We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Posts tagged ‘diet’

12 Days of Christasmas: Day 5 – Eat Well

5th day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Eat

There are countless voices vying for our attention, saying “eat this, not that” and their advice is constantly changing.  Instead of adding to the noise, we’ll keep it sweet and simple: Eat more God food than man food.  That is all.  You’re welcome.

keep it simple

No, really.  Don’t get caught up in all the hype – the rules and regulations regarding nutrition.  Eat when you’re hungry.  Stop before you get too full.  Eat food for fuel, not as a reward or punishment.  Enjoy the food you eat.  Eat slowly enough so you can taste what you’re eating. Eat more fresh food than processed food.  Listen to your body and eat food that brings you health and life, not the stuff that steals it.

What is one change you want to make to your diet in the new year?  I want to eat out less and prepare more meals at home.

Permission to Be a Mom

My body is not my own.

My name’s Reina and I’m a recovering fitness addict, image addict – I’m not sure which one is more true.  The last time I was regularly active, it wasn’t so much of an obsession as it was a really positive outlet.  But once upon a time, I was a fitness addict.  I was more concerned about the end product and it overshadowed the joy and blessing of being able to move and breathe.  I pushed my body’s limits just a little passed comfortable in order to get stronger, and faster, and build endurance.  And let’s face it, I wanted to look good in jeans.

I’m definitely a recovering image addict, and I think that’s something I’ll struggle with as long as I’m on this side of heaven.  It changes, the degree to which I struggle with it.  And also the specific focus of the obsession regarding image, that changes.  There are better seasons, better days, and then there are those days and seasons when I really struggle to let go of the opinions of others.  I truly do believe that it’s an illness, disease, whatever you want to call it, that women are prone to be effected by more than men. Or maybe we just reflect it or act out on it in differently than guys do.  In ways that are more noticeable.  I don’t know.

One of the unexpected benefits of being a new mom of twins is that my twin pregnancy really humbled me in the area of obsessing over my fitness and image.  I was teaching fitness classes when I became pregnant with the twins.  I really enjoyed it.  I loved the endorphins, the comradery of teaching group fitness classes, the whole group dynamic – and it could be a class as small as two people.  One person actually, when it came to my 5:30 in the morning classes.  It was awesome to have other like minded people allow me to partner with them in the endeavor to get healthy and fit, to strive for progress over perfection.  We formed real bonds, created real community.

When I got pregnant I thought, “This is awesome!  I’m going to keep teaching classes and I’m going to teach until it’s time to give birth.”  Then we found out I was carrying twins and I was told that wasn’t going to happen.  The last class I taught was in early August and the next fitness class I participated in was in October.  And in those two short months I could tell the difference in what I could handle, or rather couldn’t handle.  The next time I worked out again was in December and whoa buddy, what I could do was limited even more.

During this time (August to December) I was gaining weight (to be expected) and battling pregnancy acne (as if I wasn’t self-conscious enough already with the rapid weight gain).  It was becoming more and more evident that my body was not mine.  My body was a home to the two lives growing inside me.  It was a cafeteria to feed them.  I was also processing their nutrients, their blood, their oxygen, their waste.  There were so many things my body had to regulate, and my body’s needs took a backseat.

And although I was okay with it during the pregnancy, I really did think that once they were born and I reached the six weeks recovery period (really eight with a Cesarean) that I’d be able to jump right back into working out.  More than trying to get back in shape, I was trying to get active again.  It took me several months of chiropractic care to get my hips and pelvis to stay put and not jostle out of place.  I started doing well for a few days at a time, which became a few weeks.  I was doing at home workout programs and seeing some real improvements in my endurance and muscle tone.  And then the boys went to daycare and I went to work.  They got sick and lovingly gave their stomach bug to me and my husband.  After that, it just seemed like every time I put two days together of working out that something else would pop up.  It really feels like – not as an excuse, but as a reality check – that God’s telling me that now is not the season.  Now is not the time to focus on my fitness, but to focus on being a mom.

Although they are not living in me anymore, and I’m not their house anymore, I’m still their number one source of nutrition.  I’m still supplying the majority of their nutrients through nursing or expressing milk and sending it to daycare.  So I really felt God focusing my attention on my nutrition and food intake.  Unfortunately, when I lost a few pounds in September, my babies lost weight, too.  I’m not sure if my weight loss was tied to their weight loss or if it was just the timing because they had another touch of the stomach bug.  Honestly, I wasn’t heartbroken about not focusing on my nutrition.  It’s not easy to eat 3,000 calories of healthy food every day.  It’s time consuming and it’s costly.

But that didn’t change the fact that I felt torn between being okay with wearing my maternity jeans and wanting to hurry up and “bounce back” to my pre-pregnancy body.  There’s a lot of pressure in our society for women to “bounce back” and look like their pre-pregnancy self with a quickness.  Never mind the magazines that feature new celebrity moms who have lost their pregnancy weight and more in less than three months.  Those magazine covers have been around for years.  When comparison rears its ugly head I’m able to remind myself that those celebrities have nannies, personal chefs, personal trainers, and they do not have the schedule normal moms do.  What gets to me is when I see normal moms on Instagram and Facebook talking about hitting that pre-pregnancy mark.  It’s much easier to get caught up in the lie of “Well, if she can do it I should be doing it.”  It seems like getting back to pre-pregnancy size or smaller isn’t just a goal anymore, it’s an expectation.

I know I’m not the only new mom (or new again mom) who is looking for, waiting for, aching for permission to be okay with walking in the truth that our bodies are not our own.  To be okay with the current season of life.  Not that there isn’t a time to lose fat and tone up. I just know now is not that season for me.  I’m not willing to give up what little sleep I get to wake up super early in the morning to work out before my house wakes up.  And after a full day – waking up around 4 to either nurse or pump, getting myself and everyone else ready for the day, working 9 hours, doing Mommy stuffy with our oldest, nursing and getting the twins ready for bed when they get home from daycare*, putting our oldest to bed, cleaning the kitchen and preparing all bottles and pumping supplies for the next day*, and spending time with my husband before going to bed by 11 – I’m spent and working out is the last thing I want to devote my time and energy to.  If you’re a mom out there and you’re able to juggle working full time, a newborn, older kids, a husband, nutrition, and fitness – mad props to you.  I’m just not there right now and that’s okay.

Since having the twins I’ve noticed that what and how we feed our kids is a huge deal.  I see plenty of debates via social media about breast feeding versus exclusively pumping versus formula and mushy food versus baby led weaning and all sorts of craziness.  I regularly see posts where women lovingly give one another permission to feed their children however they see fit, to do whatever is best for their family.  People say things like “As long as the baby is happy, healthy, and thriving, let’s encourage one another and not tear each other down.”  I see plenty of those posts.

We may not talk about it outright but I definitely sense that there’s this issue of “bouncing back” from a pregnancy and how long it takes.  I’d love to see just as many, if not more posts, of new moms (and new again moms) giving each other permission to enjoy being moms and not having to feel the pressure of to do so within a certain time frame.  Giving each other permission to be present for the very, very short period of time when our children rely so heavily upon us.

So if no one else out there on the interweb can relate, then so be it.  But if you can, please hear me when I say you have permission to be a mom.  Because that’s so much more than enough right now.

*when my husband’s schedule allows he helps out with these tasks

So I Was Thinking About ADH… Squirrel!

I’m not sure why God brought this topic to my mind this morning.  That’s usually how my thought process works though – randomly.  I had just put the boys in their rockers and out on the screened in porch so they could get fresh air while I made some breakfast.  And while I was hustling to make my shake and eggs as fast as I could, I started thinking about how much I disagree with the diagnosis of ADHD. No, I’m not one of those people who doesn’t believe in the existence of ADHD. If you are, cool.  But I’m not.

I totally believe that God blessed some of us with the ability to multimultitask (nope, not a typo) and more energy than others.  Whenever people offer me coffee I politely decline, letting them know that “God made me caffeinated”.  What I don’t believe in is our country’s obsession with treating ADHD like it’s a disease. I blame Big Pharma for that one.

I was diagnosed with ADHD my sophomore year of college.  You read that correctly COLLEGE. I started to see a therapist to deal with PTSD resulting from sexual assault and I walked out of his office with a prescription for Ritalin.  No joke.  I’m not mad at him, though.  If it weren’t for the accommodation that the diagnosis afforded me, I doubt I would have graduated from college on time. It also forced me to deal with my organization and time management issues.

I remember filling out the DSMIV questionnaire and wondering if somehow the creators of the test had based it on my life.  Then the kicker. The counselor told me that although I met the DSMIV criteria, he would need to see copies of my grade school report cards to confirm the diagnosis. Thankfully my mom suffers form a mild case of hoarding and she had most of  my report cards.

Every one of them reported something along the lines of “Very bright girl, but won’t stay in her seat.” And “Very gifted in math, but won’t stop talking.” And my favorite “Very smart girl, but doesn’t turn in her assignments on time.”  I can’t stand when students try to turn in late work in math.  It kind of defeats the purpose of practice.  But I digress…

We didn’t have Ritalin when I was a kid.  Why not?  Because no one was diagnosed with ADHD.  Why not?  Because moms like mine would kick their kids out of the house if they tried to stay in doors and watch TV while it was still light outside.  There were times when I would get back from playing with a friend down the street and if my mom thought I seemed a little too energized still she would tell me to go back outside and get more of my “ya-yas” out.

Although getting my “ya-yas” out helped at home, that practice didn’t serve me too well at school.  We only had one extended recess break to relieve pent up “ya-yas”.  And no amount of releasing of said “ya-yas” was going to help with my lack of organization and time management skills.

But I made it through grade school and high school.  I did not make straight A’s.  In fact, I only made it the honor roll one quarter in the 8th grade because my mom really wanted one of those stickers.  You know the ones.Today, most parents are more interested with the letter grade their student earns than the knowledge and skills they acquire (or in a lot of cases, don’t – in spite of what letter grade they earned).

As an adult I still struggle with these issues.  I do not claim ADHD though.  I will not wear that label.  Again, not because I don’t believe in its existence. I just don’t believe in the disease-medication approach.  So nowadays I exercise regularly to exert my “ya-yas” in a way that benefits my health.  At least once a month I purge my kitchen and dinning room of papers and try to keep pertinent paperwork organized.  And when I have tasks I need to get done, I make a to-do list and use a timer to keep me on target.

What will I do if one of my boys is suspected of having ADHD, you ask?  I’m going to tinker with their diets and enforce strict sleep schedules.  I’m going to have mandatory playtime outside whether they like it or not.  I will have them participate in organized sports if need be. I will teach them how to keep organized backpacks, binders, and how to use an agenda (day planner). If medicine is still necessary, so be it, but these are life skills that they need to master.  Life skills that a pill cannot teach them.

I would love to tie this up in a nice bow and ask you an engaging question to which you can respond by writing in the “comment” box.  But my next blog has been trying to interrupt this one the whole time I was typing so, gotta go.

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