A Word on Body Image

This is something I wrote just over two years ago, and I’m posting it now to lay a good foundation for some more things I want to say about this in the future. 

I shared this news on Facebook today:

body image is a lie

I lost 50 pounds. Its been an amazing journey. Its been relatively quick. It has been incredibly challenging.

It has been supported by an encouraging husband who has loved me as the pendulum of the scale has swung back and forth, and through a broad range of imperfections as I have bumped and curved and shrunk again under the influence of two pregnancies.

But here’s the thing: a scale… measurements… they don’t address the heart issues: How do I see myself?

50 pounds heavier, I could look in the mirror and like many things about myself, and the way I looked. I was simultaneously strategic in avoiding glass doors, mirrors at the end of hallways, and even in public bathrooms. Even though I “knew” I was beautiful, and told I was I beautiful, I felt guilty for not meeting a particular standard.

A standard that I thought I’d achieve after losing 50 pounds.

But today, before I took the (relatively embarrassing) pictures that I’m still hoping will win me a very fun competition, before hundreds of people started complimenting me on Facebook and telling me I was an inspiration, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t fully see who I am.

I still saw things that I don’t like. I still felt bigger than I look.

And that is scary. Because in as much as I see that, I also know that is totally untrue. And that makes me MAD. Because for the first time in my life, I see firsthand what a lie body image can be. How it can be so distorted to tell us we’re not good enough, for some girls, starving themselves or bingeing themselves to their death.

I lost 50 pounds because I absolutely needed to. I was overweight and starting to get achy. I could not move with ease. I grew physically tired in my body caring for my children. And they’re still young! I did not want to continue down that path, with the potential of avoidable health complications and not being a mum with the energy to raise my kids to the standard I hope and believe to.

I am THRILLED to fit in different clothes, to FEEL more comfortable and lighter, and more energetic, that my body is functioning better than it has in YEARS.

I’m so glad that the fear of succumbing to the lies of body image, losing weight for the wrong reasons, and the inability to exercise self-control for longer than 30 days has not held me back from actually taking the step to lose the weight. I’d encourage anyone with a belief to lose weight to do it. (And I would help you and cheer for you and encourage you the same way I was helped and cheered for and encouraged to meet this milestone!)

But please be careful. Because you are beautiful TODAY. And because tomorrow… or four months and fifty pounds from now… you will still see things you don’t love about the outside of you. The mirror will lie to you. And as much as you need to have the willpower to put nutritious food in your body, you also need to have the willpower to look yourself in the eyes and say, “I am beautifully crafted in the image of the Almighty God.”

Because you are. And so am I.

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Is Homemade Laundry Powder Worth the Hassle?

is homemade laundry powder worth the hassle

A few months ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of my new homemade laundry powder. I was surprised at how many of my friends were interested to try it but not convinced it would work or be worth the hassle!

I’d been wanting to make my own laundry powder for AGES. Between the savings and a slow move toward trying to eliminate harsh chemicals from our home it seemed like something that would be good for the family.

I pinned recipes for months and eventually worked up the courage to buy the ingredients… but they sat taking up space in the cupboard.

I thought buying a cute laundry bucket I found at the cheap shop or telling myself I was not allowed to buy any more washing powder until I tried it would work. But when the laundry powder ran out, my husband was out of the country and I used that as my free pass to buy another box from the grocery store.

But one night, years into my homemade laundry making aspirations, my husband saw a special on TV about how much store bought laundry-making items are diluted and how much money we were WASTING and asked – do you think you’d be up for trying to make our own washing powder?

I was stoked my BFF was into the idea (he’s cringed at some of the other DIYs I’ve had going on the counters) and that motivation pushed me over the edge.

Oh my goodness. It was so easy. And it works so well. I cannot believe I waited so long to try it!!!!

I love it, we’re saving money, I cannot believe I procrastinated so long.

There are SO many recipes online. I really like Wellness Mama’s blog for natural recipes. She covers so many variables and only posts things she’s made and has really honest reviews. Here are some of her laundry recipes.

I ended up grating two bars of laundry soap (I used Sunlight) in my food processor, mixed with a kilo of washing soda, both of which I found in the laundry section of my grocery store. I added some borax as well (which I found at Bunnings) but will try without next time as I’m still making up my mind on what I think of that stuff… there are mixed reviews and here is one I liked for the information even though it didn’t convince me completely. I hand mixed it all together added some drops of lavender essential oil, also available at the grocery store, until I could catch a good whiff of it. Maybe 40 drops or so… I use a heaping Tablespoon with every load.

So is it worth it? Overwhelmingly so… its works well, its simple to make, it saves money and I don’t have to question what’s in it.

Laundry Recipe

This Simple Tool Will Help You EAT Well.

A Simple Tool to Help you EAT Well

I love to eat. My sister always jokes that I’ll never have an eating disorder because I like eating too much. And other than the vulnerability of OVEReating, she’s probably right.

If you’re like me, you can have the best of intentions when it comes to eating well… but on top of the accidental handful of indulgent deliciousness grabbed on the fly as you walk by the kitchen, you may also find yourself saying…

“Just this once…”

“Its got a lot of nutrition…”

“I’ll only have a little bit…”

“Its a celebration…”

My cupboard can be filled with nothing but peanut butter and baking chocolate and I’ll somehow justify my way to an elaborate celebratory treat through the slippery slope of excuses. I’m amazed at my mind’s ability to rationalise poor eating even though its the furthest thing from my values and beliefs.

So I gave myself a list of questions to ask myself before I eat, and they happen to align into a really handy acronym – E.A.T.

1. Energy – Is this a food that will give me energy? 

The very basis of food is to give us energy. If we don’t eat, we die. And if we don’t enough, our bodies don’t function well. Two years ago I spent a solid four months in a body transformation challenge. The motivation of the contest meant that I only ate food for energy I needed to transform my body. But the result was far more than just losing weight and gaining lean muscle mass. I felt better right down to a cellular level. I had a spring in my step, a desire to move all day, and woke up with incredible energy busting to go. The right foods will give you this kind of energy.

So, what foods help with energy? You want slow burning carbs and proteins. So ditch the potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, candies, juices, and soft drinks. When it comes to snacks, look for vegetables with hommus, a hardboiled egg, a few raw or dry roasted almonds. In your meals, you want a good carb like quinoa or brown rice or sweet potato, paired with lots of leafy vegetables and a protein like beans or chicken.

2. Additives – Is this a food that is close to its natural state?

Its easy to justify foods that are quick to grab and pre-packaged, even if they’re “only 100 calories.” Not only do these foods often not give us the right energy but they’re also packed with unnecessary ingredients that can actually slow you down more. Take for instance aspartame which is someone still being marketed and remarked.

Before you eat, consider what additives and how much processing that they’ve been through to get there.

3. Tasty – Is this a food I will enjoy?

I’m convinced that food is MEANT to be enjoyed. Why else would God have given us such varied taste buds!? Sure, those crazy athletes among us may go through seasons where they only eat boiled chicken and broccoli but most of us should be seeing food as something to be enjoyed each day and again during seasons of celebration and feast. As long as we’re taking the other two into consideration – that we’re low on unnecessary additives (e.g. eating FOOD and not random chemicals to make it look and taste like food) and its a food that will help give energy, you should seriously be enjoying what you eat.

Making a habit of asking myself these three questions before I eat has really helped me to ensure that my eating is intentional and enjoyable.

EAT Energy Additives Tasty