Loving Myself As Is

heartcondemnsus

It creeps in.  Those thoughts of “you’re not good enough.”  “Look at her.”  “She does a better job.”  “You need to try harder.”  “You’re not enough.”

It can be about anything.  Parenting.  Natural living.  Finances.  Appearance.  Health.

Oh… that word.  Health.  So many different meanings.

When I say that word, what do you think of?  Eating fruits and vegetables?  Eating organic?  Drinking lots of water?  Working out?  Counting calories?  Loving yourself?

What?  You don’t think of loving yourself when you think of health?

I don’t either.  Well, at least until today.

I have been counting calories for 5 weeks.  I have lost a total of 6 pounds.  And then gained 2 back.  So I guess, really, only 4.  I have been so focused on weight loss that I have been beating myself up constantly.  It has caused me great amounts of anxiety.  This is the opposite of what I was hoping for.

You see, I thought that by counting calories and working out 5-6 days a week, I would be healthier.  And physically, I probably am.  But my focus has been on weight loss so much that I have caused myself to be sick.  Sick mentally.  Sick emotionally.  Sick spiritually.  Sure, at first I felt oh so good.  But when I didn’t see the pounds come off quickly, I began to beat myself up constantly.  Negative self-talk.

I have literally been walking around loathing myself because my weight wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

How healthy is that?

It’s not healthy, and I am making a change.

Sure, my doctor wants me to drop some weight.  Is it happening?  Sorta.  Not much.  Could it still happen?  Potentially.  But I cannot focus on that number any longer.  I cannot focus on numbers, period, anymore.

My Fitness Pal can be a great tool for weight loss and health.  But for me, it brings on anxiety.  It stares me in the face and says,”you didn’t do enough today.”

Instead, I have decided to embrace my pudgy belly.  It is what it is.  I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  In His image.  My belly has housed 3 amazing children, and it enjoyed a donut today.  I’m okay.  I want to love myself “as is,” and if I’m constantly focusing on changing who I am, then I will never be able to.

Today, I am deciding that even if nothing changes, I am okay.  I am loved.  By my creator, and so many of his creation.  I have been greatly blessed with a husband that sees the beauty in me every day.  Children who see a mama that loves them and would do anything for them.  Friends who come to me when they need an ear to listen and who are always there when I need the same.  Life is more than the number on the scale.  It is more than the size of my pants.  It is beautiful.  And I am, too.  And so are you.

Being healthy involves loving yourself “as is.”  Do you?

The Importance of Self-Care

self-care

“What is your plan for self-care today?” my out-patient therapist asked every. single. day. after I would share.  I cringed inside because I felt as though admitting that I truly needed self-care was selfish.  I didn’t feel as though I had time for self-care as my goal each day was to take care of my family.

Over time, I began to see the necessity and power of self-care.  Without it, I couldn’t take care of my family.  All I could do was survive.

You see, when I am truly taking care of myself, I can be all that God has called me to be as a wife and mommy.  I can thrive instead of just survive.  I can be joyful.  I can be at peace.  I can feel good emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Self-care is the most powerful thing I can do each and ever day.  It is necessary. 

Hear me when I say this: It is necessary.

When you finally get to a point in which you take care of yourself, you are saying that you love yourself, and you recognize that through loving yourself, you can love your family.

What is self-care?  Self-care is what you do to care for yourself in a way that makes you feel your best in every area of your life.  What does that look like?  It can be just as different as each person is different.

For me, it can even be different every day.

The most important daily things that I do are: Read my Bible and pray, drink lots of water, exercise, eat fairly healthy (but not to an extreme), keep the house mostly clean, spend time engaging with my family, and reflect on what I am grateful for.  When I miss one or more of these things, I start to fall apart.  When I start to fall apart, so does my family.  It is a delicate balance.

Every day, in my Facebook group, I ask “What is your plan for self-care?”  I love asking that question because I desire for each person in the group to realize how important self-care is, and to know that they are loved and important.

What is your plan for self-care today?

When you’ve lived your life the way others say you should for so long

Freedom pillar Apartheid museum

I can still remember. That moment when I went from feeling like a pretty good mama, to feeling like I’m not quite enough.

It started on Cafemom. While I met some pretty amazing ladies that I’m still friends with, there were too many that made it clear that their way was superior. They know better. They do better. And I’m not enough.

It creeped in slowly, but continued to flow through me.

I began changing the way I did everything… And my life has never been the same.

I gave up so much that day, then the next, and the next, until I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

You see, I desired to be in the “natural mama club” that I lost myself. I began spending too much on grass-fed/organic food. Using cloth diapers. Making all homemade/buying natural personal care products, cleaners, detergents. Using essential oils. Stopped taking important medicine. Had anxiety about vaccines. Stopped going to the doctor when necessary. Got rid of all plastic dishes because of BPA. Made all food from scratch. Spent a lot of time and money trying to breastfeed even though I have a condition that makes it impossible to produce enough milk. Spent hundreds to become a childbirth educator. Tried and tried to eat Paleo or at least grain-free.

In the past few years, I have gone back and forth about these things. When I wasn’t doing the “natural thing,” I felt guilty. I felt as if I’m not as good of a mama if I didn’t.

Why?

Well, it’s everywhere. Every. Single. Time. I get on Facebook, there is some article about natural living.
There is some post about it. And I’m as guilty as anyone!

But I am DONE. I am done trying to fit into a box. I am ME. I am a good mama, even if I do NOTHING that is natural. Being a good mama has NOTHING to do with that. NOTHING.
Hear me when I say this. You are a good mama if you love your kids.

Whether you’ve had a c-section or a natural birth. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed. Whether you make mac ‘n cheese for dinner or grass-fed, local, homemade food. Whether you cloth diaper or use Huggies or Target brand diapers. Whether you vaccinate or not. Whether you use only essential oils go to the doctor and take/give your kids medicine. Whether you use plastic or glass. Whether you use natural or conventional products. Whether you don’t have a t.v., or your kids watch a lot of t.v. Whether you homeschool or send your kids to public school.

Here is the truth about me.

I have not had any proof in my life that essential oils work for anything but aroma therapy. There. I said it. I am done trying to make them work. Medicine works. I’ve seen that truth time and time again. So while I like essential oils for anxiety in my diffuser, that’s about it. It hasn’t cured cold, sinus infections, flu, strep, or pain. At least in my life.

I don’t like natural cleaners. They just don’t work the same. And they don’t usually smell as good, either. I like good smelling things.

Making homemade detergent is fine sometimes, but I prefer to use store-bought because I believe my clothes get cleaner. And I can’t afford natural.

I hated cloth-diapering. They were cute. But stinky and messy and difficult to use.
We have lots of plastic in our home…

We watch t.v. Sometimes too much. Sometimes not too much. But the point is, it’s okay.

I believe in vaccinations. Our world would be a much different place without them. In fact, it has been a much different place without them in the past. I’m thankful for them.

I am done trying to become a childbirth educator because I have come to believe that it’s not my business how you have your baby. It’s your business alone.

I take 5 medications daily, and I feel better than I have ever felt. Ever. I’m soooo thankful for these medications.

We go to the doctor when we are sick, and we take what we are prescribed. Oh yeah, I trust my doctor. He knows a lot about my family and me, and he has our best interest at heart. He has helped me a lot over the years. He knows what he is doing.

We recently stopped buying grass-fed/organic food. I like Walmart. If I buy organic, it’s because it’s about the same price. We are poor and have to save money wherever we can.

I am no longer allowing myself to be put in a box. To be defined by natural living. To be someone I’m not because it’s expected.

Since I have made these realizations about myself, I have been walking in freedom.

I have lived in this bondage since Karis was a baby! Wow, that is far too long to be living in a way that others think is best!

I am me, and I am not a natural mama. I am finally okay with that.

Meal Plan, Week of 1/5-1/11

Meal Planning Sundays

I know, I know… it’s not Sunday.  I realize I am a day off, but I just didn’t have much time yesterday to blog.  Between church, grocery shopping, working out, prepping for the week, it just didn’t happen.  So, here I am today with my meal plan for the week :-).

You may notice that the foods that I eat are not all completely whole foods… and I’ve gotten to a point in which I’m okay with that.  I’ve found a balance that I’m happy with :-).  My goal is simple, inexpensive, and with-in my calorie range.  I tend to stay with-in 1400-1600 calories per day (and exercising 6 days a week).  So far, I lost 3 lbs in a week doing that… so I hope that if I keep it up, the weight will continue coming off.  I am now content with saying that I need to lose weight because my doctor wants me to for my health (and my foot pain) :-).  It’s all about being healthy and feeling good!  I have also gotten to where I drink 12-16 cups of water per day and drink very little soda (though I allow myself a soda every now and then!).  I’m at a point in which I don’t really care for soda that much anymore, which is a good place to be.  My goal is to move more, be balanced with my eating, and drink lots of water.  So far, I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel!

Breakfasts

  • Green Smoothie (1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup kale, 1/2 small apple, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 scoop plain organic grass fed whey powder)
  • Steel cut oats (for the family: 4 cups water, 2 cups organic quick cooking steel cut oats, 4 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup sucanat, 1 tbsp maple)
  • Breakfast bowls (egg, natural sausage, potato, onion, cheese, salsa… we cook the potatoes and sausage together ahead of time, then just crack an egg over it in a pan the day we eat it)
  • Scrambled eggs (in coconut oil) and sprouted bagel with butter and raw honey
  • Gluten Free Banana Almond Butter Muffins (except that I am using peanut butter because that’s what I have!)
  • Cottage cheese and fresh pineapple

Lunches

  • Finger foods (Any mixture of the following: Hormel natural uncured salami, Hormel natural ham or turkey, boiled egg, smoked gouda or string cheese, baby carrots/broccoli and hummus, avocado)
  • Salad (half spring mix/half spinach) with almonds and Trader Joe’s dressing (or homemade balsamic dressing), boiled eggs, smoked gouda or string cheese
  • Peanut butter and raw honey sandwich, veggies and hummus, veggie straws
  • Wraps (using Aldi whole grain wraps) with avocado, spring mix, sliced cheddar, Hormel natural ham or turkey, tomato
  • Leftovers

Dinners

Monday: Burrito Bowls (our usual Monday meal… pinto beans, brown rice, topped with avocado, shredded cheddar, and tomato)

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday- Breakfast Tacos (with potato, nitrate free bacon, and egg on Tortilla Land tortillas)

Wednesday:  Trader Joe’s Linguine with Pesto and Tomato, Balsamic Chicken, and salad

Thursday: Southwestern Soup (1 lb ground beef, 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, 1 can rotel, 1 can or 1 1/2 cups pinto beans, 1 can black beans, 1 pkg ranch powder, 1/4 cup homemade taco seasoning, 3 cups water… Brown meat and add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes)

Friday: “Homemade” pizza (using Trader Joe’s and Aldi Gluten Free crusts)

Saturday: Herb Roasted Chicken (I stuff my chicken with about 1/2 cup diced onion, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper; sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil; bake in casserole dish covered for approximately 1 1/2 hours on 350 degrees and uncovered for about 30 minutes… I just keep an eye on it and temp it), roasted veggies (coat sliced zucchini, broccoli, and sliced sweet potato with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes in 350 degree oven)

Sunday: Leftovers

One of these days I will get around to posting my recipes on my blog instead of just explaining them in parentheses :-).  Most things we just make up as we go so I don’t think of them as “recipes,” but I guess I should start!