Category Archives: SelfImprovement

Lara’s Story

As Robynn said, we all have a different story which is compiled of dreams, hopes and fears. Each of us is unique, making every individual like no other…which brings you to my story…

I don’t remember how much I weighed back in late elementary school, but the way my body felt and looked is still vivid in my mind. I remember countless times staring at my reflection in the mirror and telling myself in disgust that I was–(I hate to use this word but this is how I “felt”)– fat. It pains me to this day even recalling that time in my life, because the ache it caused me was deep. I was unhappy and felt trapped in my own body.

When I hit eighth grade, I became more active in sports and hit a growth spurt. The combination of those two things allowed me to thin down, but that didn’t mean my eating habits improved. I was lucky enough to stay thin throughout high school due to being tall and active, but deep down I never had peace with food and the memories of my childhood food struggle continued to haunt me.10616916_315678088635031_903975050_n

I gained some weight when I went to college and remember trying to diet–here and there–to shed a few quick pounds. Everyone may have looked at me and thought I was thin, but I had them fooled in regards to how I felt. Food, and my obsession to have an “ideal” body, secretly controlled my life. As a college freshman I remember buying a huge bag of kettle corn from Sam’s Club. I told myself I could eat only popcorn and water, in hopes to lose five pounds. I would even pass up eating dinner with my friends because I had promised myself to stick with my plan—only  to throw my hands up in defeat a week later after a couple pound gain. Not to mention, I missed out on those fun outings I had passed up.

The saga continued after college and into my marriage. I had such a love/hate relationship with food. Loved how it tasted but hated how it made me feel after eating too much of it and the control it had over my life. I would frantically read any new diet fad on a magazine–in hopes to put an end to this madness–but it wasn’t until years later that I found the answer.

When I met Robynn, and our friendship grew, we began to openly discuss our secret struggles with food. It wasn’t until then that I realized I wasn’t alone. And the more we talked about our frustrations, the more we were determined to stop the food insanity that had taken over our lives.

That is where our peace with food journey began. And since it would be too difficult to try and share our experiences all in one post, we will share it in smaller segments as we continue to blog. We hope you’ll stay with us and invite others to join the discussion as we share how to live in PEACE with food.

More to come!

Lara

 

 

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This is My Story . . .

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We all have a story that defines who we are.

In this story are woven the threads of our dreams, hopes, fears, disappointments, circumstances, and our past – uniquely making us a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Part of my story includes my struggle with food beginning in high school.  I vividly remember weighing in at 98 lbs. during gymnastics in junior high.  But by the end of my sophomore year of high school I was up to 143 lbs – a whopping 45-lb. weight gain on my 5’4 medium size frame.  I had to do something and I had to do it fast!

That was when I began my career of dieting.

Being athletic and participating in a whole lot of sports and activities allowed me to get back down to a normal weight but I was never quite satisfied with my body. This led to the perpetual chase of the “ideal weight” carrot. Know what I’m talking about?  It is crazy, but that is how I lived for so many years of my life.

It was my normal, my landscape.

But I can actually say that it all changed when I began living at Peace with Food.  That is not to say I don’t have an ideal weight, because I do, but this time it is more of an optimal weight range than an unrealistic all-time-low number.  No more of this all-or-nothing mindset.  Enough of the obsession!

How did I get this peace?  Here it is in a nutshell.  I began believing that I could do it and I changed the way I thought about my situation.  That was step one.  It was a big step that took me years.  But even in believing that I could have Peace with Food (and peace with my body) didn’t result in it magically appearing.  After years of failed attempts, saying I was frustrated with my situation is putting it mildly.  I needed practical steps to take and the skills to carry it out.  I needed to find the answer to my dilemma, the combination to the lock.  Enter Peace with Food.

As I began writing this post I really had to ask myself, “What is my purpose for sharing this part of my life? Is it to inspire, motivate, entertain?”  I think it can be all of these, but more than that, I feel a calling to help others in their journey to Peace with Food.  That’s my mission, my assignment – to share with others what I have learned in the decades I’ve spent struggling with food and help them experience peace and freedom.

When I was in college, my Biochem instructor would always say in his Indian accent, “Take-home-message.”  We knew that when he uttered these three choppy words we needed to take note because the point he was about to make was of utmost importance.  That is what I hope to leave in every Peace with Food post.  A take-home message.  A nugget that will help you live at greater Peace with Food.

So here’s the Take-Home Message:

No matter what your story is, you can have Peace with Food.  No matter what your beginning is, you can rewrite the end.

robynn

 

 

 

P. S.  Stay tuned for Lara’s Story . . .

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Aha! Peace with Food!!

It was just your ordinary sultry summer night in Kansas, or so we thought. . .

As Lara and I sat on my back porch watching our kids catch lightning bugs, little did we know that we were about to embark upon the solution to our greatest struggle and frustration – peace with food and peace with our bodies.

For whatever reason, on this evening we openly shared our challenges with food and our bodies, and as we did, we realized that our stories weren’t all that different.  Empowered with the knowledge that we weren’t alone, we were determined to find what we dubbed Peace with Food.

As we set out on this adventure we were committed to a few things:

  1. We would follow peace, not diets and rules.
  2. We would experiment to see what worked best for us individually.
  3. We would enjoy our life along the way.
  4. We would not rest until we had found Peace with Food.

That journey began over three years ago and today, well, we can say we found it.  We found Peace with Food.

What exactly is Peace with Food?  Well, we hope to share with you our revelations and what we have discovered in future posts.  It has been a great journey so far and with every mile marker we experience greater levels of peace.

Are you looking for Peace with Food and your body?  Or maybe you know someone who is.  If peace has eluded you, be assured, you can have it.  You can experience your “Aha” moment, and live at Peace with Food.

Robynn

 

 

 

 

P.S.  Stay tuned . . . We will be sharing our personal stories on our journey to Peace with Food.


 

 

 

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What’s Next?

 

It’s been ages since I posted and this year has been filled with twists, turns and unexpected trials and triumphs.  With my son moving up to 1st grade and my daughter going into her last year of nursery school, I found myself at a crossroad with no idea of the next direction I would go.  Being a stay at home mom for seven years was a gift that I am lucky to have had.  I started my role as “Mommy,” “Mama,” and “MOM” after teaching 1st grade for eight years and loved my new identity.  Time has flown by and I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been home almost as long as I was in the classroom and can’t imagine jumping back into a teaching career when I’ve been out of practice for so long.  So…where does that leave me?  I’m no longer a first grade teacher, an identity I cherished and was proud of, but I’m also not a mommy of babies and toddlers anymore which is what I came to love even more than my previous role.  I felt like I was slowly becoming NOBODY.

Bigger kids means bigger financial needs and the strain of a single income was becoming apparent.  The obvious solution would be going back to teaching.  However, there are no words to describe the anxiety I felt when even thinking about returning to teaching.  Being out of the classroom for so long makes it that much harder to imagine going back.  If I had taken a maternity leave and gone back right away my kids wouldn’t know any different and neither would I.  Problem is I know how much I love bringing them to school and picking them up.  I love “Mommy and Abby days” when she doesn’t have school.  I couldn’t imagine giving it up.

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Conflicted with finding an answer that would be best for our family I had one of those MEANT TO BE experiences that has changed the path from uncertainty to determination.  I have always believed that certain people come into our lives for a reason.  There is no doubt in my mind that Tracy was one of those people.  My husband went to high school with Tracy and we have been facebook friends for a while.  She lives in Georgia and was a marine biologist, but is now a division leader with lia sophia.  For those of you who are not familiar with lia sophia it is a direct sales company that offers gorgeous jewelry at affordable prices (Think Tupperware party, but with jewelry)!  One day Tracy sent me a message asking me if I would be willing to host a facebook virtual jewelry party so she could show her team that it is possible to connect with friends from out of state and build your business through technology.  I thought about it and mentioned it to my husband and he said to me, “Maybe you should talk to Tracy about selling lia sophia, she was a marine biologist and is now really successful doing this and is home with her kids.”  That was it…I talked to Tracy once and signed up!  That was two months ago and boy has my world CHANGED for the BETTER!  Through friends and family who volunteered to host parties I have been able to get my business started and already recruited a customer to join my “team”!  I am on my way to promoting to Unit Leader and am still in awe that this practically fell into my lap.  Tracy has guided me EVERY step of the way and has been my biggest cheerleader.  It is AMAZING to work for a company that encourages women to be their own boss, set goals and attain them, and live their dream.  My dream has always been to be home with my kids.  My fondest memories are of my mom being home with me and my sister.  I completely understand that this is not an option for many and that there are many women who even if staying home was an option would choose to continue with their career.  The choice we each make does not DEFINE the type of mother you are.  It does not make one of us better than the other.  It is simply the path that each mother takes on the road to raising their children to be the best they can be!

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In the past two months I have gained a new level of confidence and am proud of the work I have done to build my business.  Dressing up my “Mommy” clothes with all of my new jewelry has added an element of fun to my days.  I LOVE being my own boss, making my own hours, and helping our family out with finances.  People do come into our lives for a reason…Tracy came into mine to be the light on this exciting new journey that I am on.

Visit my business Website!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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50 Life Lessons to Live By

My sister shared this list written by Regina Brett on facebook and I was amazed at how many of the lessons we have already written about on The Suede Sofa, but also how many we have yet to learn!  I’ve already gone out and purchased the book that corresponds with this list titled, God Never Blinks, 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours.  I can’t wait to get started!

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You can find lots of great information on her website…

www.reginabrett.com

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

by Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer

May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Set Up to Fail

This week my son and I started planting our seeds indoors so that when the weather warms up they will be strong enough to be transplanted outside.  Once we had picked out our seeds we planted them in self-watering containers that we learned how to make on Pinterest.  With the internet and Pinterest available for gardening tips and ideas it is easy to get started even if you have never grown a single thing before.  For some reason as my son and I were working on our self watering containers, I had a flashback to my first year of teaching and a window box planter I painted with my class and attempted to grow flowers in.  That was almost 15 years ago and I didn’t have “how to” information right at my fingertips.  I didn’t even have a computer with the internet in my classroom at that time.  I bought dirt, about 5 different kinds of seeds, and we started planting.  I planted all of the seeds together in the windowbox one on top of the other and to my naivety thought they were going to grow into a beautiful garden for my class to enjoy.  I didn’t check plant size, seed spacing, and I certainly didn’t know anything about starting seeds in starter pots and then transplanting them once they had matured.

One afternoon after the kids had been dismissed for the day I was watering the windowbox and a veteran teacher (and avid gardener) came in to see what I was doing.  I showed her all of the seed packets and told her that I was planting a windowbox garden with the kids.  I remember like it was yesterday her smile and words, “I’m sure it will be beautiful.”  That was all she said and walked out of my classroom.  Looking back, I realize she knew my garden was going to be a disaster and didn’t say anything to me about how to ReAlLy grow a garden.  She had a wealth of knowledge and years of experience and made a conscious decision to leave me in the dark and LeT Me FaiL.  It wouldn’t bother me so much if it was just me who was going to be disappointed, but I had 18 first graders who though they were growing a beautiful garden.  I will never know why she didn’t offer to help, or why she even bothered coming into my classroom to see what I was doing in the first place.  What I DO know is this…I will NEVER knowingly set someone up to fail.

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This is a lesson I will pass on to my children in hopes that the little voice inside their head will say, “Do the right thing” when faced with an opportunity to help a friend or even a stranger.  Life is hard enough when you know what you’re doing…having a little help when trying something new can only raise your chances at success.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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The Weight is On

As we are approaching the warm weather I once again find myself having to deal with the excess weight that I have put on over the winter.  Every year I say I am not going to gain weight during the winter, and every year I find myself in the same predicament.  Last summer I reached my lowest weight since having my kids.  I was so proud of my achievement, but did that stop me from over indulging during the month-long Christmas festivities…NO!  Then once Christmas came and went there was New Years, the Super Bowl, and I can’t forget to mention my new obsession with Golden Oreos.  I watched the numbers on the scale creep up until yesterday I realized I had put on a full 15 pounds since the summer and am once again miserable with what I see in the mirror when the clothes come off.

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I decided to take out my camera phone and take 3 pictures of myself…front, back, and side views in my bathing suit.  What I saw in the pictures was even worse than the image that had been staring at me in the mirror.  As I said in a past weight loss post (Put On Your Big Girl Panties and Deal With It), to many friends and family members it may not seem like I need to lost weight, but I know that I can do better.  Weight loss isn’t about how you look compared to other people, it is about how you feel about yourself.

Using my pictures as a starting off point, I am excited to get my butt in gear and start working towards the Robyn that I know I can be!  With today being the first day of spring…NOW is as good a time as any to change the eating habits that have crept up through the cold.  Any readers who can relate…GET OUT YOUR CAMERAS and let’s go!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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