Thursday, September 29, 2011

P.E..... Gym Class...

... Gym class
Just the thought makes a lot of people cringe. Here are some comments I've come across recently online: 

Gym class was a nightmare from the word go. I had years of physical ability shaming, as a lifelong fat kid–like the time we had to run a mile in the field behind the junior high school and I walked it, because running was and is uncomfortable and something I’d been laughed at for doing. It took 20 minutes for me to walk a mile, everyone else was long since finished, and the gym teacher was screaming at me from the doorway to hurry up because she was sick of waiting for me. Anyway, once in high school we were being made to do the step test for the Presidential Physical Fitness Award thing (gah). The step test, if you don’t know, is having to step up onto the bottom row of the bleachers and then down again until you feel like dying. The teachers were walking along the row behind us as we stepped up and down, “encouraging” us, and I didn’t want to be ridiculed for not being able to hack it. So of course I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion–and I fell. I had weak ankles anyway from ice skating injuries and being so tired, my foot landed wrong, and I just went down. My mother had to come and pick me up and take me to the ER to get an x-ray. Luckily I didn’t break my ankle, just sprained it really badly.
But on top of all the fat-hating, it’s just awful that physical activity is presented to us when we’re young and impressionable as something that’s about being tough and hard and not being weak or giving in to pain or tiredness. Gym class was like boot camp, I swear, and the other kids were allowed to treat the clumsy and unfit among us like sh**–though of course us braniacs were soundly rebuked should we pick on any of the jocks for being stupid because “they can’t help it.” School sucked.
Kell Brigan:
Jane, your experience in gym is one of the reasons I am motivated to do activism (however, that winds up being). I don’t know how I lucked out, but I had sane coaches & teachers in PE all through school (and I was the “second fattest girl” in my town, as the bullies made sure I knew). I know so many people my size and smaller who were put through hell by sociopath gym teachers. That level of abuse is just… ARGGGGGG!!!!
I’m sending you the psychic equivalent of wicked cool magic playballs that have nothing but happy attached to them!!!
Just chiming in on the gym class experiences…My sophomore year of h.s., the very thin, driller of an gym teacher was telling my all-girls class about how important is is to work out. Not a bad lesson, until she started pointing out all of the bad things that could happen to your body, including, in her words, “the disgusting pockets of fat underneath your arms that seem to extend from your chest” while looking at me in my tank top (I often didn’t change into the stupid gym uniform…). Thirteen years later and still remember. And I HATE her. I was 15, DD breasts, and 170 pounds. B**ch

The outfits, the showers, being picked last, being forced to participate in sports you loathe, the dreaded mile where if running fast is not your "thing" you are pretty much humiliated as the ones who did run faster than you sit on the sidelines and make comments.
Some things have improved with time. Showers have stalls. And any teacher worth their weight in salt don't have the alpha-kids pick teams anymore.
But thanks to the "OH MY GOD DEATH FAT IS COMING" I mean "Obesity Epidemic" Gym teachers the world over have a new mandate to increase the pain of gym class.
I have a few theories about how I think gym class could be improved.

1. Have more choices for exercise that suit different interests and skills. I enjoyed walking - still do. I LOVED field hockey. Kind of liked volleyball. Hated just about everything else in the realm of contact sports. My eye hand coordination is crap. So every six weeks spent on other sports pretty much made me dread gym class. Softball in particular was my nightmare. I was terrible at it. I remember one of the few times in my life screaming at an adult is when they forced me to go to first base. I can't catch to save my life. First Base was the equivalent of a dunce hat for me. It was awful - Its one of those things I can't even laugh about yet. I remember three boys who teased incessantly each time I missed the ball, which was every time it was thrown at me.
One year in 9th grade I was dreading going to bat that day. I worked deals like Donald Trump getting kids to take my place in the batting lineup. In my ignorance I didn't know a batting lineup should not be messed with. After several innings the gym teacher said "Grinels - why haven't you gone up to bat yet?" I died a little inside and said because "I really, really don't want to so I've been letting other people have my turn." Then he raised his voice "You can't do that GRINELS... its a LINEUP" - Which meant nothing to me... so I just shrugged like I didn't care and it made him so mad he said "That's IT Grinels - walk laps the rest of class"
BEST. GYM CLASS. EVER. I walked laps the rest of the class enjoying every minute of it. I made a point the rest of the year to be as rude as possible in the hopes I'd get sentenced to walking laps.

2. Have more teachers. Have one or two highly trained teachers and more teacher's aides willing to host smaller classes in various exercises. Kind of like a gym for adults but for kids. 
Would you sign up at the Y for exercise and show up to be forced to play basketball when you want the spin class?
One teacher could host traditional contact sports for those interested - all the basics in flag football, basketball, soccer, etc.
One teacher could teach yoga/dance/aerobics
One teacher could supervise kids walking/jogging laps and traditional strength training - push ups, sit ups, etc.
Each day kids could choose which activity interests them. They pick something suited to their body and skills.
Kids enjoy activities more when they have a choice. Every activity I have ever signed my kids up for has been better when they were part of the decision making process. If kids never choose to play contact sports it won't do any harm. I have never missed out on any life skills because I don't like softball.  But I did avoid sports related places/people for too long because it conjured feelings of inferiority. 

3. Drop the weight talk. Shame does not inspire. All teachers should be trained about HAES

Telling kids don't be fat is a high risk message.

One morning a few years back Benjamin was at his dresser beside himself upset looking at each tag in his clothes and throwing them on the ground. I can't wear any of these.  "Why not?" They are all husky, he said in a hushed disgusted, embarrassed voice.
I put on my chipper mom voice said "who cares" and probed deeper. Turns out he was shown this video in Health class:

I'll be honest I've never watched the whole thing through. But the beginning is so offensive I can't make it past that. The gist of the Arthur video is that He has to get a "husky" costume for the school play special ordered because he's been eating too much junk food. He stops eating junk food and then manages to fit into a regular costume in time.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: You know nothing by looking at someone's body except what their body looks like.  You don't know what their diet is like or how much they eat or how active they are. 
But when you choose to discuss size, even under the guise of instilling healthy lifestyle choices you are making the kids who are fat feel like they are wrong - they are living a life to be avoided.
A person's size is determined more by genetics than lifestyle choice.
Dieting doesn't work. Diets have a 95-99% failure rate. When you try to inspire someone to change the size of their body you set them up for failure and self hate.
Not every diet starts an eating disorder but every eating disorder starts with a diet.
Restricting calories in children is harmful to their development.
Schools need to collectively take a deep breath and remove themselves from the equation of trying to fix something that isn't really a problem and is none of their business even if it was.

4. Stop weighing kids at school. Write your school administration today and refuse BMI testing of your children!
Its no ones business but you and your chosen doctor.
There is no need to get a report card on your child's body. No one's body needs a "Grade"
NO BODY deserves a failing grade.
Here is a good letter you can send to your child's school.
Here is information on the idiocy of BMI in general.

** My only other thought which could be the most controversial is that school sponsored gym class shouldn't exist at all.  Free play is marvelous exercise and very much needed in a long school day.  And I'd love for there to be no gym and my kids to get home an hour earlier each day. We'd have more time to do things together as a family. There would be more time for organized sports that we choose to enter.  Its my opinion that the government is not responsible for the health of my family.  We can make those choices on our own. Forced softball or four square during the school day is not the pinnacle of a healthy lifestyle.

birds of a feather:

oh my gosh - look at this picture of my sister:
 does she not look just like Maiya?

Maiya and Meg are so much like each other its almost creepy.

they march to the beat of their own drum.
playing may mean completely escaping from the world mentally
they are artistic
whining is an art
they can be messy and when its time to clean, they all of sudden feel the need to go to the bathroom for a very, very long time.
While everyone else is cleaning, you may or may not hear them singing while on the toilet.
They both love, love, love friends and will do anything for them
They both like "just going somewhere" anywhere. anytime.
very compassionate, until they are tired and or frustrated and then they are mean to everyone bar none.
they like posing for the camera -

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun times...Prosper Parade

 has anyone seen Maiya?

Here we are at the Prosper Homecoming Parade - also known as the day almost as good as Halloween:
 I brought scooters this year for sideline entertainment
 that didn't help PJ
 but it did help Cora - that little red bike has logged more miles than anything we own including the van I think.
 Someone is getting to the age that he wants to ditch me at things like this and "meet me later"
 Nikko had fun at first and wanted to explore
 Then the parade started.

 And about this point the fire truck blew it siren and Nikko LOST HIS EVER LOVING MIND.
 so I picked him up to calm him down and he peed ALL OVER ME.
fun times, fun times.

 That's Jorie the Homecoming Queen and our friend
 Shout out to the Band!

and didn't I tell you she is adorable ready for soccer:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Early Saints and Childbirth

In the new Relief Society manual, I love that it covered the history of women in relief society being called to medical and midwifery duties. It was very ahead of the time for the leadership of the church to value such education of women and a testament to the care taken for women of that time. Money and resources were used to train women in faraway places for safe obstetric and family care.
How cool would it be to be set apart as a midwife? very cool me thinks.
Sister Snow said: “Are there here, now, any sisters who have ambition enough, and who realize the necessity of it, for Zion’s sake, to take up this study? There are some who are naturally inclined to be nurses; and such ones would do well to study Medicine. … If they cannot meet their own expenses, we have means of doing so.”
With this encouragement, some Relief Society sisters studied medicine in the eastern United States. They came back to Utah as doctors and taught classes in midwifery and home nursing. Emma Andersen Liljenquist, who attended the classes in Utah, recorded some of her experiences:
“I enjoyed [the course] very much, and after being set apart by Apostle John Henry Smith and several of the others, I returned home to do my work, having been promised by the Apostles that if I lived right I should always know what to do in case of any difficulties. …
Did you also know that women of the early church performed blessing rituals for each other - especially surrounding the time a woman prepared for childbirth. The following blessing gave me a lot of peace in my last pregnancy and the words came to my mind often as I prepared for the delivery.

from Stand and Deliver:
 By time they reached the Great Basin in the late 1840s, LDS women frequently conducted washing, anointing, and blessing ceremonies in each others' homes; most often, this was done for a woman preparing to give birth. The practice lasted for about a century.

One blessing recorded about 1909 was as follows:

We anoint your spinal column that you might be strong and healthy no disease fasten upon it no accident belaff [befall] you, your kidneys that they might be active and health and preform [sic] their proper functions, your bladder that it might be strong and protected from accident, your Hips that your system might relax and give way for the birth of your child, your sides that your liver, your lungs, and spleen that they might be strong and preform their proper functions, . . . your breasts that your milk may come freely and you need not be afflicted with sore nipples as many are, your heart that it might be comforted.
They continued by requesting blessings from the Lord on the unborn child's health and expressed the hope that it might not come before its "full time" and that
the child shall present right for birth and that the afterbirth shall come at its proper time . . . and you need not flow to excess. . . . We anoint . . . your thighs that they might be healthy and strong that you might be exempt from cramps and from the bursting of veins. . .
The document combines practical considerations, more common to women's talk over the back fence, with the reassuring solace and compassion of being anointed with the balm of sisterhood. The women sealed the blessing:
Sister ___ we unitedly lay our hands upon you to seal the washing and anointing wherewith you have been washed and anointed for your safe delivery, for the salvation of you and your child and we ask God to let his special blessings to rest upon you, that you might sleep sweet at night that your dreams might be pleasant and that the good spirit might guard and protect you from every evil influence spirit and power that you may go your full time and that every blessing that we have asked God to confer upon you and your offspring may be literally fulfilled that all fear and dread may be taken from you and that you might trust in God. All these blessings we unitedly seal upon you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
The tender attention to both the women's psychological and physical state is an example of loving service and gentleness. 

There is also evidence to suggest that early Saints were  comfortable with breastfeeding in public  - women these days still feel the need to cover their babies even while in the mother's lounge. I can't really imagine anything worse than being up against a warm body eating a meal and having my whole self covered with a blanket. I try to rarely do it with my babies - so I definitely don't cover in the mother's lounge.
I've linked to this post before but I thought I'd include the pictures on my blog so it will be in my blog books that my daughters flip through as they grow and they will digest the normalcy of breastfeeding.

 The Handcart Company by CCA Christensen 1900

Illustration from Harper's Weekly 1871

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why does it always need to be a fight?

lets talk about a different debate than the political ones right now...

Have you read HAES yet?

The book chronicles the study done to test the HAES method against traditional dieting.

This part of the book made me realize how many people are continuously profiting off of our body hate. The resistance to HAES is so powerful and strong and has deep pockets from our pain. But with dogged determination Linda finds modest funding and fellow scientists to work with despite initial resistance.

There is one group of women trained in traditional weight loss methods: food diary, exercise tracking and methods to reduce calories and increase exercise. 
The other group is introduced to Health at Every Size:  body acceptance, normalized eating and increased joyful movement.

But this concept scares the other nutritionists so much that they add one major caveat before the start... They make Linda Bacon promise that if the HAES group starts showing negative effects they will stop immediately.

Insert heavy eye roll. Because loving oneself, engaging in normalized/instinctive eating and moving more is so dang scary these people will have eaten half of the metroplex before the data can be compiled. eyes still rolling...  
Why such resistance? - Why are people so scared to tell fat people - Its ok to be you. Its ok to not stress about your weight. You can still be a good person and healthy if you never try to lose a pound again for the rest of your life.  

Here is synopsis of the result:

After two years, both groups weighed approximately the same. The women in the weight-loss group lost some weight after six months, but regained it after two years. The women in the Health at Every Size group had healthier blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and were more physically active than the dieting group.

The HAES movement is gaining steam - but its mostly a grassroots message. "TRUST YOURSELF" doesn't sell as easily as "GET THIS SURGERY, JENNY CRAIG HAS NEW DELISH MEALS, LOOK at what celebrity is going to weight watchers..."

But that hasn't stopped Linda Bacon from spreading the message. The big target this year was the American Dietetic Association's annual conference. They have actively dismissed Health at every size, but this year the demand was too strong so they agreed to have Linda Bacon as a presenter.... but and this is a big but...

ONLY if her message was presented as a point/counterpoint presentation against an "obesity" expert. aka.. someone from the diet industry. 

I do feel bad for the ADA in a way, they make significant money off of the diet industry and to have an anti-dieter's message at a conference where the lobby will be filled with booths of diet products is bold. 

But why does it always have to be a debate? I'd be so ticked off if I was Linda Bacon - an accomplished researcher, presenter, professor, and author... Only allowed to present if each of her points has a counter point from someone espousing a system completely at odds with HAES...

Its an interesting read to see all the presenters that turned down the opportunity to be the counter-point presenter:
from the HAES blog

Imagine how my excitement deflated, then, when I read the fine print. Unlike every other FNCE panel, mine was required to take the form of a point/counterpoint debate, with a speaker presenting the “other side.”
 I did appreciate the irony. As ASDAH member Deb Burgard expressed it, the full weight of ADA history, its years of voluminous presentations on obesity, and every other presenter on weight-related issues would not suffice to counterbalance my presentation. Deb advised me to take it as a compliment, and I do!
 If it was a debate they wanted, I figured the bigger the name I went up against, the better. But those in the anti-obesity camp proved less eager.

The ADA first approached a medical school professor who co-founded a weight control registry and helped develop NIH guidelines to “treat” obesity. His secretary said he was available. Then she said he wasn’t.

 TV personality and surgeon Mehmet (“Dr. Oz”) Oz was considered. His speaking fee? $75,000—not an option. And no nonprofit discounts, either.
In turn, the ADA also approached a prominent professor of medicine and public health at Harvard; another prominent professor who was co-founder of a weight control registry; and the director of a center for obesity research and education and former president of the Obesity Society. All routinely give talks at similar conferences. All declined.

I do understand that people are busy. Maybe busy enough to be booked six months out for a Sunday in September. But do I also detect a whiff of fear in the air?

Eventually they found Dr. Foreyt to counter point the debate and it was held yesterday.


HAES methodology being taught to people in a position to help many, many people. To save people from the pain of dieting and body shame!

I told Kyle it would by like missing the super bowl with your favorite team against your biggest rival.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Its not always easy being yourself

Within the battle of body acceptance and self acceptance and increasing your self esteem can come the nagging of yourself.

As an occupational therapist I was trained well to find strengths first and weaknesses second with every person I worked with - from the dad who was just paralyzed in a motorcycle accident to the woman faking a hand injury for workman's comp.
My notes were in a SOAP format -

  • Subjective (what you think are strengths and weaknesses or what they say about themselves) 
  • Objective (what you can actually see/measure in relation to strengths and weaknesses... "can raise R arm 45 degrees, can transfer to toilet, can not remain standing for more than 10 seconds.) 
  • Assessment (can live independently, Needs upper body strengthening, Needs improvement in fine motor skills and adaptive equipment) 
  • Plan - OT 2x per day for 2 weeks for strength training and fine motor exercises or the like...

Now that I am no longer working daily in that field I tend to SOAP note myself but it can be more self damaging than helpful. The Adversary is strong. He knows us well. And when we start to feel good about ourselves he's more than willing to tempt our mind in the other direction. All about what is "wrong."

I do it to myself all the time. I start with a simple thought of oh I'm pretty good at x but it quickly becomes... but I'm terrible at ....

I'm good at cooking from scratch... but I'm not a good housekeeper.
I'm a loving mom... who yells too much.
I manage a house with five kids a busy schedule...but I haven't done any family history in ages.
I'm a spiritual person.. who doesn't read the scriptures enough/ go to the temple enough.
I'm good at making friends... but I alienate people with my opinions sometimes.

I am going to stop doing this to myself.  I'm driving this car that is my life.
I can't be perfect. I can't drive everywhere and be there all at the same time.  So I am going to live in the present and be happy about it.

I'll keep cooking from scratch even if the kitchen is messy.
I'll keep loving my kids even when things get crazy.
I'll manage my time and not stress about what else I could be doing.
I'll remember that recharging the spiritual battery is of utmost importance but there are a lot of experiences that can accomplish that.
I cherish my friends but I also have opinions - they are not exclusive of each other.
I blog about topics that have changed my life: my faith, health at every size, accepting more children into our lives, natural childbirth and breastfeeding. If you haven't made those choices I am still a good friend. I"ll drive my car you drive yours... I don't write about those thing to condemn the opposing choices but only to champion the topic that is near and dear to my heart.

I hope the same for everyone - love the moment, champion the cause that speaks to your soul even if you are afraid that your opinion will offend, live the gospel - if that means scriptures with a highlighter one night or just the ensign before bed other nights. Love your children, they will be fine even if you are not perfect.

I think Pres. Uchtdorf's talk for the RS broadcast was the best "Love the moment, love yourself" speech ever!
check it out:

It reminded me of my favorite essay:


By Robert J. Hastings

         TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves
on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We're traveling by train and, from the
windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at
crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row
upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and
village halls.

    But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination--for at a certain hour and on a
given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands
playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we
pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

    "Yes, when we reach the station, that will be it!" we promise ourselves. "When we're
eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL
Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!"

    From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

    Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly
place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion--it
constantly outdistances us. Yesterday's a memory, tomorrow's a dream. Yesterday belongs to a
history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday's a fading sunset, tomorrow's a faint sunrise. Only
today is there light enough to love and live.

    So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn't the burdens of today
that drive men mad, but rather regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and
fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

    "Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, "This is
the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

     So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more
mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener.
Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we
go along. The station will come soon enough.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ALL of us need to stop it. All of us.

Do not find fault with yourself because of the failures of others. 
- Elder Samuelson

So I have frequently felt over my life more sorry for many thin women than myself.
I have learned that as Popeye says "I am what I am"
And I have learned to love me as I am.
Thin women on the other hand. Women that nature for the most part has dealt a smaller frame, seem caught up in the tremendous fear of becoming ... OH MY GOD!! FAT.

It's the modern woman's boogey man.

fat is sneaking up behind you - WATCH OUT!!

I used to work with this nurse and without exaggeration all she could talk about was calories and exercise. I am positive she had exercise bulimia.  It was sad to watch and after a certain point hard to listen to. All she wanted to talk about was the diet of the week. The flavor of the month. No carb, low carb, high protein, this shake, that shake. The marathon, the sprints, the weights, the hours at the gym - 90 minutes on the stairmaster one day (in addition to her 'regular' circuit) NINETY MINUTES!!! Like watching an entire movie while on the stairs.
I tried to tell her she was beautiful and she didn't need to obsess, but the thing is she didn't want to hear that from a fat girl. I was a walking talking version of the boogey man.

And she had her husband to impress. He gave her incentives for losing weight. He called her his trophy wife, which she took as compliments, I took as insults. Like you better keep looking "hot" or I'm out of here.

The day my husband gave me incentives for losing weight (jewelry, cruises, broadway shows) is the day I would have realized I married a chauvinistic, sexist neanderthal. And I would go on a cruise. BY MYSELF.

But she swooned and to this day is probably still damaging her body. And when she has a heart attack or the like - people will scratch their heads and say  "I don't get it" "She was so fit."

And when her husband probably leaves anyway - because for better or worse you can't exercise away getting older... when he finds a new trophy wife - He had left another wife for her... she might think If only I had been skinnier... had bigger boobs, etc... Or maybe she'll start to love herself for her and not what others think of her.

What the "war on obesity" does is not help anyone with health. It tries to shame fat people into being different than they naturally are. And in the war path - a lot of people who aren't fat, mostly women start to hate themselves too.

Another excerpt from Ragen because she says it so well:

Being fat is an interesting experience because it is a highly stigmatized group who are thought to be able to move in and out of that group at will. (I don’t think that the research shows that at all, but I find that it’s the commonly held belief.)
Because of this, there is a general idea that the cure for social stigma directed at fat people is for those people to stop being fat.  In other words what we’re told is “Stop making people want to stigmatize you so much!”
Among fat people this this creates a couple of categories.  If we publicly agree that we deserve to be stigmatized for being fat, and we’re trying to “do something about it” in the form of attempting weight loss (aka being a “good fatty”) we can gain some provisional acceptance from the stigmatizing group.  If we refuse to buy into a thin=worthy model and refuse to attempt to conform and make our picture match someone else’s frame (aka being a “bad fatty”) then many people feel that we deserve all the hate and vitriol that they can spit at us.

But there is one group who are affected by these things who don’t often get attention:  They are the people who are thin but spend their lives obsessed with not getting fat. They see what happens to us fatties and they don’t want it to happen to them. Some have disordered eating. Some are fixated on exercise.  Some weigh themselves every day in constant terror of being fat. Some spend their lives on diets trying to lose those “stubborn final 10 pounds”. Some miss out on experiences that they would have loved to have because they are afraid that it will make them fat or because they can never skip the gym.  Some lose their lives on the operating table getting fat sucked out of their butts.  I’ve heard that 8 out of 10 women and 6 out of 10 men are unhappy with their bodies. Women start dieting earlier (4 years old!) and stop later (or never).

So ending all the body shaming and body stigma isn’t just about making fat people’s lives better (although that alone is absolutely a worthy goal), it’s about making everyone’s lives better.  Imagine a world where we could all approach our relationships with our bodies purely from a place of care and appreciation.  A world where nobody hates their thighs, where bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that’s just peachy.  A world where people can make choices about their health rather than making choices based on the terror of facing massive social stigma.
We all deserve to live in that world. And we can all do things, right this minute to get us there.  Some example to get us started:

1.  Stop body snarking.  All of it. Right now.  There is just no reason in the world for you to comment negatively on someone else’s body.  Get your self-esteem elsewhere (how about intrinsically?)

2.  Interrupt body snarking and fat stigma whenever you hear and see them – whether it’s in your own mind or in public about your body or someone else’s.

3.  Consider approaching your body from a place of care and appreciation.

4. Consider spending the money that you would spend on diet programs on other self-care…get some massages, take classes that you’ve always wanted to take, buy a bike, hire a chef to prepare delicious foods that will nurture your body, take a trip to a spa, buy whole foods, whatever makes your body feel amazing.

5. Understand that almost everyone in our society is hurting because of the unceasing body shame and stigma. Even that person who you might think has “everything” – the perfect body, the perfect face -  may be living his or her life in terror of losing that.  Look for ways to support other people and lift them up. Today at the bank I saw a woman with beautiful long, curly silver hair (exactly the kind of hair I plan to have someday).  I told her that I thought her hair was awesome and she started crying.  CRYING. At. The. Bank.  She hugged me and told me that her friends said that you can’t have long gray hair and that she should cut it.  What the eff people?  We can do better.

end of excerpt.

Remember: Respect yourself, your body, your soul.

Choose Health at Every Size.

PS - I'm a " bad - fatty" and happy to be so :)

another interesting link  - Jezebel bans body snarking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Relax and just wait

excellent video if you have 30 minutes

The spiritual benefits of breastfeeding.

We are more than one, but not quite two. I haven’t discovered the calculus to describe where one self ends and another begins. I can only notice when the boundaries of personhood blur: how I can’t stop kissing the soft folds of her neck, how I wake at night moments before she does, how my body turns blood into milk into baby. - Dr. Rixa Freeze from What does it mean to be a woman?

Me and Baby Benjamin May 2000

My Mom and Meg May 1982
First there was the spiritual preparation for breastfeeding.

And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings. 1 Nephi 12:2

When 21 & 22 and pregnant with Benjamin I didn't prepare myself well enough for childbirth - obviously since I agreed to induction early and then forceps. But I think it would have been a c-section if there wasn't two already going on in the hospital when I started pushing.

But I did prepare for breastfeeding. I was terrified I wouldn't be able to do it or stick with it. You see I had almost never seen a baby nurse. The internet was not as plush with info then. My mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and close Aunt did not breastfeed.

So I read and read. Mostly this: The Nursing Mother's Companion.  And I prayed and prayed that I would be able to feed my new baby the way I wanted. They way I believed nature wanted. I let my silly notions of natural childbirth go but I was set on breastfeeding.

Then there was the physical  preparation for breastfeeding:

I went to breastfeeding class.  I got one of those "my breast friend"pillows... boppy's will do but don't work too well for fat girls. I got several different nursing bras. One as a gift and one big bag of them from a friend who gave up on breastfeeding. I only say 'gave up' because that is the words she used.
That bag of bras to me was a motivational poster: She didn't make it - but I WILL!!
One of them was like a size G made by Omar the tent maker probably. She said you'll think you'll never need it but during engorgement you'll be glad you have it. I remember day four after coming home crying to Kyle "Go get that HUGE bra. I need it."

I got a used pump from the same friend. Sanitized it and some bottles. Tried the pump one night and laughed my butt off. But when the day came where my boobs were roughly the size of Rhode Island. I was glad that I already knew the ins and outs of the pump.

Then came the baby and the trials:

Even with prayer and preparation I genuinely hoped it would just come natural for us. I mean what baby doesn't want to eat and live?  I knew that for best bonding and breastfeeding success we were to nurse as soon after birth as possible. I didn't count on them taking him away to the warmer forever (during his most wakeful moments) and me needing to get stitched up.

But Benjamin was "nursed" in the delivery room before we moved. But really he just sat there, He didn't latch well and never got a sucking pattern.

In the course of our time in the hospital he only latched on a handful of times.
When we went to the "how to bathe your baby" class the new babies there were bottle fed. And one mom made that claim with pride. I felt torn. I was worried that he wasn't getting anything and she knew exactly how many ounces her baby had since birth. But I pushed my thoughts of fear aside because I thought I'd ask all my questions when the lactation consultant came around. The breastfeeding class I went to at the hospital said that all new nursing moms would get a visit from the lactation consultant.  It wasn't till the morning of our discharge that I said to my nurse when will I see the lactation consultant? and she said "you won't - you didn't request a visit."

So we went home.

He nursed once really well when we got home that afternoon.

then..Thanks to the circumcision we shouldn't have done I spent most of the night trying to get him to latch on and Kyle spent the rest doctoring his very sore private parts.

By 1pm the next day he hadn't nursed.  So I called the pediatrician. They said bring him in right away.

I slipped on the first thing I could find - I had been naked from the waist up pretty much since getting home. It was a church dress. Big mistake.

I got there and the first thing they did was give him a 4 oz bottle of sugar water. He drank it up and they looked at me like I was CRAZY. I said "I didn't say he wouldn't take a BOTTLE! I said he wouldn't NURSE."

So they calmed me down brought in the regular pediatrician (a man) in addition to the nurse practitioner and asked me to nurse him. Idiot me in my dress!! I had to lift the whole thing up with a bunch of people watching me and I tried to feed my sleeping baby who had just been put to sleep by a tummy full of sugar water. Needless to say he wouldn't really nurse yet again. And I leaked breastmilk every. where. I think including on the doctor.

They gave me the best advice they could: "just keep trying"

I still remember walking out of that place completely soaked in my own breastmilk. feeling very defeated.

So what I did for the next four weeks was this: I tried to nurse him, it wouldn't work. Then he'd get a bottle of my breastmilk and I'd pump. My rule was if he was getting bottle fed, I was pumping an equal amount of time. I knew that supply depended on demand.  I see this mistake made on Baby story all the time. Mom's giving formula because their milk "hasn't come in" ummmm if you give the baby formula and don't pump or nurse - you're milk supply will be damaged.


attempt to nurse


nursing fail

kyle bottle feed, me cry while pumping.

At some point in this routine I realized my problem was 70% my flat nipples/nipple confusion and 30% my sleeping baby.

I think being induced five days early plus my babies inclination to be born 4-7 days past my due date had a lot to do with him being so tired. He wasn't ready to be earthside.

This exhausting routine and emotional roller coaster had gone on for too long and I pounded my fist into the mattress:


I collapsed, and pulled Benjamin close to me. And tried just for the sake of trying, I said a little prayer and tried.

And he latched. A real latch and he suckled and suckled and swallowed and swallowed. I silently motioned to Kyle:  "look, look he's nursing!"

I remember that moment like it just happened.

It was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. It was like sitting in the Celestial room at the temple - laying there feeding my son the way I had hoped and planned on being able to do and feeling that I had overcome a major trial despite being on the edge of giving up.

A lot of times you need to get to that edge to get the the spiritual benefit of overcoming the trial. To this day I count the time spent breastfeeding my babies as some of the most sweet moments of my life.

** it wasn't all a bed of roses from there - I did get our latch down well enough that I could even walk and nurse but we still dealt with thrush and me working full-time and we weaned at 9 months, If I knew then what I know now we've would have gone longer. But my adventures in extended breastfeeding is a post for another day...

wish I had resources like this then:

from here

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More happenings...

Daddy Daughter Dance... All these events like this and the assemblies at school that I was at last year very much pregnant make me a little reminiscent. PJ's first year of life really did fly by.
 Kyle and Ella rave each year about the awesome DJ at the dances - she really gets everyone out there!

 Maiya wanted a picture of me on her desk at school so early one morning we took this. I'm rocking the robe and no makeup and Maiya is naturally, remarkably beautiful.

 Yesterday Cora started music school twice a week with Sis. Shelton. There is another Cora in the class. Afterwards I said isn't that neat that there is another Cora to which she replied. "NO.. she cannot have my name."

 This is one of PJ's favorite things to do. See that paper box in the lower right corner? He stands up on that swipes every single thing off the table then climbs up on it. If he's caught it cracks him up. If he's not caught or no one is around he immediately panics and starts fussing until you come rescue him. I've considered moving the box but he loves it too much.

Planted round 2 in the square foot garden and there is activity in every square: Beans, mini pumpkins, radishes, beets, cilantro, basil, lettuce, carrots, spinach, flowers...

and I found that nifty sprinkler system at home depot just for square foot gardens either for 2 4x4's or one 4x8 (what I have.)

I should have staggered my planting to also stagger my harvest but I just love planting it all and watching every square grow and I don't know how my timing will play out in this weather.

Monday, September 19, 2011

what we've been up to lately

besides school starting and the stretching of schedules that entails and ALL three girls are strarting soccer up again...

Meggie and Justin (or Gustin as Cora says it) are getting married... March 10th, 2012 
We are talking dresses all the time over here :)

For Labor day we had a good ol fashioned Cajun Shrimp boil. It was delish and like going back to my childhood. And for the record I think all meals should be served on newspaper dumped on the table and mess shoved into a trashcan when done.

We finally got to fly the kite that Cora got for her birthday. I did pretty good with it and Kyle then said I got the best wind of the whole day - hmmmm...

I almost stepped on this spider with a HUGE egg sac. double click on it to look closer - its awesome sick!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

You may already realize this but...

it never really occurred to me until I read about it this week.

Every article of clothing for celebrities and makeover shows are tailored perfectly to FIT the person WEARING them.

I am impressed generally that the show "What Not to Wear" has fat girls on the show and for the most part does not limit them to Lane Bryant (although its still a strong player).
I am pleased with how well the clothes fit them and how "spankin" hot they look in their new outfits.

I don't always feel as successful when trying to "makeover" myself then I read this from whatever, etc. (warning: some bad words) - edited out below:

A friend of a friend won a free consultation with Clinton Kelly of What Not To Wear, and she was very excited, because she has a plus-size body, and wanted some tips on how to make the most of her wardrobe in a fashion culture which deliberately puts her body at a disadvantage.
Her first question for him was this: how do celebrities make a plain white t-shirt and a pair of weekend jeans look chic?  She always assumed it was because so many celebrities have, by nature or by design, very slender frames, and because they can afford very expensive clothing.  But when she watched What Not To Wear, she noticed that women of all sizes ended up in cute clothes that really fit their bodies and looked great.  She had tried to apply some guidelines from the show into her own wardrobe, but with only mixed success.  So - what gives?
His answer was that everything you will ever see on a celebrity’s body, including their outfits when they’re out and about and they just get caught by a paparazzo, has been tailored, and the same goes for everything on What Not To Wear.  Jeans, blazers, dresses - everything right down to plain t-shirts and camisoles.  He pointed out that historically, up until the last few generations, the vast majority of people either made their own clothing or had their clothing made by tailors and seamstresses.  You had your clothing made to accommodate the measurements of your individual body, and then you moved the**** on.  Nothing on the show or in People magazine is off the rack and unaltered.  He said that what they do is ignore the actual size numbers on the tags, find something that fits an individual’s widest place, and then have it completely altered to fit.  That’s how celebrities have jeans that magically fit them all over, and the rest of us chumps can’t ever find a pair that doesn’t gape here or ride up or slouch down or have about four yards of extra fabric here and there.
I sat there after I was told this story, and I really thought about how hard I have worked not to care about the number or the letter on the tag of my clothes, how hard I have tried to just love my body the way it is, and where I’ve succeeded and failed.  I thought about all the times I’ve stood in a fitting room and stared up at the lights and bit my lip so hard it bled, just to keep myself from crying about how nothing fits the way it’s supposed to.  No one told me that it wasn’t supposed to.  I guess I just didn’t know.  I was too busy thinking that I was the one that didn’t fit.

I thought about that, and about all the other girls and women out there whose proportions are “wrong,” who can’t find a good pair of work trousers, who can’t fill a sweater, who feel excluded and freakish and sad and frustrated because they have to go up a size, when really the size doesn’t mean anything and it never, ever did, and this is just another bull* thing thrown in your path to make you feel sh**y about yourself.
I thought about all of that, and then I thought that in elementary school, there should be a class for girls where they sit you down and tell you this stuff before you waste years of your life feeling like someone put you together wrong.    (end of excerpt)

So next time you go clothes shopping, Don't berate yourself when things don't look right.

Its not "I look like crap, my butt looks big, etc..."

It is instead "these clothes don't fit, or don't look right on me"

Buy things that make you feel good. Spend a little extra money on well fitting clothes. 

Because clothes that fit well = confidence

and confidence = sexy.

You were not put together wrong. You are BEAUTIFUL!!!

excellent post on this topic at CJane