making comparisons

First of all, here is a picture of my homemade “Berry Christmas” tree.

I am housesitting at the moment and don’t feel comfortable getting a real tree (for liability reasons due to the giant fire hazards associated), so I decided to make my own festive decorations  from whatever materials I could find. I went on a 4-km trail walk/hike with Pinto and found some wild nightshade growing with very bright red berries. I snagged a few branches. I also found some beautiful white berry branches, but I’m not sure what they’re called!

At home I scurried around the house looking for a vase and came across a box full of old wine bottles – yipee! The dark blue one really caught my eye. I had some Stampin’ Up! designer series craft paper, which I used to wrap the bottle and the bottle nose as well as make the paper bows. I just used plain brown cord to tie them on and create the shabby chic look with the simple tied bow on the bottle neck. Have I ever mentioned that craft projects are one of my favorite pastimes? Sigh. I only wish I had more time to devote to crafting right now.  Soon!

Now onto my thoughts for today…

This week I have definitely refocused myself and have reduced my calorie intake, which, I should mentioned, had gradually been creeping up to the you-are-a-train-wreck-of-weight-gain range. I trimmed it down to about 1300 calories a day, give or take, and found that the first few days of progressing with this left me feeling hungry and tired. Past experience, however, has shown me that if you can make it through just one health-challenging week, you’ll be able to gain a lot of momentum and get yourself on track. I might have been feeling a bit unsatiated some days, but I also felt a sense of accomplishment and pride in myself for nipping the bad habits in the bud – again.

Lesson leared —–> Old (and bad) habits die hard…and sometimes they even rise from the dead and insidiously wiggle their way into your life like mindless zombies ready to turn you back again.  Yikes! Time for some safeguarding! (As is my custom,  I would usually post a comedic picture of zombies at this point in the post, but zombies actually really scare me and I don’t like to look at them! Ew. Oh wait! I have an idea…)

At this point in my weight loss journey, I need to remember that I haven’t been separated from my bad habits for a long enough period of time to be lackadaisical about them. They are easy to fall back into, and there is no point in time where I can allow myself to be ambivalent about exercise and healthy eating. My genetics and my body habitus necessitates a great deal of consistent effort on my part if I am to get thin and healthy and stay thin and healthy. The default for most of my life has been to overeat and be overweight, and my body holds onto fat like a drowning man holds onto a PFD! I need to accept this. Period.

I met with an old friend this week. A very beautiful old friend. A size 2, fully- toned, dark-haired, long-eyelashed, super-health-guru-ish, high-achieving  (she has 4 kids and manages to do A LOT in her life!) old friend. What an amazing woman. What an inspiration. Her cupboards were quite literally jam packed full of organic, whole food teas and spices and sauces and supplements, and her fridge full of organic veggies and fresh homemade soups and salads and dressings and yogurts and superfoods, etcetera etcetera etcetera. I stood there drinking an immune boosting detox tea, one of many exceptionally healthy options from her cupboard, feeling like a good little chubby girl.

I visited her right after  having finished my second hot yoga class of the week (having not gone for nearly 8 months prior), and was feeling really beautiful and healthy and strong afterward. I mean, the fact that I still need to lose 40 lbs is pretty much always with me, but sometimes, like after I do a hot yoga class, that fact doesn’t overwhelm me or come across as a judgement. IT’S JUST ONE OF MANY FACTS ABOUT ME, NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD, THAT MAKES MY LIFE UNIQUE AND MAKES ME WHO I AM. But it’s easy to lose that gentle perspective sometimes; especially in the presence of amazingness in other people.

Do you know what I’m talking about here? It’s not just me, right?

So, for that moment, sipping my tea, I felt overwhlemed by how far I have to go to be AS healthy and AS beautiful and AS awesome as this other woman. I did. I’ve felt that way before, countless times, and even when I have spent time with my now-yoga buddy, and always-and-forever dear dear friend, Desiree, who inspires me in the same way — doing so much and accomplishing so much and being so healthy and amazing and beautiful and ALSO being a mother of 2! I suppose that women in general are such amazing creatures to me, and I often don’t feel that I measure up.

I tried to think of the reasons my emotional cycle went that way…the way of oblivion….and I know that it comes from the fact that I am MAKING COMPARISONS – them versus me, good versus not good, healthy versus unhealthy, and that leaves me…well…the last one picked for the baseball team…at the end of the line…at the back row…on the bottom of the list. Sure, it’s my own list and I should just throw it out, but it’s a list nonetheless that I have created somehow and it reveals some of my residual insecurities.

Like…

I am underachieving. I should have a gazilion degrees and know 5 languages by now!

I am not doing as much with my life as I should be, like signing record deals and book deals.

I don’t have children and am missing out on a big part of womanhood and the essentials of the human experience because of that.

I don’t have an organized home all the time and therefore I am a schmuck.

I don’t eat organic all the time because I can’t afford it which means I am going to get cancer and die poor.

I don’t have a facial care regime (seriously, that bothers me sometimes, but I just haven’t found the *right* products for my skin yet!) because I have the beauty care product prowess of prepubescent 11-year-old girl. I shave my legs with shampoo. Seriously. I do.

And, I don’t have long eyelashes which means…well, that doesn’t really mean anything, but whatever.

It’s weird to me that I sometimes trip and fall into this pit of comparison, a pit that just gets deeper because once you’re inside, you grab a shovel and keep on digging! It’s true! I ended up going as far as feeling “less than” because I didn’t have a VitaMix (like so many truly “healthy” people have) on the bus ride home.

I was POUTING over a VitaMix.

*pointless low moment*

But…then I got home and saw my Berry Tree…and I pet pinto…ate some of the homemade dahl I made yesterday…did some knitting…worked for a few hours…read some of the book my grandma lent me (At Home in Mitford – so good!)…and decided to check my blog, at which point I saw that more people were reading lately and some people have even been inspired! Yay! I am inspiring people too.

All put together, these little acts of enjoying and doing served as a ladder for me to climb out of the “making comparisons” pit and back onto the solid ground of self approval! At the end of the day, especially a day where your thinking has been out of whack, approving of yourself, loving yourself, and accepting who you are and what you have to work with, whether it’s a lot or just a little, is the most important thing you can do to ensure you keep progressing.

On that note, I wrote a little message to that “making comparisons” part of myself.
Dear Self:

I approve of you today, and I acknowledge all of the wonderful, healthy, creative, intelligent and loving things you ARE doing with your life. I give you permission to admire and acknowledge the accomplishments and healthy lifestyles of others so that they can serve to inspire you to continue to pursue the same for yourself, NOT so you can compare yourself to them (which is really just your pride getting in the way) and feel ashamed and unhappy.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Let it go.

We’re all alright.

And now I will leave you with the unforgettable  intro to That 70s Show that makes you wish it was the 70s again, but also makes you mad because no one is wearing a seat belt and that is just not safe. Friends don’t let friends go unbuckled.

Ovr’N’Out!

Amber

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5 thoughts on “making comparisons

  1. OMG – been there, done that! Why do we do this to ourselves? It is part of the journey – accepting ourselves right where we are, in the perfection of EVERY moment…yoga has a lot to teach me. Suffice to say that even the seemingly “perfect” people don’t have it all together, no matter how it may look. We are all works in progress, and perfect as we are – growing! I look forward to sharing this physical, mental, and spiritual journey with you, dear friend 🙂 YOU inspire me. All the time. You keep getting back on your horse, no matter how many times you fall off (or it bucks you off) – that counts for a hell of a lot. ♥

    • Oh, thanks, Des! I do have a talent for getting back on the horse, even if I also have a tendency to fall off of it. 😉 It’s just taking me some time to really live in self awareness and get things sorted. Thanks for CONSTANT support and love. xoxoxo

  2. Glad you are blogging again! Kind of makes me want to start up my blog, but it will just be all bad angry stuff, so should probably leave it.

    Skin regime: You must try Eminence products. I have been a faithful user for years and they are just awesome. Very gentle, organic, smell heavenly and really help your skin. Let me try and get some samples for you.

    Anyway, some advice from a 30-something year old to you regarding skin must haves?
    1. Sunscreen. Wear it all year. Get facial cream with at least 15 spf for every day use during winter, but in the summer wear at least 30 spf every day. Trust me!!

    2. Wrinkle cream. Put it on every day, even now when you don’t have wrinkles. Once you hit 30, 31, 32 you will start noticing stuff and wishing you had done this in your 20s!!

    Love you! x0x0x0x

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