Join Us On This Adventure!

There has been a lot, in a news lately, about the stress hormone; cortisol. People are talking about how you can gain weight around your middle due to its effects. There are many companies out there peddling pills to help you reduce the weight gain from cortisol. But what if there was something more natural that could be done? What if there was a simple, beneficial thing that could decrease the cortisol as well as benefit your life in other ways and didn’t need to cost you anything but a little of your time. Well, there is such a thing! Meditation. 

I have decided to challenge myself to 90 days of daily meditation to see how it may or may not affect my weight. I love my body as is, but after my winter of hibernation and decreased mobility, I have noticed my clothes are a little tighter. I sat down this morning and the back tore out of my shorts. I’m sure this was related to the fabric being old and not my expanding size; I hope, anyway. I decided to weigh myself, something I seldom do. I hesitated whether or not to share my weight in this blog. In the end I decided it is just a number and not a reflection of my value as a person. So why not share it? I weighed myself midday, fully clothed and was surprised to see my weight has jumped up to 207.4lbs. Okay, I really do need to do something about my weight. It seems to have snuck up about 30lbs from where I used to maintain it. 

My plan is to meditate daily as a way to manage my stress an hopefully decrease cortisone and then see a decrease in my size so that my clothes fit better. I was sharing my idea with my Adventure Sister, Emy, who liked the idea of a healthy stress management process so much so she decided to join me also. 

What a great idea! What if we did this as a community? What if we all supported each other through this and shared our successes, what we learned, and our experiences? For the next 90 days Emy and I will commit to meditation daily. Once a week we will each write a blog to share how it is changing and enhancing our lives. We invite and encourage, all of you, to join us on this adventure. Give meditation a try; whether you are an experienced meditator or new to the practice. I have meditated a fair amount over my life but never been great about maintaining daily practice. I feel that by committing 90 days to ourselves, it gives us a good amount of time for it to become a routine to both our conscious and subconscious minds. We welcome your comments on our blogs and social media sites. Your experiences maybe just what someone else, someone who maybe struggling, needs to hear that others are too. Trust that guidance to share your journey with us on this adventure. 

I am currently experimenting with several meditation Apps. Stay tuned for a future blog that will share which apps I tried and what my thoughts were on these helpful guides. For a jumpstart; please see my earlier blog: 9 Ways to Improve Meditation.  Additionally, I will be writing a blog highlighting several different types of meditation techniques.  Hopefully these will help us all on our 90 days of daily meditation. Our journey to committing to a healthy way to manage our stress. 

So come on this adventure with us! Whether you are doing this for stress management, to release weight, or just to be a part of a community; we look forward to walking this journey with you. If you don’t feel now is the right time to start a daily meditation practice, that is okay. Do what feels right for you, in this time and space. The blogs will be here for you when you are ready. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your lifetime be full of healthy stress management and may your body easily release anything that does not serve your highest good; whether it be weight or outdated beliefs about yourself. 

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How I Learned to Love My Body Again

Think about being a child, care free in your appearance. How free that must feel. I watch my stepson and grandchildren. They will put on some goofy thing and know they look good. Body image is such a struggle for so many today. How can we heal this within ourselves?
My own struggles with body image started very young. I can remember being in elementary school and thinking I was fat. I am not sure where the initial problem started from. Was it my grandmother saying I should wear dark colors because they were slenderizing? Was it the kid on the play ground who called me a 2000 pound Tyrannosaurus rex? Could it have been noticing that clothes did not look on me the way they looked on my Barbie Dolls? Whatever the reason, from a young age, my body image sucked! It started a vicious cycle of dieting and binging that carried on until my late 30’s when eventually I had gastric bypass surgery. I lost 113.5 as a result of the surgery. I looked amazing, at least with my clothes on. Without them my skin hung and sagged. Without the fat I had way more skin than I needed. Stretch marks from years of weight gain made a map across my body. My breasts hung, more than a little, lower than were they belonged. I still felt disgusting. I consulted with a plastic surgeon to have skin pealed off of my body so that other skin could be pulled up and the folds would be decreased. Even after the surgery my body would not resemble those molded plastic fashion dolls of my youth. At least my body would be a little less gross. I scheduled the surgery.
At that time I was doing online dating. It struck me sometime before the plastic surgery that this was not the correct option for me. I needed to learn to love myself as is, otherwise how could anyone else love me? The kind of man I was looking for was the kind who could look past people faults and love the beautiful soul inside. I canceled surgery and decided any man who wanted me would have to be able to love this body with all of its mileage. I started working on loving myself. I started working on improving my feelings about my body.
I started small. Noticing aspects of my body that I did like was a way to begin. My toes are cute. I have strong legs. Parts of me that were easy to love paved the way to loving all of me. I found a great hair stylist. Which taught me my frizzy, out of control hair was actually full of really fun curls. Then the shopping began. The jeans and t-shirts were pushed to the back of the closet. Dresses now hung in the front. Pretty girly things that made me feel like a woman. I embraced my femininity. Changing my dating profile from “a few extra pounds” to “curvy” really helped me embrace my body as sexy, even if I still felt it was imperfect.
I did find a man who loves me as is. He is a beautiful and kind soul. The year we were married, Emy and I were planning our annual BWCA (Boundary Water Canoe Area) trip. These trips have morphed from fun adventures into an opportunity to work on wellness and self improvement. We still have lots of fun but they are now so much more. In the bags I included a pack of metallic pastel colored pertinent markers. “A fun activity for our trip, awaits in the bags”, I told Emy. Letting the anticipation of surprise speak to the little girl in her. All the while the little girl in me was relishing this idea.
As we sat on our private island in the BWCA, near our campfire, drinking tea, and watching the sun glisten off the lake, I produced the markers. “We are going to write message of love to our body”. She lit up. We set to work covering our bodies in words of appreciation and things we wanted to manifest for ourselves. When we were done the metallic ink sparked in the afternoon sun. Words such a strength, love, beauty, temperance, feminine, courage, and support adorned our bodies amidst peace symbols, flowers, vines, hearts, and other symbolic drawings. It was a transformative experience.
I am more comfortable with my body now than I have been since I was a very young child. I still have moments, but for the most part, I love my body. I love every line and fold. Even that parts that don’t sit as high as they once did, receive appreciation and loving kindness from me.

What struggles do you have with your body image? Do you have helpful tricks you can share with others?

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have loving kindness for your body!

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The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, like so many beautiful areas, may be at risk from exploitation. If you feel so moved please sign the petition below to save this amazing natural resource!