Tag Archives: thankfulness

Lessons from the First 4 Months of Motherhood

Motherhood is sure stretching and growing me in many ways. I’m only 4.5 months in, so I’m a total newbie still, but if there’s one lesson that stands out in my mind so far, it would be this:

You are not in control.

Ha. Any mom who is reading this right now is probably chuckling and nodding her head.  I sat next to a really sweet lady at church a few weeks ago and we got chatting about our kids. Hers were several years older than mine and she asked how I was adjusting to life with a baby. I said, “Well, it’s definitely teaching me that I’m really not in control!” She laughed and said, “Honey, control is an illusion. None of us are ever in control.”

So. True.
But before having a baby, I definitely lived under that illusion at times. Okay, most of the time.
My life was so orderly, running like a well-oiled machine (for the most part). And there’s nothing like having a baby to teach a Type-A, schedule-loving, extremely organized person that life will be so much betterimg_2379 if you just let go of trying to be in control!

You realize as a mom that everything is flexible. I used to hate that word!! 😛 Now it is my lifesaver and my mantra.

Want to meet for coffee? Ok, I’ll be there around 10:30. Oops, baby had a diaper blowout…be there at 11!  Need to run to the grocery store? Wait, she’s falling asleep so I think we’ll just go after nap-time. Babies are great at helping us crazy Type-As learn to just go with the flow. 🙂 It wasn’t an easy transition for me, but I’m slowly getting more used to it and becoming more…dare I say it, flexible.  😉  let-go-of-control

Because I’ve always been a timely person who hardly ever cancels on anyone and hates to make changes to the original plan, I feel horrible when I have to reschedule or arrive late to a coffee date with a friend. It doesn’t happen too often any more (I’ve learned to build in a 20 minute buffer to get out the door, haha!) but when it does I always apologize profusely and struggle not to feel like an awful person for keeping someone waiting. Did I mention I also have a perfectionist side? I’ve also been learning a lot about being okay with imperfection in my life. (Not that I ever thought I was perfect, but I definitely tried to be.)  I think I need to re-read the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. My counselor recommended that to me during my recovery from anorexia, and it was very instrumental in my healing. Anorexics are notorious for being perfectionists, and I was definitely not the exception.

Speaking of imperfection, motherhood has helped me be okay with an imperfect house too! While I still maintain a pretty clean home and keep up with the dishes and laundry for the most part, I’ve loosened the reigns a lot when it comes to dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms. I realized one day that my friends would still love me and come over to hang out even if my coffee table was dusty and my bathroom hadn’t seen Windex in a couple weeks time. Imagine that.

All of this to say, I’m really grateful for these lessons that motherhood is teaching me so far. I’ve got a long ways to go, but my other favorite mantra in this stage of life is “one day at a time” so I’m just going to keep chugging along. 🙂

Not only is this little cutie an amazing joy and blessing, but she’s teaching me so much every single day. I’m really thankful for this mama life.  ❤

Just a quick picture to say…

From my Instagram this morning:

cards game ice cream

“Being ‘healthy’ for me looks like this. Enjoying ice cream at a Cards game because it sounded good, and not worrying about how many calories or grams of sugar it had. After recovering from #anorexia, I have grown to love a life of BALANCE. Everything in moderation, folks!! There’s nothing fun to me about depriving myself of sweets and treats. Been there, done that, been that person eating carrots while everyone else enjoys cookies. #itsnofun 😦  I no longer try to have obsessive control over everything that goes into my mouth.  Life’s too short to miss out on things like ice cream. 🙂 I’m so thankful for my journey of #recovery and that I’ve learned to let go of the obsessions!! I feel better now – emotionally AND physically – than I ever have before. #eatingdisorder #everythinginmoderation #balance #lifeistooshort #dontmissout #iloveicecream #edwarrior #edrecovery”

Who Keeps You Healthy?

A few weeks ago, I was approached by the American Recall Center and asked to participate in their latest campaign, “Who Keeps You Healthy?” which is a way for health bloggers, like myself, to share about the person in their lives that motivates and empowers them to be healthy. I was excited to participate in this campaign and began thinking of who in my life I would highlight in this post as the one who keeps me healthy.

My dog came to mind, because she is always eager to go for a walk, which often motivates me to get out in the fresh air. My parents have influenced my health by always having healthy, whole foods around their house and encouraging me to cook and bake since childhood. My fiancé helps me stay motivated to work out by going with me to the gym and always being up for a hike or jog at the park.  the beagle girl

However, as I thought more about all of the things that go into “keeping me healthy” I realized that the true credit for my health really goes to someone else.

I’ve been through quite a journey with my health, including a battle with anorexia, followed by binge eating, and then wrestling with poor body image for years. My weight has fluctuated a lot. I’ve gone through periods of restrictive “healthy” eating and periods of binge-ing on pizza and cookie dough. I’ve made tons of health resolutions, workout goals, and learned to give myself some grace along the way.

When it comes down to it, my health these days is the best it’s ever been, and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve thought I was healthy many times in the past during my eating disorder and subsequent recovery, and I often fooled myself. But the kind of health I am living out at this point in my life is not just a healthy BMI or number on the scale, it’s a health that encompasses my emotional and spiritual life as well.

1097965_392214087544816_872314355_nThere have been many times in the past several years of my journey where I was “doing all the right things” in terms of health, but I was unhappy, stressed, hating my body, and frustrated at not being able to control my appetite and cravings. I’ve come to learn that health is so much more than just eating the right foods or getting exercise every day.

Health to me means being happy with my body, focusing on things besides how many calories I’ve eaten since breakfast or whether I worked out enough this week.  In a lot of ways, health for me is measured by how LITTLE I think (or obsess) about my health. Health for me is having a career I love, being in a nurturing relationship, and finding time to enjoy hobbies and downtime. Health is taking time in the morning to pray and be at peace, and taking time to enjoy the little things each day. It’s getting enough sleep, and letting go of worry and learning to forgive. It’s knowing when to skip a workout and read a book in the sunshine instead.

My health journey has meant letting go in so many areas, and just living life with more joy and peace. Giving up my obsessions with being skinny, learning to eat ice cream again without guilt, and finding a balanced workout routine that energizes instead of exhausts me.

And I’m not saying I’ve “arrived” at the pinnacle of health, but I’ve made so much progress from where I used to be. There were a lot of people that helped me along the way, as I mentioned above. But in the end, it was only by God’s grace that I got through the hellish trenches of my eating disorder and made it to where I am today.

1474395_10201127367930761_1712911136_n And it doesn’t end here. There are still days where I feel fat or frustrated with the size of my body. Especially since getting engaged, there have been more frequent thoughts in my head taunting me to start a diet or design a new, intense workout plan to prepare for the big day. I’ve had moments where I questioned my evening bowl of ice cream or the occasional potato chip feasts with my fiancé while watching a movie. But then I hear another voice in my head and heart, telling me to remember how far I’ve come and the work it took to get here. Reminding me that even when I was a size 0 and obsessively in control of everything that went into my mouth, I wasn’t happy.

Even when I was the epitome of a “healthy eater,” I wasn’t actually healthy. I was emaciated and depressed.

1098478_392213077544917_769335534_nThere’s no doubt in my mind that God and His grace is what has enabled me to get healthy again. And it’s His voice in my heart that keeps me healthy, gently reminding me to embrace freedom and never look back.

I’m so thankful for the many friends and family members that have been there for me throughout my journey, and above all, the faithfulness of God to lead me where I am today.

For more information on the American Recall Center, check out their website here!

A Guilt-Free Birthday and What Made It Amazing

Two-thousand eight is the first year I remember getting nervous about my birthday. And not because I thought I was getting old (I was only turning 18) but because of the traditions associated with a birthday – specifically traditions that involve food.

Enjoying my birthday cupcake in the good old days without a care in the world.

Enjoying my birthday cupcake as a kid, without a care in the world.

Birthdays mean cake. And ice cream. And other delectable, indulgent goodies. And because of my battle with food, the celebration a birthday brings has also brought me fear and anxiety for the past 6 years.

During my anorexia, birthdays meant I would have to come up with plausible-sounding excuses to turn down my own birthday cake. It meant I would be online, searching the menus of local restaurants and trying to determine which one had the best salad options for my family birthday dinner.

When I was living in Dallas, co-workers would stop by my desk with cookies and cupcakes and I would politely explain that I would “save it for later,” while I knew in the back of my mind that it would end up in the trash can.  I wasn’t trying to be ungrateful or unappreciative; I was seriously so consumed and obsessed with my eating disorder that I could not IMAGINE letting go of my control, even for a day as special as my birthday.

Celebrating my brother's birthday, during my bingeing struggles.

Celebrating my younger brother’s birthday, in the midst of my battle with bingeing.

When I was battling my bingeing episodes, birthdays were even more scary, in a way. Instead of feeling “strong” and ready to refuse the cake and ice cream, I worried instead that I would not be able to stop eating them both. Many times – and not just on birthdays – I would refuse cake to appear “in control,” only to sneak down to the kitchen a couple hours later when everyone was asleep and gorge myself, anxiously listening for any steps on the stairway that might mean a discovery of my shameful habits. I stuffed piece after piece in my mouth, sometimes without even bothering to get a fork. Birthdays not only reminded me of these out-of-control bingeing memories, but also threatened a repeat episode. 

Last year, in 2012, I vividly remember sitting at Jason’s Deli with my parents on my birthday. Even though I was well into recovery, I was still terrified of most restaurants and only had a few “safe places” where I could eat without much anxiety. Jason’s Deli was one of them. With the huge salad bar option, I could choose exactly what went on my plate and know precisely how much I was eating. Jason’s deli was my security blanket when it came to eating out.

I’m happy and thankful to say that I’ve made a lot of progress since my last birthday. I now eat out at restaurants without anxiety and I never search menus online beforehand for calorie information. Instead of always getting a salad, I explore menus and try other things that sound good to me. I know this might sound petty or trite, but for someone in recovery, this is huge! God has really done so much in my life in the past year and definitely used my counselor in that process.

Fast-forward to this year… as my birthday grew closer, I began to contemplate restaurants for the annual celebratory dinner with my family. I spent some time on Google and searched for fun restaurants I’d never tried before. I did a lot of research – but it wasn’t to find the lowest-calorie meal option or the most extensive salad bar. I wanted to find a restaurant that would feel like a celebration of my progress in recovery. And I settled on Pi.  A local company that offers “award-winning deep and thin crust pizza in St. Louis, MO, serving lunch and dinner every day.”  I’d never been there before, but had heard tons of positive reviews from friends.

my birthday pizzaGoing to a pizza place on my birthday was somewhat of a way to prove to myself that I truly can enjoy those kinds of foods without guilt. A year ago – even six months ago – I would not have been able to do that.  Sunday night, I celebrated with my family: not just the fact that I’m another year older, but the new-found ability to enjoy foods like pizza once again. I’ve eaten pizza a handful of times in the past 6 years, always with tons of guilt and regret. But this time, there was only room at the table for fun and laughter.

As we sat at a corner booth and ordered appetizers, I listened to the guys discuss sports and give predictions on the upcoming World Series. I caught up with my sister and dared my 19 year old brother to finish his entire deep dish pizza (19 year old guys have incredible appetites). I chatted with my parents and my boyfriend and enjoyed each piece of my pizza. Then we went home and ate homemade pumpkin pie, and I enjoyed a nice, big piece along with everyone else. And as if that wasn’t enough fun for one night, we decided to watch the first Men in Black movie (my boyfriend had never seen it before!) and laughed our heads off for a couple hours together.

It was such a fantastic evening, and the most I’ve enjoyed my birthday in a long time. I was relaxed and content and able to focus on connecting with my family. I wasn’t planning a long run for the next morning to work off my pizza, or trying to calculate how many calories were in the pumpkin pie. Instead, I simply enjoyed the moment. With the people I love most. This is something my eating disorder robbed from me for way too long. I didn’t realize how much I missed all of this, until I experienced it again last weekend. pumpkin pie

Laughter. Loved ones. Pizza. Jokes. Stories. Memories.

I soaked it all in and enjoyed every last minute of my 23rd birthday .

I’m pretty excited about having this whole birthday thing every year now. Birthdays are no longer something to fear – they’re something to anticipate.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The Christmas season is here in full force! Every year, December flies by way too quickly and this holiday season is over before I know it. I wish there was some way to slow this month down…there is so much to do and so much to enjoy!

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Things about the Holiday Season this year:

5) Christmas music everywhere! I’ve never heard a Christmas song I didn’t like. Oh wait, I take that back…Santa Baby.  Haha, never been a fan of that one, for some reason.   😛 As much as I do enjoy the holiday tunes, I don’t usually start listening to them until after Thanksgiving, because I like to give each holiday it’s allocated time for celebration.  😉

christmas1

4) Looking at Christmas lights displays! There’s something about glowing multi-colored displays of Christmas cheer that I can’t resist. I love to drive around nearby neighborhoods in the winter evenings and look at all the lights, and I also try to visit at least one drive-through lights display at a park each year…

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3) Baking Christmas cookies! Although I haven’t baked any official Christmas cookies yet this year, I did whip up a batch of these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies a few days ago, for a dear friend of mine. I didn’t try any (hello, gluten!) but the ones I left at home for my family didn’t last long at all, which I always take as a good sign. 😉 Hopefully in the next week or so, I’ll get around to baking some legit Christmas cookies, like these guys!

2) Sharing holiday cheer with random strangers! I love how everyone seems to be in such a great mood in the few weeks leading up to Christmas. In stores and restaurants, people strike up conversations about their plans for the holidays, their Christmas shopping, or share a “Merry Christmas!” greeting with each other. I’ve even caught a few people humming Christmas songs in the check-out line at Walgreens! Love it. 🙂

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

1) All the special little things that make up this season. Sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fire, singing Christmas carols around the piano, cutting down a tree at the Christmas tree farm, celebrating with out of town relatives, taking walks in the snow (really hoping we get some this year in St Louis!), attending Christmas productions like The Nutcracker, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and having an extra excuse to get together with friends!

Andy Williams truly got it right with his song…It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I hope you’re enjoying this Christmas season! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

A few of the many things I’m thankful for today:

– My family, who loves me unconditionally and brings me so much joy

– My friends, who put up with my craziness and always support me and stand by me

– My adorable Beagle, Cocoa, who makes me laugh with her expressions and antics

– A safe, comfortable place to come home to

– Abundance and variety of food

– The ability to run, be active and fit

– Good health

– Hot coffee after a morning run

– Sunrises and sunsets

– The changing colors of leaves in the fall

– Huge tumblers of water to keep me hydrated

– Sleeping in and reading in bed

– Making cookies and smelling them while they bake

– Our new screened-in porch that’s perfect for summer evenings

– Technology. Enough said.

– Meeting new people and making new friends

– Celebrating the holidays with people I love!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday with lots of fun times and delicious food!  Goodnight!

Wisdom Teeth Are No Fun!

The good news is: I’m not sick, in the sense of having a cold or flu. The congestion I was feeling on Friday went away after a couple hours, but…

The bad news is: my gum is swollen and inflamed all around my bottom left wisdom tooth. It’s really bad. I’ve been in a lot of pain since Friday and it appears the wisdom tooth (teeth) will need to be pulled. I’m going to call my dentist tomorrow to have him take a look and see if that’s what needs to be done. My wisdom teeth were never pulled when I was younger because my old dentist always checked them at each visit and told me I had plenty of room for them to come in and didn’t need to have them pulled. Which was wonderful at the time, but now, not so much!

Yesterday was a rough day – I was feeling horrible all day and pretty much did nothing other than lay on the couch, watch movies, nap, and eat soft foods.  😛  By the time I went to bed last night, I was emotionally exhausted and down on myself, but hyped up because I couldn’t stop worrying about getting my wisdom teeth pulled! I couldn’t fall asleep for almost 2 hours and kept waking up throughout the night, in pain.

This morning, I finally stopped dozing in and out around 9:30 and decided I needed to get out of bed and try to make the most of my day. In spite of the pain, I felt like a run would help me feel better and the weather outside was so gorgeous! As soon as I started running, I felt better, and after a couple miles I was able to stop thinking about the pain in my gum.

As I ran, I listened to some podcasts from one of my favorite pastors/teachers, Andy Stanley. He’s the pastor of a church in Atlanta and I always keep up with his podcasts on my ipod. They’re one of my favorite things to listen to while I run or work out. On the spur of the moment, I decided to try a new route today on my run. It ended up being beautiful and I ran along so many huge mansions and estates! By the time I looped back home and did one quick lap around my street, I’d done a little over 7 miles. My legs felt strong the whole time and the pace was comfortable but not slow. I don’t know any of the exact stats because I’ve stopped running with my GPS watch lately.  Since I’m not technically training for any races right now, I’ve been focusing more on just running for enjoyment and not pressuring myself with distance and pace. I run because I love the way I feel during and after a run. I love being outside and covering miles on my own two feet. I love seeing nature while I run and discovering new routes and trails. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish the run, sweaty and exhausted but happy and content. 🙂

I spent the afternoon at home, mostly on my laptop. I caught up on emails and did some work for my sister’s upcoming bridal shower.  I also did some knitting, washed my sheets, folded laundry, and put clean sheets on my bed. Is it weird that I get really excited to sleep in my bed the first night after I put on clean sheets?  😛

Around 5, I decided to make some tea with my Teavana tea set! I brewed some Chocolate Mint tea and lit some votive candles for some added ambiance.

 

This evening I enjoyed dinner with my family and caught up with my sister and her fiancé, who just got back from a weekend in Kansas City. Then I watched the latest Mission Impossible movie with my bro.

Despite being in a lot of pain with my swollen gum, this weekend turned out to be really fun and relaxing! I’m so glad I got in a good run today and some time outside in the gorgeous fall weather.

Off to pop some Advil and hit the sack!