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Happy Mother’s Day

 

MomI 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.
Mom and dad poughkeepsieMy 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.

girls funny smilesNow, 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 Muscelsinstructor 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.mom and me yoga

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.”

Us at the topI 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!mom and me

I’m Thirty!?! How did that happen?

DSC_9178 (2)Yup I turned thirty. On Valentines day 🙂 I haven’t really noticed, probably because I have decided I don’t really want to grow up. I knew that thirty was coming, but I was not super worried about the age and the realization does not make me feel “old.”

I haven’t written a blog post in quite a while so I thought turning 30 was a perfect time to write a post, although, I think this will be more of a year review than what I have learned in my thirty years. I have learned more this year than I feel I have before and this year has been super crazy and not always in a good way so here are some lessons from the last year of my 20’s.

I started the year out trying the 80/10/10 diet, which if your not familiar with this diet consists of raw foods eaten in a ratio of 80 percent carbs, 10 percent proteins, and 10 percent fats. I was not very consistent with this diet and after about a week eating this way completely I started to crave fats. So I went on a binge and stopped being so strict. I still continued to follow the diet in a more Raw Till 4 way for the next few months. The two foods I really got out of eating this way was: fries baked without oil, which are delicious–you really don’t need oil for seasonings to stick, potatoes are very moist and seasonings will stick without oil (my husband loves them with “yellow stuff” or nutritional yeast sprinkled on them) and Banana Ice Cream, which I absolutely love and would eat all the time if I could.

Last winter and spring I was also taking a class, that I don’t remember now, and I was teaching 1st and 2nd reading class as well as my Preschoolers so I said goodbye to naptime and easy planning. But I survived and then summer came. I think in May I did my mom’s 30 day cleanse, but I am unsure. I was, however introduced to Native Foods which is a vegan gourmet fast food restaurant and is absolutely delicious, including their chai and other teas! Their salads are amazing! Along with the rest of their food and I now eat there way to often.

20140601-DSC_2683 (2)My husband and I then went to Florida for our 7th year wedding anniversary. It was an awesome trip! We stayed with some friends in Naples who took us out on their boat. I got to see dolphins swimming next to the dock, we explored Ding Darling Wildlife Sanctuary 20140602-DSC_2763 (2) 20140602-DSC_2826-1 (2)which is much better explored on foot, and we went on a canoe trip to see manatees but did not see any, I was however very nervous when the guy said that anywhere there is water in Florida there will be Alligators, scary!20140603-DSC_2896 (2) We loved seeing the little Brown Anoles show off, they felt very threatened every time I did squats 🙂 20140601-DSC_2697 (2)Then we drove through the everglades to get to the Keys and enjoyed seeing Key West then driving up to Miami to visit Miami beach and the Wynwood Neighborhood to see the beautiful murals. 20140605-DSC_3026 (2)We ended our trip lying on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale at a wonderful little, quiet beach hotel. So amazing and relaxing! I was also introduced to Lychees, Mamey Sapote, and Sugar Cane Juice. 20140530-DSC_2546 (2)We took a wonderful little road full of roadside markets and I learned marvelous facts, like Jackfruit grows in Florida!20140530-DSC_2554 (2) 20140530-DSC_2553 (2) I was super excited! Since we had been experimenting with 80/10/10, we ate fruit everyday until dinner and then ate a nice Florida dinner, I was also taking a digestive system cleanser and probiotic as recommended by Kimberly Snyder in her recent book. The combination of the three really helped us not to gain any weight and I was very happy!

Then we came home and I started my first on-campus class on collaboration and an online class on literacy. I was almost finished with my collaboration class when, on a Thursday during date night, my dad called me and told me that my grandparents had been killed in a car accident.828_2852 It was so incredibly unbelievable! We went home and I cried for the next four days. I have an amazing family and an amazing husband. My dad and his brothers did so well and came together for support for the whole family, it was very comforting. Oscar, my little blue bird, also couldn’t understand why I was crying and would come and sit on my bed with me just to help me to feel better. Then life started again, I somehow went back to class, my teachers understood and gave me the breaks I needed to continue, but I didn’t miss a class and kept up on my assignments. We had a very nice funeral for both of my grandparents and they were buried, we had so much support from all of the people around us and my grandparent’s church who, I think, will miss them almost as much as we do.

On the food side of things, I had been watching Doug Graham’s Youtube Channel FoodnSport I watched Rozalind Graham’s talk about the social and emotional effects of eating and remembered she said that food is like emotional support and people will eat to numb out so if you stuff yourself after someone dies you may not process the grief as well. I followed that advice and ate well, until the funeral. Then I let go, I didn’t start to eat everything, but I do remember lots of fig bars, sandwich cookies and concentrated chai which almond milk.

20140708-DSC_3435 (2)About a week after the funeral and my collaboration class ended we went to Las Vegas for the Differentiated Instruction Conference, which if you are a teacher I highly recommend you go to. I very much disliked Las Vegas,20140708-DSC_3518 (2) but I really enjoyed the conference. We stayed in Treasure Island and during the evening my husband and I 20140708-DSC_3466 (2) 20140710-DSC_3560 (2)walked the strip, we didn’t find any nice restaurants that we didn’t have in Colorado, but we saw the Bellagio’s Water Display and the Mirage’s Volcano/Fire display which was fun. 20140708-DSC_3449 (2)We also walked to the place where Tupac was killed, which was a completely unexciting intersection. We did make sure we watched Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13 just because we were in Las Vegas 🙂 But, since I do not drink or gamble or anything else Las Vegas is not that exciting. 20140708-DSC_3420 (2)

When we got back I had two weeks to finish my Literacy Class and I started decorating my classroom. Then August 1 came, time for the craziness of school! I poured myself into getting ready, I honestly don’t remember much of what happened, except we did have an excellent presentation by a lady, I call the Brain Lady, but her name is Arlene Taylor.

DSC_6111 (2)My cousin got married on Labor Day Weekend so we had a fun excuse to enjoy North Carolina and another beach.

I went through the next couple of months, not exactly happy and conscientiously ignoring my mental state, which I knew was not good but thought that I didn’t have the time to deal with how I was feeling. I was also not eating the best and I was ignoring many of the health rules I had come to follow. Then one day about mid-October I was upset about my body and I was very unhappy. I remember looking in the mirror, hating my body, feeling so confused that nothing was working (all the diets I had been on) and so incredibly sad. I walked out into the kitchen and collapsed on the floor just crying. Thank goodness my husband was there, he held me and helped me get myself together so that I could go to work. The next two weeks were some of the most horrible weeks that I can remember! I didn’t smile in my classroom and I was not very fun to be around. I was very depressed! But I came out on the other side and was precarious for several months until after Christmas I relaxed and thought about everything that happened. Then during January we did two weeks of Jason Vale’s 5lbs in 5 days and now I feel back to myself. I am eating healthy, not buying bread, but not following any specific diet. I feel joyful and happy and like life is not that hard.

I feel that I learned a lot during my couple weeks of depression and I wanted to share with you. I hope this will help anyone who is feeling depressed or sad. As I look back now, I know it was because I stuffed all my feelings inside, ate crap, and just kept going with life without properly dealing with my grief. I know my grandparents are resting right now and it gives me great comfort to know that they believed in Jesus and someday I will see them again when he comes back to take His children home. (Revelation 14:13, John 6:39, 40).

When I collapsed on the floor crying, I knew something was terribly wrong and I had to do something. I began to take my morning routine very seriously, prayer, yoga, meditation, Bible reading with more prayer. I made sure to go to bed at 8:00 (since I was getting up at 4 or 4:30 in the morning) I also started to journal at night and do some guided meditations. I began to eat more fruits and vegetables than I had been and I stopped buying bread. Slowly I began to climb out of my dark hole, but I stayed super close and felt like I could have fallen back in at any time for the next few months. Getting an emotional break and some time with my husband at home really helped me come back. And now I am feeling very good, and I have finally been able to talk about what happened, which is also healing.

This is what I learned leading up to 30. Life is not so dark as it seems, but there are emotions swirling under the surface and the best way to see the light is to admit you are hurting and bring out the fears for you to see, acknowledge, and let go…

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Love, Debbie

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