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intuitive eating

finding BALANCE: create joy

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Last week, in my first installment of Finding Balance, I discussed how patience plays an integral role in the process of discovering balance on your own terms (boy that’s a mouthful). Today, I’m going to tell you all about a little lightbulb moment I had this week, and how it’s helped me with this whole balance thing in a major way. 

So far, life in LA has been tough. It’s been getting a lot better in recent weeks, but I still have so many moments where I just feel lost. I was having a really hard day right before I left for New Jersey, which the old me would have just wallowed in with the company of Netflix and ice cream. But something inside of me wanted to fight for happiness, so I put on my sneakers and went outside for a big walk. Along the way, I started to feel better, more energized, and less depressed. I realized that I had spent so much time that day browsing the Internet and getting lost that I had spent essentially NO time doing things that made me happy. And why was that? Because I didn’t think I deserved any better. 

I think that’s something that we all do, subconsciously. We think that we don’t deserve to put ourselves first, even though putting others' needs before our own leads to stress and unhappiness. Sure, there are people we’re responsible for/to, and if you’re a parent, that’s even more true. But at the same time, if you’re not happy, then you won’t be able to care as deeply for those other people or do a top-notch job at work or spread joy to the world around you. You’ll just be going through the motions of life without any real purpose, because what’s the point of doing anything if it doesn’t lead to happiness? Most of us do a great job at making other people happy, and that’s AWESOME. But our happiness as individuals is just as important, and that doesn’t make you selfish or stupid or a burden to society. It makes you better

If we’re actively pursuing joy in our lives, we’re able to give more of ourselves to the world and to those we love. We’re able to fight for that job that we want, because we have the confidence to do so. We’re able to find balance, because balance --> happiness, and we truly believe we deserve both of those things. By putting your happiness first, you’ll be able to make even MORE people happy as a result. Sounds like a win/win right? 

findingbalance

So how do you start finding joy? I suggest you make a list. Think of all of your favorite things, from the stupid things you loved as a kid to the things that make you smile on even your worst days.  I think of coloring, being outside in the sun, dogs, music, cooking, reading, and spending time with my friends. Whenever I feel really down, I force myself to recall this list and do something on it that would promote happiness. And slowly but surely, these little actions are helping me to pursue joy on a larger scale. Because I’m spending my days finding happiness, I’m able to open up my mind to options that previously would have seemed out of reach, from where I want to live to what I want to do. The world is my oyster, because I BELIEVE it. And because I also believe my happiness is important enough to warrant risk-taking and adventure. 

Now, I’m not telling you to give up your shitty 9-5 job or to dump your kids at an orphanage and run away into the sunset. I’m just saying that you should start fighting for your happiness, on a small scale, and see what it unearths for you on a personal level. Maybe you’ll find that that little thing that makes you happy can become a full-time job. Maybe you’ll see that you’ve been spending too much time stressing about your kids instead of spending quality time with them. Who knows what you’ll find? But the more you practice finding joy, the EASIER it will be to find balance. I promise! 

So make your list tonight, and vow to start prioritizing joy this week. Because what's the point of waking up in the morning if you don't have anything to look forward to? 

finding BALANCE: practice patience

balanceStacey OswaldComment

Not too long ago, I introduced the topic of intuitive eating and told y'all about my progress, which you can read about hereBut how are you supposed to start implementing intuitive eating into YOUR life? I know it might seem easy at first- how hard can it be to give yourself the freedom to eat whatever you want? However, it's actually pretty tricky, because you have to start paying legitimate attention to your body's natural cues, which if you're like me, you've been avoiding since elementary school. You have to stop all of the body name-calling you do on a daily basis, practice patience with your progress, and eat what you want when you want it but only until you're full. 

AKA it takes some work. So I thought I'd introduce a weekly column called "finding balance," where I update y'all on my progress and tell you about something that I've done recently to make intuitive eating a permanent part of my life. It'll be published every Sunday, as a way to help you guys start your week on a more positive, balanced note! 

As far as my progress goes, I've had some bigs ups and downs this week. I'm still unemployed and I haven't made a ton of new friends, so I've been feeling a tad lonely. Also, while I've worked a lot on the blog this week and gotten back into running, I've still had my anxious moments and my supremely bored, uninspired moments. I've noticed, by listening to my body, that I tend to want to snack when these moments hit. Running has really helped, and I've found myself avoiding mindless snacking by either getting out of the house or focusing on a TV show or blog post. But I'm still struggling with listening to my hunger cues when I'm in a bit of a blah period. It's not like I'm binging on food anymore (thank God this has stopped since I started this process), but I do still eat past my desired level of fullness sometimes, which is something I'd like to get better at in the coming weeks. 

Which leads me to my first nugget of wisdom for you guys: YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT. I am literally the least patient person in the world, so this was a hard one for me to learn. I'm that girl who will literally walk away from the coolest restaurant in the world if forced to wait in a five-person line... I just don't do lines. Or traffic or "six-week programs" or 90-minute yoga classes. When I first started intuitive eating, I would hate on myself all the time for not being able to "do it right." But eventually, I learned that there is no way of doing it right. There's simply doing it, keeping tabs on your progress, and loving yourself even when you make mistakes. I make mistakes ALL the time, and when I start being hard on myself, I remember that this is simply a process. I can't be 100% perfect all the time because I just started a couple months ago. It can take YEARS to get this down, and yeah, that's scary as hell. But I just tell myself that it's worth it, that I've already made SO much progress, and that I'll be so thankful in a year for making this choice now, instead of choosing to go on yet another diet. 

So, to all of you brave souls wanting to get started with intuitive eating, just go for it. And when you make a mistake, be patient with yourself because in five years, you'll be the fit one eating an ice cream sundae without any guilt... you just might not be eating the whole thing ;) 

INTRO to intuitive eating

Stacey Oswald1 Comment

When I was little, I LOVED to eat. I also loved to run around outside with my friends, color, watch Disney movies, and play sports. I never thought much about my love of food until I got a little pudgy in 4th grade. Suddenly, I wasn’t the same size as everyone else in my class, and I felt uncomfortable about it, even though my parents knew I was just growing. But when I went to camp the summer after 5th grade, I had a terrible experience that led me to develop anorexia. I struggled with it all during the next year, as I dieted and restricted myself down to the smallest possible size for a girl my age. I only thought about food, and I never wanted to do any of the things I used to love doing. I became a shell of my former self at only 11, and while I eventually “recovered” after about a year, I’ve never stopped struggling with food and body image issues. Seriously, I think about this stuff every day.

          Can you spot me??? Me in 8th grade, clearly not fitting in OR killing the pageant game

          Can you spot me??? Me in 8th grade, clearly not fitting in OR killing the pageant game

I’m pretty sure everyone has their own unique experience with dieting and/or body image issues, especially all my ladies out there. We’ve been conditioned since SUCH an early age to desire thinness and to find the beauty in visible bones instead of curves. We’ve also been conditioned to compare ourselves to others, to ourselves, and to never love our bodies in the present time. We’re always striving for something else- to fit into our old jeans, even though we never loved our bodies when we fit into them, or to look like that girl from spin class who always seems to have her life together. But eventually, a life of comparison and self-consciousness gets REALLY old. So that’s why I’ve gotten into intuitive eating.

 
 

Intuitive eating is based on the premise of letting go of every diet-based or restrictive behavior you’ve adopted over time, while also teaching yourself how to eat based on your own body’s cues, cravings, and desires. It’s all about being INTUITIVE, AKA taking the time out of your busy life to rediscover your passions, reflect on your desires, and listen to your body. If you’re interested in intuitive eating, take this simple quiz to see if it’s right for you:

1)  Do you CONSTANTLY think about food? And not in a “wow I love food so much I just love thinking about it” way, but in a “oh my God what am I going to eat now #anxiety” way?

2)  When you eat, do you ever find yourself rushing through your meal without taking the time to enjoy what you’re eating or recognize cues of fullness?

3)  Do you eat foods because they’re healthy, not because you’re actually craving them?

4)  Do you drag yourself to exercise classes because you feel like you have to, not because you actually enjoy them?

5)  Do you feel a lack of passion in your life? Has your relationship with food also become devoid of passion?

If you answered yes to ANY of these questions, it’s time for you to look into intuitive eating, sista (or mista). I’m not going to lie, you’ll probably struggle at first, but I promise that it has the potential to change your life FOREVER. Just think about how amazing it would be to never diet or restrict or hate your body again, at least not in a severely debilitating way? That seems like heaven to me.

I truly believe that for the first time in forever (to quote Frozen), I’m finally starting to see the light with my food issues. It’s been a process, and my weight has gone up and down throughout, but things are starting to balance out and I’m feeling much more confident these days. I usually feel like I’m eating intuitively 80% of the time, which is actually pretty good for just a few months of commitment to the process. 

 
 

I’m going to be sharing a LOT more about my path to intuitive eating, including how I’ve gotten to this point and what resources I’ve been using, but for now, here are some of the coaches I’ve started following religiously. They’re super open about their journeys, and their separate challenges/programs are extremely helpful for beginners! I might even get personal coaching from one of them, depending on how I progress in the upcoming months :) 

Jamie Mendell (her 21-day Intuitive Eating Challenge is GREAT!!!) 

 
Jamie lost 40 pounds through Intuitive Eating! 

Jamie lost 40 pounds through Intuitive Eating! 

 

Paige Schmidt, Healthy Hits the Spot

 
 

Can't wait to share SO MUCH MORE about intuitive eating with y'all! And just like general posts about life and food and fun stuff, because lots of those are coming as well :) 

WELCOME TO MY BLOG (fo real this time)

Stacey Oswald1 Comment

Okay. I’m starting over. Forget everything you’ve heard about Cupcakes + Kale Shakes, because this is the real stuff- I promise.

I originally started this blog in May, because I was really sick of college, excited about moving to LA, and confident in my new label-free lifestyle. I was excited to share my love of food with the world, and further, share my journey towards balance, which I considered a work in progress but still quite successful, nonetheless.

 
 

Note: you can skip my life story and read an overview in my about me, HERE. Or you can keep reading! <3 

Then life stepped in and threw me for a TOTAL LOOP. I think most normal bloggers would leave this kind of information out of their posts, but I’ve always valued honesty above all else, and as I grow this blog, I want to be 100% honest with my followers at all times. So here goes.

When I moved to LA, I had EXTREMELY high expectations. I thought I knew exactly what my life was going to look like, and I had my future planned out perfectly. Classic Type A planner-obsessed me. But (surprise surprise) my expectations ended up looking nothing like the reality of my new life in LA. My internship at a talent agency, which I had secured months prior, proved to be unpaid and unfulfilling. So I quit that, hoping to find another (paid) job ASAP that would be more in line with my passions. I applied for a few that I didn’t get, and after a few weeks of being unemployed and friendless, I slipped into a little depressive episode. Times were tough, and I had no desire to do anything positive for myself, much less maintain this blog. I tried to find happiness in workout classes and random good meals, which worked occasionally, but I still couldn’t shake this massive feeling of regret- regret for moving to LA, for being so quick to leave Nashville, for not enjoying college more, etc.

 
 

Then I happened upon a job at a company, which I won’t name, that essentially forced me to re-think EVERY SINGLE CHANGE I’d made to my life regarding food. I completely altered my blog to create a new message about “balanced veganism,” and I also deleted a ton of posts on my social media channels, hoping that I could still make my blog work with this new job opportunity. I felt like a total fraud, but I just wanted to be employed, and at the time, changing my life seemed completely worth it.

Weeks passed by, and I started feeling worse and worse about everything- the changes I’d made to my diet, the way my life was turning out in LA, even this new job opportunity that seemed so perfect at first. I felt like I wasn’t thinking straight EVER, like I had no goals and no purpose. It was a really really really rough time for me mentally, especially after an already difficult month. 

But then I had a eureka moment. I was perusing my favorite blog, The Balanced Blonde, and I realized- why would I work somewhere that would force me to change myself and my life so drastically? I had finally started to find peace and love and balance after so many years of disordered eating and depression, and yet, I was about to send myself right back into that dark place for a JOB. It seemed so silly, and at that moment, I realized that being myself is and always will be the most important thing.

 
 

So I decided to delete all the “balanced vegan” stuff that I had created half-heartedly on my blog, vowing to start over fresh this time. I also went back and edited all of my remaining Instagram and social media posts, wishing that I could get back what I deleted but also realizing that the mental clarity I had gained was TOTALLY worth it. Finally, after two months in LA, things were starting to seem bright and happy.

I don’t know where my life’s journey is going to take me, and I don’t know what my dream job is or where I’m going to end up living. But I do know that I love cupcakes just as much as I love kale shakes, and that living a balanced lifestyle is and will always be my #1 priority, because if I’m not feeling happy and fulfilled personally, I’ll never be able to give my all to any job.

I can’t WAIT to start sharing stuff with you guys! And I promise to never put up a front about things or lie for any reason because honesty is the best policy always!