Her lean legs are not like mine.

I have done a really good job being happy and trying not to get down about myself or how my body looks in the last year. However, I do still struggle. As I said a couple days ago, I made a new year’s goal to continue to seek out my happiest self. I also made a New Year’s goal to run 1000 miles this year, nothing to ambitious, but something I would like to do. On New Year’s Day I woke up with my hips aching, which caused numbness in my thighs. I think it spawns from a spine deformity I have, but I am not sure and I feel like, though I could run, it would make things much worse. So on day 3 of the New Year, I have already slipped up on one goal. But this morning, after breakfast I slipped up on another one.

As I mentioned earlier, I still struggle. I don’t think about some things I used to struggle with as much. For instance, when I started eating more, I would panic each time I went to Einstein Bagels because I was so used to only get a fruit cup and coffee/ latte there (what used to be all I ate the first half of the day). But now I barely think about it when I order a bagel with cream cheese or a breakfast sandwich.

But there are other things that get to me. They get to me when I feel like I am failing or am anxious. I was feeling like a bit of an anxious failure this morning, because I was overly upset about not being able to run and because I am so anxious over my professional exam that I am taking Friday.

So as I was walking out of Einstein after breakfast, I saw a long lean girl in runner’s clothes. She had the ultra slim legs that I used to have. She may naturally have a slim figure like that, but I know I had to nearly starve myself to achieve the look. Either way- I was instantly aware of the size of my legs. That they have grown. That they are not sticks. That they have fat on them.  And as I passed the girl, she looked at my legs.

And for a moment, I was so ashamed. Why did I let my legs get so big? Why did I eat that breakfast sandwich? Why did I not run this morning? One irrational, angry question came flying into my mind, accusing myself for being healthy.

So I stopped it. Something I was never able to do a year ago and something I am very proud of. I turned the point of view from me to that girl.

What if she was looking at my legs out of insecurity? What if she struggled with what I used to? So I re-evaluated the situation, smiled at the girl, and walked out with my head held high.

What did that girl see? She saw a confident woman, with long non-stick legs, smiling and happy with all life has to offer her.

Her lean legs are not like mine. We are different. I am proud of who I am. And my legs are part of me, so I am proud of them too.

It’s okay to struggle, but don’t forget to stop and remember all the blessing in the life. Put your health and happiness first. And don’t forget to smile.

“A Smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.”

A Recap Of 2014

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A little recap of the time between Jan 1st (left picture) and December 21st (right picture):

On January 1st, I made a 2014 goal to be happy. To actively pursue happiness. Things didn’t always go my way this year, but I was happy. Really, really happy.

I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve changed in the last year. At the beginning of the year, I was still working on getting myself to an appropriate amount of calories. I had already made the big jump to the 2000s and was gearing up for 2200+. Of  course my ultimate goal was to stop counting, but that was something scary to be conquered later. Today, I am no longer obsessed with numbers. I eat what I want, when I want- while emphasizing a healthy balance.

In the left picture, I worked out about 5-6 days a week. I ran some days and was really making huge progress with my weight lifting. I haven’t been working out a whole lot lately (seriously, only about 50 body weight squats a day) and that’s okay! I know I need to start working out again, because I feel so much better when I do, but my focus the last couple weeks have been to study and when I have a free moment, to spend it with family and friends.

In January, there were so many things I wanted to change about myself, but more than anything, I wanted to learn to love my body. Today, there are things I want to improve on (such as entering the gym again), but I’m also very okay with who I am.

In January, my body image was terrible on days I went off my macros or didn’t go to the gym (see the banana incident here), but I learned from those days (see pretty much any of my prior posts). Now, I have bad body image days, who doesn’t, but when I do I certainly don’t starve myself or take any extremes. In fact, it has been 1 year and 9 days since I intentionally went to an extreme just because of a bad body image day.

I transformed more mentally this year than ever before and for that I am grateful.

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my happiness.

And I am grateful for the wonderful people in my life that have supported me throughout this journey to regain my health and who I am (I am looking at all of you awesome people!).

2014 really wasn’t about the physical changes, it was about my mental transformation. A transformation I plan to embrace and adapt with for the rest of my life. If my goal for 2014 was to be happy, then my goal for 2015 is to stay happy, to spread happiness, and to continue to seek out what it means to be the best version of me.

2% Milk and the Little Victories

If you follow my Instagram, you may notice something missing from it lately- pictures of myself. I have been in a bit of a rut lately. I have bogged down by a busy school schedule, back-to-back-to-back injuries that prevent me from running or doing leg workouts, and now I have been sick for nearly two weeks. I may just be making excuses. I honestly can’t tell. My anxiety has been at an all-time high and I cannot seem to identify the source. Nevertheless, my body seems to be aware of the rut and now whenever I look in the mirror I just think- “meh.”

But I know I can’t do this to myself! I need to step back and do some re-evaluating and I seem to do that best in the form of a blog post because I feel the need to be as honest as possible on here.

I live an extremely blessed life. I am doing well in my master’s program because the material is just coming easier to me than any school material has in years. I have an incredibly supportive family and boyfriend. I have a job waiting for me when I graduate. And yes, I have had some unfortunate circumstances regarding my physical health recently, but it isn’t anything permanent and although I am not pleased with my body, it still by no means looks bad. I have not gone back to any restrictive eating habits (even though in all honesty I have thought about it), in fact I even conquered a food fear I did not realize I still had—2% milk.

Do you ever think about how we strive to improve and then slip into a comfortable habit once we have seen a noticeable difference? Well that little realization smacked me flat in the face when I was at Starbucks last week and ordered a nonfat latte only to hear, “We are out of skim milk—is 2% okay?”

I froze. Anxiety flooded over me. You would think someone just stripped me of my clothes and asked me, “You are going to have to run across campus naked to get your clothes back—is that okay?” All this over MILK. Really?! After a several second pause where I considered just walking away, I finally said that 2% was just fine.

I sat waiting for my latte and realized I hadn’t had 2% milk since junior high. Not in a milkshake or coffee drink. Nothing. Unless it was unknowingly baked into something, I hadn’t drunk it. I began to feel a bit proud of myself because there was a time when I would have walked away, but instead I just accepted it and moved on. I know the whole ordeal was silly, but it was yet another reminder that is always important to strive to better yourself and take time to reevaluate where you stand.

The point is I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and entirely appreciate of the beautiful things that surround me. So here’s to going out there, living life to the fullest, and celebrating the little victories!

Setting Priorities and Enjoying Vacation

This will probably be a part 1 of 2 thing… BUT here it goes!

In three days I leave for a cruise to Mexico. In order to prepare, I have admittedly been eating less processed foods and working out a bit more than I had been a month ago. I was just trying to peak on my confidence in a bikini. I wanted to be as “firm” as I could when I went on vacation. And this thought has me torn. Do I not think I look good enough in a bikini now? Is it some crime against humanity to have a little meat on my bones? Why did I instantly think “vacation- oh better slim up”?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with what I was doing physically (If you want to eat a little healthier to firm up a bit before a beach vacation then great- just don’t kill yourself doing it), it was more of the mental pressure I was putting on myself. I hit a breaking point when I went bathing suit shopping and all the bathing suits didn’t cover any of my butt and pinched at fat I didn’t want to believe I had (seriously though, why is the bathing suit trend to have 75% of your ass hanging out? I don’t get it…) and I started crying. In a target dressing room. Definitely not my proudest moment. 

So I called my boyfriend that night and let it all out. I said I hated that nothing fit and that I work so hard and my hard work just doesn’t show. I said I was dreading getting in the bikini and that I had initially wanted to get a “cute poolside bikini picture” but now that was out of the question. And here is what he told me: “Do you think Beyonce or J Lo fit in those itty bitty size bikinis?! Do you think they can get just any old pair of jeans or bathing suit bottoms? They are not the smallest women, yet they have some of the best bodies in the world! They have fat and muscle and look AMAZING! And so do you. Plus who says you have to be an extra small or a small to wear a bikini?! Just go up a size! You look incredible and you are healthy.” My rebuttal was that he was right, I just wished my size was more muscle and less fat. 

Less fat for this vacation. Looking firmer for a picture. Becoming “bikini ready”. And now I am sitting here thinking, “who the heck am I trying to impress?! Am I trying to get an effing swimwear modeling contract on this boat?!” Uh no…

So now I am re-evaluating and putting things in perspective. I have fat, but really nothing even close to excessive… just a healthy amount. I am also happier than I have ever been. I also am going on this vacation to have fun with my boyfriend, who thinks I look great in a bathing suit. And why did I want a poolside picture? To post on Facebook/ instagram- BUT WHO THE HELL AM I TRYING TO IMPRESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?! Nobody. That’s who. I need to not focus on impressing others and just focus on having a great time.

The only reason I want pictures now is to remember this amazing weekend. And if I post them awesome! If I don’t who cares?! I am happy, in love, and going on a cruise with my favorite person… that’s a whole lot more important than having a poolside pic that shows off a six pack (that I most likely will never have-but I am cool with my tummy as is it because it isn’t half bad).

NOW WITH THAT BEING SAID, this is how I plan to enjoy my vacation:

Phone off and away

Working out ONLY if I want to

Eating what I feel like (without over-doing it- no tummy aches from over-eating!)

Enjoying poolside drinks

Dancing my heart out at night

Putting away school work 

Not giving a flying f*ck what anyone else thinks (except my boyfriend, but he loves and supports anything that makes me happy- so I don’t need to worry about that)

ROCKING THE HELL OUT OF THE BIKINI BECAUSE I SAY SO AND NOT BECAUSE I FIT SOMEONE ELSE’S STANDARDS