier to COME OUT OF THE CLOSET now that things fit better. And I’m having a little fun too! Got lashes two weeks ago. Loving them! I am revisiting my faith and  trying new exercises. There are a lot more positives in my life!

A good point from Embrace is that our bodies are not ornaments, but vehicles.  I want to  explore that more within myself and look forward to making some quiet time to view it and reflect. Stay tuned.

 

 

Reacting to Expectations that Fall Short

 

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Is there anything more disappointing than getting on the scale expecting to have dropped weight, and have just the opposite happen?( Even moving the scale to 4 different locations on my bathroom floor did not move the numbers in the right direction.) All of us on the journey of weight loss and self love know this feeling. I got this feeling this morning, on Valentines Day of course. While I am finding my way of loving myself, and self care, I find there are days I can crank up the music and drip with sweat and feel like ” I can conquer anything that comes at me.” And then there are days like this, set backs.  I have not caved in to food today, though I really want to. The set back was the disappointment I felt, and the wanting to just give up.  I just paused for quiet reflection and my husband came in the room and asked me what was wrong. ” No it’s not that you bought me a beautiful card and wrote a beautiful sentiment in it and attached a 4 pack Resees bar to it…”I thought to myself. I shared how frustrating it is to work so hard, log my food each day, work out at the gym 4 to 5 times a week, feel guilty and work harder if I stray, all to get on the scale today after a full week of not straying, nailing workouts and eating all the right things only to gain over a pound. Now my husband is a fixer, and he can’t understand why I feel the way I feel.  The fact I love you, I’m proud of you and think you look great doesn’t help? No it doesn’t. This is about how I view myself. Then he did say something great. He suggested I get measured at the gym.

I thought about that.  I skipped my last scheduled measure in because at that time I felt I slipped up, but I should have gone and followed through to take ownership of my actions. So this morning I thought, that’s exactly what I’ll do and if the measurements too, are going the wrong way, then I will have to take a step back and see what it is I may be doing wrong. I felt comfort in dropping in my overall body fat, and proud of the way my abs have gone from 38 to 16 on my composition sheet.

What I learned from this experience is how to react to that scale, and have measurements as a back up. I’ve also learned that putting so much emphasis on a number can blur your sight to what is really important.  It’s not easy to put the process of my journey out there, but as I have stated, I look for other women that may be going through something similar, and form a community that can be encouraging and positive with one another. If an expectation comes out lower than what you wanted, be willing to reflect, question and adjust.

Another lesson learned: Keep those expectations real.

Self Awareness

I honestly did not want to join a gym.  I have a small gym room right in my development that I already pay for through the HOA fees. But that just wasn’t enough. As shallow as this sounds, I became aware that my self esteem was tied to my self image. I sat down one day to reflect on all the things I feel bad about and the bottom line was that I am aging and I can either continue to feel bad about my self image, or get into a self care regimen, that would help me physically and mentally succeed. I take great comfort in knowing I am not alone in these feelings and there are women my age who are also fighting the inner battle of seeing themselves as beautiful beings, who have probably given a great deal of themselves to their families, and realize it’s time to self care and get in touch with who you are again.

If I were to tell someone, this is what I’m doing and you can too, I think they may feel overwhelmed and even say, ya that’s too much.  However I have been doing this for 8 months now and have added to the things I am doing.  I have made healthy habits, and have not been able to shake the not so good habits, but that’s ok because I know at the same time I have to be realistic. For example, I have been drinking Cuban coffee since I was 5 years old.  It’s the first thing I reach for in the am. It’s like a baby’s bottle to me. And my favorite part about my day starts at 5:45 am.  I make coffee for me and my husband, then I drag my out door rocker to face my back patio and take in the stars,  sounds of nature around me, the smell and taste of that morning cup and I simply pause to think about all the things I am grateful for.So while I work hard at trying to look and feel better, I am fully aware that there are much more significant things in my life that I should focus on. But the bottom line is that if you feel good about yourself it transcends into your relationships and people you meet. And I like knowing that I might be helping someone out there that may be fighting a little bit of blues.  You are not alone . I’m not alone.

Day 252

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While loss reads 16.3 I have really lost 20 pounds, I started recording pics when I had already lost 4. Looking at pic you can see a smile on my face and even earrings signalling,
“Ya , I’m feeling better about me!” I’m gonna list all the things I’ve adopted into my self care and again I’m thankful I can afford the things I do, but if you are on a budget there are all levels.For example, if a manicure is listed and you have little kids that you use that money towards, than you can give yourself a manicure, buy yourself a great happy color and have fun!

My list:

Fit bit: Accountability to log food in and record exercise. And record your progress pics!

Blog- It’s like journaling, but you’re being brave and putting yourself out there.

Gym 4 to 5 times a week. Pandora some great exercise music and hit that eliptical.  Shake up the levels and challenge your heart rate.

Gym trainer 2 times a week- more for accountability than anything else. Who knows, I may not keep up with gym otherwise.

Breakfast meal replacement: Plant based protein shake with fiber enhancer.  Keeps me full till lunch

Cauliflower rice gets cut into regular rice, bean sprouts get cut into asian noodle recipes, lots of veggies added into meals.

One week manicure, one week pedicure alternated, once a month hair salon.  I deserve this. You deserve this.  I always think to my first marriage on this one.  Men never leave their wives for someone with disheveled hair and sweat pants. Their heads get turned by women who are put together well.  My ex used to question when I would do things like that and now I realize, I’m deserving of these perks and I feel good about myself. So bring on the manis and pedis. One more thing to be grateful for- My husband of ten years now encourages me to do things like this for myself. To quote the great Salt and Peppa, “What a man, what a man, what a man what a mighty good man!”

Make good choices at restaurants.

Don’t forget to take care of your skin with sunscreen.

Walk after dinner to knock those 10,000 steps

Play with your dogs!



 

What’s My Super Power?

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My daughter gave me a sweet little book for Christmas called Listen Like a Dog by Jeff Lazarus. It was a very thoughtful gift knowing how passionate I am about dogs. It starts out by asking if you have ever talked to your dog ( Of course I have- duh!) and what good listeners they are because they don’t interrupt. I started thinking, I should be more like a dog, in the sense that dogs don’t compare themselves to other canines ,hold grudges, or judge. They may compete for a little attention as my two dogs do, but it’s straight forward. And they give so much love and loyalty to the family, you can’t help but want them around you. They are just beautiful beings to me.

I don’t know why ( maybe just human nature) but I tend to compare myself to other women my age.  “I should look more like…”and each time I end up not feeling very good about myself. The thing is I never set out to do it, it just happens like when I look up fashion for women over 50, for example.   Much of my journey has been about weight loss and habit deconstruction, in order to nurture my self image.  Of course it also means a healthier body as I age, including brain chemistry. The other part of my journey is inviting a community of women, and men as 1 man pointed out to me, to share what they are experiencing and how they handle the changes that come with aging. Seeing things more like an opportunity of things ahead rather than looking back is something I keep focus on.  But age also reminds me to look inside and work on being a better person.  Look for the positive contributions made to family, self and friends and look for the beauty in other beings. So the journey is now aligning with a soulful one.  And to think, I owe this emotional growth all to my dogs! So getting back to my superpower... I speak “Dog.” It’s true. Truffles (above) has been waiting patiently in my room to greet me with a wagging tail and a toy. She’s really saying, “I dare you to take this toy from me”, and starts a very familiar growl as I attempt to pull it away. The dare turns into a friendly game of tug a war and my spirits are instantly lifted. And Lilly ( below) speaks to me in a whole different way. She was matted and full of ticks when I adopted her and is basically afraid of her own yawn. She whimpers every time I walk through the door, as if to show me, she’s missed me a great deal.  She conveys a whole lot of gratitude, and though these pups couldn’t be anymore different, they really are turning out to be great listeners- LOL.

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Post Note: I am coming across some twitter links to fashion and responsibility of not over crowding our closets.  It looks interesting to me as I dive deeper into what it is all about. I am now down to 145 pounds, 20 pounds less, so I know I need to re organize my clothes. I’m just not ready to let go of size 14 s yet.  What are your thoughts? And any interesting, positive thoughts on aging/appropriate fashion are always welcome as well as dog pics! Have a blessed week.

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In Retrospect

Reflecting as a writer is an odd thing to do.  I don’t consider myself a writer, a true writer, but I enjoy it as a lost art and a hobby.  My husband wanted to put a writing piece on our website and I explained to him that while the message he was trying to convey was good, the majority of people just don’t want to read anymore. It requires too much effort in a world of social media madness…they want to be entertained with a video, or a funny picture. That’s why I truly appreciate this site. It’s my mutual hub for all kinds of writers, from novice, like myself, to rich, experienced storytellers. I have 21 followers and that is a little source of happiness for me. My blog is dedicated to inviting women who face the challenge of aging with grace, and share their points of view. At the end of each post I include a post note of my journey to transform in mind, body and soul to a healthier Mom, Wife, Aunt  Daughter. A lot of it is tied to losing weight, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also tied to losing weight- the kinds of things that hold us down in life, like comparing ourselves to others instead of simply embracing who we are. Lightening up.

I guess that’s why when I took a moment for the retrospective challenge, and looked back at my views, the post titled ” Some Mornings Can Greet you with A Little Mischief,” had the most hits. It’s a short post about my dogs and I know a lot of people can relate to that. Dogs are so great because they don’t take, they just give. That’s the beauty I see in them. So perhaps I will write about them a little more in 2017, along with the roles mentioned above.

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Post Note: Day 207 Managed to stay around my goal weight 146.6. I was 144.6 before Christmas, but I’m thankful the derailment was not too bad. Nearly 20 pounds lost and not to be found!  Now I just need to get through New Years!

 

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It’s such an Honor to be a Mom!

 

With So Many Beautiful Places in the World…

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How Do You Know You Are Where You Are Meant to Be?

I grew up in Hialeah, Fl.- a very Cuban dominated community. It was a great place to grow up. Families lived on same blocks, where the smell of Cuban cooking along with happy music constantly wandered around the neighborhood. Holidays meant a pig would be grilled in someone’s back yard, and the old men of the family would gather around domino tables.  My parents came to Miami in 1959, as many Cubans had. They gravitated to the area and had a very strong work ethic. But they migrated here not by choice but necessity. I was proud to have Cuban roots and know that Dade County grew into a prosperous, unique area much in part of the Cuban influx.

After I divorced in 2004, I moved out of Miami to what is now my city- Jupiter, Fl.  I’ve always loved Florida because as a kid and young woman many road trips were taken to Key West, St. Augustine, Disney World and of course Miami Beach. Summer time in Miami Beach meant dad would give me and my siblings a roll of quarters and we’d walk about 4 hotels over to the Shelbourn and relish in the lights and “pings” of the Pinball machines, in a weird basement like setting .  No one worried about bad things happening to us.  We’d be gone, no cell phones, but somehow it worked didn’t it?

I chose to move to Jupiter with my kids because Miami had become well, not a great place to be anymore. Though my roots are there, I know if I were to visit my childhood home it would be so different, it would probably bring on sadness, I guess. So it’s best to leave it right were it is- in a good place in my memory.

  Today all my kids are grown and my husband and I can choose to stay here in Jupiter, or make yet another place our home. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Spain, Italy, France, Curacao, California, Tennessee, South Carolina, New York, Louisiana, Massachusetts and D.C. With most visits, I’ve had that little voice go off inside saying, “Wouldn’t it be neat to live here?” I’ve lived in Florida all my life, and I realize I love my state. There are no mountains here, and no snow ( though it did snow once in 1977 when I was 9 years old- lot’s of excitement that day). What I seem to love is our variety of birds, having dinner by the water across from our lighthouse, our state parks and beaches, our palm trees and the warm weather. I like the quiet of our sunrises and moon rises.  Some part of me knows ” Yes, Nat, I’m home.”  I have the blessing of being happily married, and the blessing of knowing all our kids have grown up to be good people and have something positive to inject into our crazy paced world of today.

 I also have the blessing of aging and choosing ( unlike my parents and many people in the world trying to leave a very bad situation) what place I want to call home now. It’s a good place to be… and that’s what strikes me as knowing I’m in the right “place.” No matter where we may go our family, our faith, memories,  our appreciation and love makes any place we may decide on, the right place to be.

Post Note: Day 175 146 Pounds Holding for the Holidays but have to have the Cookies!!

What Kind of Bells do You Hear?

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Have you ever had a hearing test? When I was a little girl, I had one and I told the man “I can hear a bell, but it’s not very loud.”  He smiled and I didn’t get it then, but I get it now. 1,2,3 strangely brought Poe’s “The Bells” poem to mind.  My English teacher engaged us by telling us it would be the most important poem to understand and apply to our lives. My memory muddled through to remember there were different kinds of bells ringing throughout life. There were the announcement bells of the joyous occasion of  the birth of a baby,  with a whole lifetime ahead. Then there were the bells that reminded one that time was running out and the bells go from the “tintinnabulation,” jingling, tingling bells to louder clanging bells. Finally the bells you hear are rusty, iron bells the loudest bells signaling the inevitable. As I revisited the poem, it turns out the ever clever, eccentric had four stages, but my memory recalled the three that I hold relevant.

When I ask myself what kind of bells do I hear, I have to listen carefully like I did for that hearing test. Just because I’m heading towards  the other side of the hill, doesn’t mean I hear those rusty, clamoring bells.  Sometimes life throws a lot of noise around in our heads, and we have to quiet those noises, so we can hear those soft, joyous bells of new opportunities. I so admire people like Tony Bennett who at 90 is still out there singing, and Betty White who interviews and advises people to get passionate about something.

I started this blog to get support from women who may be at the familiar crossroads of their life, the kids are grown, and most of our lives were spent with the privilege of nurturing others. In this transition, I realize, I neglected myself and feel way older than what I actually am.( And the airing of the Victoria Secret super model show doesn’t help by the way) Oh I can see you nodding and agreeing right now, am I right? I just change the channel or walk away- like a super model! I am learning to nurture myself, which is why I made this commitment to not only lose weight, but to figure out what I want to do next in this phase.I am training my ear to not listen to all the clamor , but rather to pick up the joyous bells of  the opportunity to reinvent myself. I look for new beginnings.  I enjoy writing, so this is a small step for me, but I hope to do something in the future to increase literacy with children.

When I look back to my first few blogs, I wrote about how hard it was for me to jog and my ankles hurt, I was out of breath. Now, I jog without a problem.  I go to the gym and challenge myself.  I reached my goal weight, and hear that “tintinnabulation” and now I’m setting new goals. Those loud bells are now like the bells in a boxing ring. Whatever challenges life brings on, I’m ready to swing!

Post note: I reached my goal of 147 pounds and I’m moving towards my new goal of 142.

My List of bells:

Alarm clock bells – boo!

Musical bells

Snow globe bells

Dinner bells- I’m always first to the table.

Wedding bells

Rocky Movie Bells ( I love those movies- I grew up with them)

The last set of bells I won’t be able to hear anyway, so no point in listening for those!