Sunday, March 1, 2015

I don't diet. I deficit.

I don't know about you but I have spent "almost" most of my life on a diet. You see I have that thing that a lot of women have called "if I am breathing then I must hate my body and diet". The mentality that my body was to be praised if it lost weight started at about the age of 12. I didn't even know my body needed to be smaller until I started receiving all the praises and accolades. The crazy thing about shrinking your body is people sure notice and boy do they want to tell you about it.
This was really just the beginning of the end for me and my body... torture ensued.

Diets from that moment forward (and in order):

*weight watchers
*not eating
*cigarette diet
* coffee diet
* diet coke diet
* slim fast diet
* take a crap load of supplements diet
* weight watchers
* way low calorie diet
* do not eat things you can't pronounce diet
*clean eating diet
*all raw foods diet
* smoothie diet
* weight watchers
* slim fast diet

I don't think I am missing any of my diet phases but there have been so many who really knows.   So what did all this dieting get me... the perfect body with the perfect body fat percentage. Nope. What it did for me was :
* the same 70 lbs.  lost and found over and over and over and over and over again.
*It got me a diagnosis of anorexia.
*It got tons of hair falling out and clogging up my shower drain.
*It got my menstrual cycle down to 24 hours.
*It got my hormones ALL messed up.
*It also made me an elitist douche bag who thought she was better than those around me eating "bad" food. All of those things sucked and made me hate life but  the worst thing dieting did for me was strain my relationships.

When people want to go to dinner and all you can do is panic, freak and cry because they chose a restaurant with carbs... well, lets just say that isn't a positive thing for a marriage. I was always taught that dieting meant you had self control, health, and a great body. I have never found dieting to cause rainbows, unicorns or tiny baby pandas.

But what did bring rainbows, unicorns and tiny baby pandas was the day that I  stopped looking at health and weight loss as magical and started looking at it from science and reality. There is this crazy word called "deficit".
So... now I deficit.

Did you know that if you want to lose weight you don't have to go on some crazy diet that you hate. You can eat a few hundred calories less than you burn and go into a small deficit. You can actually go into any size deficit that you want. I just choose the small one because... I HATE large deficits.
I also choose the small one because I am no longer in this race with my body to see how fast I can lose all my fat.

I have decided that diets are not the answer. I have decided that diets actually only slow down the process to real change... so I will just sit over here and deficit.


Friday, January 30, 2015

What if we followed the example of our tiny monsters

I have been watching women for years attempt to find balance between their fitness, nutrition and life. The thing that I personally loved doing (and I find other women do too) is hating myself. We don't call it "hating myself" but that is totally what it is. If I was watching my daughter live a life in a perpetual cycle of :

Wow I'm fat
hate myself
lose weight
can't maintain this
hate myself

what would I think about this... I would think "What the crap is wrong with her! Why can she not see how amazing she is!"
My monsters
What if... What if I decided to treat myself the way I would treat my daughters. What if I decided to love myself into health instead of hate myself into "health".

My kids can destroy a bedroom. They run downstairs and continue on with life like they didn't just let a tornado lose in their room. I  of course say' "Hey now monster go clean that mess up" ... they of course respond with "I can't!" You see the idea of that little body going and organizing and picking up every toy they own is just too overwhelming. Their reaction is normal, it makes sense because a lot of times when people get overwhelmed they melt down. I could make my little people totally insane by telling them over and over "go clean it."  That would get us no where... it would get us both coo coo for cocoa puffs.
The thing I have figured out after 5 kids is that they need ways to attack it piece by piece. When little monsters release tornadoes in their room  and  they say "I can't clean it mom" I actually believe them. I now respond with things like "go pick up all the clothes". The crazy thing is they come back and say "DONE! What next". My next step is to get up all the little things of torture out of the floor, "OK little monster go pick up all the Legos!" The crazy thing is they go do it AND they are in good spirits about it. They are very proud of their accomplishment. (See how we accomplished the same end goal with love and happiness NOT insanity and madness)
I have learned through my kids that sometimes we can't see how to attack the larger picture and we need it broken down into bite size pieces. What if instead of our same cycle of hate-diet-torture that we seem to love. What if instead of  assigning ourselves the perfect diet or the perfect gym schedule... what if we simply put it into bite size pieces.
What would happen to the crazy roller coaster of ours if instead of saying:
 "I am going to go from eating what I want and not working out to eating only whole foods and working out five days a week".
 What if we replace that all or nothing thinking with something more livable.
 "I am going from eating what I want and not working out to I will workout 2 days a week and try to add a vegetable everyday to my food."
What if we stopped the crazy cycle that has always failed us and just took bite size pieces towards health. What would happen if we decided to love ourselves slowly into good habits that would last a lifetime instead of making our health journey a series of diet cycles, expired gym memberships and self hate.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pictures, Pictures everywhere!

I am a picture taker! I love documenting my life and life going on around me. Taking pictures of food, kids, workouts,moments ... it's what I do.  The one thing I have noticed about most women, they hate getting their picture taken!

"Oh I look awful right now"

"Mandie, You better of not gotten me in that shot"

"I don't even have my make up on"

I have heard these statements thousands of times. If I didn't know the answer of WHY they feel this way, I would ask. However, I think the world at large knows why some women choose not to partake in all the pictures.  I remember living in that season of life where the camera was the enemy. I would dart, dodge, climb, crawl and scale rainbows to escape that dreaded lens. I did NOT want to document, for eternity, what I looked like. The question I have never been able to answer is: Did I not want to document so others didn't remember what I looked like? Did I not want to document so I didn't remember what I looked like?  I logically know that others already saw me, they knew what I looked like. You see, I was hiding from me. I didn't want to see what others saw. I didn't want to acknowledge my lack of health. I also didn't want to be faced with emotions of shame or guilt. *sigh*

It is such a tiny instrument to allow such power over us. To allow it to give us an answer to who we are: good or bad?  The problem with allowing this instrument to dictate to us what we are is, we would never see nor believe truth if we saw it. There are some of us who have been programmed to only see the bad in ourselves. Oh sure we can try a new eye make up and think "hey my eyes look good with that color", but we don't see the over all picture as acceptable. We feel the need to hide the overall picture, so others we don't see it because regardless of what we saw, we already deemed it bad.

You see, the camera isn't our problem. What we look like isn't our problem. We have to learn to love and accept our bodies where they are. Accepting ourselves where we are doesn't mean we don't want to change ourselves... it doesn't mean just staying stagnant. It doesn't mean not going to the gym.  What it does mean is being able to look at that wonderful, beautiful woman in the picture and know that regardless of her imperfect body... she is worth love, grace, and happiness. Her beauty is worth documenting with a picture.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ladies WHY?

The question that has been circulating in my head lately is WHY? …..We make time for caring for our families. We make time for being the best at  our  jobs. We make the time to take care of our homes. We make time for our kids to play ball, band, football, basketball, dance, etc.. We make time for date night with our significant other. Best friend has a life altering event… we make the time to go put out the fires!  We are like the Wal-Mart of people. We are a one stop shop, capable of doing it all! Well, we aren’t capable of all of it… the one thing that we seem to be incapable of is - taking care of us!

  Why do so many women feel that the best thing they can do for their families… let their health go? We have to let our guilt go ladies! It is OK to put ourselves on the list of “things to do”.
What good is it to give our families and our kids ALL of our time and energy, yet give our health the backseat. . You are giving your family EVERYTHING by taking the time to take care of your health. It is important to allow yourself the time to hit the gym, hit the pavement… whatever! I know you are going to tell me that you REALLY don’t have the time.. I call BUNK… We have the time for the things we want to make time for. You can walk right outside your door. You could buy some workout DVD’s and do it in your living room! A kettlebell. A couple dumbbells… coupled with youtube and BAM you have a serious workout.

We MUST MUST MUST put ourselves on the list of things to do and care for.. You ARE NOT being selfish… we must allow ourselves to put our health on the same plane that we put others we love… if we don’t… nobody else will! .

Saturday, March 8, 2014

    Like most people, my journey of weightloss and fitness guilt and
shame started as a child. I was never aware of “body image” as a child. I
never remember having positive or negative feelings about how I looked...
Until THAT day. The 4th grade playground. The girls playing tetherball
were talking about how much they weighed, and asking other girls what
they weighed. (Isn’t that what all 4th grade girls do?) I remember not
wanting to say my number because they were making fun of the girls with
my same number. I remember thinking, “why do they care what everyone
weighs? I mean seriously, isn’t that the least interesting thing about
them?” I think we can fast forward.  I was walking from the 7th grade
lunchroom minding my own business when a boy starts yelling under his
breath “Mandie’s fat”. I was shocked! I was embarrassed! I wanted to run
and hide under a rock! I kept running it through my head thinking, “why is
he saying this? I’m not fat.” Fast forward a few more years, 10th grade,  I
remember stopping by a fast food place with some friends to grab some
dinner when someone I didn’t even know walked up to me and said, “I’ve
noticed you’re putting on some weight in your stomach. You should
probably not order.” There I stood again shocked, embarrassed, degraded,
and I was thinking “why did he say this to me, I’m not fat”  But, you know
what happened that day? I didn’t order.
    What I learned through other people informing me of my body is if
you’re going to be a “good girl” in this society you need to allow your body
to be critiqued and judged by others. Then you should walk around hating
your body and living in guilt and shame over food.
     I married at the ripe old age of 18 and started having kids.  I
remember between pregnancy 2 and 3 that I wanted to get healthy. My big
question was “what does. that mean?” So, I bought all the vitmans I
could, and good ole Slim Fast. I drank 2 shakes a day with my mild
sensible dinner.  20 lbs. lost and then 20 lbs. gained back. I decided to try
Weight Watchers between baby #3 and #4. Over a few years time, I had
lost 70lbs. There I was, I had achieved all my heart’s desire… a size 6. Oh,
the bliss I felt. Well, I would have felt bliss if I wasn’t busy being tired,
cranky and trying not to pass out. I was eating around 1,000 calories per
day. I still hated myself. I still felt fat. I still wanted to lose more! Over
the course of the next few years I would slowly diet my way back up to
those 70 lbs. I had lost. Sigh.
     I decided to embrace being tired, overweight, and out of shape. I felt I
was old and I had properly taken my seat at the table of stereotypes.
There I was age 32, mother of 5, and I had completely given up. I just
stayed in that place of defeat and hate for a few years. After all, arent we
as women suppose to hate ourselves?  I felt it was normal. I just assumed
all women were exhausted. I assumed all women didn’t have any libido. I
assumed all women had mood swings. I assumed all 32 year old women
couldn’t hike a trail. I assumed all women struggled with blood pressure. I
assumed all women pulled up a chair of defeat to the table of guilt and
ate their salad like a good girl.  Thankfully, my story didn’t end there. Like
any good fairy tale ending, I had a prince(ss) charming. I never knew that
scrolling facebook would change my life.  I ran across a facebook page “Go
Kaleo”. She was talking all this “crazy” talk...Eat The Food.. Move Your
Body...Take Up Space…Love Yourself...Forget the Scale. I was sure she
was crazy, but my interest was peaked.  I become a student of this ETF
philosophy. If I were to fall into a coma the medical professionals would
have to keep me alive and healthy through a certain number of calories.
They would determine the amount of calories using a formula. They would
feed me 1675 calories through a tube to keep my organs functioning
properly, my body systems running, and my blood pumping. What if
they fed me less? I would be alive, but not fully functioning and
healthy. There would be “something” inside me not functioning to its
fullest ability. However, I would be alive. SO…since I’m not in a
coma, doesn’t it make sense that I will need more calories than that
to function properly?
     Our bodies will lose weight with any deficit. The goal of weight loss is
to lose weight AND keep all our systems functioning properly. So
many of us women have no idea how our systems have suffered.
Hormone imbalance, weight plateau (or gain), no energy, depression,
hair loss, feeling cold all the time, and the list goes on. If a person
eats 2000 calories per day, works out for 1 hour per day and has a
total calorie burn of 2500 calories per day...that person is in a 500
calorie deficit. This is the perfect storm for FAT loss.
The other perfect storm is eating 2500 calories per day while burning
2500 calories a day AND working out every day. You will not lose
weight, but you will lose fat. Your body will go through recomposition.
You will gain muscle but lose fat causing a lot of wonderful benefits to
your body. The more fat you lose, the more muscle you gain, the
HIGHER your metabolic function causing your calorie burn to go up
without any extra effort from you. This is what I have spent the last
year doing.
     Over the last year I have only lost 5 lbs.; however, I have reshaped
my body. I have lost fat, and gained muscle. Physically, I am a
completely different person. My hair is growing like crazy. I have real
nails for the first time in years! I’m off hormone cream. I have energy.
I am sleeping through the night. I have NO mood swings. My libido is
off the charts. Why wouldn’t you want this? Health is not a number on
a scale. SO many women walk around with the proper number, but
their hormones are crazy, their moods are wacky, physically they are
not healthy.
     When I decided to live for health, not numbers, my whole life changed.
I am in love with movement. I love weight training, cardio kick boxing,
cycling, walking, etc. I never thought I would ever say that. When I love
and care for my body… it simply responds back with good health.