I hated my fat because I loved my body!!

So often people want to lose weight, they complain about their fat or a part of their boody they dislike. I find it interesting and honestly complete crap that more often than not the response to this is “what?? you look great,””you don’t need to lose weight,” or “size doesn’t matter.”  I even asked my doctor at one point before I got to my top weight because I had gained 5 lbs and I didn’t think I was doing anything different and he told me “that happens as you get older.” He did’t even ask about my nutrition or exercise level. I get that people are trying to be supportive, but really it’s not support, it’s telling somebody to live with their insecurities, deal with the weight, don’t change, don’t be healthier.. and really, it’s probably because it helps them feel better or forces them to face their own insecurities. But, if somebody wanted to change their haircolor or a negative personality trait and strive to be a nicer person or gossip less they would get all in support. I think there is something wrong with this picture. I completely understand that we want to support people in accepting/loving who they are, and we don’t want people to feel shame about their weight. I don’t want people to feel shame about anything. But, I feel it is perfectly acceptable to hate your fat. 

I got to a point last February that I hated my fat.  To clarify, as much as I hated my fat, I still loved myself as a person and I still loved my body. I respected it, I did not feel bad about myself because of my weight. I hated my fat because at 153 lbs my back hurt driving for more than an hour away, I was not in good physical shape, I did not feel healthy. It was because I loved my body that I hated my fat so much. I wanted to treat my body with respect and give it the proper nutrients it needs to be healthy, I want to take care of it, it is the only one I will get. 

A year later I am down 27 lbs, for my friends who are also health conscious (with their nutrition and physical health), they are very supportive and think it’s awesome. However, I still hear all of the time, “if you lose any more weight their will be nothing left of you,””you look great you don’t need to lose any more,”or my favorite is the judgement I get for eating healthy. That to me is the most offensive! At what point did our society start to judge people for eating HEALTHY, it blows my mind. When I am told “you should just eat,”or “I’m glad to see you eat (sweets) at least sometimes,” I don’t even know how to really respond.  I happen to eat a healthy, balanced diet. I love the foods I eat, if I didn’t I would not have continued this lifestyle more than a year later. The whole, natural, clean food that I eat is delicious and my body thrives on it, I feel phsyically and mentally amazing. 

My overall goal is to still lose 6 more lbs. This apparently is cause for mass judgement. But I want to lose 6 more lbs of fat. If I gain “weight” as in muscle back or if the scale doesn’t change, I still know that I will be losing 6 more lbs of fat. Over time I will continue to add muscle, but I am healthy, active, I feel great and I can keep up with my kids. I will be honest I do enjoy the way my body looks, even though it also comes with changes I didn’t think about, like loose, wrinkled skin from having 3 babies and losing a cup size or two, since my body is no longer filled out with fat. I am actually starting to feel more pride in my loose skin; at first I was self-conscious about it. I did not expect it as much thinking about losing the weight. But I feel like it shows the person I am, a mother of 3 boys, with imperfections, flaws, and developing amazing self-esteem.  I do not look like a super model, but I love my body as much as I did. I just feel so much better physically and mentally when I am healthy.

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Quality of life with ADD/ADHD

My family is one that takes a lot of energy, which thankfully we have a lot of. My husband has ADHD and as our boys started school it seemed inevitable, and it was for our two older boys, now 9 and 8. As a mom trying to function with hyperactive, impulsive, easily bored, strong willed, very busy boys, I read and studied everything on ADHD, everything relating to BOYS! It wasn’t even until sometime this past year that I read an article on what it looks like in women, starting from childhood. 

This article nailed my childhood to a tee. The more I learned, I will say I have self diagnosed myself also with some form of ADD/ADHD. This was a realization that my whole family is filled with a challenge. To me though it is a gift, yes there are so many struggles that come with it, but so many strengths also. 

At one point in time I can say our quality of family life sucked, it was horrible, miserable. Everything was frustrating, keeping up on things was a nightmare because the moment I caught up to one thing my kids had demolished another within seconds. Add to that constant boredom, leading to impulsive misbehavior and impulsive verbal reactions with 3 boys that feed off each other….. constant fighting, yelling and refusal to cooperate…. yup, quality of life was surviving. Constant survival mode.

I look back on those days and realize how my every action was to survive; of course there were great moments, love, snuggles and hugs, but overall the stress outweighed the positive. I am now a parent who is proud to say our house thrives on medications, I see many articles that praise medication, judge it, question it. And the decision to have medication be a part of my children’s treatment was not easy, but it got to a point that I realized my kids’ quality of life was not great. They were always in trouble and for what? For being impulsive! I can say it is a blessing, it has not solved all things, it takes a lot of work to parent my children, a lot of patience, love, kindness and respect. But I have realized lately how many amazing moments I have in my home, I realize how pleasant my house is, the boys are respectful, they can focus, they play together and I have “me” time that I cherish daily. 

Medications do not solve everything, they are not magical pills that create perfectly functioning children; but in my experience they allow my children the ability to learn, to be guided and to have the opportunity to thrive in school and ponder their actions before it’s too late. For my husband and myself we have learned our strengths and weaknesses and have learned how to use them to our benefit. We do not use medications ourselves, but I know the option would never be off the table. I have come to find yoga and mindfulness to be very beneficial. Which is ironic because mastering mindfulness when I am inattentive, well, let’s just say they do not go hand in hand. It was a lot of hard work, but it has really paid off. 
I was recently complimented on my ability to multitask, I believe the words were along the line of “she is a superhero, she will make you feel lazy.” Which was a reference to how much I can accomplish with my time. And I do take pride in my ability to be a mom, attentive wife and love my career. I have found that organization is key and to not have more things in my home than necessary. I love to clean which uses up my plentiful amounts of energy in a postive way and I take time to myself to not get caught up in becoming anxious by the constant go, go, go. I am truly blessed to have found balance in my family with ADHD. I see other families struggle so much, and of course all people are different in their experiences and how they handle things, but I hope that my family scenario can offer many hope that families can thrive with ADHD.  

Avoidance….Is There Such a Thing When Following God

What great adventure have you been on? This was the opening line last Sunday. And, I found it very interesting that while I cherish motherhood more than anything, I mean it once defined me, but I began to think of vacations and my bucketlist of places my husband and I have went on and places we want to go. Thinking of being a wife and mother did cross my mind, but it floated right through my thoughts as quickly as it came. I think this portrays quit well the phase of life I am in.  Motherhood did once define me, which in some ways was fabulous, but at the same time, it defined me because I lost myself at one point, I didn’t know who I was without my children. Now, I am Sarah, a confident woman with interests, a career, friends and best of all a very loving husband and 3 amazing boys with unique characteristics and traits. Being a mother now rounds out who I am, I am a healthier mother because it no longer defines me.   

Asking us to ponder our greatest adventure led to asking us to ponder our adventure, our journey with God! I can definitely say I have had a great journey with God, of course with any relationship, also some ups and downs. While reflecting on our journey with God the big statement that hit home for me, right now in my life especially was,

“The thing you’ve been avoiding, Jesus will walk you right into the middle of it!”- Pastor Ryan

Uh yup, for sure, that is my life right now. A few weeks ago Jesus brought the sermon topic of addiction into my life, which resulted in learning new things about my family, which were eye opening, I went through so many emotions including, sadness, anger, surprise, the feeling of “of course, it all makes sense now,” reasurrance of God leading me to my career of working in addiction. One thing is for sure, I can say that Jesus walks me through my life, guiding me at the right times, showing me things I need to know and walking me not just into them, but through them, radiating stronger because of it. 

I really had to think about what thing I avoid, because I am quite an outgoing person, I stir things up, seek things out, I don’t do well with keeping things in because it eats at me and I know it is so unhealthy to keep things bottled up. So what do I avoid? Family conlict and tension…….. for me family conflict is very uncomfortable, which I have also realized why.  Which is the first step to overcoming it, if I know why family conflict is so uncomfortable I can understand it and work through it. For all of the great aspects of my family, one downside is that we are not the super sharing of our emotions type of family. I used to think we were, but I realized it is more for the happy, comfortable feelings, not things that we struggle with or feelings that cause conflict. Those feelings are bottled up, brushed off, or if they are brought up are quickly redirected. 

With learning how addiction has impacted my family I have already had my feelings dismissed, brushed off and ignored. It is quite painful and makes me naturally want to continue to avoid family conflict. The sermon was so reassuring though, Pastor Ryan said “when we address the thing we’ve been avoiding, people experience the kingdom of God. When you address this, it will change you.”These words were so powerful to me because God brought me to this revelation and I know God will help me through it and grow from it. I feel this is an opportunity to take a relationship that I have struggled with in my family to a new level, to grow closer and start to really connect at a deeper level. But, in order to do this, I will need to face family conflict head on, I will need to be very uncomfortable, stir up feelings and I can imagine having people angry at me. Thankfully for me, I know how to have healthy relationships, and I know that I cannot control other peoples feelings, those feelings are on them, not me; but I can offer support, enouragement and guidance. 

One thing I know right now is that whatever is put in my path, when I am walking alongside God, I know I can overcome. I have confidence confronting the emotions I am feeling, address the secrets we keep and standing up for myself and others because Jesus led me here and I know he will walk me through it, not just into it. 

Addiction…

As it was referenced Sunday:An unhealthy habit or action that is repeated. As an addictions clinician I could write forever on the reality of addiction, the stereotypes people face, the obstacles, the lack of support, lack of empathy and assumption that recovery is not possible. These things create shame and fear to seek help, fear to ask for support from loved ones and it keeps famlies in twisted, unhealthy cycles of addiction. Trust is lost, lies eat you up, anger festers, all to keep addictions secret, to “protect” the family, the addiction. 

This cycle is toxic. At some point the truths come out, they cannot be undone and loved ones are hurt.  

This pain, this hurt, it can be healed. Sunday we were told that an addiction starts with desire, then we entertain the desire, we develop an appetite for it, we become trapped in it, we are now helpless. Of course being at church it was emphasized that we can be set free from addictions, through and with Jesus. And addictions were referenced ranging from addiction to body image to drugs. As a Christian, God, worship, prayer, reflection, comfort of church family, these things all help to heal; they are how I find comfot and peace with things I cannot control, things that devastate me and hurt my heart. 

In addition to Sunday morning service we had a re-fresh evening of worship. We worshiped through music, prayer, thanking God for what we have, asking for forgiveness and taking communion. These times of reflection for me heal my soul; they radiate Gods love for me as tears streak down my face and I pour out my soul to God.  These are vital parts of my everyday life; and if everyday life is not balanced “addictions (exercise, cleaning, reading for me)” can take over and that time for God can wither away. 

I remember during college, psychology of human development, reading in my text book that psychologists are unsure why Christians report an increased satisfaction of life.  I could answer this instantly, at least for myself; faith in God gives me hope, reassurance of a greater purpose, a community of support, I don’t fear death, I put my uncertainties into God’s hands. He does not fail; each Sunday, each time I worship through music, singing, I feel God in my heart, in my veins.  These things all help me heal on a regular basis; when I am being consumed with something; I find my balance in God. These things are why religious based support groups are so common in recovery. I know that it is also possible to find recovery without God, for those who do not idetnify as Christian; I know this to be true through my career. But for me….. God means I am not doing it alone; I am healing from the pain of addictions with support, community, love and faith.