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Thoughts on Body Image

January 26, 2012

I’ve never been too comfortable with my body.  I’ve never looked into the mirror and thought, “wow, I look fantastic.”  I have my days where I think I look better than average, like an 8 out of 10 for how good I could possibly look

(I think a 10/10 would require a whole team of professionals–hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, trainer, etc.)

And I have my days where I feel like a total fatass or like Queen Frump.  Sorry, no pic of those days! 

But for the most part, I get what I put in.  When I put in the effort, I get better results.  Especially when it comes to diet and exercise.  And by diet, I mean, the collection of foods that I eat over a large expanse of time, not a crash diet or fad diet that has a start and end date.  When I am working hard, it always shows.  I get muscle definition almost instantly in my legs and I lose inches from all over.  I consider myself a work-in-progress, and that’s okay.  I have to work up to my goals at my own pace, or else I will become discouraged and I have to know what all I am capable of in my current life situation. 

I have become increasingly disturbed about how we women always want to bring each other down.  Especially when it comes to body type.  I have probably been guilty of this at some point in my life.  Before I realized how much work it takes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, I was critical of others.  I hated on skinny girls and always assumed that they were like my sisters, naturally thin without putting in any time at the gym and without ever analyzing what goes into their mouths.  Now I know that the naturally thin are the exception to the rule, they are not the rule.  Most people with great bodies work damn hard to get there. 

bodyrock.  Zusanna is HOT!  and gives killer free workouts:)

#love it--my dream body!

working to look like this

When I see these bodies, I think “beautiful.”  Strong, sexy, confident, hard-working women.  Yet so many other women say things like “ew that’s too thin” or “she looks like a man” or “she is too obsessed with her looks.”  I don’t understand the negativity.  It is not easy to look like this, and it does not happen by accident.  A fitness regime and a strict diet (using my previous definition again) must be followed diligently. 

This is my idea of too thin and unhealthy

Not this

Image Detail

I think women of many body types are beautiful.

I wish we could all encourage and motivate instead of criticize, admire instead of put down.  Maybe this

isn’t my idea of my dream body, but it is for her.  And she deserves praise for it.  She worked extremely hard to get to that point.  Looking like this

is easy.  Yet why is it more socially acceptable to criticize all of the previous pictures than this one?  Food for thought.

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Daydreaming

January 25, 2012

Hello!  All 3 kids in bed, asleep by 8:00–  SUCCESS!!

I am completely obsessed with Kate Bryan and her hair tutorials.  I.wan.t.her.hair!  I seem to have lost all hair styling ability in my 20’s.  I used to spend a significant amount of time on my hair in high school to get it just right and I guess the “use it or lose it” saying also applies to my hairstyling talent.  Or lack thereof.  My hair is the longest it has ever been in my life, down past my shoulders.  So of course I want to cut it.  I love the look of long, loose waves.

 

Celebrity Long Wavy 2012 Long Hair Styles 2012

^^This is the same length and almost the same color as I have right now, only it rarely looks this cute.  Do I cut it?  Let it keep growing??  Decisions, decisions.  I do know what color I want next:

❤ it. 

I used to be an impulsive hair-cutter and color-er, and if I was me from 10 years ago, the change would have been made.  It’s a bit more difficult now to coordinate a day and time around my husband’s busy work and school schedule.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post a pic of my new ‘do sometime next month! 

Are you impulsive about anything?

I haven’t gotten to my workout yet today, despite Callen taking two naps for the first time, ever!  (Cooking and cleaning and homework dominated all of that time.) I honestly want to make a fresh Belgian waffle and enjoy it sitting on the couch, watching a movie.  Unwinding.  I’m not sure which would feel better, that, or a tough workout.  I’ve been feeling a little burnt-out lately and really, really missing adult interaction at work.  Most days I don’t get to see anyone outside of my immediate family and it can be very lonely and isolating.  I live in a town of less than 3000 people, so there aren’t many things to do, period, let alone in the winter!  I’m really missing all of my former co-workers and customers at the bank.  But, on the other hand, I don’t miss the rushing.  As a working mother, my mornings were spent rushing to get everyone dressed and fed and out the door on time, then rushing home to cook dinner, rushing everyone to get a bath and in bed.  I think many stay at home moms wish they were at work every day while many working moms wish they were at home every day.  I’ve done both, and each has its pros and cons.  But for now, I am very glad I get to see this all day, every day.

🙂

Case of the Mondays!

January 24, 2012

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I’ve felt so overwhelmed today and it’s only Monday!  Good news, I’m officially 20 lbs down from the day after I had Callen.  I’m not as excited as I have been in the past about that number, but glad to know all of my hard work is paying off.  I still wouldn’t say I’m giving 100%, more like 75% right now, given my limited food budget and extremely hectic life right now!  I have until the end of August to get my upper body and abs in awesome shape so I can look good in this:

I’m a bit of an apple-shaped girl, always losing from my thighs and hips before I lose a single inch around my waist.  It will be a challenge to look good but I’m feeling pretty confident about what I can do 🙂  I’ll be one of nine bridesmaids and I’ll be damned if I look like the one who has 3 kids!

I’m not really feeling extra chatty today and I have a nutrition book to read so I’m off to bed! 

 

 

 

Meal-Planning Blues

January 21, 2012

Happy Friday 🙂

Ever since I’ve become a stay at home mom, all the days just kind of run together.  Half the time I have no clue what day it is, and my husband having days off during the week just adds to my confusion. 

I sat down earlier today, in hopes of making out a meal plan for the next week so I can get groceries on Sunday.  I wish I could be one of those people who can just throw together a week or two’s worth of meals together in an hour or less.  I’m just not that organized and I tend to get distracted easily. SQUIRREL!  I have to make sure my husband has something he can eat rather quickly at work, and enough food to tide him over for a 12-hour shift.  I have to account for Mr. Plain, aka Peter, who does not like any flavors outside of bland and will NOT touch anything green in hue.  If he thinks it’s nasty, then Riley will also refuse to eat it, although I think she would like most things.  She’s a stubborn little thing.  And then there’s the different tastes between my husband and me.  I love bell peppers, spinach, whole grain flours, larabars, eggplant parmesan, and easy things just thrown together (like a bowl of oatmeal and not a 3-course meal); he does not.  He likes seafood, fish, onions, hard-cooked eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and plain steamed veggies; I do not.  And as much as he will deny it, he does not like eating leftovers.  I want to feed my family nutritious food but I also have a very small grocery budget and I cannot buy groceries like I used to buy them a couple years ago, when we still had the nice Army paycheck.  So you can see my dilemma here.  I feel like every week, we eat the same things.  Or at least every month.  Homemade pizza, lasagna, baked chicken, grilled chicken, tacos, ham, eggs, etc.  Same ‘ole stuff.  I’m feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it.  Do you meal-plan?  Have any tips for me?

My sister suggested searching on Pinterest but I’m always drawn to things that should definitely, never, ever, get in my belly.  Case in point:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough CheesecakeCheesy Chicken Ranch Lasagna

 

Pinned Image

Ohhhh the cheese and butter and flour combinations…

Besides that, my husband did something in typical husband fashion today.  Send him to the bookstore to buy his books, and he comes home with this

He is SO not allowed to go shopping by himself anymore 😉  He’s been looking to trade in his truck for quite some time now.  The gas mileage was killing us and we couldn’t fit 3 carseats in the back very easily at all.  Plus a laundry list of other problems…not our problem anymore!  I’m excited to start off the new year saving at least $200/month in gas.  I miss the days of $0.99/gallon.  Think we’ll ever see them again?

Instant Gratification

January 19, 2012

Hello!

I thought I’d make a quick post before I pass out for the night.  Callen was up at 4:30 this morning and incidentally, so was I!  I don’t think I’ve gotten up that early in 10 years, when I worked a 6-2 shift.  I”m a little surprised I didn’t crash mid-day.

I can’t believe January is more than half over.  This is usually the time of month when I lose steam with my eating and my workouts.  I let one bad choice lead to another, and quickly undo 3 weeks of hard work with one really bad week.  It always starts when I see that I have lost X amount of weight or inches and I think I can go into maintenance mode instead of continuing to lose.  I think my scale breaking (apparently having kids jump on and off of it can lead to this..) might be the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I used to be a compulsive weigher.  I’d do my morning weight, stark naked after going to the bathroom, as the one that “counted.”  Then I’d weigh myself randomly throughout the day.  I’d weigh before and after workouts, expecting a change to occur right away.  Run 10 miles?  I must have lost 2 pounds today! 

Obviously this kind of behavior is not healthy.  It’s really hard to stop a compulsion until you no longer have access to it.  Like my Facebook addiction on my phone…it’s really out of hand sometimes.  Just checking it every 5 minutes, whenever I get two free seconds.  If I can’t do it I feel restless and anxious and I really think I have lost my ability to just sit back and relax.  I must be doing as many things at once as possible to feel stimulated.  But I digress, it was definitely a problem I had with the scale.  I’d get frustrated when I didn’t lose 5 lbs after a week of hard workouts and get discouraged.  I’d measure myself once a week and not see any changes.  I’d feel like a failure. 

I think it took me til now, at age 27, to realize that the numbers aren’t indicative of all areas of progress and should not be measured very often.  At least for me and my sanity. I’ve gone from barely being able to do 5 girlie push-ups to being able to do 80 or more throughout the day and not feel very sore the next day, just tighter.  My core is regaining its strength after being stretched out for the third time.  I’m seeing muscle tone and definition in my legs again.  My pants are now loose enough to pull of without unbuttoning them.  The very same pants that I could not even get to button four months ago.  I may still be about 40 lbs from where I’d like to be, but hey, I’m pretty sure 10 lbs of that is in the girls 😉 

I’m really proud of myself so far this month.  I use the myfitnesspal app on my phone and log everything I eat and all of my workouts.  Based on my height and weight, I need around 2300 calories a day to maintain my weight.  When I put in that I wanted to lose 2 lbs a week, it lowered my calories to 1300.  1300 is the net amount, so if I do a hard run that burns 700 cal, I eat 700 more calories in the day, and I give myself 400 per day to keep up with my milk supply.  Since December 5, I’ve lost 2 inches from my bra line, 2 inches from the smallest part of my waist, 2 inches from my hips, and a half an inch from each thigh, and I’ve had no problems with the little guy getting enough to eat so I’d call it a success.  I don’t really care what the scale says and it is so sad to me to see other women beat themselves up for that number, or get really excited for a big number one week and feel like a fatass after a small loss the next.  I feel like everyone needs to experience the clarity I feel without having a scale in the house.  I no longer obsess over that number and I can really concentrate on the subtle nuances I feel without ever second-guessing myself.  Instant gratification isn’t ever going to be my reality, but a couple inches a month sure can be if I stay consistent.

Lessons Learned

January 15, 2012

Something about the first chill of the fall just makes me want to throw down in the kitchen.  Some nice good home-cookin’ and not the healthy kind, either.  Potato soup, apple crisp, cookies, muffins, breads; you name it, I’m baking it!  My love of comfort foods sure added to the 40+ lbs I gained during my third pregnancy.  I still get the urge to bake when it’s cold outside, and being the impulsive person I am, I baked some chocolate chip cookies on the first snowfall on Thursday.  The yummy Tollhouse kind.  I think I ate maybe 7 or 8 that day 😦  Feeling extra guilty, I put all remaining cookies in a container and stuck it in the freezer.  Out of sight out of mind, right? 

Wrong.  Whenever I have something delicious in the house (read: full of sugar and/or chocolate) it is ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT.  I thought about sending the cookies with my husband to work, which I’ve done many times in the past and I’m sure his coworkers are all appreciative.  But the devil on my shoulder told me to keep them, to test my willpower and to give myself the occasional treat.  Folks, those cookies are now all gone.  And my stomach feels all yucky and upset 😦 

No more baking for Tangy.  No more, no more, no more!  Something that has helped me in the past when I got the overwhelming urge to bake cookies is to have a bowl of “dessert” oatmeal.  Basically, a bowl of oats with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips.  Totally delicious and portion-controlled!  Plus way less sugar and no white flour .

I did a short, 8 minute crossfit workout this morning that was very energizing!    It consisted of :

7  rounds- 7x burpees, 7x sit-ups, 7x jumping jacks.  I did it in 8:19.  I feel like that was such a short workout, and while I was breathing heavy, it was not super-intense, so I’m off to complete something else.  I’d love to do my Jari Love strength training dvd tonight while I can actually get an hour to myself, even if it means staying up past midnight.  I always feel like I get such a great workout with her dvds!  Good night!

15 Things I’ve Learned From Being a Mom

January 14, 2012

Becoming a parent is the most life-changing experience I’ve ever experienced.  There’s no book that can prepare you for what to expect or what you should do in every situation.  When I became a mother, I was 21 years old, a newlywed, and a new Army wife.  My husband left for basic training less than three weeks after our wedding.  After he finished AIT, we moved to Fort Hood, Texas, 1000 miles away from home.  I had to adjust to being married, being pregnant, and going from civilian to Army life in a brand new place.  Six weeks after our son Peter was born, my husband left for a 15-month deployment to Iraq.  I was still a very young girl, and now a mother, all alone, not knowing anyone besides our upstairs neighbor.  Needless to say, I had to grow up fast.  I’ve made mistakes, I’ve had some great moments, but most of all, I’ve really grown as a person and learned way more than I would have in any classroom.  I wish I could have known some of these things from the very beginning.

1.) The illusion of the perfect parent does not exist.  For me, for you, or for anyone else.  None of us really has a clue what we’re doing at times, and there’s a lot of “winging it.”  If someone’s life seems impossibly perfect–there’s a reason for that.  Especially on blogs or on Facebook, where a few pictures and some cute stories seem to paint the perfect picture.  There’s always going to be tears, meltdowns, and frustration behind the scenes.  For parent AND child.  Anyone who tells you having a child is all sunshines and rainbows is flat-out lying to you.  It’s not awful by any means, but it does get extremely challenging at times.  Luckily, kids are pretty cool and the sweet moments always outshine the hard ones.

2.) You will do things you said you’d NEVER do.  I’ve cleaned dried-on food off my kids’ face with spit and my finger.  I’ve spanked.  I’ve forgotten to eat for almost a whole day.  I’ve let them eat junk food at Grandma’s house, and I’ve even let them eat cake for breakfast.  It happens to the best of us. 

3.) You will realize how much free time you USED to have.  Seriously, if you asked me at 19, I would have told you I was the busiest person on the planet.  I was working full-time, going to school full time, and also living with my husband, when he was still my boyfriend.  I felt burnt out.  My apartment was a mess.  Yet, I still had the time to watch my favorite shows and go to the mall.  I went out with friends on the weekend.  I had oodles of free time in between semesters.  Which leads me to…

4.) You become more efficient after each child.  I still have to do all of the things I had to do before I had kids.  I still have to go grocery shopping, pay the bills, pick up my house, do the laundry, work on school work. But I also have to take care of three children.  I don’t have more hours in the day, but I have learned to make the most of my time. 

5.) Everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know will be an expert, giving you parenting advice.  Warrented or not.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told what I should be doing with my kids.  Strangers especially like to give their two cents on how my children should be dressed.  On a winter day, “make sure you bundle up that baby!”  DUH.  On a summer day, “you should have a hat on that child!  It’s too windy!” 

6.) You can have your boy in head-to-toe blue with a onesie that says “Daddy’s little man” and people will still ask you if your baby is a boy or a girl.  And vice versa. 

7.) There will always be people who think you are doing it wrong.  Always, always, always. I had no idea there was such a controversy and such passion behind such issues as Breastfeeding vs Bottlefeeding, Vaccinations vs Not Vaxing, Circumcision vs Not, etc, etc, etc.  The only right way is to do what feels right to you and works for your lifestyle.  I tend to follow the tenents of Attachment Parenting, but not all of them.  Not because I read about them first, but because I did what felt right and what worked for me, like nursing and co-sleeping.  It wasn’t like I had a husband at home to help or to object, and it’s kind of convenient to have your baby right there for midnight feedings. 

8.) The best toys are not toys.  It’s so true that kids would rather play with the box a toy came in than play with the toy itself.  Kids love cell phones, but only real ones that call people when they press the buttons 🙂  Spatulas become magic wands, socks become puppets, and underwear becomes a super hero mask.  I’m not even kidding.

9.) You will master the art of selective hearing.  While I was pregnant with my third child, I worked as a Personal Banker at a local bank.  I was opening an account for a couple who had brought their young, unruly children with them into my office.  I smiled at them and gave them stickers and suckers while getting all the necessary info from their parents, and I became totally oblivious to the amount of noise they were making and to them running around the room.  After they had left, my (childless) boss came into my office from her’s behind me, just so upset and stressed out because she couldn’t focus on her work with all the commotion.  She asked me how I could concentrate under such conditions, and I looked at her like she was crazy.  I could vaguely remember a little noise, but I realized I had just blocked it out.  I can usually have a normal conversation with my husband despite the chaos 🙂

10.) The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is so true.  You cannot afford to be a loner when you’re a parent.  There will be times when you can’t do everything for everyone or when you get sick and need help or when you can’t be there to give your child a ride from one place to another.  You have to reach out and find people who can help.  It took me almost a year at Fort Hood to realize this. You aren’t going to meet people by never leaving your house.  You have to search.  If you’re a shy, quiet person like me, you have to get over it and get friendly.  You might meet another person at the playground, at work, at the grocery store, at the gym, at church, at a barbeque–it doesn’t matter, just get out there and meet people, and don’t stop until you find someone you trust that could help you out in a pinch.  It isn’t ever worth putting your child’s safety at stake or not doing something important for yourself just because you don’t know anyone.  Get to know someone.

11.) It’s okay to ask for help.  Just because you can do it does not mean that you always should.  I thought it would be common sense that I might need a break now and then (even if it was just to go grocery shopping by myself) after my daughter was born.  My son was two years old and my husband went on a 12-month deployment six weeks after my daughter was born.  I didn’t ever ask anyone for help, because I knew I could handle it and because I thought people would see my situation and offer to help.  No one did.  I regret never letting people know how vulnerable I felt.  All they ever saw was the strong image I chose to portray, as the girl who had it all together and could handle anything.  Even the strongest people appreciate a kind gesture or a few hours of kid-free time.  You shouldn’t feel bad or guilty for wanting to have some time to yourself.  I have recently started asking for help more often.  I like it.

12.) Don’t forget about YOU.  I’ve lost my identity of Tangy many, many times.  I’ve just become mom for months on end.  It isn’t healthy.  Take care of yourself.  Physically, mentally, and spiritually.  You’ll be a better person and a better mother for it.  For me, it means fitting in regular exercise, eating well, dressing in clothes that are not my husband’s old t-shirts, and putting on makeup.  This is still a work in progress for me.

13.) No matter how many times you clean your house, it will just get messed up again.  Let the little things slide.  And do NOT invest in any furniture you absolutely love, or anything for that matter, until your kids are older.  They will destroy it.  My couches have ink stains, my dining room table was scratched with scissors, my chairs have been broken from being knocked over too many times. 

14.) The day after Christmas = the most stressful day of the year.  The kids have just spent the last couple of days getting spoiled at all 6 Christmases we went to, they’re coming off a sugar high, and it’s a big dissapointment to have it all be over with.  You almost need an engineering degree for the crazy amount of wrappers and packaging to free the toys and to assemble them. There’s a bunch of new toys to put away in an already crowded bedroom, batteries to track down, new clothes to wash, new movies to watch, and new books to read.  And they want to play with everything all at once. 

15.) You never realize how much you can love someone. I’ve never really been a kid person, but your own kids are totally different, even different from the love you have for your nieces and nephews.  You fall in love with this perfect little person who becomes the center of your life, and everything you do from that moment on suddenly carries an importance that was not there before. 

There’s no love like the love a mother has for her child(ren) ❤