Hi Friends,

Today is my birthday. ūüôā

I worked incredibly hard to get to forty-one. Over the past two years, I recovered from an eating disorder, healed my relationship with food and learned to love who I am, as I am.¬†As I’ve gotten stronger, I’ve discovered the confidence and ownership that comes with using my voice.¬†I’ve¬†used¬†my voice¬†to stand up and speak my truth.¬†It has been¬†rewarding and excruciating.

And right now, honestly, I feel a lot like I did in the above¬†picture (me, age 7). Exhausted. “Collapse before I can even get¬†comfy on the couch” exhausted.

So, I’m going to take a¬†little break from the blog. I’ll be back, to be sure,¬†I still have a lot to say. But I need¬†sometime to get comfy to rest and recharge.

Thank you dear Friends, for being so understanding and supportive.

See you soon…

 

I’ve been a bit quiet this week, which I will talk more¬†about next¬†week. Today I want to talk about the awesomeness that was¬†last weekend. Oh,¬†last weekend. A touch of¬†Spring in the midst of¬†winter.¬†It was glorious. We spent most of the weekend outside taking advantage of our free Spring preview. On Friday¬†afternoon, Harrison¬†and I enjoyed a lovely stroll¬†over¬†to pick Wyatt up from school.

 

Friday: Walking to school to pick up Wyatt

Then we had a fun playdate at the park with some dear friends. Later that night we celebrated Circle of Friends’ 50th Birthday! It was an amazing event our whole family enjoyed.

The next morning was gorgeous so we met some friends for a morning hike. After hibernating indoors all winter, it felt amazing to get outside, get¬†into nature and make our own discoveries (we’ve¬†watched a fair amount¬†of Dinosaur Train this week).

It turns out¬†six, four and two¬†year olds don’t¬†want to hike for more than 40 minutes so we ended up at McDonald’s. The kids played on the slides and the grownups got to talk and enjoy some¬†coffee (and a smoothie). When we got home the boys continued to play outside while I straightened up the kitchen (and jammed out hard to The Hamilton Mixtape).

That night we headed over to our friend’s¬†house and¬†had the best¬†steak tips ever.¬†If you haven’t tried the steak tips from C & C Butcher on Manchester, I highly recommend them. Steve and my brother stumbled across C&C Butcher a year and a half ago and we’ve been loyal customers ever since.

On Sunday, Mom and I headed to the Fox to see Something Rotten. I upgraded our seats so we sat 9th row center. Sitting close enough to see their faces made a huge difference. We absolutely loved the show. It was raucous, fun, creative and irreverent. Oh, and Adam Pascal played Shakespeare! I got to see him play Roger in Rent (twice) back in 1996. Seeing him perform again was such a treat. His voice is like butter.

Looks like we are in store for another Spring-like weekend. Have a good one Friends! I’ll see you on Monday ūüôā

Hangin’ at Urgent Care on a Friday Night

Like a lot of families, our family has been dealing with a sickness bug for the last couple months. Poor Harrison has gotten it twice since Christmas. It started with a low-grade fever on Monday. On Tuesday, I took him to the doctor¬†and everything looked fine (no fever, ears looked clear, lungs sounded clear, throat wasn’t red). But,¬†of course, by 5:00pm he had a fever and a cough.¬†I kept him home from school on Wednesday and¬†by Thursday afternoon he¬†seemed much better.

Then at¬†dinner, he complained of his ear hurting. I asked which ear and he tugged at his right ear.¬†He¬†lamented that¬†Wyatt put something in his ear. I looked suspiciously at Wyatt and had trouble reading his demeanor (is he guilty or daydreaming about Star Wars?) ¬†I checked out Harrison’s ear (as best I could) and didn’t see anything in there that shouldn’t be in there. But he did¬†look to be in some pain.¬†So I¬†very calmly¬†asked Wyatt if he put something in his brother’s ear. Wyatt sheepishly responded, “I don’t know.”

Super. I spent the next twenty-five minutes trying to¬†Sherlock Holmes my six-year-old. After asking him the same question ten¬†different ways and having him draw a picture of what¬†exactly he put in his¬†brother’s ear (he kept saying “goop” and I’m like, “You did not put Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website in your brother’s ear!”), Harrison confessed that Hamish put something in his ear.

Hamish is our dog.

I’ll never get those twenty-five minutes back and I am at peace with that. Harrison was fine. No more¬†complaints. No fever. No¬†trouble at bedtime.¬†So the next morning (Friday)¬†I took him to school. At pick up his teachers¬†mentioned he was a little off, which I attributed to him coming off a cold. We went home and rested for the¬†remainder¬†of the day.

Then at dinner (much like the night before) Harrison started complaining of ear pain again. I asked him which ear and he tugged at his right ear again (uh oh…).¬†This time he didn’t try to blame his brother or our innocent dog (uh, oh…). He just winced and¬†whined (kinda like the night before).¬†But¬†unlike the night before,¬†Steve, the level-headed realist¬†of our family, was home. He suggested one of us take him to Urgent Care to get him checked out.

My intense mom guilt required that I take him to Urgent Care. So off we went (Steve and Wyatt went to Bingo Night). By the time we pulled into Urgent Care, Harrison had stopped complaining about his ear and was instead complaining that his hair hurt. Being four is hard.

Thankfully, Urgent Care wasn’t that busy at seven o’clock on a Friday night. Harrison got right in. The nurses and paramedics showered him with attention which was awesome. The doctor was kind and patient with Harrison, who had a surprising amount of questions for him ranging from, “What’s that?” (a stethoscope) to “Do you have any (pet)¬†dinosaurs?” (No).

It turned out my sweet boy wasn’t just yanking my chain on that ear pain, he had an ear infection.

Oops…. Being a mom is hard, friends. And that mom guilt can be a doozy. This wasn’t the first time I missed an ear infection and it probably won’t be the last. All I can say is thank goodness for Urgent Care, pink medicine and the grace-filled¬†heart of a four year old.

 

Happy pants.

My friend Jen invited me to her LuLaRoe party last week. I’d been hearing rumblings about LuLaRoe for the last few months, but didn’t know too much about the company. I went to Jen’s house with an open mind, looking forward to some girl-time and shopping.

And, it was great! Jen’s living room transformed into an amazing¬†pop up boutique full of bright colorful clothes. There were racks of dresses and shirts. And leggings….Oh the leggings!

The leggings¬†are so soft and unique! They looked kind of small so I wasn’t entirely sure they would fit but they stretch nicely and fit like a glove. The leggings¬†are soft, comfy and colorful. And they come in¬†two sizes¬†so they fit women of all different shapes and sizes (xxs – 2xl). I LOVE inclusive brands that make clothing to fit¬†women¬†in larger bodies. They even have size diverse models on¬†their website¬†(check it out¬†here.)

I found these awesome octopus covered leggings and instantly fell in love.

If your interested¬†getting your shop¬†on, check out my friend Claire’s page here. Claire’s based out of California, if you are looking for a local consultant you can check out Dae Chocran’s VIP LuLaRoe page here.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 

 

 

There is something remarkable about talking to¬†thirteen year-olds¬†about eating disorders. They’re old enough to understand the complexities of a very uncomfortable subject, yet young enough¬†that they aren’t yet¬†fully engulfed by society’s obsession with¬†weight loss and diet culture.

Shame is a pervasive¬†side effect of¬†weight loss and diet culture. Shame¬†often manifests¬†as defensiveness¬†or¬†silence. There isn’t a lot of defensiveness or silence when¬†I talk to middle schoolers about eating disorders. They¬†often blow me¬†away¬†with their insightful and thought-provoking questions.

I had the privilege of¬†presenting¬†an eating disorder awareness program at a middle school last week.¬†As I¬†walked through the halls of the middle school after¬†my presentation,¬†a few¬†posters¬†caught my eye.¬†They proclaimed, “You’re beautiful!” “You’re amazing just as you are because you are beautiful, smart, talented and funny!” “Don’t let anyone tell you aren’t beautiful! Because you ARE!”

The primary focus of the positivity campaign was reassuring students they were beautiful. Most signs were posted in and around the girls bathroom so girls were the target market.

My heartbeat quickened and my face reddened with anger. I just had a wonderful dialogue with amazing kids about how our bodies are vehicles, not objects. We talked about how what we do, what we say and how we treat others are the foundation of our value and self worth.

But there it was. “You’re Beautiful!”¬† Despite all I said and all we talked about, when those kids roam the halls, check their phones, watch tv, read magazines, go to the movies, they will¬†be¬†told in subtle, and not so subtle ways, that¬†being beautiful matters. Repeated exposure to this singular message¬†convinces people that¬†their¬†value and self-worth start with how¬†they look.

 

The hard truth is those¬†messages start long before¬†middle school. We start¬†indoctrinating girls into our culture’s obsession with¬†physical¬†appearance¬†at a very young age.¬†As a child, the word “beautiful” doesn’t mean much. Playing and having fun¬†take precedent over¬†looking¬†“beautiful.” But as she grows, she hears the word “beautiful” (or variations like:¬†cute, pretty, adorable) more often. And while beauty can describe different things, she most often hears it associated with her¬†physical¬†appearance. She has pretty hair, she looks beautiful in her new dress, she has a beautiful face, beautiful smile, beautiful eyes, beautiful skin. Beautiful, beautiful,¬†beautiful.

As she gets older, the¬†first, and often¬†only, thing people remark on is her physical¬†appearance. She may be smart, talented, driven, witty, kind, compassionate¬†and/or courageous but people don’t remark on those qualities as often as they remark on her beauty. How she’s growing into a beautiful young lady.¬†It makes her feel good. So she starts focusing on her appearance.

She starts commenting on other girl’s physical appearances, too. She notices that telling¬†another girl she¬†looks pretty¬†makes¬†the girl’s¬†face light up more¬†than¬†telling her she is kind, smart or a good friend.

She’s not conscious of it yet, but she¬†accepts that¬†physical beauty brings not¬†only social acceptance but an elevated social status.¬† Beautiful people all seem to have one thing in common: thinness. Beautiful¬†(thin)¬†people are healthier and happier than everyone else.¬†¬†Beautiful (thin)¬†people get to follow their dreams and live their best life.¬†Popular (thin)¬†girls¬†are beautiful. Famous (thin)¬†girls are beautiful. Successful (thin)¬†women are beautiful.

She doesn’t just want to be beautiful anymore, she has to be.

As she enters adulthood, any success or accomplishment is often tempered by how she feels about her physical appearance. She wins a scholarship based on her academic achievements, but she’s mortified¬†by how ugly (read: large)¬†her face looks in the in the official¬†photo. She vows¬†to lose a few pounds. Or¬†she¬†receives a well deserved promotion, but feels self-conscious running her first meeting because the¬†scale told her she gained a couple of pounds that morning. Again, she vows to lose weight. Or she successfully argues a motion in court, but is deflated when opposing¬†counsel says she’s unattractive. To her,¬†unattractive translates to overweight, so, again,¬†she vows to lose weight.

She’s trapped.¬†Unbeknownst to her, she’s always been¬†trapped. Trapped by¬†our culture’s¬†misguided value system that tells¬†her what¬†she looks like matters more than what¬†she does.¬†She’s unhappy.¬†She fights to maintain “beautiful.” She diets and works out.¬†But she¬†often feels like a failure.¬†It’s her fault she can’t keep up.

It is not her fault. It’s not ours either, unless we fail to accept responsibility for this dangerous narrative. We have an obligation to¬†ourselves and the next generation¬†of girls to¬†flip the script.

Rooting the foundation of our self-esteem in our physical appearance is misguided and dangerous. Our societal obsession with being beautiful often leads to disordered eating and/or a full-blown eating disorder because at some point, long before we were born, society determined thinness was a prerequisite for beauty. Consequently, women feel they have to make themselves beautiful before they can start living and enjoying life. Like being beautiful will protect them from something or make them more acceptable.

In a society that¬†profits off our low self-esteem and preoccupation with beauty, let’s stir things up. Let’s teach girls that¬†the foundation¬†of a¬†her self-esteem rests in the¬†power and potency of¬†her voice. Let’s¬†empower her by showing¬†her that her thoughts and actions matter. That she can lead, govern, invent, innovate. Let’s talk¬†to girls about¬†connection, compassion, empathy, shame resilience and creativity. Let’s encourage them to follow their interests in math, science, art, theatre, politics, children, technology, party planning,¬†athletics, music, business, etc.

As women, we have a tremendous amount of power. Let’s use it. Let’s start¬†posting signs like:

Your voice matters!

Kindness and compassion connect us!

You belong.

You matter.

We belong to each other.

You are worthy of connection and belonging.

Including others makes us stronger.

Be unique! Be different! Be YOU!

 

 

 

337: Dinner Crew, (top pic)  Me, Jean and Laura

One of the best things about starting this blog is that it’s connected me with amazing people and experiences. A couple weeks ago I posted about my love affair with Blue Apron. It turns out my neighbor Laura also loves Blue Apron and cooking in general. She mentioned a¬†local meal prep place¬†called Time For Dinner (you can check out their website here) and suggested we go.

Yes, please!

Laura and I¬†figured out¬†a day and time that worked, signed up for spots via the website (only two spots left for the day and time that worked for us, whew!) and picked our meals (you can pick four or six meals). I¬†picked four meals because I wasn’t entirely sure I’d have enough freezer space. Plus, I¬†didn’t know¬†how¬†the meals were packaged. Per the Time for¬†Dinner website, each meal served eight. And since¬†it’s just me, Steve and two fairly picky little people, I had to consider the “leftover” situation.

One of the really cool things I discovered about Time for Dinner is that each “spot” is really two spots. So my mother-in-law, who¬†happened to be in town on our prep day, got to come too.

We all had a blast!

The Time for Dinner¬†wizards have meal prep down to a science. They have a couple of work stations for each meal and¬†you go from station to station¬†to prep and¬†package your meals.¬†Each¬†station¬†has detailed instructions on how to package each meal. I absolutely needed this. Anytime I¬† thought I had a question, all I really had to do was re-read the instructions. I’d like to say it was so easy a toddler could do it but I feel like that might be insulting to a toddler. It was so easy that I, an incredibly inexperienced chef, could do it.

We packaged each meal in two separate containers. So instead of four meals, I got eight (each meal serves four)! And they all fit in my freezer (huzzah!) Finally, we labeled each meal with specific thawing and cooking instructions.

 

336: Freezer packed delights.

 

It was such a great experience and I LOVE having a few meals at the ready. Tonight we’re having the chicken and dumplings. I’ll keep you posted….

 

 

339

On March 1, 2017, the Missouri Eating Disorder’s Association (MOEDA)¬†is sponsoring a screening of the film Embrace¬†as well as a panel discussion after the film (I’m on the panel ūüôā ).¬†¬†It’s a phenomenal documentary about letting go of the often deeply embedded belief that our value and self-worth rest in our physical appearance. And that “to be healthy” we have to look a certain way (which requires us to eat a certain way and workout a certain way).

In the film, Taryn Brumfitt and several others talk about embracing¬†our bodies as a vehicle to¬†realize¬†our dreams. Our bodies are not meant to be ornaments. Our bodies aren’t for decoration. They are for doing. Getting involved, living life.

So often we get trapped¬†in the mindset that¬†there¬†is a prerequisite to loving our bodies. That our body has to look a certain way before we can present ourselves to the world as happy and fulfilled. I.e. We have to have the dramatic “before and after” photo showing¬†how much weight we’ve lost or how ripped our muscles are to prove how happy we are now.

I¬†was¬†trapped in¬†that mindset¬†for most of my life. Especially during¬†recovery. I thought, “How are people going to know I’m¬†Recovered and happy if I don’t¬†have a proper¬†“after” photo?”¬†“How are people going to know I’m happy and healthy¬†if I don’t lose weight or have six-pack abs to prove it?”¬†That thought tormented me for a long time.

At some point,¬†it dawned on me¬†that it doesn’t matter what other people think of my body, all that matters¬†is what¬†I think¬†about my body. And I can like, even love, my body just as it is right now. Everyday¬†can be¬†my “after” photo.

338: My “after” photo.¬† No make-up, no filter, no dramatic change in my body.¬†The only dramatic change is my mindset. Special thank you to Michelle of Sunshine Designs for this amazing shirt. Check out her¬†incredible¬†work here.

Embrace is an incredibly moving and captivating film (I got to see it at a screening a couple months ago). I highly recommend it for¬†everyone. The film isn’t specifically about eating disorders (although they are discussed).¬†The primary focus of the film¬†is on how¬†incredibly powerful body acceptance can be. And what a tremendous impact¬†it can have on your life and others.

I would¬†LOVE to see you there!¬†Tickets¬†aren’t sold at the door so you have to buy them via¬†this link:¬†¬†¬†https://gathr.us/screening/18992

**UPDATE: If you follow the link it looks like the screening is sold out. You can click on “Alert me when or if tickets become available” and put in your name and email. I am pretty sure MOEDA will release more tickets.

 

 

340

Self-care is incredibly important. It is not something that ever came naturally to me¬†so I had to learn it. Like sit down in a class and learn specific steps on¬†how to take care of myself (I kid you not, I took a class: Bren√© Brown’s Living Brave Semester).

Learning to listen and take care of myself took longer than any other part of recovery (including letting go of weight-loss as a goal) and continued well into Recovered. My eating disorder was rooted in self-loathing and magnified by anxiety and depression. At first, even the idea of taking time to care for myself triggered anxiety. My eating disorder told me self-care was selfish and had to be earned. Consequently, I never felt worthy of self-care.

Brené Brown taught me I was worthy of self-care just as I was (am) and that self-care would, in fact, make me more selfless. Because when we take care of our own needs we are more open to others and less likely to spread feelings of negativity and shame. She taught me how to give myself permission to take care of myself and set boundaries. She assured me this would make me a better mom, wife and friend.

And she was right. I am a better mom (read: more patient), wife and friend¬†when I take care of myself.¬†To be fair, self-care is still a work-in-progress. Sometimes I get lost in the stress of a moment (for example: lose my temper with the boys or snap at a loved one for little to no reason)¬†because I think I¬†can “handle it” and not take time for myself. In those moments, my feelings of stress, anxiety and negativity find a way to negatively impact someone else.

Rather than berate myself or pile on an abundance of shame, in those moments¬†I try to regroup and focus on self-care.I remind myself that when we get on a plane, the flight attendant tells us¬†if we lose cabin pressure to¬†put on¬†our mask first and then our child’s mask. Because we’re not going to be much use to¬†our children if¬†we can’t breathe. Whenever I start to feel guilty or selfish about taking time for self-care, I repeat this to myself as¬†a mantra. It helps¬†give me permission to focus on what I need.

As I continue to grow, I continue to learn new ways to take care of myself. One of those ways is puzzlin’.

Oh how I love to puzzle (and oh, have I been doing a lot of puzzles lately). Give me a 1000 or 500 piecer and I am content. When my anxiety flares up and starts to make everything in my head get all tangled up in a negative and uncomfortable web, shifting my focus to a puzzle helps. It gives my brain something active to focus on. To solve. Something tangible I can look at and see progress. It helps. It both distracts and soothes at the same time.

Happy Monday Friends ūüôā Puzzle on!

 

 

 

342: Outtake from Jan 1, 2017. The night I decided to take on this challenge.

Good Morning Friends! You may notice things look a little different at Road to Recovered today. With some playing around (and some help- Thanks Aaron!), I changed the blog’s layout and my profile picture (you can check out my new profile pic¬†in¬†A LITTLE BACKSTORY).

It took¬†over a year¬†to change my profile picture because a) I couldn’t remember how to do it and b) I wasn’t ready to go solo. It felt safer to have the boys in the picture with me.

Back when I started the blog my body image was pretty neutral.¬†Which meant I didn’t hate my body but I didn’t love it either. My blog needed a picture and it was important¬†to post a picture of myself during recovery. I didn’t want to gaslight people and post a picture¬†from when I was sick.¬†It had to¬†be a recent picture.

The problem was I didn’t have a lot of¬†pictures of myself during recovery. Recovery was a very vulnerable time and¬†getting in pictures was an easily avoidable trigger.¬†But I did get in some pictures. Usually with¬†our¬†boys. Our¬†boys made me¬†feel comfortable. So much so, there were times I wanted to capture¬†fun/silly moments with them. Kinda like this:

341: First profile pic for Road to Recovered

I chose this picture because I remembered how much fun we had in that moment. We were having a snack at the counter and being silly. I was about five months into recovery ♥ Recovery was incredibly hard but this picture reminded me that there were bright spots too.

Have a great weekend!

 

343: “It’s not me Twitter, it’s you.”

 

Social media is driving me crazy. Specifically, Twitter. I feel compelled to check it every two minutes to see what’s going on. And lately,¬†I find myself in a¬†perpetual state of fear and outrage.

Super.

To be fair, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to do a self-imposed¬†Twittervention. From time to time, I¬†find¬†myself using social media, specifically scroll therapy, to¬†distract me from something I need to deal with.¬†All because a¬†couple¬†times I¬†scrolled onto something that actually made me feel better.

Basically for every hundred times I check Twitter and it freaks me out, there is one time it makes me feel better (usually courtesy of Lin Manuel-Miranda or my dear friend who sends me Parks and Rec Memes♥).

Not worth it.

Most of the time scrolling through tweets makes me feel horrible. During recovery, weight-loss or diet talk was an immediate and acute trigger. After I Recovered, I still found diet and weight loss tweets frustrating and triggering but not like I did when I was struggling accept my body. The divisive election, however, sent my anxiety into over drive.  What a year to be fully Recovered and feeling all the feelings. Recovered under fire.

Over the last year, I went through phases where I’d delete Twitter from my phone (and then put¬†it back, delete, then put¬†it back, and so on). Steve and I even set up rules at the house. No checking our phones from 5 pm to 7pm. Two hours. Seriously, how hard can that be.

Ummmm….

Guess who got busted checking her phone?

Yeah. ūüôā

I struggle because I want to stay informed and stay active. But I also want to stay sane.

So for purposes of my sanity, Twitter and I are on a break. It’s not like I can’t access news anywhere else to stay informed. The fear is real. But if I’m going to be of any use, I need balance.