The Riddle of Me: Self-Image

Whenever you’re obese it’s incredible how aware you are of every inch of space you take up. I was always painfully aware of my size. Whenever I’d have to squeeze past a table in a restaurant or push myself past bodies on an airplane to get to my seat, I was filled with an agonizing embarrassment and self-hatred. People were judging me, most of them just avoided looking my way but some would let contempt hang on their faces. I always avoided eye contact. I lived inside my own mind, constantly tearing myself down, and never paying attention to the world around me. I could never separate who I was from what had happened to me. I was too pliable, like extremely depressed Play-Doh.

I was jealous of all the other human beings that could hide their insecurities or bad habits. I would look around and imagine some to be compulsive gamblers, pathological liars, or maybe just awful people, but they looked normal. They looked healthy. I couldn’t hide how bad I was at life. I had to wear my shame every second of every day. I was a binge eater; I couldn’t cope with my emotions or the challenges life threw at me. I would hide, eat, lie about my emotions, and sink into my depression. I never imagined my life could be any other way. I was just made this way and I didn’t have the determination or hard work to make it better.

What a harmful lie I was feeding myself. What a harmful lie that was fed to me by others.

I hated my body and mind in every sense of the words. It was like being held hostage by my bad habits and choices. No improvement, no education, no growth. I would sit for hours every day and imagine what it’d be like to run again, to eat healthy balanced meals, to pursue education and knowledge, to be loved and to love myself. Those “dreams” would consume my thoughts. I now realize when I reflect, I never believed I would be better. Honestly, I think I was just waiting for an excuse to end it all. I thought that being happy and healthy was never in the cards for me. I spent years of my life never moving towards my goals while simultaneously hating this world that never made me someone that moved towards their goals. See my point?

I chose to be a victim. I chose to always victimize myself. That was my self-image.

When I thought I’d lost everything. I had nothing to hold onto.

So, I set fire to those thoughts.

One of the worst things that ever happened to me in my life, losing two people who were more dear to me than myself, it changed me. It changed me for the better and it made me open my eyes. I now feel like I see with such clarity what the world is, what life is, and more importantly what the possibility of a life well lived is. Stop putting expectations on yourself for tomorrow, stop putting expectations on your loved one’s behavior, stop putting expectations on your life.

Pursue goals, dream, hope, but never be anything but grateful. Once you realize how lucky you are to even exist. You can start to appreciate how short, scary, and beautiful life is. Stop ruining it by overthinking. Stop hating yourself. Embrace who you are and pay attention to your thoughts. You are in control, your choices and how you choose to allocate your time determines who you are.

Stand on the frontier of life. Push yourself and everyone around you to be better. Don’t choose to be less than what you could be because the people around you are fine with standing still. I will never let another human being on this earth tell me what I can or cannot succeed at.

Set the example. Impress them. Encourage them. Inspire them.

Stop being complacent in a life you’ve made for yourself.

Today, I am about as different from the person I was 4 years ago, as I am to a stranger on the street. My thoughts, my habits, my reactions and interactions, they astound me daily. Whenever negative and harmful thoughts pass through my mind, I no longer let them control me, belittle me, and dictate what my day will be like. I recognize them like a bird flying by in front of me, I acknowledge them, and then let them go. On to the next thought, the better thought, the more productive thought, the wonderful thought.

The best example I have is that instead of letting my thoughts and emotions consume me. I merely reflect them. It’s like being a mirror inside of yourself. The voice that answers to “I” in my head is constant. That is what I consider “me”. I am not the sum of my memories, thoughts, and other people’s behaviors toward me. I am the mirror, so I merely reflect it.

People’s behavior around me no longer offends me or hurts me. I don’t take responsibility for it. I can only be truthful and direct with my words and intentions and let the pieces fall where they may. If someone is rude or does something I don’t agree with morally or socially. It’s no longer dramatic or stress inducing. I merely remove myself from their company and continue to pursue my own happiness. I hold no ill-will towards the people who are no longer a part of my life. I wish them every joy and happiness. I just know that there are some human beings that will only harm my progress or add chaos to my life. I no longer have the time or the patience to fight with people. It has made me a more selfish, productive, and happier person.

I make a choice to dwell on the positive, helpful and true. I choose to reject or move from the unhealthy, false, and unhelpful thoughts. I strive for my mind to be filled with ideas, curiosity, fascination, love, truth, and hope.

I’m constantly pushing myself to be better every moment. I’m looking for ways I can challenge myself and improve. When I look in the mirror, I no longer focus on every part of myself I want to change. I look at my eyes and contemplate their complexities and colors. I marvel at how they show me the world and my body, how they let me perceive the universe around me.

I look at my arms and instead of hating the flab and their shape, I stare at them and marvel how far they’ve come. How strong they are, how much they help me throughout my day, throughout my life, how much I’d miss them if they were disappearing. I stare at my stomach and I marvel at what’s under the skin. The intricate organs, fluid, tissue, the constant activity that makes it possible for me to be here today. I marvel at how one day hopefully; I will grow a tiny human. I can be moved to tears with the slightest thought of how incredibly my entire body is. I see the “magic” in myself now. I have changed my mind about this life.

I hated this journey for so long because I only reflected on how bad I had let things get for myself. My health, my body, my emotions, everything was a wreck. I’ve now realized how lucky I am to have been through everything I have. The loss, the weight gain, the pain, the suffering. It has given me the gift of perspective. The gift of self-love. the gift of confidence.

Nothing lasts in this life. I choose not to grieve over what I have had and lost, I choose to embrace what is around me. I choose to look in the mirror and not only feel peace, but love. I have such a clear view of who I am, what I’m capable of, and what I want out of this life. It’s similar to the feeling of falling in love, except I’m not depending on anyone else for this euphoria and purpose. It’s me.

Now when I’m in public, traveling, dancing, existing. I no longer apologize for the space I occupy. When I stand, I feel my strength. I am confident. Losing weight does not make you a better person. It will not fix your life. Your size is insignificant in comparison to your life and happiness. Let weight loss be merely a side-effect to a balanced life, to a balanced you. Love yourself and the rest will follow.

So I guess what I’m saying is it all comes down to you. It all comes down to your choices.

What’s it going to be? Do you want to start loving being you?

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If you truly want to lose weight, stop trying to lose weight.

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Vitamin Donuts Coaching Week Two
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Doesn’t that sound confusing? I can’t count how many times a week I have girls telling me that they’re trying to lose weight but they give into temptation, they can’t stay consistent. – They say all of the changes they’ve made and foods they’ve cut out of their diets haunt them and pull them back into bad habits.

Of course it does! Because you’re not changing your habits or rewarding yourself with good behaviors. You’re only trying to cut out things you’ve rewarded yourself with for (months or years) and ignore the bad behaviors, but the problem with that is – they’re habits. Those habits aren’t going to just disappear over night. That same voice in your head that tells you to stop and get that fast food, skip that work out, and indulge every night. It doesn’t magically die when you decide to “diet”.

If I ask a person who eats 3-4 thousand calories a day to wake up tomorrow and eat 8,000? Do you think that’d feel like a lot, maybe a bit extreme? What about asking someone who is binge eating or in the midst of bad habits to start eating 900 calories a day? Doesn’t that seem a bit extreme too? Why would you do that to yourself? Stop making this a diet. 

I’m telling you, you’re going to have to start reasoning with that voice in your head, you’re going to have to work with it, to live with it. You’re going to have to make your changes one step at a time. Stop going balls to the wall and then wondering why you couldn’t remain consistent. This is your life.

First, start paying attention to yourself. Ask yourself questions and stop being irrational. You are behaving this way for a reason. You’re not just some loose cannon that LOVES feeling sad and horrible. Second, figure out who you want to be and ask yourself what keeps you from that? Third, stop making excuses. 

Everything I tell you is what I have experienced, everything I tell you is what works for me, everything I tell you, YOU can experience for yourself. Find your own path. Find your own balance.

Change your relationship with yourself and with food. Understand that once you start getting healthy on the inside and listening to yourself, you are going to WANT to make better choices. Everyone thinks that they just are who they are. They can’t change, they won’t grow, and the only way for them to improve is to stifle all those bad voices and just push forward.

You don’t have to do that. Stop repressing and start addressing. (Catchy, huh?) You are perfectly capable of being better, thinking better, moving better. You don’t have to settle for making massive pushes and then getting upset and reverting when you fail. If you’re making these tiny incremental changes then your body and mind won’t give you the backlash when you fail, because you’re trying and learning.

One of my goals is to make it where you don’t need me anymore. I don’t want you get you hooked on a shake, pill, or plan. I want you to learn smart and balanced habits so you can go to Vegas for the week or enjoy a big plate at Thanksgiving and stop being angry at yourself when you want to indulge.

That’s normal, I’ll repeat this again, I WANT YOU TO INDULGE.

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I’m willing to bet if you think about your situation, whether you’ve put on a little bit of weight or a lot of weight, it didn’t happen overnight. You didn’t magically wake up one day to find out that you were consuming 4000-5000 calories a day and that you were getting out of breath. This happened over time. You maybe had a few bad habits that snowballed, they got out of control. Now you find yourself making choices you don’t like and you’re not proud of the person you’ve become or happy when you look in the mirror. I want you to apply that same logic to losing weight. This change isn’t going to happen overnight but how you’re feeling isn’t permanent and you don’t have to feel this way.

I can give you a 7 day meal plan that makes you lose weight. I can give you DVD’s and tell you that you need to do those. I can tell you exactly what I do and ask you to copy it exactly, but ask yourself – How silly is that? You have to live your life! What if I tell you to eat eggs/oatmeal/or a shake in the morning. Oh my god. WHAT IF YOU’RE NOT NEAR ANY OF THOSE THINGS?! I don’t want to tell you what to do. I want you to to tell you what to do.

I want you to gain a confidence and balance in your life that encourages you to make the right choices. Without me or anyone else guiding you. That’s only going to happen with time and effort. You’re going to have to make small changes every day that add up to your goals and happiness in life. Life is messy and unpredictable – I want you to be prepared for that and be able to cope. Not panic and use food or bad habits as a crutch.

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Please stop saying “I could NEVER work out like that. I could NEVER buy chips and keep them in my house with out eating the whole bag. I could NEVER go a day without pop.”

There is a laundry list of things I said I could or would NEVER do. They all seem so silly now. I don’t understand why I used such negative and constraining language with myself and others for so long. If you feel like something is hard and impossible – I want you to start adding “Right now” to the end of your sentences.

“I can’t do that.. right now.”

You are not this constant, unchanging being. You are a person with needs, wants, behaviors, influences, a body, and a brain. You are fully capable of whatever you darn well please. Just stop putting these glass ceilings on yourself.

There are times in my life where I thought “I’ll never be happy. I’ll never survive this. I’ll never overcome this. I’ll never be athletic. I’ll never be loved. I’ll never be able to NOT eat this way. I’ll never be capable.” 

It was all such bullshit, guys. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It was all of these limitations and harm I put on myself. It was all of the times someone put me down or I felt like I disappointed myself or others. It was just all of these horrible echoes in my mind that were just cutting me at the knees. I let them sit on my mind and body like a heavy weight that kept me small mentally and obese physically.

Your thoughts are so important. They’re so valuable and strong. They push you, they pull you, they make you strive for the stars and they’ll slam you back to earth. Control them. Master them. Push for them to be better. Start asking yourself why you are doing things. Start asking yourself how you got here. Start asking yourself why you’re not where you want to be.

I’m not lying to you when I say I wake up and I WANT to eat healthy and I WANT to go to the gym. Some days I may drag my feet or want sugar more than usual but it doesn’t change my progress. This does get easier. You do get stronger. Once you start putting the right foods into your body and taking care of it, your mind and body will start motivating YOU. You won’t want to go back to binge eating, or feeling like crap because why would you when you figure out how good it feels to do this? You only have to try. 

I’m challenging you this week. Two things. 

  1. Stop being on a diet. Stop making this a starting line and a finish line. This is your life. You need to learn to make choices and develop skills that make you the person you WANT to be.  If a side effect of that is that you lose weight and feel better about yourself than you ever have – that’s great! That’s what I want for you.When you’re balanced, happy, and you WANT to feel good – the change happens. Become independent, become strong, question me, question this, question EVERYONE. Don’t just do what people tell you what to do when it comes to your lifestyle. Make it YOURS. If you want to eat a candy bar 3x a week  – figure out a way that you can still do that and be PROUD of your choices at the end of the day. I am not going to live the rest of my life without cheese, fried foods, chocolate covered things, or sugary drinks but I will still be strong, healthy, happy, and moving forward. Always. I suggest you start thinking about how you can do that too. Or else this isn’t really changing you, you’re just losing mass and not gaining knowledge or perspective on yourself.

    2. Stop using such negative and final language. Stop saying never, Start being positive, not just with others out loud. With yourself. Stop pretending like who you are this second is all you’re ever going to be. That’s so ridiculous. Start growing. Start changing. Start improving. Set goals that scare you, that challenge you. There is a part inside you that is separate from that random chatter and screaming in your head. There is this force in your mind and body that is fully capable of being reasoned with and that wants you to succeed. You just have to find it and let that center guide you to the best version of yourself. Whatever that is. I bet it’s even more awesome and powerful than you could possibly imagine. Find it. 

Email me and keep me posted on your progress. I don’t just want to know what you’re eating. How are you feeling? Are you feeling sad? Motivated? Indifferent? We can figure it out and get you pointed in the right direction if you’re feeling lackluster or frustrated.

I’m here. 

Love,

Dev

Be careful when you book a flight with United.

 

Earlier today I had to contact United Airlines about an unaccompanied minor situation. My husband and I purchased a direct flight from Tulsa to Denver for my 15 year old nephew to come visit in a couple weeks. I purchased them like I would any other tickets, got the confirmation, and went forward with my week excited about seeing him.

Well I received an email about 3 days after I booked his ticket saying that any children ages 5-15 are unaccompanied minors and we have to pay an additional fee of $300 round-trip to even allow him to get on the plane. It’s funny that I received the email 3 days later, well after the 24 hour grace period for canceling a ticket.

The fee is to make sure he gets on the plane safely, has help putting away his bags, give him snacks, and basically keep any eye on him. Why is it a 15 year old can get his learner’s permit and drive a car but he can’t be an unattended passenger on a plane?  Now I appreciate this service for younger children and I appreciate it for any parents that feel like their child might need some help during travel. Especially during flights that are not non-stop. However, my nephew is fully capable of traveling alone and has done so before. How is this service not optional?

Now when I called United to figure out what was going on and how we could fix this, I got to talk to two people who were about as helpful and kind as an agitated grizzly. Immediately defensive they callously informed me that it was my mistake that I put 1 adult instead of using the drop down menu to select 1 child. A drop down menu that is pre-selected to 1 adult. In my past experience of booking 100+ flights I’ve never had to select anything else. I don’t have children and I’ve never booked for one before. Instead of waiting 3 days to tell me you think they could’ve let me know that the birthdate I entered on his passenger information was invalid and that there would an additional $300 fee for a 15 year old to travel alone. I really want to be clear about this, the fee to supervise my nephew costs MORE than his round-trip flight.

They were not willing to work with us in any way, shape, or form. They said if I did not pay the additional $300 my nephew would not be allowed on the flight. They told me I could apply for a refund, that sounded great. Oh except the refunds aren’t guaranteed and he informed me that their policy is clear and they don’t bend the rules for any customer. Essentially telling me to get stuffed. I was pretty much in tears after this exchange.

$300 is a lot of money for any family. It’s not enough that I give you my money willingly when I want to use your services?  You have to charge me for a service that I don’t want and wasn’t even aware of?  The airline with the most complaints per customer and an annual income of 4.5 BILLION dollars. A company that could’ve easily let me pay a fee to change the ticket, let me use it as a credit, or possibly understand that my 15 year old nephew does not need a babysitter on a non-stop flight. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around this whole thing. I hate confrontation, I hate being at someone else’s mercy. I hate being bullied. It seems like that is exactly what America stands for now. Stomp on the little people and cash in on your extra million. I’m just so tired of it. I know I made a mistake but I can’t believe how much United is actually making me pay for it.

-Dev

 

 

Image courtesy of Bloomberg.com

& these are just a few of my favorite things!

Just wing it. Life, eyeliner, everything. 
Words to live by. But I like a little prep & tutorial (;

 

I LOVE trying new products. I love the smell of Sephora and I love getting home and opening my bag. I’m always just dying to try new primers, eyeliner, mascara, and of course any of those tiny little test tubes that they put there just for people who like me will decide that yes, I do need 3 different kinds of travel primers and a blending sponge for $14.99.

So I decided to throw down some of my absolute ULTIMATE favorites. I did not take pictures of my products because my 10yr old make-up bag immediately turns most of my bottles a fun beige color. I’ll post where I got them, how much they are and why I 100% recommend you run out, buy them and tell me how much you love them.

 

I am not getting paid to promote these in any way, shape, or form. These are things I tried on my own and now are apart of my every day routine!

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Givenchy Beauty Women’s Acti’Mine Color Correcting Primer –
Sephora – $41
I cannot say enough how much this has changed my make-up routine. I of course suffer from oily skin, redness, and breakouts from time to time. This stuff is amazing. After I put this primer on my skin already looks great before I even put on my foundation and concealer. It is also surprisingly light and doesn’t weight me down. I would highly recommend this for someone who wants to get rid of some redness and uneven skin tone!

 

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Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup
Sephora – $36

This magical foundation has quickly become one of my favorite discoveries. I decided to purchase it randomly when I saw it was almost sold-out and figured it had to be good! Man I LOVE this stuff. Keeps my face from getting that gross 2:00pm sheen I’m so accustomed to. Also minimizes my pores and keeps my skin nice and soft! A must try!

 

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Bobbi Brown’s Bronzing Powder
Sephora – $42

Man have I gone through about a billion bronzers. I use mine to bronze up, hide double chin, and occasionally shade my brows. This one right here is my repeat purchase. Lasts forever, doesn’t break me out, and gives me that lovely bronze.

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Tarte’s Cheek Stain in Blissful
Sephora – $16

This blush saved me from about 10 years of applying to much loose pink powder on my face and looking like a clown. Thank goodness. Lol. I promise if you give this a shot, you won’t go back to your regular blush. This stuff looks wonderful and gives you that mermaid dewey glow you know you’ve always wanted!

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Flower’s Forever Wear Liner in Onyx
Wal-Mart $6.98

I know, I know, with my light blue eyes I should branch out to some more brown and orange tones with eyeliners. But I don’t. I love love love this line. It’s not expensive and it’s incredibly long lasting. The color is bright and the quality is A+. I’d encourage everyone to try ANY Flower products. Thanks Drew!

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First Aid Beauty’s Face Cleanser
Ulta – 5oz – $20

I said before, I have breakouts. When I say breakouts, it can last weeks. It seems like my skin and go weeks looking and feeling wonderful then the first time I break down and cry, get stressed, or stand in the sun longer than 3 minutes. Boom. Painful zits and blackheads. This stuff keeps my skin so healthy.

It’s simple, it’s gentle and it removes ALL of my make-up. I do pair this with my Mia Clarisonic from time to time to get my exfoliate on but most days I just use this in the morning and at night. I use to be all about the 3-5 product systems, now I know better. I was seriously drying out my skin and being over aggressive. Try something simpler with your skin regimen if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You won’t regret it!

exgloBliss Triple Oxygen ex-‘glow’-sion Vitabead-Infused Moisturizer
Kohl’s – 1.7oz – $64

I did say I lived in Colorado right? So D-R-Y. My skin flakes, it gets red, it breaks out. I saw this in Kohl’s and honestly? I loved the packaging. I brought it home and I’ve bought it about 6x since. I won’t go to a different moisturizer. It is great. I wished it lasted a bit longer, but it probably would for me if I didn’t use so much. It just feels euphoric applying it after washing my face and a long day out in the elements. My skin has never felt better!

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Origins GinZing Eye Cream
Sephora – $30

Yes, this stuff is expensive for a small amount, but I promise – it lasts FOREVER. I barely use a fingertip of it on each eye before bed and when I wake up in the morning. I never have tired eyes and dark bags. I noticed about a year ago I started looking.. older around my eyes. Cringing. But this stuff has really helped me get a grip and look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning!

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Nars Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Sephora – $26

I have tried 50+ eyeshadow primers in my lifetime. This one doesn’t crease, doesn’t grease, lasts all day and is easy to apply. Plus, it lasts FOREVER. Trust me, it’s wonderful.

 

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Innisfree Skin Care Masks 
Amazon – $16.69 for 50

I had the pleasure of winning some of these in a giveaway and they are AMAZING. They go on like creepy little face mask sheets that smell and feel wonderful. So refreshing! You leave them on 20 minutes, pull them off and you DON’T rinse your face. It leaves this nice moisturizing glow for hours after you remove it. Try them all!

  • 1. GreenTea 2. Cucumber 3. Bamboo 4. Aloe 5. Manuka honey 6. Kiwi 7. Shea butter 8. mugwort 9. pomegranate 10. black berry 11. tea tree 12. bija 13. lime 14. strawberry 15. rose

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Tarte’s Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette
Sephora – $45

I haven’t needed to purchase any other eyeshadow since I’ve had this. It’s the only thing I use every day and always pack in my luggage. The colors are wonderful and go on smooth. All the range a blue-eyed girl could ask for!

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Blinc Black Lash Primer
Sephora – $26

I never thought I’d see the day that I hardly wear mascara anymore, but I don’t! The weather here in Colorado and my general routine with my lashes was causing them to break and fall out. I was actually crying to my husband about it one day. I always loved having healthy eyelashes and didn’t know what to do. One wonderful lady in Sephora directed me to Blinc and now I am a believer! My eyelashes are better than they’ve ever been. Strong, long, and dramatic! Sometimes if it’s a hot date night or an event I’ll put on Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascare to give them some pump but Blinc is definitely something you need to try. Plus, you can wear it TO BED. Think of the possibilities!

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Neutrogena’s Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation
Wal-Mart – $12

This is always in my purse. I’ve bought the most expensive powder, the least expensive, and everything in between. This keeps my shine at bay, lasts a long time, has great color and keeps me confident. I would suggest this for anyone who likes to lay some powder down before they go out for the day!

 

Well I think that’s a long enough list! Never be afraid to try new stuff. ALWAYS keep your eyes open for good deals and pay attention to your skin!! You’d be amazed how a little TLC goes a long way to feeling good without make-up.

Love yourself and stay cheerful!! 

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– Dev