curves

My Body Doesn’t Define Me

body
For so long my body defined who I was. At first it was as “the invisible woman“. Then I was the Girl Losing Weight. Then for a long time I was The Girl That Lost 110 Pounds! I got so much press and attention. I was defined by losing a lot of weight and keeping it off. Sure it was positive attention and the kudos were encouraging. But as the years went on and I continued to keep the weight off, the attention faded and I was Just Me.

For awhile I wasn’t sure what that meant. I didn’t know really where I was going with this blog, my book, my story–I had an agent but because I wasn’t famous publishers weren’t interested in my story, no matter how much leg work my agent did. It was definitely disappointing and I put my book away and walked away from the whole thing for some time. It hurt to think about it and relive the rejection whenever I thought about trying to get it published again.

What do I want to be my “thing”? What defines me? I really don’t know. I do know that it has to be something other than my body. As the years go on, my body will change. I’ll get older, will find wrinkles on my face and sunspots on my hands. I look at my 94 year old grandmother and think about her amazing life and realize–how much she weighed or what she looked like doesn’t define who she is. She’s an old woman–at one point she was a gorgeous, tall, dark-haired beauty. But that all fades. What remains is family, the friendships, the experiences.

gravity

I was reading a fictional book recently where the main character was a second grade teacher. A quote struck me so profoundly I wanted to share it:

“…sometimes the first graders even, and by the time they get to my classroom, to the third grade, they’re well and gone–they’re full of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and French manicures and cute outfits and they care about how their hair looks! In the third grade. They care more about their hair or their shoes than about galaxies or caterpillars or hieroglyphics. How did all that revolutionary talk of the seventies land us in a place where being female means playing dumb and looking good?…We’re lost in a world of appearances now. [pg 4 from The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud]”

We are definitely lost in a world of appearances. Just look at the cover of all magazines. Plastered with plastic celebrities with distorted bodies–too skinny bodies with too big heads, plastic surgery faces, unrealistic body shapes. Reality has been morphed and the “norm” is no longer what is natural. So how DO you define yourself in a day and age when we’re held up to unrealistic standards? I don’t want to be defined by my body–I don’t want to be defined by what size my pants are or that number on the scale. For too long it’s been that way. For too long I’ve had my entire happiness wrapped up in what the scale tells. That isn’t healthy!

war
Something else that has been bothering me lately…it’s bothered me for awhile because in general fads annoy me. But I find this particular fad difficult because it makes me feel badly about myself. I’m talking about Crossfit. It seems like EVERYONE does OMGCROSSFIT. And with a lot of fads, when someone gets into it, it’s all they talk about. My judgment is not about the friends that are doing crossfit and posting about it on social media ad nauseum…what bothers me is that the people that are really into it and do it every day of the week transform their bodies in amazing ways. The pictures I see are people with six pack abs, rock hard muscles, little to no body fat. Why does this upset me? Because it feels like it’s creating this standard and if you DON’T do crossfit and DON’T get OMGRIPPED, you’re somehow failing at fitness.

I know, I know, this is all pressure I am putting on myself. No one is putting this pressure onto me, it’s just the feelings that are evoked in me whenever I see these people with kick-ass bodies. It’s feelings of inadequacy, feelings of jealousy, and feelings of comparison when I shouldn’t be comparing! Why do I let these feelings bother me? Instead of admiring a fellow athlete’s dedication and strength, I compare my own body and wistfully think That will never be me...?

The truth is, no one can keep up with crossfit, or any intense fitness, for their entire lives. Hardcore fitness isn’t sustainable. Our bodies break down, we get injured, we age, we find other things to be higher priorities. So while doing something amazing and transformative NOW is a great accomplishment, will your body be the same in 20 years? 30? Probably not.

I let these feelings bother me because I’m currently allowing my self-worth be defined by my body. I don’t really know how to shut that off. Maybe none of us really know how to do that. I want to make peace with the loose skin, the stretchmarks, the muscular thighs and curvy figure. I do not want to define my self-worth by my body. Can we all get there? Someday?

Homemade French Bistro

Are you a “Modern Family” fan? If you haven’t seen the show, it’s an exercise comedic brilliance as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never laughed so often and so hard from a sitcom in a long time. One of the characters on the show, Sofia Vergara, recently revealed in an article that she was told she should lose weight.

“The “Modern Family” star admitted that she used to have trouble finding outfits to wear to events because the size zero dresses sent by designers didn’t fit her hourglass figure. But the actress refused to change her curvaceous shape.”


Good for her! These are things I like to read about celebrities and “diets.” She went on to say: “Columbian women are held to different standards than American women. “We’re not expected to be as thin or skinny,” Vergara said. “And we’re a little less conscious about our bodies.” ”

I think that’s a breath of fresh air. I hate seeing these models and actresses criticized on the cover of magazines because they have curves.  Or if they aren’t rail-thin the tabloids make fun of how they look in a swimsuit or claim they are pregnant. Who wants to look like this:


When you can look like THIS:


I’d take Sofia’s curves ANY day! I think she’s gorgeous and looks like a real woman to me. One thing I’ve noticed as my body changed with the weight loss was the loss of my curves. My breasts shrank, my stomach flattened, my waistline narrowed. I saw my curves disappearing a little. I’m happy with my curves. Michael asked me once what happens if I reached my “goal” of 140 pounds–what’s next? 130 pounds? Nope. I don’t WANT to be super skinny. I DO want to keep my curves! That was a realization that I came to in the last few months: a low number isn’t what I’m searching for.

QUESTION: How has social media changed the way you respond or think about yourself or your body?

Tuesday night a friend came over for dinner. Michael and I had picked out the following recipe when we Meal Planned this weekend and it sounded good to me. We bought 3 pork chops and gave it a go.

Pork Chops au Poivre

From EatingWell

Turn your dining room into a French bistro when you dress up pepper-crusted pork chops with a rich, creamy brandy sauce. Serve with roasted sweet potato slices and green beans.

Ingredients

* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 4 4-ounce boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick, trimmed
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium shallot, minced
* 1/2 cup brandy
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Preparation

1. Combine pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pat the mixture onto both sides of each pork chop. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge each chop in the flour, shaking off any excess.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops, reduce heat to medium and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallot to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add brandy and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve the pork chops with the sauce.

Nutrition Per serving (4 Servings): 299 Calories; 15 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 8 g Mono; 72 mg Cholesterol; 3 g Carbohydrates; 22 g Protein; 0 g Fiber; 342 mg Sodium; 319 mg Potassium


The pork chops were easy and Michael just prepared them in the skillet the way he normally does. The only difference was the flour.


Michael didn’t think the flour was necessary by I liked the extra flavor and crunchiness it added. Instead of sweet potatoes and green beans I baked a squash of unknown origin. There was no sticker on it so I am at a loss for what it was!


The squash was small but took a long time to bake.


Dinner was delicious but I was disappointed that the “gravy” wasn’t very thick. Too much brandy perhaps?


What kind of squash do you think I picked up? It was sweet but not overly sweet and when I first cut it open and scooped out the seeds it smelled like cucumber.


Our friend Kat brought her adorable baby so I got my baby fix too. Kat also baked a PIE!! From scratch! Oh my did it smell good. It was still warm too.


It tasted delicious. It fell apart but it tasted good. She used the Paula Deen recipe for Apple Pie but I’m not sure which one.


There’s nothing better than homemade pie. I had a great time. The kitties–not so much. They were alarmed by the baby in the house and they scattered whenever she made noises. Poor Maya!


Scared to pieces. 🙂

QUESTION: What’s your favorite homemade pie recipe? Any tips for a newbie that wants to try?