I Gained Weight and I’m Kind of Proud

screenshot_2017-02-03-10-26-43There it was, this chart that resembled the Rocky Mountains staring back at me. This was a very harsh reality that had gained a significant amount of weight over the past several years.

Now, this was the first time I saw actual numbers slapping me in the face. Since I was in college, I never ever looked at the scale. When I would go to the doctor I would back up like a garbage truck on that brutally honest piece of machinery and nervously tell the nurse “I don’t want to know my weight.” Then, I would step off blissfully unaware of those three digits.

The reason for the ritual was a consequence of many other rituals starting at the ripe old age of eight.   Since that sprit young age, I’ve had an eating disorder. You name it and I’ve had it; binging, purging, restricting, over exercising and under eating, and on and on and on. Not to mention the constitution I bestowed on myself of not eating items with more than 5 gams of fat, or baking indulgences for others and watching them savor it, or not eating a certain restaurants, because their food would send me into a tail-spin.

Everyone’s dealt with weight issues and insecurities; young, old, men, women, you name it! In college, I felt so insure with my body and style. My nights out would be consumed with wanting to take a hammer and chisel to my body so I could sculpt it into a beautiful long-legged statue that emulated the bright-eyed beauties, wearing the latest Forver21 fashions, which I was out with.

I always swore to myself I would never exceed a certain number on the scale or on my jeans. Well guess what? Even with daily workouts and majority healthy eating, I surpassed those numbers long ago. I’ve had two kids in two years and my body’s been through a lot of change. Just a few short years ago, if I saw the numbers that I witnessed at yesterday’s doctor’s appointment, I would’ve stopped eating, binged, purged, cried myself to sleep, and experienced copious amount of anxiety. Sounds dramatic, but part of the disorder that is difficult to control

Yes, it was very difficult and unnerving to see the weight gain. But instead of regressing back to my old rituals, I set a plan. Also, my family is aware of this, so they can keep an eye out for my old ways. There are going to be good days, and days where positivity is met with resistance. But I’m going to keep going to the gym and trying to make healthy choices.

Ultimately, I am not happy about my weight gain, but am proud of how I handled something that would’ve once almost killed me.

XOXO,

SAmantha Jo

P.S. Have you ever struggled with body image issues?  If so, how do you get past those negative thoughts?

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“On Wednesdays we wear pink. . . “

Mean girls, everyone, male or female, have had their fair share of exposure to this notorious group or person. So many times in conversations the phrase “girls are so mean” creeps its way in and slips off the tongues of our counterparts, or our very own. I admit it, I’ve uttered those words countless times and have openly shared gut-wrenching stories of not being invited to birthday parties, seeing pictures of friends on social media and I’m not included, or witnessing a girl turn a sweet guy down in a not-so-nice fashion.

This got me thinking, who wears this mysterious “mean girl” crown and have I, myself, ever earned that title? Then, I remembered a time in law school when I was dating my husband. I was out with my friends, and was hurt by something my then boyfriend did or said. Well, boyfriend came out later and met us at the fine establishment. So I decided, in my ticked-off state of mind, that it would be best to ignore him. I was just going to have fun with everyone else around him. That way, he can feel the same pain I was going through. Trust me, I am embarrassed to admit this. Writing this story, and seeing the words stare at me in black and white, makes my conscience react on all cylinders and remember even more not-so-stellar moments.

Here’s the thing, I was a “mean girl” to the person I cared about. Why did I do it? I was hurt, and instead of being a mature adult and talk about my feelings, I got sweet revenge. Well, this sweet revenge ended in guilt. The funny thing is, I cannot remember what he did to hurt my feelings, but I sure remember how I reacted. We both did, it’s now a joke between us.

So, I guess, what I am saying, we all can have “mean girl” moments. Some of the time, these moments are reactions to negative feelings we have. The important thing is so recognize these things happen and figure out how suppress that immediate “mean girl” reaction.

Also, just because we’ve made a mistake, doesn’t make us a “mean” person. Things turned out pretty ok for said “boyfriend” and me. We’ve been married over three years and have two little girls. And, as our girls grow older, I’m going to tell them about times my behavior was less than stellar, but also what I’ve learned from those experiences and how I would and could do things differently.

In the end, there’s always time to make amends from when that “mean girl” crown was so graciously placed on our heads.

XOXO,

SamanthaJo

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Boyfriend and me as tired law students ❤

#SnailtheLove

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My 2 year old daughter and I make cards for the local senior citizens who are homebound. This is one, of many, of my daughter’s creations sealed with love.

#SnailtheLove

When you receive a hand written card in the mail your heart explodes with confetti and glitter – you get the feels. Why not forward that happiness on to someone else?

It’s the time for resolutions to help live a more quality life. Let’s take a step back and think of those who have added quality to our life. We wouldn’t be where we are today without others supporting, loving, challenging, inspiring us.

This is where #SnailtheLove comes to play. Take some time and drop a line to someone, or multiple people, who have inspired you, impacted your life, or made your feel loved.  Maybe even someone you’ve lost contact and want to reconnect with?! You can write a letter, a short note, send a card, or even have your child draw a picture. Then, slap a stamp on it, seal it with a kiss, and send it via snail mail to that special person. #SnailtheLove

Take a picture of your letter and post it to social media with the hashtag #SnailtheLove. (Disclaimer: do not include return or mailing addresses ☺ )

PLEASE SHARE, tweet, facebook, instagram, e-mail, etc.,  this post so maybe we can all get a little joy via snail mail.

My goal is to send one a week, but make this your own! Below is a list of people (not yet complete) I want to send some love. Maybe this list will help jog your mind of potential snail mail receivers.

1. A mentor during grad school – he encouraged me to take a leap of faith and change my career path. His support opened so many doors and helped me make the best career decision of my life thus far.

2. A deceased friend’s wife – I do not know this man’s wife; however, he had a huge impact on my family and me. Every week at church, without fail, he would bring a dollar bill and give it to my 2-year old. He is definitely missed at church and his kindness affected our parish community. I want his wife to know how special he is to our family.

3. My Mom – she is the most thoughtful, inspiring, and beautiful person I know. She sacrificed so much for our family and loves us unconditionally. Sometimes we just need to take sometime to thank our mom in a more personal way.

Thank you for participating. I hope you get a little something special in your mailbox.

XOXO,
SamanthaJo

P.S. Who has made an impact in your life?

P.S.S Please tweet, facebook, instagram, or e-mail this post, so maybe we can all get a little joy via snail mail. Don’t forget to hashtag pictures of you participating in #SnailtheLove

P.S.S.S.  I keep a stack of blank cards I buy from a local dollar store.  So that way, when I think of someone, I can write them a quick note to drop in the mail.

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#SnailtheLove  – Mom, this one’s coming for  ya ❤

 

 

Dumbbells

Yes, this is sort of a mom story, but it is also a story for anyone who has been questioned about why they do something or feel uncomfortable stepping out of their safe place.

Three months ago I had my second daughter, and was cleared to start working out two weeks after her arrival. So, exactly two weeks from her birthday I started going back to the gym in the mornings before my husband left for work. Side note: I am very thankful for his support in my interests. Anywho, early one morning a fellow gym goer approached me and asked how my baby was doing.   But then, the conversation took a sour turn and he started saying things like, “who’s home with the baby right now?” “Most people I know wouldn’t leave their new born.” “Your husband doesn’t mind staying home with the baby?” “Doesn’t your husband have to work?” Mind you, it was roughly 4:30 a.m. and before I left home, I fed, changed, and rocked my little nugget back to sleep.

Ok, so regretfully I smiled and responded to the questions in a kind fashion. However, on the inside I was burning with the fire of a thousand suns and wanted to hurl my dumbbell at this dumbbell. Or say, “No, my 2 year old is watching her sister now.”

Then, it got me thinking. I work out not only because I LOVE it and want to be healthy. But, I also want to an example to my two young daughters of work ethic, strength, and a healthy lifestyle. It’s always been a hobby of mine, and I’m not about to stop. I’m not going to let people’s negative thoughts detour me from something I love.

Everyday people are going to question what you do, how you do it, and why. But, does it really matter? As long as you are happy, doing something positive for yourself, and trying your best?   This line of thinking eventually led to this blog. At first I was super embarrassed, nervous, and afraid of what people thought. Then I had a moment and gave myself a coaching pep talk.   What if people didn’t like it? What if people made fun of me, or, even worse, thought I was dumb?

The answer, it doesn’t matter. Although, it’s way easier to say that than apply this line of thinking, sometimes you just have to fake ‘til you make it. Because if you don’t, who knows what you’ll miss out on. Don’t let someone get in the way of something you love.

In this end, this negative experience turned into the push I needed to start something new. Going to the gym was not something new, but I didn’t let someone’s negativity get in the way.   So then I thought, can I try something I’ve always wanted to and kick negativity in the nose like a bloodthirsty shark?  Of course!  So I said, self,  don’t be a dumbbell and ride the bench, get out there and play.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but have been nervous?

XOXO,

SamanthaJo

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No one’s putting this gym bag on the sidelines. It’s not always going to be easy, but I don’t want to sit and watch.

Bag compliments of my dear friends Annie & Jess.

 

The Mom Jean Replacement

 

I never thought the day would come when I walked into a store and felt too old to wear something. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to resort to mom jeans in which the elastic band accentuates my muffin top and a crew neck sweatshirt with my children’s names sketched in puffy paint. But, I do wonder, once I’ve rounded my late twenties, are some items out of the question?

For instance, a bralette. Is this a luxury item reserved for those college aged sweethearts with a flirty wardrobe? I tired one of those puppies on and it made me feel more like a linebacker in girdle than a fashion-forward mom. In the poorly lit dressing room, in which the glow reveled my every flaw, I acted like a puppet master hiking up the straps to create any semblance of a womanly figure. Oh well, at least I had my trusty sports bra and leggings.

Ahh, yes. . . my leggings, the staple of comfort and forced fashion. Please don’t make me give those up. Then I would have to regress to the dreaded mom jean. Because, in reality, we all know leggings are the new mom jean.  Wear them with pride, ladies.

XOXO,

SamanthaJo

P.S. What items do you fear adding to your wardrobe?

A view of my HALF of my coveted collection of legging (the other soldiers are in the laundry). Representing mom jean replacements across this great nation.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall Who’s. . . Who the Heck is That?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered what happened? Is this the same person that’s been there all along? It’s like all of a sudden my body has stretch marks that look like tiny rivers flowing across my stomach and legs. Not to mention, grey hairs sprout from my crown like tiny reminders that I am quite unsure of my natural hair color. Don’t forget about those moles that have erupted on my neck like Mt. St. Vesuvius. These changes may not be visible to the untrained eye, but I am sure my husband notices. However, the slightest mention of my morphing body would send him reeling on the couch for a decade.

These changes are like tiny badges of experience. Badges that are earned by hazing rituals woman’s bodies must go through in order to finally have the privilege of passing on their wisdom to the next generation. Although these changes are difficult to come to terms with and constant reminder that beauty fades; they also mementos that our bodies have the ability to love unconditionally, find strength when we feel weak, laugh until we cry. While I wish my skin was firmer and my laugh lines weren’t smiling back at me, I would not trade my life experiences for anything.

XOXO,

SamanthaJo

P.S.  What do you LOVE most about yourself?

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Things have definitely changed since my wedding day (first picture), but I definitely have more reasons to smile.