Sinking into Advent when you just don’t feel like it

Yesterday I had something of a Charlie Brown moment. In the brief space of time I was afforded to breathe during my daughter’s nap, I allowed a slow moment for my emotions to catch up to my brain and become thoughts. They sounded something like this:

“It doesn’t feel like Christmas. I was so looking forward to Christmastime, and now that it’s here I just feel drained.”

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Every year, more and more, Christmas becomes a to-do list that I rush through in hopes of finishing early so I can put my feet up, bake some cookies (which I don’t even eat any more, who am I kidding?), and somehow feel Christmasy. This is my first Christmas season with a child and I’m learning that the relentless nature of motherhood does not slow down or cease as holidays approach. There is no Christmas vacation for moms. If anything, I feel squeezed even harder as nap times and evenings are spent writing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, and making sure every family member is accounted for. (Not that I don’t delight in gift giving. There are a few gifts this year I’m counting down the days to give, I’m so excited about them.)

The highlight of my merriment comes when I turn on our Christmas tree lights and my increasingly vocal daughter Ooo’s and Ah’s and Wow’s with wide eyed wonder at the glittering spectacle before her. This is her first Christmas and for her it has no meaning beyond visual sensory pleasure.

For me, this time means far more than cozying in to my hygge RV, looking even more Scandinavian these days now that the white paint is dry and the Christmas greens have been hung. Advent has always been a season of slow, steady contemplation, anticipation, of waiting for Christ.

Maybe this year more than most, the waiting means more. I’m weary this Advent season, just as the Jews were waiting for their Messiah when He graced them with his tiny presence two Millennia ago. Theirs was not a merry waiting, filled with eggnog, greenery, and lights. Theirs was a hungry waiting, oppressed and tired, but still a waiting filled with hope. Hope doesn’t need to be filled with energy and smiles to stay in tact. Hope is determined choice.  Its clothes are tattered and eyes have bags but its knuckles are white with determination.

I need that hope as the injustice of the world makes me feel drunk with anguish and the weariness of my life stretches me thin.  This year I need to sink into Advent, even though I don’t feel like it. My flesh feels like tuning out and binge watching cooking shows on Netflix while my daughter sleeps. My soul needs to breathe in the waiting hope of Advent. To sit in stillness, listening to the grace-filled whispers of the Holy Spirit reminding me that Christ is coming again and that coming is one of justice. I need to soak in the Scriptures that preach peace and joy and freedom to my soul. I need to gaze at a crèche and contemplate how incredibly inaccurate most of them are (let’s be real: that hay would have been covered in blood and Mary would have been asleep when the shepherds arrived. I’d love to see a probably-way-closer-to-real-life manger scene).   It’s my first Christmas after having a baby and Mary’s act of sacrifice and pain to bring us our Savior is now one that brings me to tears and slight cynicism at nearly every single Nativity scene.

If the only thing I get out of Christmas this year is a few minutes of communion with the Savior whom we celebrate and contemplation on His coming, then I can count it a success. In the immortal words of Linus, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”thats-what-christmas-is-all-about-1024x512

Three Ways to Stay Present in Motherhood

I hear it constantly: “It goes by so fast.”

“Babies don’t keep.”
“You’ll blink and she’ll be in college.”
“I would do anything to hold my kids when they were babies again.”
“I regret being too busy when my kids were babies.”

Quite honestly, I find these statements terrifying. I know how quickly it goes. I remember like it was yesterday hearing my oldest niece’s husky cry minutes after she was born. She’ll be picking out colleges this year. The little nephew I used to nanny is a sophomore in high school now and a million miles tall. Kids I used to babysit are married now. Former campers have their own babies.

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I realize I’ve only been a mother for seven months, but I felt like I needed to learn to enjoy her now before her babyhood slipped past me.  So, how do I slow down and soak it all in while balancing the constant tasks that life on the road and renovating an RV require? Here are three ways I try to stay present in the middle of a busy life.

1. Put the phone down

There’s a tightrope you have to walk when you’re a stay-at-home mom. Social media gives you a (sometimes false) sense of connectedness to the outside world. There’s a sense that if you aren’t constantly staying in touch with others that you’re going to drown in loneliness. But the more time I spend staring at my screen, the more time with my baby slips through my fingers and I instantly think of that scene in Hook when Peter’s wife throws his cell phone out the window and chides him for ignoring his children to focus on business. “You are missing it.”

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I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to be a distracted mom, pouring my mental energy out into something meaningless. I want to be mentally present with my baby. I want to soak up her little wrist rolls and half giggles, not debating politics on Facebook or drooling over someone else’s house on Instagram.

2. Save the chores for bedtime/nap time.

I realize some chores are better saved for when baby’s awake because it’s noisy and putting baby down takes work (I’m currently paused half-way through making baby food. The next step requires putting tiny steamed beet pieces in a blender and I’m not about to ruin this nap with all that racket). And emergencies come up. You have to do that whatever-it-is right now for your husband who is busy at work and the baby is crying. I realize sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do the thing now. But if there’s a choice between doing the dishes now while my baby is giggling at something inane or doing it while she’s asleep, I want to wait until she’s asleep. I want her to know, “I’m here for you. I want to laugh with you NOW. I want to hold you NOW while you’re crying from teething pain. I want to see you as a gift from God to soak in and enjoy, not some bother I have to deal with. You are so loved.”

Motherhood has forced me to deal with my perfectionism. I have a choice to make: do I want my (tiny) home to be picture perfect all the time at the expense of spending meaningful time with my child, or do I accept a bit of chaos and soak in the moment? I’m learning to accept a little chaos. (Not too much chaos or I really will lose my mind! Hear me on this: I also want to set a good example to my daughter of responsibility and hard work. But balance, people, balance!)

3. Enjoy the enjoyable.

What’s that feeling you’re feeling? Is it joy? Joy from watching your spouse and your baby play and laugh together? Soak in the joy. Enjoy the joy! Put off the mental load and the “what do I need to do next?” list for later. It’ll still be there after this moment is gone.

Is it love? Is your little one trying to give you a slobbery wet kiss on the cheek to give affection? Does your toddler want to cuddle? Soak in this love. Receive this love as love from God. Don’t rush off to the next task. Be mindful of these fleeting moments. Stop and soak them in. Let your gratitude to God for these moments wash over your soul. They will be food for when times are hard and tempers run thin and the to-do list seems endless.

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Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. I have a feeling being a working mom is even harder. All the more reason to slow down and enjoy.

Life is too short to miss the gifts at the expense of the unimportant.

Five weeks in a tiny space

My family and I have now lived in a tiny space for five weeks.  While we are really grateful to finally be living tiny, we are certainly feeling the pinch that it’s not a tiny house but an RV.  Yes, tiny houses are more expensive.  But they’re expensive because a human being took a lot of time and care to produce a quality product over a period of several weeks.  RVs are processed in factories in a matter of hours.  Since we moved in it’s been an almost daily drama of something going wrong (as much as I’d LOVE to blame this on the RV itself, a lot of it has been down to “user error”).

Our very first weekend in the RV was calamitous.  toche stationWe had a faulty power converter (que whiny Luke Skywalker reference) which caused all of our electrical units, including our Air Conditioning, to fail.  By the time we woke up the RV was cooking and we had to get a hotel room for two nights because a 120 degree RV is no place for a five month old.  It was incredibly discouraging and expensive.  Not a great way to start your tiny living journey!

I don’t even want to talk about our water heater or black tank issues (yuk!).  Let’s just say we’ve learned A LOT about how to live in an RV in the last five weeks!

You want to know what else has happened?  We finished renovating our kitchen, we painted our entertainment unit (just waiting for the fireplace to go in), we finished putting up shiplap wallpaper in the hallway, and we are nearly finished painting the baby’s room.  I feel like we have accomplished a lot given that we can only paint when we can open all the windows and leave after so the baby can breathe some fume-free air.  Last weekend I left for 12 hours with the baby so my husband could paint all day.  It feels really good to look at your ever-evolving space at the end of the day and say, “We did this and it’s beautiful.”  And it is beautiful.  It is ever so slowly becoming the space we dreamed of.

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I’ve learned a lot to be happy with accomplishing a little when you really want to accomplish a lot.  Since the baby isn’t sleeping in her room yet, once she goes to sleep, I have to be done for the night with housework and dishes (otherwise I risk waking her up) even if they aren’t finished.  It’s forced me to rest and enjoy it.  I love slowing down.  I’ve learned that a bed in a tiny space is just as comfortable as a bed in a huge space.  Rain on the roof of an RV is relaxing and mesmerizing (even though it might be leaking in a little in the bathroom).  315 square feet is plenty of space for a minimalist couple and their small baby to cozy in and call home.  I can still cook all my crazy meals with literally zero counter space and store all our healthy food in a teeny fridge.  Most of all I love spending uncomplicated hours during the day with my little one.

I suppose it’s been a good metaphor for life:  we are never content to stay as we are.  We are compelled toward transformation and growth, but we do not twist ourselves into a knot that we are not perfect yet.  We must be satisfied with how far we’ve come.  We avoid stagnation and complacency, but we stop and we rest and we enjoy.

May you enjoy your journey.  Stop and reflect on your growth.  Enjoy the imperfect and the already-but-not-yet growth and transformation you’ve seen in yourself.  Spur yourself on to greater changes, deeper contemplation, and more sincere gratitude.  Thus far God has brought you.  Ebenezer.

My Birth Story

This is now the second time I’ve sat down to write my child’s birth story. Hopefully this time she’ll stay asleep long enough for me to finish.

She’s asleep in her pack-n-play in the bedroom with the salt lamp on and the white noise playing. I managed to squeeze her into her fuzzy bear sleeper pajamas one last time before I have to declare them officially “too small.” That bear outfit is one item of her baby clothes that I refuse to give up for sentimental reasons, only I’ll tell you I’m “saving it for the next one” if you ask. I just heard her laughing in her sleep. That should tell you how much she loves the jammies.*

(Editorial note: she slept eight solid hours in the fuzzy bear onesie after I wrote this!)

It was 11:30 pm on a Saturday, about an hour after my husband and I had gone to bed when I felt an odd pain. I didn’t think I was going into labor (I was 39 weeks and one day), I thought I had really bad gas and just needed to let it out. I went to the bathroom to resolve the issue only to be perplexed as to why it wouldn’t go away. This pain kept returning for the next hour and it was around 1 am when I realized it was in really regular, predictable intervals and seemed to get more and more painful.

I was in labor.

I pulled out my phone and opened the app with the contraction timer. I paced my contractions while I let my husband sleep and thought, “Holy cow, I’m actually in labor! This feels nothing like I thought it would.”

Around 2 am the pain started getting to the point where I needed my husband’s presence for comfort. Also, the contractions were four minutes apart. I gently rubbed his arm in the dark.

“Are you trying to wake me up?”
“Yes.”
“Are you in labor?”
“Yes.”
“Do we need to go to the hospital?”
“Yeah, pretty soon.”

With that my husband jolted out of bed, the lights were on and the bags were being loaded into the car.

Four or five Earth, Wind, and Fire songs later a salty night nurse with a taciturn personality was checking me into the hospital. How on earth can women be expected to fill out paperwork while they’re in labor? (My husband was told to wait outside.)

The taciturn night nurse brought me into the triage room where I insisted on wearing my own clothes to labor in because hospital gowns are gross. She examined me.

“You’re at two centimeters and your baby is sunny side up.”

My heart sank. I felt like that episode of Friends where Rachel Green is stuck at two centimeters for 18 hours and I wondered if I made a mistake in coming too soon. She told me she’d be back in an hour to check on me. They can admit me if I’m at four. I was in for a night of back labor.

At this point my contractions started to ramp up in pain, intensity, and timing (it was at this point that the pain was so intense that I vomited. Again, back labor). Being flat on my back was excruciating; sitting, kneeling, and standing were my only options.

As each pain came one minute apart, I heard the soothing sound of my husband’s voice coaching me through the pain.

“Breathe in relaxation and strength, breathe out fear and pain.” In through the nose, out through the mouth, leaning so heavily on my husband that I actually hurt his back by the time it was all over.

The nurse came in again around 4 am with a doctor I had never met before. He examined me. I’m at 4 centimeters and can go upstairs. He asked me if I plan on a totally natural labor (no painkillers, no epidural, no Pitocin) and I told him I was.

“Good. Don’t let anyone talk you out of that.” I found this natural birth bent in a hospitalist doctor to be encouraging and reassuring.

When I arrived upstairs, one of the labor and delivery nurses started asking me a million questions, most of which should have already been in the computer, some of which were completely stupid. She was the only person I lost my temper with (a bit).

*middle of a ginormous contraction*
“Are you right or left handed?”
“LEFT!!!”

At this point my contractions were 30 seconds apart and it was all I could do to breathe. No time to eat, go to the bathroom, or take a drink: just constant focus on the fact of getting through the pain. Around 6:45 am I started to go into transition, and one of the nurses suggested that I take a bath to ease some of the pain. I agreed that this was a great idea and told them I just needed to go the bathroom first (for the record, I felt like I needed to go the bathroom the whole time. Back labor makes you feel like you have a gigantic ten-ton poop trying to crush your tailbone). I let the nurse know that I had an overwhelming desire to push and I was using every ounce of strength NOT to!

No bath for me, sadly. It was back to the bed to be examined by the midwife who finally arrived (three hours after admission to the labor floor). As I shifted to the bed, I could feel the baby turn inside me to the position she was supposed to be in. I was at 9 – nearly 10 – centimeters and it was almost time to push.

I spent the minutes before pushing negotiating which position I preferred to be in while I was in labor. Lying on my back was not an option since it was so painful and I knew would put pressure on my lower back and make pushing harder. The midwife overruled, however, and I gave birth on my back.

This was where I moved into the land of “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Labor is merely survival, pain management, breathing. Labor, oddly, requires little effort. In fact, the more effort I put into labor, the less effective it is. The more you tense up, the more painful and less efficient labor becomes.

Pushing is a different animal. Pushing is where you turn into an animal. Pushing requires mammoth mental and physical effort and a herculean amount of strength. I was thanking myself for every squat I did during pregnancy while I was pushing. The pain of labor was bad, but not the worst. The pain of pushing was a 10 (I’d like to thank the show Call the Midwife for RUINING my expectations for what pushing would be like).

Somehow in the middle of all that awful pain (and let’s face it, SO much screaming) I was listening to what the midwife was telling my husband and the other nurses. “You can see her head! Look at all that brown hair!”

Brown? Hair? My whole pregnancy I was expecting a bald redhead and here I was giving birth to a little mini-me.

At 7:50 am she was born, her body pulled out of mine by my husband’s own hands. The cord was wrapped loosely around her neck, which was gently pulled off before she was plopped atop my belly.

As soon as I met her, my daughter had the hiccups (she did in utero nearly three times a day). She sneezed three times and immediately began munching on her little fingers, which I instantly recognized as my own. I was totally transfixed by the human being just removed from my body that I didn’t really realize that the placenta was out and I was being stitched up for the first-degree tear I received (totally thought delivering the placenta required more effort on my part but I’m absolutely not complaining).

I’m so very grateful for the birth story I have. Everything I had hoped for came true (would have liked a little more time in between contractions to catch my breath a bit). I had a spontaneous, short, unmedicated labor. I gave birth to a gorgeous, healthy baby girl. So many women do not have the same stories (for so many different reasons!), which is why I’m so grateful for mine.

Labor made me realize that I am so much stronger than I ever realized and that the mind has so much power and control over our bodies. As soon as I started to give into the fear, the pain would become unmanageable, but as long I stayed focused and kept my wits about me (thanks to my husband who acted as a doula) the pain was ok. Pain in labor is not your body telling you that something is wrong; it’s your body telling you that everything is right. It isn’t to be feared. Listen to it and let it pass by.

 

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Poor thing inherited my feet.

My daughter has been both the biggest ray of sunshine in my life and my hardest challenge to date. Her morning smiles give me life after a long night of nursing (she gives a lot of smiles in the middle of the night too, but I’d rather she go back to sleep!). I have

 

absolutely loved watching the amazing bond develop between her and my husband. She is completely smitten with him and vice versa!

To my friends who are pregnant with their first babies: I highly recommend going to a prenatal chiropractor throughout your pregnancy. This helps with the aches and pains of pregnancy and helps get the baby into the right position for birth. I remember one time in the waiting room of the midwife’s office seeing a girl just as pregnant as I was wincing in pain, grabbing her hips in agony with every waddle. I felt so bad for her wanted to yell out, “Go to the chiropractor!”

I suggest you eat plenty of dates every day during your second and third trimester. This helps you go into labor on time and shortens the labor time.  I went into labor at 39 weeks and had an 8.5 hour labor from start to finish as my first labor (That’s pretty fast).  Drink red raspberry leaf tea every day during your third trimester. This helps tone your uterus so that contractions work more efficiently. A huge “Thank you!” to my mamma friends who recommended these things to me when I was first pregnant! It made a monumental difference!

Also, practice your breathing early. Long, slow breaths worked for me, not short panicked ones. Study up on the labor process as much as you can (I watched a LOT of Ina May Gaskin videos on YouTube). This kept me from being afraid of the process.

I truly believe these, along with potent nutrition and regular exercise, are why I was able to have the labor I hoped for. Enjoy sleep while you can get it and eat plenty of healthy fruits and veggies! Reject fear when the time comes and focus on breathing!

But DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT feel like a failure if your birth doesn’t go the way you planned.  I certainly wasn’t planning on back labor!  Everyone’s body is different, and everyone’s baby is different.  Keep a positive attitude, though.  You’re going to do great, almost mammas!

All the Updates!


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One of my favorite movies as a kid was Mary Poppins, and one of my favorite scenes was watching Dick Van Dyke play the one man band.  How could he play the accordion, and the drum and the horn at the same time?  I found his ability to multitask so impressive.  Little did I realize what awaited me with motherhood…

Update on my pregnancy…

I’m no longer pregnant!  Baby girl arrived just after the sun did Sunday, February 4th after 8.5 hours of a totally natural, non-intervention birth!  I’ll post a longer version of my birth story, but she was 6 lb 15 oz of pure cuteness!  Thankfully she was born without any of the usual newborn alien-like qualities, just heart-meltingly cute right from the get go!  She’s now two weeks old and killing me with a growth spurt.  I had no idea how exhausting cluster feeding can be!

Update on the tiny house…

I wish I had an update.  The truth is both of us thought we would be living in the tiny house by now, but we’ve been shut down time after time by bank after bank.  No one will give out a loan for a tiny house.  NO ONE.  I’m starting to doubt seriously that we will ever be able to live in the tiny house we’ve been longing to, which sadly means that we have to find housing with every new travel assignment.  That’s quite a challenge with a new baby!

Update on travel nursing…

We’re moving to Charlotte, NC!  We were able to extend our contract in Fort Myers past baby’s due date (she was a week early anyway) by a month, so we will be packing up and moving to Charlotte on March 8th.  We are super excited to be living in a city we know and love and to be so near family and friends!  We are still in the process of trying to find housing, so prayers appreciated there.  Charlotte isn’t cheap and neither are three month leases!  Today I discovered that I can feed a screaming hungry baby and apply for an apartment lease at the same time!  I can also hold my daughter’s pacifier in her mouth with one hand while typing up a blog post with the other!  And I can eat and sanitize breast pump equipment at the same time!  Enter the one-woman band!  Anyway, housing is a big next step that we are both eager to get taken care of!

4 Gym Rules for Beginners

The gym can seem like a strange sweat-filled jungle sometimes.  And people being people means that the experience of going to the gym can be funny, frustrating, lewd, or ludicrous.  I realize gym etiquette requires me to mind my own  business, but the shenanigans of others is often a major distraction. Here are some little tid-bits of advice to keep you and others sane if you’re new to the gym experience. (Note: all of the anecdotes below are real, I’ve seen them!)

  1.  Practice Self-Awareness

By this I mean, take a moment and realize that other people are watching you, whether they mean to or not.  If you’re lost in your own little world, there’s a strong possibility that you’re making the people around you either annoyed, grossed out, or weirded out.

tumblr_mobpmutbtx1rcy99do1_500So please don’t lift your shirt all the way up every five minutes and look at yourself in the mirror to see if anything has changed (there’s a young man who does this every time he comes in).  Nothing has changed.

Please don’t prance around the stretching area pretending to “warm up” in your booty shorts and your tiny top.  No one is fooled.

Please don’t stare at yourself in the mirror in between sets mouthing the words of the song you’re listening to.  You look crazy.

The mirror is there for you to check that you have correct form, not for you to pick at your face.  Ew.

Also, please make sure you’re properly attired.  Trash bags, pajama bottoms, crocks, cargo shorts, bikini tops, and a suit and tie are all things you should not try to work out in (and yet they are all things I’ve seen at the gym).

2.  Don’t be a jerk

When I first started working out I was doing so at my physical therapist’s office, it was also being used as a gym by a number of meat heads.  One time I was doing a two-minute wall-sit holding a ten pound medicine ball (so, not comfortable) when this massive guy gets all in my face and yells, “Feel the burn!!  Come on!”  Yelling at me is already a great way to get me to stop listening to you, but doing so when I’m most certainly feeling the burn is a great way to get hurt.  I yelled, “I’m going to throw this at your face!”  I didn’t.  Don’t yell at people, “motivational” or not.

tumblr_mbnrwkeoqa1qc5p6yo1_500Also, if it’s obvious that someone is using a machine, please don’t just hop on and use it if they happen to get up for a moment.  You’ve completely messed up their workout.

Please don’t play your music for the people around you to hear.  Working out takes concentration, and that is a great way to throw people off.  It’s just rude.  One time I was working out when the woman next to me was playing music really loudly on her iPad.  Please don’t do that.  Also, don’t bring iPads to the gym.

Finally, please don’t aimlessly float from machine to machine without cleaning up.  One set of two reps isn’t going to do it my friend.  Also, you’ve left your DNA on the seat for me to have to clean.  Thanks.

3.  Start light

cnzpnz8asdawwshfpw07_jumping20weightsI say this out of concern for your health and wellbeing.  So many people, mostly guys, come to the gym with a set idea of how much weight they ought to be able to move (but can’t actually move).  I’ve had several moments where I’ve seen someone moving far more weight than they could actually control and I was so worried they were going to get hurt.  Rule of thumb, if you can’t move the weight without using body momentum or you’re having a hard time controlling the weight, please stop and get a lighter weight.  I don’t want to witness you dislocating a joint or your back snapping in half.

 

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Moving more weight than you can control is going to put a lot of stress on your muscles and joints.  You’re going to get hurt.

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4.  Do not count out loud

This could have gone under sections one and two, but I really think it warrants it’s own category.  Nothing irks my soul more than people in the gym who can’t count silently.  If you can’t count your reps inside your own head, you need to rethink some things.  Look, all of us are counting reps unless you’re in zen mode.  No one at the gym is intimidated or impressed by the fact that you you’re only doing two sets of five reps.  Please, do not grunt, moan, yell, or count out loud.

 

Working out should be fun and rewarding, but with other people around, it’s also pretty entertaining!

 

Eat to be healthy, not to lose weight

It is a truth universally accepted that cheese is amazing.

I absolutely love cheese, but I don’t eat it except on very rare occasions.  I don’t eat it because I believe that cheese isn’t healthy, especially for me (dairy is known to cause acne, gut problems, upper respiratory problems, and overall body inflammation even if you’re not lactose intolerant).  Two years ago I was told by my gastroenterologist that my IBS was being triggered by the fact that I was lactose intolerant (something that has likely been true all my life, but the symptoms have changed over the course of time).  Up until that point the abdominal pain I was experiencing was unbearable.  I had no idea what the cause was.  After multiple tests and doctors appointments, I was referred to this gastroenterologist who told me in no uncertain terms, “If you don’t want to be in pain, don’t eat dairy.”  Thus began a permanent lifestyle change.

Did I lose weight as a result of giving up dairy?  Of course I did!  Because dairy is meant to make little cows into big cows, and it’s full of unhealthy fat and proteins that make my gut feel like there’s thousands of tiny fire demons trying to destroy me.

(“Baaht whhaat about calciuummm!!!” you holler.   There are plenty of plants that will supply me with enough calcium to keep me from getting osteoporosis.  Also, there is evidence that societies that have a high intake of dairy intake have a high incidence of osteoporosis, and societies that have a low intake of dairy have a low incidence of osteoporosis).

I remember the days when I “went on diets” with the express goal of losing weight.  Sometimes weird ones that freaked my body out and didn’t give me the nutrition I needed.  I’d give up something for weeks or months depending on how long I could stand it, and then give up.  This mindset meant that once said weight was shed, I could then go back to eating however I pleased.  I, like many people, went from one diet to another, all for short periods of time, all resulting in short lived weight loss.

I suppose there’s a sort of euphoria one gets from starting a new diet.  “Perhaps this could be the panacea I need to suddenly shed all the weight I want to lose.”

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But then two days in to giving up carbs, fruit, and air, and you’re writhing in a pile of misery.

 

 

You suffer the cardboard foods, the calorie counting and carb killing, the cottage cheese and rice wafers, or eating all the food groups in separate meals, and you reach your goal weight.  And if you’re like me and you reach your goal weight, you slowly but surely go back to eating the way you did before, and you gain all the weight back again (or you binge eat pizza and ice cream, what do I know?).  Before you know it, you’re sitting in a pile of empty Chick-fil-a sauce containers, 15 pounds overweight and wondering what the heck happened.

Maybe the key isn’t going on diets at all.  Maybe the key is both simpler and earth-shatteringly different.  Maybe they key is completely changing how you view food in the first place.

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Enter the lifestyle change.  This isn’t a temporary way of eating, this is changing what you eat because you’ve changed how you view food.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re addicted to sugar, salt, dairy, fast foods and processed foods, you’re still going to be writhing in detox agony in the beginning because your brain lights up like a Christmas tree when you eat it.

But if your goal is to fuel and supply your body with real, whole foods and provide yourself with abundant nutrients rather than simply dropping 10-15 pounds, not only will you actually lose weight, but you’ll do so in a healthy manner that keeps that weight off and doesn’t make your body feel like it’s caving in on itself.  If you keep your plate 80% whole, fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, and 20% lean meat, eggs, or whole grains, you’ll find yourself feeling amazing and shedding weight.  If you change your focus to filling your body with nutrients, you don’t need to bother with counting carbs or calories.  If you’re freaked out by vegetables, it’s time to explore!

It takes a long time to get there, and it’s not something you need to beat yourself up over.  (I eat mostly fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat, but sometimes I also eat Chick-fil-a just because).

Ditch the sugar, ditch the bread, ditch the dairy, ditch crash yo-yo diets.