Some thoughts from our vacation.

(Lost most of my pictures when I switched from WP to blogger. Slowly working on putting them back, but it's a massive undertaking so please forgive the broken image links!)

About two weeks ago, we packed up and set sail for South Carolina to spend some time with my family on Thanksgiving.  We always take this trip by car because it's convenient to have a car once we get there and it is much cheaper than flying five people.  Without kids, it's about a 14 or 15 hour drive.  With kids it takes anywhere from 18 to 21 hours.  Yeah.

Thoughts on our trip go about like this:

Day before:

Chelsea:  Oh, this is going to be so fun!  I can't wait!  

Tim: I'm so excited for our road trip!

Chelsea: You're nuts, honey.  The road trip is going to suck.  We have three kids three and under.  But the trip?  The trip will be fun.

Days of road trip:

Chelsea (cradling head in hands, occasionally sobbing): Why????  Why did we decide to make this trip by car?  

Kids: Cough, cough.  Sniffle, sniffle.  Are we there yet?  Cough.  Are we there yet?  Waaaaaaaaahhhhhh!  No, my toy!  No, mine!  That's my toy!  Cough, cough.  Sniffle. MY TOY!  Are we there yet?  Waaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Once we got there, things were better in that we weren't all stuck in a car with germs flying everywhere and two kids sitting next to each other who are incapable of sharing, one with a high pitched shriek she uses any time her brother gets within a half mile vicinity of her.

But all three kids were sick.  Really sick.  Landon and Ben had the croup cough, Adalyn had her asthmatic cough and fun times were had with our nebulizer in heavy use.  There was very little sleeping but a whole lot of crying.  Did I mention Landon popped his first tooth on this trip?  I had so many plans to see so many people, and it just wasn't able to happen.  I didn't even get to see my best friend.  :(

Then we generously shared our germs with my parents, who both got very sick.  Mom cooked Thanksgiving dinner like this:

Honestly, though, despite wanting to sometimes run away, this trip was still amazing.  We got to see my family, a luxury we aren't afforded often since they live so far away.  There were moments like this, where my dad taught my son how to feed my old lizards (that my dad rescued when I became, like, deathly allergic to them):

I learned that my daughter has my hair:

And my son has my ears:

And maybe that's the only way in which my kids look like me, but I'll take it!

There was a whole lot of this going on, which warmed my heart because this is exactly what my childhood was like with my own Grandad.  I spent many childhood days curled up in my Grandad's lap with books, and I adored it:

I got to introduce my daughter and son to my favorite place in the whole wide world, and I got to breathe in the ocean air with my whole family.

They even got a "crashing" wave.  :)

eYW1PN on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

We visited Wilmington, NC, a beautiful little port city with a cool downtown.

And Greenville, SC.  We absolutely fell in love with Greenville's downtown.  I mean...in. love.

Despite some of the misery, lots of fun and silly moments were captured on camera and in our hearts.

My hubby and I really connected on this trip.  Rather than letting the stress of it all affect our marriage, we were able to laugh through the hard times together.  Sometimes challenging times with children, illness, travel, etc., can divide a couple.  We made a really concerted effort this trip to be a team; to laugh and cry and ram our heads into the wall together.  And in the end, we came out so much stronger.  :)

And on the way home, we drove right through Joplin, Missouri, and stopped to see a sweet friend, which was the perfect way to end the trip.

(This is me making an effort to post pictures even when I look fat!)


Our little old house, painted!

(Lost most of my pictures when I switched from WP to blogger. Slowly working on putting them back, but it's a massive undertaking so please forgive the broken image links!)

Well, inspired by this, we painted our house last week.

We didn't use these same colors, but ones very similar.  We went with Sandy Hook from Benjamin Moore for the body, just like above, Wythe Blue (Benjamin Moore) for the door, and then...I have no idea what we used for the trim and shutters.  Eek!  I picked out the paint chips, gave them to our painter and then completely forgot to jot down the names.  All I know is that the shutter color is the same paint chip as Chelsea Gray (Benjamin Moore), but it's the darkest charcoal from that paint chip, and the trim came from the same paint chip as White Dove (Benjamin Moore), but it's the lightest cream on that paint chip (I'm 80% sure it's Simply White).  :)

Though we really loved the other ideas, particularly the blue with wood door, we went with this one for several reasons.  First of all, in terms of resale value, we felt this was the best option.  Secondly, the wood door was going to set us back close to $1000 when all was said and done, and we decided we would really like this color scheme and could use that $1000 on other projects, like finishing the basement instead.

In the end, we're very happy we picked what we did.  I love it.  It's totally my style.  And I loved the door so much that we went back to Benjamin Moore and got a couple gallons and I started painting our living room Wythe Blue.  Pictures to come!

So without further adieu, the before:

And the afters.  Picture a charcoal roof to match, hopefully coming soon.  Our roof is in desperate need of replacement and we have an insurance adjuster coming today, so fingers crossed we got approved for a new roof today.  The red-toned roof is going to drive me a little crazy in the mean time.

Here was our entry way before:

And here it is now:

Our landscaping is the next big goal, but we won't even start on that 'til spring.  And because it's what I do, you can expect lots of blogging my way through it.  :)

Thanks, Brush X Painting, for doing an awesome job!



This election, I'm proud to say that I voted completely on how aligned a candidate was to my own morals, beliefs and goals I'd like to see our country achieve.  This time, I'm proud to say I didn't vote for a party, nor did I worry about "wasting" my vote.  I just voted for the person I thought would truly bring change.  I voted for the person I knew could never win.  But someday I hope to see an election system changed and third parties given a real voice and a real chance.

I didn't vote for Obama or Romney, but I'm very happy with the results of the election.  Am I sad "my candidate" didn't win?  Sure.  But I knew it would happen like this, and Obama was a very close second for me.

Regardless, I'd prayed on the election yesterday and turned to scripture, prepared to have to come to terms with a candidate I didn't want to see in office winning.  And I hope that had Romney won, I wouldn't have acted the way so many Christian brothers and sisters across the country acted on facebook.  Friends, remember:
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people." Titus 3:1-2

There were some sad comments on facebook.  And a lot of the typical, "I'm moving to Canada," "God help our country," "We are doomed," etc.  But what made me so sad about it this time, what was so different than 2008, was that this time, I saw the election through the eyes of a Christian devoted to God.  In 2008, I had virtually no relationship with God.  I had just a small handful of Christian friends.  This time, I have a lot more Christian friends and I follow quite a few pastors on facebook.  And I saw more bitter and hateful words being flung around at each other after the election was declared last night than I saw Christians who voted the other way being gracious or following the Bible's commands.  I expected to be so happy when it was done...because that would mean it was done.  But as it turned out, I ended up more depressed when it was all over.  I'd expected better, more.  I'd expected grace and respect.  After all, my news feed is filled with Christians.  But I suppose we're all sinners, so to give into the sinful nature of ourselves to be hateful and/or selfish isn't completely surprising.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." Romans 13:1-2

Friends, please remember that we are united in CHRIST.  Please remember grace.  Most importantly, please remember that God is our ultimate leader.  And that He establishes authority here on earth.  Please remember to pray for your President, whether you like him or don't.  And please remember that Obama is just a man.  He is a man with feelings.  He is a dad and a husband and a brother in Christ.  It's okay to be disappointed.  It's not okay to be mean.

Honestly, when you boil it down, we are all so similar in our beliefs.  We all want virtually the same outcome.  We may see different paths to get there, but our end goals are more aligned than most of us even realize.  Let's truly put it all behind us and move forward, together.  As long as this bitter divide continues, it will not get better.  No Republican or Democrat can accomplish great things when the parties hate each other the way they do right now.  Remember that.

A sweet friend of mine posted this on facebook, and I think you just couldn't sum it up better than this: "With all of the 'May God have mercy on us all's' muttered in defeat, you'd think we did something other than elect a Christian president who is committed to caring for the sick and the poor."

The cholesterol/lipid hypothesis/heart disease myth

Fat in your diet is a multifaceted issue.  It seems pretty simple: eat fat, gain fat.  But as I've learned in the last few weeks, it's not that simple - at all.  This is (obviously) a super long blog post with a ton of information I've gathered over the last few weeks, so if you don't care about wading through it all, I'll go ahead and begin with the summary:

 Ancel Keys proposed the Lipid Hypothesis in the 1950s to explain the rising rates of heart disease.  Sadly, it was a very flawed hypothesis that has been disproved by quite a few studies since, but the theory holds true here in America, where we latched on and never let go of the belief that fats are evil (they'll make you fat, raise your cholesterol and then give you a heart attack).  Study after study shows that having high cholesterol isn't actually an accurate predictor of heart disease and in some cases, when blood pressure dropped, the rates of heart disease increased.  The worst part of it all is that the "heart healthy" vegetable oils and margarine made by science that we were encouraged to use instead of the natural fats God gave us are being proven to be the real villains of heart disease now.  It would be humorously ironic if it wasn't sad.  There is also a misperception that eating fat makes you fat.  This is completely untrue.  Carbs and sugar are the weight gain facilitators.  Saturated fats are necessary for a whole host of important bodily functions and when you're eating the right kinds, they'll actually help you regulate your weight.

I've researched this issue more than any other in this whole PRF because it's the one I'm most passionate about.  I can't help but feel a bit of a conviction to share this news.  For many people, changing their diets to organic or local foods is nearly (or entirely) impossible.  But switching from fake fats, or manmade fats, or "fat-free" products and returning to the God-given and beautiful (yep, I said it) fats nature has blessed us with is an easy change.  I feel passionate about this issue because we have gotten it so wrong, and people are suffering for it.  We've turned fats in our diet into a forbidden morsel that most of us don't even speak about, unless you're the Pioneer Woman.  :)

We've been inundated by dietitians, nutritionists, doctors and the government with the idea that all fat is created equal and it's all bad.  More recently, the idea that some fats are good has gained national attention.  I think it would be worthwhile to note here that when people were screaming, "All fats are bad!" there was a camp that sat firmly in the "natural fats are good for you!" corner despite the contrary assertions being thrown at them in every direction.  Is it a crazy assumption to make that one day, the idea that saturated fats from good, healthy animals are good for you will also become widely accepted (and that cholesterol is not the enemy)?  I don't think so.  Here's why.

The history of America's anti-fat obsession

I can't think of a better way to start this series on fat without quoting directly from the beginning of Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.
As the French maintain their trim physiques while consuming triple cream brie, steak au poivre, and bearnaise sauce, most American adults would barely dare to drink a glass of whole-fat milk."

Ironically, it is America that is dealing with tremendous rates of obesity; the country that completely villified fat and has turned almost everyone against it is the fattest country of all.  If you begin to dissect this complicated issue by first looking at that last statement alone, it's incredibly clear that we have missed the mark on understanding the way food affects our metabolism and body fat (and what causes heart attacks and heart disease - which have still been increasing in number despite supposedly pinpointing the "real" cause and changing our diets to reflect that).

For reasons still unknown, coronary heart disease took off sometime in the 1920s.  By the 1940s it had become a major cause of death.  Doctors and scientists scrambled to find the cause.  In 1951, pathologists went to Korea to learn about war wounds by dissecting the bodies of deceased soldiers.  They were surprised to find a high incidence of coronary heart disease in these young soldiers (average of 22 years old).  Upon further study, they found a build-up of fibrous, fatty deposits sticking to the artery wall in 35 percent of the men.  Forty-one percent had fully formed lesions.

The doctors found cholesterol in the material built up on the artery walls.  People who died of heart disease often had high levels of cholesterol in their blood.  Naturally, then, they surmised that heart disease and high cholesterol were related.

Reading Good Calories, Bad Calories (or the trimmed-down version, Why We Get Fat) or Eat Fat, Lose Fat, you'll learn that the "lipid hypothesis," the theory that saturated fats and cholesterol in our food raise cholesterol levels in the blood, leading to heart disease - was coined in the 1950s by a man named Ancel Keys.  Ancel Keys was the author of several epidemiological studies that some believe were severely flawed.  Keys used data from seven countries in his Seven Countries Study.  He compared the death rates from CHD and the amounts of fats eaten in those countries and determined that death from heart disease was higher in the countries that consumed more fat than it was in the countries that consumed less.  Interesting to note, though, is the fact that data from many more countries was available, but Keys seemed to ignore the data that did not support his hypothesis.

In America we took that one theory and ran with it, targeting fat as the enemy and filling grocery store shelves with "fat-free!" and "reduced fat!" products, which were usually filled with sugar and chemicals instead.  There hasn't been a fat-free or reduced fat product in my home in at least a year and a half, save for nature's own fat-free products.  Within days of first reading about this, I vowed to never come near the stuff again because it made so much sense.

Like I said last week, the idea that these newly concocted foods, created in labs across the USA, is better for me and my heart than the food God created for me doesn't come close to passing my common sense filter.  The idea that the natural fat from whole foods that humans have been eating for most of time was the cause of the sudden increase in heart disease between the 1900s and 1950s also doesn't come close to passing my common sense filter.  If we've always been eating it, how in the world could it correlate with a new rise in disease?  Surely there is more to the story.

In 1900, less than 10 percent of all deaths were caused by heart disease.  In 1950, 30 percent.  Today, almost 45 percent of deaths are caused by heart disease.  Most of the increase was due to heart attack, which didn't exist before 1920.  In the 1950s, Dr. Dudley White (the most famous cardiologist of the day, as he was President Eisenhower's doctor) noted that heart disease had increased as the consumption of liquid vegetable oils increased and the use of traditional fats like eggs, butter and lard had decreased.  Between 1900 and 1950, the use of margarine quadrupled and vegetable oils more than tripled.  Egg consumption, on the other hand, was cut in half.

Common sense would tell us that more people would experience heart attacks as things like sanitary water supplies and better housing allowed us to live longer, thus more people reached the age at which heart attacks become more common.  Secondarily, diet changes were noted in the period between 1900 and 1950.  Since the Department of Agriculture began keeping track of the amount of various foods going into the food supply, researchers noticed a change in the kind of fats Americans were eating.  Butter consumption was declining while the use of vegetable oils, especially oils that had been hardened to resemble butter by a process call hydrogenation, was dramatically increasing.  By 1950, butter consumption had dropped from eighteen pounds per person each year to just under ten pounds.  Margarine had risen from about two pounds per person at the turn of the century to about eight by 1950 and consumption of vegetable shortening, used in crackers and baked goods, remained pretty steady at about twelve pounds per person each year.  Vegetable oil consumption had more than tripled from just under three pounds per person per year to more than ten.

The process of hydrogenating these liquid oils was created so that they could be used as a substitute for coconut oil and animal fats in baked goods.  All of a sudden a large percentage of Americans were eating new, manmade, processed fats like Crisco and Wesson Oil that we'd never eaten before.  To add insult to injury, it didn't stop there.  These processed fats were being put in processed foods that more Americans were eating that also contained refined carbs and lots of new additives, more things that had never been in a traditional diet before.

Dr. White pointed out that heart disease had been increasing along with the use of polyunsaturated fats and partially hydrogenated oils and suggested that Americans return to eating traditional fats instead, like meat, eggs, butter and cheese.

By the 1970s, the lipid hypothesis had become the only explanation for heart disease despite the critics who cited major flaws in the study's design.  It was widely accepted and promoted by doctors all over the country as well as organizations like the American Heart Association and government agencies like the FDA.  In Eat Fat, Lose Fat, they claim to have documented evidence that the edible oil industry worked behind the scenes to influence government policy to endorse the use of foods containing their products, not traditional fats.  Shocker, I know.  Corruption and big business and politics?!  No way.

What is the Lipid Hypothesis?

Put in simple terms, from Eat Fat, Lose Fat, CHD (coronary heart disease) is a buildup of fatty plaques in the artery walls that causes a narrowing of the coronary arteries which bring blood to the heart.  This leads to blockage of the blood flow to the heart over time, which causes angina (chest pain) and heart attack.  The lipid hypothesis says coronary heart disease is a three-step process that looks like this:

1.  We eat a diet heavy in cholesterol and saturated fat and as a result we develop a high level of cholesterol in our blood.

2.  High blood cholesterol causes atherosclerosis (deposits of fat and plaque on your artery walls).

3.  Atherosclerosis blocks the vessels that bring blood to the heart, resulting in CHD.

Each of these steps is a link in a chain that, in sum, formed the lipid hypothesis.  Unfortunately, extensive scientific evidence exists that contradicts each step in this chain of scientific theory which has been presented to us as fact over the past five decades.  This evidence isn't new, but for various reasons, the media and scientific community haven't come forth to share it.  Dr. Mann, a leading researcher formerly of Vanderbilt University and author of Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense, said:
The diet-heart hypothesis has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century."

The cholesterol/lipid hypothesis myth

To make a long story short, the authors of Eat Fat, Lose Fat (as well as many researchers/doctors in the field) say the war on saturated fats stems from a misperception about the effects of saturated fatty acids on cholesterol levels.  Although cholesterol has been targeted as a "bad guy," the cholesterol found naturally in animal fats serves many important functions.  In short, our bodies need fat to function properly.  Just a few of the beneficial aspects of cholesterol are:

1.  Your body uses cholesterol to make hormones that help you deal with stress and protect against heart disease and cancer.

2.  Your body uses cholesterol to make vitamin D, vital for the bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin-production, reproduction, and immune system function.

3.  Cholesterol acts as an antioxidant, protecting us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.

4.  Cholesterol is necessary for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain.  Serotonin, the "feel-good" chemical, keeps your mood elevated.  It's not surprising, then, that low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies.

5.  Breastmilk is very rich in cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps baby utilize it.  Babies and children especially need cholesterol-rich food to make sure their brain and nervous system develop properly.

And there are many more!  Contrary to what you (and I until very recently) may think, cholesterol isn't exactly the enemy.  Cholesterol is something we need and use and without it, our bodies would not be able to complete everyday functions.  According to Eat Fat, Lose Fat, "Cholesterol is a heavyweight alcohol with a hormone-like structure that behaves like a fat, being insoluble in water and in blood.  It has a coating of a compound called a lipoprotein, which makes it water soluble so it can be carried in the blood.  Lipoproteins are described in terms of their density.  Generally speaking, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol away from the cells to the liver, and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol to the cells.  We speak of HDL as 'good' cholesterol and LDL as 'bad' cholesterol.  However, both HDL and LDL play critical roles in body chemistry."

In Eat Fat, Lose Fat, the authors debunk each of the following myths: high-fat foods cause heart disease, high cholesterol causes heart diseasehigh-fat foods increase blood cholesterol and cholesterol causes plaque buildup in arteries.  There is a lot of information packed into about 9 pages, but it's convincing.  I won't go into all of it because that would make this already lengthy blog post out-of-control long, but here are a few things I've selectively pulled from those pages (and I would really encourage you to check this book out from the library if you are interested in learning more than my essentially long-winded summary):

1.  Dr. Mann (quoted above) studied the Masai people in the early 1960s.  The Masai are cattle herders of Kenya whose diet consisted almost entirely of milk, meat and blood (as gross as it is fascinating).  They drank at least a gallon of milk per day per person.  At festivals, one person might eat four to ten pounds of meat.  Dr. Mann discovered that they were virtually free of heart disease and that their blood cholesterol level was about 50 percent lower than that of most Americans.  But when he studied the hearts and arteries of 50 Masai tribesmen of all ages, he found as much atherosclerosis as those in America.  However, the types of plaques that caused obstruction were rare.  He found no evidence that any of the 50 hearts had experienced a heart attack.  They discuss three other similar studies of cultures eating much more fat having lower instances of heart disease (one being a published review of 27 studies over 150,000 individuals).

2.  Medical literature only contains two studies involving humans that compared the outcome of a diet high in animal fat with that of a diet based on vegetable oils.  Most studies just compare indicators like cholesterol which, if you begin to read about this topic, you will discover may not be accurate.  Many don't believe these indicators really lead to heart attacks or heart disease.  Both studies showed that animal fats protect you from heart disease (read about these here and here).

3.  The Framingham Study was the first major government-sponsored study on heart disease.  It was a 40 year study that first appeared to show that high cholesterol was a risk factor for heart disease.  A follow-up study published 16 years later showed very little difference between the cholesterol levels of people who had heart attacks and those who did not, and in fact almost half of those who had a heart attack had low cholesterol.  Additionally, another analysis was performed 30 years after the original one that found men older than 47 died just as often whether their cholesterol was high or low (most heart attacks occur in those aged 47 and up).  The researchers of this follow-up study concluded "For each 1 mg/dl drop in cholesterol, there was an 11 percent increase in coronary and total mortality."  Summed up, for those whose cholesterol levels DROPPED, their risk of dying was HIGHER.  Strangely, though the initial results were highly publicized and used in large part to completely change an entire nation's diet, the results later on have been strangely shrouded in silence.

Over the last century, it's become clear that studies that show the correlation between dietary fat and heart disease receive mainstream attention and those that disprove this theory are written off as bad science.  As Gary Taubes, author or Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories puts it:
Any research that did not support their hypothesis was said to be misinterpreted, irrelevant, or based on untrustworthy data.  Studies of Navajo Indians, Irish immigrants to Boston, African nomads, Swiss Alpine farmers, and Benedictine and Trappist monks all suggested that dietary fat seems unrelated to heart disease.  These were explained away or rejected by Keys."

4.  A surprising result of all studies that involve women is the finding that in women, high cholesterol levels (even very high, 1000 mg/dl+) are not a risk factor for heart disease.  Even more shocking, the studies indicate that low cholesterol is more dangerous for women.  These results were discovered at a workshop held at the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute and published in the journal Circulation in 1992.  During the workshop, every study involving cholesterol and women was studied.  A 1989 Parisian study published in The Lancet found that those who live longest are old women with very high cholesterol levels.  Women with low levels were five times more likely to die.  I found this absolutely crazy because of course I've never heard any mention of this!

5.  The Japanese have low blood cholesterol and their risk of heart attack is much lower than that of any other nation.  According to the lipid hypothesis, this would then mean that they have very low rates of atherosclerosis.  Researchers from Kyushu University looked into this in 1985 and studied the aortas of 659 Americans and 260 Japanese and found very little difference between the two groups at all age levels.  Another study, performed in 1977, examined the arteries of the brain in 1408 Japanese and over 5000 Americans.  In every age group, the Japanese had more atherosclerosis in these arteries than did the Americans.  The coronary arteries do have less atherosclerosis in the Japanese than Americans, which may contribute to their drastically different rates of heart attacks than we have.  But if high cholesterol is what causes atherosclerosis, it should occur in all types of arteries since the amount of cholesterol in the blood is the same in all parts of the body.  This suggests that something other than cholesterol causes atherosclerosis.

6.  Finally, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2003 compared a group of patients who took a strong dose of a cholesterol-lowering drug against a group who took a lower dose of the same drug.  Researchers measured the levels of blockage in their arteries.  After a year, both groups showed a 9.2 percent increase in plaque buildup, which would suggest that this buildup is not related to the cholesterol level.

I'm wrapping up the next post on what the real healthy fats are, why you should eat them and the best way to utilize them to lose weight. 


I'm feeling the need to start adding references to all these posts I'm writing since I'm often dissecting A LOT of information and I want anyone reading this to be able to read the exact books/articles/reviews/blog posts I read and come to their own conclusions.  Since this isn't a paper for school, however, (ironically I hated writing papers for school and now I'm doing this for fun in my spare time) I have not referenced properly and apologize for that.  I really don't feel like going back and re-learning those rules after already spending almost eight hours writing this post.  Maybe someday I'll update it properly.  :)

Cholesterol and Saturated Fat is Bad?  A Closer Look into the Defining Evidence

The Role of Lipids and Lipoproteins in Atherosclerosis, John W. Gofman

Coronary disease among United States soldiers killed in action in Korea, W F Enos, R H Holmes, J Beyer

The Low Fat Propaganda 

 Eat Fat, Lose Fat, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon

Good Calories, Bad Calories, Gary Taubes


Baby fat and stuff.

Unbeknownst to me, a few days ago my hubby was shooting a video of the kids doing what they do (being daredevils while simultaneously screaming and fighting) while I was waltzing into the living room to pick out some clothes. I had flat-iron curled my hair and spent a lot of time on my make-up and was just generally trying to look presentable since I knew pictures would be taken (Sweet Treats Day).  I don't feel great about my weight, but I have at least lost a few pounds in the last two weeks and thought I looked somewhat okay.

Until the video surfaced.


Someone stuff me in a closet until I can lose 20 pounds.

The first ten minutes after watching this, I wanted to cry.  I mean, like I said, I knew I was carrying baby poundage still (I've made it no secret that I have never had such a hard time losing baby weight).  I knew I needed to lose weight still.  I knew I wasn't happy with my body.

But watching this video, I was flooded with a whole lot of emotion.  I felt totally disgusting.  Am I the only girl this happens to?  I'm sure not.  Does the camera *really* add ten pounds?  God, I hope so.  Why did my hair look so crappy?  I hate my nose.




I went to bed praying on it.  See, I went on a diet right after I had Ben.  Literally the week I had him.  And from then on, I always struggled with my milk supply.  By seven months, I had nothing left and Ben was on formula full-time and I was devastated.  When I had Adalyn, I vowed not to diet.  Eventually I succumbed and I did.  I dieted.  For a whopping month or so, I counted every calorie and I managed to lose a little weight.  But I saw my milk supply drop so I immediately quit.  I made it to seven months with her, too, when I found myself pregnant again.  And though my milk supply had been enough up until that point, it immediately vanished when I got pregnant.  So once again, my next child was on formula full-time by seven months (and it did not go well...at all).

This time I said it would be different.  Again.  I would not diet.  I would not get pregnant (ha).  Landon would never get a single drop of formula.  So far, so good.  But if I spend my time staring at videos and pictures of this postpartum body, I won't make it.  If I focus on how fat I am and how disgusting I feel, I won't make it.  I'll end up doing what I do, start depriving myself of food, strictly monitoring my calories and I'll end up in the same boat, feeding my child formula because my milk supply has tanked.

Some women are lucky.  They have a baby and a month later they're skinny.  Or they have a baby and they have no problems dieting and breastfeeding.  Or they have a baby and nursing burns so many calories that they lose all their baby weight and then some.  I could spend my days focusing on the unfairness of the situation.  I could.  I want to.  But what good is that going to do me?

I'm not naturally skinny.  I'm not a milk machine.  I have to work hard to be skinny and I have to work hard to maintain my milk supply.  It's not a comfortable thing to admit that.  It's embarrassing.  In ways, I measure myself by my abilities to sustain my children.  We all have our struggles, and getting hung up on the unfairness of those struggles won't solve anything.  Because while we all have our struggles, we all have our blessings, too, and those are the things that can get us through our struggles if we choose to focus on them instead.

I get pregnant easily, and I thank God for that.  This body was meant to have children.  My husband looks at me and boom, we're expecting another child.  But for some bizarre reason, while I am able to bear children easily and I am able to birth them without any issues, I am not able to feed those children easily.  It is by the grace of God that my children were even able to be sustained by me until seven months and it is by the grace of God that Landon hasn't had to have formula thus far.

But if I get wrapped up in my self-loathing instead of focusing on the beautiful gift of nursing my child, I won't be sustaining this child even until seven months.  If I allow myself to place the priorities of my self esteem above the priorities of nurturing my children, I will never forgive myself for it.

This morning, I woke up renewed.  I felt pulled to put my heart out there.  And more importantly, to put this video out there.  It's my way of saying, hey, this is me right now.  I don't love the me I see in the mirror or in videos.  I don't love my fat rolls or my stretch marks or the fact that I had to go buy all new clothes to fit into something.  But this is me saying that my baby is the most important thing to me right now.  And for him, I will keep this blubber right where it apparently needs to be for my body to produce milk.

I post only pictures of myself that look like this so that nobody who doesn't know me in person knows that I'm...thick.

But that's not fair.  And how does that help anyone else?  I see myself looking at blogs, feeling that jealousy in the pit of my stomach at some woman who just had a baby looking all skinny.  But then I realized I do the same thing.  I just put the "fake" me out there for the world to see, like I somehow just snapped right back into shape after having Landon.

I haven't.  Far from it.  This is the real me.

And for once, I'm trying to be completely accepting of the real me.  Trying being the operative word here, but I'm a work in progress.  When I lose weight, I lose my milk.  Therefore I have to surmise that for me, I actually have to carry this weight to maintain my milk.  Maybe my body is "broken," maybe not.  Either way, I am committing, right here, today, that I will stop complaining about my fat, that I will stop complaining about my stretch marks and that I will learn to love the body that gave me the three amazing blessings I have in my life.  And I will learn to thank the God who gave me the body that gave me these blessings instead of whine about the gift He gave me.

When my children whine about something after we've done something for them ("I don't want to go home yet," "I want to do that again!", "That movie wasn't long enough," etc.), it is extremely challenging to handle.  I feel like they're being so ungrateful.  But what am being when I whine about this body God gave me?  He gave me children!  He allowed me to have three successful pregnancies, three easy labors and three beautiful children and all I can do is lament my horrible body I have as a result.  How ungrateful am I?!

Today, I am choosing gratefulness, and I am choosing to sustain my child until he's ready to wean.


Public opinion poll!

Help us paint our house!

So, it's crunch time in the land of what-color-should-we-paint-our-house?  Who would have thought this would be SUCH a stressful event?  We're basically down to three schemes.  The stress comes from the idea that we may love it on paper but not love it once it's painted, and there's a chance we may be putting our house on the market next year.  Or we may just decide to stay here for the long haul, finish our basement and really make our house our house.  Everything is still up in the air.  But the fact remains: we're having our house painted next week.  It's in desperate need of it because the people who did it right before we moved in did a shoddy job, slapped on paint over existing paint so now it's all peeling off and it looks terrible.  Some places are down to bare wood already, which we can't leave any longer than absolutely necessary.

My sweet friend photoshopped for us a few options we're considering so we could really "see" what it will look like on our house more.  But we're still stumped.  If you could be so gracious as to take a moment to take this poll, it would be GREATLY appreciated!


Repaint it the same color it is but repaint the door Benjamin Moore's Wythe Blue (my all-time favorite color).


Paint it Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter and the door BM's Wythe Blue.  Much lighter.  I like light houses, but I'm not sure I like our house light.  I don't think it really matches the stone and whatnot.


Go with a darker blue and a wood door like this one:

I feel like this really fits our house, but I'm also scared to go dark.  I'm a much bigger fan of light.  So...I just don't know.  Help?

OPTION FOUR: My friend chimed in with another idea!  Wood door, leave it the color it is, paint the shutters the wythe blue.  I'm terrible at photoshop so this is as good as it gets with me doing it, but here you are.