Journey to a Happy and Healthy Me

After my post about a week ago about about some changes I want to make, I decided that it was finally time to share this one.  This is a post that I’ve had saved as a draft for quite a while.  Every so often I’d go in and tweak it.  Or totally change things.  Even the title has changed many times.  A few times I almost deleted it.  But I’ve chosen to move forward with it.  Before you read any further though, you need to know that what I write, I write about me.  What’s best for me.  What I am choosing to do.  I am not giving advice – I’m certainly not qualified to.  I am in no way saying that others shouldn’t do what they feel is best for them.

Something changed in me when I was pregnant with my last child last year.  I realized that I really didn’t care anymore.  I didn’t care what others thought of me.  I didn’t care what society said I should do or be like.  What I did care about was that my children grew up healthy and happy with themselves.  And in order for them to do that I had to show them how.  And not just show them how, but actually BELIEVE it in myself.  I want them to be confident in who they are and whatever they choose to do.  That’s probably around the same time that I started paying more attention to all those positive self image ads that are around.  This one popped up in my FB news feed this week and I LOVE it – well the message, not necessarily the product they are selling.  lol.

Women are CONSTANTLY told how they should look.  And if they don’t look like that they should feel bad about it.  It has taken me YEARS to not only realize, but finally accept that I will never be a size 4.  Well at least not without some serious help that would include cosmetic surgery that I’m not interested in.  My body just isn’t built that way – even after you take away all of my fat layers.  I’m finally ok with that.  And do you know what?  I don’t want to be a size 4.  or 2.  or 6.  Numbers on a scale are just that – numbers.  And that same number can look different on everyone.

These women all weigh 154 lbs. or 11 stone. This is the average in the UK.

It’s not just appearance that women are given a hard time about.  We are also given a hard time about how we raise our kids.  If we choose not to breast feed we’re a horrible mother.  If we choose to breast feed well beyond a year we are a horrible mother.  If we baby wear we’re horrible.  If we don’t wear our babies then we’re not bonding.  If we put them in daycare we don’t love them enough.  If we keep them home we don’t socialize them enough.  If we put them in soccer, piano, dance, and hockey they’re too busy and don’t have time to be a kid.  If we don’t put them in anything we’re not expanding their horizons.  If we take them to McDonald’s we’re introducing a world of bad habits.  If we don’t take them to McDonald’s we’re denying them.  We can’t catch a break!

So I’ve decided that I really don’t care what others have to say, I’ve decided to start on a new journey for ME.  I thought I would share with you what my journey is going to be like.  Part of the reason I’m sharing this is to keep me accountable.  Part of the reason is so that I can show my children at some point that it is ok to do something for yourself. And part of my reason for sharing is to possibly give someone else that little boost to do something similar themselves.

The first part of my new journey is to try to disassociate with people who make me feel negative.  These might be people I know in “real life”, or they might be people I interact with on social media.  Some of these people you can’t get away from if they are co-workers or family members or the parent you see every day as you take your children to school.  But there are some that you can “get rid of” – unfriend them on Facebook, stop following their Twitter feed, NOT have coffee with them this week.  Other people’s negativity can rub off on you, and leave you not only feeling grumpy or frustrated, but can leave you feeling toxic as well.  That’s not going to help me on this journey to a happy and healthy me.  I’m looking for heath for my entire body including mental and emotional health.  So it’s time to say good bye to those Negative Nelly’s and not feel guilty about it.

The second part of my new journey has started a few times over the past few months.  I restarted this week and am determined to stick to it this time.  I have started following the C25K running app again.  This time I vow to keep going and not get discouraged and frustrated when I can’t run as long as I’m supposed to.  I have re-started following the Bikini Body Mommy 90 day challenges.  I’m starting with the first one this time.  I had started with the 4th one about a month ago, but was having a hard time with it.  Not because the workouts were too challenging, but because I started with 4 instead of 1.  It really bothered me.  I am attempting to choose healthier options to eat.  Though when I haven’t gone grocery shopping yet, it’s making it challenging.  I am choosing NOT to restrict what I’m eating.  I’m still going to enjoy all of those foods I like.  Like my large double double from Tim Horton’s this morning.  To be honest though the only reason I went to Timmy’s this morning is because I’m out of cream at home.  And the drive through sounded a lot better than taking my 10 month old out of the car and taking him into the grocery store.  Total laziness on my part.  This part of my journey is not to loose weight necessarily, but to encourage a healthy lifestyle.  If I shed a few pounds along the way great.  If I don’t, that’s ok too.  I’m not looking to give anything up, or be at the gym 5 hours every day.  Neither of those are what I want, but you better believe that I’m going to be enjoying a piece of cake for my husband’s birthday tomorrow.  Or 2.

The third part of my journey is to take more time for myself and be happy with myself and my choices.  I love my kids.  I love that I’m able to be home with them.  I love that my hubby is ok with me being home with them, but that also means that he works his ASS off at work.  Sometimes that means over time and not getting home until 10 or 11 at night.  So taking time for myself isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  I am trying really hard to get back to my paper crafting hobby.  It’s something I CAN do by myself but still be at home if hubby is working late or out of town.  It makes me happy and is a big stress reliever.  I’m also going to stop “listening” to all those nay-sayers about how we’re choosing to raise our children.  I’m going to stop feeling guilty about choosing not to nurse our children.  I’m going to enjoy ice cream for breakfast at McDonald’s with my daughter on our date (more about that below).

The fourth part of my journey is to share it with my kids.  They will come on the occasional run with me.  My 8 year old made the cross country team at his school this year and I have promised him that we will run in at least one race together this year.  I will re-introduce our “dates”.  For our dates each child decides what they want to do with me and we go do it.  It might be breakfast at McDonalds, or going to play laser tag.  It’s time that they get to spend just with me without competing with their sibling for my attention.  I’m going to make time to colour with them, and build lego with them.  I’m going to show them how to be happy and enjoy life even with all the stresses and shit that life can throw at you.

The fifth part of my journey is to document it.  Each and every week.  I’ll be using the My Crush book from Close to my Heart to document.  It has 60 pages, so I should be able to do the enitre year in there.  This is a great little book to document my runs, how we spent the day, motivational quotes, etc.  I’m also using one of these books to document my “40 by 40” challenge.  I’ve given myself a challenge to run in 40 races before I turn 40.  I need to get my butt in gear because I have less than 4 years to complete it and I think I’ve only done 5.  EEK!

Lastly I want to ensure that I’m enjoying life and believing in myself.  It’s too short to get hung up on the things you can’t change.  I want my kids to see that we’re enjoying life, and that we aren’t constantly worried about the “adult” stuff in life – bills, budgets, work, etc.  I want my kids to know that being healthy isn’t always about how you look.  There are so many other ways to be healthy too.  I’m going to continue to follow these amazing ladies on FaceBook as they make their changes to their lives.  They are taking totally different paths to what they want to accomplish, and I completely respect all of them.  I consider myself and my journey somewhere in the middle of theirs.  I love the motivation from all 3 of them and look forward to following their journey’s.  You can find Kristina at Decidedly Beautiful, Wendy at Passion for the Healthy Life, and Tara at Choose Happy.

While I’ve outlined quite a bit here today, there are still other parts of my journey that are missing.  I’m still not ready to share those yet.  Keep checking back those as I will share once it’s time.  I will also keep you posted with the progress of each of those goals of my journey.  🙂

Fall – A Time for Change

Many people look at fall as a time of change.  New school year.  Leaves on the trees change colour.  Days get shorter and colder.  But sometimes change is scary.  It’s something new.  The fear of the unknown.  The fear of failure.

This fall it’s time for a change for me.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while – possibly even years.  It is scary.  And I am afraid of failing.  I can’t fail if I don’t try, but I also can’t succeed if I don’t try.

I know this post is cryptic, but I’m not ready to show my cards yet.  Be sure to check back because I will keep you up to date on this new adventure.

What’s in a Word?

Skinny. Fat. Chubby. Chicken legs. Thunder thighs. Big boned. Fine boned. Double chin. Chunky. Tall. Short. Slender. Muffin top. Extra tire. Fine features.

All of these words are used to describe a person’s appearance, but does anyone like to hear them?  Why do these words end up defining who we are?  In highschool I would have been considered tall and skinny. Now if you asked me I would have never said I was skinny – I had a bit of a pot belly and I’ve always had “thunder thighs”. When I look back at some of those pictures now I can admit that I definitely was thin – too thin.  Fast forward 20 years and I’m now 80 pounds heavier (granted I’m still losing the last of my pregnancy weight – baby is 4 months old), and at this point I’m considered obese.  But BMI calculations doesn’t account for things like pregnancy or muscle even.  Most professional sports players are considered overweight or even obese based on the BMI scale.  So if a professional sports player can be considered overweight according to the BMI, why do we use that as a scale for what is considered healthy?

A couple years ago I went back to the gym and had a few sessions with a personal trainer.  He asked what my goals were.  I remember telling him that my ultimate goal was to get “fit” so that I could go for a run with my kids and not be gasping for breath.  I’d love to lose my love handles, but I wasn’t looking to be a size 2.  That’s not who I’ve ever been, so to think I could do that now would just be unrealistic – that’s just not how my body is built.  I remember him telling me that he was happy to hear that – that I had a realistic expectation.  He said too many people come in and expect to not only reach that unrealistic goal for themselves, but expect to do it in a short amount of time.  I mentioned earlier that I recently had a baby.  I’m a firm believer in “9 months up, 9 months down” when it comes to pregnancy weight.  So even thought I may be frustrated that none of my capris from pre-pregnancy fit, I keep reminding myself that my little man is only 4 months.  And I only have 7 pounds left.  And as much as I can’t wait for them to be gone, they also mean something.

There’s been many articles in the news lately about “fat-shaming” and a positive body image.  From Kelly Clarkson to PINK to the Dove campaign.  So why are these gaining so much attention?  I think people are finally realizing that the super skinny body isn’t always sexy – especially when it got that way in an unhealthy way.  And let’s face it – those super skinny models are only a small percentage of the population.  I recently read an article that France is going to implement a law banning super skinny models.  You can check out the article here.

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry – estimated at 60.5 billion in 2014.  Why is that?  Are we really that unhappy with ourselves?  Or is it because “someone” out there says we’re too fat?  I joined Weight Watchers 11 years ago after I put on 20 pounds in the month my dad passed away.  I was successful and I did lose weight.  However I only stayed with them for about 3 months.  Why?  Because I soon realized that I was paying someone else so that I could do something as simple as track my intake of food.  There are soooooo many other forms of weight loss out there – from diet pills to restrictive diets to purchasing your controlled food portions from a company and more.  I know of people who have dropped a TON of weight by severly restricting their food intake.  But those same people put most if not all of that weight back on when they went back to their normal eating habits.  And most of them went back to those habits because they were so unhappy and grumpy by the strict limits placed on them.  I’m a firm believer of eating from Canada’s Food Guide and eating proper portions and exercising.  I know you’re thinking “But Heather you said earlier that you are considered obese by the BMI”, and you’re right.  I am.  And just because I believe in following the food guide doesn’t always mean that I do.  I still enjoy a piece of cake at my kids birthday (or 2 or 3).  I still chose to enjoy my food, I just chose to (hopefully) make healthier choices most of the time.  I have also been tracking my food intake (including those 2 pieces of cake) on My Fitness Pal.  It’s very similar to the food tracking I was doing for weight watchers but it’s free.

I mentioned earlier about those last 7 “baby weight” pounds I had to lose and how they mean something to me.  They remind me that I was fortunate to carry our 3 children for a full 40 plus weeks – something that some women can only dream of.  It reminds me that I live somewhere where being considered obese is a problem – I don’t have to worry about when or where my next meal is coming from.  It reminds me that I do over indulge sometimes.  It reminds me to teach our children how to balance the good food with the bad.  It reminds me to make sure they know they can enjoy things in life.  it reminds me to enjoy time with my kids -even if that involves going for a run with them and having me run out of breath.  But most of all it reminds me to teach my children to love who they are not matter what.  The number on a scale is only that – a number.  It doesn’t define who they are.  Well unless your my 5 year old who is less than 4 pounds away from wishing enough to move up to a booster seat.  😉

I don’t ever want my kids use those words at the beginning of this post to define themselves.  I want them to think of themselves as smart, beautiful, worthy, intelligent, helpful, generous, humble, brave, kind, confident and more.  I will do whatever I can to ensure that.  And I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that they see those same things in others and tell those people.

This post has been rolling around in my head for quite a while.  And I have to give a quick shout out to my friend Teena.  She’s started her own blog and Facebook page about positive self image and loving your body. And after reading through her words I decided it was time to get this out of my head and out for people to read.