Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bi-Racial Beauty

I started my day as usual, breakfast with coffee and then I began the all consuming task of doing my two daughters hair. My youngest Jordyn usually takes the least amount of time mainly because she is only two and doesn't care much about her hair, but also because it is short and I can usually just wet it, rub some cream in, brush it back and call it a day. My oldest Gabby is a different story. She is four now and at an age where her hair and her "image" matters. She whines and cries the entire time I do her hair and no matter what style I am trying to accomplish it is never good enough. I guess I should tell you that both of my daughters are bi-racial. I have always wanted pretty curly hair and nice caramel skin so I never dreamed that either of my girls would have an issue with how they look.

The whole problem started about a year ago when Gabby(my oldest) told me that she didn't feel pretty because she didn't have long blonde hair like Barbie. It touched a special place in my heart and actually made me cry. What does a three and a half year old know about pretty? I assured her that she was beautiful. Halloween came and of course like every other 4 year old in the United States Gabby wanted to be Elsa. We assured her that she didn't need the blonde wig, but that didn't work. She actually cried because she couldn't be white like Elsa. I was in disbelief. I had to gather my thoughts before I consoled her. How could she not feel beautiful? How could my sweet baby not feel like the most beautiful girl in the world? She was and still is so young. I was not prepared to deal with these issues for a while. At this moment it occurred to me that there are very few Disney Princesses, Barbies or even cartoons that bi-racial or even African American girls and boys can idolize. They are stuck with the Princesses that don't resemble them at all. Yes they have Jasmine, Tiana, and Pocahontas, but that's three out of dozens.

Here I am a year later and my daughter does not feel pretty unless I flat iron her hair. I don't do it often, in fact I might do it every few months, but when I do I have to fight her to let it go back curly. She insist upon wearing a wig to play dress up and tells me all of the time that she wishes she could be pretty like me. This is such a terrible thing that I never imagined anyone had to deal with. It opened my eyes to the fact that people all over the world deal with these same issues and I am only getting a small taste of it. I will continue to encourage my daughter to live in her beauty and tell her everyday how amazing she is. I pray often that when she grows up she will have high self esteem and confidence. They don't write a how to book on these issues and you learn as you live. I am aware now like never before that the way this world is set up can be cruel. I hope beyond all that my children experience less of that and more of life.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Food Addiction Frenzy

It has been a very long time since I have written anything and with everything going on in my life right now, I am reluctant to start a new adventure; however, there is something on my mind and I feel compelled to share. As a woman I struggle daily with body image and self doubt. I have always had to battle with weight for as long as I can remember and at this juncture in my life I am quite tired! It was not until recently that I realized that I most certainly have a food addiction. I always laughed at people who claimed they had a food addiction thinking to myself that the condition was a joke and couldn't possible be real. What is so bad about being addicted to food? I mean there are worse things in the world to be addicted to. About a month ago I was at a low point in my struggle with weight. I gained back nearly 20 lbs. after having lost so much. A friend captured a picture of me with my daughters and posted it to Facebook. I looked at the picture and tears came to my eyes. The person in the picture was not me. I didn't see myself that way. I was so angry that I had let the situation get this bad. The first thing I did was grab some ice cream and sit on my couch and eat. I ate nearly the entire container and I justified this behavior with " If I'm going to be fat anyway I guess its best to enjoy myself". The second I was done eating I crashed and an immense amount of guilt consumed me. I began to cry and think to myself "Why did I do that? Now I'm going to put on so much weight." I went to bed and promised myself the next day I would do better. I didn't do better, in fact I did worse. I binge ate for 3 days until I realized that what I was going through was the cycle of addiction. 

You see addiction runs in my family and I had always prided myself on the fact that I stayed away from drugs. I have never tried any type of drug other than a little marijuana when I was a teenager. I refuse to take pain medication for fear of dependence. I thought that I had overcome any chance of addiction, but I was wrong. I use food to fill a void inside me. It controls my day, finances, lifestyle and health. The second I eat food that I know is bad for me I get depressed. I rationalize my eating habits and continue to go back and forth. I hate my body and the way I look in clothes yet when I try to fix the problem I hit a road block. Thursday night I was at a church meeting for women called Sisterhood. The topic was "Body Image". We discussed eating disorders including binge eating. I made a decision that evening to make a change in my life. I will not let anything including food, have power over me. 

This is day 2 of my lifestyle change and I feel amazing. I have had cravings and almost given in, but I just prayed and asked for those cravings to be lifted off of me. I got to the gym today and worked so hard. I ran 1 mile on the treadmill which might I add I have not done in months. I feel empowered and uplifted. I wanted to share this because I know many deal with these issues. Food addiction is not taken seriously because it is more socially acceptable than other addictions. It is a real thing and it can destroy people. I want to feel good about myself and promote a healthy life for my family. I noticed that when I would eat bad, so would my children because that was the food I was feeding them. I want my kids to be active and healthy and how can I make that happen if I am not doing the same? This is not an issue of looking good in a bikini, this is about living a longer more fulfilled life. I may never lose the weight I would like, but overcoming this struggle is more important than the weight. It is life or death. I feel free and I will continue to do my best and change my life.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mommy Workouts

Staying fit as a Mom can be tough. I find myself eating the leftovers on my daughters plate so they don't get wasted. Sometimes we get so busy that it is easier to run to McDonald's than to cook a meal. I am guilty of it too, but lately I have just been fed up with that lifestyle. I made a pledge to my family that I will make a change, mind, body, and soul. I'm going to start by only keeping good food around the house. I went to the store and found alternate snacks that are better than chips and candy. I bought some rice cakes and plenty of fresh fruit. It is important for kids to understand the importance of eating a variety of foods. I started to cook 2 sets of vegetables for dinner and only offering starches if my daughter finishes her veggies. I bought some meat with protein like Salmon and cooked a good portion so I could break it up over my salad for leftovers. If my daughter wants a snack I break a banana in half and we split it. The hardest part of it all is getting outside and staying active. I take a walk a day and I make sure we are packed for the long haul. I bring a few bottles of frozen water and some snacks. I try to walk at least a mile from my house that way I know I have to walk a mile back home. I do jumping jacks with my two year old. She loves to help with my sit ups too.  I put some music on and we dance together for over an hour. It wears her out and gets my heart rate pumping. Even when I don't feel like working out I find something to do that keeps me on my feet for a while so that I am getting some activity for the day. I started limiting the amount of television that I allow the girls to watch. I also got a juicer for my birthday and I go through my fridge and juice everything that looks like it might go bad soon. It actually tastes pretty good, however, it looks pretty gross. I have noticed that since making these changes my mind feels clearer. I am stressed less and I have way more patience with the kids. Fitness is all about how you make it. You don't have to go obsess about it at the gym or go on a 500 calorie diet to lose weight and get in shape. It helps to involve the whole family and keep everyone active together. Dieting is more about how much you eat and when you eat than what you eat.  Even if you must go out to eat be conscious of your menu and try and order something a little lighter. The older we get the harder it is to keep weight off. I plan to have another baby some day so it is important to me that I get in shape so that my body can handle the stress of pregnancy. Motivation is the key. Don't pick goals that are unattainable for example I know I will never have a body like BeyoncĂ© so I don't even attempt to try. I just envision the body I had before kids and work towards getting it back. If you were not thin before you had kids that's fine too because once you get back to that size you can push farther and try a different size. I hope that everyone out there finds their motivation and continues to make getting in shape fun. That is most important part. Having fun will make it seem less like a task and more like a choice. Keep pushing and never give up. I hope to see a thinner version of myself soon enough.

Giant Baby

I was blessed in this world with a huge baby. It started out as any normal pregnancy, but I grew and grew. I thought that I was just putting on too much weight. When my daughter was born she was not extremely large. Weighing in at 8lbs 8 oz and 21.5 inches long she was a little above average, but nothing to put in the record books. The first few weeks proved to be difficult. I had mostly newborn and 3 month sizes. She grew out of those in 2 weeks. We moved on to 3-6 months. By the time she was 3 months she was wearing 9 month clothes. She was off the growth charts with her height and she was solid. Fast forward to 2.5 years old and we have to shop in the children's section for clothes. I have to get children's small 5-6. The problem is that these clothes are not always appropriate for a two year old. She does fit some 5T but those are not always easy to find. She is 40lbs and 40 inches. We went to Legoland and she can ride the big kid coasters. When we go in public people think I have a 4 year old child and they can't understand why she acts like a baby sometimes. She has been told by other children at the park that she is stupid because they think she is so much older than she is. People give me strange looks when they see her in a stroller and forget about trying to carry her. All of the height predictors tell me that she will be between 6 ft 1 inches and 6 ft 3 inches. This blows my mind. Her father is only 6ft and our parents are not freakishly tall. My question is how tall will she really be? Will she grow a lot these years and just stop as she gets older? I think she is the most beautiful girl, but I don't want her to get picked on as she gets older. Other kids can be very mean and it scares me. Will she be a model or get into sports? Should I  encourage her to get into sports? All of these questions go through my mind and it all comes down to her I guess. My youngest is a pretty average height and weight so the gene must have skipped her. For now I will enjoy her toddler years because they fly so quick. One day I will go to sleep and wake up and she will be taller than me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bad Luck

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong? I felt as if both of my children got together today and conspired to whine and cry over EVERYTHING. It all started on my shopping trip to Walmart. I decided to go into the Halloween section and browse through some costumes for the girls. Bad idea! My two year old saw a princess dress that she just had to have and begged me to buy it for her. I told her no and explained the whole idea of trick or treating. It didn't work she threw herself on the ground and screamed her lungs out. People on all sides of me were giving me a cross look. I am sure all of them were thinking about how bad this little girl was. I managed to pull her away from the aisle and continued on to the produce section. She cried the entire way. Once I was ready to go check out I just happened to look down and saw that the baby had a horrible dirty diaper and it worked its way out and all over her car seat. I made my way to the bathroom and left the cart outside. I went in and cleaned her up as quickly as I could. As I made my way back outside to the cart I noticed that it was gone. Someone had taken it, for what reason I don't know. I had to endure two whiney kids for another 30 minutes while I gathered my groceries again. On the way home my oldest fell asleep in the car. I forgot to mention that she refused to go potty in the bathroom at Walmart so while she slept in her car seat she tinkled all over herself and my car. Once I got home and unloaded the kids and groceries I decided to sit and regroup for a moment, but they had other plans. Both of my girls cried over any and everything. At one point I thought I might cry. I took deep breaths and reminded myself that they would eventually go to bed and I could relax. Days like these make you wonder why you have kids. Then they look you in your eyes and smile and suddenly your emotions are flooded with overwhelming joy. At that moment I know why I have kids. The good days make the bad days so worth it. My oldest just came to me and said "Mommy I am sorry I was mean today". I kissed her and said "We can always start fresh tomorrow".