on new year’s: the best questions to ask before we close the book on 2013

happy

It’s hard to believe that New Year’s Eve has already arrived, but since it’s here, we might as well get into the mood. ’tis the season for looking back and reflecting on the past year and looking forward and setting goals, resolutions, and intentions for the coming one. I’ve been loving all the goal setting and organizing talk that comes along with this time of year, but I thought I could add to the mix by putting together a little post with my best questions for finishing off 2013 and moving into 2014 in a mindful way…

  • What are you proud of yourself for doing in 2013? Taking some time to list your greatest accomplishments of 2013 is a great opportunity to give yourself the props you deserve for a year well spent.
  • What do you regret or wish you’d done in 2013?  It’s true that you can’t go back, but knowing where you went “wrong” is a fine and dandy way to figure out where you can go right from here on out.
  • What did you learn in 2013? I loved Andrea Owen’s “38 Things I’ve Learned In 38 Years” post to cap off the year where she shared some good lessons and reminders. Looking back on the ways you’ve been challenged in the last 12 months is a great doorway to illuminate some of the things you’ve learned and the ways in which you’ve grown and transformed that tend to get obscured because they’re gradual and happen over the day to day.
  • At the end of 2014, what would you like to be able to say you’ve accomplished? This kind of forward thinking and visioning is so important in setting yourself up for success. Your goals, resolutions, intentions–whatever you want to call them–, should move you in the direction of these accomplishments and getting clear on what you want for yourself in the next year gives you something concrete to work with when it comes to setting smaller goals and action steps to get yourself there.

I really do encourage you to do a little looking back and some looking forward in between glasses of champagne this New Year’s. There’s nothing like checking in and bringing a little bit more intention to your life…

live your life

Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

I’d love to hear what your greatest accomplishments and lessons from 2013 are! What are you setting your heart on in 2014?

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a nutrition resolution for the new year

This time of year, people “fall off the wagon.” Others jump off of it and take the opportunity to eat their mom’s best shortbread cookies that only come once a year. At any rate, I think it’s safe to say that during the holidays is not the best time to get an accurate sense of the kind of diet you or anyone else consumes on a regular basis.

As someone who has struggled with what to eat and what not to eat and has gone in both directions on the restriction and bingeing continuum, I’ve been self conscious about what I eat and don’t eat in front of people. It took me longer than it should have to let my boyfriend cook me dinner (even though he’s a better cook than I am, to be honest) and when I eventually did, it still wasn’t easy for me to “just eat” and not worry about judgment. There’s irony in this given that at one point, I took pictures of everything I ate and shared them with the world.

Now, I know that I’ve been overly concerned with what people think about what I eat. Whether it’s their approval or worrying that they’re going to negatively judge me, it can get to me. That being said, I don’t think it’s entirely unwarranted to feel judged given that for some reason, people have no filter when it comes to discussing what they eat or don’t eat as well as what other people should or shouldn’t eat.  There are a lot of “experts” out there and with all the diets and eating approaches that float around the interwebs and all the people who swear by them, there’s no shortage of people around to tell you that you shouldn’t eat that Christmas cookie because:
a) It has carbs in it and carbs are bad for you.
b) It has grains in it and grains are the worst mistake in human history.
c) It has butter in it and butter has too much saturated fat.
d) It has animal products in it and a vegan diet is the way to optimum health.
e) It was made with chocolate chips that have palm oil in them and palm oil is killing the gorillas in the rainforest.

I think I could probably go through the entire alphabet and find a host of reasons why you should not eat a cookie, many of them ridiculous but supported by someone, somewhere. It’s no wonder it’s easy to feel judged.

The final word, perhaps?

The final word, perhaps?

But.

Just last month, a couple of what I found to be odd food habits of my friends left me confused. I started to doubt my own food habits…Should I be eating this? If so and so does this, should I try it? To make myself feel better, I tried to talk about this with people who I assumed would agree that said food habits are crazy and that I am right. 

Turns out, despite me being so darn convinced that people shouldn’t judge what I put on my plate (or don’t), I’m guilty of doing the same thing. It’s pretty pathetic, though, when you need to make other people wrong to make yourself right–which is exactly what I see when it comes to issues with food. For paleo advocates to be right, it’s all too common to see them making vegetarians wrong. For vegetarians to be right, it’s all too common to see just the opposite–making meat eating wrong.

I’ve blogged about this before: If we’re sure of what we’re doing, it doesn’t matter as much what other people are doing.

You know the saying about wanting to change the world and needing to start with yourself?

change

I love that this came from “wordboner.com”…

 I think that applies here.

So…one of my goals for 2014 (or from here on out, foreseeably), is to keep my eyes on my own plate. This means being sure that what I’m doing is what works best for me. It means that even if I think that what a friend is doing is “weird,” I won’t go and look for ways to make them wrong and myself right. It means moving forward and taking enough responsibility and ownership for the way that I eat that I won’t feel like I need to justify it by making other people wrong.

judgment

Do you have any resolutions for this year?
How do you feel about judging other people’s food choices?
Have you ever been judged? 

 

on blogging and being

I took a facebook break last week (let’s not talk about the times I reactivated). It was tough but I’m glad I did it. I also took a blogging break and I will be totally honest (because that is what I try to do here): I had a hard week.

Over the weekend, I was invited to consider what my actions really look like when it comes to some of the things I blog about (namely weight, working out, eating—the messy stuff). The invitation came along with the suggestion that sometimes, when I’m struggling, it would be nice if I could just take my own advice.

I didn’t take this lightly and I really thought about what I write on this blog and what I do in my day to day. I list authenticity as one of my values so to think that I am not living what I preach…ugh.

what you do

But.

What I write about is what I struggle with. Normally what spurs me to post is something that challenged me and forced me to get real with something that’s not where I want it to be in my life. It’s the beginning of another change in the right direction. I am on a journey and this is all a process. My first blog was markedly different than this one and looking at it reminds me that I should be proud of the progress I’ve made, not ashamed of the struggles I might still have.

struggle

We live in a world where dieting and body shaming and disordered is the norm. Whether or not I embody body acceptance entirely in my day to day life, the conversations and the dialogue that I hope to contribute to with this blog are important. Not dancing around in my bikini blissfully or making a fat pants joke here or there doesn’t mean that I’m not qualified to talk about the changes I am making for myself or that I wish we could work on collectively.

I’d love for all women to love their bodies and to treat them in ways that demonstrate that they appreciate them. I’d love for myself to be able to do this every day of my life. But I have my days. And we’re not there as a culture. But in the meantime, the world needs more voices who are willing to say what they think, whether what they think is what the rest of their facebook feed is saying or not. And I need to think about how I want things to be different, whether or not they’re my reality (yet). Change isn’t easy and it doesn’t work like a light switch.

process change

In the midst of all this, I seriously considered not blogging any more. Why do I blog? I asked myself. It’s mostly for selfish reasons: I can write about what I want to create or what I’m working on creating for myself, get feedback on it, get (positive) attention, etc. Maybe I also inspire some people along the way–I’ve had a fair share of people tell me that my blog has helped them on their own healthy, happy, whatever journey—and I get to feel all warm and fuzzy about that.

Then: What would it mean if I stopped blogging? Well, my blog is one way that I try to create something different—my vision of what healthy and happy looks like. If I were to decide that I am not qualified to write about this stuff or that I shouldn’t because I don’t have it all together, I’d be giving into the “not good enough” story I am (still) working on shifting. I’d be giving up on something that matters a lot to me. I’d be making it mean something pretty shitty, and I’m not prepared to do that.

A note on my bulletin board reminds me, “I take a stand for health.” This isn’t something I take lightly. I’m grateful for this whole shit fit (I’m dramatic—deal with it) for reinforcing what I stand for and why I stand for it. I’m also glad for the honest feedback that I might not be having the effect on people that I mean to or want to (as crappy as it feels) and the reminder to take my own (awesome) advice more often.

I’m going to end this in true Cheryl fashion with a quote…

stand for something

Have you had a blogger identity crisis?
If someone asked you what you stand for, what would you say?