Goolosh smoothie

 

I’ve been around the block a time or two.  Okay really?  Not like that.

In regards to my eating habits.  Remember the 90’s?  The days of “as long as it’s fat free” you should be golden?  Not so I found out.  Eating loads of carbs that are “fat free” yet loaded with sugar is definitely not the way to go.  I couldn’t figure out why the heck I couldn’t loose any weight?  I was eating all fat free?  I remember I would grab a low-fat bagel and a fat free yogurt everyday from the ala cart line at school.  That was it.  Oh man…

My dad would always harp on us about eating healthy.  He’d come home from work to find us snacking on a box of twinkies and ho-ho’s.  He would pick up the box and read to us all of the ingredients.  “You see this?  Partially hydrogenated oil?  That’s one of the worst things for you.”  He would get so bugged.  All we would hear is blah blah blah. How could it be bad for us when it tasted so good?  They had added 6 essential vitamins and minerals!  It said so on the box!

It finally hit me in my first nutrition class in college.  I remember thinking this is what healthy eating is! I realized my Dad was right.  Twinkies and ho-ho’s will kill you off if you eat them everyday.  Why didn’t I see this before?

I’ll tell you why.  Largely because of what all of us are fed by the media.  As kids, we watch commercials that tell us that “Trix are for kids!”.  Then as teens all of our friend’s think Wendy’s is the place to be.  Once we’re adults we’re fed the message of “You don’t have time to eat!  Grab an energy shake and you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need for the day!”  It can be very confusing.

After my realization of  what “true healthiness” was I went a little crazy.  I spent a whole year buying only very expensive organic food, eating strictly vegetarian and dumping flax seed into everything.  I got burned out, it was too extreme for me.

As I said I’ve been around the block.  I went from carb-crazy in high school to strictly vegetarian then my third year in college, I felt like I had found my balance.  I found what worked for me and I was proud of my eating habits.  I bought a few organic things here and there but my diet consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables.  I was proud of my knowledge and felt good about treating my body so well.  I identified myself as a “healthy person” and loved the fact that that was a large part of who I was.

Fast forward.  When anxiety and depression came into the picture a couple years ago I lost my appetite completely.  I had buying healthy food down to a science.  I knew what power foods were, I knew a bunch of healthy recipes and my fridge was always full of fruits and vegetables.  I know healthy I thought.  The only problem is that I didn’t much if any of  it.  I would nibble here and there on a carrot or an apple, but it was so hard to do.  Slowly I lost my balance and didn’t even realize it.

You see, not only have I been around the block with my eating habits, but with treating my depression as well.  I’ve tried just therapy, no medication.   I’ve tried just medication.  I tried just eating healthy and exercising, no therapy and no medication and it worked… for a while.  I felt like I had conquered it, I felt like that was the answer.  I could control it.

Then I had a baby.  I got so tied up in taking care of a screaming baby that I fell into thinking “I just don’t have time to eat, I just don’t have time”.  It wasn’t a priority for me anymore.  However when my therapist asked me about my eating habits.  I was confident in telling her that I was doing great!  I didn’t drink soda, I drank lots of water and I told her about my weekly shopping list.  She was impressed.  I’ve got that part under control I thought.  But truth was I didn’t.

Here I am now and I’m happy to say that I’m getting on track.  I owe a lot to my aunt.  We went and stayed with her last month.  She knows healthy and being around her made me realize that I didn’t anymore.  How long had it been that I had a healthy breakfast?  How long had it been since I’d even eaten breakfast?  She makes eating a priority.  After eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with her for a couple days I realized that I had lost that part of me and I wanted it back.

In dealing with post-partum I know that the best option for me at this point is to use therapy and medication.  Do I want to rely on that forever?  If I can help it, no.  Taking medication is actually one of the hardest things for me to swallow.  I still struggle on a daily basis to come to terms with it.  For now, it’s working and it’s improved the quality of my life significantly.  I’m grateful for it.  Do I wish that eating healthy and exercising was a cure-all for me like it is for some people?  Yes!  I’ve tried it and it didn’t work for me.  I had to humbly accept that maybe I needed to be open to other things.  That maybe I needed more help, that maybe I couldn’t manage it on my own.

But I also believe that eating healthy is something you should always make a priority.  ESPECIALLY if you’re dealing with any sort of illness!  Like I said, I’m not saying it’s a cure all.  I don’t believe that.  However I also know that completely relying on medication and doctors isn’t the best way to treat depression  either.  Coupling them together with exercise has made a HUGE difference for me.  Am I turning into a fin-attic again?  Have I gone completely organic?  No.  But slowly but surely I am making small improvements that are making a huge difference in the way I feel.

I usually start my day out with what I call a “goolosh smoothie”.  Prepare yourself this is going to sound a little weird but trust me, it’s good.  My aunt showed me this.  First put a half cup or so of milk in a blender.  Next shred up some kale, chard or spinach, or all three if you’re up to it.  Next put in a handful of frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.  Throw half a banana and some yogurt and turn er on!  You can also add a bit of honey if you’d like.  I LOVE THIS!  Why?  Because you get five fruits and veggies at once!  Bam!  Two minutes (I timed it this morning) and you’ve started your day off right.  It’s my new favorite thing.  I promise, you can’t hardly taste any of the veggies.  Don’t get me wrong I love veggies but chard and kale are not something I particularly enjoy by themselves.

I’m still working on being more healthy throughout the day.  Slowly but surely right?

It feels so good to say that being healthy is something that is becoming part of who I am again.

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Prove it

“We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives.  We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us.  We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something.  We have to learn to be content with what we are.”

-Marjorie Hinkley

Tonight I finished up my day on my hands and knees wiping up my kitchen floor with a clorox wipe.  Kind of a sissy way of cleaning up but I was too tired and unmotivated to really clean it.  Afterwards I made my way upstairs to clean up the tub water my son had dumped out during his bath.  I got down on my hands and knees again and cleaned up the floor, picked up the toys, hung up the bath towels and picked up a couple of diapers to be thrown away on my way out of the bathroom.  To not drag this out, I counted four different times that I was on my hands and knees crawling, wiping, picking up, folding.  I finally stopped to look in the mirror.  Wow.  My hair looked greasy, I had what looked like three new zits forming, my breath stunk and I in general stunk.  “I’m sure my husband will be so excited to be with me when he gets home”…what a humble place to be.

I never pictured this stage of my life like this.  I remember as a child watching my mom and thinking, “Man, is she lucky, she gets to stay home ALL DAY LONG!  What does she do all day?  I cannot wait till I get to do that.”  One particular time I remember asking her to take me to a friend’s house after school and she said she couldn’t because she “had a million things to do”.  Really?  Really?  I thought.  How could that be true.  “Like what mom?”.  Oh did she get mad.  “One day Sarah, you just wait, one day”.  I had no idea.

That’s what brings me to now.  Here I am, a stay at home mom.  A mother, a wife.  And I now get it mom.  This has been a very difficult transition for me!  I don’t know if it’s because I was so socially involved before becoming a mom or what, but being at home full time has been rough.  I love it one minute and then something happens I get frustrated.  My son poops in the tub and I get super frustrated and not to mention sick too!  I get it all cleaned up and feel good about things again.  I read him a story and I’m in heaven.  Then he screams for an hour because he’s tired, yet doesn’t want to sleep and I’m frustrated again.  I sneak in a quick shower and rush around the house during his nap and trying to get a couple things done feeling rushed and stressed.  Up and down.  Up and down.  All day long up and down.  I’ve definitely gotten better at handling the ups and downs as my son’s gotten older, but on days like today I just don’t feel too excited about going through it all over again tomorrow.  The routine.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’m not really sure if it’s “woman thing” or a “just the way my parents were” thing, or “just the way I am” sorta thing, but I’ve always sought validation from sources outside of myself.  I think maybe it’s a little of all of three “my parents, woman in general, and just the way I am” thing.  Growing up I always felt that in order to be worthwhile I had to BE something.  I had to be busy and super involved in everything.  I wasn’t enough just me by myself.  I had to earn my keep.  In high school I worked like crazy to get good grades and special recognition.  I eventually became student body president of my high school.  Ironically, I think had the votes been determined on self-confidence and healthy self-image there is no way I would have had a chance.  I don’t want to totally discount myself however, I was and am a very social person so being in leadership definitely was my niche, but it would be foolish for me not to recognize that eventually I relied on it to feel like I was worth something.  I know now that having some validation is important.  It’s just about finding a healthy balance.

It’s taken a lot of self-introspection and experience (namely depression) to really help me see that I’m important because of who I am, not because of what I do.  When you given an experience that sends you hitting rock bottom, all you have left is yourself.  Depression prevented me from running at the pace I was used to.  I had little motivation to do anything.  I was so easily overwhelmed.  I couldn’t hide behind a busy schedule or a list of titles.  All I had was me.  That was a tough realization for me.  But I’m so glad that it happened, because now I feel like I’m really getting in touch with me, just me, not the titles or the lists of things I do, but just me.  I’m learning what I like and what I want to change.

What defines me the most right now is my family.  My husband and son are the most important things to me.  They are my family, they are my life.  When I say that I realize that most of what I do is about them.  That’s pretty cool.  However, there’s been many times where I open up to my husband and tell him that I don’t feel like I’m doing a great job.  I didn’t clean up, the laundry isn’t done, I look like crap, I’m not very good at this I tell him.  You don’t have to be perfect he says.  Well I know that I say.  I’m not trying to be perfect I say.  But wait, is that true?  When I take a step back I’m realizing that maybe my expectations of myself are a little high.

As a mom I’m trying to find balance.  Balance between being a good mom and devoting myself to my family and still keeping my identity.  I ask myself, why am I doing this?  Is it because I don’t feel good enough about myself that I need something to make me feel important?  Or am I doing it because I’m genuinely interested in it, I have a passion for it, the opportunity presents itself and I’m taking it!  Classic example.  I have a lot of friends that have chosen to be stay at home moms that also have a little side jobs.  Whether it’s going back to school, doing online classes, photography, etsy shops, make-up, decorating, hair, sewing and selling, the list goes on and on.  Whenever I hear about a new “side thing” one of my friends is doing, I get all insecure.  What’s my “side thing”?  I’m JUST a mom I begin to think.  It makes me want to rush out and start doing a little something extra so when people ask me what I’m doing I’ll have more to say than “I’m at home with my son”.

This is the part I’m working on.  The problem isn’t having “side things” as a mom.  The problem is why am I doing them?  Why do I want to do them?  Is it to make me feel important?  Do I need it to feel good about myself?  Am I embarrassed of the path I’ve chosen to stay at home?  Do I feel like what I’m doing is important?  There’s lots to ask myself.  I’m learning that having “side things” is vital as a mom.  You need to feel passionate about something.  Otherwise the daily routine will take over and you’ll soon become frustrated. But stop and ask yourself why you want to do something before you get into it.  The honest truth is if we’re always seeking something to fill our self-confidence cup we will always be hungry for something, it will always be a temporary fix.   I know that I’m still in the process.  I’m working on feeling good about myself.  Of not being afraid to give myself praise for the little things I do daily that nobody sees.  Of being confident in saying “Yes, I’m a stay at home mom” and not feeling like I need to add anything else on to the end of that statement.  Of finding and keeping little hobbies I’m passionate about that help me discover more about myself and feel excited about life yet at the same time not using them to define my worth.