Yes, I Know Chocolate is not a Health Food, Joanne.

My shopping list was short and read; MiO, olives, yogurt. After hitting the grocery section, I also stopped in the clothing section of Walmart and picked out a few things (hey, they’re starting to actually sell some cute stuff, please don’t judge me). As I looked for a free check-out counter, I turned into an empty lane that was being manned by Joanne, who was munching on a bag of cashews. As she was ringing up my 10+ containers of Chobani Flips (if you’ve never had one, they’re a yogurt/snack combo and come in flavors like Key Lime Pie, Peanut Butter Dream, and so on), she says, “Chocolate is not a health food!” Without thinking much, I replied with, “Well, yeah, that’s why we eat those for dessert.” Her response of, “Well, I guess it’s better than cake,” confirmed that I had just been gently fat-shamed.

Now, I’m not thin, but I’m also not morbidly obese. My size 12/14 ass is considered “normal” in America, even though I am aware that I am at an unhealthy weight. I’ve never been this heavy for so long in my life, but I’ve also never given birth to two babies in two years before. Since my youngest will be two in 6 months, I know I shouldn’t keep using that as an excuse. Although my pre-pregnancy weight wasn’t much lower than my current weight, after the two kids, my body no longer “carries the weight” as well as it used to and I look “frumpy”. I am painfully aware of how my body has changed and I am desperate for change.

Just over three weeks ago, I started making the time to meal prep again, with a focus on veggies and protein (and a few carbs, so I don’t turn into a monster). I also got a body composition scale, and when I read my results the first day, I freaked out. Not because of my weight, or BMI, or visceral fat numbers (which were not a surprise), but because of my “body age”. The calculation that takes into account all my other numbers (which also includes a shamefully low muscle percentage), put me at the age of 54 years old. But I’m only turning 34 next month!! If the number hadn’t scared the shit out of me, I surely would have become depressed and cried for a few days straight. But instead, I’m just scared.

54 means my body is middle-aged, when it should be in its prime. 54 means I’ve lost TWENTY years to spend with my young children, my wonderful husband, and my family and friends. 54 could mean a heart attack or other serious health problem at any time. But it also means there is still enough time for change.

So, I got more serious about the healthy meal prep and started working out every day. It’s not easy and it’s a challenge to stick with. However, each day is a new chance to make the right choices for my health.

(Below are a few pics of the meals I’ve been making.)

In just one week, I saw small improvements and was motivated to keep it up. Then Joanne happened. Without knowing a stranger’s intentions, it’s hard to know for sure what she meant by her comments, but I know that I allowed them to make me feel like shit for a day. I had previously felt good about my 150 calorie post-workout snack, but then I let her make me feel like a failure for a few hours. And with her lack of knowledge about my life, fitness journey, current goals, and recent commitment to health, she made a judgement based on what she saw and then opened her mouth, with zero filter. Maybe she thought she could provide a “wake-up call”, but hunny, I’ve already had one.

Overweight people know they are overweight. Most of them also know the basics of what healthy food looks like. And all of them must be willing to change on their own. If we need help or support, we can ask for it. Try not to judge when you don’t know all the facts – the reality of the situation might surprise you.

What other “Thanks Captain Obvious!” statements have you heard when people are “educating” you on health and nutrition? And how have you responded to fat-shaming (or any other kind of body-shaming)?

Also, let me know if you’d be interested in any information regarding my meal prep.  If folks are interested, I can start posting recipes!

He said, she said…

I’m sure you know what they say about opinions. And every mom can tell horror stories about some kind person giving them advise and how it made steam blow out of their ears. Probably every dad too.  So maybe this topic has been beaten to death, but I’d like to share some responses you may like to use yourself.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself after having two kids, back to back, with only three months between pregnancies, is that I’m not as nice as I thought I was.  I used to always have a calm, thoughtful response to most everything life put in my path.  Now, I just don’t have the emotional resources to put up with everyone’s bullshit.  So, although I have yet to completely snap and say these things out loud, here are my deep dark thoughts on your silly comments about my life as a mother.

“Oh Jess, you look so tired!”
Wrong. I don’t just look tired, I am, in fact, very, very tired.  Each day, I take care of little humans, dogs, chickens, gardens, our home, the laundry, the dishes, and every single meal.  I also have a highly stressful, wildly rewarding job.  Most nights, when the kids are in bed, I log back in and work some more, after already logging 8 hours that day.  There’s also chores to do, plus this blog I’m writing.  Oh, and my little guy is still not sleeping through the night.  So, no, I don’t look tired.  This is just how I look.  And I’m exhausted.

“Wow, this house is a mess!”
Yup! Sure is!  And you know what my standard is now?  As long as there are no leaves tracked in by the dogs that my son can put in his mouth and choke on, again, we’re in good shape!  Scariest 30 seconds of my life.  Bought a Roomba.

If that standard is too low, we’d love a gift certificate for a cleaning service!  In that brief period between pregnancies, we could afford a cleaning service twice a month.  Do you know, I was so foolish that I terminated that service because they “didn’t do as good of a job as I would.”?  Damn.  Talk about first world white lady problems.

“You know, sometimes I even forget you have kids!”
Oh, we know.

“I don’t know how you do it!”
Huh… Do we have a choice at this point?

You know how we do it?  One moment, one challenge, one glass of wine at a time.  And we love every second of it.  We wouldn’t give any of it back or change a thing.  Do you understand the painful love a parent has for a child and how it changes everything, but that’s how we want it to be?

It’s ok.  Our hearts are big enough to let all this go, even if my face indicates otherwise sometimes.  And we know you’ll forgive us too, for not being the perfect family member or friend, because your hearts are big enough too and we know you love us.

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