#PinkHairDontCare

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So the other day I’m sitting in my therapist’s office discussing one of the most traumatic moments of my life, and kinda laughing it off because it almost sounds silly. I wasn’t discussing being molested or raped- not to say that’s not a discussion, it absolutely has been for many years, in fact, it has monopolized many a’therapy session. So much so that I have blown off other traumatic moments because when you compare them, you kinda can’t top sexual abuse. Well, that was my mainframe, anyway… But let’s not compare apples and oranges…. trauma is trauma. These moments can define you, and they did define me in many ways. I’m working towards living MY life and not basing everything off of my past.

SOOOO I’m discussing the days leading up to my baptism into the (cough* CULT *cough) ICOC. I was 15, it was the summer before I started high school, my parents FINALLY let me dye my hair pink, and I really wasn’t buying “the god thing”. My parents/teen leaders expected me and my sister to go to Teen Camp, and we did… At this point my closest friends had been kept from me for months. You know how I was a bad egg because I questioned, and am not easily silenced. The “church” decided it was better to isolate me… and they were right. Being left out was awful. It didn’t make me believe in god, it made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Like I was broken for not having the same blind faith as everyone else. It came down to being treated badly and either ignored or rebuked, or I could “study the bible” and be baptized and be treated kindly.

At this point, you have to understand that I literally didn’t see life beyond the ICOC. I didn’t dare to imagine it. I was RAISED drinking the koolaid. I felt like it was wrong, but what did I know? I was trained from the get go to believe that this was the only way to live. So when I questioned, I felt like I was “in sin”. It was scary and lonely and confusing. No one sympathized. Even the kids who rebelled still had some sort of faith in god. I was the only one that didn’t. So I told myself that I was wrong, and I should at least try because if I TRY, if there is a god, he will “soften my heart” and I will have my friends back, and my parents would be proud of me. That’s what I did. I studied, (studying The Bible in an ICOC or ICC church is pretty intense. Over the course of a few studies, you have been brainwashed into believing that the only way to achieve salvation is by confessing your sins to someone *who’s going to share with other people*, having a specified discipler and being baptized by someone in the ICOC/ICC. You’re eventually expected to distance yourself from family members that are non disciples.) memorized and regurgitated. After passing the “Prove It” study, my disciplers informed me that I could be baptized by next Sunday, but I had to dye my hair back to a normal color because I was” too noticeable and that’s sinful. God doesn’t like that sort of thing.”

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Remember how I was 15 years old and I had been begging my parents to let me dye my hair pink for like 3 years??? And FINALLY they said yes???? But, guess what, my cool pink hair was sinful. Just like my personality “made the boys struggle” (You guys, I wasn’t even cute, boys didn’t like me. I was awkward and mousy and plain. Flat chested, short… I wore glasses and read books. TRUST me when I say that I was not the girl that “made boys struggle”.) I was infuriated! Of course to be saved I had to conform. After deliberation and prayer, I bleached out the dye, and was dunked into the Pacific Ocean that Sunday. I really hoped my first breath after my baptism would feel like my first, that I would feel cleansed and new. It was a devastating slap in the face to see that I felt exactly the same. Only… pissed. These people have been lying to me my whole life. (I know some of you feel like your baptism meant something, and, OK I’m not saying nothing changed for you, I’m saying it didn’t work for me and it wasn’t for lack of trying.) Never mind the fact that at 15, how much sinning could I have done. I was actually on the more angelic side of the spectrum when it came to actual “sinning”. Realistically, I just wasn’t a bad kid. And after fuming for a few minutes and receiving awkward hugs, responding as honestly as I could when people asked me over and over, “How do you feel?” (probably just to reaffirm how they tell themselves they felt after the baptisms. In fact, I remember asking my best friend the same question before I was baptized, if she felt new, I would, too.) to which I answered, “cold.” I thought, “And I dyed my hair for this?”

Jenna and her rad blue ombre
Jenna and her rad blue ombre

Just over a year later I “fell away”. Afterwards I pierced my belly button, my nose, and tongue. At 18 I started getting tattoos, but I stopped dying my hair. Weird, right? I don’t remember consciously deciding I wouldn’t dye my hair again, but it’s been roughly 10 years and I finally dyed my hair a few months ago, nothing crazy, just blonde streaks. a month or two later I went a little further and went very blonde ombre… kinda dipping my toes in. I remember that feeling, the change every time you look in the mirror. New. Baptized.

And that’s the revelation I had.

For years I have avoided “ceremonial” signals of change. I stopped believing in these big moments that signify transformation.

And then, I decided it was time to dye my hair pink. Why? Because I want to, and I’m an adult now, so piss off! (Yes that was a drop Dead Fred reference) And guess what… I absoFUCKINlutely LOVE my hair! (I especially love that my husband dyed it for me #keeper) Also, we decided that all the kids should rock colored hair, because, why not?

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Just Eat

It’s Eating disorder Awareness Week… I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people. “Just eat”… “I wish I had THAT problem” … Two of the most frustrating, rude, cavalier and insensitive phrases I hear whenever ED’s come up. Eating disorders are serious. Serious like addiction. And it’s not because “we” are selfish, vain or conceited. It’s because we have no self love, self worth and no grace. It’s because we feel out of control in life and take it out on our bodies. Because we feel guilt when we take care of ourselves. Eating disorders are not a joke.

(I rewrote the paragraph above a few times changing the “we” to “they” and the “our” to “their” because I’m struggling with whether or not I want to own my own struggles right now. #VigorousHonesty)

Eating disorders come in many forms, restricting, binging, purging, over exercising… these are the symptoms, the whiskey to the alcoholic, the meth to the addict, the abuser to the abused. If you’ve ever known or loved someone who struggled with addiction, you’ve probably thought, “Why can’t they see what their doing to themselves?”

“Why don’t they just stop?”

“Why doesn’t she leave him?”

“She doesn’t love me enough to quit.”

That’s pretty much the same thoughts you might have when you are close to someone with an eating disorder. It’s frustrating. Maybe a little more frustrating because it’s harder to understand. Harder to relate to. I grew up in a home where addiction was talked about often. My dad is over 30 years sober and has worked in treatment for my entire life. My sister has been in rehab a few times, my mom, too. Addiction, recovery, 12 Steps, meetings, amends…. This is all the norm to me. Addiction, we can handle. We have the tools. But about 12 years ago when I was diagnosed as “Anorexic with purging”, none of us had any idea how to deal. My dad was very proactive, he got me help immediately. A therapist, treatment… What I didn’t have was anyone in my life who understood. In a world where everyone was on the Atkin’s Diet, I didn’t fit in. It was really lonely. For me, going to a 12-Step meeting was not useful. I didn’t use. Not like them. For me, not eating served the same purpose, however, I was not offered the same grace. People rolled their eyes, because their addiction was “worse”. Because “all” I had to do was “just eat”. (I am rolling my eyes as I type this!)

I have forgiven everyone who’s ever belittled my disease because I understand that you DON’T understand. I would like to give a little insight though. So maybe you can have more grace with someone who is walking a road you’ve never walked.

I have a friend, a good friend who also has an eating disorder, and she is the only person besides my therapist who “gets it”. The irony is that she over eats and I under eat. (I’m actually in recovery… see here is where it’s hard to compare addiction and ED’s because when an alcoholic drinks, they’re no longer sober. If I have a bad eating day, I’m not off the wagon necessarily. It’s not THAT simple. Hence ED awareness week.) However, if you sit us both down and talk with us, or, hear us talk with each other, it’s the same words, it’s the same feelings. We just have literally opposite reactions. When I am sad, I lose 15 pounds. When she is sad, she gains 15 pounds. I’m not saying like I feel sad today and magically 15 pounds evaporate. I mean like, when I am going through depression, stress, anxiety, etc. I can’t eat. Like physically, I cannot swallow food. I will chew for ages and just can’t swallow. And I and not necessarily even upset about my body during these times. In fact, if I’m in that place, I am not even thinking about my body. I am too absorbed in my misery. Yes throughout my life I have acted out my ED because I have had a “fat” day (a word I avoid). I have also noticed that my “fat days” directly correlate to my emotions. The scale has not changed, but for some reason today I fucking HATE my body. Nothing looks right, nothing feels right. I want to rip off my skin. I literally want to take scissors to my thighs. I want to vacuum the fat from my belly. These are the images I get when I look in the mirror on a “fat day.” Meanwhile my brain is saying, “You’re worthless, you’re weak, you’re not lovable, nobody takes you seriously, you deserve to feel lonely, nobody needs you. You’re too outspoken, you’re too opinionated. You’re not smart enough or pretty enough. You’re just not enough. Oh- except your thighs, those are too much. Jeez, Justine, what’s wrong with you? You’re a shitty anorexic. You ate WAY too much yesterday and LOOK at your ass! You can’t even eat right. You’re so stupid. You need to control yourself. You are an embarrassment.” You see how it’s not actually about my body? My body is the scapegoat. Internally I feel like I can’t fix my uselessness, and all the things wrong with who I am, but, I CAN fix my thighs. So here I am desperately hating myself, and truly needing someone to love me, someone to affirm me. Not my body. ME. and I don’t know how to ask for that. And I sure as hell don’t believe I deserve it. So I am sad. So I can’t eat. And not eating serves a purpose. Not eating ,makes me feel successful subconsciously. Eating literally makes me nauseous, so NOT eating makes me feel better.

Meanwhile my friend who over eats has the SAME thoughts, only her coping skill is to make herself feel better by eating. Because when she is eating it FEELS GOOD. It smells good, and looks good and fills her. It literally fills the emptiness. So she will eat fast food, and thus PROVE to herself, all the things her brain has been chanting. That she isn’t strong enough to lose the weight, that she is worthless, that she’s fat. That she doesn’t “deserve” to be healthy, because if she did deserve it, she could eat like a “normal” person. She “proves” her worthlessness to herself every time she gets on a scale and hasn’t lost any weight. Every time her doctor is disappointed. Every time her nutritionist overwhelms her with lists of food she “can’t” have. It’s overwhelming. And what’s the point anyway, right? She feels like a failure. Maybe she is? Oh, is that a Mc Donald’s? French fries will help. And she’ll try again tomorrow.

I don’t know if my sharing this is helpful. I just thought, in the spirit of the week, maybe I can shine some light on a subject that you just can’t grasp at face value.

I want you all to know that I have been working my recovery, seeing my therapist, and learning to love myself. To change the way I talk to myself. To recognize the red flags and seek help when I start going down the rabbit hole. My recovery really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with food. Food is just the way I show the sickness. As a mom I have been good at maintaining a healthy weight… but masking the real issue. I am in a place where I want recovery, and I understand that just because I am not acting out my ED, does not mean I am cured. I understand that every single day I need to work to make the right choices. Because, magically, when I am doing what is right and healthy for me, I don’t hate myself so much. In fact, I start seeing the good. I have recognized that my decisions directly effect my self worth. And I am worth being happy. I am worth love. I am lovable. And so are you.

Fighting Food Demons

I read this article today on “orthorexia nervosa”. Haven’t heard of it? Neither had I, although I had a sneaking suspicion it was a thing. It’s having an unhealthy (go figure) obsession with eating clean. Generally when someone gets on a health kick, they are trying to be healthy. Evidently the issue here is that this drive towards ultimate health can actually make you UNHEALTHY. Well, that sucks. Particularly if you’re me. Having struggled with eating disorders for many years, resulting in rehab, then outpatient, groups and lots of therapy, I finally found peace with food. However, my “peace” with food has become increasingly “unpeacful”. When I built a healthy relationship with food, I decided I needed to have a better understanding of food. What is it? Where does it come from? What’s in it? What does “processed” mean? How does my body react to certain foods? Answering these questions helped me to not dwell on the calories, however I have noticed that I still feel just as guilty (and judgmental even) when I eat certain foods. And it’s not like a regular person who would not even consider that they have a relationship with food, (because you normies just EAT food.) and maybe feels some guilt when they go to a drive through, or eat ice cream. I feel guilty when I eat a sandwich. I feel self loathing when I eat bread. I hate myself when I eat cheese. And it’s not just that I do have a fear of gaining weight, but in my head I am thinking that I am causing inflammation which will undoubtedly lead to every health problem imaginable. And it will be because I ate a slice of pizza. I will die a miserable death because I had mozzarella sticks. You may be thinking that I am insane… But you may be like me and you maybe literally won’t EVER touch demonic foods that contain gluten, dairy or GMOs. (And I am over here feeling sickeningly jealous of your strength…. *You see, I wouldn’t ever buy these satanic tempestuous treats, but my husband literally won’t live without them. He thinks that no meal is a meal without carbs, in fact he thinks it’s ridiculous when me and my daughter don’t eat sandwiches. He would like to know what will fill us up if we don’t eat bread?*…And lucky if you don’t have have a partner who eats clean as well.)  It doesn’t stop there, I feel like like I am bringing bad karma onto myself for eating certain foods! (namely animal products)

I can compare this overwhelming guilty conscious to religious people. In fact, I believe I am so sensitive to not “doing what’s right” because of my past in churchianity. So if you feel bad because you missed church, or forgot to say your prayers, or whispered a curse word, maybe you feel a fraction of what I feel when I eat food (that you may even consider healthy). I feel like I have to go to confession after eating black bean soup! AND IT’S VEGAN! Why? I read that beans cause inflammation. I start planning a cleanse after eating quinoa. Yeah… quinoa. We all thinks it’s so healthy… but is it? I listen so carefully to my body after eating a food because I have to know how it effects me. I have slight depression when I see a carton of milk. I mean, those poor cows. And the meat isle?!? It’s a graveyard, It’s the dead animal isle. I don’t like it. I feel like I am literally driving the nails into Jesus’s hands when I eat cheese that isn’t organic. And I have nausea even if it is organic because I’m a little grossed out by the concept of cheese. And simultaneously, cheese is my weakness, it’s the equivalent of the shame you may feel watching porn.

OK so you see my insanity. But here’s the deal, I don’t eat perfectly. So far I am healthy, even though I cheat sometimes. I can and do go to restaurants. I will find food that I can/will/want to eat. (Except fast food, but if we are going with the religious comparison, fast food is like a whore house, right?) I generally bring my own food to a BBQ, this isn’t that weird because I don’t eat meat, and it doesn’t bother me. I would like to say that my food standards are reasonable. I felt bad a few weeks ago when a friend asks me to feed her kid lunch and I knew already that he wouldn’t eat what we had. When I asked what he liked to eat, she suggested something like, mach n cheese, buttered noodles, pb&j, chicken nuggets, cereal and oatmeal. I had none of that. Or I and pieces… no butter, no bread, organic funny looking noodles, no milk for cereal, no peanut butter…. I apologized (don’t worry he was fed!), I honestly felt bad, but in reality, it’s not that big of a deal. These things happen, and I don’t think those are necessary foods. I don’t think that makes me extreme, either. I think that maybe my intense feelings on dairy seem extreme, but not buying chicken nuggets, not so much.

You may be wondering what this means for my kiddos? What do they eat? Well, if we go to a birthday party or a bbq, they eat pizza, hot dogs, cake and chips. The only thing I really put my foot down on at a social even is soda. At home my kiddos eat a balanced healthy diet, and I try to buy organic. They get dessert 2-3 times a week. My kids don’t eat as strict of a diet as I do, and that’s ok. I have had to loosen the reigns on that one, I wasn’t always so nonchalant about that.

Am I orthorexic? No, I don’t think so. I think that eating this way has helped improve my health and is better for my family. Do I think it’s a fine line? Yes. Considering my history it’s not weird that I have unhealthy emotions about food, however, it’s pretty awesome that I have not taken my obsession with health to an unhealthy extreme. I will be mindful, and I will continue fighting my food related demons.

The goal is happieness

I love that my tea gives me advice
I love that my tea gives me advice

A few months ago I was a stay at home mom who had an obsession with health food, and went running to curb my anxiety. Today I don’t have a title, but I do have so many jobs! I was thinking yesterday, I did not put all of my eggs in one basket, but I might have too many baskets. It is time to prioritize, and maybe accept that the next few months will be crazy as I follow each of the avenues I have opened. I recently decided to get my certification in Personal Fitness Training with my friend and soon to be Sister In Law. We have been very seriously discussing starting a workout group at the park by our house. We both know so many people who are uncomfortable in gyms, or just simply do not know where to begin with getting fit and healthy. We want to create an environment for women to be comfortable (not during the class… sorry!) and encouraged. We all deserve to be empowered, and beginning with health and fitness, the rest will follow. Personally my passion is healthy food, not so much because I love food, I actually don’t, but because food is where everything really comes together. You can go to the gym for an hour or two a day, but if you binge when you get home, if you are eating processed “food”, if you are not listening to your body, you will not get the results you want. However, if you change your diet, cut out processed foods, be mindful of carbs, avoid sugar, and eat *ORGANIC*  veggies and fruits you WILL see results, you will FEEL results! Pair the two, a plant based diet and exercising, it will make the biggest difference. That said, I am very interested in exercising, and I can’t wait to find out more. Knowledge is POWER! I cannot wait to learn, and more importantly, I cannot wait to teach!

I had a chat with my dad tonight, I was filling him in on my plans to get certified, and unloading (I can’t help but to vent constantly!) all of my insecurities. I know that I am capable, but I am so scared of this class! I have never been a school person and have avoided it. Certifications, however, I am no stranger to. I was a lifeguard for a few years and that required more certifications than I am getting now. I am also older and I have a WHY. Having a “why” when you make a goal is paramount! If you don’t know why you are working your butt off, losing sleep, worrying, studying, learning, and or changing, then what is the point? How do you put your heart into something that has no real reason? When my dad asked me my “why” I said, “Well, money, I guess. I need to make money.”

My dad said, “That is not why you started all of this. Remember when you first started blogging? Why did you start?”

I said, “To be happy.”

I had already lost sight of my WHY! When I started blogging I was having emotional outbursts, struggling to control my temper, my anxiety was through he roof. I was not happy. I was in love, and I loved my kids, but I was not happy. I felt so guilty for not being content with my life, the funny part was that all I needed was an outlet. When I began blogging, not only was I able to unleash my insecurities, fight demons and write as much as I want about my favorite subject: Health! I also, now have validation, you all send me messages, some of you have encouraged me more than you know, the comments are awesome, and I have built friendships with people I never would have otherwise interacted with. I also have gotten to know people that I was Facebook friends with, but we had never really had a relationship. All of these things especially all of you make such a huge difference to me. I really wanted to share with you all today, that I have reconnected with my WHY, and I plan to make the necessary adjustments to flourish!

Food = Fat… I mean FUEL.

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When I was in treatment for my eating disorder it was hammered into my brain that it is healthy to eat 6 times a day. Try telling THAT to an anorexic! I thought these people had lost their minds!!! I had trouble eating at all, and here I am basically being force fed. If we did not eat we were threatened with hospitalization, and being tube fed. If you are hospitalized you cannot work off your food, and you are bored. Nobody wanted that… but at the expense of eating 6 times a day… It was scary. That might sound so silly to you, but for me this was one of the scariest things I would do. In my mind, food = fat. I had spent a very long time restricting and and brainwashing myself that if I did not eat I would be skinny, and finally love myself. I have been on a life long quest to love myself and for years I thought if I was skinny enough I would. It didn’t work. I had been hating myself for so long, no pant size could change that. I put conditions on myself that to this day make me cringe. I am scared that one day my daughter will feel the way I did (and sometimes do.) I’m watching her play right now and thinking that I never want her to be obsessed with body checks. In fact, I never want her to know what body checks are. (For those of you who do not know about body checking, it’s when you see how many fingers you can fit into the waist of your pants or measuring your wrists with your fingers, I used to start with my forefinger and thumb, then my middle finger, my ring finger and my pinkie, then work my way up my arm until my fingers could not touch anymore. I also body checked my legs, fitting my hands around my thighs, and looking in the mirror to make sure my thighs did not touch. I would touch my hips to make sure they stuck out at all times, and anytime I passed a mirror I would sneak a peak to make sure my tummy was flat. Body checking is a way to reinforce your illness. I still catch myself from time to time.)

I did eventually make some sort of “peace” with eating. Eventually I came to a healthy view of food. It is still hard for me to eat, but I look at food as fuel now. I understand that food = energy and, energy burns fat!!! Yes, I still don’t like fat, yes I still want to like the way I look in the mirror, but I have made healthy changes. First of all, I want to be healthy for my kids. That means eating responsibly. I know, it sounds silly, but for me, restricting IS addicting, and without proper fuel I cannot parent. I get cranky and impatient. It is simple to say, not an easy thing to do. If I am having a “fat day” (Fun fact the “f word” is not allowed in our house… not the f*ck word… lol although that is an adult word, that is not used frequently and has been replace with “frog” usually. You should hear me when I am upset “frogging frog!”) I do not want food. I immediately go back to my illness and I am afraid to eat. I have to reason with my eating disorder. It is not easy to reason with an eating disorder. My eating disorder is mean, she tells me how ugly and fat and useless I am. She points out my flaws, my stretch marks, my microscopic, yet sagging boobs, my enormous rib cage that just does not fit with my body, my teeth, my acne, my stomach, my thighs…. She reminds me, she waits until I am feeling just a hint of insecurity and floods my mind with all of my physical flaws, and then starts on my personality, I’m too honest, I lose friends, My temper is too quick, and explosive, I can’t even control it sometimes. I forgive people who have hurt me, even after they won’t admit what they have done… am I that lonely? I attack people verbally for disagreeing with me. I am impatient and insecure. Some days I wonder how to get out of bed with this list of negativity. There is ONE thing that is stronger than that entire list. My kiddos. They are MY reason. The reason I listen to my brain, the brain that tells me that food is fuel not fat, that I need fuel for them, and that beauty resonates from the inside out.

Do I eat 6 times a day? Nope. I do, however, eat. I chose food that is going to benefit me, and, as my fiance pointed out last night, “You don’t eat anything because you love it.” I don’t really, I am not a food person. I could happily live on pills that had the right calories given the opportunity. I try to eat things I like. What do I love? Moments. Time with my kids and my fiance. I can’t have those if I am not getting proper nutrition.

The importance of cleansing

When people come to me for coaching and or advice, it’s usually because they want to lose weight. I am always really excited when someone makes the commitment to be healthy. It may not always begin that way, over the years, how many diets have you started??? I have watched loved ones yoyo diet, over and over, they may find an intense calorie restricting diet and stick it out for 30-60 days, and eventually they stop and the weight comes back. If you think you can just lose all that weight one time and be skinny and live happily ever after, you have another thing coming! (I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it happens for the people who keep it up.) In my opinion, the problem is not the diet so much as it’s the mindset.

You’re goal might need to change. Instead of, “I want to lose 10, 20, 30… 90 pounds.” Maybe your goal should be, “I will be healthy, I will live longer, I will love myself, I will have the body I was meant to have, I will set a great example for my children.” Committing to changing your life means no more yoyo dieting, no more gaining back the weight you lost, no more excuses. It takes an incredible amount of strength to change your eating habits, workout 3-5 days a week, and stick to it. I’m not going to lie, for some people this is harsh, it’s boot camp, it’s emotional. Some of you have been eating for therapy, some of you have been restricting for therapy. It might be time to take a look at yourself and figure out what you need. Have you been internalizing your feelings only to binge at night? There are healthy coping skills, trust me. My mood and my apatite are so closely linked, it’s ridiculous. When I am upset, forget it, I’m not eating. When I am nervous, none food. When I am excited… nope. You may be thinking, “OK, so when do you eat?” I have to trick myself into it sometimes. I have to listen to my body, and respond almost immediately. My catch 22 is when I am too busy to eat, and then I get cranky because I am hungry, and now I can’t eat because I’m irritated. Exhausting, right?

Vanilla Isagenix shake with blueberries!
Vanilla Isagenix shake with blueberries!

This will be a breath of fresh air. You just have to get through it, and learn to love it. You have an opportunity to train yourself. You don’t like veggies? Ok, we can work with that. I’m an expert at hiding veggies in my kids food… I bet I can hide it in yours. You can’t afford the gym? No problem, go outside! I don’t have a gym membership! I go running on the sidewalk 5 days a week. For the record, I started out walking. Before you know it, you will be loving your workouts, maybe not in the moment, but you will love the results! I know it’s daunting to make huge changes, be patient, start with small goals. Here, I have a goal for you for this week: “I will add a veggie to at least one meal every day this week, and I will take a (minimum) 15 minute walk 3 days this week.” It’s not a huge goal, it’s doable… let me know how it goes??? Maybe next week we can cut out fast food?

I have been meaning to discuss cleansing because when my clients and friends ask me how to start on their road to health, besides discussing baby steps and making some goals together, I *strongly* encourage cleansing. Especially if you are making a lifestyle change, and of course if you want faster results.

Cleansing is an awesome way to begin your lifestyle transformation. The idea of an herbal organ cleanse (not to be confused with a colon cleanse, YUCK!) is to flush out your system. It is a blood cleanse. You have toxins in your organs, fat sticks to toxins, when you cleanse the toxins, fat falls off. As a result, you will sleep better, have more energy, have more mental clarity, clearer complexion, and lose weight. Think of it as a clean slate. Now you are ready to clean up your diet. It’s the perfect time to add more organics, and avoid processed crap.

Watch this video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ghAls_KdMnQ

Green shakes for me and the kiddos
Green shakes for me and the kiddos

Healthy is the new skinny

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When I was a teenager, I battled a body image disorder and an eating disorder. Today, I still battle with my body image, and I have disordered eating. I am proud to say I do not have an eating disorder anymore, but that does not mean it is not a daily struggle.

I grew up in a home where I was taught about addiction. I knew all about drugs and alcohol, my dad is 27 years sober and has worked in drug and alcohol treatment centers since before I was born.He actually met my mother while they were both in recovery. My mom did not stay clean, and left when I was young. My young mind saw this, and understood in the simplest way, drugs and alcohol are bad. I never saw any type of alcohol in my house. In fact, if I ever saw anyone drinking a beer at a BBQ or when we were out to dinner, I thought, “OMG! An alcoholic!” (Being raised Christian, I also thought, “Oh no, they are going to Hell.”) I remember seeing an open bottle of wine on my best friend’s parents dinner table, and I thought, “Oh no! They are gonna be in so much trouble if the church finds out!” To be clear, the church had no problem with people drinking, since I was saturated in AA meetings, Big Book lingo, and my dad and step mom did not drink, I thought it was bad for anyone.

No one ever talked about addictions beyond substance abuse. My dad, also is a talented chef, so I grew up loving flavors, eating spicy food, enjoying healthy food, and not realizing it. At 2 years old I would order salads at restaurants. MY 3 year old does this now. When I was 7, a little girl told me that my thighs were chunky, and she had never realized before because I always wore pants. Those words affected me years later. In fact, From 8th grade until I turned 23 I did not wear shorts. I would always cover myself if I was in a bathing suit. I hated my legs. It’s funny now because I almost always wear shorts, and I actually like my legs!! In fact, that’s the number one compliment I get! Nevertheless, for about 10 years I was too insecure to wear shorts.

I remember discovering anorexia. I was 15 or 16, I had been sick for 5 days, my throat was swollen and I couldn’t swallow. I don’t know how many pounds I lost, but I dropped from a size 5 to a size 1. I looked in the mirror after a shower and liked what I saw. A very rare reaction for me. I knew I had lost weight because I had not eaten anything, so I decided to continue not eating. For months I restricted. I got paranoid, so I started to only eat if someone was there, to prove that I was eating, and then I would purge. At night I would inspect my body, feel my bones, make sure they were sticking out more than yesterday. A part of me knew it was wrong, but I felt so strong and successful. I became obsessed with thin models and actresses. I would make collages of all of these “perfect” women. I loved collar bones, hip bones and wrists. It was not so much that I thought they were so hot, I just wanted to look like that.

I went into treatment a few weeks into junior year. I learned that I had an addiction. I was addicted to the high I felt when I was hungry, the high I felt after purging, the high I felt knowing no one could force me. I controlled myself. It really was about control for me. My life was so dictated and protected. More so by the church, the church that controlled my family, and in turn, me. I learned coping skills, nutrition and began the long journey to self love.

About a year after treatment, I relapsed. It was unintentional, I had stopped working my recovery program, and I was so busy. (I had gained weight because I threw my nutrition out the window… I sort of went the opposite direction,and looked in the mirror, was disgusted, and turned my mirror around. Within months I was weighing in a 95 pounds, I remember wearing two pairs of jeans at once so no one would know how small I was.) At this point I worked in a gym, I woke up at 3:30am, got ready and walked to the gym, I opened it at 5:30am and was the receptionist, at noon I ran the child care center, at about 1:00pm I walked up the street, and was a nanny until 5:00pm. On weekends I was a lifeguard in Malibu. I really did not have time to eat anyway. I yoyoed for the next few years.

Having my daughter put health into perspective for me. I realized that I did not want my baby girl to grow up feeling the way I do about myself, so I needed t learn to love myself. Which meant taking care of myself. It was a slow process, it still is. I am understanding that bodies need nourishment from nutrients, and from self acceptance. I will always see flaws in myself, you will always see flaws in yourself. The trick is to work with what you’ve got. Today I look around and can see beauty in every body… and everybody.

www.facebook.com/isahealthymama

Body Image

My mood and my body image go hand in hand. When I am in a bad mood, I NEED to avoid the mirror. That might sound funny to some, but I swear I gain 10 pounds when I am sad, angry or irritated. If I look in the mirror, I might have a full blown panic attack because I can’t figure out where the extra weight came from. I will talk myself down by telling myself that I am feeling negative, so my eyes only see negative. Having recovered from an eating disorder does not mean my body image has improved, in fact, sometimes I am convinced it is worse than it has ever been.

While I was pregnant I was so miserable, I could not look at myself. I was eating extremely unhealthy, I was nauseous constantly and gained 65 pounds… maybe 70, I stopped looking at the scale. I was already depressed as it was, and every time anyone saw me they wanted to look at my stomach, or worse, touch it. I watched my body fill out, saw stretch marks emerge, bought clothes that were bigger than I had ever worn, I had acne… it was a teenagers nightmare. I was disgusted with myself, I felt so ugly that I could not imagine anyone else thinking any different. I pushed everyone away.

Birth probably made things worse because then I did not have the “I’m pregnant” excuse. However I did have the “I just had a baby” excuse, and I have seen that one used for years, if not for the rest of the mothers life. I admit, it was fun going from an A cup to a DD, while breastfeeding, but now I’m back to my barely A cup with stretch marks, and loose skin. (Desperate Housewives was one of my favorite shows, and I love the scene where Lynette tells the young pregnant girl that her boobs look like the balloons you find behind the couch 2 weeks after the party, and her stomach looks like spanish stucco. I can relate to the boob part!!! That entire scene is awesome! Here, just watch it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eKGsHge9NU ) It took me a year to fit comfortably back in my clothes, thanks to breast feeding, because I did not do any exercise besides taking some walks.

Yesterday I posted about how I can’t eat when I am upset, some of that has to do with my body image. In my negative mood I will dissect my body, and tell myself I should not have eaten so much, even if I hadn’t eaten a lot. I will focus on things that I really can’t change, and in reality in these moments, there is nothing I can do… I am already doing what I need to, I eat clean, I work out… I need to focus on being positive. Loving myself. You know that feeling when you think of being intimate with someone who disgusts you? You feel gross inside and out. That is how I feel about myself when I am challenged to show myself love.

When I was in treatment for my eating disorder I was given an assignment, to make a doll that represented me, a baby Justine doll, and nurture her for a day. It was supposed to be me when I was 2, around the time my mom left us. After making the doll, I promptly threw it over my shoulder, and did not touch it for a week. The next time we had group with all of our therapists, mine asked me if I had completed the task. I said I made the doll, and no I did not nurture it, it’s not even real, after all. I should have known better because my next assignment was to nurture that damn thing for the next WEEK! My therapist asked me to go get the doll. I got it and put her down in front of me.

She asked me to hold her…
I picked it up by it’s hair.
She asked me to hold her like a baby.
I did.
She asked me to look at her.
I couldn’t.
“Why won’t you look at her?”
Me: “I can’t.”
“Why not?”
Me: “I don’t know, I hate it.”
“Why?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
“Look at her.”
Me: (I looked at her, and started to cry) “She is ugly, and fat, and I hate her.”
“She is only a baby, how can you hate a baby?”
Me: “I don’t know… I hate her.”
“Hug her, tell her you love her.”
Me: (Hugging her) I can’t, I don’t love her.

At this point I broke down. It was crazy to me that I could HATE a doll so much. I had never realized how worthless I felt, how ugly, and disgusting I thought I was. Those are the voices in my head when I look in the mirror sometimes. When I got out of treatment I threw that doll away.

I can’t imagine my beautiful, perfect, smart baby girl feeling the way I felt towards that doll… I mean myself.

Food and Feelings

You are sitting at your kitchen table, there is a plate in front of you… Now STOP. It’s time to check in with yourself. Are you hungry? On a scale from 1-5 how hungry are you? When was your last meal? How are you feeling? Don’t be vague, if you feel good, use other feeling words like, happy, excited, curious, relieved. If you feel bad, use describing words like, sad, tired, sick, anxious, angry, scared. Now go back to your hunger scale, and ask yourself if you are hungry because of these feelings, or not hungry because of these feelings.

Now pick up your fork, think about each bite, chew. Taste. Is your food crunchy? Is it salty? Sweet? Wet, dry? How does this food make you feel? Do you feel guilty? At peace? Remember your feelings from before you began your meal, do you feel the same? Better, worse?

Yesterday I was running out the door, I guzzled my coffee, took a shot of Ionix (organic 5 hour energy, basically), grabbed a boiled egg and my water bottle, and ran out the door. We were gone until 5pm and by the time we walked through the door all I wanted was food. At this point I could have eaten anything. It’s a dangerous place for me, or anyone to be in, what do you eat when you feel like you will pass out at any second, you don’t have time to cook, and if you did cook, you would probably be full before it was done because you would be snacking on all of your ingredients anyway. This is kinda naughty, but I’m being honest, I pulled out a bag of flax veggie chips (I have not told you about “girl math” before, but this is a good example, in my brain, at this moment, flax seed and veggie chips counts as eating flax seeds, spinach, and carrots. Even though, I know perfectly well that this is not the case, I did quick girl math in my brain, and rationalized my decision. That is the point of girl math, you know, to rationalize a situation, maybe you are justifying eating those beer battered french fries at happy hour, either you have not eaten all day, or you just REALLY love mustard, and you can’t drink it from the bottle. You have an extra glass of wine before bed because you skipped dessert. You run up and down the stairs a couple times to work off your lunch. It’s all girl math.) and the homemade guacamole (girl math: avacado is healthy fat, and I made it so I know there is no crap in it.) At this moment, as I am pulling a chip from the bag, my 3 year old throws a fit. The combination of starvation, exhaustion, and irritation took over, I replaced the chip, closed the bag and put the guacamole back in the refrigerator. I was done. I had lost interest in my food.

I made a huge mistake, I know better than to let myself get too hungry. When I am hungry, the slightest thing can happen and my mood is shot, I will snap at anyone for almost anything, and I can’t shake it. At this point, food is not an option. I will be sick if I force myself, so I just need to seclude myself, calm down and get over it so I can eat before something else ticks me off.

**An easy way to avoid situations like this: I usually bring a bag of trail mix (raw almonds, raw peanuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips) in my purse, just in case I need a handful, or one of my kids gets cranky, they go nuts over chocolate. Dried fruit is easy, too.**

I know that it’s easy for people to go the other direction. You miss a meal, and the next thing you know, you are binge eating whatever is convenient.

This is why I want to challenge you to take your time with your food. It’s not going anywhere, just sit with yourself for a minute and reflect on your feelings. You may decide that you are not actually hungry at all, you are just bored, or you are sad and this meal will take your mind off of it. You might realize that you don’t want it. Maybe you are trying to change your eating habits, and you know eating fast food, or white bread, or 3 bowls of cereal is not going to help you reach your goals. So many of us will guzzle it down before we think too much. I struggle with that. My situation is a little different, having recovered from an eating disorder, sometimes I will not think about food while I eat, just to get it over with. If you saw me at breakfast, you would hardly know I had eaten, I eat and walk, talk, clean, get dressed, you name it. I do not register breakfast. I do not care for breakfast, I usually feel like I do not have time, I just know that I need it. This is where meal plans come in handy. I know what I am going to eat every morning, it is one of 3 things, either greek yogurt and organic hemp granola with a handful of trail mix (minus chocolate), 2 boiled eggs, or an organic meal replacement shake. those are my options, and it does not take thought. Lunch is similar, I have to REMEMBER to eat, and more often than not, it’s quinoa, black beans and either salsa or guacamole, or a shake. This is another meal I don’t really register because it’s fuel. I am eating out of necessity. Dinner is the tricky one. I can easily skip dinner. It helped when I started making dinner for my fiance and I. I enjoy all of the flavors, and smells, by the time it’s done I usually want to eat it. It can be a problem, sometimes I eat too much because from about 4pm to 9pm life is crazy and I tend to be starving by the time I can make food, but I may lose interest. It’s a fine line.

As you can see, I need to check in with myself, too. Let’s all work on checking in. I think it will make a huge difference, and if anything you will get to know yourself, and learn about your relationship with food, and your willpower.

Because The Bible says so

I have PTSD, from the church I grew up in. To some of you that sounds ridiculous, others might relate. It is not as uncommon as you might think. As far back as I can remember my family was a part of this “church”. It was Bible based, nondenominational, and originally a very loving environment. By the time I was a teenager, I was fighting deep depression, an eating disorder, and more than anything I was fighting myself. I had been on the shit end of bad leadership over and over. I can’t speak for what the adults went through, but this is what I experienced:

When I was 11 and 12 I was not a leaders daughter, and even though I had literally grown up with these kids, I was cast aside, uninvited to sleep-overs, family events, and finally, when it was time to change from the “Pre-Teen” group to the “Teen” group, I was asked to stay behind, even though a leader’s daughter, younger than me was placed in the teen group. My parents fought  for fairness, and would eventually be asked to leave, they were “marked” by the church for sticking up for what was right. Unfortunately for me, and my little sister, this did not happen soon enough.
As a teen I questioned my leaders. I did not take the round about “because the bible says so” answers. Nobody could explain to me why god was so angry and destructive in the Old Testament, only to suddenly be so humble, sacrificing his son for our sins in the New Testament. Supposedly, we are all god’s children, yet here is god’s REAL kid. Why he had to die? Because Old Testament god did not think things through and wanted all of these sacrifices, which did no good so now god decides, HE will sacrifice something. It’s a mess! I could go on, but I won’t… this time. It was branded in our brains that all of our friends were going to Hell, and we might, too if we were not careful. This made it difficult to have friendships outside of the church.
Eventually I was silenced. I was told not to ask these questions because I had no faith. I was used as a doormat, I was told to be the greeter, because I was so friendly, they used me to draw people in and then they pushed me away. My closest friends, one of which I have literally known since I was in diapers, and the other I had known in elementary school, were instructed not to spend time with me. I caused too much confusion… they did not want me poisoning the flock. Once I was told to stop flirting, when I had not even spoken to a boy the entire evening. The teen leader who confronted me said, “You don’t have to talk to any of them, it was just the way you are.” Gee thanks…
I tried to believe. I studied The Bible, and found no comfort, only inconsistencies, confusion, and my faith in EVERYONE fell apart. I even went as far as to go through the church assigned studies, one of which is called, The Church Study, where they tell you this is the one true church, and anyone not in it will go to Hell. In another study, The Cross, I believe, after reading you a disturbing story of what EXACTLY happened when one was crucified, an account of what Jesus went through, you were asked to confess your sins. At 14 I don’t believe I had true “sins” to confess to, but I humiliated myself anyway recounting everything I had ever done wrong… I was made to feel overwhelmingly ashamed of things that are completely natural. This is when it was convinced that I am not OK. The person I am, my personalty, my body, no part of me was OK, no part of me was deserving, no part of me was worth anything. I was broken, officially. While I could not imagine a god that would create someone so worthless, I submitted, and was baptized, with the promise that when I came out of that water I would be free from my “sin”, and I would finally be “good”.
When I rose from the freezing Pacific Ocean, I understood that it had all been a lie. Everyone here was fake and had been sold the same bull shit, and instead of being honest, they turned around and started selling the bullshit. I knew from experience that I had to pretend, too. If I wanted to keep my friends, if I wanted my parents to have any faith in me, I had to lie. I kept up the facade for over a year, I think. A year of torture, I got Mono, and if you don’t know, Mono causes depression, so on top of being depressed, and being medicated (by Zoloft which causes worse depression in teens), I was… depressed-ER. I don’t really think I can describe my misery that year. I was so alone, and I had nobody to be honest with. During all of this, my little sister was told by a teen leader that she was “too fat to study the bible and get baptized”. That’s a really loving thing to say to an insecure 13 year old. Comments like that drove my sister to use and sell drugs, and eventually rehab… many times. I can’t blame it all on the church, addiction runs in our family, and she caught the bug, so to speak. She is sober and doing awesome now, I am so proud of her. She has come a very long way.
By the time I was 16, I was through with pretending and “fell away” from the church. My eating disorder became obvious. Anorexia with Bulimia. I would restrict, and when I did eat I would purge. I was sent to a treatment center for eating disorders for three months, a few weeks into my Junior year of high school. During this time my parents were marked and asked to leave the church they had been a part of for, I don’t know, 14 years. Coincidentally the church had a huge falling out right around this time, so many people left.
Why on Earth did I tell you this story??? Oh yeah, I wanted you to understand where I am coming from when I explain why I believe it is important to let children, and young adults make their own decisions. I will not send my children to church. Personally, I do not believe in the Christian god, and I certainly do not want my children to be taught to hate, that they are not worth love, that they are not good enough or that they will burn in the fiery pits of hell. You might be thinking, “But Christians follow Christ, and Jesus was so good!” Yeah, JESUS was good, he was loving, accepting, forgiving, he spent time with the sinners and he did not judge. I don’t know many Christians who do ANY of those things. If my kids want to go to church, can they? Absolutely. I will also spend time reinforcing their greatness, because we have no idea what they take from these biblical stories.
You now understand why I will not be raising my children Christian, now let me tell you why I am not raising them vegetarian. Personally, I choose not to eat meat, or dairy and only occasional fish because morally I can’t justify it. Thousands of animals are mass murdered after torture, and disgusting living conditions so you can go to your nearest Mc Donalds and get a double cheese burger for 99 cents at the drop of a hat. It is not natural. Humans are genetically hunter-gatherers. So your body tells you to eat as much as you can at each meal, because historically, you didn’t know when you would get your next one. Since food is readily available, you would think you could slow down and listen to your body, chew. You don’t, and unless you make the conscious effort, you won’t. The factories, and the cows are causing pollution. The animals are given growth hormones, which everyone is ingesting, and we wonder why the obesity rates are so high. CHILDREN are being diagnosed with diabetes. It is disgusting to me. Yet, here I am, allowing my kids to eat meat. Do I buy organic meat? Yes. But if I am so against even eating animals, why do I let them eat animals? Because I want them to make their own decision, when they are old enough. I do not want to my kids to be guilted into doing what I believe is right, I want them to choose what they believe is right.
For more on the ICOC and my fucked up religious backround check out: “So… I grew up in a cult” http://healthymama.net/?p=356

****If you are reading this because you have had a similar experience, have history with the ICOC/ICC, or you need help leaving, I am going to post some resources here for you. Free to email me at isahealthymama@yahoo.com or find my “recovery page” on facebook www.facebook.com/icocrecovery Here are a few blogs and websites from people who have left the ICOC/ICC and have shared their experiences and knowledge:

http://www.reveal.org/ <— This page has the truth about the ICOC.
http://www.spiritualpornography.com/ <— Don’t worry, it’s totally appropriate, she named it Spiritual Pornography because that’s what Kip McKean called it when you read anything negative about the church. They post information it might be harder to find, such as Kip’s (supposed) resignation, and letters written to the church.

http://henrykriete.com/ <— Here you can read what REALLY happened with Henry Kriete and his family.
http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/ <—- Here you can read a blog from a former member of Kip’s current church (City of Angels International Church of Christ). He has written actually experiences between himself and Kip, AND other “leaders”. A very interesting read. He came across my blog and actually recognized someone I had written about (I kept it confidential).
http://www.tolc.org/ <—- Here you can read Henry Kriete’s letter and other letters written to the church. You can also click “debate” and you will be transferred to http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ICCdiscussion&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FICCdiscussion%2Fstart where you can interact with current and former members.