Looking for Lasting Inspiration

Two days ago, I put my daughter down for a nap, a process that can either be delightful or maddening, depending entirely upon the mindset with which I choose to approach it. I chose to enjoy it. We read four stories and I sang a variety of songs–Baa Baa Black Sheep (3x), Amazing Grace (3 verses, 3x), Mary Had a Little Lamb (2 verses, 2x), and Rock-a-bye Baby (1x–too disturbing for me). Then “cuddle.” We cuddled. “Rub back.” I rubbed her back. “Night-night.” Closed the door, took a deep breath, and didn’t hear a sound for two hours. Success!

I hadn’t slept well the night before, so my plan was to nap while she slept, assigning my son to the task of remaining quiet NO MATTER WHAT, even if that meant paper scraps all over the bedroom. But then I remembered “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” still sitting on his bedside table, four pages into the first chapter, started almost a week ago. I really want to read it with him. So I said, “Hey, how about we read that first chapter of Harry Potter again, and then you can go about your business?” He agreed enthusiastically. Tired but pleased, I read to him without distraction for the first time in a really long time.

These might not seem to be important events, but for me, they most certainly were. As a working mom, I don’t get to put my daughter down for a nap all that often. And whenever I do, I’m usually thinking about the four bazillion things that need to be done while she’s napping, and how on earth am I going to get to every single one of them? That day I made a conscious decision to be in the present moment, and enjoy whatever it had to offer me, with no strings attached. The result was exactly what I needed–I had a positive energy burst that led me outside to continue working on the garden instead of collapsing into bed for half an hour of semi-restful repose. Once I had done all I could for the time being, I returned back inside to revisit some of the blogs I had bookmarked many months ago, when I still had the time and motivation to read about others’ experiences.

I realized that I cannot expect motivation to passively find ME and rouse me from my everyday stupor. I have to seek it out. I have to find others who choose to live in a state of awareness, light, and love, and learn from them. If I continue to dwell on the past, thinking I can never be released from it, that I will always be a prisoner of my mistakes, I will never learn to live in the present, which is where I believe true contentment and joy reside. I am grateful for that simple afternoon, and look for ways to continue to be the mother, friend, partner, and teacher I know I was meant to be.

Venting About My Gut. Feel free to join in.

I have been a semi-committed Weight Watchers Online member for almost a year, and have ventured into the turbulent waters of weight loss several times in the past. Since November 2009, not only have I gained the same amount of weight I wanted to lose, I have also begun to resent Numbers. Numbers can come in a variety of forms–the Number of points a particular food contains, the Number of chocolates I can’t have, the Number on the Wii scale, the Number of days I’ve “missed” a workout, the Number of minutes I walked…you get the gist.

I am ready to give up.

Baby Phat (Spring 2003)

You see, there comes a point where one cannot simply look at the number on the scale and think “I am a successful person.” I have been all over the map as far as weight goes–I am 5′ 9″ and have weighed 116 at my lowest (breastfeeding and eating barely anything will do that) and close to 200 at my highest (nine months pregnant with my daughter and eating everything in sight). At both ends, I was not happy. Right now I am sandwiched in the middle of two extremes. I am at a normal weight for my height, but I am certainly not fitting into my skinny pants. I am tracking pretty much everything that goes into my mouth; I am eating low-point breakfasts and lunches, then everything goes to hell in the evening. And let’s not even talk about Easter.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m sick and tired of worrying/thinking/obsessing over my weight/food/ Numbers, or if I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I am a thirty-three-year-old mother of two who cannot look like an eighteen-year-old anymore. My body resists the skinny archetype. There’s a lot of baggage associated with my desires to be thinner–starting with an unhealthy college relationship, continuing with an even unhealthier marriage, but I cannot blame others for what I choose to do to my body anymore. How I think about it, what I put into it, how I move it. It’s really tough, but I have to say “enough is enough!” and strive to be healthy rather than thin, otherwise I will either be dead or go crazy, whichever comes first.

I recently began exercising on a regular basis, which is both a good and a bad thing. I love the way my body feels when it is moving. I take walks, do Wii Active and Wii Fit yoga, and started taking ballet classes. I would love to combine the benefits of exercise with a truly healthful eating plan. My fiancĂ© has been following the Weight Watchers plan since January 1st and has lost thirty-five pounds in three months. It is both encouraging and discouraging. Why is it so much easier for him? The answer is simple: he doesn’t have the emotional baggage that I and so many others associate with food and weight loss. I wish I could tap into that inner strength that he has, and just DO IT. I’m not there yet.

Summer 2006, on the thinner side

So as I write this, I am already thinking ahead to the day…how I will fit in some exercise, what I will eat and drink, how I will try to stay on plan and recover from this weekend. Wish me luck.