Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 30, Reason 30: Loving Myself is the Reason, Not the Goal

So this is it.  30 days without my scale, and my final reason for eating right and exercise that has nothing to do with how I look.  I have a lot of thoughts to work out about what I really learned during this month - and it wasn't what I thought or hoped I would learn.

At any rate, I must post one final reason.  It's been pretty challenging these last few days, and I have felt like I just can't come up with one more.  Then this morning, my final reason came to me.

I have to eat right and exercise because I love myself.

What does that mean?  Mainly that I have always seen losing weight as the key to seeing myself in such a way that I could love myself.  I stare at myself in the mirror and tell myself how much I hate my belly and thighs, my stretch marks, the little bit of fat hanging over my bra.  I hate the flap under my triceps and the way I get a double chin in some pictures.  And I think if I just lose that weight, if I just look better, then I will love myself.  How sad is that?  And yet I know I am not alone.  I know many, if not most, women think they'll love themselves more if they can just fix those flaws, whatever they may be.

But that's looking at it entirely wrong.  Loving myself should be the reason to exercise and eat right, and not the goal.  I shouldn't do it so I will love myself, but because I love myself.  Because I deserve to be healthy and the people who love me deserve for me to be healthy.

So that brings me to the all-important question: do I love myself?  Do I love myself as I am?  Will I love myself no matter what the scale says tomorrow?

I don't know the answer to that.  But I do know that if I can't love myself as I am then there is no amount of exercise that is going to make me love myself any more.  I have to love myself first, and I have to treat my body as something that deserves love.  Otherwise, how can I ever expect to look in the mirror and be happy, no matter what I see?

Day 30, Reason 30: Loving myself first.

So here it is. The end of the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 29, Reason 29: Comaraderie

Anyone who has ever gotten seriously into fitness - any type of fitness - knows that one of the things that is most enjoyable about it is the sense of camaraderie you get with other people who are also into fitness.  Sometimes this can go a bit too far and become cliqueish - yes crossfitters, I'm looking at you - but mostly it's just a nice thing to share and talk about with friends.

I work out entirely at home, so I don't go to classes where I make friends, but even so I get a sense of connection with other people who are also dedicated to workouts.  It's a great topic of conversations, and it's something you can connect with other people on even when you don't know them well.  It's something people like to brag about a little, something they are proud of, so it gives people a chance to talk about themselves, and to share experiences and tips.

I always feel a little outside the circle when I am not working out regularly, and I really do like being on the inside.

Day 29, Reason 29: The sense of connection with others who are dedicated to workouts.

Only ONE DAY LEFT of the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 28, Reason 28: I Can Wear What I Want

If you know me, it's no secret I love shoes. I love high heels, but I don't love how much my feet hurt when I have my weight on my feet in those shoes all day long.  And that gets worse the heavier I am.  So, the better I eat, the more I exercise, the less I weigh, the more I can wear the gorgeous shoes I own without super sore feet.

I don't feel that needs further explanation.

Day 28, Reason 28: I can wear awesome heels.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 27, Reason 27: It Forces Me to Try New Things

I have a confession to make.  I'm a really picky eater.  And by that I mean I think most vegetables are disgusting, and I won't eat anything with a weird or slimy texture, or that sounds in any way unappealing to me.  So you can imagine that it's a challenge for me to convince my kids to eat foods that I won't eat.

Doing my best to eat healthy, clean foods forces me to overcome my anti-vegetable predisposition.  It forces me to find ways to cook the foods that gross me out in ways that make them more palatable to me.  Since I first tried to eat on a Primal diet, I have managed to find ways to make myself eat cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, and multiple leafy greens I otherwise wouldn't touch.  Broccoli is still a challenge for me, but I find that I can eat broccoli slaw, which I never would have discovered if I hadn't forced myself to try new things.

I'm a much better eater now that I was 5 or 10 years ago, and I am still trying to find new ways to get more, different healthy foods into my diet that I never would have tried years ago.  And I'm discovering all kinds of ways of cooking that make it easier to stay healthy.

Day 27, Reason 27: Expanding my culinary horizons.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge is almost over!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 26, Reason 26: All Kinds of Little Problems Go Away

I've mostly been focusing on big reasons for exercising and eating right, but there are a bunch of little ones that all add up.  When I eat good, clean food, and I stick to my exercise routine, all kinds of little issues get better.

My always-present sinus pressure eases.  My skin feels healthier, less dry, less itchy.  My nails break less.  I don't have as many headaches.  It's little things, that add up to a big reason to keep being a healthier person.

Everyone has little issues that annoy them throughout the day, the chronic things we just get used to and eventually don't notice as much - until they are gone.  When they are, life improves in small ways that make us feel better overall.  And that's how I feel when I stick to healthy eating and exercise: better in a hundred small ways.

Day 26, Reason 26: The little things that add up to big things.

Side note: I only have to find 3 more reasons!!

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 25, Reason 25: Easing the Pain

It may sound counterintuitive, but working out actually does take away a lot of my pain.  Since my kids were born, I have had a lot of hip and lower back pain.  The more regularly I exercise, the less I suffer from those aches and pains.

Granted, there is pain associated with working out too, but it's not the same as those nagging aches and shooting pains I get as a result of having two children.  And it passes, the more I work out.  So the more I push myself, the less my body hurts in the long run.

Exercise can make things hurt, yes, but they make other things stop hurting - and I will take the good pain over the chronic pain any day.

Day 25, Reason 25: It takes away my chronic pain.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge!

Day 24, Reason 24: It's Good to Be Flexible

Ok, I missed a day again...ooops.  So I owe two reasons today.  I'm in the last few days of this and I am starting to wonder why I did this.  I don't feel better.  Nobody really cares, including me, that I haven't weighed myself in almost 30 days.  I guess I thought it was going to mean something somehow, that I was going to feel some sort of accomplishment.

At any rate, because I'm invested in the whole thing and since I've made it this far, I will push through.  I'll get to my overall feelings about the whole thing when I gather my thoughts for the final post next week.

Today's reason is a pretty basic one.  Working out regularly makes me more flexible, which is kind of nice when you have to tie your shoes, or contort yourself to reach behind a heavy piece of furniture to access some vitally important toy that you child has managed to drop back there.

It's not a huge reason most of the time, but when you need to be a bit more flexible you really do appreciate it.

Yeah, I'm feeling blah about this whole thing.  Off to think of another reason.

Day 24, Reason 24: Being more flexible.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day 23, Reason 23: That Endorphin High Rocks

Everyone who has ever gotten seriously into exercising knows the feeling.  They call it runner's high but it's got nothing to do with running; I never run and I know it well.  The endorphin high you get from exercising.  It comes on when you least expect it, and all of a sudden you feel so fantastic you could keep going forever.

The crappy thing about that high is, it takes a while to get there.  You don't get it the first time you work out, or the first week, or maybe even the first month.  But then one day, it hits you.  You feel like you're on clouds, you're only vaguely aware of fatigue, aching limbs, sweat, heavy breathing.  Out of nowhere, there it is: the high you're going to chase forever after, the moment you become hooked on exercise.

I haven't felt it in a while, and I really need to get there again.  Once I do, it's no longer a struggle to make myself work out in the morning.  I look forward to it, and skipping a workout isn't something I will eve consider.  It's like everything clicks, and it's easy after that.  I mean, not easy exactly, you still work your butt off.  But the desire to give up and crawl back into bed slips away.

Day 23, Reason 23: Chasing that amazing high

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Day 22, Reason 22: To Reduce the Risks of Scary Diseases

Here goes the second reason of my double-header!  This one's kinda heavy.

Everything causes cancer these days.  Heart disease is one of the number one killers of women.  There are a billion scary diseases beyond these two that you can get at a moment's notice, and they'll just kill you.  Just like that.

What's truly scary is that you can get these diseases even if you are super healthy, eat nothing but the best foods, exercise all the time, and never touch a cigarette or a drink in your entire life.  You can be the world's healthiest person and cancer can take you down.  Just like that.

So yes, horrendous diseases affect people all the time, and maybe there's nothing any of us can do to completely prevent them.  But there's a whole lot of literature to prove that you can reduce that risk by eating better and exercising, so if there is something you can do to bring down the risk, then you really should.  Because life is scary enough and the risks are high enough, so shouldn't we all do our best to make sure we are on the lower end of the risk scale?

It's easy to say "I could get cancer anyway, I might as well do what I want", but that's a cop-out.  All those people out there who love me and want me to stay here and stay healthy deserve better than for me to cop out.  My kids deserve better than for their mom to cop out.

Day 22, Reason 22: Because I can, and should, do everything to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and all the other illnesses that strike down amazing people in their prime.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge.

Day 21, Reason 21: Comfortable in My Clothes

I forgot to post yesterday, so today it's a double-header.  Which means I have to think of two reasons, which is getting pretty hard as I enter the last days of this challenge.  I knew it would get hard, but I admit I am really reaching for ideas now.  So here's hoping I think of today's reason while I write yesterday's.

Being comfortable in your clothes is about a lot more than how you look; it's about how to feel.  Waistbands digging into your stomach, bras digging into your back...adjusting skirts and bustlines all day because it just doesn't feel right - those are all the things that tell me I need to get more exercise and eat better.  And they are not about how I look - although that is a part of it - they are mainly about how I feel.

I hate when I am in a place when only yoga pants feel comfortable.  Because while those pants might feel good, they don't look good.  So, in some weird turnaround, I feel better when I can wear my less comfortable clothes, because they fit me right.

Confidence is about feeling good, and when I feel comfortable in the clothes I love, I feel more confident.  Being able to wear the lovely things I own means a lot to me.  Those clothes make me feel confident.  And that's not about being skinny, it's about feeling right in my skin as well as my clothes.

Day 21, Reason 21: To feel comfortable with myself and my clothes.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Day 20, Reason 20: Nobody wants to huff and puff up the stairs.

There's no quicker way to discover you are out of shape than to have to limb several flights of stairs in a hurry.  Aching legs, a little sweat, and the worst - the huffing and puffing - not fun for anyone.

I haven't had to climb a lot of stairs recently, but it's not a bad thing to be prepared for that day when you're at the doctor's office and you're late, and you push that elevator button and wait, and wait...and wait, and it's not coming and you decide you're going to have to climb those stairs.

And it's not just stairs, it's any time you find yourself having to hurry - walk quickly or, heaven forbid, run.  It's awful to be that out of shape person who is breathing hard while other people are just moving along like it's nothing.

You know how they say you don't have to outrun the bear, just the slowest person who is also running from the bear?  Well, if there's no one else around, you have to outrun the bear.  And it's not likely to happen that you're being chased by a bear...but don't you want to be ready?  Just sayin'.

Day 20, Reason 20: Because sometimes you gotta outrun the bear, and you don't want to be wheezing.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Day 19, Reason 19: It Gets My Day Going

Getting up at 6 am sucks for an insomniac night owl.  It suuuucks.

But, I have learned that if I push through, get going, and exercise first thing in the morning, the rest of the day goes much more smoothly.

I don't sleep well, and 6 am is painful for me.  But somehow, by the time I have gotten the kids on the bus and walked the dog, I am ready for a workout.  And I finish that workout and feel ready to start the day.  I get more stuff done.  I'm awake, I'm energized, and I no longer want to crawl back into bed.

After I work out I can sit down and get some writing done, and then I can get on with what ever else is planned for my day.  If I skip it, I continue to feel tired and lethargic.  It gets me moving, it gets me going.  I actually missed it during the summer when lazy mornings moved into lazy afternoons and I got nothing done.

I'm not a schedule-oriented person, but somehow having a schedule for excercise actually makes me feel better throughout the day.

Day 19, Reason 19: Because getting going moves the whole day.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons No Scale Challenge!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day 18, Reason 18: Because I Can

When you think about it, it's pretty obnoxious of me to complain about the struggle to eat healthy foods and exercise.

Unlike the majority of the world, I have easy access to an incredible array of healthy, fresh foods, 24 hours a day if I really want it.  I have no less than seven grocery stores within 5 minutes of my house.  They are stocked, between them, with enough food to feed a small city.  And while people starve around the world, I have the gall to complain that I don't feel like cooking or that I don't know what to make for dinner, or that it's too hard to find healthy and delicious meals that my kids will eat.

Unlike many people even right here in the U.S., I have enough money to purchase that food that is within easy reach of my home, a car to get there, and a well-stocked kitchen in which to prepare that food.  I can afford to buy healthy, high-quality food, unlike many people whose grocery budgets barely allow them to purchase the cheapest, most basic necessities.  I can run out at a moment's notice and come home with not only the ingredients for that recipe that just sounds so good I absolutely must make it tonight, but a bottle of wine to go with it.

Unlike people who are struggling just to survive, my biggest struggle on a daily basis is to just put on my workout shoes and spend an hour sweating.  While children do backbreaking labour to make those workout shoes somewhere in the world, I have the nerve to complain that they're rubbing on my big toe during my cardio kickboxing workout.

Unlike the many people grievously injured in wars, weakened by malnutrition and rampant illness, exhausted from the very struggle to stay alive, I am strong, healthy and whole.  I am physically capable of vigorous exercise, and I can work out for fun while others try to find the strength just to make it through the day.

I'm among the luckiest people on the planet, and I somehow think I have the right to complain about how hard it is to eat healthy and exercise.  I'm actually challenging myself to do it like it's some sort of major life accomplishment.

You know what that makes me?  An asshole.

Day 18, Reason 18: Because I am so freaking lucky that I can, so I should stop being an asshole.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons No Scale Challenge.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 17, Reason 17: Exercising is a Perfectly Normal Thing to Do

Like many people of my generation I sometimes struggle to make myself exercise.  We didn't grow up thinking about having to work out; although Jane Fonda was already aerobicizing the ladies of America when I was a kid, I wasn't super aware of it.  My mom took the odd aerobics class, but exercising wasn't something I grew up with, at least not something I saw my parents do regularly.

It's not that we were sedentary.  My dad did go curling regularly, although many would argue it's more of a drinking game than a from of exercise, I've done it and it actually does require some effort.  My brothers played hockey and baseball.  I took dance.  But those things are all different from the concept of exercising for the sake of exercising.  Just doing it because it's a good thing for your body.

Certainly there's nothing wrong with getting your exercise from an activity that you enjoy; in fact, it's probably the better way to go about it.  But for most of us as adults, work and life take the place of activities done for enjoyment, and many of us drop those activities that kept our bodies moving as kids and teens.  It's entirely possible that those who don't drop them are happier than the rest of us in some way.  They're certainly happier that they don't have to force themselves to the gym to run on a treadmill.

To get to the point, anyway, I think it's a good thing that I am raising my kids to believe that exercising is just something people do.  That it's a normal part of my day, something I do to keep my body healthy.  They'll grow up thinking of exercise as a regular activity that hopefully becomes a part of their day as well, and not so much of a struggle that they have to force themselves to work out.  It's part of the reason I choose to exercise at home.  Well, that and I don't like to engage in public sweating.

Day 17, Reason 17: To teach my kids that exercising is a good, normal thing to do.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons No-Scale Challenge

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 16, Reason 16: Fewer "Sick Days"

Anyone who is a mom knows there is no such thing as a sick day.  You can be sick, but that doesn't mean you can take the day off.  Because kids still need feeding, cajoling out of bed and out the door to school, lunches made.  The dishwasher still needs emptying and the laundry folding and the toilets scrubbing.  There's still homework to oversee, lessons to attend, dinner to make, bedtime to handle.  And then, once the kids are in bed, you get to clean up the kitchen from dinner and pick up the trail of random junk they have left all over the house.

So yeah, sick days, not so much.

As a mom, you pretty much have to have the plague to really get to lie in bed for a few hours, usually after you've gotten the kids ready for school and out the door.  And while you take that time to rest, mom shit ain't gettin' done.  Nope, it's all just right there waiting for you, because the laundry fairy is a myth and so are kids who clean up after themselves.

So yeah, sick days, when you do take them - not even worth it.

Which therefore brings me to another of the perks of eating right and exercise: fewer illnesses.  When I eat right, when I work out regularly, when I take good care of my body, I don't get sick as easily.  And that's important because my children are walking germs.

Day 16, Reason 16: Moms don't get sick days, so I'd best stay healthy.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 15, Reason 15: Enjoying the Splurges

So let's just take a minute to acknowledge that I am halfway through this thing.  Day 15 of 30, and I haven't stepped on the scale once, which is even more amazing considering I didn't even hide it.  It's still sitting there on the bathroom floor, taunting me.

It's been somewhat harder than I thought it would be, and I'm starting to see the scale as something not entirely bad in terms of motivating me.  But I'll get into that in my recap at the end of the month.  As it stands, we're so far, so good.

On the reason my 15th reason.  You enjoy a splurge a lot more when you've earned it.  When you eat clean and healthy most of the time, and you work out daily, you not only really enjoy that occasional treat, you really feel you have earned it.

I love my Sunday brunch.  Bacon, bubbly, pancakes in maple syrup.  I love it.  I look forward to it all week.  And you know, I enjoy it a lot more when I have been eating healthy all week.  I don't feel bloated and gross when I sit down at the table.  And I don't eat as much as I would otherwise, I just savour each bite.

So, before I get too hungry thinking about brunch...here's my halfway point reason.

Day 15, Reason 15: Treats taste better when you feel like you've earned them.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons No Scale Challenge!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 14, Reason 14: Healthy Habits are for Life

Here's why I need to eat healthy all the time and serve the same healthy meals to my kids: because I am setting them up for life.

Already because of our efforts, Nolan and Aaron are better eaters than a lot of kids I know.  They're at the very least willing to try new things, and getting them to eat vegetables is not akin to a trip to the dentist for tooth removal.

We, Shaun and I, are responsible for giving them a foundation for healthy eating, and we can't expect them to eat anything that we ourselves wouldn't eat.  Man, do I struggle with that one.  I am NOT a good vegetable eater, but I have worked on it, and I am still working on it.  I now eat asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, and spinach, things I might not have touched as a child.  And that means my kids eat them too.  The more I can experiment with healthy eating, with finding the right recipes for veggies to make them at the very least palatable to the whole family, the better I am teaching my kids to eat.  And so I keep trying.

Except with broccoli.  I tried, I swear, but that is just nasty.

So the goal is to set my kids up with healthy habits now by modeling them in my own behaviour.  If mommy eats crap and doesn't care about her health, why should they?

Day 14, Reason 14: To teach my kids lifelong healthy eating habits.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons No Scale Challenge here!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Day 13, Reason 13: It's Good to be a Badass

I'm a mom of two little boys.  I'm a freelance writer working from home.  I'm boring.

There aren't a lot of opportunities in the life of a WAHM to feel like a badass.  I don't really do anything that's worthy of attention, although I think I deserve a medal for cleaning our bathrooms, which are often not far off from a Chernobyl-level hazmat disaster.  Every now and then you just want to feel like you're not the dullest, least exciting, least interesting person alive.

Back in the day when I was working out like mad and getting really strong, I got called a badass a lot.  That's about the most exciting word that's ever been used to describe me. I'll take it over pretty any day.  Badass.  Just say it out loud, it makes you feel stronger just pronouncing that word.

My life isn't going to get more exciting any time soon, and I'm ok with that.  I'm developing a taste for calm and quiet, what little of that I get with my boys around anyway.  I'm ok with a life that isn't going to make headlines or leave a whole lot to talk about.  I'm loved, and I love, and life, as they say, is beautiful in it's most basic form.

But it would still feel pretty damn good to be called a badass again.

Day 13, Reason 13: Damn, it feels good to be a badass.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons No Scale Challenge!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 12, Reason 12: A Better Reason to Wake Up Sore

Those of you who like me, are no longer what you'd call "young" will immediately know what I mean when I saw "waking up sore for no reason".

As you get older, you seem to develop an ability to injure yourself in your sleep.  You wake up with an achy back, a stiff neck, sore hips, sometimes even odder ailments.  For no reason other than that you're getting older and your body hates you.  In may case, it may be that my body hates that bottle of wine I consumed the night before, but that was really just to dull the getting old aches and pains from the day before.

Those of you who have worked out seriously know that even when you have been doing it for a while - if you're continuing to challenge yourself and work harder - you're occasionally going to wake up sore.  Really, really sore.  Like, can't lower yourself to the toilet to pee and can't raise your arms high enough to wash your hair kind of sore.  And the best part is, the second day is even worse than the first.

But as much as that soreness sucks, it sucks even more to be sore for no reason.  And if you do things right, you might even be able to reduce the amount of random getting old pain you experience.  Of course, it might just be that you don't notice anymore because your quads hurt so bloody much from the squats.

Day 12, Reason 12: Waking up sore for a good reason.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 11, Reason 11: Better, Um, Adult Time

You know you're a mom when you feel a tad awkward even saying the word sex, because you know if you say it in front of your kids you're going to get 20 questions you don't want to answer.

And out of respect for those of you who aren't interested in the TMI aspects of my life, I'll just talk in general terms.

Today's reason is the simple fact that being healthy helps kick up the ol' libido.  Exercise is the biggest part of that, but eating well plays a role as well; nobody wants to do the horizontal mambo when they're feeling stuffed and bloated.  It's just not comfortable.

Having more energy, feeling better, sleeping well, getting rid of pesky stomach issues - all reasons I have listed already, they all contribute to the libido boost.  And in that great circle of a good life - spending more time between the sheets also helps you sleep better and feel better.  So it's, as Martha would say, a good thing.

Day 11, Reason 11: Feeling better means better (and more frequent) sex, which in turn means feeling better.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day 10, Reason 10: A Sense of Accomplishment

Sense of accomplishment.  Those words generally annoy me, because they are the words everyone uses to convince people to do thankless jobs that have no other real benefits to the person doing them.

As in "After you clean those toilets, you will have a sense of accomplishment!"  or "Getting all that filing done will give you such a sense of accomplishment!"  or "Motherhood gives you such a sense of accomplishment!"

But when it comes to working out, it's true.  It does make you feel like you've accomplished something.  Really, for an exhausted mom (or even someone who isn't a mom) with a million things on the to-do list being pulled at from all sides, getting in a good workout really is an accomplishment.  And the great thing about exercise is that the sense of accomplishment only grows.  You get stronger, faster, more tenacious.  You can do more, lift more, go longer.  You can feel what you are accomplishing with every motion.

So, unlike housework, office work, and motherhood, exercise actually does give me a sense of accomplishment.  Ok fine, motherhood does make you feel like you've accomplished something.  Sometimes...occasionally.

Day 10, Reason 10: That elusive sense of accomplishment.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 9, Reason 9: Strong Bones

Osteoporosis runs in my family, and is very common in women as they age.  I'm not a huge fan of drinking my milk - really of dairy products at all.  Except for cheese of course....delicious, delicious cheese....brie....gouda....havarti....where were we?  Oh yes, bones.

One of the ways you can strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis is by lifting weights.  I'm not making that up, is all sciency and whatnot.  It's not just for building muscle, but for your bones too.

So for strong bones, I need to pick things up and put them down.  I'm not really liking the idea of breaking a hip, so I need to keep right on getting that strength training in.  That's a cut-and-dried reason number 9.

Day 9, Reason 9: Strong bones, no broken hips...or any other bones, hopefully

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Day 8, Reason 8: It's Good For the $10,000 Mutt

My dog got skunked this morning, which is why this post is so late.  I just spent the entire day deodorizing my house. I also took her in for a $50 de-skunking.

Of course, that's a drop in the Kona bucket, because this dog has not been nicknamed the $10,000 mutt for nothing.  Four surgeries, two of them cruciate ligament repairs on her knees - yes both of them - have easily pushed her into 5 figures on the cost of ownership scale.  She's one lucky dog to have landed with us, that's for sure.

But she also does a lot of good for us. She's been a best friend to me through some of the hardest, loneliest times of my life, through infertility and finally through the early years of motherhood.  It was Kona who got up with me and lay at my feet while I pumped for Nolan, several times a night every night for months.  And she does other good for me as well.

I've gotten into the habit of walking her every morning after the kids get on the bus.  I've missed that all summer, and so has she.  We walk about 2 miles each morning.  Sometimes I chat with my mom on the phone, sometimes I just enjoy the early morning quiet on the trail behind our house.  And she has never been in better shape - at least not since puppyhood.

Those walks have not only done me physical good, but they have also done her good.  Her knees are strong now and she walks easily, even runs and jumps.  She has lost weight - and she really, really needed to.  She's healthier and she will be with me a long time because of it, I hope.

So sticking to that exercise habit, of walking each day, is good for that crazy, expensive, stinky mutt I adore.  And that's a pretty good reason to do it.

Day 8, Reason 8: A healthy, happy dog.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day 7, Reason 7: To Feel More Comfortable

So before I launch into the 7th reason, a little update on how this whole thing is going.

I have not stepped on the scale in 7 days now.  It has not gotten easier.  Especially in the last few days I have been dying to know what the little screen will say.  Not because I think there's any good reason I should have lost weight, in fact it's just the opposite.  Because it's such an ingrained habit.  I can't stand not knowing.  It's driving me crazy.  It's like a little fix I need every day, and like every addiction, it doesn't always make me feel good, but I do it anyway.

But..onwards I go.  If I can make it 7 days I can make it 30.  I'm hoping that the desire will fade and I will no longer be a scale addict by the end of this.  I can't say my confidence in that is high though.

On to reason number 7.  Now, I promised my reasons would have nothing to do with my weight or my appearance, and maybe this one toes the line a little, but it's a huge reason for me.

I just feel more comfortable when I am more fit.  I can't bear my thighs rubbing together.  I sweat less and feel cooler and more comfortable when I am in better shape.  I hate when my waistband is hurting me and sitting down is uncomfortable.  Everything about my body feels better when I am eating right and exercising.  There's less bloating, less bouncing, less rubbing...I just feel more comfortable.  And it's not about how I look or my comfort in having people look at me - that is an entirely different issue.  Physical comfort in my own skin and in my clothes is perhaps not the best reason, but it's a powerful one.

Day 7, Reason 7: To feel more comfortable in my body.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge here!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Day 6, Reason 6: Because IBS Sucks

I was diagnosed with IBS years ago, and the doctor's didn't seem to really have much of an answer for me in terms of treating it.  Eat more fiber, get more exercise, drink more water.  All pretty general solutions.  It took me a while to figure out what really makes a difference for me.

When I first tried a primal diet, it was a huge struggle.  But then, I started to feel better.  The more I ate clean, healthy, whole, unprocessed foods, the less grains I ate, the better I felt.  My stomach stopped cramping, I spent less time in locked in the bathroom in pain.  I discovered by adding foods back in what was giving me the most pain - gluten.  It was like a miracle to discover I could be free of the bloating and discomfort.

Exercise is a component of that as well.  The more regularly I work out, the better my body seems to process food.  The combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet made all the difference for me.  As soon as I go back to skipping workouts and eating poorly, all that digestive pain comes back full force.  I'd rather live without it, and I finally know there is a way to do that.

Day 6, Reason 6: Because healthy eating and exercise makes my tummy happy.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 5, Reason 5: Exercise is Better Than a Stress Ball

As some of you may know, raising two boys can also raise the blood pressure.  It can get a little crazy and stressful around here, you know, like pretty much all the time.

Sometimes, they're just sending you up a wall and you just want to scream and possibly punch something.  Note, I said something, not someone, let's not be calling the social workers.  And that's where my favourite kickboxing DVD comes in.

Not only is it a fantastic workout, it's also a great stress reliever.  There's nothing like an hour of kicking and punching to blow off some steam.  It's not just kickboxing either - exercise of any kind is a fantastic stress reducer that can make you feel a lot better.  And it's both an immediate way to kill some stress as well as a long-term solution to keeping stress under control.

I'm guessing that my days of stress are long from over.  We've got the teen years to contend with, after all, and Nolan is already an obnoxious 7-year-old.  I can only imagine him at 15.  So keeping stress under control is reason number five, and it's a big one.

Day 5, Reason 5: Less, stress, happier mom.

Check out the 30 Days. 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 4, Reason 4: Two Boys Need One Strong Mother

Yesterday Nolan leaped down from three stairs up and into my arms.  I wasn't ready for him to do it, but I was able to catch him and hold him.  He does this a lot - we call it the Nolan Assault Hug.  Sometimes he runs at you, sometimes he leaps off of something.  Most of the time I can tell he's about to do it and brace myself - but even when I'm not ready he doesn't knock me over.  At least, he hasn't yet.

My boys love to be picked up and hugged, swing around and carried on shoulders and piggyback.  Those days are going to come to an end soon as the boys grow older and don't want mom to pick them up, but for now, they have no doubt that their mom has the strength to handle them.  For now, I can take a Nolan Assault Hug no problem, and I like it that way.

They see me lifting weights and know I am working on being stronger.  They have seen me split wood, move furniture, and pick up our 85-lb lab.  They have never once questioned my strength, or questioned whether I was strong enough to do something because I'm a woman.  And I want it to stay that way for as long as possible.

Handling two energetic, rambunctious boys who show affection with the same all-out approach that they take to every physical activity takes a lot of strength, and keeping up with them is one of the main reasons I need strength training.  They'll get too big, and the assault hugs will come to an end, but I hope it's simply because they've outgrown it and not because I can't handle it.  After all, a mom of boys has to take affection any way she can get it.

Day 4, Reason 4: To be strong enough to keep up with my little guys, even as they become bigger guys.  To show them where that strength comes from by letting them know exercise makes the difference.

Check out the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day 3, Reason 3: Some Sleep Would Be Nice

If you know me, you know I'm tired.  That's pretty much my constant refrain: I'm so tired.  For an insomniac, that takes on a whole new meaning, being tired.  It's part of your everyday existence, something that just is, like the colour of your eyes.

I've always been a terrible sleeper - ask my mom.  To this day my insomnia comes and goes in waves, where it gets a little better and a little worse.  But the nights that I fall asleep easily are few, and the nights that I sleep for more than a few hours without waking are even fewer.  Those, like my husband, who sleep easily and deeply, can't begin to understand.

I've been asked why I can't sleep (I don't know), why I don't just stop thinking about whatever is running around in my brain (I can't), and if I've tried this, that, and the other supplement (I have).  Even with Ambien I will wake up in the night and be unable to fall back asleep.  In truth, the only thing that has ever improved my sleep even a little is sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine.

When I stick to a close-to-primal diet plan and I work out 6 days a week, I sleep better.  It might take me only an hour to fall asleep instead of two, and I might wake in the night only once instead of 3-4 times.  That doesn't sound like a vast improvement to all you easy snoozers, but to me, it's a miracle.

So, today's reason is very simple - I have really got to get some sleep.

Day 3, Reason 3: Better sleep.

Check out the background of the 30 Days, 30 Reasons No Scale Challenge!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Day 2, Reason 2: A Long Life

Life is short, so they say, and I want to live it for as long as I can.  I vaguely remember being young and stupid and thinking to live hard and die young would somehow be superior to being boring and getting old.  Now, in my mid-thirties, I don't mind the getting older part, boring is relaxing, and I sure don't want this life cut off any sooner than it has to be.

There is side of me that believes life should be enjoyed in every possible way, that cutting myself off from the foods that make me happy is simply no way to live.  Life is short, let them eat cake!  But one of the consequences of getting older is you realize your body can't handle that cake the way it used to, and you become a little more rational about things.  I still believe that I should enjoy food, but I have to find healthier ways to do it.

Food is so connected with joy for so many of us.  It's at the center of all of our holidays and celebrations; a date night with my husband involves eating, a relaxing Sunday morning is not complete without brunch.  I'm aware that the connection between food and fun is a societally created one, and I'm aware of  the fact that I don't actually have to stuff my face with waffles to enjoy a fantastic Sunday with my family.  But every time I tell myself "I'm going to eat healthy this weekend", or "I'm not going to be a glutton at that party", I fail, because all around me people are eating and laughing and you just get carried into that.

The point of this is that there is a very strong part of me that believes that a life of abstaining from the rich, delicious, unhealthy foods I love is not one worth living.  But there is another part of me that knows I can't eat that way and live the many long years I want to enjoy.  And I do want to live many, many years, because there's a whole lot of things I've yet to see and experience, and I have some fantastic people I want to spend as many years knowing as I possibly can.

So there has to be a balance.  And unfortunately, I have the type of personality that has difficulty with balance.  There's never just one glass of wine or just a taste of chocolate cake.  I'm all in or I sit out the game entirely.  But it's time for me to find the balance.

I want to live a long time.  Because man, this life is beautiful - and yes, part of the beauty of life is delicious food.  But I can eat delicious food in a sane, healthy way.  At least, I am going to try.

Day 2, Reason 2: To live a long, healthy, happy life.

Not sure what I'm up to?  Check out my 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge.

Monday, September 1, 2014

30 Days, 30 Reasons, Day 1: My Sons and the "F" Word

"Mom, I'm going to have to say the "F" word and you're going to be mad!"

Nolan and I were lying on the couch talking about going back to school, and he was discussing some of the teachers at his school.  I asked him what he knew about them and he told me about how one of them looked like his teacher from last year, with long blonde hair.  He said he hopes he gets that teacher, and I asked why, thinking it was just because he is reminded of his beloved teacher.  And then he hesitated to describe another teacher, and the line above came out of his mouth.

Fat.  The "F" word is fat.

In his 7 years of life I have managed to instill in my son first that being fat is a bad thing, and then that it's not ok to call people fat.  Talk about confusing the poor kid.

Let's start with the first half of that sentence.  How many times have I said "Oh, God, I am so fat!", or "I can't eat that or I will get fat!" in front of or even to my kids?  How many times have I given them the impression that the reason mommy exercises is because I don't want to be fat?  Been caught looking in the mirror and calling myself fat in a sad, derisive way?  How can I not expect my kids to think that being fat is something of a character flaw in a person, something that should be fought against and avoided at all costs?

And then, the second half.  I tell him that we don't call people fat because it's not nice - further teaching them that it must be something flawed about the person we shouldn't point out.  I try to amend that to explain that everyone looks different, and just as we don't judge people for the colour of their eyes, skin, or hair, we don't judge them by their size.  People are all the same inside, and what matters is how they behave and how they treat others, not how they look on the outside.  I'm the mother of a child born with a facial defect, for heaven's sake, how can I not have this one down?

But my words to them and my treatment of myself create confusion in their little kid brains.  Mommy dislikes herself for being fat, so doesn't it make sense that we shouldn't like fat people?  That being fat is some kind of flaw?

I've already started to remind myself to say "Mommy is exercising to be healthy", and "We eat these foods and not those foods because it makes our bodies healthy.  But the habit of looking down on myself for how I look has to stop if I want my kids to have any hope of growing up with a healthy understanding of who you are mattering more than how you look.

It's not just girls who need to grow up with healthy body image and an understanding that how much they weigh doesn't define their worth - although a lot of the focus of this kind of campaign against body shaming is on the female population.  It's my job as a mother of boys to not only teach them to see their own bodies in a healthy way, but to one day look at the women they may date or marry and see beauty in the person, not the dress size.

It's up to all of us to raise kids who focus on being healthy rather than on being thin.

Reason Number 1, Day 1: To ensure that my kids understand that it's not about being skinny, it's about being healthy, and that healthy doesn't equal skinny.  To get rid of the "F" word as a method of describing myself, and as any kind of measure of how much I deserve to be loved.

Day 1: No More "F" Word.

Curious what this is about?  Read about my 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No Scale Challenge!