Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why I'm NOT Trying to Lose Weight Even Though I'm Overweight


So, according to "THE CHARTS" I'm overweight.  Not obese...but overweight. 

For a long time, that bothered me.  I mean, REALLY bothered me.  I'd eagerly read up on every diet craze, try different things and constantly be wishing I could just lose 20-30 extra pounds. Every time I'd hear about someone losing weight, I'd get a pang of jealousy.  Every time I'd see someone who seemed to be "naturally" thin, I'd feel jealous. 

I don't let it bother me anymore.  I'm no longer constantly worried about trying to lose extra weight. 

I no longer care.  Here's why.

What about health? A lot of people claim they want to lose weight so they can be "healthy."  Yes, there ARE some people who need to lose weight for health reasons.  Yes, people who are extremely overweight, who have trouble with basic physical activities or who have health problems do need to lose weight for health reasons.  I'm not denying that.  There are many people who are at an unhealthy weight. 

But your typical size 12, 36-year old American woman (like me) who wants to lose weight to get down to a size 8, probably doesn't need to lose weight for health reasons. For me...it's all vanity.  And not even vanity so much, but trying to fit a "mold" that society thinks I should fit.  Because "society" says that it's better to be a size 8 than a size 12 and that it's even better to be a size 6 or a size 4.  

But you know what...it's not better to be a size 4.  It's better to be whatever your natural body type is....for some people that might be a size 4....for other people..that might be a size 14. And that's okay. 

A friend posted this picture on my Facebook wall the other day.




That's me! I was about 21 in this photo and probably a size 6.  Look at how skinny my arms were!!  I probably weighed about 115 pounds, which for someone 5'5" is considered normal.  But, at that time I WAS in fact underweight. I had a terrible diet. I wasn't having any sort of menstrual cycle at all.  And my mental health was even worse...I was "scared" of certain foods. Literally "scared" of them.  I refused to eat anything with more than 3 grams of fat in it. 

I'm way healthier now..both physically and mentally than I was back then...even though I now weigh a lot more.

Because weight and health aren't as closely tied as society makes us think it is.


People claim they want to lose weight so they can "have more energy" or "play with their kids more."

But, that actually has more to do with fitness than weight.  Fitness and weight are really not all that correlated.  I may be overweight, but I'm fairly fit.  I work-out most days a week.  I could run a mile if I needed to.  I can easily walk several miles at a time without getting out of breath. I can carry a toddler around on my back while walking several miles or even mowing the lawn. I can lift heavy boxes while moving. 

Sure, I can't run a marathon..but most people can't...and I have no desire to run a marathon, so I'm not worried about that all.  I have plenty of energy and ability to do all the normal things people like to do.  If I were so inclined, I could play soccer or baseball with my kids (but generally, I am not so inclined because I hate sports). 

What about diet? Here's where the real problem with losing weight comes in.  Losing weight essentially involves being in a calorie deficit. No matter how you do it...you basically have to burn more calories than you take in.  And, there is a name for that...it's called starvation.  Sure, most people who lose weight aren't literally starving and they don't end up starving to death.  But, it is somewhat likely that while they are losing weight, they aren't taking in enough nutrients.  It's EXTREMELY hard to get enough nutrients when you are on a calorie restricted diet (especially if you are already close to normal weight..I think it is different for people who are very overweight because they don't need to be as calorie restricted to lose weight)...and the greater the calorie restriction, the harder it is to get enough nutrients.

Being in a calorie deficit is not healthy and it messes with your head.  A long time ago, people were more likely to die from things like the flu. Some of that is due to lack of modern medicine, but I think a lot of that is simply due to the fact that people didn't have enough food....they were always in a "calorie deficit" so to speak.  It's harder to fight off illness if you aren't taking in enough calories.

Now...we have a surplus of food...but that causes its own problems because a lot of our food is really nutritionally deficient.  People eat a lot of empty calories. Even foods that many people consider "healthy" (like Raisin Bran) are really not all that healthy. 

We try to eat a (mostly) whole-foods, unprocessed diet. Fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, meat, minimally processed dairy (like cheese or homemade yogurt), butter, olive oil, coconut oil, chocolate (hey, it's healthy!), nuts, beans.  Some bread..but not too much..and ice cream on Sundays.   Yes, we do have treats on special occasions, but we don't eat a lot of processed foods on a regular basis. 

My philosophy of eating is to eat real, whole, unprocessed foods...and enough of it..with the occasional treat thrown in.  It just makes sense that's generally healthier to eat "a bit" too much food than to eat "a bit" too little and have nutritional deficiencies. Having a B-vitamin deficiency because you aren't eating enough is worse than having "a few" extra pounds on your body. At least in my opinion it is.  Now having LOTS of extra pounds on your body isn't so good...but a few really isn't so bad, and may be advantageous (like when Zombie Apocalypse occurs. ;) 

Plus, eating too little messes with your head.  Trust me..I KNOW. 

There was a classic study done in the 1940's where psychologically healthy, normal males who were put on a severe calorie restricted diet, developed binge-eating behaviors.  Other studies have also shown that caloric restriction triggers overeating.  And that has definitely been true in my experience.  Trying to lose weight and consciously counting calories in fact makes me MORE likely to overeat and fall into gluttony.  Not worrying about my weight or my diet or my calories in fact, makes it less likely that I will overeat and more likely that I will eat healthy food.  Because if I can only eat a limited amount of food..frankly, I'd rather eat chocolate than chicken. Just sayin'.  

Plus, trying to lose weight makes me cranky and fatigued and irritable. And nobody likes that. I'm generally happier if I'm NOT trying to lose weight. 

What about postpartum? Postpartum is a special time.  I do think that losing weight after having a baby is normal and healthy IF it is done slowly and gradually and without TOO much effort.  The weight is put on slowly for a reason (to nourish a baby and store up for breastfeeding), and I think naturally it does tend to come off slowly (with breastfeeding) as long as one is eating healthy and being active.  

So the final analysis? I try to eat real, healthy, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, get some exercise and activity every day and not worry about my weight or size. I try to be confident in that fact that if I do that, I AM healthy and am at the weight I am naturally supposed to be.  Which may not fit into what the "charts" say, but is just right "for me."  And, I'd rather have a few extra pounds on my body than have to worry about every single bite I eat. Because the less you try to eat, the more you end up thinking about food. 

So here I am..today...in all my overweight glory with a couple of crazy kids posing too.  Arms are much fatter, but also much healthier.


P.S. A really great website for helping you improve your body image is My Body Gallery.  You can search by height/weight/clothing size/age and see images women have submitted of themselves. It's a great tool for getting an idea of all the various different body shapes and types women come with and how beautiful they can be.  (Warning..some of the pictures submitted are not very modest...so use your own discretion).  

P.P.S  This is just MY experience and how it relates to ME. I'm NOT saying that anyone else should or should not try to lose or not lose weight.  That's a personal decision that is up to YOU.  I'm just saying why I'M choosing to not worry about THE CHARTS or THE SCALE..and just focus on eating healthy and getting exercise. 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes-- Deja Vu and Prayers


1.

Looky, looky....it's the last weekend before the bar exam and here I am begging for prayers...again.  I seem to remember doing this before.   If you aren't familiar with our sordid back story....back in 2010 my husband left a lucrative good teaching job to go to Ave Maria School of Law in Fl. He graduated in 2013.  For some unknown reason we decided to have him take the bar in Virginia, because we wanted to live in Virgina.  Why Virginia? Not really sure other than we didn't want to stay in FL and we didn't want to go back to Rhode Island (where I am from). So he did take the bar in Virginia...and he passed.  But, he never got a lawyer job and spent the year teaching. 

Meanwhile, in a sudden and shocking move, my parents left Rhode Island and moved out to Indiana where they proceeded to use every imaginable lure to get us to move out here too.  And it worked, because we did.  Which is why Ben is taking the bar exam...again...this time in Indiana.   

It's next Tuesday and Wednesday, so please, please, please pray he passes.  AND, that he finds a job, because this girl is SO TIRED of moving and uncertainty and not being settled down.

SO TIRED of it!

2.

I have to say...that I do really like Indiana so far. Especially the weather.  I'm sure I'll be eating my words come winter....but we don't have air conditioning.....so the fact that it hasn't been that hot and I don't even miss it has been a HUGE blessing.  HUGE.  Not sure if it's unusual to only have highs in mid-upper 70's in July, but I will take it! It even seems cooler here than it was in Rhode Island.  That could just be because our house in Rhode Island was like a greenhouse and our house here is surrounded by trees and stays a lot cooler.

Watch...it will be 90 degrees all August.

And, talking about the weather is probably an all-time low on a blog.  

3. 

Another nice thing about Indiana is that we are in a wonderful Catholic Diocese.   Together as a diocese they are running a program using this book.


A mom I met through a local homeschooling coop invited me to a small woman's group at a nearby church, so I've been reading this book in preparation for consecration.

One thing I read has been very profound for me. 

The author talks about how after one consecrates themselves to Mary....Mary will "sweeten their cross."  Make their trials a bit easier..the cross is still there, but she makes it a bit sweeter and helps them carry it. 

Well...I NEED that.  I'm more afraid of suffering than I am of the suffering itself.  My greatest cross is a tendency towards excessive anxiety and worry. I'm more scared of being scared than I am of the scary thing. 


Makes sense?  Probably not, but I've been praying just a short simple prayer a lot lately

Mary, sweeten this cross.

And, I HAVE felt more peace about everything. 

4.

Another prayer I really like is the Our Lady of Good Remedy Prayer 

We've been doing a lot of praying of various novena prayers lately...for the whole bar/job search things.

5.

Speaking of crosses....here is my cutest one right now,



Thanks to her....I've reached a new parenting low. She is "potty-training" which frequently involves cleaning unmentionable things out of unmentionable places.  Let's just say I've now bleached out a refrigerator because a certain someone decided to put a certain disgusting thing in there. 

Toddlerhood is NOT my favorite stage. Good thing they are cute...and they outgrow it.

6. 

So, we're a little behind on homeschooling this year.   Normally, we school-year round and go July-June.  We finish up our last year in June and start the next year in July.  Not this year....we're scrambling to finish by August.  I think we'll be done with everything (except math) by then.   Of course, two long-distance moves in the same school  year (August and June) didn't help much. 

The last few days, I've been ordering all our books/curriculum for next year.  That's fun.  NOT!  I hate doing it.  I think I'm pretty frugal but it's always way more money than I want to shell out at one time.  I just keep reminding myself that it's (WAY) cheaper than Catholic school as I hyperventilate through doing it.   I know there are ways to school completely free online but we've tried those and they just don't work for me/us at all.  

It's always a balance between finding curriculum that works, and that which is affordable.  I've been schooling long enough to know that it's better to err on the side of it works and just do our best with the finances. 

7.

And, I'll leave you with the enlightening thought from Greta

Greta: Mom, I don't want to grow up because I don't want to have money responsibilities.  But, grown-ups do get to do whatever they want, so maybe I do want to grow up.  But, I don't want money responsibilities so I think I'd like to stay a kid. 

Me: Yeah, me too. 

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(Since our normal host of 7 Quick Takes is at some fancy-schmancy gathering that us poor folk can't attend, the link-up is being hosted by http://www.svellerella.com/, a great new blog you should check out.)

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So It's NFP Awareness Week (5 Things)


So...I'm spreading awareness.

I'm sure most of my readers are already quite familiar with NFP.

If you want to read more about NFP, my experience with NFP, or if you are just plain nosey (because let's face it,  people read blogs because they are nosey and want to know all about everyone else.  It's okay...I'm nosey too.  You can check out last year's post.



Well...I'm not into the whole sign-holding selfie thing.  Just seems REALLY awkward to me.  Although taking a picture of what I wore Sunday is not awkward at all.  Go figure.

So..I'll just show the signs without the selfies. 

Plus...now you get to witness my absolutely atrocious handwriting.   Blame it on the public schools. 

1.


Birth control is about the only medicine one takes when they are completely healthy to make your body NOT work the way it should.  Doesn't make sense.  

2,

Even Wikipedia says it is.   And, I'm scared of carcinogens. 

3.

Babies are awesome.  I love babies  Toddlers on the other hand...well...I'm not so fond of them. Thankfully they grow up into awesome kids...because I love kids.   Kids and babies are great.  Thankfully toddlers are just a blip on the child-rearing continuum .

4.

There is something to be said for controlling your actions to get a specific outcome.  Don't want a baby.  Don't have sex when you are fertile (and NFP can help you know when you are fertile). Just like if you don't want to gain too much weight, don't each ice cream every night.  Funny how no one has a problem telling people that they should have perfect self-control when it comes to diet and exercise   But, heaven forbid anyone is expected to have self-control when it comes to sex. 

5.


It really does.  One isn't really in control...they are just using a pill or something to gain a sense of control over their body.  But they aren't really in control...they are relying on SOMETHING else for control..instead of relying on THEMSELVES.   And artificial birth control fails...quite frequently actually.  I know a woman who got pregnant after her husband had a vasectomy AND she had a tubal ligation.  Yep

Anyway, so I'm going to link these up with Heather for 5 Favorites and call it a post. 

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

I know when YOU are pregnant.


Time for your regularly scheduled Sunday link-up.  Just some nice easy reading for you.  Questions from Kendra and What I Wore Sunday from FLAP.

So, here's what I wore.




Pretty basic outfit but I did get all fancy and add the scarf with it.  I got the scarf from my new sister-in-law.  I wore it in their wedding...it's a great scarf.

Now...onto the questions.

1. What’s something you've won and how did you win it?

Well, the most impressive thing I've won...if you can call it "winning", is the Highest GPA Award (it wasn't called that, it had some fancy name I can't remember..like the Some Person Award for Highest GPA) for my high school. Fortunately though, I didn't have to make the valedictorian speech...I guess I didn't have the highest GPA when they were assigning the speech (before the last semester's grades were in), but I did once the final grades were calculated. Apparently I was just as much of a nerd the last semester of my senior year as I was all the previous semesters. 


2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?

Mostly, I throw them away.  We've moved way too many times for me to be encumbered with old greeting cards.  I do save personal letters...but I rarely get letters.  No one writes letters anymore. 

3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Depends on the season.  I'm barefoot if it's warm enough..in the winter when it's cold I usually wear at least socks and frequently socks and shoes. 

4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met? 

Sadly enough, it was probably Patrick Kennedy. Although, Congressman Chris Smith (from New Jersey) almost had to DELIVER me 36 years ago. Apparently on the day I was born, he (and another big-wig pro-life leader) were at my mom's house working on pro-life work. Unbeknown to them, while my mom was working on pro-life stuff and serving them hot dogs for lunch, she was also laboring.  What a feat of multi-tasking! They finally left at 2 PM and I was born at 4 PM (at the hospital..they barely made it in time). 

5. What has been your best work of art?

Probably..this blog.  Or maybe My Home Remedies Website.

Or my kids.  I do make cute kids.
Even when a certain one is grouchy because he doesn't like wearing suspenders and a bow tie. 

6.  What’s your strongest sense?

I have no sense, seriously.  My eyesight isn't that great. My hearing isn't either.  Nor is my sense of smell (I think years of working around animals obliterated). I certainly don't have a lot of common sense.  And my instinct/gut/primal sense is usually pretty off too...because I'm constantly thinking something bad is going to happen and then it doesn't. 

Actually I go have a good "pregnancy-sense" which means I can oftentimes tell when someone is pregnant before they announce it. Seriously....even when they announce it really early...I usually "knew" or "suspect" something.  It even works for people on the Internet that I never even met..I just sometimes "sense" that someone is pregnant before they announce it. 

It doesn't work on myself though....only other people. 

And, don't worry..even if I think you are...I would NEVER ask!

________________________________

That's all for this week!  Happy Sunday!  And please keep Ben in your prayers.  He's taking the bar exam in just over a week!  Yes..this is the second year in a row he's taking it.  He passed the first time, but that was in Virginia, and now we are in Indiana..so he's taking it again here Hoosier land. It's a nerve-wracking time. 
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Don't Work...Oh Wait...Yes I Do.


It's an innocent enough question.  

Did Your Mom Work or Stay Home? Do you work or stay home?

We all know what is meant.  

However, as my own mother likes to point out...such a question puts up a false dichotomy. A dichotomy she has fought against her whole life. So, Mom..this blog post is for you.

Working versus Staying Home  

The opposite of work is not-working.

Not working involves things like playing, relaxing, sleeping, eating.

A better question would have been "Was Your Mother Employed?" (which could include self-employment). 

Because the things a stay-at-home mother does are certainly work. 

Even if a mother does NOTHING ELSE but keep her child(ren) alive and fed and safe and clean and clothed all day, she is performing the SAME duties as a childcare worker or a nanny or babysitter.  A job that many people get paid to do and that is considered work and gainful employment.

SOMEONE has to do those things, right?   

Those kids aren't going to feed and clothe and care for themselves. At least not the little ones. 

And most stay at home mothers do considerable more than that...they may do laundry, and cleaning and cooking and teaching and discipline and chauffeuring, and arranging and organizing and scheduling and budgeting and shopping and errand running and lawn care and bill-paying and gardening and pet care.

Of course a mother (or father) who is employed also does all or some of those things too, but they have less time to do them and they still need SOMEONE to care for the child(ren) while they are performing their employment duties. Frequently that SOMEONE is paid.

Doing MYSELF what I could PAY someone to do, qualifies as work. 

I can't pay someone to sleep for me.  I can't pay someone to relax for me.  I can't pay someone to watch TV for me.  I can't pay someone to play golf for me. Those things aren't work.

But, I can pay someone to come to my house and watch my kids and feed them, and clean them and keep them safe and read them stories and play games with them and take them to the park ......because those things are all work. 

I could pay someone to cook meals for me, or clean my house or do my laundry or drive us around or pay our bills or mow our lawn. Heck, I could even pay someone to do my shopping for me.  Well, I could pay someone to do all those things if I had enough money that is....which I don't. So, I'm stuck doing them myself

I KNOW that no one (hopefully no one) means to downplay the duties of a stay at home mother by asking the question. "Do you work or stay home?"  But the fact remains, that staying home involves work that if a mother (or father) didn't do, someone else would have to do it and that someone would likely get paid. 

Why do words matter?  Everyone knows what you mean...right?   Everyone knows that when people talk about "working moms" they aren't trying to insult stay-at-home moms...at least not outright.  But, language does matter...it subconsciously influences how we think and how we view things.  By calling employment, "work", we are implying that those who aren't employed, don't work.   

It matters, when the new mom with the constantly nursing baby, cries at the end of the day that she didn't get anything accomplished today so she feels depressed and worthless. It matters when the mom of the sick toddler who spends all day cleaning up vomit and holding a sick child feels as though the day was a waste because nothing was accomplished.  It matters when the mom of a preschooler who read the same book 50 times feels like it was a wasted day because nothing got done. 

It matter because as a society we have picked up the notion that "staying-home" is not work.  Even moms who stay home often feel a burning desire to do something else, something more meaningful.

That's why network marketing opportunities (like Mary Kay, Usborne, DoTerra, Melalecua, Pampered Chef, Thirty-One, Shaklee, Ava, Lila Rose etc., etc., etc.) are so wildly popular with moms.  It's not just the extra money, although the extra money can be helpful, but it's because so many moms are desperately looking for a way to say "See I DID accomplish something today.  I sold this book or that knife or this essential oil or that bag or this make-up or whatever." Don't  get me wrong, I'm not criticizing those opportunities..they can be great for certain people. (They are not for me, but that's the subject of a whole other blog post).  But part of the reason they are so popular is that a stay at home mom is made to feel like she isn't working, like she isn't accomplishing anything unless it brings in a paycheck.  Yet, she doesn't want to leave her kids or can't afford daycare....so along come these opportunities and boom...it's a way for her to bring in money (IF she's successful at it) AND gain a sense of accomplishment.  And, I think for many moms, the sense of accomplishment, the sense of doing something, the sense of working is more important than the actual money. But, the thing is, even without the check or business, she is still working. Even as "just a stay at home mom" she is accomplishing something...she IS performing meaningful work.

Employed moms work hard.  Unemployed moms work hard.  Being a mom is hard no matter what you do. 



But, it's time to stop using the phrase "working mom". It's redundant.  ALL moms work.  ALL of them. The question is whether you are employed or not...not whether you work or not...because you DO work. 
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Day Santa Saw Jesus

It's Christmas in July!  This story is just too good not to share..  It's an interesting twist to the story of Santa Claus. 

The Day Santa Saw Jesus 

by Greta (age 9)

Long ago, Santa Clause gave toys to bad boys and girls. 

Santa would urge them to burp at the table, be mean, sneak, scare, steal, disobey, and not say prayers.  That's why kids were so naughty back then.

One day, Santa was giving toys to a boy who burped at the table, stole, was mean, didn't share or pray.

Then an angel appeared to Santa and said, "Santa, you are an evil man, rewarding kids for being bad. They don't know better but will do bad, bad, bad things when they grow up."
"That's my goal!" said Santa.

Then the angel shot an arrow at Santa.  It couldn't kill him as it was made of air, but it was painful.

Black blood streamed out of Santa.

Then the angel gave Santa a message from God.  It said, "Santa, you are an evil man.  Stop it.  I love you.:

There was a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus glowing red.  A bunch of saints appeared and Jesus and the angels all explained to Santa about God. 

Santa began to cry.

He wrote a letter to every child.

Dear Children,

       So sorry.  I will no longer give you toys for being naughty.  If you are good, I will give you toys.  You'll get toys from me and your heavenly reward.

Lots of Love,

Santa Claus. 

Then the children became very good and they all became saints. 

The end. 

Since this is a story and involves reading..I'm STRETCHING and linking up with Jessica for WWRW

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