I have learned a lot about myself since I started this competition prep journey, and I have learned a lot about others. I have found that my addiction to food is slowly being overcome. I am still an addict and there is a sliver of that, which will probably never go away. I often wonder when I became an addict if I would have been able to stop it. I also wonder what will happen when I have the freedom to eat things, if I will. By freedom, I am simply implying carbs, things that I once would self-indulge in without even blinking an eye. This transition to no gluten and watching my body transform has been a blessing and a curse. Before I could lose 20 pounds without a problem, however it was in the unhealthiest way possible and I simply just stopped eating. There are probably multiple people that are close to me that would never have guessed that I had such an issue.
When I was growing up, I had the typical grandparents on both sides of my family that would include in every meal a meat (usually red), potato (usually mashed with loads of butter), some kind of vegetable (corn or green beans), a roll, and some pasta salad. After all of that, there is dessert to come. Something homemade, something carb loaded and waiting to be devoured because it was my favorite. At home, my mom ran a daycare and she would have to follow this meal plan for the state for the kids but when dinner came around it was either something like I just described or something out of the box, hamburger helper or otherwise. There would be the weekends that we would get my step brother and sister and my mom would make my grandpa’s famous recipe of lasagna (my brother Jon’s favorite). Again with the carbs. However, let’s not mistake the brief period that my mom lost 100 lbs and in that time everything was low-fat or fat free in our house.
I was a pretty active kid. I was in 4-H, had a horse that I would save myself to on weekends and any break from school I could take. When I was home in the city, my brother and I were always outside doing something. High school came and it was sports and still my horse and family drama ensued, along with a few things, like me being molested from the age of probably 10 until 14. In high school, I had made friends and had the pressure of always being skinny, staying the same size. Every single girl talked about her size, all the time. Having to fit into this, making weight for that and I was right there with them. I was always the bigger girl in middle school and high school no matter how hard I tried not to be.
High school was the most damaging portion of my life. I was taking a pill that would keep me awake and not wanting to eat food during school hours and it would wear off just in time for me to go home and consume from the box or carbs. Lots of carbs. Most days I would grab a pop tart on the way out the door in the morning, or something from the convenience store to tide me over until dinner. Metabolism? What was that? I ruined it. Junior year, my adopted dad and mom got a divorced; we had to move in with my grandparents. Breakfast completely stopped, lunch was nothing and dinner was the “typical” meal with the grandparents. My mom finally bought a trailer house back in the city and we moved there. She started working two jobs and I had gotten a job working with her at the fruit market after school. Eating was pretty nonexistent and when it did occur, it was dinners at my grandparents, binge eating on the weekends or during my break at work.
When I graduated, I moved in with the grandparents to go to college and like any other college freshmen, the college 15 piled on, and on, and on. Living there briefly, I shifted from home to moving completely out with a guy who didn’t care what I looked like, told me I was beautiful just so he could have me pay for his stay and he could pretend he had this lavish life. After a weekend of finding him in bed with another girl, I moved to my own apartment. I had sworn that I was going to get my eating habits back together and I was going to lose this weight. Right, that happened for a good month. Lost 20 pounds easily (for the 50th time) and met my daughter’s father. From then on, I had control of what we ate (he didn’t care as long as he was fed). I topped out at 230 pounds when I was with him. When I got pregnant my weight sky rocketed to 250 and I left the hospital weighing 229. Everything was surrounded by carbs, junk, boxed, and maybe a vegetable here and there. Enough was enough and my sister came home from the army and got me into running and doing HIIT.
When I married I weighed 185 and it climbed from there. Abuse and unhappiness of living miles and miles from my family pushed me over 200 again. Still binge eating, still starving me to drop the weight. This roller coaster was long and wasn’t stopping because I didn’t want it to. I was comfortable with what I was doing because right then, in that moment, it was working for me. It would let me lose the weight.
FINALLY, I moved home and divorced. During that time, I was back and forth with him, but was convinced by my sister to start losing the weight. A gym membership, classes, and healthy eating once I moved in with my friend Liz would start to repair me right? Wrong. It wasn’t until I met A, that I was really happy. He was personal training, lifting, eating well, and surrounded himself with the fitness world. He lost 100 pounds and I was smitten. Usually when those things would go sour, I would cave and resort back to my bad habits but during this time, I made a wonderful friend who was on a journey and I armored myself with her help to lose and do a figure competition the right way. To live my life the healthy way. Once I made the move to a completely different city, it all began and A has been nothing but my biggest cheerleader and right next to me every step of the way.
My addiction to food, needing it for the wrong reasons in life has damaged my soul, my mental capacity, and my physical appearance. Using food as fuel has formulated a different way that my brain thinks. I am surrounded by the most positive people that I can have in my life because they aren’t talking about needing to fit into a set of jeans, instead they are talking about being healthy, loving themselves every step of the way.
My mental capacity was lacking nutrition by always sucking the life of who I am out of me. I have not allowed that to happen anymore. Instead, I fuel it with knowledge and a wealth of knowledge on the reasons why 4:30am is good for me and why I am going to be where I am.
When I am feeling down emotionally, food no longer tells me that everything will be ok. Food no longer harbors my feelings in every carb I put into my mouth. There are no carbs; there are no feelings to latch on to them. There is only me, the good food, my water jog, and the gym. I am a totally different person than the one in my past. Why? Because I don’t live there anymore. I live in the present and fight for the future. I have a 7 year old girl that will need her mother until the good Lord takes me. She loves meal prepping, the smell of chicken, and even, as weird as it sounds, the smell of cooked broccoli. To her I have made the promise to be the best that I can be, because I and her are so worth more than the carbs and the box.
There was something about this conversation that really opened our eyes. It was quite the snowfall and we had decided to pack our bags anyway to go and meet two of the best people on the planet. In one night I had three people that are nearest to my heart and two more, one being a newcomer, to follow. Not much chitter chatter on our way there but about the weather, our daughters (as of every time we meet) and life catch up. I could call this over night stay a revolutionary mind experience. It wasn’t until I got home and even now that the conversation we were about to have would shake me in the best possible way.
The morning had consisted of shenanigans of shaving D’s head and a marvelous breakfast by the chef himself, playing with the pups and contemplating how we weren’t going to go downstairs to train because well, the copany was just too good. Usually when I see J, we are squealing (don’t think we didn’t do it at dinner very softly) and high strung on endorphins, but something was different this time. Calm, at home, and relaxed all seemed to be surrounding here and I think that is just what her, we needed.
Noon had broke and S and I decided to hit the road. The six minutes into our drive, we both mentioned how uch we needed that. That it was the best idea yet. I am not sure how we always reach the painful (much needed) topics but we get there. It had started with a wardrobe choice of his daughter and I found myself in tears because S was contemplating how to hold her close enough and let her know that she is good enough. My voice broke between the tears to tell him that he is the only man that she will ever want to be told she is pretty enough, good enough, smart enough from. Tell her that every day. Tell her because a girl like me never had a dad tell her that, never had those moments coming to the livingroom with her smile on just to have her daddy say that she made a good choice and she looked beautiful. Tell. Her. Every. Day.
Following that, we got a little deeper with the demons that crowd our mind, the things that hinder us from taking the next step forward and I found this to be true when he spoke. S reminded me that you don’t have to dominate everything in the brain all at once and it is just fine is you take small steps to break down the demons. It is just fine to take care of “business” as it comes to move forward. This man always has the best hugs (aside from J of course) with a laminating smile that will make anyone instantly reciprocate the same gesture. There are no truer friends that I have than those who consistently show me through little conversations and peeks into their own life, how to live in love with mine.
To S’s Daughter:
When your daddy tells you he loves you, he means it. When your daddy tells you that you are beautiful, he means that too. When your daddy tells you that you made a good clothing choice (no matter how many different patterns and colors it is), he is letting you be you. Finally, when he tears up and gives you the biggest hug, he is letting you know that you are his one and only forever and always. Your daddy is the best daddy for you. Love him, get mad at him when he won’t let you out of the house showing parts that shouldn’t be shown, you will be thankful later.
Even though I have met my dad, I still missed out on all of those things and it haunts me every day. Yes, there is nothing that I can do to change it but move forward with the relationship we have now. Venting in that car and conquering yet another demon with one of my best friends was something I could never thank him enough for. When the world seems like it is closing in and there are too many demons to sort, find the dearest person and start venting, they will listen. That is all they need to do in order to find some answers.
Going natural in a lot of my daily routine uses such as household products and beauty products is something that I have thought about for a long time. As a matter of fact, when I was in 4-H, we had to make something homemade and I came up with a recipe for homemade laundry soap. My Oma still swears by it and uses it to this day. Back then, she used it to wash her clothes, the horse blankets, etc. while I used it to wash the white stockings on my horse’s feet. The ingredients were so basic and it would make large quantities but most importantly, it was natural and it lasted which seemed like forever.
I never really did anything with the process after that. I toyed with a few household cleaners, even had a roommate who tried different things off of Pinterest to see what worked best. When I had a home-based business, I met a fantastic lady, R who had the same home based business and was a fantastic business learning tool. After we both departed from the business, we would catch up on Facebook and I would get a glimpse of her mom life with three boys (that always was the part that made my head spin). She started a “product line” if you will, and invited her friends to become testers of these products. This just enhanced my craving for wanting to go natural. Below is the list of products that I received in my kit and my thoughts about them:
**please note that I do not know the recipes and even if I did, I would not give them away for the sake of R’s beautiful hard work**
Shampoo bar: It was softer than a bar and when I tried it, it left my hair beyond the wet feel to almost the greasy feel. I have really healthy hair in a normal shampoo base, so I think it would be a good shampoo for someone with super damaged hair that is really dry and brittle. So being the little innovator that I am, I turned that shampoo bar into my face wash in the shower. MUCH better! My face feels soft, not tight and not dry.
Shower puck: The puck in its originality was designed to be like one of those vapor pucks that they vapors come up and help you with your cold and sinus in the nice hot shower. It was a great idea and it dissolved very nicely in the bottom of the shower but the aroma was a little lacking. That is not to say that I couldn’t smell it but that I am used to Vick’s Vapor Rub’ strong scent.
Lotion Bar: This is one of my favorites. After using the shampoo bar on my face, I took the lotion bar and rubbed it on my face, then using my finger tips to circulate it further into my pores. It was a good base to put powder on my face and with the coverage it gave for my powder, I only needed concealer on the inner corners of my nose and under my eyes like I usually do. It didn’t feel sticky or like it could run right off of your face if the humidity in your bathroom was still high.
Vapor Rub: I joke about this product because at the time when I received my goodie bag, I had lost my voice and I was struggling with an Upper Respiratory Infection and ear infection. I put the vapor rub on after my evening shower and reapplied before bed and miraclously the next morning, my voice had come back. Coincidence? Maybe but at least I know that the scent was amazing and it helped me lull myself to sleep.
Lip balm: This special lady actually went out and bought the Chap Stick tubes to put the balm in. How she got it in there is beyond my patience level and she deserves an award just for that daunting task! However, I received the peppermint version and while it wasn’t as smooth as I was expecting, I applied it from the tube with my finger and the small pieces seemed to smooth out. It had a great flavor and made my lips a little tingly which I loved on a brisk morning. My recommendation here was to just put in a balm bowl and I would be happy to use it that way too.
Deodorant: I always have this issue of getting the streaks on my dark clothing (even if the deodorant says it doesn’t provide that) and I can’t seem to figure out how to get rid of it. This homemade deodorant is applicable by a pea size amount with the finger tips. Let me just tell you that not only does it last all day for me, I don’t smell like unwanted roses, nor is my perspiration increased with the use of it. It is simply amazing and a little bit goes a long way.
BODY BUTTER: I put that in caps because THIS is my all-time favorite and I have requested that I buy a 4oz. container from her. The body butter I received was unscented and I am fine with that! I applied it all over my body and with my increasing problem of my ashy legs during the winter, it soothed them and they are not as itchy. The Suave brand would work until about noon then I could sense my legs getting itchy and dry again. This butter doesn’t do that. It has also made my elbows very supple.
I wish I had time, creativity or even a piece of mind to come up with my own recipes. However, since my dear friend is so gracious to do it for me, I am grateful to support her new adventure. I am very lucky that she asked me to be a tester.
I know that using natural products are good for my body, pocket book and soul. Finding other ways to be able to save such as creating the urban garden that I would like to with Daniella will teach me and her a few things. If you do not have such a special friend as I that makes you great products, respects your feedback and enjoys making people happy, please go to your nearest all natural store and buy the product. Your body and mind will thank you.
**Special thanks to R for bringing me something so simply yet just what my body needed** Madame Watters has done it again!