Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jacqueline Eberstein: 2017 Ketofest talk....it woke me up

This post is a quick note to myself: and here is the link to the video, for myself, in case I am ever tempted to eat sugar again. I know I have been enjoying myself with "fun" foods, and I have been ignoring the health problems associated with sugar, but what I can't ignore is the fact that I suffer with HYPOglycemia, which is the low blood sugar reaction, after eating or drinking something sugary.

Case in point: I haven't been low carb or any diet at all for ages now, but I still have to watch that I don't have anything too sugary. Yesterday I had a cold mocha coffee thingy from Gloria Jeans - it was a chocolatey drink with crushed ice. I loved it. It was great. However, 2-3 hours later, I was crashing. My blood sugar was so low, I got grumpy and tired, I could hardly see properly and I was driving, which is dangerous, and when I got home, I couldn't focus or concentrate: I had to EAT SOMETHING NOW. You know that feeling?

If my system was working properly, surely I wouldn't have had that reaction? I don't know. All I know is this: I need fat to mitigate my carbs. Which is obviously a sign that I can't process my carbs too well.

It's not about weight, I need to regain a little control of my health. I can't be suffering from low blood sugar like that, it felt really really bad.

I have gone back to LCHF since yesterday afternoon, so basically a day and a half, and today, I am feeling that amazing "clear headed" feeling. I always get it day one of going without carbs and upping fat. I heard someone call it Ketophoria. Lol. Today I am ketophoric.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Current thoughts: my new higher weight

I am ok with gaining a few kgs. I have no idea how much I have gained as my scale has no battery and, to be honest, I don't really care, but I can see and feel that I have gained slightly.

The only thing I don't want is to have to buy new clothes, and this really is my only reason for not wanting to continue to gain. I also can't help but worry, due to my background as a Banter, about my health, due to the "fun" foods I have been eating. I have been allowing myself to enjoy cake, chocolate and whatever else, and it's really great, but I can't help worrying what it's doing to my blood sugar levels, my insulin and my heart. And therein lies the rub.

I don't care if people are fat or thin, short or tall, pink, purple or yellow....but I have to say...I am a little scared of having a stroke one day, let's say, or some other such horrid thing. My dad's sister died of complications after a major stroke, and she wasn't really overweight. But she did smoke. My gran had late onset type 2 diabetes. So there are health complications that I would like to avoid.

Having said that, I don't believe there is a single perfect diet that will cure ALL ailments. But I do see my belly expanding gently, and I am doing my best to love my belly but I do worry what it means.

Monday, December 4, 2017

My current thoughts: aging

Aging is SO hard when you're a woman.

I will be forty next year. I wish I were more relaxed about it, but I can't help freaking out just a teeny tiny bit.

I was never much into looks until I got married. Then I felt like I had to "please" this man and look good for him. I guess I also wanted to see how good I could look, if I had the money to spend on my appearance, which I did. I have done a lot: dyed my hair, nose job, boob job, Botox, lip filler and teeth whitening. I have done my nails. I dieted and gymmed.

At thirty-five I looked twenty-five.

But now the wheels are falling off. They just are. I can't fake it or hide anymore. I am my age, and I don't want to keep up the exhausting work it takes to look younger/thinner/blonder than I really am. I just don't want to anymore.

I am doing the opposite of what a lot of women my age do, which is, as they approach forty, they suddenly join a gym to lose weight, or something along those lines. I am "undoing" now that I am reaching forty.

My current thinking is this: I have EARNED THE RIGHT to my wrinkles. I have earned the right to look my age. And the feminist side of me says: why do men get to relax as they age, but we don't? Sorry, but eff that!!!! When do I just get to relax into my own skin? When am I allowed a tummy? When am I allowed to just look like I am without covering up or faking it? Sometimes, being a woman takes so much energy that there is nothing left for much else. No wonder I can never just sit down and write a freaking book. I am so busy running around doing things to improve my appearance! Well, I say, no more.

I will do things that I WANT to do from now on. Only things that I love. If I want to wear make up, then fine. If I want to dress up on a particular day, fine. But that's it. Nothing over the top. I am done making other people rich based on my insecurities. I am done spending ridiculous amounts of money on Botox and fillers. I will NEVER go for a facial peel again - did it once, it hurt! Felt like a thousand ants were biting into my face. What for?

From now on, exercise is for joy. For the sheer pleasure of moving my body (and it IS pleasurable, just think of dancing, or running for fun like a puppy tearing around the garden, or sex). From now on, I also want to eat with/for joy. From now on, denial has no place in my life.

I am happy to be aging, actually. Yes, I am a little terrified that people are gonna say "What's gotten into her?" "She's lost the plot!" "She's just let herself go!" "She used to be so pretty, so thin, so....etc, now look at her!" So yes, I am a bit worried, I won't lie. But I don't really care either. Those who know me will love me. Those who don't, well, does it matter?

I think most people will learn to love and accept the "new" more relaxed me. I think if I am more relaxed I will enjoy myself more, I will laugh more, I will smile more and hopefully, those around me will see that I am growing into a BETTER version of me. The new version of me might be softer, rounder, older, with a few wrinkles and the start of (gasp, yes, I saw them) jowls. But so what? So what? So what?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I loved my changing-room reflection...

...for the first time EVER.
Oh yes. Today was truly a momentous day for me.

There I was, in Ackermans, trying on their summer dresses (such lovely dresses at amazingly good prices) and I was dreading the 360 degree mirror view under that harsh lighting. Usually I hate seeing myself in changing room mirrors with their yuk lighting.
But not today. Today all my body-loving, body-positive talk has paid off! My body looks no different, in fact, I've put on a bit of weight, but I loved what I saw. I loved what I saw because I saw that it was just a body.

My body is just a pile of meat, bones and flesh and it's not me. It's not who I am. My butt is a little softer and my tummy is a bit rounder, and THAT'S OK. I now know that I can love me, with all that. I can love the softness. The softness is not a reflection on who I am as a person. Duh. It's so obvious but I have always allowed my reflection or my weight to dictate how I feel about myself. Not today. Today I loved my softer ass.

This is amazing. I wish this feeling for every single woman in the world.

In fact, I am also looking upon women with softer, kinder eyes too. I am no longer comparing: am I thinner than her? Am I younger looking? How do my arms/thighs etc compare to hers? Nope, now I am looking at all women and imaging how awesome they all are. I FREAKIN love it. So ultimately, I didn't have to change my body in order to love my body, I had to change my "goggles" or my way of seeing. I had to put on body-positive love goggles!

Another happy co-incidence: the batteries in my home scale have died, so my scale is no longer working. It happened after I went away and read the most amazing body-positive book called Things No One Tells Fat Girls by Jes Baker. Old habits die hard, and I still wanted to weigh myself after three days away. But when I stood on the scale and there was nothing, I was actually kind of happy. Now I have gone over a week without weighing myself and I haven't collapsed in a heap from lack of information. I now can honestly say: I don't CARE what I weigh. I am letting go of that every day.

Does this mean I will completely "let myself go"? (Horror of horrors!)
The honest answer is: maybe. Maybe I will indeed let myself go a bit. It sounds so freeing, though, doesn't it, that phrase "let myself go". Let go. Letting go. Freedom. And so maybe dieting is less about weight and far more about control.

I have run this week, when I felt like it, and these past two days, I have not run. I have eaten when hungry, stopped when full. It's such a new experience for me, to allow myself to eat. I honestly don't know when I'm actually full, and when I'm truly hungry. I have controlled what I eat and ignored my body's cues for so long that I am a bit out of touch. But it's ok. I'm learning.
I love seeing ads like these, not because I want to put on weight (I am trying to let go completely with regards to expectations around weight) but because they remind me that body-ideals are so subjective and completely fluid and can change with the times. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Food guilt be GONE!

I know that, at any given time, a gazillion women are on some sort of diet. I get why. We all want to feel the best in our skins. We want to be seen and be healthy.

But I am, for a huge change in my life, going on the "anti-diet" diet. No more dieting for me right now. No clean eating. No Banting. No calorie-counting. I am going on the "no guilt around food" diet.

Don't get me wrong, diets can and do work. Both strict clean eating and Banting worked for me. I think Banting is healthier long term, but I am no doctor, so who am I to say? And if these diets work for you, that's fantastic. I really mean that.

BUT for me, what I found was this: my mind is a sneaky thing and started to control EVERY bite of food that I wanted to put into my mouth. So all day long, I'd be thinking about food. Food thoughts have dominated my mind and my thinking for the past...six years? Around the time I joined the gym and got serious about doing my first ever competition (bikini comp) I have thought about food constantly. It's not healthy and I still find myself doing it out of habit. It's really hard to break.

Before I fell pregnant, I was a normal weight, and didn't give food too much thought, other than to not overeat. Simple. Like every woman, I was "watching my figure", but not hectically.

During pregnancy I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted within reason. I gained weight. I was happy to gain it. It was the one time in my life when I just felt free to eat and it was lovely!

Breastfeeding helped me lose weight, and thereafter I made the fatal mistake of joining the gym and following an eating plan. And competing. I say "fatal" because that's when my eating became super strict and super controlled. And I had to do it for my competition, sure, but the problem is that the mental side-effects have lasted and are still with me. It didn't help that I did another two competitions in quick succession, and then, last year, another one. That last competition was my last one. I will NOT ever be stepping on stage again.

The reason is for my mind's sake. I am a bit of a control-freak at times, and dieting and training for competition is something that I went banana's with. It's all about control, all the time. I have a really hard time letting go of control. I guess a lot of us do, but for me, with this, it's been bad.

It's only now that I am seeing how bad I was, now that I have been introduced to the world of "body-positivity." When I read the awesome book "What No One Tells Fat Girls" by Jes Baker, it blew my mind! Here was a very fat girl, and she wasn't interested in dieting or exercising to lose weight. FUCK! "Is that even possible?" I thought. "Am I even ALLOWED to not care about my weight?" 

The resounding answer, of course, is YES! You DON'T HAVE to worry or care about your weight. Society makes us THINK we have to. And the latest craze or wave of thinking is that being overweight is "unhealthy". I hear so many women say "I don't want to be skinny, just healthy". And I hear them, I do. I get it. But we need to be very careful with bandying words like "healthy" around because it is also possible to be healthy at a heavier weight. Just saying. In times past, there were advertisements for women encouraging them to GAIN weight.

The real truth is this: healthy people can be both fat or skinny. Unhealthy people can be both fat or skinny. That really is the truth peeps! I get it now.

So your health is one thing. Your weight is another.

What I need to do for myself now, is to free my mind from the GUILT around food. For too many years now I have labelled food "good" and "bad" or "healthy" and "unhealthy" or "clean food" and "cheat food". And then I have felt HEAPS of guilt for eating the bad, unhealthy or cheat food. And I have found that it's the guilt that really makes me binge, it's the guilt and bad feelings that cause the intense cravings, and the guilt that makes me eat so fast I don't stop to breathe and enjoy.

The guilt is what keeps these insane food thoughts looping around my head all day long.

Yes, you might say it's "easy" for me to talk as I don't have weight to lose. You might be right. I might very well feel differently if I were 20kg's heavier. But, I have read other body-positive women's accounts, and the feeling behind it all is the same.

Which is this: NO MORE GUILT AROUND FOOD. Choose to eat the things you want to, but please don't beat yourself up with guilt.

At least, that's what I am trying to do for myself now. Let's see how I got.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

My current read on my kindle right now is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.

This book is F@#$%& blowing my mind, you guys! Blowing my mind.

I found this book after it was recommended by the kick-ass blogger Jes Baker of www.themilitantbaker.com (who is a body positive warrior, you have to read her and her work) and I am loving this book. From my Google search, it was published in 1990, which is six years before I even finished high school! So it's an "old" book, but it reads like it was written today!

The basic premise is that "beauty" is not objective, and it's a totally mythical construct in that it is something made up and manufactured as an idea/ideal in order to sell women beauty products and to keep us feeling inferior. Think about it: if you were totally, completely and one hundred percent happy in your own skin (if you have no idea what that feels like, think back to when you were a child, of say, 10), would you need to buy all the bullshit products we are sold on a daily basis? Would you want to go for plastic surgery where they cut your body open? Would you even wear make-up?

I realise that this "problem" of women and "beauty" is not a new one, and this one book clearly will not change the world, but I still urge all of you to read it and be aware of how this social construct called "beauty" is sabotaging our self-esteem and robbing us of our hard-earned money and making us feel less-than and like we are all in competition with one another.

It's part of why I braved posting a "real" pic of myself on Facebook the other day. There IS a new wave of reality out there, where real women are showing themselves for who they truly are, in their real skin. It's wonderful to see!

So yes, because I am now 39 and will be 40 next year, I guess my unavoidable signs of aging are what are getting me to question all this. I am struggling more and more to "look pretty" and am tempted to spend more and more money on my face and my body than ever before. But I have always sensed the bullshit, it's just catching up to me now that my looks are "letting me down". But the truth is, my looks are NOT letting me down. How sad and fucked up that I even could think that about my own body and face? My body and my face are just that: a body, and a face. They are just doing what EVERYONE's will do: age. It's normal.

But do you see how our media has poisoned us against our own precious selves? The poison is so very hard to escape because it's in our own minds, deeply embedded there. To hate your physical form for being itself is a maddening way to live.

And even worse, is that there is this subtle "war" amongst women in terms of beauty. If she is beautiful, she is winning, and if I am aging, or, heaven forbid, gaining weight, I am losing. And so, then, when we do gain some weight, or get wrinklier, we feel like losers.

I say, enough with the madness. This has got to stop. I can't live like this anymore, hating myself for being a human being.

The truth is, I don't yet know how to truly love my physical self. It's not easy. I have been conditioned since fairy-tale days (think Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty) to believe in the myth of beauty. But I hope to free myself, one small, tiny step at a time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Woman Friend

You may be a real-life friend of mine, or an internet "friend", but PLEASE know this: I think you are goddamn beautiful. Just the way you are.


How do I know this? I know this because beauty is, for me, all about what is on the inside. It really is. Truly.

So I know that you love hard, that you have the same fears and insecurities as I do and that you are doing the very best you can every single day. That is beautiful. I know you are kind and mean well, and that the world and the hardness that life throws at you, and at me, can be crushing sometimes.

I know your body seems to be betraying you by storing fat in all the places you wish it wouldn't (along with some places you are happy about - yay bigger boobs and butt). But our bodies are NOT our enemies. This brand new concept for me is blowing my mind but it's helping me so much. My body is not my enemy. My body is simply a vehicle that is carrying me around on this Earth. Think about it: when you were born, you had no control over what body you were given. You entered with this baby-body, and that was that. The genetic coding of that body is nothing other than that: genetic coding. So if you end up tall, skinny, short, missing a limb, darker or lighter skinned, straight or wavy haired, chubby or very fat...it's not your doing. Which means, for us as a society, and especially as women, to judge each other based on our "spacesuits" is just plain silly. It's silliness.

Yet I have done it, and mostly I have judged myself. I am sure that if you are a woman, and you are reading this, you too have done it. You have found your physical self lacking in some way. I know the feeling.

But you are still beautiful regardless of what you see in the mirror and regardless of society's arbitrary standards. Yes, you might not look close to the "ideal" image of beauty that we are fed (think of any popular model/celeb) but I promise you, if you looked at yourself through the eyes of love, you would see your beauty. And that, my friends, is where beauty lies. In the eyes of the lover. In the eyes of the one looking upon you with love.

How can I be so sure of this? Because it happens to me time and time again. When I see someone's soul, I suddenly find them so freaking beautiful. Do you know what I mean?

Let me give you an example: when I was studying Graphic Design at Tech, there were all sorts of students in my year. All sorts of looks. Some were "ugly" by the societal beauty standard, yes. But as I got to know all my classmates, that quickly disappeared for me, and I soon saw all of them truly. For their natures, for their hearts. And the "ugly" ones became so beautiful, and some of the "pretty/hot" ones were kinda ugly in their unkindness.


And then add to that a deeper layer of complexity: even the traditionally good-looking kids are still beautiful in their unkindness because when you look closer, their actions of unkindness are born out of their own insecurities and fears. And we see the truth of someone, with their vulnerabilities, they become, at least to me, anyway, very beautiful.

I am definitely someone who falls in love with people's vulnerabilities and their humanness. Their "realness", so to speak. And when that happens, the big nose, or the crooked teeth, or the wrinkles that they possess become so lovely to look at. Maybe it's the artist in me, but when someone is open and vulnerable with me, and I see their truth, then suddenly all their flaws look so amazing that I could stare at them for hours and hours. Every pore on the skin, every stretch mark....everything!

So you who feel that your thighs are too wide, or your nose too big or your wrinkles too deep, please stand in your own light and own your true beauty. See it! Please dear woman friend, SEE it. Because I do.