Mind Over Matter (Even if the Matter is Your Butt)

Yesterday, I woke up happy. In fact, I felt great. I took note that my skinny jeans (which are a little too tight) felt pretty good and not-so-tight. I was happy with my outfit choice and I looked and felt refreshed.

Feeling ambitious, I stepped on the scale thinking I must have lost a few pounds to feel so great (the issue is already clear).

Well, to my shock, I had actually gained four pounds from two days prior. Four pounds. Huh.

I tried not to let it bother me. But, it did. I kept thinking, “How could I possibly have gained weight? I have been eating healthy. I missed a few workouts, but had an active weekend. How could it be possible that I’m getting fat?” (Fat… from four pounds… really? You can see how the issue is building.)

Within an hour, I found myself reaching for a muffin.It doesn’t matter,” I thought. I’m gaining weight when I eat healthy so why not eat a muffin. Why bother trying?

I didn’t drink that much water. “Puh, drinking extra water clearly doesn’t help my fat-butt anyway and I’m tired,” I said to myself. So, I relied on coffee for most of the morning and found myself nearly falling asleep at my desk after lunch.

Around 3pm, tempted by trail-mix in the break room, I caved. I gobbled down the trail-mix with the lingering, Why bother? You’re getting fat anyway,” thoughts in the back of my head.

By the time I left work, I was tugging at my too-tight jeans and wallowing in self-pity because I felt gross.

We ate dinner as a family and, instead of playing with the little dude, I put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the TV because I was too tired to do anything else. I mindlessly munched on chocolate chips and spent the evening on my laptop.

By the time I put my tiny guy to bed, I couldn’t wear my skinny jeans anymore because they were so uncomfortable. I ate more chocolate chips.

I put on baggy jammies and went to bed disappointed, down, grumpy, and feeling exhausted.

All because the scale said, “You gained four pounds.”

I took a perfectly good start to the day and let my own perception of what an extra four pounds meant create negative self-talk, dictate my food choices, impact my activities, and result in a pretty awful day.

It’s sad and unfortunate.

Don’t be like me. If you feel good, embrace every part that feels good. If you don’t feel good, don’t let negative thoughts impact your choices or drag you down. You can feel better with good decisions, a little positive thinking, and some movement.

Mind over matter does work – both ways. Choose the positive way.

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Image Source.

The Thief of Joy

Recently, I wrote a little post where I described how I had aspired to be like a few fantastic women I admire. While in that case, the comparison of myself to them resulted in a very positive outcome, I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes comparison can be more destructive than constructive.

Long gone are the days of occasionally running into someone, noticing how her hair is always perfect, and deciding to copy her style at your next salon appointment. No longer do we randomly hear about a successful college acquaintance and secretly wish for a snazzier title or bigger paycheck. No, these instances don’t just happen every once in a while anymore. Thanks to social media, we get to see how fabulous everyone else is every single minute online. And what’s worse is that we likely seek out this comparison.

How many of us go online to Facebook or Twitter and repeatedly stalk the same handful of people thinking, “She’s got it all,” “I wish I had his job,” “I wish I had her body,” or some variation of ‘she has what I don’t’?

I do it. I can’t tell you how many times I look at blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook profiles and wish that something about myself was different. But, there’s a point when being motivated by someone else turns to jealousy and poor self-image.

Here’s the problem: we all post the best versions of ourselves on the internet. We don’t usually post when mess up at work, when we gain five pounds over one weekend, or when we yell at our dogs because we’re stressed out.  (Sorry, Barley…mommy didn’t mean to snap at you.)

It’s a lot more common to see, “I just ran four miles!” than, “I just watched four hours of FRIENDS reruns and ate a box of Thin Mints!”…. but don’t both things happen in our lives? We’re all struggling to be successful, to be good people, to have it all.…whatever that may mean to each of us. But remember, we’re also all struggling with challenges and sometimes just dealing with the mundane.

While it’s easy to get caught up in what we perceive others to have and dwell on what we don’t, it’s important to stop the comparison. We each need to appreciate the success, the great experiences, and the exciting times of life that we’ve enjoyed ourselves.

I recently read a couple of articles that had great ideas for how to keep yourself from spiraling down into the clutches of comparison. I’d encourage you to read them as well: How to Escape the Comparison Trap and Comparison is the Thief of Joy: Thoughts on Social Media.

Whether or not you take a minute a read the articles above, know at least one thing:  When you find yourself slipping into ‘I’m not good enough’ speak, remember that the person you’re comparing yourself to and you believe to be perfect is not. She likely spends time doing exactly what you’re doing. In fact, she may be looking at your profile wishing she was more like you…..

via Pika Land

Thankful Thursday: Body Image

Okay, I’m gonna take a deep breath and say it.

I Like My…Body.

Whew. I said it. And I mean it. This.Is.Big.

I don’t think I’ve ever said that before and meant it. Not once in my entire life. Not post-marathon, not post-triathalon(s), not in Playa when I was the skinniest I’ve been since high school, and not even on my wedding day when I’ve never felt more special. I have finally accepted my body for what it is and I love it.

I realized this the other day when writing out my NYR list. One of the biggest reasons I feel so at peace and balanced right now is all the pressure to be thinner, faster, prettier, or taller is gone. It just vanished.

Seven and half months ago, this was not the case. I was obsessed over the chicken wing flab that peaks out from under my arms and I hated the infamous donut roll that has resided on my mid-section. I was constantly worried about the six extra pounds I was carrying around. I wished my hair was long, wavier, blonder, more brunette, shorter, or anything but what it is. I thought my eyes were too close together and my teeth weren’t white enough. And how come when I smile I get insta-double-chin? What is that? Oh, and my thighs! Puh! I’ve had thunder thighs since I started playing soccer in junior high and I can top those off with a bubble butt.

WOAH.

Isn’t that the worst way possible to look at your own body? Could I be any more negative? I’ve gone over that list of self-imposed woes for years. YEARS. I can’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t point out something that was wrong with me.

Getting pregnant did not solve any of these issues. I have been complaining about my weight gain during my pregnancy as just another item on my long list of terrible things about myself. And I can surely tell you about the physical pangs of being pregnant. However, a little discomfort is to be expected when you’re carrying around 30 (gulp) extra pounds and it’s all parked in one location.

So recently, I vowed to no longer complain about weight or the size of my belly and to embrace the bump. And now, I’m amazed at what my body can do. I’m shocked that I can change shape so dramatically, still be psychically active, and actually feel really pretty. I love that my spouse (who has repeated for years that he likes my body just as it is) wraps his arms around me and rubs my belly and I don’t succumb to an instinctual urge to suck in my gut or flex my muscles.

I love this shape and I especially love my bump because I eat healthfully, I work out, and I’m growing just as nature intended. The ‘Ah-ha!’ moment occurred when I realized that sentence applies to the rest of my life, too. A little over seven months ago, I ate a balanced diet and worked out somewhat religiously. The body I had then was a result of nature and healthy habits. It was no less beautiful and no less functioning (even more functioning when it came to physical strength) than it is today.

So, WOMEN, listen up. Look at yourself and LOVE your body. It can do AMAZING things. Maybe your tummy isn’t as flat as the girl next to you or you’re six inches shorter than the woman that most people describe as beautiful. Maybe you’ll never look like Jennifer Aniston (sigh) and maybe your eyes could be about a quarter-inch further apart. But you need to LOVE every little piece of it.

Because they’re your eyes, they’re a really pretty blue, and they give you sight. Your short stature allows you to stand up and stretch your legs on an airplane even when stuck in the window seat. A little bit of love handle gives you a shape that is uniquely yours. And, most importantly, your body lets you think, love, feel, breath, and touch the world. We should all be thanking the universe, and our mothers, for our bodies – no matter the shape, size or perceived flaws.

Today, I am thankful for my body for the first time ever and I owe it all to a little man I haven’t even met yet.

via Quote Book.

Happy Thankful Thursday!

Daily Affirmation

I’m not really sure what happened to Monday; it whizzed by in the blink of an eye and posting just didn’t happen. So sorry, my sweets!

Every once in a while we all need a little help to be motivated. Some folks turn to themselves for that motivation in the form of daily affirmations. I’ve never actually tried to do a daily affirmation, but after watching this video, I think there just might be something to them…

This little gal’s video made me smile, laugh, and envious of her energy and positive self-image. As we get older, pressures of society impose standards on women including what to look like, where to live, what job/career status to have, what family life should be like, and what materials one should own. It’s easy (and very common) for women to look at themselves in a mirror and focus on everything negative – seeing only what they mistakenly believe they’re not instead of embracing all of the amazing that they are.

I think we can all take a lesson from this little lady – look in the mirror and list off all the positives. Remember: You can do anything!