Sitting with a friend of mine, I was roughly 6 months pregnant with my 4th baby. I was sharing with him that I was really struggling trying to teach my fitness classes because of an injury caused by a car accident months earlier that was being amplified by loose ligaments in pregnancy. He said, “Maybe you should stop teaching and just rest.” Frowning my eyebrows, it sounded like a terrible idea to me. “I don’t want to just stop exercising. I don’t want to be a whale.” His response was hilarious (not intentionally), but it was also insightful later. He said, “You were meant to be a whale.” Put that on a maternity shirt and see if it sells. Eyebrows raised, my chin tucked down and before he could pull his foot out of his mouth I said, “I know what you meant. Pregnant moms get bigger and that’s ok.” Of course, I made fun of him for weeks, but later, when we were going over the conversation again, he said to me, “Why are you worried about it?” I had to stop and think for a minute to formulate my answer. My answer was simple, but deep and I really didn’t want to “go there.” “I guess I have a fear of being fat.”
That insight was not a new revelation to me, but it was one that I excused myself from because I work in the fitness industry. I have wrongly believed it was appropriate for me to hold myself to higher standards for the sake of being a role model. The fitness industry and the media support this sort of thinking. How motivating would it be to have a “fat” trainer? I thought I’d fail my clients and disappoint them if I gained too much weight. And really, I thought they might discredit by ability to do my job well. Fear. That’s the easiest way to summarize my reasoning. Fear.
You’re thinking, “Why would she lose friends for sharing this personal thought?” It’s because I think many of you reading this are motivated more by fear than by love…love for life, love for your body, love for your uniqueness, love for God. I think many of you and so many others on Facebook, the internet and in our community are driven to eat healthy, detox, eat organic, avoid chemicals, exercise, avoid vaccines because of fear. When fear, anxiety, worry or the need to control is the motivation for making healthy choices, it’s wrong….even if the action itself is “good.” There will be very little lasting long-term benefits from those “healthy choices” if the motivation and drive behind them is out of fear. In fact, I am wagering to say that depression, discouragement, disillusionment and defeat will reign when life is lived with the need to control as the platform.
Before you get your panties in a knot, I am not saying that ALL of you are driven by fear or maybe not ALL of your choices, but if you take a second to think about why you have chosen to eat one way or another you might find fear is hiding behind a great facade of a “desire to be healthy.” Hear this…I am not saying that eating organically, eating Paleo, avoiding chemicals or detoxing is not healthy or that the research behind may support good reason for it. But did you come about the decision based on your desire to take care of you because you’re worth it or because you are afraid of getting cancer from eating GMO’s? Do you eat healthy because you know that you will have more energy to live out your purpose in life or because you feel fat and ugly and are insecure every time you leave the house in shorts (that’s fear of what others think)?
I’ve been in the fitness industry for 16 years and never have I been so agitated by all of the information out there for “healthy living”, exercise and “nutrition.” I’ve been through the “fat free” years, the Atikins years, and the Weight Watchers (point banking) theories. I’ve seen crazy trends and read silly articles, but I’ve been so bothered by the rampant spreading of information about detoxing, eating organically, the chemicals in our foods and all of the “how to” articles that suggest how it will save your life and your kids’ lives too if you change. Again, those things in isolation are not bad things and will probably give you GREAT benefits. I think I figured out the reason for my agitation. It’s because BEHIND those articles is an undertone of fear, anxiety, worry. There is a belief that we have some form of control. “Control” is an illusion. We cannot determine the course of the wind, but we can adjust the sails. We have a responsibility to steward or take care of what is given to us so yes, we SHOULD be looking for ways we can take care of our body, but it should be out of honor, respect and appreciation for your life and life itself NOT because of a fear of the toxicity in your body and environment or because of the diseases you may get if you keep drinking milk that came from cows given growth hormones.
I hope I am making my point clear. We are not in control. We do not decide when we die. We do not decide how we die. We CAN decide to take care of our bodies for however long we get to have them, but it’s JUST as important to not let the fear, lack of control, worry, or anxiety drive us. I believe these factors are more toxic than a pesticide on your apple could ever be.
I am betting some of you have read this much and thought to yourself, “Huh, that sound like my sister” or “That’s not me, good thing.” I would’ve said that about a year ago. I would’ve been honest enough to admit that there have been times in my life when it was very clear that fear or the need to control lead me to all kinds of anxiety, worry and discouragement, but I thought I was over that. No, it just hides itself in different ways. We’ve excused ourselves by hiding behind a seemingly good principle. For example, it seems like a good principle that a trainer should be a good example or role model of health. Yes, this is true. But does health come in a specific package that looks a certain way? No, it does not. Does pregnancy affect every body the same and can you decide if I’ve been healthy by how much weight I’ve gained? Not necessarily. Is it more healthy for me to not exercise to allow my injuries to heal and keep my baby safe? In this case, yes, it was. My fear was driving me to believe differently and I’m asking you to sort through your beliefs. What is driving your choices? Do you read articles and get a sense of dread about all of the things you’re not doing? Do you feel pressure to change something because of all of the negative press?
So, what’s the right way to look at this? I am still learning. I am still discovering. I am thankful that God is gentle in revealing all of the little hidden ways in which I have still not grasped truth. But what’s awesome about that is that He is more concerned about the process of learning and becoming than He is about the end result. Otherwise, He’d fast forward us to where we should be in the first place. It’s a journey…the destination is not the point. It takes faith to admit that you don’t have control, but it brings freedom. Instead of seeing our life like car where we fill it with gas, we step on the pedals and we steer it in the direction we want to go, it is much more like that sailboat. We make sure the boat is water ready and the sails are ready to catch the wind. Then, we wait for the wind. Sometimes, it’s still. Sometimes, it’s a light breeze. Sometimes, it’s a storm. We don’t control the kind of wind that comes our way, we just adjust the sails and take it as it comes.
Commit to this with me: be open to how you are letting fear or a need to control persuade your choices. Be humble and willing to let go. Be ok with feeling vulnerable and a little out of control, but rest assured that because God is in control, you don’t have to act crazy…you can rest in that. Admit that fear is toxic…to your mind and to your soul which affects your body! The reverse is true. Faith and hope are healing for the body. Acceptance is satisfying. Put things in right order. Love yourself and understand how much you are loved. Then, let that drive your choices for better health.
This is a beautifully written note from the heart that every girl can intimately relate to. Thank you Mercy Peck for allowing me to share this.
You and I have never been friends
and I suspect we never will be.
You rarely show me
what I want to see
even though I fight and plead.
Now I can’t recall
who is was that told me to
ask you to confirm my value?
The only truth you tell me about myself
is of the compact weight of the fluid, bones,
flesh, vessels and organs
that sustain my soul on earth.
Why then, do I keep crawling back asking
you my worth?
You’ve never told me the weight of my thoughts
or the crushing burden on my heart.
No, your abilities are only concrete.
You measure the heaviness that only eyes can see.
You are tipped and swayed by the silliest of things…
most consisting of what I drink or eat.
I’ve decided I’m done with this game
and NO, I never wanted to play.
So now, with some hesitation,
I must bid you farewell.
If we ever meet again,
I will never take your number
and use it to measure the beauty of a soul again.
I’m 14 weeks post-partum after my 4th child and I am STILL 14 pounds above my pre-baby weight. Yea, I can squeeze into a few pairs of my pre-baby jeans, but by squeeze, I mean I can button them and can feel an “overhang” that reminds me I’m not back to my original size. Boo hoo. Is it harder this time around? Maybe, maybe not. I think part of it might be that this baby DOES NOT SLEEP. Part of it may be that I’m not teaching classes right now so in essence, I’m not working out for work this time. Part of it may be due to experimenting with foods that are dairy free, soy free, etc…that I can look forward to. It could be that I have 4 kids and less time to focus on a food log and exercise. Yea or maybe it’s all of them.
As a side note, I measured my foot the other day. Pre-baby I was a size 9. I am now a size 10.5 so it’s not just my midsection that is not it’s original size! No wonder I felt like the ends of my toes were bruised! New shoes on the way. Maybe they will make me want to workout more at home. I don’t like working out at home because I don’t like being interrupted. Being at home means multi-tasking with about 6 different things at once almost always with a baby in one arm.
My new shoes coming! You like?
Enough of that. If you want to change, then you better change some daily things, right? I’ve been blogging for a couple of different websites and trying to keep up with my own business, website and Facebook so getting back on the computer to do a food log is the last thing I want to do with my “spare” time. I have a different idea. I don’t want to keep a food log for the rest of my life. What I want to be able to do is eat healthy without thinking about it, eat treats in moderation and never overeat for dumb reasons. I want to eat to live and not live to eat.
I read a book years ago called “Thin Within.” This book recommended using a “hunger scale.” I am going to do 2 new things this week:
- I’m going to start the 21-Day Countdown to Spring Challenge (I need to change things up…I get bored.)
- I’m going to use the “Hunger Scale” for my nutrition/eating control
Here’s the hunger scale (Jamie’s version.)
0- STARVING (stomach growling, feels like an empty pit, I’m usually super grumpy and could eat a horse)
2- REALLY hungry (it’s probably been more than 3 hours since you’ve eaten last and you can’t wait to eat)
4- Hungry, but not overly hungry where you are constantly thinking about food
8- A little uncomfortable (probably continued to eat for the wrong reasons or ate too fast and didn’t notice I was satisfied)
10- FULL (ate WAY TOO MUCH and am HURTING…rare that I do this, but I hate it when I do.)
I am going to try to stay within 3-6 everyday, all week. That means, when I am a little hungry (4/5), I’ll eat until I am a 6 and no more than a 6. This will require me to pay attention to how I feel and RESPOND to how I feel. It’s often that I’m hungry in between breakfast and lunch and am often hungry in late afternoon (before dinner). This will make my dinners smaller or non-existent and that’s ok. I’ll sit with my family with a big glass of fruit infused water and enjoy their company.
The book I mentioned suggests that people who maintain their healthy weight stay within 4-7 at all times and people losing weight will be 3-6. People who eat to an 8-10 often gain weight over time as well as people who allow fluctuations as big as dropping to a 1 frequently.
I’ll be posting more on this hunger scale and how it goes for me this week on Facebook. Join me if you’d like! It may produce a really good habit of listening to our body and letting it’s natural hunger signals fall into place!
Ok, here’s my 14 week pics. Below it are weeks 1, 4 and 6. Not much difference from weeks 6-14. 6 pounds on the scale. I’m determined now to make a visible difference. I’m really ready to feel like me again.
As another side note, here’s a picture taken a few minutes after the 14 weeks one above. Wearing clothes that fit (even if they are in a size that we don’t like) can make it appear that we are smaller. Not as much hanging over the edges in this pic
This post is by one of the most awesome people I know, Regan Murray. She is hilarious and should really have her own talk show. I asked if she’d just give us a piece of her mind so that we can have a break from our own and just smile a bit. I hope to hear more from her.
In comparison to times in history, life should be easy. We don’t have to pee in out houses, wash our clothes in the river, warm ourselves by a fire, entertain ourselves with reading a book (from the one or two books in print), eat food that had to be prepared at the sake of our friend Mr. Chicken, or bathe in semi-warm water shared with everyone else in the household holding out hopes we go first so the water is actually clean. If we want to see our friends, we don’t have to saddle up the wagon and ride the many miles until we see any other sign of life or wait for the once a month postal delivery. Those times must have been rough, but even with that understanding, our parents, grandparents, greats and great greats don’t have to live with these things:
- Being accessible 24/7. Seriously. Why do we all feel a little anxiety (and also relief) when we forget our cell phone or the battery dies and we have no charger?
- Worrying about the fact that the food we like could slowly be killing us. Thanks alot Red Dye 40, Yellow Dye, Gluten, GMOs, Sugar, Wheat, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Preservatives, McDonalds (nooooooooo…..) etc… I never remember my mom reading the labels on things except for how much something cost. (My mom still shops at the 99cent store.)
- Today your best friend is generally the person you text or Facebook the most not necessarily even someone you see. Who has time to hang out when we are so busy posting 24/7 where we are, what we are eating, who we are with, how much fun we are having?
- As a parent, the pressure couldn’t be greater today. School was optional way back in the day and when we went to school, finger painting was still the main curriculum in Kindergarten. Today, if our kids aren’t reading by the time they are half way through the first day of kinder, we are feeling like failures. We feel the pressure to discover their hidden talent whether it be soccer, basketball, baseball, dance, gymnastics, swimming, singing, acting, art and we need to do it asap so we can “develop” it so they can be discovered. Aren’t we all raising the next Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Justin Bieber?
- Then, let’s start talking about our bodies. It isn’t just okay to be “not fat.” We need to be exercising, eating healthy trying to live to be 100 so we can truly master all of the electronics that are coming out every month. Don’t upgrade your phone yet because next month another new I-Phone version will be coming out. Keeping up with the Jones’ used to be our neighbors. Now, it is everyone we know or don’t know but that we “see” and “connect with” via the internet. Thanks to Facebook and Pinterest, we need to make amazing recipes, host the best parties and do great activities with our family that we can record and post to make others see how great we are.
Hmmmmm…all things considered sharing a little bath water with my family doesn’t sound so bad…