My body has changed, and I'm not freaking out about it

If you've followed me for awhile or listened to the podcasts I've been a guest on, you know that I've had a rocky relationship with food and my body. In high school I struggled with an eating disorder and throughout my college years I struggled with disordered eating, not knowing that there was any way out of the anxiety, shame, and guilt I felt around food. It wasn't until a little over a year ago that I stumbled upon Intuitive Eating. I actually blogged about the beginning stages of that learning experience here and here

Since then, my life has changed drastically for the better. I can truly say that I live life without the fear of food. I am able to walk in freedom regarding the choices I make around food and exercise. And I am so so grateful for the change that has occurred in my actions, and more importantly, my heart. I was a prisoner, in bondage to food and what it would do to the size of my body. My life revolved around controlling my food and punishing my body with exercise. Whew! What a relief that is no longer my life!

 
My body has changed and I'm not freaking out about it
My body has changed, and I'm not freaking out about it
 

As part of the intuitive eating process, I let go of the dieting facade. I stopped believing the lie that I could control my weight through "trying hard enough" and limiting my food choices. I realized that my constant thoughts about food, cravings for sweets, and episodes of overeating were a direct result of restricting the foods I wanted and not giving my body enough energy. I started to trust that my body would regulate its weight through regulating my appetite, cravings for food, and desires for movement. I didn't freak out when I overate because I knew my body would naturally compensate later during the day, week, or month (so I didn't have to). But I also let go of the idea of having a perfectly chiseled body with very little body fat. I had to, in a way, mourn the body that I had for so long strived to achieve. I came to realize that the only way to achieve that body was through severe restriction and agonizing time at the gym. I decided I would rather have a life and freedom over that elusive, perfect body. 

Over the last year I've let go of the reigns when it comes to food and exercise. I've decreased the amount and intensity of what I do. I listen to it when its tired. I notice when something is hurting. I also listen to my cravings and eat food that satisfies my mouth, body, and mind. And as a result, my body has changed. I have gained weight and am less toned. For some of you, that idea is absolutely terrifying. It freaked me out too for 8 long years. But I've come to realize that there are more important things in life than what my body looks like. I don't even know if this current size is my body's new normal size. I'm not exactly sure where my weight is going to end up, but I am confident that it will stabilize and that whatever that weight is it will be healthy for me because I am taking care of my body. 

 
Not my original quote. I first saw this quote on Maddie Moon's instagram.

Not my original quote. I first saw this quote on Maddie Moon's instagram.

 

I'm not going to say it's been the easiest or that I absolutely love my body. I've definitely had to process through these changes. And there are times that my husband has to remind me to speak truths to myself rather than the harsh lies I'm buying into. Changing the way I see my body is something that I've had to work on and will continue to work on with regards to helping me to accept my new, healthy body size. A few of my thoughts as I've been on this journey?

The first is just that. My body (and mind) are finally healthy. For the first time since I was a sophomore in high school I am finally having a period without the help of hormones. A sophomore!! Physicians never seemed to think it was a big deal, but it's obvious to me now that my body wasn't spending energy on reproduction because I wasn't giving it enough food and was exercising too intensely. My Raynauds wasn't nearly as bad this winter and my toes were so much happier :-). Additionally, my body temperature regulation is SO much better. I actually enjoy it to be a little chilly now. These are things I have to remind myself of when I start to become dissatisfied with my new extra weight. I feel so much better physically in my body now. 

I've also had to come to the realization that it is unrealistic for me to expect to have the same sized body now as I did in high school. For goodness sakes! It's okay for me to have a woman's body, because that's what I am, a woman, not a girl. I refuse to feel ashamed or guilty for allowing my body to be the size it is supposed to be at this stage in life. Eating disorders often onset during adolescent years when our body's are changing and maturing. We need to do a better job of preparing girls for puberty and having different bodies and of letting them know that these new bodies are good

 
My body has changed and I'm not freaking out about it
 

When I look in the mirror and I see my now larger arms or slightly bigger love handles, I remind myself what it represents. It doesn't represent laziness, being out of control, being less valuable, a source of shame or disgust, etc. It represents my new life and all of its experiences. It represents cozy coffee dates with a friend (or by myself), spontaneous walks to braums for ice cream with my husband, going to social situations and not worrying ahead of time about the food or bringing my own, sleeping in on Saturday mornings, and trying new foods and new experiences. It represents LIFE. What a beautiful reminder to have with me all the time. 

I haven't had to buy new clothes yet, but I am definitely noticing a difference in the way that my pants fit. I've been wearing more stretchy pants or tights to work because jeans are less comfortable. I plan to buy new clothes to fit my body. Unlike what our society says, I'm not "giving up" or "accepting defeat" by being okay with my new size, getting rid of too small clothing, and buying new clothes. Instead, I'm choosing to respect my body by covering it with comfortable and stylish clothes that make be feel good both physically and emotionally.  

 
My body has changed and I'm not freaking out about it
 

It's okay that my body has gotten bigger--I forced it to be too small for far too long. And it's okay for your body to get bigger or softer too. Being healthy doesn't mean that we have to have a certain BMI or body fat percentage. I can tell you that I am the healthiest I have ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally, and that is all the result of easing up on food and exercise and gaining weight. Being healthy does mean that I feed my body the types and amounts of foods that is right for it in that moment, that I move my body in a way that energizes, strengthens, or relaxes me, that I connect with those around me, and that I have the freedom to do the things I truly want to do because my body is no longer holding me back. How about we pursue that kind of health together, regardless of what that means our waist size will be. 

P.S. Listening to Intuitive Eating podcasts such as Food Psyche, Nutrition Matters, or the Love Food podcasts and following body positive/HAES/IE people on instagram (rather than people posting pictures of themselves in bikinis 🙄) played a huge role as well!

Homemade yogurt in the crockpot

Hello!! 🙋 It's been a while since I've been here (I know, story of my life and this blog) and I thought it was about time I pop in to say hello. 

Life has been a little more busy lately with my work schedule picking up (thank the Lord!), tons of family wedding and birthday celebrations, and activities with friends. I'm not overly busy and would like to continue increasing my work hours, but I'm loving all the activities I've been up to lately and cannot complain. With life getting a little busier, I have to be more conscientious about meal planning. It's important to be able to eat what I want when I want it, but in order to do that I have to have a plan so that there IS food around when I want/need it. Flexible meal planning is the name of the game.

 
How to make homemade yogurt in the crockpot
 

One thing I've been doing recently is making my own yogurt for breakfast bowls or snacks. It's not necessary to make you're own, but it's a lot cheaper than store bought and making it myself makes me enjoy it even more. You appreciate the things you put time into. At first, I was super intimidated, but got the hang of it. Now I make it just about every week! Just an FYI, this is a looong process, so I recommend starting it in the early evening so that it can culture overnight (start around 4 pm).

 
How to make homemade yogurt in the crockpot
 

Basically, you heat milk to a certain temperature, cool it to a certain temperature, add in the culture, and then let it sit for 12 hours at a warm temperature. Then you strain it and are left with yummy, homemade yogurt!

 
How to make homemade yogurt in a crockpot
 

A quick word on probiotics. Gut health is definitely a buzz topic right now. While getting my masters, I did research on gut bacteria as it relates to health and I found it absolutely fascinating! Our gut (intestines) contains millions of little bacteria that play a role in a variety of different processes in our body. They have the potential to benefit our bodies through strengthening our immune system, maintaining intestinal tissue health, digesting food in our colon, producing vitamins, killing off harmful bacteria, and FAR more. Researchers are constantly finding out more about the role of certain bacteria in our gut and how they can help or hinder our health and everyday life. With our very stressful lifestyles, lack of proper self-care, lack of adequate nutrition, illness, and use of antibiotics, the types of bacteria in our gut can change and cause various symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, a weekend immune system, etc. This is why eating cultured foods with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and foods high in fiber (prebiotics--food for the bacteria) is so important. Hello dairy, fermented foods, whole grains, and veggies! It's another reason why it's super important to get a variety of foods in our diet. A diet high in fat and protein can cause harmful bacteria to overgrow. A diet high in refined carbs can cause harmful bacteria to grow. We need all the food components, people: a balance of protein, carbs, and fat from a variety of food sources.

 
How to make homemade yogurt in the crockpot
 

In the past I have had clients ask me about which probiotic brand I recommend and I wasn't able to really give a recommendation. That's why I thought THIS review was so helpful! It separates fact from fiction and then gives recommendations based on the different criteria that actually matter.  I think it does a good job of explaining things in layman's terms, but still uses scientific research to back up their claims. I recommend you check it out!

And now to making your own yogurt. If you've got the time, give it a try and let me know what you think! 

 
How to make homemade yogurt in the crockpot
 
Recipe for homemade yogurt in the crockpot

In case you missed the link above, the probiotic supplement review can be found at  http://www.reviews.com/probiotic-supplement/ 

Recent things I think you should know about...recipes and podcasts

I just wanted to pop in for a minute to share a few things that I think you should know about. First, I'm including two recipes that I've tried recently that need to be made by you VERY soon! Neither of them are mine (nor are the pictures), but I just had to share them because we loved them so much. The first is this butternut squash orecchiette pasta from Pinch of Yum.   I used broccoli instead of broccolini, added chopped ham for protein, and didn't finish it off with lemon. Oh. My. Gosh. It was so creamy and delicious. I'm making it again next week....

 
 

The second recipe is for chocolate chip cookies from Texanerin. For the longest time, I wouldn't try a recipe if it said "paleo." I'm not a fan of food bandwagons (or diet labels), so I typically stay away from them for a long time (I'm looking at you coconut oil!). BUT YOU GUYS!! These paleo chocolate chip cookies are bomb. Seriously. Super chewy and delicious. I think they are Isaac and I's favorite recipe we've had. They are that good. I've made them twice in the span of a week. Just an FYI, the cookies turn out HUGE. I halved the recipe and made 2 more cookies than she suggested and they were still massive. But I'm not complaining 😉. 

 
 
 
Valentine's Day dessert

Valentine's Day dessert

 

Second thing I wanted to pop in to tell you was that I had the privilege of being in another podcast. I talked with Paige Smathers of the Nutrition Matters podcast about my past history with food and how to balance gentle nutrition with eating what you are craving. We talk about what health really is and how to pursue it in a balanced way. I would love to hear what you think of it!

 
I bought those pink beauts just for the podcast :-D

I bought those pink beauts just for the podcast :-D

 
 
Paige Smathers herself!!

Paige Smathers herself!!

Any recipes or podcasts you want to share with me?? I'd love to hear from you!