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Body dysmorphia

I had a recent conversation with a friend who had visited family that same day. The friend mentioned how family members were proud of the weight loss and has kept it off. But my friend made an interesting statement:

I don’t see myself as smaller like they do. I see myself as the size I started at.

Now, I have older pictures with this friend and I KNOW the person has lost weight so I was initially confused at this statement. The person went on to say that a mutual friend is the same way – the second person will always see a larger version. Another surprising statement to me. But then I got to thinking …

While I have lost the weight and kept it off and have had to BUY clothes that are much smaller than where I started, I don’t see myself as a size 8. I don’t see myself at the point where I started; I think I see myself around a size 14. Hard to believe when I have given away all my size 14 clothes. I’m including a picture comparison below from not my highest weight (maybe 30 pounds less) and a picture from last month which is about 95 pounds less.

Again, I don’t see myself as the left picture but when I look at the right picture, I see a size 14 rather than a size 8. The mental aspect of being consciously aware of the present takes time. And I’m working on that, being present in the here and now which includes recognizing where I am now. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only person even in my friend circle who deals with this. But I am also determined to learn how to deal with body dysmorphia.

Has anyone else learned how to overcome body dysmorphia? It rather reminds me of overcoming imposter syndrome. Can the same strategies be applied? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Let me know what you think!

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Cooking at Home – Wellness Wednesday

Cooking and meal prepping have been HUGE game changers for me. I did quite a bit of health testing to see what works or does not work well for me. This helped tremendously and thankfully I have no food allergies, but it does limit some of my food choice options. And when I eat out, I don’t know the exact details of what is going in the food.

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

I found that many nightshades bother me. These include potatoes, paprika and all peppers. Paprika is probably the worst offender but is used in so many recipes! So to better monitor the ingredients and the quality of products, I started cooking more. And unless restaurants become more slanted toward AIP or paleo, then choosing to cook at home is a must.

At first, I made the same recipes all of the time, but my nutritionist pointed out that I had appropriate cookbooks and why not actually try those recipes lol. My fear is always – what if the recipe is gross? 😧 the horror! So I decided to try only one new recipe at a time for any given meal (as I eat basically the same thing throughout weekdays). That way, I could try different options without feeling like I’m constantly throwing money away on meals that I don’t like.

And what is even more important to me is that I control the quality of what I’m eating. So I control sodium content which is crucial when trying to be healthier. Have you actually looked at the sodium levels at some places?? There’s one restaurant which I won’t name in which none of the meals has a sodium level less than 1000 mg with some ranging up to 3000 mg. That’s INSANE! Managing carbs is high priority for me so I can better monitor this as well by cooking at home.

I highly recommend taking the time to meal prep and cook more at home. It’s better for everyone in the long run. See you next week!

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Beyond Work – Wellness Wednesdays

Even before the pandemic, I worked in a remote position. BUT I had a good deal of travel in my previous job so I wasn’t at home all of the time unlike my current situation. One thing that remote work has really pushed me to do is have a life outside of work!

For far too many years, work has been everything and outside interests were a tiny speck in my life. Sure, I went on vacation, but I didn’t take the time to pursue things that I was truly interested in. Well being at home alllllll the time definitely changed that up. I have always enjoyed being out in nature but now it truly has purpose. And I’m able to finally explore the area that I moved to last year but couldn’t.

In my quest for physical health, I had to realize that other aspects of life play a part in wellness too. And then I had to act on that, which can be easier said than done. I even attended a session today sponsored by my job on burnout and that can affect everything in your life- body aches and pains, minor illnesses, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia …the list went on and on.

Some things that I’ve done for self-care that have absolutely nothing to do with my job include:

  • Spa day! 🧖🏾‍♀️
  • Visiting family monthly since I live less than 90 minutes away, the first time in YEARS
  • Visit the art museum
  • Find walking trails to check out
  • Visit nature areas, and more

So I encourage you to join me in celebrating life outside the confines of work if you have not and do what brings you joy. I’m sharing a couple of pictures from my recent adventures below. See you next week!

At the overlook
At an area park
In front of the art museum

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Meditation – Wellness Wednesdays

Meditation moments

I will admit – I used to think meditating was all about chanting and making some weird noises over and over again. And that it was only for hippies, not this African American city chick. And I was so wrong!

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

Growing up, I wasn’t into yoga or meditation. I stretched after working out because that’s what the exercise classes did and I stretched for running track. I started trying yoga-esque workouts in my early 30s when I moved to North Carolina the first time. I started because my walking seemed to be uneven and yoga like workouts seemed to really help; this was well before I knew the issue with osteoarthritis. But I still hadn’t really delved into meditation.

I didn’t really begin meditating until some time after the age of 40. I was still going up on sugar so I looked at meditation as a way to bring me back down. I tried a couple of apps on my phone for free trials and thought little of it. It wasn’t until I learned more benefits of meditation and the difference between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems did I begin to make more of an effort.

See, for me, meditation touches on everything that blows up with PCOS – inflammation, irritability, irregular sleep habits, high cortisol, constant fight or flight nervous system, food cravings and anxiety. (I had to take a breath just writing that) These all correlate with the sympathetic nervous system – go, go, go, go. Think of the fight or flight response of a tiger chasing a hunter.

Meditation helps bring all of that down for me, especially being relaxed enough to actually sleep and stay asleep. In that way, I’m able to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system – rest and digest, relaxation and decreased heart rate. (Via Science Direct). And when I am more relaxed, the body can function as it ought to more easily.

I still use a meditation app on my phone, Headspace. I’m still not that person who can meditate for hours on end, or even 30 minutes for that matter! But I do appreciate the time that I take to let the day slip away, relax and prepare the body for sleep. If I feel anxious during the day, I may do a short meditation on breathing to bring the heart rate down. It’s all about balance – high stress response leads to high cortisol which leads to more inflammation which leads to a host of issues for me. So I use meditation as a preventative measure.

If you have tried meditation and seen great results, please share your experience below ⬇️. And if you haven’t tried it, I would recommend giving it a whirl. Until next week …

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Remote work, part 2

I work remotely 75% of the time so I am sharing tips from my “normal” as so many are adjusting to this current reality.

This week’s advice:

– show your manager that you are working by picking up a side project.

Yes, that may sound odd when you have your regular work responsibilities so let me give you my example. When I am not working from home, I travel a great deal, sometimes every week for months at a time. Since all of my travel has been canceled through at least the end of April, I have much more time to fill during work hours. I decided to work on a procedure manual for my role. The job that I hold never existed before so I know there is nothing written down documenting what I do, how things are accomplished, the appropriate contact people, etc.

Not only does this self-given project fill my work hours, it also demonstrates initiative, being a self-starter, makes a great use of time- and your manager will know that you have been working. You may not travel, but you could use the time typically spent on meetings that are now conducted via email.

I hope this helps. Any other suggestions that may assist others?

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Excuse or No Excuse

One of the things that I hear the most is that eating healthy is expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Now, I choose to eat as much organic that I can when purchasing groceries but I’m a singleton and make enough to do so. I’m not bragging; before my current position, I only got organic produce when it was on sale but I still tried to buy healthy food. And you may still think- but healthier food is still more! But is it? Let me explain.

My aunt has really bad acid reflux. I mean, she’s had to go to urgent care several times. And she doesn’t make much money with super crappy insurance. (I could write lots of blogs on how bad insurance is but I digress…) so each urgent care visit has an unexpected associated cost plus time missed from work. This is in addition to the monthly premium that she pays, any meds needed and follow up care. Thankfully after her last visit, she listened to the doc and has not had more crisis events. But these events add up!

She eats healthier and more appropriate foods that avoid illness. She’s also started losing weight as a result. And I totally get that. She’s not allowing excuses to stop her progress. And that’s my goal. I travel all the time for work, my sleep patterns can be all over the place, I don’t always have access to quality food… the list can go on and on. But I decided that I didn’t want to be in pain forever, getting sicker and weaker. And I had to literally write down the excuses that I was telling myself every day and then counter them with true statements. It’s so easy for the mind to resist change, even if it’s positive change, and hang on to hang ups.

So everyday I have to make a choice to be healthier, regardless of the piece of chocolate that I had yesterday or the egg biscuit sandwich I had while at the airport; true from this morning in Atlanta! I will still take my supplements because they help in the long run. I’ll still make sure to get in at least a mile of walking even though I’m on a 5 hour flight; not doing so will leave my joints way too stiff and painful. And I will do what I can to continue to be healthier, without falling back on excuses.

So have you let excuses stop you from moving forward? Have you found a way to mitigate excuses? Share and let’s discuss. 🥂 to your good health. Until next time …