diet coke 12-pack: week of october 31, 2011

OH MY GOSH, IS IT THE WEEKEND YET?!

Almost, friends! Almost. I hope you had an amazing Halloween and a productive first week of November. Start out your weekend with these little delights from the Interwebs.

Get down from there, cat!

THE LINKS!

That’s all, folks! I’ll see you next week. Have a fun weekend! When it’s time to party, we will party hard!

things i love thursday! (november 3, 2011)

Hello friends! This week has been all kinds of incredible — incredibly fun, incredibly stressful, incredibly rewarding. Here’s why!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Dinner for Laura’s birthday!
  • She-crab soup. Nom!
  • New hair!
  • I PLAYED IN A JOURNEY COVER BAND, YOU GUYS. (See photo.)
  • The Roland.
  • Not getting enough sleep for all the right reasons.
  • Helping Zack and Sarah move.
  • Drive-thru Panera.
  • Capitol Speedway’s reunion!
  • Seeing “You Are Beautiful” written on a bathroom stall.
  • Seeing one of my J-Hi kids get baptized!
  • Walking into E3Kids and seeing Kylin — SHE POINTED AT ME AND SAID MY NAME AND I OVULATED LIKE A THOUSAND TIMES.
  • Tweets about said ovulation.
  • A Halloween potluck at work.
  • “Dead Snow.”
  • Justin’s party.
  • NANOWRIMO!
  • Free stuff at RedEye, thanks to Karen and Zack.
  • Meetings over wine.
  • “Turkey did you know…”
  • My husband rules.
  • My cats are cute.
  • New glasses! With rhinestones!
  • Chocolate.

Okay, people! That’s all. What do you love this week? Let me know!

fighting childhood obesity without fighting children.

A couple months ago, a good friend of mine and mother of three emailed me about childhood obesity. She’s passionate on the subject (as it should be) but is concerned about keeping her kids healthy, in shape, and making smart choices about food in a way that doesn’t encourage disordered eating in the future. (By the way, as someone who plans on having children at some point, this notion TERRIFIES me to death. If I do ANYTHING that breaks my kids to the point of disordered eating, I probably will never forgive myself. I’m even hesitant to tell them about my struggles lest they give them any ideas.)

This subject is a touchy one so I’ve done my best to avoid writing on it until now. But this afternoon, this article popped up in my Google reader about children and diets. I guess it’s time.

The first time I was ever displeased with my body was when I was eight years old. Eight. Not eighteen. Eight. A child. I distinctly remember standing in the bathroom and looking at my body from the side and being angry that my stomach poked out. (Imagine a child’s body. That’s exactly the way an eight-year-old should look.) Then, I resolved that once I got boobs, my body wouldn’t look so bad. So I looked forward to developing boobs. Then, I got boobs. And my ballet teachers made me hate them. And I wanted to starve them away and look like an eight year old again.

Sigh.

As a person who spent the better part of her childhood obsessed with not being fat, I can’t accurately articulate my feelings on the subject. While I absolutely hate the idea of any child being put on a diet (do NOT get me started on this) the obesity epidemic in America, particularly when it comes to children, is something that I think shouldn’t be ignored.

So. The question is, then, how do we encourage our children to make healthy decisions about food and exercise without scaring them into destructive behavior like eating disorders?

I’m no expert. I have no degree on this subject and I have no children. But. Here’s how I’m going to try to address it in the future.

1. replacing negative comments with positive ones.

The entire focus of the diet industry is to deconstruct and violently remove parts of ourselves. Seriously. “Shrink your belly!” “Melt your thighs!” “Burn more fat!” There’s nothing that sounds positive about any of that. It’s laborious, damaging, and scary. By the same token, using negative words about our bodies in front of or (God forbid) to our children has the same effect. We should never say to our children, “Don’t eat that X because it’s fattening and bad,” or, “Make sure to get outside and play so you don’t get fat.” Rather, we should say, “Make sure you do eat all your veggies so you will become big and strong,” or “Playing outside is so good for you because it keeps your body strong!” If working in marketing has taught me anything, it’s that your message is 90% spin.

2. practicing what i preach.

People say that children are sponges — they absorb everything adults do, retain it, and eventually leak it out on their own. I completely agree with this, but I disagree with the idea that it goes away when we grow up. Personally, I don’t think I ever stopped being a sponge. I’m always watching people and sometimes (unfortunately) emulating them. If our kids see us complain about our bodies or use negative language toward food, they’re going to do it. Period. I can’t pinpoint the reason that I thought my eight year old belly stuck out too far, but I can only assume that it’s probably because I heard someone else say that about themselves.

3. focusing on what we can do, not what we look like.

This, I think, is the biggest miss of our entire society. We focus so much on what we look like and hardly at all on what we can do. (My biggest pet peeve concerning this, for instance, is the body ideal of having a completely bone-thin body with giant boobs and a round butt. Sorry, but this isn’t anatomically possible. Yet, our society demands it of us women, because all we seem to be worth is how easy we are on the eyes.) By putting the focus on what we can do — our talents, our passions, our gifts, our strengths — we put value in the things that, despite the passage of time, will not change. I think this is crucial to raising happy, healthy children.

4. not a diet — but a way of life.

Diets don’t work. They don’t. If you can’t sustain a behavior for the rest of your life, it’s not going to help you. Sure, cutting out carbs helps you lose weight for a minute; but once you eat a bagel again (and you will, I promise) you’ll gain it all back and then some. Committing to a healthy lifestyle — choosing healthy foods, eating “unhealthy” foods in moderation, being active, and training your mind to think positively — is the way to go. I am making a vow, here and now on my blog, to never, ever, EVER, say the words, “I need to go on a diet” in front of my kids. I may say, “I need to eat more fruits and vegetables,” or “I should keep my sugar intake to a minimum,” or some variant of those, but I will NEVER say, “I need to go on a diet.” Everything inside me would cringe if I heard my kids say that and so, per number 2 and 3, I will never say it myself.

And there you have it. It’s a bit rough, and may be tweaked a bit once I actually have kids. But there it is.

What about you? Do you have kids? If so, how have you encouraged health in your house?

tuesday tip — accountability.

Last week I wrote about taking one thing at a time. I wrote about how important it is to slow down and breathe for a minute if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I also divulged about my minor (ha) mental breakdown over being too busy and stressed out this fall.

Sometimes, I really think I should heed my own words instead of just writing and publishing them.

At any rate, as if I didn’t have enough things going on in my life, I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an event orchestrated every November by the Office of Letters and Light, a creative writing non-profit agency, that encourages writers to hammer out a novel (50,000 words to be exact) in a mere 30 days. If you do the math (which I rarely do, since I’m a writer) that’s writing a minimum of 1,667 words a day starting today and ending November 30th. No editing, no deleting, just writing.

It actually works out quite nicely for me since my birthday is December 1st. This means that, if I finish this, I will give myself the first draft of an original novel on my 26th birthday. You’re welcome, future self!

While I officially committed to participating in NaNoWriMo 2011 last week, I’ve actually been contemplating it since NaNoWriMo 2010. I didn’t participate last year because, well, I don’t write fiction. As a matter of fact, the last fiction I wrote was probably some dumb poem in college and I undoubtedly burned it before anyone else could find and read it. But, a handful of people have told me over the last year that I should write a book. So, I thought, why not?

Apart from being so disgustingly busy and on the verge of burnout, you mean? Well, I don’t know, why not? Hey! No one asked you, inner monologue!

When I decided to go for it, my next step could have been one of two things:

  1. Not tell anyone about my 50,000 word goal in hopes that if I failed at it I wouldn’t be embarrassed.
  2. Tell all my friends (and blog readers) and ask them (you) to hold me accountable and pray for me during this inevitably stressful month.

Clearly, I’ve chosen the latter.

But not intentionally, mind you.

At first, I was going to go with option number 1. I didn’t want to tell anyone. Writing a novel in 30 days (ugh, typing it out makes me tremble with fear) is arguably the most terrifying and difficult thing I’ve ever attempted and, at this point in the game, failure seems pretty imminent. But, once I squeaked the news to my husband, he felt so proud of me (for what?! I haven’t done anything yet!) that he compulsively broadcasted the news to any and everyone he came across. What a guy, that husband. What. A. Guy.

And so. I’ve told people. And I’m telling you. And I’m asking for support, love, and prayer throughout this process. (Oh, um, and I’m getting a pool going to see how many days into the challenge that I’ll publicly break down mid-composition in indecipherable sobs. What’s your bet? My money’s on November 15th — exactly half way to either success or failure. Come on, big money!) And in case you’re wondering, I will still be blogging throughout November. I can feel my eyes drying up and the carpal tunnel starting to set in already! Yay!

Anyway.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

If you think writing a novel in 30 days is a lofty goal, remember that making a commitment to change your mindset and love yourself is a pretty solid aspiration as well. As much as I’d love to say that I’ve made this transformation on my own, I can’t because I’d be lying through my teeth. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without being open and honest with my close friends and family about the things I struggle with and asking them to support me in recovery.

Yes, accountability is scary. Oh lord, do I know it. It’s terrifying to be watched and guided. But it’s necessary for growth and change. Leaning on other people is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a sign of maturity and acceptance that we weren’t created to be strong enough on our own. We were created to allow the strengths of our peers step in when our weaknesses reign supreme.

And so, I challenge you to open up and ask to be held accountable. Ask someone you trust to call you out when you talk negatively about yourself or others. Ask someone to go jeans shopping with you and reinforce your mindset that the size number on the label doesn’t define your worth. When you let someone else carry a part of your burden, it becomes that much lighter.

Also, I ask you to hold me accountable in November. I’ve set out to do something and darn it I want to do it. But I know I can’t do it alone. Be there for me, friends?