Learn Your Own Lessons

There’s one instance I remember specifically from the year I was 17. I was standing in my kitchen one day, leaning against the fridge and struggling to open my yogurt container. My mom came into the kitchen at the perfect time for me to ask her to open my yogurt and if I could spend another night at my boyfriend’s house. She of course opened the yogurt, but as for the boyfriend thing, she said, “Jackie, if you spend too much time together, you will eventually get sick of each other.” My angsty teenage self of course went into defensive mode because my mom obviously did not understand me or the amazing relationship I had with my boyfriend. Two years later, that boyfriend and I broke up. Now, reading this you may think, “Well two years was a long time to be together as a teenager.” And yes, it was. But we broke up for the exact reason that my mom tried to get me to avoid. We just got so plain sick of each other from spending so much time together. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. The first real break up is brutal. Looking back on it, though, we were never right for each other and I’m glad things worked out the way they did. We still talk occasionally, and we’re both extremely happy. I had to learn the lesson the hard way, but you know what? Lesson still learned.

Throughout my whole life my mom has been doing this. She sees an opportunity to give me advice, and proceeds to give me the advice. What happens after that, however, is up to me. She never sticks her nose back into my business asking why I didn’t take her advice or trying to get me to go another direction. She lets me forge my own paths. Example number two:

All throughout high school I talked about going to Penn State for college, about an hour and a half away. When the time came, I only applied to two colleges, and Penn State was not one of them. I didn’t want to go that far away to college. I chose Shippensburg, a college that was only about 50 minutes away. After the first semester, I absolutely hated it. Actually, I hated it two weeks into the semester. I wanted to come home. And while my mom wouldn’t let me come home in the middle of September, she did let me come home when the semester was over. She advised me to stay, said that it would get better, but she didn’t force me. I ended my first semester of Freshman year with a 3.0 gpa and a miserable attitude. A 3.0 was unusual for me. I graduated high school with all A’s. I just hated college so much that I couldn’t even bring myself to complete the work. It was awful. After deciding to come home, I transferred to the local community college and got a job at a day care working 30 hours a week. I spent hours upon hours wiping noses and changing diapers, but for the first time I actually started earning decent sized paychecks. The first semester at community college, I got a 3.5 gpa. Second semester, I got my first 4.0, all the while still working at the daycare. I was ecstatic. I put so much hard work into my studies when I actually liked my surroundings. After that second semester, I chose to transfer to IUP, three hours away from home, because I was now ready to leave the nest. I have gotten a 4.0 gpa every single semester after that. I excelled because I was happy where I ended up and I made that decision to go there on my own.

My mom didn’t tell me to transfer home. She didn’t tell me to transfer to IUP, but she didn’t tell me not to either. She wouldn’t ever tell me to break up with a boyfriend, to not start a diet, to get a different job, or anything like that. She let me make these decisions on my own because she knew I had to make my own mistakes in order to find myself. I could not be happier that she did that. I know who I am now and I think if she would’ve pushed her guidance on me, I would still be searching for myself. I wish more parents were like my mom. She let me make mistakes. She let me fail because she knew that in failing, I would find how to succeed. I couldn’t be more thankful.

 

I love you, mom.

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Calories in – Calories out + Exercise + Sleep – Junk food = Insanity

So lately I’ve been obsessed with a site called Myfitnesspal.com. It is a website where you can log your daily food intake and your calories burned through exercise. This, ultimately, will help you lose weight if you eat the right amount of calories per day vs. the amount of calories you burn. The website also has a “community” aspect to it where you can post topics and forums asking questions like “How do I bust this belly fat?” or “Are carbs really that bad for you?” etc. I got a little notice today that said I have logged in for 45 days in a row.. and I just thought I would take time on here to write about what I’ve learned in those 45 days.

I learned that I am now scared of food, yet I think about it all the time. I have become so obsessed with eating less fat, more protein, less carbs, less calories- that I have started to plan my meals out days ahead of time so that I don’t go over my calorie limit. All I think about all day is food. When I finish one meal, I go over in my mind what I am going to eat at my next meal to make sure that I’m staying within my guidelines. I became over obssessed with carbs. I went through a two week period where I ate absolutely no fruit (I LOVE fruit), no grains at all (LOVE cereal), and no veggies that were high in carbs because I was afraid the carb monster would get me in my sleep and slip an extra pound or two of fat in my ass. This obviously did not work for me at all. I ended up binging late at night on handfuls of cereal, whoopie pies, string cheese, chocolate, reese’s peanut butter cups, spoonfuls of peanut butter… anything I could get my hands on really. It makes me sick to even think about it. I put my body through such hell these last 45 days in trying to stay within certain guidelines, that I wish I had never started it in the first place.

I also started the “Insanity” workout program. However, I actually like this decision I made in the last 45 days. I am a workout junkie. I love it. I love the program and I love how it makes me sweat buckets from my own home, so I really can’t complain about that.

I’ve decided that although I am going to continue to use Myfitnesspal.com to log my food (just because I want to make sure that I’m not eating 3000 calories a day), I realized that I should not be so obsessed with it. I have already gone through a tough battle with a borderline eating disorder once in my life and I have been trying to recover from it for at least two years now. Unsuccessfully. Starting up an account with Myfitnesspal fueled this fire with pure gasoline. The last thing I needed in my life was a “community” of people telling me what to eat, at what time of the day, how much to exercise, etc. Even though I know their efforts were innocent, it made me obsessive about every single little piece of anything I put in my mouth. I’ve cried more in the past 45 days about my weight than I probably have in the past year. I’ve stepped on the scale, looked at the number, walked back down the hallway from the bathroom promptly into my room, crawled in my bed, pulled the covers over my head, and cried for an hour straight. What is wrong with me!? All because I gained a couple pounds? That’s crazy! I lost an hour of my life multiple times because of a number that told me I wasn’t good enough. That needs to stop. It all needs to stop.

I realized I need to STOP worrying about what I’m eating, by how much, etc. I need to eat when I’m hungry, and don’t when I’m not. I need to stop weighing myself because it only results in tears upon tears when I do. I need to love myself. I need to stop telling myself I’m not good enough. I need to stop telling myself that my entire self-worth is summed up in this magical number that I will never acheive. This is the hardest part.. and it will take the most effort. But for right now I’m working with baby steps. And it starts today.

I want to wish any of you luck that are struggling with the same type of things I am.. Food is not the enemy. Your body needs food to survive, and it actually tastes good. Enjoy it. I’m trying to take my own advice, too.

Here goes nothing

ImageI’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time, but never really got the courage to do it. I kept thinking to myself, “Who could possibly want to read what I have to say on a daily basis?” I still think that to myself and I’m pretty sure the answer remains at “No one,” but I decided to start a blog anyway. At the very least, it will help me sort out my feelings and may offer some relief.

Where does that leave one to start? I guess with introductions. If you are still reading this far, my name is Jackie. Nice to meet you. I’m 22 and will soon be graduating college. (December!!) I changed my major a million times throughout my four and a half years as an undergraduate student and it finally led me to English Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I’m student teaching right now and loving it, although I’m not even sure I want to be a teacher. I change my mind about things so frequently- almost daily. Although I’m graduating with an education degree in a few short months, I’ve already applied for a Social Work Master’s program. So, we’ll see how that goes. By the time I finish that degree, I may have changed my mind again. Maybe I’ll just be a professional student. You never can tell with me.

I love anything chocolate or sweet and would prefer to eat cereal and pancakes over any meal of the day, ever. I rarely ever go a day without eating at least one piece of chocolate. If I do, I’m more than likely ill. I absolutely LOVE eating breakfast for dinner and prefer to go out to eat to places that serve breakfast 24/7. For some reason I find something really amazing in diving into a stack of pancakes at a diner sometime around 2:00 am with a friend.

I exercise a lot. My friends are more used to seeing me in sweats, shorts, tank tops, and sneakers than they are in normal, civilian, I-actually-care-about-what-I-look-like clothes. I have some decent motivation built up in me so that I don’t lay on my butt on the couch watching re-runs of “Friends” every day when I get home from work. I actually enjoy exercise most days, though, and it helps me to also not become a 300 pound pancake-eating version of Jabba the Hut. (I’ve never seen Star Wars so I hope that that’s even the right way to say the name).

I’m from small town middle of nowhere which is an amazing blessing and a horrible curse all at the same time. The views are incredible, absolutely unbeatable. Sometimes I go for drives on old, bumpy back roads and I just get amazed that we have such a beautiful area right in our back yard. I could never live in a city. I love that I can walk a half mile out my back door and end up at the base of a mountain. I love that I can go for a 5-mile run that involves no side walks, no side-stepping other pedestrians, no waiting for traffic to cease and the light to turn red, none of that. I love that you know the pizza shop owner and that the same people go for breakfast to the same places every day. I love how some of the people there are truly the most genuine, caring, heartfelt people you will ever meet in your life. Some of them will leave an impression with you far beyond what you ever imagined. What don’t I love? I don’t love that the closest shopping mall and the city (where most people hold their jobs) are both at least 45 minutes away. Daily commute SUCKS. I don’t love that you don’t escape your past. It shows up everywhere in a small town and it is almost impossible to overcome it. I don’t love the people that you can’t avoid because there is literally only a handful of places to actually go and chances are that they will also be there. There’s so many things I love and hate about where I grew up, but I realize it will always be a part of me, no matter where I go. As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. I used to try and think differently and prove to myself that I would never need to go back to my roots. I was moving on and better than that town. It took a few years to realize that it is a bigger part of my life than I thought.

One of my all-time favorite things to do is get in a pair of comfy sweatpants, an oversized sweatshirt and curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and either read a book or watch some of my favorite shows (which include Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, anything on TLC, Friends). I just love wearing oversized clothes and getting swallowed up in a blanket. Especially when it’s cold.

I always love a good conversation, but they’re hard to find. I’ve never been one to have a lot of friends. Not really sure why, just how I am. I think I’m okay to get along with, probably not the best, but I don’t think the worst either. But I love a good conversation. The kind where you really get to the deep stuff and neither person holds anything back. I don’t have them very often, but I love it when I do. I love hearing other people’s real thoughts, not what they think the other person wants to hear. I always give people the real thing; some like it and some don’t. I’ve had friends thank me for being real and calling bull when I see it, and I’ve had others stop being friends with me because I’ve been too blunt. I see it as a curse and a blessing one in the same, but I don’t think I could ever change. I just can’t not tell the truth to someone. I honestly don’t understand this “white-lie” business that most people do where they tell the other person what they want to hear, even if it isn’t the truth. No, I tell you what you asked me. You may not like the answer, but sometimes you need to hear it. And I appreciate the same from people that are in my life.

I’m going to say that’s enough for day one. Already I’m feeling a little bit less… restrained. I’m hoping this will be good for me. G’night 🙂