Food and Feelings

I find myself spending too much time on the internet surfing for something outside myself. Approval. Love. The list goes on. I’ve spent far too much of my life looking for approval outside of myself. I still do. I fear the disapproval of others. I’m working on living for my own approval.

Last week I found myself upset with someone I have a great deal of respect for. I could describe the circumstance, but they really don’t matter. The feelings do. When I first realized I felt angry, disrespected I questioned myself, questioned my feelings, but I had the foresight to know I needed to wait 24 hours to respond.

My weight is a symptom of being a people pleaser. I need to know the people in my life love me or are happy with me and if they aren’t I do not function well. I know this about myself.

But over the years I’ve grown stronger, much stronger, so this time I knew I’d have to say something. I had to speak my peace. I had to allow myself to be human. I do not often do that. I hold myself to a higher standard, an impossible standard.

I felt disrespected. I felt demeaned. Expressing those words in a non-combatitive way would take a miracle, but I felt determined. I also felt fear. FEAR. FEAR. How would this person respond? What would they think of me? How would I handle it if I disappointed them? SO many unknowns. So many variables.

I also didn’t want to do this by email. I needed to say it in person. As the time approached I felt a certain calm. I spoke my peace. Right or wrong. I said how I felt. Disrespected. Demeaned. Powerful words. Difficult words spoken to someone I have the greatest respect and love for.

But speak them I did. An apology I received.

The aftermath? I don’t really know. It’s an unusual feeling for me. I want to know more than everything that things are okay. Okay for me. Okay for the other. But I don’t get to know that. To speak my truth I had to let go of how the other person would react.

I’ve questioned myself a bit: Was I over-reacting? Were my feelings legit? I NEED to know that everything is okay, but I do not get to know that. I’m not meant to know that. I need to be the best I can be. The best human I can be. Flawed. Full of love.

I also need to spend more time away from social media, so that I can become even more comfortable with myself. More comfortable with my own sense of humanity.

There’s more to these ramblings, but I’ll save them for another time. For now, I leave you with a picture of this adorable Starbucks ornament. I bought it for myself because no matter what I DID NOT OVEREAT or binge over this situation. That’s a victory I’ll take.

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My Love Affair with Food

 

With Thanksgiving coming up I’ve been thinking a lot about food and my relationship with it. As a kid Thanksgiving holidays meant sitting around the table and eating until everyone felt stuffed and then going back for more as soon as there was space! Here are some revealing ramblings about food and other things……..

I fill my days with projects, with things to do, things to do outside myself. I spend time doing things so I feel accepted and loved by others. I can go to the moon and back for others, but when it comes to me not so much.

I love food, or do I? It’s a complex concept—Maybe too complex for me to grasp in this moment.

I love sweet food and coffee drinks and carbs and big French fries, steak fries to be exact; although, I’m not quite sure why they call them steak fries. I love a good salad too. One loaded with fresh grated beets, jicama, white northern beans, sprouts, olives, arugula and a whole host of other fresh ingredients. I could write a lengthy list of excuses as to why I don’t eat more salads, but they’d be just that—excuses. And the world has had enough of those.

I feel threatened (maybe that’s not the right word) by beautiful people, beautiful, skinny, successful people—the fat I still carry protects me from something, from realizing my true potential.

I’ve allowed technology to become too much of a distraction and am working on cutting down in that regard. Becoming glued to technology (social media, smart phones, etc.) is just not a good thing. It’s not just being glued to it though; it’s the expectation of what it will provide.

Quiet spaces. I definitely need to feel the quiet spaces more. So much more. I resist them but why? What am I afraid of? What will those quiet spaces reveal to me?

omelet

Thin asparagus, red bell peppers and onions!

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Confessions of a Failed Declutterer

Okay. I haven’t really failed. I just haven’t kept up with a few things like putting jewelry away. I love costume jewelry and just might have a few pieces that I allow to pile up on my dresser. 

Tonight I decided I needed to act and be the change I want to see, so I took twenty minutes or so and put everything on the dresser away. 

I concentrated on the one area and now I can look at as I prepare for bed and feel good. I can’t promise I’ll keep it up forever, but for today it works. 

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Not All MATS are Created Equal

When I first started practicing Bikram yoga in 2013 I used a gaiam mat that I’d been using for my hatha yoga classes. I’d place a regular beach towel on top. I think I did that for several months before realizing I needed to invest in my practice with a better mat. After some research I settled on a manduka mat, which cost $78. Manduka mats are more dense than their less expensive counterparts, making them less slippery.

The Manduka Pro-lite mat I bought now costs $80: https://www.manduka.com/prolite-mat.html I bought a dark red color because the reviews revealed that the lighter colors could easily be stained.

I knew I’d made a solid investment the first time I stepped on the mat and felt so much more support, but I hadn’t thought about it for awhile until one day, a few weeks ago, I forgot my manduka mat and had my old cheap mat in my car, so I decided to use it. Immediately I felt the difference. My old mat felt soft and squishy and provided almost no support.

I remember going through the whole class thinking I’d never forget my manduka mat again. And I haven’t so far! The mat still supports me after three years of use; I have, however, seen other mats that have been advertised as beneficial for hot yoga and do intend on trying them.

What’s your favorite yoga mat?

manduka-prolite

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The Politics of Body/Fat Shaming

I left my apartment this morning dressed for yoga in bike shorts and a substantial sports bra. I also wore a thin beige vest for the sole purpose of covering up my midriff. I didn’t want anyone to see it. This morning I found myself asking why my potentially bare mid-section mattered when, for a split second, the edges of the vest parted ways as a gardener approached. Thinking he might see the barest splash of visible abdominal skin I hurriedly placed my yoga bag in front of my torso.

All of that reactionary movement to cover the barest piece of bare skin. In contrast, I see “thin” women walking in my neighborhood all the time in exercise outfits that show a portion of midriff, so what makes me react to mine? You see, I know the answer. I’m not shy. I’m not a prude. I’m not showing too much skin in my yoga outfits. I’ve been conditioned to feel, to believe that this fat, this obese body needs to be and ought to be covered up.

Where did I learn this? Does that matter? Yes. I learned it and am still learning it every time I go to the mall as see stores that offer clothes in a size zero or double zero or extra extra small. At some point it seems clothing manufacturers will be designing women into non-existence.

When I go looking for clothes, I look for the plus size section or the women’s section, and it’s almost always in a smaller section of the store. Dillard’s in Scottsdale’s Fashion Plaza has one of the largest and more fashionable plus size sections that I’ve seen. Most stores and the designers send a clear message with their product placement: plus size women don’t deserve to be front and center, yet we are in the majority, just not the seemingly accepted attractive majority.

Most models, actresses, television personalities have small frames. The majority of beauty contests covet thinness. Everywhere anyone goes, tininess prevails. A skinny woman can be on the beach and be admired, but a larger one will often the victim of verbal abuse and be called “a whale”. I’ve seen this and been a victim of it more than I care to admit.

I still clearly remember my first job interview at the age of 16. I see in my mind’s eye the woman’s face as I approached her. I could see the dread as she saw my size. She didn’t see me. She saw fat. She judged me based on that. I could tell by her body language. She didn’t convey her fat prejudice with words, but her eyes told the story. They told it well.

Sometimes I’m amazed that I thrive as a social creature. Fat prejudice and Fat shaming are so predominantly accepted and glorified by so many that I find I have a distinct amount of respect for people with larger bodies who work so conscientiously to defy social “norms”.

I’d like to think in some small way that I’m working toward that too. This body that houses this soul has just as much right to inhabit this earth as any other body. I don’t always believe that though and this morning’s reaction taught me that. This brain has bought into the subliminal and not so subliminal messages that the only attractive bodies are the thin ones and that the only way larger bodies can be attractive is if they are in the process of being molded into thinner bodies.

That frame of mind does not lend itself to healthy living though because it removes me from the present and keeps me in the past or the future. And that’s no way to live. It’s time to stop body shaming myself. It’s time to stop thinking the world will end if someone sees a slice of my midriff while I’m on my way to yoga class. Because the world won’t end, and it’s entirely possible a whole new piece of my world will open up.

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Triangle!

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Nancy’s Nutty Nut Butters

When I started decluttering, I remember reading about all the new spaces that would be created. Mental spaces. I didn’t quote know what that would look like, and I still don’t, but a few weeks ago I found myself developing a new hobby—making nut butters. I’m not quite sure where this sudden urge came from, but I honored the direction of my instincts.

I started off with cashew butter. I pulled out my mini-food processor and put in a cup of cashews and started the whirling process. Previously, I’d read enough recipes to know that I’d have to frequently scrape the sides. All the reading I’d done though didn’t warn me of the perils of a mini food processor—I had to keep my finger on the button the whole time, and when it takes a minimum of 10 minutes, well that’s a long time to hold a button.

After a few batches of a variety of nut butters I realized I’d need a better food processor or at least one that would run on its own, but I didn’t need a super-high powered processor or even an expensive one. After some research I settled on this Cuisinart:

https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-FP-8SV-Elemental-Processor-Silver/dp/B00LBZOYAK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471755949&sr=8-1&keywords=Cuisinart+FP+8SV

I found the price reasonable (I paid $84.99 on sale). It’s also a relatively simple machine, which I liked. The reviews also indicated it was easy to clean. Appliances that require a great deal of care tend to gather dust in my world.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I purchased the processor, and I’ve gone absolutely nutty! Every time I look online I discover a new recipe, a new flash of inspiration.

Cake Batter happens to be one of my favorite flavors, so when I discovered a recipe I couldn’t wait to try it:

http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2011/8/24/cake-batter-cashew-butter.html

I assembled all the ingredients and then pressed the on button:


After a few minutes the nuts will stick to the sides of the food processor, so it’s necessary to stop it and scrape the sides:


After 10 – 15 minutes a ball will start to form. Stop the food processor and break up the ball:


10 minutes after that a creamy nut butter will start to form, and it’s almost finish time:


How much longer the food processor runs depends on how creamy you want the nut butter. By the time it looks like this, I’m happy.


All nuts are not created equal. Softer nuts, like pecans, don’t take much time at all in the food processor. Even the nut butters that do take time are worth it because they last a long time and they taste fresh.

Someone told me once that I needed to be careful with my new hobby, inferring that the high calories might have a fattening effect, but the truth is I don’t eat much at a time, and I thoroughly enjoy the taste, and, there’s very little sugar or sweeteners in the nut butters I make. I seek out recipes that use natural sweeteners. Many recipes don’t use any.

They also make great gifts. Cost Plus sells a variety of small jars that work perfectly for small thank you gifts.

Nuts Away!

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These Shoes WERE Made for Walking

I’m a believer in comfortable walking shoes. Sure some brands might be pricey, but if we analyze shoes on a per cost basis they actually will turn out to be pretty cheap. Last July I found a pair of Josef Seibel shoes on sale for $99. + tax. I hemmed and hawed when I first saw the price but one of my friends raved about the brand, so I bought them.

The first time I wore them out of the box I found them to be incredibly comfortable. I remember walking all over Downtown Los Angeles and my feet didn’t utter a single complaint. I continued to wear those same shoes multiple times throughout this past year, on walks long and short, without a single issue until last week when I realized they had served their purpose and were ready to move on.

I’m not sure I remember the exact moment I realized the padding had gone from the shoes but I do recall more fatigue in my legs and the lack of padding underneath the balls of my feet.

I also have a pair of Taos sandals that are ready for their next adventure. I found them at DSW a couple of years ago. They reminded me of a pair of ECCOs I once owned but these were considerably cheaper. I wore them countless times as well.

I prefer to live an active lifestyle as much as possible so prefer comfort over all other factors when it comes to shoes. I know shoes can’t always leave my feel feeling like they are walking on clouds but I like to be able to walk distances comfortably.

SOOOOOOO, last week I thanked my pair of Josef Seibels and my pair of Taos sandals and wished them best on their next incarnation. I haven’t replaced them yet but I will. I love being able to move, so I know that whatever replacement finds their way onto my feet, will fill me with a desire to go skipping in the street!

PS: there are plenty of organizations that can repurpose old shoes. Look online and find one the next time you have a pair of shoes ready for their next incarnation!


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