Women’s Stuff

Trusting my body

This is quickly becoming one of those weeks, where I wish I could press the rewind button and start it all over. However as we all know life doesn’t quite work like that, so all we can do is carry on and do the best that we can to maintain sanity in the midst of madness. Part of me maintaining my sanity is making time for me, oddly enough that includes taking time every day to write whether it is in my journal or in this humble little space. Today I am in this space.

While the list of things I could bitch about is ever growing, I realized a few days ago that actually there is a bright spot. Earlier this year, I gave up my relationship with Weight Watchers; don’t get me wrong Weight Watchers didn’t do me wrong in anyway. Hell, I actually took off almost 50 pounds with WW and maintained that loss for several years until I got sloppy by their standards and eventually I gained back almost 20 of the 50 pounds.

I had planned to get back together with Weight Watchers this year but found myself resistant; the truth is I wanted to learn to trust my body to make right choices without concern about points or that dreaded weekly meeting. It’s been a journey this year as I embraced the idea of intuitive eating and trusting that my body will make the right choices.

Well after months of feeling stalled and wondering if my body didn’t know how to trust itself, all of sudden it seems my body has gotten the memo that she is a capable being who can choose what and when to eat and doesn’t need the weekly meeting or those points. I don’t know exactly when this all started to happen, but I know that I am no longer freebasing desserts daily, a simple dark chocolate square is often all I want when I feel the need for something sweet.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I baked exactly one pie, and in the end I had one slice of that pie and ended up throwing away almost half a pie. Oddly enough I didn’t feel any which way about that either. I find my body craving more fruits and veggies than ever before as evidenced by the fact that I was way more enthusiastic about the vegetarian café that opened up near my job, than I ever would have thought it possible.

I don’t step on the scale often, but I do know that all of a sudden my bigger clothes, the ones I reluctantly bought this fall now have room in them. After realizing that all my large clothes have room, I did break down and step on the scale and was pleasantly surprised. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, last year I read several of Geneen Roth’s books and learned about intuitive eating and knew that initially it would be an adjustment, one that might even cause the numbers to rise but that eventually my body would find its sweet space…guess we are heading to the sweet spot.

In the end who knows what all this means, but I admit I am digging my veggies, yoga and walking, now if I could get my seven year old to join me in the veggie love. Then again maybe I need to trust that her body will guide her and that eventually she will want to eat good healthy foods and lose her love for all things meaty and swine. Trusting my own body might actually be easier than trusting my child’s body, but that is a post for another day.

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No one can define you but you unless you choose otherwise

I had no intention of writing about Jennifer Livingston’s amazing display of awesome, after some concern troll sent her a letter informing of her of the obvious…yeah she’s a big girl. If you haven’t seen the video and have no idea of who Jennifer is, you have to watch this video. Seriously, she gave it back to this asshat. On top of that, Liz over at Six Year Itch also wrote an amazing post inspired by Jennifer, so really I didn’t think the world needed my two cents.

Until I saw this tweet that someone tweeted me in response to one of my tweets. “Our weight defines who we are.” I admit seeing that tweet, made me sit up and take notice and well here I am. I have made no secret of the fact that since my late 20’s, I have been riding the weight gain roller coaster. I go up and I go down, I have had some medical issues in recent years that knocked me off my comfortably thin perch and at times have brought me lower than a snake’s belly.

We live in a culture that for women puts a high premium on being thin, so much so that more women than not seem to wrap their self-esteem and value as humans up into numbers, either the numbers on the scale or the numbers on the tags of their clothes. Unlike money where higher numbers are better, for weight, we want smaller numbers, the smaller the better and if for some reason the numbers aren’t small, we seem to take it as a sign of human failure. So we live life at half capacity, limiting ourselves because we don’t think we are worthy enough. All because we don’t have the right numbers.

Granted there are growing numbers of women, who are learning to love themselves and accept their bodies and their lives regardless of their numbers. Sadly though their numbers are still small and it’s still an uphill battle since accepting one’s body and its imperfections is often harder said than done when thin is queen and is everywhere we go.

The funny thing is men while they have their own issues, rarely seem as fixated on numbers as women. I was thinking this morning about men that I know who have accepted their imperfections including the middle aged guy paunch that often occurs and the level of sexy that many of these guys still display. While I accept that men and women are vastly different, this is one time I think that maybe women should take a tip from the men.

Look those numbers mean not a damn thing unless you choose to give them value, you wear a size 16? Great, why does it matter? Things only matter and have value if we choose to let them have value otherwise they are just things or again in this case numbers. If you are a wonderfully talented whatever, let that define you. The person who wakes up in the quiet of the morning and feels the stillness of the day and takes it all in is who you are and it’s who I am, not a fucking number.

I have been on a quest to be fabulously fit by 40, so far it’s going slow and my birthday will be here in January. While there is a good chance I may lose the pounds I want to lose, the fact is maybe I won’t. However my body is far more flexible than it ever was, I can do difficult poses in yoga that 2 years ago I could only dream about. My “numbers” that count like blood pressure are good and I am looking at food with new eyes. Nothing is bad, double chocolate cake is only cake until I decide otherwise and a few nights ago, I decided it was what my body wanted and it was good.

I know some of my regular readers probably get a little tired of me talking about getting older, but one of the reasons I talk about it quite often is that there are real gifts that come from spending more time on this planet. One being that at certain point, the realization that your time here is limited, after all even if you die at 90; it still means you will die. So you realize that eventually you get tired of others defining who and what you should be and if Sophia Wisdom decides to rain down on you, you realize that you are in control of your life, therefore the only person who can define you is you. In the end we are souls and spirits housed in bodies that eventually fade and that everything else is simply window dressing.

 

 

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The road to 40 and what no one really says about growing older

I am laid up sick on a gorgeous Sunday, for the first time in months it’s not a million degrees outside, talk about unfair! But hey, my misfortune is your good fortune since at least today I am well enough to sit up and do some writing. I probably should be writing a grant or something, but a blog post is far more fun.

Anyway it’s been about a month since I wrote about my journey to be fit for 40. January will be here before I know it and I really want to start my 4th decade off with some good habits which means unlearning 3 decades worth of shit. Really what that means is I have to learn to like exercise and physical activity, now I am not a complete slacker, I do love me some sex and that burns off calories. However unless I want to have sex for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it seems I might need something a little more than sex to keep this body healthy. I have also learned this month that while yoga has worked wonders for my mental state, it might not be nearly as wonderful for my waistline. Unless one has a crazy high metabolism, there is a school of thought that yoga can slow down one’s metabolism. At first glance I laughed but as I just finished reading William Broad’s The Science of Yoga, I can say that my own experience is that yoga has indeed slowed down my metabolism. For the past several months as I have increased my weekly sessions to keep myself calm, I have had a rather strange weight gain, nothing big but enough to wonder what the hell is happening? Turns out that since I wasn’t doing anything other than yoga, my body slowed down so much that it decided “Hey, we can’t be bothered to lose any weight and oh those sweets and wine you were having a few nights a week, we decided to sit on your midsection because we are chill!”

I am ramping up my walking game and contemplating joining a gym, while I will admit to a certain level of desire to look good, in the end it’s really about feeling good and being healthy. No matter how much I tell myself a mini spare tire isn’t bad, I know it’s not true for me.

So I am working my plan for fit at 40 but what I really want to talk about is the shit no one tells you about aging. Can we get real for a moment? For years now there has been all this talk that 40 is the new 20 or the new 30 but the truth is 40 is 40. Now I know I am still 39 but using the logic that 40 is the new 20 or 30, that would mean 39 is like the new 19 or 29 and I am sorry but my body no longer resembles the one I had at either 19 or 29.

For starters I never had the hair issues I currently have when I was 19 or 29. Now before I share, let me just say I have talked with offline friends, online gals and women in between and there is consensus that ladies as we age, we get more hair. When you are a pretty young thing, sure there is the hair on your head, eyebrows, legs and underarms that you worry about if you are one to worry about such things. I must confess when it comes to leg hair; I only worry about that shit in warm weather months. Now of course we have pubic hair removal if that’s your thing, but ladies the hair that happens as we age is scary shit.

It seems for many of us that somewhere between our mid and late 30’s, we start seeing that stray chin hair. No worries, you pluck it and go on about your business. Oh no, that’s not good enough, that one singular stray hair somehow starts procreating and one day you are looking in the mirror on your way out the door and what do you see? A fucking family of chin hairs, and if that is not bad enough, they have started visiting your neck. Then to really fuck with you, that area above your lip now has enough hair present that if you do nothing, you will look like your brother. If you are really special, you get the side face hair. Let me tell you all of a sudden, you find yourself with enough hair that you cannot ignore that shit and suddenly you are BFF’s with the waxing lady. Now if you haven’t reached this stage in your aging process, pat yourself on the back, something is headed your way. If none of it happens to you, please tell us your secrets.  The cost of keeping yourself from looking like Sasquatch’s lady love if annualized is the price of a vacation. Granted you can be one of the bold and brave and let the hair live but I am going to be honest, I am not there yet.

Which brings me to hair on your head, when the first gray strands pops up it’s cool but when a family of gray pushes out your original in my case dark brown hair, you decide to color. Well when you color it’s a commitment. Sure I could do nothing, but gray at 39 is not where I am and oh those later gray hairs are evil bitches, hard to color and even with a fabulous colorist, the color jobs don’t last as they did in your 20’s. Grays are evil!

Lastly, why is it that no one tells you that in your late 30’s and early 40’s that all the hormones sloshing around in your body will at times make you feel as if you have reprised the role of yourself at 15. Complete with pimples and a tire around the middle because unless you’re are a fitness nut, or have a kick ass metabolism, weight generally likes the middle. To add insult to injury, you have are extra hairy, you have pimples and you are graying. Never mind you might have grown up shit like kids, a partner, bills and all that jazz.

So if this shit is so common, why are we all running around saying and believing that 40 is the new 20 or 30? No it isn’t! Better yet why don’t we share this shit with each other? Why aren’t the ladies in their 50’s and 60’s telling us younger women what the real deal is? I figure the real reason sex is better for most of us as we age and that we find our true selves is that it takes some amazing inner strength to navigate our teen selves in grown up bodies, so we get confidence and great sex as a prize.

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