Friday, April 24, 2015

The Body Truth

Spring Break is Over...

It's that nasty time of year.  The slap in the face after Spring break that told us we didn't meet our first "hot bikini bod" goal of the year for that trip to Cancun.  The wake up call that one-third of the year has passed us by and we're just stumbling over our crash and burn off the wagon.  Now this may not be the case of everyone out there (gosh I hope so for the motivation that we all need!) but I can guarantee that these moods tend to come in waves throughout the year to hundreds of thousands and it shows very heavily in the articles and blog posts written.

Finding My Voice

A dear friend of mine recently posted an article to a weight loss group I'm a part of.  This blog post, found on, was written about swim suits and how we as women tend to look at ourselves.  How we react to our dressing room sessions as well as reacting to those out and about on beaches and at pools.  I have to admit that I read a lot of posts similar to this and nothing has really motivated me quite like this one.  Before you read on, I highly encourage you to read the blog!

After furiously nodding internally at this post, I decided to write a blurb in a Facebook comment on the post.  As I wrote, one word after another, I felt more and more sure of how I felt on the subject.  I'm still young to anyone that would ask, but I'm also 27 and I haven't had a "perfect body" since I was 20.  I have been through a lot of struggles that many can relate to and I just really felt an urgency to finally voice my opinion on the subject.

I've never been the person that responds as such before.  I have always wanted to write, but it's honestly rare for me to stumble on a subject that just hits me right in the gut and says, "say something."  The words that flowed from my fingertips are not ones I've heard often in the last several years through my journey of weight-loss and healthiness.  So I share my thoughts now in the hopes that they fall into the hands of those that could really benefit from hearing them.  And if the woman who wrote the blog post happens to read this, thank you for your words.  You've touched at least one person out there and made a difference.

Do I Have a Bikini Body?

Growing up, I loved spending every day possible at the pool during the summer.  I can't swim long distances and I never learned proper technique, but man I would be in the pool from open to close as many days as my mom would drive me.  After high school came the college girl tanning phase since I still couldn't really swim.  This phase is usually acted out with the skimpiest outfit available to minimize tan lines and maximize the tan.  And let me tell you, I had the body for it.  I'm 6 feet tall and back then I was a buck-fifty soaking wet.

Now that my age and wisdom have advanced a bit, I don't miss those days.  I've put on pounds, but most of them were comfortable pounds.  I remember a sweet old man I used to work with at at Wal-Martl.  A few years after I had moved on, I ran into him at a restaurant and stayed to visit.  I only remember one thing he said to me in the hour that I spent catching up.  He told me that I had put on some weight and it looked natural on me.  At that time I was still WAY smaller than I am now, but I had finally put on some curves rather than being the "Jolly Green Giant string bean" as I was so dubbed in grade school.

Everywhere we turn, women and even men are telling us that our size shouldn't matter anymore.  I wholly agree with this statement.  It's about who we are inside, what we strive for in our lives that defines us, not the number on the scale.  But when the topic of bikini season pops up, women still go scrambling for diets, gym memberships, support, and reassurance that they can fit in to the "itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini" just in time for the summer months.

The article written sparked my thoughts on self image, goals, and confidence. Last year, after several summers on the sidelines and away from pools, I finally managed to find a suit that just filled in all the right holes in my confidence.  I didn't go with something that covered everything up like I have something to hide.  It was a tasteful two piece that still made me feel sexy rather than embarrassed at what might be bulging out.  That moment when I was putting on something that FIT, not something to wiggle into 20lbs from now, was the happiest I had stumbled across in a long time.  I had just taken a breath of fresh air.  I felt that for the first time in years, I was comfortable with what I was going to wear in public at a pool.

Who We ARE Vs. Who We're Trying To Become

We should all love our bodies and dress the part rather than degrade ourselves with negativity and never purchase what we could ROCK regardless of weight, BMI, lumps, wrinkles, thigh gaps, or muscles.  We as women tend to purchase outfits or swim suits to strive for in a goal rather than to actually wear right away.  When we don't reach the goal or the desired size, it's damaging to our confidence and our esteem.

I'm all for setting goals and buying an outfit now and then to reward or motivate weight loss, but I feel it has gotten out of control.  Women rarely feel comfortable in their wardrobe from day to day anymore; whether it be a lack of money to buy new clothes that fits just right or the stubbornness of not wanting to give into whatever our current size is, we as women are feeding the goal rather than showing off what we've got to offer.  Living happy every day in your skin, in your clothes, with your hopes, dreams, and goals...  That's what life should be all about.  If you think you look great, and act like you look great, then it will just ooze out of your personality and attitude.

We too often forget the here and now in a journey and only focus on the goal that may never quite turn out the way we hope.  We need to take back our image and be comfortable with what we've got every step of the way instead of just focusing on what the end game will bring us.  I honestly believe that the power of beauty and confidence lies in every person.  It's just waiting there to be discovered and used.

So here's to those that have an outfit in their closet they're trying to fit in.  Here's to those who've fallen off the wagon and are scrambling back up.  Here's to those who have supplied motivation in their goals and achievements.  And here's to each of you.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dear Me 2016

Dear Me,

Well here we meet again, strangers in the night until that fateful day you open this to read about all your hopes and dreams put down on "paper."  I hope to not disappoint.

2015 held a lot of promise at the beginning of the year.  You were geared up and ready to take on the world, or your own body I suppose.  But day after day, the struggles from 2014 kept sneaking in and taking back over.

A bajillion doctors later, you've gotten 2 diagnoses and 2 surgeries were done. By the time you're reading this, you should be just blowing it out of the water again.  You'll be 8 months post op on your hip and you know what that means?  That means if you haven't gone out for a walk today, you need to get your tush off the chair it's residing in and get out there because you were born to move.  The itch and passion of just simply getting out there and walking has never left you.  And I can only hope for the healing to go fast and successful so that you can enjoy the weather again.  Enjoy the time alone.

Your hand will probably still be a hot mess by the time this reaches you on the first of January.  It's a slower recovery than your hip.  Just remember that you're doing all you can to work on that movement and flexibility.

As far as eating habits go, I challenge you to keep up the healthy habits that have found their way into your kitchen throughout 2015.  Keep up with the veggies, and the healthy recipes, and the occasional cheat meal because let's be honest... I know you love the occasional homestyle, full of calories, meal. :)

I truly hope that your head is still held up high and you're proud of how far you've come.  It's not about the weight in 2015.  It's about getting better.

So with that, I bid you a farewell until the fateful day we meet again and I hope you know how much I admire you for the strength shown in 2015.


Too many passions.

Some days I overwhelm myself with all the different passions I have for things in life.  Now I don't want to make that sound bad at all!  I think it's great that I have so many likes and loves in my life!  But it becomes a problem real fast because I just can't juggle them all.  After a while they begin to feel like chores rather than a passion and I just get burned out on everything.  This is the cycle my life has taken for about the last 5 or 6 years.  I was perfect at it when I was younger, finding the time for what I wanted, when I wanted it? Cake. But not anymore.

Blogging and writing have always been a hidden passion of mine.  I've always wanted to write a book.  I thought about going back to college for an English major.  (just because I'm crazy like that).  But because of all my different passions (along with all my current struggles), my blogging has come to almost a complete halt.  I am going to try everything in my power to work on this.  Even if I'm posting one sentence, I need to get back into the swing of things!  It's already almost 2 weeks into March and I haven't done my Dear Me post yet (but that's coming right after this post let me tell you!). 

Life throws curve balls and I'm catching them all as much as I can but the ball is dropping more often than I'd like.  Things that are urgent aren't getting taken care of in a timely fashion.  But things that just take up and waste my time?  I'll do it all day long! (i.e. my video games).  But my struggles with my hip and now my wrist are really starting to eat at me.  My love for things are just less important because everything hurts.  Even leaving the house has become a struggle if I don't have to do it for my paycheck.

I have lost a lot of friends over the last year and a half because of what I've gone through.  But I've made even more who have cheered me on through thick and thin.  I wouldn't be in the state of mind I'm in without my Shrinking Jeans ladies.  It's very hard to rise above all the bad.  And I'm not always perfect at it, but I am aware of it.  I may only have one nostril above water sometimes but someone is always there to pull me up just a bit to keep me going.

I'm grateful for the friends that have been true ones.  I am not quite grateful for all my physical struggles but maybe someday I'll understand it better.  I've dealt with issues and surgeries my whole life.  This year will be surgeries 8 and 9 and I'm only 27.  I know there are lessons to be learned in everything that goes on in our lives.  I just wish I were a little more into all my passions to see above the muck.  So, here's to attempt #481618156 at blogging regularly.  And a very big, very sincere thank you to friends and family who have stuck with me and helped me along the way.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Back from Sabbatical!

Well here it is, February 5th and I have no idea where the time went.  I did very poor with my blogging last year because of all my medical road blocks but I'm still dealing with them today.  So, time to pick myself up, brush myself off, and batten down the hatches!  I miss writing terribly and I've had so much to say but just couldn't find the energy or heart to say it.

New day.

So I'm sitting here with 2 very hungry puppies in my lap thinking about what to cover!  What is important enough to blurb about to catch you up?  What really mattered to me?  What milestones have I not recorded since November?

So I shall begin.

November was a particularly difficult month for me and honestly may have been why I stopped blogging.  You see, my apartment had become horribly infested with cockroaches and November was the month where I had to literally pack my entire house up for a month in order to have 2 fog bombs done.  It's February and I'm still not done unpacking because the whole situation was so unpleasant and draining.  Long story short, we still have roaches but it's much better than before and now we have a much more knowledgeable person handling the situation.  I've already seen a huge difference in the last 2 weeks.  *here's hoping for bug free living*  I honestly can't express the feelings of never being able to cook, food going bad, eating out all the time, etc.  It was my own personal hell.  Getting my kitchen back was all I wanted.

My living room before I had to cover it with blankets...

December brought the normal holiday stress.  I, being the cooking fiend that I am, decided I wanted to put on Christmas dinner for my parents.  So I did!  And it was lovely!  I surprised them with my Grandpa's caramel recipe.  I made everything from scratch.  And I had a BLAST doing it all!  But heaven forbid if someone should offer to help!  My kitchen's not even big enough for me!  So I enjoyed the company of my mother talking while I did all the finishing touches for one of the best dinners I've ever put on.

 My super awesome dining room table!

 My HUGE 20lb turkey that didn't quite fit in the roasting pan.

 The yummo innards!  Sweet lemons, onion, thyme.
 The professional way to carve a turkey!  Much better than just hacking at it!

 My plate! Homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green bean casserole, and a wild rice stuffing.

 My first pies ever. 

 It's just so darn pretty!

Caramel cooling... just begging to be cut and eaten!

January was fairly uneventful.  It blew right by me.  I tried a little harder on my weekly food prep.  I got a little more active in my kitchen on some nights and a little too friendly with eating out on others.  My challenge to myself for the year was to let go of numbers.  To be FREE.  I had originally planned on going a whole year without a scale and I decided that was a touch drastic.  But I will be sticking to the end of every month and no more.  It honestly wasn't hard to give up.  I told myself I was tired of looking at the number and that was that.  I didn't NEED to weigh myself at the end of January but I did out of sheer curiosity.  I didn't move a pound!  Down to the tenths!  Like I said... there was some eating out love during the month.  A bit more than I'd love to admit to.  but I was also finishing up 3 of my 6 weeks of physical therapy for my hip (more to come).  I'm not disappointed, but I was a bit shocked.

And so here we are.  3 months in a nutshell of vague but enough to fill in some blanks!

I will touch on my medical stuff but I don't feel like weighing the post down too heavily so I'll go easy!  I was finally referred to an orthopedist who got me a new MRI of my hip.  Lo and behold... I have a labral tear.  Now, if any of you were around when I first hurt myself (in late 2013!), I posted this little pic...

Now, I know what you're thinking!  How on earth could I have known??  Well, that's called listening to my body.  What I proceeded to do though... was let doctors walk all over me and tell me I'm fine.  Not so.  Thanks crappy doctors.  Anywho!  We got the MRI, I tried a steroid shot, that didn't work.  I was prescribed 6 weeks of physical therapy.  While I found muscle I didn't know still existed... It made my injury worse.  So here I am, with a hip surgery in the future (end of March) in hopes that the terrible statistics don't cast bad juju on my hip.  I have a very long recovery ahead of me, but I'm at the point where if I don't do anything, I'm stuck here as I am now.  This is the last attempt to repair it and from there, then I have to live with it.  Wow, didn't mean to sound so down!  I honestly do have my head up high and I'm looking forward to the surgery in the hopes that all will be well!  I am doing really well mentally with all my ailments which is extremely important.

All in all, there's a lot more to what's been going on, a lot more on my plate, but who needs the boring back story?!  Not you guys!  This post is dragging on as is!

So here I am.  February 5th.  Proud I've picked up the metaphorical pencil again to get my thoughts down on metaphorical paper.  Thanks for hanging in there and waiting for my next post!  I am going to try my hardest to stick with it this year.  It's a good therapy that I need to utilize with all that's going on around me :)

And so it begins again.