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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Learning to Live in the Gray

I’m a perfectionist and often get caught up in black and white thinking.  My mind is typically flooded with “shoulds,” “don’ts,” “musts,” “can’ts,” etc.  For some reason, I set up all these crazy rules for myself that I feel I must follow in order to be successful or to be a good person.  What’s worse is that these rules usually stem from healthy thoughts that are actually good for me that my mind finds a great way to twist and contort into a way that is no longer beneficial.  For example, I am a big believer in compromise and feel that it is a great way to deal with most conflicts, however, I often take that to the extreme and look for the compromise in any situation and ignore what my true feelings are.  Most of the time this seems like a good thing, but when it comes to certain situations, such as relationships, it’s not a good thing to suppress your feelings and just go along with the other person in order to avoid conflict.  Those feelings will usually lie dormant and fester until you can’t hold them in any longer and the situation becomes worse than it could have been.

This “all-or-nothing” thinking is destructive and adds unnecessary anxiety to situations, making them even more difficult to deal with.  When you think this way, you start to live life as if you are running to a finish line.  The only problem is the closer you get, the farther the finish line seems to move away.  There is a constant striving for an end of perfection that will never be achieved.  Living life like this is exhausting and frustrating!

I have been trying to “live life in the gray.  I’m trying to view life as a process and see each stumble as a lesson learned instead of another failure.  I’m trying to embrace the fact that I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be.  The most awesome thing about living this way is that God prefers you this way!  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 He says “…My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Isn’t it freeing to know that when you feel your weakest, God is there to give you all His strength!?

In her song “Control,”  JJ Heller hits the nail on the head when she sings about the problem of perfection.

“Perfection has a price
But I cannot afford to live that life
It always ends the same; a fight I never win”

I hope that if you are reading this and feel the same way, you will learn to see the beauty of living life in the gray.  I’m learning too.

Oldie but a Goodie

This is a post I made on one of my old blogs that I did not keep up with.  I like this one a lot so I thought I would share it on this blog as well!  It might also give you a better idea of what I’m all about.

I Believe…

I believe everyone has the right to make their own choices, even if I don’t believe in the choice myself.

I believe we’re all human and screw up and that’s okay, but I don’t believe in using that as an excuse to keep doing what you know is wrong.

I believe in the power of prayer.

I believe in the power of touch.

I believe that dark chocolate is medicinal.

I believe in quality, not quantity.

I believe everything happens for a reason, so therefore, I don’t believe in regrets.

I believe everyone has a story that needs to be shared. You never know who will benefit from hearing it.

I believe JJ Heller is the lyricist of my soul.

I believe in community.

I believe that my friends and family are irreplaceable.

I believe in change, even though it’s one of the hardest things for me to cope with.

I believe the best way to enjoy a cup of coffee is out of a french press. (Yeah, Starbucks has turned me into a coffee snob. Sorry.)

I believe that winter drains the life out of me, but without it I could not appreciate the summer as much.

I believe in traveling and exploring the non-toursity areas. That’s where the real experiences are.

I believe experiences are far more valuable than anything I could buy.

I believe I was meant to live in the South.

I believe in loving the sinner. (It wouldn’t be much fun to hate myself.)

I believe the chocolate croissants from Panera are Heaven sent.

I believe feelings aren’t permanent, but necessary.

I believe in accepting your weaknesses. It’s the only way to overcome them.

I believe in wearing clothes that make you feel skinny.

I believe the best things are worth waiting for.

I believe in doing what makes you feel alive.

I believe nothing and no one is beyond repair.

I believe in being real. We don’t have time to be superficial or fake.

End of the Challenge

So today was the last day of the real food challenge for me. The 10 days definitely lived up to the name. I probably did not choose the best time to partake in the challenge because it was graduation weekend and a celebration week at the hospital where I am interning. Also, it was very difficult being the only one doing it. I would highly recommend a partner if you decide to take the challenge. Everyone was supportive, but it was hard to just plan what I was going to eat differently than everyone else.

Aside from that, I really gained a lot of insight about myself during the challenge. I listened to my body more to know when I was hungry or full and I realized I could go without a lot of the processed foods easily. I also felt a lot better! I did not turn to food as often for comfort as I used to. However, I did see just how much food has a hold on my heart. I found myself still thinking about it a lot and even wanting to eat too much still when I was bored or upset. Granted I didn’t have the junk to turn to, but I still need to grow in turning to God more than food. This is a process and at least I’m starting to see progress!

I definitely recommend trying the 10 day real food challenge!

Halfway There

So I’m halfway through the real food challenge and I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough. We try as a family to plan out our dinners for the week and we all agreed on meals I would be able to eat. Well….for 2 days in a row, the person who was supposed to cook decided they didn’t want to. So that left me having to figure out something on the fly. Luckily I had some food on hand and it wasn’t that bad, but it made it really easy to just want to give up.

Also, I’m not much of a water drinker and it’s been tough to pretty much only drink that, coffee, and juice. I don’t like to drink juice that much because I don’t need all the sugar, but water just gets so boring for me! So I tried diluting the juice in some water and it helped, but I’d just like to add one of my drink mixes (made with Stevia) to the water!

Even though it has been a little difficult, I really feel great! I haven’t felt as sluggish and I have not been turning to food so much for comfort. I guess it’s because I haven’t been able to turn to the junk foods. For some reason I just don’t feel like I want to eat a whole bag of baby carrots. ; )

I absolutely have to give God the credit for giving me the strength to resist the temptation. At work today we had a chance to get a piece of cake from a banquet and I didn’t take one even though it would have been SO GOOD! I’m also finding myself turning to Him more during the day instead of focusing on food.

On another note, we had our graduate ceremony for the dietetic seniors today! Even though I graduated in December, I was still invited since I was in class with all the other students and they didn’t have a ceremony for my graduation. It was so great to see my classmates! I wish them all so much luck with their internships and job opportunities! Here’s a pic of us all with our professors. My dad couldn’t work the camera very well, but I love the picture of us all!

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Trip of a Lifetime

I just wanted to share a few pictures of my recent trip to China.  I went to visit my fiance, then boyfriend, Nate who is currently teaching English there.  It was so much fun meeting and interacting with his Chinese students.  I absolutely loved it!  They are so fascinating and were equally as fascinated to meet an American.  I felt like a celebrity dealing with the paparazzi the whole time I was there!  Except I actually wanted to talk to them, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.  The whole experience was so eye opening.  I LOVE meeting and talking with people from different cultures.  It was amazing to go out an experience the culture in real life.  I was not among other tourists, so I felt immersed into their culture.  I am so proud of Nate for taking this opportunity to jump into a life completely foreign to him and loving on the Chinese people like he has.  I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do it alone!

Another amazing part of my trip was my…….ENGAGEMENT!  He was so sneeky and clever!  To make a long story short, he took me to the Great Wall of China to propose!  I also brought the ring over with me without even knowing!  His mom stashed it into his checkbook box he asked me to bring over to him.  It’s definitely a story to tell our future grandchildren!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.  Of course they don’t do it justice, but I hope you enjoy them!

Enjoy your day!

Food Insecurity Extremes

Food insecurity: a situation in which an individual is unsure about where their next meal will come from.

I’ve recently read several articles and watched a few documentaries of food insecurtiy in the US.  We talked about it a lot in my community nutrition classes in undergrad as well.  While reading about this issue, I have a hard time fathoming what it would be like to have to live this way everyday.  Growing up we always had something to eat.  We were by no means wealthy, but always had something available even if it was the cheapest thing my parents could throw together.  I know it was difficult for my family to deal with our finances as it was, but I cannot imagine what it must be like for the parents and children who are food insecure.

When thinking about people who do not have enough food to feed their families, what picture typically pops into your mind?  A starving child in Africa?  A homeless person digging through a trash can?

What about a 500 pound man, his 400 pound wife, and their 150 pound third grade child?

When we think about families like the example above, we typically think of overindulgence, lack of self control, and a house full of food at their disposal.  In all reality, this is usually not the case.  Families like this are typically among the food insecure as well.  The difference is when they can afford food, they load up on the junk that is cheap and makes them feel good after they have gone through periods of hunger.  When they finally have food in their pantry, they want to eat it all as fast as they can for fear that they may not be able to get more.

So unfortunately when it comes to food insecurity, we find two extremes:  starvation and obesity.  While both of these conditions look drastically different, they come from the same source.

So what can we do?

Often I find myself hopeless when I think of what in the world I can to do help these people.  I’m just a dietetic intern working 50 hours a week for free.  I have no political pull whatsoever, nor do I have the political knowledge to go about doing something on that level.  But there is so much I and others can do.  First off, pray.  Prayer is so powerful and we often forget this because we typically don’t see immediate results.  Don’t let this discourage you.  Be patient.

Next we can volunteer.  I know many of us don’t have much time, but a couple hours a month really isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things.  This is a conviction I have myself.  If I can make time to go to  a movie, I can make time to help someone in need.

Little steps make a BIG difference.

What little steps will you try to make?