Tag Archives: encouragement

The Holiday is Over

christmas_decorations_in_a_store_bow_8-1Well, the holiday is over. How did you do? Did you eat too much? Eat the wrong things? Know you’re going to pay for it this week?

What? You still have dinners to go to today and tomorrow? Leftovers staring you in the face?

Come on. You have 38 days left. Thirty-eight days. Thirty-eight days left of holiday food torment. Did your first day set the tone you wanted for the next 38 days? Mmmm? Or maybe not.

Listen to me. And listen to me good. You have a choice. Each day. Each moment.

That one hard thing

Think hard. Hasn’t there ever been anything hard you’ve done that required effort? Required diligence? Have you run a 5K? Have you painted a bedroom? Have you played in front of a crowd? What have you done that required work?

Because you could have stopped doing it. You could have walked to your car instead of to the 5K finish line where a banana and water was waiting for you. Some fashionable curtains could have tied together a two-tone bedroom. Nobody dragged you kicking and screaming to the stage with your clarinet.

You. Your choices did all these things in your life.  YOU.

So, I want you to think hard again. You’ve paved the connections in your brain between neurons for persistence by doing these hard things before in your life. Great job! Now is the moment to capitalize on your earlier successes. When it feels like you can’t say “No” to that food or that latte, remember that one hard thing you did. Feel the shoes on your feet, the concrete under your feet. And say, “I choose me, not food.” And run on.

Feel the paint brush in your hand, see the accidental paint spatters on the carpet, and say, “Sometimes I drop some paint, but I keep painting.” And paint on.

See the audience’s eyes on you, while you play your zombie-stiff clarinet song with racing heart. And say, “I choose to do this in front of the glares and stares of the world.” And play on.

You see, it is your choice. I promise you, nobody is going to grab that roll or those mashed potatoes and stuff them in your mouth. (Visualizing that, are you?)

But YOU might grab that roll and those mashed potatoes or that brownie this holiday season. YOU.

I can quit

Once, when I was having a hard time at pharmacy school personally, my volleyball coach looked at me and said, “Terri, you can go home. [Home and dear family support was six hours away.] Take a break.” I tried to argue with her. I couldn’t go home! I’d lose a whole semester of grades! A whole semester of money! No matter what I said, she told me it didn’t matter. I could go home. Finally, I realized, I could go home. I could quit whenever I wanted. And suddenly, I knew I had the fight in me. I knew I could pull myself up by my bootstraps, get my head wrapped on straight, and I could do this hard thing.

When I had to change the way I ate 4 years and five months  ago (I remember the date I dove in to 100% change), I did the same thing. I recognized my choice. MY CHOICE. I thought of all the hard things I’d done in my life, and I knew I could do this one.

I haven’t fought every food and nutrition battle you’ll have to fight. But I’ve fought a lot the last four years. Battles from myself. My tongue. My mom. My kids. My world. The TV. Gluten. Dairy. Eggs.

But I’ve run 5Ks, painted rooms, and I’ve played in piano recitals. I remember those things. When I am faced with food choices I know don’t benefit me, I recall those successes. I feel them. I smile at them. And most of the times, I move on just fine.

Move past the dribbles and play your song

Sometimes I don’t move on just fine. That’s probably most like painting. I never get the drop cloth spread out the way I should. I often think I don’t need the drop cloth. I’m just going to paint this one little touch-up. I won’t dribble. And I always do. Always do dribble. But seriously, who stops painting a whole room because they dribbled?

Today, while you’re shopping, looking at leftovers, visiting family. Next week, when the baked goods and cheap candy start rolling in (Gosh, wasn’t it just Halloween?). Thirty-eight days from now, remember it was YOUR choice.

Did you run? Did you dribble, yet keep painting? Did you play your song?

Eating right isn’t about now. It’s about hiking with your kids when they’re old enough to hike. It’s about that trip to Europe you’ve always dreamed after you retire. It’s about getting down on the floor to change your grandbaby’s diaper. It’s about writing that book with great mental clarity that comes from real food.

It’s about YOU.

And doing the hard thing. Each step of the way.

YOU CAN DO THIS. STARTING NOW.

Run. Paint. Play your song. You’ve done it before, and you can do it in this area too!

Happy Friday!

Terri

Photo attribution: By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

I Hate You

Frankly, my kids are killing me.  I don’t get it.  Why do the stories from seasoned parents come with smiles, jokes, and rolled eyes?  That’s dishonest.  Kid stories should come with rants, cursing, shrieking, sobs, and tears.  And what’s up with this?– “Oh, you’re so lucky you’re homeschooling.  You’ll avoid so many issues.”  Pft.  We can compare spec sheets if you want.  I think we’d find that despite different outward impressions, we’re working with the same vexatious operating system.

The Tricky Language

I have four daughters, two who are definitely “tweening” it.  One darling, “betwixted” daughter declared two days ago that I just have to learn the love language of “I hate you”.  (And quickly– before one of us ends up back at Granny’s house seventeen hours away.)

It’s quite a tricky language, fraught with peril.  I responded, “Anything for you, girl.” And I got right on that.  I typed out a little cheat sheet for myself of what I consider the most common phrases, showed it to my oldest daughter, and said, “Hey!  What do you think?”

I earned an A+ in my new language!  Now, I just have to practice, but with the ample opportunities, I’m sure I’ll be an expert before the day’s up.

Language Confinement

They say that certain languages are better for communicating certain ideas.  For example, medical science is usually communicated in English due to the specificity of the English language and  its words.  I don’t know, but all of my medical doctor friends from abroad tell me they studied medicine in English.  Amazing feat, eh?

I propose that tweens are dealing with language confinement.  Their language, which my daughter calls the hate language, just doesn’t have enough words and concepts to communicate effectively to us.  I can’t tell you how many times my girls have said to me when I ask them to describe how they’re feeling in a tense moment, “But I don’t know what I’m feeling!”

My girls honestly can’t express what they’re feeling.  Ugh. Trust me.  I’ve tried the active listening technique, and I sat there for over 30 minutes in silence waiting for a response.  (You have no idea how hard that was for me.)  The girls just don’t know what it is they’re feeling.  So what do they do?  They resort to their simple language of hate.  This hate language is clearly more limited in its abilities to express emotions.

Hate Language Phrases

I’ve translated some hate language phrases I hear in my house.  Sometimes a phrase might mean something slightly different, depending on the situation and daughter (see–it’s an inexact language!), but you’ll get the idea.  Stop!  Don’t bristle!  Interpret!

“I hate you.”   (Because I love you so much I don’t know how to separate myself from you.)

“It’s your fault.”  (I feel bad when I mess up but I’m so glad you try to protect me and help me and do something for me.)

“Katherine’s family is better.  (Because I want a cell phone with Snapchat and a Facebook account and to keep my phone in my room at night.)

“I hate my sister.”  (Am I okay?  I don’t feel special.  Does anyone love me for me?  I am an individual, not just a piece of this family unit.)

“Why are we always the first ones to have to leave?”  (I’m so glad you bring me to fun get-togethers.)

“You always take her side.”  (I feel so insecure.  Maybe I did pick this fight.  But I did it because for some reason I feel yucky inside and I want everyone to feel yucky–yet I want to be loved like a baby.  Why does my head feel so crazy inside, Mom?  What’s happening to me?  I can’t control how I feel anymore.)

“I need clothes.  I need camp.”  (I’m afraid I don’t fit in.  I feel so awkward.  I’m afraid I’m being left out.)

“I need you.”  (See me as a person, mom.  Make me feel special like you used to.)

Will We Laugh Too?

Ah.  Sigh.  (Big sigh.)  From poop to vomit to picking noses to the language of hate.  We parents are in it deep.  Is it funny?  I suppose looking back, when things turn out okay in the end, we’ll be able to laugh like those seasoned parents.  But seriously, I’ve seen things not turn out okay before. So although I don’t plan to stew and think I’m the controller of my kids’ destiny—which I do not believe–I’m learning that there are things I can help with as a parent and things I cannot help with.  I’m not a psychiatrist, and I’m not trained in psychology.  So please don’t use anything I write as professional advice.

But if something I write or wrote helps you not bristle and to communicate better with your tween, I am happy.  (It’s SO easy to retort to their hate language with our own hate language.) And if you know of something that helped YOU to not bristle and helped you communicate better with your tween, it’s NOT nice to NOT share.  PLEASE!  THROW ME THE ROPE!  🙂

The next post will be 12 tips on raising tweens.

You’re an awesome parent.  Don’t bristle, and let it shine.  Use your words.

Terri

Is that Massachusetts?

You don’t need to know your states to be a medical doctor.

“Are you ready for your states identification test?” I challenged my homeschooled daughter.

“Kind of. . . sometimes I forget the little states,” she bashfully replied.

Ha!  So do I!  And how to spell them too!  You don’t need to know your states to get through medical school.  I know.  Not where Masachusetts is.  (No.  Massachusetts.)  Not that, although this week I learned that too.  But I know that you can get through medical school not knowing which one’s New Hampshire and which one’s Vermont.  Even if you’ve been there.

Knowledge gaps exist.  When I started homeschooling seven years ago, I told myself I would remedy those gaps.  My children would not have the gaps I had coming out of school. Everything I wanted to learn and didn’t, I would pour onto them.  Beautifully, life smashes your nose up, puts dark hair where it doesn’t belong, and creates a new face for you.

THEN, you’re CoverGirl material.

I Fell Off of the Wagon

wpid-IMAG0263-1.jpgSo you fell off of the wagon?  So?  We all do, and then we let the experience fester like a pimple on our face.  We see it and feel it and pick at it.  We think our whole face is one big pimple.  We just can’t stop touching it and picking it.  How did that pimple get so big and crazy?  It started as just a tiny little red thing…

You fell off of the wagon.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Why?

Because you had old cronies around for a visit?  Uh-huh.  That’s the way it works.  Because you got tired and everybody at work is doing it?  Yep.  Because you ran out of time and it was faster?  You betcha’.  Because you allowed yourself one bite of your problem food?  (If you don’t have a problem food or substance– or two or three, you don’t understand.  Some of us just have to swear some things “off limits” or be okay with knowing we will eat/use them to excess with just one bite/use.  For some of us, moderation is not an option.)

If you try to change your diet, you WILL fall off of the wagon sometime.  All those experts, Paleo Mom, Robb Wolfe, Mark Sisson, Dr. Mercola, Steve and Jordan, Dr. Terry Wahls, Elaine Gottschall, and Dallas and Melissa.  Oh, heck, Dr. Oz.  You’ve heard of him.  They all fell off of the wagon.

I’ve read of a couple of people who say they didn’t fall off of the wagon, and I think that’s absolutely great.  They have expressed extreme success with their health and eating.  I give them a standing ovation.

But to you and I, I give my heartfelt encouragement.  I give my camaraderie.  My affection and empathy.  To you I give my hand.  My e-mail.  My comments section.  (But not a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.)  This path is hard.  Your challenger faces you at every street corner, every social function, every family member’s house, every children’s event, and every store.  Your failure is only a bite away.

I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you can’t eat the way other people eat.  (But you know most of them shouldn’t be eating it either. Geesh.  Why can’t they help you out a little?  You’re just asking them to give up bread, pizza, and tortilla chips in show of support.)  I am sorry your body said, “I can’t do this.  This food you’re feeding me…it is not working out.  You keep going this way, I will fall apart on you.  I will try not to, but I will not be able to stop it.  You keep feeding me the same empty food and keep asking me to come up with brilliant ideas, energy for a jog, libido for the spouse, patience for the kids…”

I ask you.  I beg you.  I implore you.  Keep your focus.  Every day.  All day.  Ever diligent.  You will fall off the wagon, but you WILL hold onto the reins.  That is NOT the same as failing.  Ever.  As you keep holding onto the reins, remember to pull back on them and slow the horses.  Slow those horses and get back on your wagon.  It’s your darn wagon, and with trial and error, you CAN learn to control it.  But not if you quit.

So what.  You had a bad day.  It turned it to two or maybe even 7-10 days.  Perhaps it has been the last five years bad.  It’s okay.  Promise me you’ll start in the morning.  I’ll even let you finish that jar of almond butter that you added some honey, vanilla, and salt to.  But start.  You have to keep starting, learning from your mistakes, and keep trying.

You may think it’s just extra weight, but really, it is function.  Weight is a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Headaches are a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Chronic allergic rhinitis is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Being underweight is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Bloating is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Aside from your doctor’s check-ups, you MUST look at food as a culprit for dysfunction.

And if you’re a mom endeavoring to change not only your own eating, but those habits of your children, I am cheering for you even more.  If I can do it, you can do it.  You can do it.  I won’t ask you to more than I can do.  (But I used to–my poor diabetics and cardiac patients…)

Terri

Followup post:  Keep That Wagon Rolling:  My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks

Related Posts:   Grain-Free DietsGAPS, SCD, Paleo, Whole30, and Primal Diets, Choosing to Move Forward With the Plan, Eating out, Ditch the Word “Healthy”, How to Choose Honest Food, Tip Number 1 to Help Restore Health