I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately because of some struggles I am going through, but also because of different YouTube videos I have seen on parenting lately. The videos on parenting reminded me just how much we did not get along when I was a kid. She just didn’t understand me and my husband can now sympathize with her 🙂 The only person who really understood me when I was a kid was my dad and I always thought I was just like him. I even look exactly like his sister, my aunt. As I became an adult I realized I had more of my mom in me than I knew.
My mom and I started waking up to the problem with health and food about the same time. She became vegan and lessened her sugar intake considerably at the same time I dove head first into juicing and a detox diet. I loved being able to share this part of my life with her, because, even though we didn’t see things exactly the same we were headed in the same direction. I always hear people ask questions about how to deal with their family and I feel so blessed because I was able to share my obsession with health with my mom.
Now, five years later, we are both dealing with different struggles relating to healthy eating. Even though our struggles are different I still feel so connected with her. I have again been going through depression and I have moved past the dark days, so I feel more comfortable sharing, but I am not going to share everything just yet. My depression is always made worse through my thoughts on body image. Body image never causes the depression, but compounds the darkness.
When I was a kid I was always heavier than everyone around me, but I was so competitive I never thought to cut back on how much I was eating. People would praise my sister about eating so much and I wanted to be praised too so I ate a lot. As I went through my preteen and teen years my mom was always the beautiful, thin mom. She was the one wearing very short shorts to pick us up from school and going to a Christian school, we were not allowed to wear shorts any shorter than three inches above the knee 🙂 My mom also helped me to go on diets in high school. I remember drinking slim fast and eating packaged fruit cups and salad for a month. Then eating this raw food called pulse, which was actually very healthy. Then doing the South Beach Diet. She is a fitness instructor so I would wake up at 4:00 in the morning and go to the gym before school and she would go to the aerobics class with me. I never could lose the weight and I never was as skinny. I felt I would never be able to look like her, I would never be thin enough.
Then I found juicing and I did it! I reached the “goal” and kept going, because, of course I still wasn’t thin enough. I also got a new job, moved closer into the city and started a master’s degree. Suddenly my stress levels skyrocketed and my weight started coming back on no matter how much raw food and juice cleanses I did. I remember complaining to my mom and she said the best thing she could have said and I remember it all the time now. She said “Maybe your body wants to be that weight, maybe that’s what your body needs.” Of course I vehemently answered “I won’t accept that, I can’t accept that!” and forgot all about the comment.
Through my last depression I realized I have some issues with perfectionism, which would surprise anyone who knew me as a child. But what spiraled my depression is not feeling like I was enough. I wasn’t good enough as a teacher, as a wife, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t healthy enough. I didn’t feel like I was enough. I have since learned that I am enough and I don’t have to be perfect and what my mom said to me, about five years ago now is stuck in my head, just like she is saying “you are enough and your body is smart, listen.”
I have realized that skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Even though I am not super thin, I have one of the healthiest bodies I know. I am learning that thin doesn’t mean much and there are so many bodies and so many sizes and shapes. Everyone is different and everyone is beautiful. Thin is not healthy and fat is not unhealthy. My mom is struggling with some health issues and right now she is water fasting. Not to lose weight, she is beautiful and smart and focused, and she wants to be healthy. There are so many things in our lives that we do to ourselves and we don’t realize how much it is hurting us and sooner or later our bodies let us know.
Mom, thank you for teaching me. Thank you for telling me that I am enough. I know you don’t remember some of the things you said that have stuck with me, but you helped to make me the person I am today. I am so excited to keep learning with you through this journey of life!
I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but I haven’t found the inspiration I needed. I am in my last semester of grad school (YAY!) and super busy as always, but that never stops me from thinking (worrying?) about my health and body. The last few years have seen me super stressed and a lot has happened in my life, which I have already posted about. When I first started this blog I was on a high, I had lost 20 or so pounds and I was so excited to share with the world the life I had discovered. Since then I have gained almost all of my weight back and I have gone through frustrations, fears, anxiety, and depression as well as despising my beautiful body just for protecting me. This year I have started to once again feel balanced and I wanted to share with you a new part of my health journey I am just starting to embrace.
This journey begins with Rande Moss. I have known Rande since high school, she is a beautiful person who has always been interested in health. After high school I lost touch with her and then in 2012 found her blog The Vegetable Centric Kitchen. I saw how healthy she was and her enthusiasm for living a detox life started me down the health “rabbit hole.” Sometime in 2014 her blog became somewhat silent, but what she wasn’t telling her followers was that she was beginning to understand a new and better way of living and eating. A way of living that brings freedom around food into life instead of a prescribed way of eating by a ‘guru’ or someone else who ‘knows’ what is best. In 2015 she started a new website and business randemoss.com.
I am going to be honest, at first I wasn’t convinced about this new way of eating called intuitive eating. She says to eat whatever you want and for however you want to feel. I thought, “If I do that I will never eat anything that is healthy, all I will eat is chocolate, veggie burgers and fries, pan dulce with arroz con leche, and Brazilian cheese bread.” Oh, and lots of oily south Indian food (if you are in south Denver Masalaa is the best). But I continued following her posts with interest, commenting often. I think she realized faster than I did how lost I was and how much I was wishing for something new and less stressful. So she offered to talk with me and of course I said yes! We chatted over skype and she listened as I poured out my anxieties and frustrations with eating and my body. She was so sweet and listened so intently, making me feel like all of my problems were real and really mattered. Then she gave me some very well thought out advice and steps that I could begin right away to start feeling freedom.
I followed some of her advice and began small. I first rounded up all of the clothes that I was waiting to fit into and took them to a second hand store to sell. I then made sure I had clothes that fit me and that I enjoyed wearing. She also ‘gave me permission’ in a way, to stop stressing about the food choices I was making because I was stressed. She told me to not judge my choices and to not beat myself up about them, but to just let them be and whatever choice I made that is ok. I am still having a hard time with this one, but I can honestly say that I am much less stressed than I was and I am eating just as healthy even though I am letting go of my judgement and rules.
I also took part in a ‘cleanse’ Rande hosted at the beginning of the year and I am enjoying her lovely and informative posts in her facebook page. One thing that I have been enamored by for a while is women who do not have “perfect” bodies, but love themselves for who they are and what their bodies look like right now. I have never been able to do that, but reading Rande’s posts have really helped me to look at myself with acceptance and realize that I do not have to be a certain size to be beautiful. I am beautiful right now.
Rande is just starting a 12-week, group program called The Freedom Sessions which I highly recommend if you want freedom around food and your body. She has seen all the diets, fads, and cleanses. She knows how to look like she has it all together while feeling like she is falling apart on the inside. I believe one of her biggest strengths is that she understands what you are going through and she cares. Check out her blog and see what she has to offer and how you can start to experience the freedom you wish to feel in your life.
I have learned more about letting go and feeling freedom in your life this past week and I really wanted to share it with you because I feel what I have learned is very important. But this blog post is already very long so look for another post coming soon.