Beauty, Safer Living

why i switched to safer beauty

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend and are excited for Christmas in a week! Does anyone get a short week? I had a wonderful weekend with family at my brother’s wedding! Cannot wait to see them all again this weekend. 

Today I wanted to share about something I’m passionate about – safer beauty. Up until a year ago, the term “safer beauty” meant nothing to me. I was completely clueless as to what was in the products I put on my body every day. I don’t think I ever looked at the ingredient list on my products, mostly because I wouldn’t have recognized anything, and I had no reason to be concerned. However, I did check ingredients on my food – don’t they say, if you don’t recognize the ingredient don’t eat it? So I cared about health, but never worried about my personal care products.

Around this time last year, I was introduced to Beautycounter (a safer personal care product company), and learned some startling facts about the beauty industry. Since then, I have slowly been learning more and switching out my products. Most of the time, I get overwhelmed by things I have no control over, like big world events, but when I learned these facts about the beauty industry, I saw how I could make a difference, one step at a time.

What is Safer Beauty?

Essentially, safer beauty is beauty products that do not contain ingredients that negatively impact your health. It’s not necessarily “green,” “organic,” or “all-natural.” These are simply labels assigned by the beauty industry, but are essentially meaningless. Unlike the food industry, the FDA does not regulate these terms in the beauty industry. Something labeled “all-natural” could have some natural ingredients, but not all. And when I say personal care products and the beauty industry, I’m not just talking about cosmetics, this includes haircare, lotions, baby and kid’s products, men’s products, deodorant, toothpaste, sunscreen, nail polish, etc.

The beauty industry is almost entirely unregulated. The FDA has little control over the industry, leaving companies free to put anything out on the market without approval.

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Did you Know?

If you start looking, you’ll find so much about the toxins in products and their impact on our health. Here are some of the basic facts that encouraged me to make a change to safer products.

  • Since the Industrial Revolution, over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into commerce, of which 10% are used in personal care products
  • 80% of ingredients in personal care products have never been tested for human safety (this baffles me!)
  • The last federal law regulating what goes into our personal care products was passed in 1938, which is a 1 1/2 page law regulating a $60 billion industry
  • The EU bans over 1400 harmful ingredients from their products and the US bans 30

So What?

You may be asking why this matters to you, or maybe you’re thinking, who really cares – there are so many health claims out there now. I totally get it! I have felt the same way at times. So, I write all this not because I am a health guru, but because I cannot ignore what I’ve learned, and because I see that change can be made (look at Europe!).

Many of the ingredients found in personal care products have been linked to adverse health effects, such as cancer, infertility, birth defects, hormone disruption, and sensitivities. The average woman uses about 12 products a day, and men use about 7, exposing ourselves to hundreds of toxic ingredients every day. What breaks my heart are the young girls who start using make-up and are being exposed to hormone-altering chemicals.

Now being exposed to harmful chemicals in products once or a couple times isn’t going to kill you, but we never just use products once. Think how many times you wash your hands, brush your teeth, put lotion on your baby, or get a manicure – constant exposures build up over time, and that is what impacts your health. Even babies in the womb are not protected from what the mother puts in her body.

Small Changes, Big Impact

Over the last year, I have became more aware of the ingredients in my personal care products and passionate about creating a safe home. Slowly, but surely Blake and I have switched out our personal care products and are always on the lookout for safer alternatives that work well. I’ll be honest, it is a process and finding good products sometimes takes trial and error, but it’s doable and it doesn’t cost a fortune (one thing at a time).

Small changes over time do make a big impact. One of the biggest steps you can take is be curious about the ingredients in your products, even if the product seems “healthy”. If you don’t know what something is, look it up! Here are a couple resources that have helped me find safer products:

I know this is a lot to chew, but I hope that this information gets you thinking. If you have questions about products or need any recommendations, comment below or send me an email!

Have you switched to safer products? What are some of your favorites?

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body image, favorites, Intuitive Eating, life, Safer Living

life lately // things i’m loving

Hello! I’m finally sitting down to write this post with a cup of heated up coffee (which exploded in the microwave…) and Rosie purring by my side (it’s so good to have her back!).

I’m so looking forward to date night tonight! Blake and I have started the tradition of having wine and cheese and making dinner together on Friday nights. I think I honestly prefer making a nice dinner at home than going out to eat. Breakfast/brunch is the exception. Tonight we’re also going to watch as many episodes of The Crown as we can! Who’s with us?

We at last have our own space, and have moved to the basement apartment of my sister and brother-in-law’s house. I love having our own space again, even if it’s small, it’s still our own.

I love reading other blogger’s Friday favorites/things I’m loving posts, so I thought I’d write one too! Here are some things I’ve been loving lately:

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Eating: For years I’ve been a sweet breakfast person, but lately I’ve been craving sweet and savory. Most mornings this combo sounds good. Two pieces of toast, one with sunflower seed butter and banana, and one with avocado, TJ’s Everything Bagel Seasoning, and an over-easy egg. So satisfying!

Reading: Still reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. This is seriously a life-changing book. I cannot recommend it enough!

Listening: In addition to constant Christmas music, I’m listening to podcasts whenever I drive or walk. Podcasts are my jam! I just found the BodyLove Project podcast and listened to her most recent episode about the Whole30 (find on iTunes). Oh my goodness, this is pack-full of insightful thoughts. Can’t wait to listen to more of her episodes!

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Using: I found a safer deodorant that actually works! Native Deodorant is the bomb! I am sensitive to baking soda in deodorant, so I use one of their sensitive formulas. I’m not jazzed to see “fragrance” on the ingredient list, however on their website they say this is made up of a proprietary blend of oils. Wish they would list them out, but I’m going to go with it for now.

Also LOVING Beautycounter’s Countermatch Collection! The full collection does wonders to my skin, especially with the drier weather. My skin stays hydrated and radiant all day long! Check out the video on my Facebook page and Instagram I did today to learn more about the collection.

Have a lovely weekend!

What have you been loving lately? Any good books, podcasts, or recipes? Share them in the comments.

body image, eating disorder

my story {part II}

First of all, thank you for all the comments and encouragement for my last post. Sharing my story has long been a dream of mine, and I truly do feel that God gave me this story so I can share it with others. If you are just tuning in, go back and read Part I of my story.

Continuing on with my story…senior year of high school was a turning point (or breaking point) in my eating disorder. With impending transitions of leaving Moscow and going to college, I retreated to my eating disorder for comfort and a sense of control. I felt like everything was out of control and that I had become too relaxed about school (I was perfectionistic about that too), exercise, and eating, so I resolved to be even more disciplined. As a result, my weight went down a little more, and I became obsessive about everything.

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Throughout these seven years, I was not happy. I felt trapped by my fear of weight gain and going out of control, but I didn’t know what I could do about it. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to let go of control, I would gain an enormous amount of weight and be undisciplined – which I see now as entirely black and white thinking. Finally, at the end of high school, I was ready to change. One motivating factor was my dream to one day be a mother. You see, during this whole battle, I didn’t have a period. I first had a period in 5th grade, but then with my eating disorder it never came back. Your body needs a certain about of fat to produce estrogen and have a period. My fear was that I had ruined my reproductive system and would never be able to have a child.

Around high school graduation, my oldest sister intervened. She lovingly and graciously encouraged me to get professional help. Finally, I was ready to make a change in my life. The next couple weeks involved moving and saying goodbye to the place I called home and finding a treatment program back in Minnesota.

As we looked into treatment options, I remember worrying that they wouldn’t think I was “sick enough.” Maybe the wouldn’t let me into a treatment program or think I needed help. So I restricted and exercised more. Little did I know how sick I was…just right on the cusp of in-patient treatment. That summer, I started an intensive outpatient treatment program 4 days a week. I was so ready for change, that I did what needed to be done – which meant restoring weight. For the next several months, I completely cut out exercise and followed the meal plan my dietician came up with. These months were some of the hardest in my life. Eating foods I hadn’t had in years, feeling full, not exercising, and watching my body change were a sudden blow to me.

At the same time, my therapist and I started working through all the emotions and thoughts surrounding my eating disorder. An eating disorder is never just about the food, the food is a coping mechanism or symptom of what is really going on inside. It has taken me years to identify what led to my eating disorder. There was no traumatic event that sparked it or unkind words. I grew up in a loving family and community, and was only ever told I was special and beautiful. I’ve come to see that my need for control and my anxiety and perfectionism played a large role in my eating disorder.

The 3-4 months I was in treatment, I only made forward progress. For many in recovery, forward and backward progress is the norm. Many people get stuck in one stage of recovery or they relapse. I am so thankful that I was able to move forward and make the changes I needed to do. I completely attribute this to my supportive family and mentors, and to God. God gave me strength to keep going when I was enraptured with fear and when I had no strength of my own to keep going with recovery. He was my strength.

Backing up a bit, in high school, I had my life planned out. I was going to attend St. Olaf College, study French and Management, and get a job in International Business. While few of us know what we are going to do with our lives when we’re in high school, I truly had no idea what the future would be. God had a different plan for me. While in treatment, it became clear that I needed some more time to heal and adjust to life in the US before attending college. So, I deferred my acceptance to St. Olaf, and spent the next year at home in Minnesota, healing and working. It was not what I planned at all, but God knew it was the best thing for me.

 

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I graduated from the treatment program in the fall, but continued to see my therapist and dietician weekly. I had restored weight, but had a long way to go. When you struggle with and eating disorder or any type of addiction, the longer you are in it, the longer it takes to heal. Over my seven year struggle, I had developed so many cognitive distortions (faulty thinking) and limiting beliefs. I had to retrain my brain to think in a different way. I also had to retrain myself to eat.

How many of us truly eat intuitively? And by intuitively, I mean like a child – eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’ve had enough, without any food rules or values attached to food. I was far from intuitive eating. In my eating disorder, I had learned to tune out my body – it was truly mind over body. My mind told me when it was ok to eat and how much. My mind told me I had to exercise and for how long, regardless of how my body felt. My ability to tune into how my body feels and what it needs has taken years to master. Now, I finally feel like I can “hear” what my body needs. And not just that, but I give my body what it needs (most of the time).

It has been eight years since I started my journey to recovery. It was not been easy and there have been so many ups and downs. I wish I could encapsulate all the things I have learned and gone through, but that would take a book. Progress has been slow too. I remember feeling so discouraged that I wasn’t getting anywhere with my recovery, that I still felt so trapped by eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. Looking back now, I see all the progress I have made. Early on in recovery, I would never have imagined I would be in the place I am this day. I am far from 100% recovered. Sometimes I still struggle with guilt after eating or I despise my body. There are still foods I am “afraid” to eat and not exercising sometimes makes me anxious. I’m not perfect, but I am making progress. Regardless of the struggle, it is so important to recognize the small victories along the way. Let me share a few with you:

  • My body has found it’s happy weight – I’m at a weight now that is easy to maintain. I can eat what I want and move in a way that’s enjoyable because my body does an amazing job at adjusting to my needs.
  • My period is back! (Sorry if that’s TMI, but for women, your period is a HUGE indicator of health)
  • My definition of exercise has broadened to include so many different levels and types of movement. I love to exercise now because it makes me feel good, not because I have to. And if I miss a workout, it’s not the end of the world.
  • I allow myself to sit and rest (sometimes I watch TV in the afternoon! – if Blake is reading, he knows how big of a deal this is, haha). In my eating disorder, I always had to be moving a productive, but now I’m learning the importance of rest.
  • A dessert (or two) every day is one of my daily joys! Deprivation is NEVER a good idea! Have a piece of cake if you want it. If you deprive yourself of certain foods, you’re more likely to overdo it in the future.
  • I have SO much more confidence than ever! – I am learning to love myself and celebrate what makes me unique. Introvert? Yep that’s me!
  • I laugh again – I have fun and enjoy life!

I write these not to brag, but because I want to share all the good things that God has done in my life through recovery. He has been my strength, and He has put so many people in my life to walk the journey with me. I will be forever grateful for a couple therapists and dietitians who led me along in recovery (professional help is key to recovery!), and my family, mentor, and friends who held my hand, challenged my faulty thinking, and encouraged me to choose life.

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Amanda Moe Photography

If you know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder or an unhealthy relationship with food or exercise, keep loving them! They may not be willing to get help yet, but there are so many ways you can help them. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about supporting a loved one.

The sad thing is that so many women struggle with an eating disorder to some extent. About 80% of women struggle with disordered eating in the US. You don’t have to be diagnosed with an eating disorder to get help for an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. One of the emerging “eating disorders” is orthorexia, which is an unhealthy obsession with health and clean eating – I see this all around me. I will delve more into these topics later, but what I want to hone in is that if you feel enslaved to food an exercise, then you can get help.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. My story is not finished, I am constantly learning about myself and challenging the thoughts and behaviors I have developed over the years. I am also learning to combat the messages in our culture that tell us what to eat and not to eat, and how we should look. I am so excited and ready to continue sharing this journey with you all, through my real experiences, thoughts, and lessons. Thank you all for your love and support!

body image, eating disorder

my story {part I}

This post is long overdo, since my story is the main motivation behind this blog. I share my story openly because I want you to know who I am and the work that God has done in me through my story. I also want to encourage others who are going through an eating disorder or recovery. There is hope! Life free from an eating disorder is incredibly abundant!

Disclaimer: If you are going through an eating disorder or are in the early stages of treatment, this post may be triggering for you. If you are struggling with body image or eating, please do seek professional help.

My story begins when I was in fifth grade. There were many other things in the years leading up to my eating disorder, but fifth grade was a significant time for me. I was self-conscious of my body – it was on the chubbier side, and I was going through the beginning stages of puberty. I was never athletic and was a very sensitive, shy little girl. During fifth grade, I experienced a lot of emotions (puberty hormones I’m sure) and feeling out-of-control. I remember being extremely distraught about how my body looked and at times crying because I felt as I had no control over it. I imagined that I would always be this way, and I would never marry or be anything important because of it.

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Finally, the summer after fifth grade I took action. I decided to become “healthy”. Looking back now, I know this is a common route to an eating disorder – trying to lose a little weight, gain control, or become “healthier.” I discovered calories and started limiting those and my fat intake. I don’t remember everything I did, but before I knew it, it was out of control. By the beginning of 6th grade, I had lost over 30 pounds (in less than 3 months). I was exercising obsessively, skipping meals that I could, and eating only the bare minimum. While I was at my lowest weight ever, I still saw a chubby girl in the mirror. My eating disorder skewed how I saw myself and compounded my fears of gaining weight. I was completely blind to the fact that I had an eating disorder.

Later that fall, my parents stepped in to help. At that point, I outright refused to eat many foods because I was afraid I’d gain weight or lose control. I thrived off the feeling of being hungry because it made me feel disciplined and in control. Living in Moscow, we didn’t have access to treatment centers or American therapists and dietitians, so my parents helped as best they could. I started eating 3 meals a day plus snacks, and regained a little weight, but I was still enslaved to my eating disorder.

Over the next seven years, I maintained the appearance that everything was okay. I ate meals and snacks, exercised a “reasonable” amount, and wasn’t dangerously thin, however my eating disorder still controlled me. I was terrified of gaining weight, and did everything in my power to control it through food and exercise rules. Looking back on the rules now, they seem ridiculous, but at the time they were very real. Rules about how much and what foods I could eat plagued me. I would avoid social situations because I didn’t know how to handle food. I made excuses about why I wasn’t eating “xyz” because I wasn’t hungry or I didn’t like that food. Exercise also controlled me. Regardless of the day or how I felt, I had to exercise a certain amount of time every day, and only certain types of exercise counted.

For years I lived in bondage to food, weight, and exercise. They were constantly on my mind, keeping me from enjoying life in the moment. My relationships suffered because I was shy and so preoccupied with my weight. I became so self-conscious about everything I did, and I wanted to be the best at everything.

The funny thing is that even though I was at my lowest weight, it was never enough. I constantly felt that I had to do better – be healthier, more fit, and skinnier. I felt extreme guilt for eating and had extremely low body image. I was terribly unhappy, but wasn’t willing to change. My mother was a constant support at this time. I confided with her my fears and unhappiness. I wanted to be free, but was so afraid that if I let myself eat what I wanted I would be out of control.

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During late high school, I went through a period of rejecting God. This was probably in part due to teenage rebellion, but also deep inside me, I knew that if I let God in I would have to let go of my eating disorder. I was not ready to let go yet. This was one of the darkest times of my life. I literally felt the distance from God. Finally, I did turn back to God because I could not stand the distance. Nothing dramatic changed with my eating disorder at this point, but it was the beginning of change.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

body image, Intuitive Eating, life

being real

You may be wondering where I’ve been. I’m still here and thinking about the blog and you, my readers. Life has been full and every day has been so different, that I haven’t found my rhythm. Also, I’ve been doing lots of thinking, probably a lot of overthinking and doubting myself. I tell you all this because I want to be honest with what I’m going through. Let me explain…

I’m a perfectionist and often struggle feeling “good enough.” As I’ve entered the blogging world, I’ve wanted to do it well. I want to reach more people with my story because I believe that God has given me my experiences for a reason. I want to encourage and bless others. However, I struggle with doubts that I’m not creative enough and I have nothing to share, and that my blog isn’t professional.

I’m struggling with comparison and with feeling like I have nothing to share.

Through my journey with an eating disorder and recovery, I have learned so much that I want to share with others, however I feel like I have no authority in the topics I want to share. I share from my own experience about learning to eat intuitively, recovering from an eating disorder, and accepting my body, but I’m no therapist or dietician.

This week, I was ready to give up the blog. Then I had a conversation with my mom. She reminded me how my blog has encouraged some of her friends, and that God has given me a story to tell. She encouraged me to keep it up and write as if I was writing to a friend.

The last thing I want is to lose joy in writing the blog. If my blog can impact one person, that is all that matters. So, I may never have a big blog, but that’s not what matters.

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I’m no professional writer, blogger, therapist, or dietician, but I do have a story to tell and a passion for others to live life to the fullest. So follow along with my imperfect journey, share with others who are struggling, and never forget that no matter how imperfect you feel, you are worthy.

 

 

Intuitive Eating, Self-care

should you exercise when you’re sick?

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I have been battling a sinus infection for the last 9 days. It has been super frustrating especially because we just moved to Philly and I want to get out and do things and work. I’m terrible at resting, as my husband can attest, but I am really trying so I can get better.

One thing I’ve given up during this time is exercise. I love exercising for a variety of reasons and find it beneficial for my overall health, but when I am sick exercise is the last thing I need. Don’t get me wrong, I miss moving my body and feeling strong. I cannot wait till I’m better and can resume with normal life, but I won’t sacrifice my health for a workout.

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This current mindset is drastically different than what it used to be. In my eating disorder and even in recovery, I followed a rigid exercise regime. I had to work out at least X times a week, for X amount of time, and I wouldn’t consider it a workout unless it was heart-pumping. Rain or shine, sick or tired I worked out. I was so afraid that if I missed one workout, I would gain weight. I also believed that if I didn’t work out, I couldn’t eat. So, no matter how sick I was, I would fit in a full workout.

I will post later about my journey with exercise, but this is the gist. My addiction to exercise really started shifting about 5 years ago, when I injured my knee. I had to stop working out completely and then find other ways to move my body. This experience completely broke me. I had to face my fears.

Through this injury (which I am still working on), I learned to trust my body with food and exercise. I learned that my body doesn’t need to go through intense exercise to be healthy. I picked up other forms of movement like walking, yoga, pilates, lifting, and swimming, and fit them into my exercise options. I learned that I could and need to still eat and eat enough even when I’m not exercising. My body didn’t blow up and I didn’t instantly gain tons of weight.

If you struggle with an eating disorder or exercise addiction or are even just afraid of gaining weight, let me tell you that you can trust your body. Are bodies are so smart, and if we actually tune into them, they tell us what we need (what to eat, if we should move our body, etc.).

Robyn, one of my favorite bloggers, has taught me so much about how exercise affects our bodies and hormones. Her posts have challenged me to listen to my body and evaluate why I exercise. I’ve learned that intense exercise when I’m in a stressful time of life, sick, or tired actually causes more harm than good (see her posts here and here).

I’m not saying exercise is bad. In fact, I love moving my body, and cannot wait to do so mindfully once I am better, but there is flexibility. Exercise should be enjoyable not add stress or harm.

When someone is recovering from being sick, their body needs energy to heal itself. That means rest and adequate nutrition. It is okay to skip exercise for a couple days or weeks, if that’s what it takes to heal your body.

I say this as someone who knows the fear of gaining weight from missing a workout, and yet I’ve also learned that there is so much flexibility. I can trust my body. In these last 9 days, I haven’t instantly gained weight or lost all my muscle mass, and I’m eating the exact same.

In the larger scheme of things, missing a couple workouts, make little difference in my life. My goal is to take care of my body so I can live life to the fullest and love others well. Life is so much more than exercise.

 

 

life, Self-care

what is balance?

This post is way overdo since the title of my blog is all about balance. So, let me tell you what balance means to me.

Balance has been a theme for me this past year. A year ago, I was burnt out from 9-5 jobs which left me little energy, time, or motivation to invest in what I truly cared about. I found myself expending all my energy into work that wasn’t fulfilling and then coming home irritable, tired, and uninspired. I had been struggling with my work/energy balance for several years, but it became especially apparent once I got married. Blake is wonderful at resting and encouraging me to rest. Even to this day I’ll complain about being exhausted, yet I keep doing things, and he reminds me I need to really stop and do nothing.

So, this past fall, I had had enough running around and constantly being busy, and I wanted to slow down and truly take care of myself. That’s when I joined Beautycounter, which for the first time ever I loved what I did and felt purposeful in my work. I also quit my full-time job so I could have more flexibility and balance, and I started making space to listen to my body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

All of this was a choice. I wrestled hard to actually come to terms with my needs and desires, even if they weren’t mainstream.

Our culture today is always on the go, keeping packed social schedules, always working or moving to the next thing. Busyness is the norm, stress is normal, and being tapped out is normal. Some people may have the capacity to always be busy, but I can’t. I need space in my life to rest, be creative, engage with those I love, move my body, and learn.

This brings up the question, what does it mean to thrive? For me, it’s rejecting the survival mentality and taking time to care for myself by getting enough sleep, eating at least 3 meals a day, moving my body regularly, giving myself permission to rest, and practicing self-care. I don’t want to look back on my life and remember being tires all the time and just getting by. I want to remember that I embrace life and the beauty around me…and I can’t do that when I am in survival mode.

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For me, balance is about giving myself permission to trust myself and take care of my whole self. That means resting when I’m sick, taking a day off from exercise, eating more simply when life is busy, living amongst boxes because there are so many other things to be put energy into right now, and letting my body be the shape it is meant to be.

I struggle to write this now because I feel so out of balance. Our move has shaken up the balance I had in Minnesota. This week I found myself getting frustrated that I hadn’t found a rhythm yet, but then Blake lovingly reminded me that it takes time. It does take time and patience. Now I am excited to discover a new rhythm for my life in Philly.

It’s hard to let go of the things that fill up our lives. It’s hard to be quiet. It’s hard to slow down or say no when everyone else around you is constantly busy.

But what is your body telling you? Are you feeling burnt out, tired, uninspired? Maybe it’s time to check the balance and rhythm in your life.

What is your favorite form of self-care?

life, philadelphia

life update

I’m back! It feels good to be writing here again after a couple week hiatus. I truly missed writing, but taking a break was needed to focus on our move. So much has happened since my last post, and I want to fill you in on where we’ve been and where we are now!

Since I last wrote, Blake took the LSAT (still waiting on the score…) and we took a trip up to the North Shore, packed up and moved out of our first home, and traveled over 1000 miles to a new city. This could end up being a very long post, so I will try to keep it just to the highlights.

Before moving, we had some wonderful times with family and friends. After the LSAT, I threw a goodbye/birthday party for Blake. It was so much fun having people in our home one last time. That weekend we headed to Wisconsin for a couple days of family time and recuperation. One of the highlights was meeting our brand new niece, Loretta Margaret!

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The following week was filled with packing, as I was trying to get as much done before we travelled Up North for a little getaway. We had planned this trip before deciding to move to Philly, and even though it wasn’t the ideal time, I was not going to back out of it.

The North Shore holds a special place in both of our hearts and has played a roll in our relationship. Blake spent 2 summers on the North Shore working before and after we met, we road tripped the shore while dating, and we eventually honeymooned outside of Duluth.

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This trip, we stayed at the most adorable B&B near Tettagouche State Park – Baptism River Inn. The inn is right along the Baptism River and we could hear the water from our room. The decor was rustic and cozy, just the way I like. We loved sitting in the common room drinking coffee and playing numerous rounds of cribbage. Our favorite part by far was the sauna!! I have done many saunas, but this was unlike any I have ever done. The building was tiny and looked like a something from a fairytale. It used a wood-burning stove that we built ourselves! If anyone is looking for a quiet getaway, I would highly recommend this inn!

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The adorable sauna!

 

 

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Coffee with a view

Food was also a highlight on this trip. The inn-keepers did a phenomenal job with breakfasts both mornings! I am so inspired to make elaborate breakfasts on weekends now. One night we went to our favorite restaurant to celebrate Blake’s birthday. If you are ever on the North Shore, you must go to New Scenic Cafe. We went there twice on our honeymoon, and had to go back again. I love their emphasis on fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations. The staff is also incredibly helpful and kind.

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Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, baked grapefruit, and a cinnamon scone

We returned from our weekend away, refreshed and ready to tackle the move ahead. In 2 days, with the help of my parents, we finished packing, loaded our 16-foot Penske truck, and said goodbye to our first apartment. It was sad to leave the place we had made home, but I felt excited for the new adventures in Philadelphia.

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We split our drive into 3 days, with stops to visit friends along the way. Our first night, we stopped in Madison and stayed with some new friends, Shane and Olivia. Olivia and I met through a mutual friend and hit it off right away. Recently, Olivia and I have connected through Instagram and we started making plans to visit each other. Olivia is a beautiful woman with an amazing heart – follow her on Instagram @liv.ruckstuhl. Both Blake and I loved connecting with Shane and Olivia, and were blessed by their hospitality.

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Next stop, Indianapolis! We stayed with dear family friends, the Gramley’s. Growing up, my family would go to the beach in N. Carolina with the Gramley’s, and Ken and Gretta became like aunt and uncle to us kids. We had a delightful visit, catching up on life and introducing them to Blake.

The next morning, we were up early to hit the road for a 11-hour drive. Well, it was supposed to be 11-hour drive, but with stops and driving through the mountains, it ended up being 13 hours! It was a long drive and a little stressful. But, wow, the scenery was beautiful! I had no clue that the western side of Pennsylvania was so mountainous! It was beautiful to look at, but our poor truck had a little trouble with all the inclines. What was even more interesting is that during our drive we listened to Hillbilly Elegy. If you haven’t heard of the book, it is primarily set in the Appalachian mountains (which we were driving through). It’s an incredible book and melds sociological study and memoir.

We finally made it to Philadelphia late on Friday night. We are living with my sister and brother-in-law, who are in the city. This meant that we had to unload the truck and drop it off that night. Let’s just say, parking is not the easiest in the city… But we did it, and are now settled into their guest room for the next 2 months.

So now what?…Well, we are figuring that out. Blake and I are both committed to jumping right into life here, because we don’t know how long we’ll be here. Right now, we are living in my sister and brother-in-law’s guest room with all of our boxes until after Thanksgiving, when we will move to their basement apartment. Blake is currently looking for work, and I have at least one part-time nanny jobs starting next week. We are also working to build connections in the city. We found a church and are going to our first small group tonight!

There are so many emotions, thoughts, and desires running through my mind right now. Our life is simple, and I am growing to love that. We don’t have any big commitments or distractions, it’s just us right now. It’s hard to be in-between homes and not really have a space of our own, but I am trying to not let those feelings get in the way of me living life here. Without a steady income right now, we have to be tight with money, which is making us be creative with how to have fun together.

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If you have made it this far, thanks for reading! I am so excited to share more about our life and adventures in Philly, and to continue sharing about health at every size, body acceptance, and safer living.

 

life

we are moving!

I have never been the most adventurous person. I love exploring and trying new things, but I also love coming back to the comfort of the familiar. So it may surprise you to hear that Blake and I are moving to Philadelphia in a couple weeks!

After much prayer and discussion, we feel that God is calling us away from the Twin Cities for a year. We love the Twin Cities, our friends, and our church, but we want an adventure. See, Blake is currently studying for the LSAT, which he takes on Saturday! We have a year until law school and want to do something different for a year.

I am so excited for a change of scenery and the opportunity to explore a new city and the East Coast. ALSO, we will be living with my sister, brother-in-law and niece, and I am beyond excited to be close to my darling little Ellinor!

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There are still so many unknowns (which is challenging for me), but I know that God will provide – He always does. I cannot wait to share our new adventures with you all!

With all the moving, saying goodbye to friends and family, I am feeling overwhelmed. So, I am taking a step away from the blog until after the move. It’s hard to give up, because I find so much joy and purpose in sharing with you all, but I will be back with a fresh mind and ideas!

In the meantime, stay connected with me on Instagram. You can also shop Beautycounter through my website and stay connected with safer beauty by signing up for my newsletter.

See you in a couple weeks!

Intuitive Eating, Uncategorized

food freedom

Happy Labor Day weekend! I am excited for this weekend, because my whole immediate family will be all together for the first time in years, and because my little niece is here! Wether you are laying low this weekend, or off on a grand adventure, I wish you well!img_1482

I finally started reading a book that’s been on my list for ages, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, and it is life-changing! I am only a couple chapters into it, but I can tell it will change my relationship with food. If you struggle with eating or body image, I highly recommend it.

 I am not an expert and am still learning how to implement intuitive eating into my life (hence reading the book), but I absolutely love the concept! Essentially, intuitive eating is listening to your body around food – eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, eating what sounds good, etc. Intuitive eating isn’t a perfect science or diet, it differs for every person and situation. I plan to write another post specifically about intuitive eating because there is so much to share.

My relationship with food has been all over the place for over 14 years. In my eating disorder, food was my enemy. I thought about every morsel I put in my mouth, planned all my meals, and compensated for “richer” foods. My life revolved around food, especially what I could and couldn’t eat. Consequently, I lost touch with my hunger and fullness cues and developed distrust with my body.

When I entered treatment 8 years ago, my dietician developed a structured meal plan including meals and snacks and a wide variety of food. Looking back, I remember how terribly afraid I was to eat “all that food” and to reintroduce certain foods into my diet. It seems silly that something so basic as food could be fear-inducing, but the reality is that food has that power over so many people’s lives in our society. img_1504

It took years, but slowly I began recognizing hunger and fullness cues, and I became comfortable with eating a variety of foods. It was not an overnight process, by any means. I used to have a very long list of “fear foods” which I tackled one-by-one. Now, many of those foods are regularly a part of my normal eating. I remember when my dietician suggested I have dessert every day. At the time, it sounded impossible, but now I have it every day and love it!

In today’s world, we are bombarded with messages about what to eat and what not to eat. Certain foods are deemed bad, while others are glorified. How have we given food so much power? Yes, food is a necessity and a wonderful thing, but it will not make you a better or worse person. I believe there are no good or bad foods – all foods are good.

Over the years, I have slowly started trusting my body to the point I know that if I listen to it, I will eat a balanced diet. Since tuning into my body, I’ve been amazed to find what it craves. My body craves fresh foods and carbohydrates and protein, but it also feels great with a little something sweet at the end of the day. For me, when all foods are allowed, I think about food less, I don’t feel guilty for eating certain foods, and I am much more flexible in social situations. img_1505

I want to shout out to the world that we can trust our bodies and that food has no power over us! It breaks my heart to hear people degrade themselves for eating certain foods. When I hear a woman scold herself over the scone she had with her morning coffee, and how she “should” skip lunch, I want to say, “No, you can eat a scone and lunch, and actually you should eat lunch because your body needs the nourishment.”

Don’t let food control your worth or happiness. Food is an amazing thing (I love eating good food), but it has no power over you. I know the terrible bondage food can have over people, and a life of food freedom is infinitely better.

Especially as you go into this weekend, give yourself grace and permission to trust your body’s cravings. Eat that cupcake and savor every bite!

Intuitive Eating Resources