Clothing Sizes are Not Your Friend

Last weekend I took decided to be brave and go on a hunt for new pants. This might seem silly to some, but pants are hard for me. My big (but not big enough) hips and butt, my belly squish and my big (strong, gorgeous) thighs mean that I don’t easily fit most of the pants on the rack. 

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When I was younger and many sizes larger I thought it was because I was just “too big” overall. Choices were limited. But as I’ve shrunk over the years I’ve found that pants are just a b*tch in general. 

My biggest issue is that if I can find jeans that fit my legs, they’re way too big in the waist. If I can manage to squeeze my legs into pants that fit in the waist, the legs end up being so tight they pull the waist and stretch the pants. Either way same uncomfortable problem. 

Anyway, lately I’ve noticed that my pants are a little big and decided to buy some new ones. Unsure whether it was due to two years of stretching fabric and I was still a 12 or if I’d actually lost weight and was something smaller, I went in unsure of my size. 

Naturally I went to the jeans wall in target and got ten pairs of jeans in three different fits and four different sizes. At one point I put on a 12 that was a tiny bit too big and then a 6 that was too short but otherwise almost right. Yeah a 12 and then a 6. Same brand. 

What the hell?

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I could go on and on about how the numeric sizing in women’s clothing doesn’t even make sense and men’s clothing going by measurements if much more useful, but that’s a post for another day. My issue is that, if I can manage to not let a number define my body and if I can avoid the media barrage of impossible bodies, I’m still confronted with total confusion in the dressing room. I’ve grown a serious garden of love flowers to cushion my body but I can only take so much of this bull honkey. 

Eventually I went into a random store in the mall and bought a 29…This number sounded like men’s sizing but unless I’m measuring myself incorrectly, that’s not true. 

So, I ended up buying pants and I like them but bro, what the hell? The fashion industry has got to be stopped with the confusing numbers and the ridiculous sizing. 

Oh and then I went back to the same store a week later to get another pair of the exact same pants and ended up needing a 27…what?

Have any of you had a similar experience or is it just me and my “weird” body over here? Let me know in the comments and, as always, best of luck.

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Celebrate Yourself

Last month I took part in Yoga Revolution, 31 days of yoga challenge from Yoga with Adriene. It was less a New Years Resolution and more an opportunity to get back to daily yoga after a few weeks off. Either way though, I really enjoyed the thirty minute daily videos from this hilarious and kind teacher. 

During the third week I was really struggling. I struggled to get to the mat. I struggled to focus. I struggled to breathe. I got mad at Adriene and at yoga and at my body. I cried in cobra and fumed in down dog. But I finished and then I came back the next day and life went on. 

A few days later Adriene hit a lot of the crap that had been holding me down. She talked about a friend of hers who has chronic back pain and wondered, “can you shift the language? Can you let go of this back pain as part of your identity?”

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She went on to explain that being kind to yourself and loving your body even when it doesn’t do what you want is the goal. Yoga isn’t about making shapes it’s about growth and making space. I had heard this, I knew this, I could quote this, but this time I actually heard it. 

Stop being such a d*ck to yourself and celebrate doing your best.  

I’m hard on myself, about everything, I’m never good enough and my body gets the worst of it. Growing up overweight I always felt that if my body wasn’t cooperating with me it was because it was inherently wrong. My fat body was the wrong body so it did things wrong. 

Can’t do that stretch? Wrong body, bad body. Can’t run as fast or long as you want? Bad body. Stomach ache, headache, joint pain? Bad body. It never occurred to me to accept my body and help it, support it to feel better. If my body is a dear friend instead of an enemy, life can be so much less painful. 

Life and yoga are about stretching, learning, growing. Not pain, not hurt, not hate. 

I learn the best life lessons while upside down.

Best of luck

** and check out Yoga with Adriene ***

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Escaping the Food Battle

Food and I have a complicated relationship. And not complicated like we fight, break up and get back together or we don’t want to put a label on it or one of us is married to a plant. Complicated like we’re actually trying to kill each other.

We go way back. Unfortunately, however, my knowledge of proper nutrition only dates back a few years.

I grew up in a pretty classically American household; there was a lot of processed foods and ready-to-eat stuff. I don’t remember noticing my body as anything other than a vessel with which I moved through life until fifth grade. Overnight I went from running around without a care to worrying that I didn’t look the way I was supposed to and that I needed to fix it.

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Body issues bred food issues, food issues bred eating disorders and shame which bred more body issues and so the cycle goes. In college, armed with the ability to buy and eat what I wanted and a crippling depression, I gained sixty pounds. By junior year I was desperate and terrified. I was terrified to work out in public for fear I’d be laughed at, so I tried cutting calories. I tried juice cleanses, and purging and alcohol-only days. I tried sketchy internet diet pills that made me pee all the time.

It was not some conscious moment that changed everything, that part came later. Looking back now, I think it had to. At the end of my junior year of college, I studied abroad in London. My daily commute just to and from school logged a solid two miles, plus the time I spent exploring the city the rest of the day. I walked and I walked a lot. I started noticing how much better I felt, not just because my pants were starting to sag, but because my body was getting the chemicals it had been needing.

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The struggle continued through the following years, but the pant sizes kept going down and my general outlook got better. The conscious moment of change came during Peace Corps years later. I’d had stomach infections, parasites, and a myriad of other ailments through my first six months of service. After a lot of antibiotics, I finally started to heal but found that my stomach was always upset for some reason.

So I started reading and I found the Whole30 community and Paleo and AIP* and everyone claimed the same issues I’d had for years past and in recent times. Everyone found solace in changing their diet.

I’m sharing all of this for two reasons:

First, I’m doing another Whole30 reset through January, because the holidays and the stress have led my eating patterns down a dark road and it’s time to reset. I’ve recently read Melissa Hartwig’s most recent book, Food Freedom Forever, and I’m feeling mighty inspired.

Second, for too long diet changes and exercise and living a healthy life have been connected only to weight loss and that’s not what this is about for most people. I’ve felt that itching inside me to lose weight, to be skinny, to finally be beautiful and that itch wasn’t cured by weight loss, it was cured by learning to love myself and understand myself. If everyone told a story of weight loss instead of health and self love, we’d be…well, nowhere good.

I’ll keep y’all posted on the Whole30. I’d love to hear your questions, comments, and especially if anyone would like to join me on this round of Whole30 fun!

Best of luck

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New Year, New…Year

Happy 2016, friends!

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I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve. I don’t know about you, but mine definitely reached a pivotal moment at the strike of midnight when Boyfriend and I drunkenly tried to fix our TV which had gotten stuck on televangelists and wouldn’t respond to any command, while opening a bottle of champagne and shouting to each other over the blasts of fireworks outside.

It could not have been more perfect.

It really is a strange thing to wake up in a new year. I can’t help feeling like it’s a new beginning, even if it’s an arbitrary one. But I do love a good beginning, so this year I have decided to share a couple of resolutions.

Resolutions can be tricky because they are both highly likely to fall apart, and, they can make you feel pretty terrible about yourself. So I’m taking a couple of precautions before I start:

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  1. There should be no implication in a resolution that you are not already a beautiful, smart, flawless human being. A resolution should not be made to fix you because you are fantastic already, a resolution should be made to continue personal growth and achieve a goal.
  2. Resolutions, along with all goal setting, should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time (it should have a timeline). Without all of these pieces, it’s hard to succeed.
  3. Choose to learn knew skills or drop old habits that help you grow as a human, but also that you are interested in. If you decide to learn Japanese but have no interest in it, you…well, what is that? What are you doing? Choose things that make you happier.

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That said, here are my goals for 2016:

Do something new each month (and blog about it). It doesn’t have to be skydiving, it could be going to a social event or trying a new hobby, but each month I’m going to try a new activity (that’s maybe a bit scary for me) and tell you all about it.

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Get Back to Health. This year I was officially diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I have gone to doctors all year and done a lot of my own research and experimentation for much longer; I know what’s best for my body. So in 2016 I hope to focus on:

  • Eat paleo at least 80% of the time*
  • Get out and move 30 minutes a day (especially running and yoga) to keep anxiety and stress low
  • Journal at least twice a week
  • Remind myself often that these things are important and that my physical and mental health are crucial to my happiness and effectiveness as a human being.

Those goal seem lofty, but they aren’t all new. I’m not building a house, just repainting a couple of rooms and buying some new furniture.

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So, friends, what are your goals for 2016? And what fantastic things did you accomplish in 2015?

Best of luck!

 

*Except cheese, ain’t nobody gonna make me quit cheese again

25 Year Old High School Students

A couple of weeks ago, Boyfriend and I stayed in and watched Jumanji. I haven’t seen that movie in at least 15 years and expected that it might now, well, suck. I was wrong.

That movie holds up for a number of reasons, the use of suspense without huge effects, the score, the plot consistency, the emotional connection, but I’m not talking about all that. I bring the movie up because it did one thing really well that you just don’t see now: it cast real kids as kids.

The 12 year old is actually 12. Alan and Sarah are awkward heights because they hit different growth spurts. They wear appropriate and realistic clothes. The girls are wearing little to no make up, they’re eyebrows are wild. They look like kids.

I remember watching shows and movies growing up like Boy Meets World that looked like they featured appropriate ages. I didn’t get a complex on my body and hair and make up and everything else until I started focusing on adults. And even then I knew I wasn’t an adult, I wasn’t supposed to look like that.

Brace yourself, I’m about the sound like an old lady:

Kids these days watch made over, dressed up twenty somethings pretend to be teens and must feel some real pressure to look like…grown ups.

I don’t have a solution, I just kind of think it sucks.

Anyway, Best of luck!

Why Birth Control is Important

If you’ve read my previous posts on my IUD experience, my favorite tea for cramps and the Diva Cup, you know I’m passionate about women’s health issues.i6tHuPT2RXtVf1x4gyJA_1_thats-how-she-learned-how-to-fly

Today, I’m not playing that “sorry for talking about vaginas” game. VAGINA. If you’re uncomfortable with words associated with the female reproductive system, you should probably bail now. CLITORIS. This post just ain’t for you. MENSTRUATION.

That said, Birth Control, readily available, affordable, reliable Birth Control is incredibly important. The fact is, access to contraceptives is going to change the future; how, is up to us.

So why is it important?

Independence

Independence through Birth Control comes at two levels. On one level, it allows women control over their bodies and sex lives. It takes away the dynamic that can exist when a woman replies on their partner to use Birth Control.

On a larger scale, access Continue reading

My Daily Skin Care Routine

After interviewing my favorite Esthetician a few days ago, I started thinking about my skincare routine and the flux it’s been in over previous months. Since returning to the States and returning to a life of daily make-up, I have been trying to find a daily routine that works but won’t break the bank.

It’s been super easy.

Finally I’ve found a few products that work; most from the drugstore and just one splurge I really love.

As a note: I have combination skin with an oily t-zone and very dry chin/cheeks. I also have sensitive skin prone to breaking into hives. Oh and I grow tough little dark hairs along my sideburns and chin that cause breakouts and inflammation sometimes.

Ahem, let’s begin.

Cleanser: 

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ClarityRX Vitamin-Infused Cleanser, 32.00

Sulphate/Phosphate/Paraben free and all natural, good for sensitive skin, and quite concentrated. This cleanser does the job without drying out skin.

It is expensive for a 4 oz bottle but I bought this bottle in March and after using it twice daily since then I still have half the bottle.

Worth the purchase especially for sensitive skin.

Mask

Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask, $3 Continue reading