In a rush push world where sometimes it feels like we are trying our darndest to catch up to what needed to be done yesterday, or even last week, it can be very easy to forget the one thing you need to actually do all those things you need to do. You.
And, in the midst of all the hustle bustle and to do lists and grocery shopping and laundry you might forget to take care of the one thing that is truly truly uncontestably important. You.
When work deadlines and house stuff, or car repairs and bills take over your life it can be very easy to forget the one reason you actually do all of these things. You.
And, sometimes, we get so caught up in eating right, and drinking right, that we forget all the other things that help us stay healthy. Like doing our nails. Or getting a great hair cut. Or wearing our best dress.
Sometimes, it is these things that provide the most motivation of all. Sometimes, these things remind us who it is we are trying to be healthy for, and how wonderful that person truly is.
Taking care of ourselves, taking care of yourself is honestly and truly a non-negotiable step to being healthy.
Sure, cardio does not hurt.
Drinking lots of water is good for you, of course.
But, taking a few minutes each day or week to take care of you, from the inside out, and from the outside in, can also do you wonders.
Like a hot bath.
Or a short drive.
Or a funny movie.
Sometimes, it is the little things that remind us why we try so hard to be healthy. It’s for this. To enjoy all the wonderful things that being healthy allows us to enjoy.
Growing up, I had those awkward moments, those times I wanted to be skinny and pretty like the “popular” girls, like all the “other” girls.
And, although I know so many girls go through this rough phase, back then, I thought I was the only one.
And, the entire time, I had two parents who told me how beautiful I was, all the time.
So, while I thought the day might never come that I would be as beautiful as my mother (beautiful, beautiful lady), and while I imagined that I just might always be the chubby girl, I had two parents who helped me to get active, to eat healthy, and to see how I could be anything I wanted to be (and that I was already so many of the things I so desperately wanted).
And, while my mom was my ardent supporter through those awkward years and my closest girlfriend (and to this day she still is) and the woman who spent dreadful minutes every morning trying to give me the perfect ponytail, my dad played another role. He was my playmate.
Through all those times when I might not have felt as pretty as I wanted to be, hours and hours on the Nintendo with my dad (and honestly with my mom, too), bike rides, playing catch or tennis, he helped me realize what being healthy-and beautiful- truly was. He helped me realize too that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder-and that true beauty came from the inside, not out.
It is with that in mind that I devoted myself to school, to my hobbies, and to having fun. Back then I thought I was missing out on something (like makeup and dressing up and even pageants), but now, I am grateful, for both my parents, and the childhood they gave me. My dad pushed me to want more than just to be beautiful, to want to be smart, funny, talented. To want to see the world. To want to save the princess on Super Mario Brothers. (mom cheered me on for years to save the princess) In fact, they were thrilled when I finally did save the princess-when I was twenty-three.
Both my parents taught me that people would love me for who I truly am; in adulthood, I had to relearn that lesson-but I kept going back to their teaching. Today, I am proud of who I am and I am thankful for the journey that got me here.
Today, I am grateful for having been raised by a man that taught me what kind of person I really wanted to be-a truly beautiful person-from the inside, out.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad Eat, to all the dads out there, and to all the moms that play mom and dad every day.
Once again it is upon us, that glorious time of year when lemonade sounds so good every single day.
When the sun is still shining AFTER work.
When weekends are spent swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the outdoors.
And, of course, when swimsuits are back in season.
Every year a few months ahead of time, as if we didn’t know summer was coming, the magazines and newspapers and television shows remind us.
Get fit for SWIM season!
Lose those lumps before summer!
Trim your abs and wear that teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini!
Anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere likes to tell us to get in shape, now. Fast. Furiously. Yesterday.
And this is all so we can look good in a swimsuit.
So, a few days ago, having been reminded a thousand times that yes, it is swimsuit season, and, yes, I would like a new swimsuit for Hawaii, I went on an evening walk to Macy’s. To the swimsuit section. I browsed. I was not in the market for a definite buy. I just wanted to see what was out there. And, like most people, ahem, women, I fell in love with the cute prints and super super cute swimsuits. Until the fitting room.
There is nothing like a swimsuit to point out every single tiny flaw in your body. What skirts and dresses and shirts etc. etc. etc. can hide a swimsuit puts right out there under glaring neon lights for the whole world to see, and gawk at, and possibly even laugh at after hours.
And, to top it all off, swimsuits are freaking spandex. So not only do they highlight every teeny tiny little flaw, you’re uncomfortable the whole time, too. How fun!
And, standing there in front of what had to be some kind of fun house mirror, I realized that I had put on a few pounds over the colder months, despite my attempts to eat healthy and stay active. But, more troublingly, I, a person of confidence and body image awareness, felt bad about myself, and I wanted to change my body more than anything else in the whole world and make my body perfect. Like all the little tiny skinniest girls in the world trying on bikinis.
I looked around at a sea of skinny women. It was unbelievable. I had to be the only woman trying on swimsuits who might have been in the middle of a healthy weight range. Unbelievable, but more unbelievable, and what disturbed me, I did not consider that maybe there was anything wrong with these suits. I decided I should change my body to fit them.
Then, of course, I ran these thoughts by Boy Eat. And, suddenly, like being pulled from an abyss, he showed me the light.
Perhaps I was not built to be the skinniest Minnie. And, maybe a teeny tiny swimsuit felt tight. And, sure, perhaps I had put on a few pounds (nothing a few good workouts could not cure if that would help me feel better about myself). But, most importantly, more importantly than any of that or any swimsuit in the whole wide world, Boy Eat reminded me that beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes and that one season like swimsuit season should not keep us from feeling beautiful just because we could be skinnier. I am healthy. I am happy. And, there is definitely something to be said about that.
So, this year, I am trying something different. This year, I am not going to starve myself before trying my bestest to fit into the cutest tiniest bikini ever or be okay wearing an uncomfortably tight one piece. This year, I am buying a swimsuit in my size,and one that feels good and looks good. This year, I will work out and try to tone my body so that I look better and feel better about myself, not to match some ridiculous societal standard of summer beauty, but to be the best me that I can be. And most importantly I will not try to be someone I’m not. I’ll just be me, just with a little more muscle, and a little less lump.
This year, let’s not let swimsuit season make us feel bad about ourselves. Let it inspire us to be healthy. Let it remind us to take good care of ourselves. And, more than anything, let it take us back to a time when society’s standard of beauty included some curves. And, the next time a swimsuit section makes you feel bad about yourself, go home and google 1950′s beauty queens, or do it right there on your phone. Turns out, we are not alone. Most importantly, let’s be grateful for what we do have.
After all, when little black dress season rolls around, I’ll be thanking my curves again for how amazing I look.
A while ago, Self magazine did a great article on Happy Weight, that number that gives you the freedom to indulge while also looking and feeling your best.
Eating intuitively has helped me reach a weight that allows me to:
• indulge in the occasional fudgy brownie
• have the energy to exercise
• feel good about how I look
It’s funny. I think sometimes the media would have us believe that losing weight is ALWAYS a good thing-that taking off a few extra pounds might win us a gold star, or two. But, sometimes, we reach our happy place, our happy weight, our little niche on the scale. Sometimes, we reach that place and it’s time we just enjoy ourselves.
Perhaps we should not get carried away with the constant need to be thinner, exercise more, and instead be content with our bodies as they are, healthy, working, chocolate enjoying machines.
Here’s to health, and contentment.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
The eyes your mom thinks are beautiful?
The shiny hair everyone compliments you on?
The smile that makes your boyfriend’s eyes light up?
Or, do you see something else, something different, something bad?
Do you see the two or three pounds you think you need to lose?
Do you see someone that “needs work”?
Do you see someone you wish were beautiful?
Perhaps, there’s no work needed at all.
Perhaps, it isn’t the you staring back from the mirror.
Perhaps, it’s you.
You might have become your own worst enemy.
So, the next time you stare into that mirror, in a fitting room, in your bathroom, in your car, or into that tiny little mirror you might keep in your purse,
Or the next time you see yourself in photographs,
Ask yourself this. If it weren’t you staring back at you, what would you think? If that someone staring back at you were someone else, would you suddenly realize how beautiful her eyes are? How shiny her hair?? How perfect her smile?
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll become what you really should be. Your own best friend.
Freedom is something we take for granted-all different kinds of freedom.
For those who are watching every calorie, or counting every fat gram, the kind of freedom that just lets you eat an ice cream cone when you want one might seem like an unattainable goal.
For those who exercise every single day endlessly and painfully, a rest day may never come.
For those who are unable to just enjoy food, and not make it about calories in and calories out, or the latest fad diet, or those last few pounds,
Freedom seems impossible.
It is not.
Freedom brings so many wonderful things,
A bag of chips shared over a card game,
A long walk/run home in blinding rain,
A hot pizza at the end of a long week.
Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and keep fighting for our freedom.
I thought when I came back from my wedding I would just let loose. Cut my hair short. Maintenance free.
Eat lots of desserts.
Go back to my ordinary life, status quo.
I thought that when I came back from my wedding I would just let go. I would no longer worry about improving myself or changing things or mixing things up, and then, wedding over (in all of 15 minutes), I realized I had just begun.
I think it is easy to look forward to that day-the big day, your wedding day. But, I was never that girl. In fact, I never thought I’d even get married, until Boy Eat came along. Even then, I didn’t plan some fantasy wedding in my head where I would dress up like Cinderella and ride in a white carriage. I wanted a small ceremony on a beach. That’s exactly what I did.
But, like most people, I tried (and so did Boy Eat) to be extra healthy before our trip and wedding. Less sugar. More activity. 100 calories burned here and there. After all of that prep work, I thought I’d come back and just chill. I got a very different result.
The trip and wedding were wonderful but right after I thought hmmm, what now? The funny thing is right now there’s no one reason to be in shape or get in shape or stay in shape. No wedding. No vacation. Just me. I could sit around eating brownies all day if I wanted to.
That is when I realized I did not just get healthier for a wedding. I did it for me.
That means where I landed is the inevitable result-because, wedding or no wedding, there’s still me to be happy with. And, looking at those photos, as beautiful as they are, I see many things I still want to do-with me, and my life.
Getting married is a wonderful, beautiful thing but it is definitely not an end goal. Neither is bouncing back from the holidays or a high school reunion. There’s no reason for us to get in shape for a particular occasion or diet for a certain day. There’s never any reason to change our whole lives for fifteen minutes of fame or one tiny swimsuit. There is good reason, though, to take care of ourselves all the time, the best we can, which includes enjoying the occasional dessert.
The end goal mindframe keeps us bouncing between a healthier and not so healthy lifestyle when in fact the healthiest lifestyle most likely falls somewhere in between, in between the detoxes and fad diets and the overindulging every single meal. There is most likely a healthy status quo that includes the best of all worlds, good food and good workouts. Turns out, there is no end goal. In fact, they are all just beginnings.