The one with the bathing suit

Remember that time I posted a picture of myself in a bathing suit online? You can click the photo below in case you missed it.

Well I do because it was the best/scariest thing I have done for myself. If you’re new around here or haven’t been paying attention, let me catch you up. I have under-fed and over-exercised my body for the majority of my adult life. If there was a fad diet, I tried it, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Whole 30, Gluten Free, Clean Eating, Grain Free, at one point 2 of my meals consisted of vegetable juice. Each one promising and never satisfying my desire to feel good about myself.  About 2 years ago my body had enough and I started having some minor health problems but they quickly began to add up. I went to see a dietitian because I thought I needed her help to tell me what else I could eliminate from my diet. At that time I had created so many rules around food for myself that I was probably only eating about 10 foods that I deemed “safe”. She wisely directed me to Intuitive Eating and encouraged me to feed my body, to really tune into what my body was saying and what my rules were around food. When I started to really do the hard work of getting rid of food rules that I’d held for the last 10 years I began to find freedom like I’d never known before. Freedom in being able to give my body what it was craving but it also opened my eyes up to so many other rules I was following.

I was suffering from self imposed rules and expectations of others in food, clothing, my job, where I lived, you name it, I had a rule about it. I’m still unraveling it all in therapy like a big bowl of spaghetti. When we get to what I think is the end, another piece of spaghetti leads us down another path. So when summer came around this year, I told myself I wasn’t going to spend another one afraid of putting on a bathing suit. What I have learned is that the best way to get past your fears is to face them whether that is white bread or chub rub.

So @kellieblogs and I took these photos and I was uncomfortable to say the least but I knew it was something I had to do for myself. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to share them with anyone. But when I got them back I sobbed. Not because I hated them but because I loved them so much. I might have a larger body now but when I look back at pictures of myself in a smaller body, I can see in my eyes how miserable I was. I know that person was eating as little as possible, following impossible food rules and forcing herself to workout and never rest. I did it all under the guise of health but when I am really honest with myself, it was all an effort to make my body smaller. To live up to the standards of health that our society puts on us but especially women. In our society we are shown through media and other influences that there is only one acceptable body type. In reality we are created in all different shapes and sizes. We don’t expect all dogs to be chihuahuas and we shouldn’t expect all human bodies to look one way. When I look at these photos, I don’t even really see my body, I see how I felt on the inside and how much my body and I have been through these past few years. I see the peace that I have found and the fact that I’ve worked so hard to get here.

Admittedly, I have felt like a fraud these past few years, posting on social media and encouraging women to embrace themselves as they are while behind the scenes I struggled with my own self worth and acceptance. I kept waiting for this point in my journey where I would feel like I had arrived so that I could share my journey with you. But my therapist wisely pointed out, if you wait for that you will never share you story. Share the messy middle, that’s where people want to meet you because they are in the middle of their own mess. So if you’re struggling through these same things I want you to know that I am right there with you in trenches. Choosing to love myself in a world that constantly tells me to change. Choosing to accept my body as it is. Choosing to step into my story and choosing to invite you into yours as well.

Whenever I share something vulnerable like this I always wonder if there is anyone out there who can relate and then I get flooded with messages in my DMs and inbox. I cherish every one of them because it reminds me we are not alone in our struggles.  I’m going to share some resources that help me in my journey but just know, you are not alone and don’t hesitate to reach out to me too.

Help with body positivity:

The Body Love Society

Disordered Eating resources:

Finding Balance Inc  

Body Bloved

Podcasts:

Eating with Grace

The Body Love Society

Nutrition Matters

As always, I want you to know that you are worthy and deeply loved.

xoxo,

Tracy

 

Why going to the doctor is hard for me

LuLaRoe Ana

 

This post may seem like a huge departure from my normal posts but I think it’s one that’s super important. It’s about why going to the doctor is hard for me. You see, the more I change and grow as a person, the more my brand and this blog changes.

More than anything this is a place for me to get it all out there, to tell my story and to heal. I sometimes get this overwhelming urge to share something even if it maybe feels off topic, it isn’t because it’s all part of this journey of self love and acceptance. And it’s part of who I am.

 

LuLaRoe Ana
photo by @kellieblogs

Why going to the doctor is hard for me.

It all started about 8 years ago, I went in for a yearly physical, blood work etc. At that time I was pretty intensely into Weight Watchers which for me meant severely restricting my calories plus training for a half marathon because I had to get those activity points in. I remember thinking that week, I can’t physically eat any less than I am already eating. Plus on top of that I was doing pretty significant mileage in training. 3-5 miles 4-5 times a week.

That’s a lot to put your body through especially when you aren’t adequately feeding it what it needs. But I was doing what I thought was taking care of my body. I had blood taken at a previous appointment so this was just the one where they go over your test results. The doctor came back in the room and said all of your blood work looks great, all of your tests came back within normal range except one thing, according to our BMI charts your BMI is too high. Have you thought about losing some weight?

Crushed, defeated, misunderstood, all feelings that were running through my mind. What I didn’t know then but I know now is that I was suffering from disordered eating. (You can read more about disordered eating here) There is a stigma in our culture about what an eating disorder looks like, an emaciated white girl who can’t eat or a girl who eats everything in the fridge and then goes to the bathroom to purge.

I didn’t know there were so many other diagnoses on and off the spectrum.

What my doctor also didn’t know at the time was that I was eating so little that my thoughts were constantly consumed with food. I would portion out the exact amount of food I was *allowed* to eat and then sit down for my meal. God forbid my husband try to sneak a piece of food off my plate, I would basically want to break his finger. I felt like an animal in the wild who was perched over their prey when another animal tried to get near their food, they snap. As crazy as that seems, this was my body’s natural reaction to deprivation.

What I also didn’t know then was I was starving myself…

…in order to fit into a very narrow standard of health.So when the doctor told me I needed to lose weight, I just lost it, right there in the exam room with her. Through tears I said, I don’t know how. She didn’t ask what my food intake looked liked, my exercise level, my stress, my sleeping habits, my self-care routine, my mental state, what my social life looked like, nothing. She was simply judging my health based on a number on the scale and a chart on the wall.

She continued on with the standard, just eat right and exercise. Well that’s what I’ve been doing I said, and her response was well just try harder. There it was, I would never live up, I would never measure up, no matter how hard I tried. That appointment and her words have been something I thought about every single day since. Doctors take a do no harm oath and in her defense I think she was doing what she thought was helping but in actuality it set me up for a lifetime of weight stigma, body image issues and so much more. Add to that the fact that every infertility specialist with the exception of our current one has advised me to lose weight to help us get pregnant. I have been given very few other options beyond that but that’s a whole other blog post for another time.

LuLaRoe Ana

Now through therapy I am able to see so many things that happened that day and leading up to that day were not my fault. But given my experience I avoid going to the doctor, even when I’m sick. I refuse to go to a GP because they have a scale so I end up getting half rate care at the minute clinic and do you know why I go there? They don’t have a scale and they never ask for my weight. But this past month I was forced to deal with my fears.

I got sick and not like the get some rest and drink tea kind but the kind where you actually need the good drugs. I let it go on for weeks because I didn’t want to go to the actual doctor and face my fears. I ended up feeling so badly though that I just gave in and went to the doctor. I walked in and there it was, the moment I had been dreading. “If you’ll just step on the scale for me”, the nurse said. Shakily I asked, “is it medically necessary for you to get my weight for today’s visit?” She smiled, “no, it’s not. You have the right to refuse”.

Relief ran through my body.

Yes, I would like to refuse. And just like that we were on to the next thing and talking about my symptoms and the reason for my visit. I guess more than anything, I want to share my experience with you so that you know that you have the right to refuse being weighed at the doctor. For years, I didn’t know that it was an option until my therapist informed me of my patient rights. I mean obviously there are times when getting your weight is medically necessary like when determining how much medication to give etc. Even if they do have to weigh you, you can step on the scale backward and ask not to be told your weight. This is what I do at the new infertility practice I am going to, there is a note on my file to not tell me my weight. I found out the hard way though, it’s always a good idea to remind them with each visit. Even if there is a note, they don’t always see it. It’s empowering to speak up for yourself and your rights. It’s also a radical act of self care.

I want you to know that you are worthy and deeply loved and a number on the scale will not change that.

xoxo
Tracy

My NYE look and why I’m not dieting in 2018

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez

Maybe I look glamorous on the internet but Y’all I promise in real life I’m not that fancy. Why I’m not dieting in 2018? We’ll get to that in a minute. The hubs and I really just like hanging out at the house, we’ve never been big on New Years.

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez

The most exciting New Years we had was the one when we got engaged (doesn’t that sound like a Friends episode title?). We will probably be asleep by 11 which is totally fine with me. That’s why I love having this blog and my social media platforms so that I can get all…

…fancy and play dress up.

This year’s Elegant collection was one for the books. You guys, I wanted every single piece. I love how this Elegant Sarah and Elegant Carly work together as pattern mixing.

Pattern mixing is a question I get a lot,I always recommend starting with something safe like stripes and florals and then branch out. You can also pattern mix with textures which is another great pattern mixing baby step.

The sequence in this Sarah adds texture and pairs well with the design of the Carly. Since there is a lot going on in my outfit, I just added a little pop of jewelry with my earrings.

If you want your outfit to make a statement, in a good way, pick one thing that you want to be the statement, either the outfit or the accessories. If you try to do both, you’ll end up like a Lisa Frank design gone wrong and that’s saying something.

Make the outfit the statement

In this case, I wanted to make the outfit the statement so I pulled back some on my jewelry. If I wanted to make the jewelry stand out, I would wear a more neutral outfit. You get the point. If you’re looking to shop for NYE or any special occasion you have coming up click here to view my shop

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez, LuLaRoe Elegant

So okay, if you’re a human on the planet you’ve probably seen a ton of posts this week.

About overdoing it during the holidays and vowing to change in the New Year. And for the last 10 years, that was me. Every single year I would go on a new plan or diet.

Convinced I had finally found the one that would save me but here’s the thing, diets never work. You can call it a lifestyle, you can claim it’s a newly discovered food allergy. (Um hello my gluten-free year) but at the end of the day, diets are liars.

For 10 years I looked to diets to save me, they were a false religion to me.

I believed that if I followed all of the diet rules I would finally find health, happiness, worth, contentment, the life I wanted. But like any idol we have in our lives. They leave us feeling empty and unsatisfied.

A few years ago, I threw up my hands after my last failed attempt and thought, “I can’t do this anymore”. I am tired of living by a set of rules I read in some, book!

My intuition

At the time I was under a lot of stress and was experiencing some minor health problems. Such as fatigue, chronic sinus infections, joint pain, brain fog, bathroom issues, and the list goes on. What I didn’t know then but I do now is that my intuition was trying to tell me to listen to my body.

“their only suggestion was to lose weight”

When finally, sitting down to write out all the symptoms I was having, filling it from front to back. I went to the doctor but all of my blood-work came back fine and their only suggestion was to lose weight…well okay then, fuck you. (I’ll be coming back to this whole weight shaming epidemic in an upcoming post)

I wanted to dig deeper though because that intuition kept nagging at me. My body was trying to tell me something. I had been putting off seeing a nutritionist about my health because I figured she would just tell me I was a horrible person for not being able to stick to a diet plan, lose weight and maintain it.

Reluctantly I made an appointment and to my surprise, she was kind, compassionate and life-giving.

She told me to allow myself foods that I had formerly forbidden. You guys, she told me to EAT CARBS and put real half and half in my coffee, if I wanted it. We added a whole list of vitamins to my daily routine and she told me to find time during the day to relax and be present.

She also recommended a book to me, I’m going to share it with you at the bottom of this post but please please please know it is not another diet. It’s about changing your relationship with food, your body and the way society views both of those.

More than anything the process for me has been about my mental health. I have had to fight so hard and am still fighting to get rid of my diet culture mindset.

In 2018

So in 2018, I am not going on a diet, I am not restricting sugar, I am not forcing myself to do crazy workouts. I am going to allow myself to enjoy my food, I am not going to judge what I am eating. I’m going to walk the dog and go to yoga and I am going to let myself be.

If nothing else after reading this post, I hope you know that limiting your carbs, counting your calories, avoiding sugar, only eating organic, and drinking green juice does not determine your worth.

You are allowed to listen to what your body is telling you.

You are allowed to enjoy a salad, not because you have to eat it but because you want to eat it.

You are also allowed to put half and half in your coffee.

You are allowed to be.

There are a million other things I want to say but I better save those for upcoming posts, my SEO counter is telling me I’m reaching my word limit. Be sure to scroll down for some resources that have helped me in my recovery.

LuLaRoe Tracy Vazquez, LuLaRoe Elegant
photos by @kellieblogs

Intuitive Eating II Katherine Andrew II The Body Love Society II Nutrition Matters Podcast II Food Psych Podcast

*I am not a doctor or a dietician or a mental health professional. This is only my personal experience. If you think you might be in a similar situation please seek professional help. The resources I linked are a great start but I highly recommend you reach out to someone who can help.

 

Thanks for reading.

Remember that you are worthy and deeply loved!

xoxo,

Tracy