Why "Taking Care of Me?"

April 16, 2011 marked a new starting point for me. My sweet husband surprised me with a trip to a health spa, Fitness Ridge to be exact. It was literally life-changing, but didn't have the immediate results I, and I presume everyone else, expected to see. We watch The Biggest Loser and are amazed by their quick transformations and think- finally a difficult yet good way to finally lose the weight. Don't get me wrong I did start losing weight, but more importantly I started the journey to taking better care of me. That gift, when I remember to apply it, has been so vital in changing so many aspects of my life. Taking care of ourselves doesn't always look like spas, facials and massages. Rather it looks more like taking the time to cut those vegetables; getting a little less sleep to make it to the early morning spin class; taking the 5-10 minutes to pray and meditate at the end of the day. All because these things are really what taking care of ourselves look like.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I've missed some workouts this week.  Let me back up... 

SO- I've had BAD insomnia this week- chemical imbalance stuff, and the old me would do several things- I would have felt pitty and guilt and tried to self-soothe with food and feel badly that no one understood what I was going through. 

BUT thanks to Jen-my emotional eating counselor's help and starting to believe the truth, I realize that I do have to miss a couple of workouts this week because of it and am just being more careful with my eating to compensate for that. The insomnia is just temporary and manageable- difficult YES, but manageable. 

I LOVE this living without guilt cause really who even cared before enough about what I did that I should have felt guilt? Not my husband, or my kids. They all want me happy, healthy and free!

Friday, November 9, 2012

When exercising isn’t enough: The case that eating accounts for the majority of weightloss.

Have you wondered why I haven’t posted my progress shots of me on my bike?  Well… read on. 
Weight is something I have thought A LOT about, in fact on a near daily basis.  Luckily my thoughts have turned to more productive- thanks in large part to Jen Morton (life ethic).  Most of my thoughts- especially negative ones would be in some way colored by the thoughts that I was fat, disgusting, unlovable and unloved.  Notice the “was”, because I have changed those to I AM a beautiful, happy, healthy, fit, faithful, kind, loving, strong, sensitive daughter of God!  The focus now is more on my relationship to my Loving Heavenly Father- than it is to my attributes- which sadly depending on my mood sometimes wax and wane in there strength.

So, back to the point of this post:  I have been working out pretty regularly, sometimes vigorously but generally for at least 4-6 hours a week and my weight has stayed the same.  I feel like some people wonder how that could be.  Let me tell you in two words: emotional eating.  Interestingly enough emotional eating affects MANY of us- overweight, underweight, tall, short, etc.  I believe- again with Jen’s help that I have been turning to food as a coping mechanism since I was about 4 years old.  YES- that was the first time I remember feeling like I wasn’t good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, etc.  I had been in a sledding accident and had scratched up my face pretty well and had a large fat lip for what seemed like an eternity to me.  My dad (and I could see myself innocently doing the same thing to my kids) was looking at some type of catalog and he showed me pictures of other little girls and said something- I don’t remember his exact words, but the feeling was that I wasn’t as pretty as they were and thus not good enough.  Sad but true.  I am fulfilled by words of affirmation- SO I am also hurt by words as well- even words that are spoken in jest.  That is why I try to never use sarcasm (that is worthy of an entire other post). 

I used to get teary-eyed thinking about that and other emotionally significant times from childhood, but I am moving past those and I can even laugh about them now-  which lets me know I have processed them and understand the truths about myself.  SADLY, I haven’t completely broken myself of 30 years of feeling those negative thoughts about myself.  I don’t know that I turned to food completely, but when I was 8 there was another significant event and it had to do with being overweight (albeit by such an insignificant amount), so I suspect I did start to abuse food at the age of 4.  NO pity here, just facts and facts that ARE helping me to get to the bottom of my relationship with food.

Jen put it well that at the age of four, I essentially took a contract that stated, “I am fat and ugly” and signed it in blood.  I laughed when she said that and she said it is funny, but its true.  Because I agreed that those feelings about myself would color my everyday interactions for my whole life- and sadly become self-fulfilling prophesies.  Although- now I realize that fat does NOT equal ugly!  And to put your minds at ease, I had a wonderful childhood.  I ran and danced and played outside until my mom thought that my darker joints from my tan were dirt and she’d scrub me till my skin was raw. J  And I had positive messages that I internalized.  I always felt intelligent, kind, thoughtful, loving and compassionate (among other things).  I just think that our society’s overemphasis on outward beauty only leads to comparisons and most kids to feel less than, and I do think more girls are prone to feeling that.

So, I mention that many of us do battle with some form of emotional eating.  Jen,  if you don’t remember or didn’t read past posts- no worries, if not, is the life coach at Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge in Ivins.   She gives a lecture that most of the people there not only struggle with emotional eating, but have for such a long time that it has become AN addiction!  It is every bit as strong and powerful as any other addiction.  Some addictions lead to physical death more quickly, but I would ad that all addictions kill your spirit at equal rates.

So readers, I have this to say to you, “Hi my name is Hilarie, and I am an addict.”  Haha, right?  But its true.  And I share this not because it dooms me to failure, but because knowing this about myself- it has and continues to help me make the changes that I need so that I will lose this weight.  And for those that have seen me bike and ad accomplishments to my fitness bucket list, KNOW that it isn’t holding me back… anymore!
I have also realized that with any addiction, I have to have a recovery plan that is so much more involved than watching what I eat.  Most people would be surprised at how healthy 80% of my diet is- I really try to eat whole and healthy all the time, its just when strong emotions hit (even happy and celebratory ones) that I binge.  And it isn’t even on just sugary foods, because I have done better at keeping those out of my house.  But if I NEED a fix, any food will do in a pinch. 

I put this out there for a few reasons.  First, writing about it helps me to process and apply what I have learned better.  I feel like with other important things in my life, when I can stop worrying and just make peace with it, then I will be ready to calorie count to help keep me aware of my intake and honest in what I am eating- I need it to not be guilt-inducing, or negative, or too tightly tied to anticipation of quick and lasting weight loss.  When I consistent- my goal will never be more than a pound a week.  I know all the math, most of the nutrition to make that work, but it’s the emotional eating that trips me up.   And this has to be something I do only for myself, I have tried putting it out there when I am being successful, but that seems to set me up for failure.  So, readers please know that I AM trying to lose weight, and I don’t need advice on that front (well maybe sometimes I do, but I will come to you for it).  It will come, I have that faith, and I have been surprised by how quickly other seasons have changed in my life, so this season may come sooner than you or I think.  I hope, but am no longer (and I keep reminding myself of this) waiting impatiently for it to happen, or allowing the extra weight I carry to keep me from being active and doing hard things.  You will know when it is working, maybe a few weeks after it is, and it may or may not still be a little bit back and forth.  I’m not expecting perfection, just management in a healthy way, and that means that I won’t ever be perfect, but I will find something that works, FOR me, because weight loss is such an individual thing.  What works for one person may not and in fact probably will not work in the exact same way for another person.  But I’m finding what works for me and already have had MUCH success on that front.

Also, as I mentioned before, writing this helps me in another way. I need positive affirmations, reinforcement, etc and this blog has been wonderful for me in that regard (no pressure to comment, but I do appreciate even those that read and tell me or comment on Facebook- it truly does help me).   Thanks for taking the time to read this- I know its lengthy, because it shows me that you care about me as a person, and I know that offers to help also come from that same place, so thank you for that as well.  And finally, I write on here because maybe this will help someone else that reads it. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seeing the Beauty.

When I first saw this picture on a public forum- I. ABOUT. DIED.  It was taken on July 25, 2012 by a good friend and EXCELLENT motivator, Kristie Nation.  When I came to, I realized that this is what I really look like, and have since tried to see it more positively.

Speed ahead to this past Sunday and I put on a knee length dress.  Saw those same huge calves, but decided to look at them differently.  They are the same strong legs that power me through difficult rides and rarely tire or get injured.  They are strong.  They are good legs.  I can decide to like them at any size.  And I am deciding to do just that.  What I have learned lately is that changing a paradigm, or way of thinking, is a process.  I first decide I want to change it, but then old ways of thinking continually crop back in.  So I have to fight back.  Maybe I will add something about my strong legs to my daily affirmation.  Currently its, "I AM a beautiful, happy, healthy, fit, faithful, kind, loving, strong, sensitive daughter of God."  I could add, "I AM a beautiful, happy, healthy, fit, faithful, kind, loving, strong, sensitive daughter of God, with nice legs."  I'll work on it a little.  This affirmation has helped me TREMENDOUSLY- thank you Jen, Carolyn and Alisha (three of my past and current therapists).

Back to the dress- instead of staying in my head and beating myself up I decided to rock the knee length dress and throw on some nude heels.   It was hard to walk out the door, but I kept telling myself how grateful I was for my strong legs, legs that not even 24 hours before this had helped me to ride 61 miles of somewhat tough terrain, a total ascent of 1,151.57 feet and that was over several hills.  Not a lot to some but it was a first for me, and firsts are kind of big things!  And you know what happened at church?  Did anyone look at me like the fat cow I have often told myself that I am. NO!  Or if they did I have chosen not to notice or dwell on those looks and actually realize those that judge me have some big issues themselves that they need to work on.  BUT what I did get was some really positive, "You are looking great and I know you are working hard for it!" kind of comments.  I felt great and I didn't look in the mirror again and say anything negative about my legs.  It was a victory- a big one for me.

Next victory- I have committed to taking a full body cycling picture once a month.  That means August 25 is my next one and I will use this as a tracking device, too.  I don't expect big changes- back to my reasonable expectations, but it will be a nice tool down the road as I stay on this journey.  And I good reminder of something I love and feel successful doing at any size.  And I feel beautiful on my bike.  And I'm choosing to see my beauty off the bike as well.  And changing the way I view beauty.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy, Healthy and Free!

I am still not anywhere near my goal weight, but I have reached an even MORE important milestone.  I am feeling happy, healthy and free!  And a big part of that has to do with what I thought would get my more quickly to my goal weight- fitness!

I signed up for my first triathlon training class in May 2011.  I was hooked!  Danielle, the instructor has more enthusiasm than her small frame can contain.  She's SO encouraging and such an example of fitness in her own life.  At the end of the month we did our own "triathlon".   That was the first time I had ever swam so far in my life.  In fact at the beginning of May I hadn't EVER swam a lap.  My running wasn't great, but I LOVED the spinning!

Later that summer, end of September- so I guess technically fall.   I signed up to compete in Triathamom, and completed my first official triathlon.  Still didn't love the run portion, but I felt like a decent swimmer at that point, and still LOVED the bike portion.  In fact I started scouring classified ads to find my own road bike.  Which I did shortly, after that- my own Little Red, otherwise known as a Specialized Dolce.  I've loved her and she's been a great companion- which you'll read about more shortly.

I don't know at what point I found a local athletic group, "Triple Threat Triathletes" started by Rachael Gill, but it has been a life-changer.  The strength of reciprocally encouraging friendships has been so amazing.  So many inspiring women and a couple of men, that help me get out of bed at 5:00 in the morning, or help me to not skip that run even when I REALLY don't want to do it.  I don't know if its a shared craziness, or mutual desires to escape the stresses of life, or truly just a love for these sports- probably a little of all three, heaviest emphasis on the last one.  Whatever it is- this is just what I have needed in my life.  It truly does make me Happy, Healthy and Free- which is where I want to be.  The weight is slowly coming off, and THAT no longer matters as much to me.

DON'T mistake that last statement as apathy or that I am now suddenly thick-skinned.  I still feel sad when someone sizes me up as a novice swimmer, or assumes I probably couldn't ride down the street, or wonders- "Wow, if she is riding her bike over 8 hours a week, why doesn't she look like all the other cyclists?"  The Truth is cycling and all fitness in general has become so much more accessible to the masses and I'm so happy about that.  I would love to look differently on my bike.   BUT that doesn't change the exhilaration I get when I cut time off of a hill climb, or just feel stronger all around.  I love it, I'm hooked and maybe possibly a little addicted.   You have to love it in order to be training for a century and then sign up to do a 70 miler 2 weeks later, just because it sounds like so much fun and you wanna do it with the other girls in the group.  Oh yeah, I didn't mention I signed up for my first half marathon in February 2013.  That will be the subject of another post!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seasons of my Life

A little background information, I think that life teaches a series of lessons and some recent changes in my life are part of that: Giving birth to baby number 2 and within 4 months packing up our house and packing 6 suitcases for our family of four to live out of while Luke did graduate school in England and his graduate research study immediately following it in England - which was wonderful but involved LONG flights and over 8 different "moves" in 8 months while I was trying to understand why I was feeling so down.  Next we moved back onto a 30 acre produce farm (aka garden),  then gave birth to my 3rd and experienced worse postpartum depression than I had with my second (which I didn't think was possible).  It got pretty bad, like to the point of sitting on my kitchen floor with 28 ambiens in my hand ready to end it all- luckily it has been 14 months since that extreme low and the lows since then haven't been anywhere near that bad.

I have learned that we all go along in our lives viewing the world through our own lens, until something really rocks your world (whatever big change or stressful event it may be) and you get a new perspective.  So this post has a little to do with some perspectives I have gained.

Today I decided that even though I wasn't able to compete in Women of Steel (WOS) triathlon, I would go and support two of my sisters on their first triathlon, and also many new great friends I have made through a triathlon group I am a part of, Triple Threat Triathletes (TTT).  It was nice to be a spectator and experience the thrill of the race second-hand.  And I was truly so excited to see my friends and family compete and cheer them on.   My kids made it even more fun as Madi cheerfully had us make 18 signs and cheer everyone on (she was so excited to see one of her swim coaches on the bike part). 

BUT my negative self-talk and perception of certain events of the day have kind of put me in a stupor.  And as I reflect on each of the incidences, I'm sure that none of the people meant to be unkind or hurtful with any of the comments.  The first was a series of comments about the fact that I didn't compete.  SO I have been training enough for it, that wasn't why I didn't compete.  There were several BIG stressors in our life, some planned, others unforeseen that kept me from competing.

 Also, we passed by a guy in a tutu advertising a mudrun and he said I should do it and I could even just walk it.  I know he probably says that to a lot of people, but the extra 5-10 pounds I have put on lately on top of the extra 80+ pounds I have been carrying around for the past 5+ years makes me read everything as a comment on my size.  I usually try not to, but am sensitive to it.  I am learning to love what my body can do even at a larger size, and I am working on the why I stress eat (both through journaling, my own research and working on and off with two great counselors).  It will happen and the more I try to make it happen and get frustrated at the slowness of the speed the worse I feel, so I am trying to make peace with it.

Anyway- to the title- I am realizing this is only a season of my life.  A season where my kids are little and that will pass oh too quickly.  I know many people balance so much with young kids, but I find I can't balance more than I already am: starting a preschool, hiring 4 new teachers, doing interviews, training said teachers, enrolling 40 new students, revising and changing some of the curriculum I have spent the past 2 years developing, holding a church calling, being a good wife, friend, sister, etc, etc, and that doesn't even begin to touch on the farm. OH the farm... .  So this season means that while I love the training and meeting new WONDERFUL people in the process.  Right now signing up for a triathlon or two a year will help motivate me to train more and get me out of bed when I don't want to.  But right now I am in a season that I cannot do too many races.  And that is okay with me- which is the only person that really matters in respect to competitive events.

But the nice thing about seasons of life, they often change quickly and sometimes more quickly than we know.  So here's to my current season of life and also a celebration of other people's hard-earned, heavy-loaded race seasons.  May we all have the success, enjoyment, fun and peace that we deserve.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Actually, I CAN!

Before I went to Fitness Ridge (FR from here on out), I realized I would be working out 7-8 hours a day and I would have to change my mind-set about working out if it wouldn't be utterly miserable. I had always just endured my workouts, but I wanted to dig deeper. Why did I devote so much of my free time in high school to running grueling miles- because I loved soccer. I loved the camaraderie of a team, the thrill of a game and the excitement of a good play. I wanted that back. And I got it!

I realized I could do hard things- my mantra has become since that point, "Actually, I CAN!" I can find the time to workout even when I wouldn't have otherwise. I can run when I want to walk. I can learn to swim laps and enjoy it. I can (and did 9/18/11) compete in a triathlon.

My fitness isn't perfect and I have weeks were I miss ALL of my workouts, but I realize the importance and how much I do love it. Now on to the next big hurdle...