29 Years Old and My Food Can Now Touch (A Lettuce Wrap Meal)

29 Years Old and My Food Can Now Touch (A Lettuce Wrap Meal)

For most of my life my food couldn’t touch. I dated someone in my early 20’s whose mom bought me a divider plate for when we were at their house for supper. It had lambs on it – because really, they don’t made adult divider plates. I wasn’t even embarrassed either, I was so happy. No more potato food walls (I would made a little barricade with my mashed potatoes to separate them from other foods) had to be made, I could simply put my food in different spots.

However, somewhere along the line I stopped caring as much. And now? Well now I love bowls, stir frys and mish mash plates of food. For the past few months I have been absolutely loving lettuce wraps. I cannot remember where we were, but we were out for supper one day and the place wasn’t overly gluten free friendly, but one thing that was was the lettuce wraps. So I ordered them because a) I really love lettuce wraps and b) I also really love not feeling horrific for the week to come afterwards.

There are obviously a ton of different recipes and ways to make them, and I do make them many different ways myself, but I tend to use the same basics.

What You Need

  • Lettuce wraps (duh) – if you ever order them in restaurants they tend to use romaine hearts which are long, and while nicer looking, slightly hard to eat with. SO while they contain pretty much zero nutritional value, I actually prefer using the outer layers of just plain ‘ol head lettuce. They make more of a bowl, and I find are easier to maneuver. I generally use about 3-4 wraps per person, depending on their size. 2-3 if they’re the top layers and are big buggers.
  • Veggies of your choice – think of what flavors will work. If you’re using an asian inspired sauce, tomatoes may not taste super awesome. I tend to use peppers (all colors), mushrooms, shaved carrots, snap peas and water chestnuts. If I can find them I also really like bean sprouts in mine. Again, use as many or little veggies as you like. I’m a vegetable-o-holic so I tend to put in quite a bit. I’d guess about 2 cups of veggies for myself. (the picture below is from one night when I was home alone, just to judge how many I actually stuff in there!)
  • A sauce. I’m going to be honest, I have tried many different sauces – bottled or home made, and I do like a nice peanut sauce, I generally gravitate towards this sauce I used for my sweet and spicy edamame (you need soy or tamari sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, oil (I used sesame and olive, but you can use what you have), ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes).
  • Rice of your choice.  I usually make about half a cup of dry rice per person if I’m going to the vegetarian route with edamame or on it’s own, or 1/4 per person if I’m using chicken.  The type of rice totally depends on what you prefer, or more often what’s on hand. A brown rice or plain white rice will have more a sticky texture when it’s all made, where as I find using a Jasmine, long grain or Basmati rice tends to stay separated and is a little messier to eat. Although I personally prefer a Basmati with my lettuce wraps.
  • Filler Foods.  We have a nut shelf in our fridge. It’s stocked with a variety of nuts – shaved almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts. So if I’m skipping the meat (as I often do) I usually throw some cashews, walnuts or almonds into my wraps. I also really love tossing in some edamame.  Like most bowls and dishes along these lines you can toss in pretty much anything and it’s going to be delicious.
  • About a teaspoon of oil for cooking

How You Do It

  1. It’s pretty simple. I usually cook rice or meat once or twice a week in big batches, and use it as I need it. If you don’t do that, cook your rice or chicken as you normally would. Sidenote: about 6 years ago my mom bought me a rice cooker. It has hands down become one of my most used, most loved kitchen gadgets. It’s mindless, cooks perfectly every time, never burns and cleans so easily.
  2. Peel off your lettuce wraps and give them a quick rinse and pat dry with paper towel
  3. I generally toss my veggies into a hot pan with some oil, just to soften the veggies and release some of the flavors. I’d say I cook them for about 10 minutes on medium heat. I then put them in a bowl.
  4. IMG_4996Next I make the sweet and spicy edamame sauce, usually just in the same pan since that means less dishes which makes me happy!IMG_5001
  5.   Once the sauce is caramelizing, I toss my veggies, meat (if applicable) and rice into the mixture
  6.   When everything is all warmed up, I dish the mixture into my lettuce wraps
  7. And then I eatIMG_4837

This is perfect if you have leftovers of things, but if not it’s still pretty easy as rice cooks itself! If your rice and chicken (if applicable) is already cooked, then it’s ready in 15 minutes. You really can’t complain about that. Plus? It’s super frickin’ tasty.

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Life Rule #1: People Are Like Food; If They Don’t Bring Wholesome Goodness To Your Life, Get Rid Of Them

Life Rule #1: People Are Like Food; If They Don’t Bring Wholesome Goodness To Your Life, Get Rid Of Them

I often say I know a ton of people, but have few friends.  Over the years I have zipped through and ‘Cleaned House’ numerous times.  I firmly believe that the people you choose to surround yourself will affect the way you view yourself, your life, your choices and your overall attitude towards well, everything.  As we grow older we somehow get the notion that our friends and those around us have less of an influence on our behavior. We associate our 12 year old selves with being young and impressionable, but our 32 year old selves as somehow magically immune to the behaviors around us.

“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good kick them to the curb and the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.” – Amy Poehler

This quote has become a life rule for me.  In general I’m pretty flexible, and tend to let a lot roll off my shoulders with a shrug and a “whatever”, but there are certain hard rules that are the bottom line. They do not get crossed, and if they do there’s no returning.  Shitty friends, family members, co-workers or associates is just one of those things.  Over the years I have quietly deleted away (both in person and online) people I don’t feel bring anything positive to my life.  While there have been many people who have been removed who I sometimes miss – when a particular song comes on and brings back dance party memories, book sharing or hilarious road trips, at the end of the day I am comfortable with my choices, and know that because of my curb kicking my life is filled with only the best for me.

This time of year I tend to see a lot of status’ updates and picture shares on my various social media sites about surrounding yourself with wholesome people. I have no doubt this is in association with everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions for this year to be the year; the most stellar of all years. But all of these proclamations has got me thinking.  Why have these people have spent the past 12 months putting up with crappy people and/or their crappy behavior. Why, as we enter the new year, now suddenly they feel  like only positive people should be in their lives. I personally feel this should be a 365 days a year type of a deal. Emotionally cleaning house is a continuous process, and it’s not always a fun one. But sometimes the best things come out of being a little uncomfortable.

Having this type of outlook means that I am particularly picky about who I share my life with. One could say I have a commitment problem, and they’d probably be right. I cautiously work my way into relationships, and don’t feel guilty if one doesn’t work out. I view making friends like dating – you need to test the waters, and can’t be suckered in to feeling obligated to be someone’s friend. I certainly hope I would not date someone because I felt bad, and I’m not about to be a friend for the same reason.

Quality over Quantity could also be considered a Life Rule for me.  I’ve realized over the past few years that this rule of thumb has unintentionally been put into play in pretty much every area of my life – my closet, make up drawer, kitchen cupboards and most importantly relationships. I feel you will be far better off having a couple really great, amazing people in your life who are supportive, encouraging, make you laugh, smile, cry, push your boundaries and bring out the best in you (and vice versa) than you will be having a social calendar filled up every night resulting in you spending time with a lot of less than perfect for you people. Sure, this means  I do spend more time alone than I would if I had lower expectations, but I also genuinely appreciate and love the people I do spend time with. I come home from spending time with my current friends feeling pretty damn good. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

A couple nights ago while driving home from TOPS with a friend, she was telling me a story about a kind of shitty friend she has – always blowing her off, not returning texts unless he’s in the mood to etc. etc. And I told her to just stop talking to him.  I say this because what results in being blown off, or feeling constantly let down by someone is you end up blaming yourself. The frustrations you feel towards that person end up turning into self doubt. What’s wrong with me? Why wouldn’t they want to hang out with me? What did I do wrong?  And really, as much as you might like someone, or find them hilarious or fun to be with, at the end of the day you have to look at the big picture. And the big picture of these kinds of people  is that they just aren’t that good for you.

Years ago I broke up with someone I was dating, and not because I didn’t genuinely love spending time with this person, or no longer liked them. In fact, I really liked this person. The issue was they weren’t willing to make time for me, or make me any sort of priority, ever. Which left me feeling pretty crappy. So matter how much I liked this person, at the end of the day  I just liked and respected me more. While I’ve always associated this thought to a romantic relationship, it can easily be translated into friendships, or any sort of relationship you embark on.

It truly is impossible to have a healthy and happy life, or be completely satisfied when the people around you are toxic and leaving you emotionally and mentally unhealthy.  So, if you’re one of those people who has decided to emotionally clean house, it will be the best thing you will ever do. If you’re someone who already has, good for you. Life is way too short to surround yourself with anything except pure joy.

 

 

Workin’ On My Fitness: Changing it Up and Trying New Things (Barre3, Yoga and Home Workouts)

Workin’ On My Fitness: Changing it Up and Trying New Things (Barre3, Yoga and Home Workouts)

We’ve been setting into a nice little routine over here in our home since we’ve moved, and unfortunately that did not include a workout schedule that I was sticking to, or wanting to go do. A few weeks back I wrote about my frustrations regarding this, and basically my lack of desire to stick to anything. I was frustrated because my usual go-to, LOVE workouts just weren’t doing it for me anymore, and I had lost my pep. A change needed to happen and it was scary.  It was a slow break-up – the kind you see coming for months but actively avoid the confrontation, until you do confront the issues and then think, “why the hell didn’t I do that sooner?” 

Since I still had a gym membership paid up to until the end of April, I knew that whatever my new routine looked like, it had to include use of at least some of the amenities offered there.  Since I was no longer feeling my weight lifting routines, I decided to put a big x beside their box, at least temporarily. I decided that lap swimming was in, since I was actually feeling like I missed it at that point.  If I’m completely honest, the fact that my bathing suit was just slightly snug and I felt pretty chunky in it was the only thing holding me back -which is pretty ridiculous since my usual swim hour is also the favorite of the 65+ crowd, I’m under water and no one can actually see me and well, nobody actually cares what I look like in my bathing suit while swimming laps so neither should I.

I had started doing yoga about a year and a half ago, and continued while pregnant. But once the littlest arrived, I kind of stopped. Lies. I completely stopped. So I wanted to get back into that, because it’s something that – after much resistance, I fell in love with. I truly love being able to push myself in a completely different way. I also enjoy the calming effect it has me which is something my life has definitely been lacking lately. Quiet + kids is kind of non existent… unless you make the time for it. Carve out that time in your day to do just that. So by combining my workouts and calm, it’s a bang for my buck type of hour. However, with already having a gym membership, having to work around the husbands work schedule which is sometimes a little hairy, and not having an on call babysitter I just couldn’t justify the cost of a membership to a yoga studio – they tend to be a little pricy, which is something I’m totally okay with, as long as I’m using it enough to make the cost per visit low and well, that just wasn’t happening around here. So I thought I’d scour the internet for classes to stream, and I came across Yoga Vibes.  When you first sign up they offer 15 day free trials, with full access to all the classes. So really, it’s a win-win. No money lost, and the worst thing that happens is you don’t like it. The best thing that happens however is you find out you really like it and it’s a keeper. The monthly cost is $20, with unlimited class streaming, and that’s a price tag I can get behind.  They offer hundreds of classes, for any level. The best part is being able to pick a focus to work on and picking a time frame. I find this to be the most beneficial for me, because sometimes I don’t have a straight hour or 45 minutes to do an at home workout. (Correction: I don’t take the 45 or 60 minutes to do my workouts if I’m at home.) This means I can do a 15 minute class in the morning, another 20 minute one before bed, or a 45 minute one during afternoon nap time.

Years ago while living in Canmore I got hooked on Pilates. I loved that it was always such a challenge for me and really worked my core.  I bought a couple pilates DVD’s once we moved and once again couldn’t justify the cost of my regular gym membership plus a pricier one to a Pilates boutique, but I just never really got in to them. I always felt like I was working out in my living room, which is kind of like, “Duh, Racheal, that’s because you are” but I don’t want to feel that way. I want to feel like I’m there, watching an instructor who is going to come over and call me out for slacking if I do so. Once again I scoured the internet and found Barre3.  It’s kind of perfect for me! It combines moves found in pilates, yoga and… ballet. While I  will full on admit I have never been a dancer, do not know the slightly thing about dance, and most certainly do not have a dancers body I felt pretty confident with my pilates and yoga skills to give it a try. Once again, they offered a free 15 day trial so even if I found I didn’t really like it, I wouldn’t feel guilty for wasting the $15/month membership fee.  Here’s the thing: even if you have no prior knowledge of yoga, or pilates I’m pretty confident you could pick this up. They have intro classes, and once again you can pick the time you have, areas you wish to work and you guys? The instructors are phenomenal. They really do make you feel like they can see you, and always provide alternatives to each move they do. This is pretty essential to me right now when it comes to core work, because my core is in a pretty crappy place and the regular moves are sometimes too much for me to hold or sustain to long periods of time. A lot of the barre3 classes are that – alternating the same moves or holding for long periods of time to work the muscles. And trust me, they do! It’s crazy how much of a sweat and how sore my muscles can be without even moving off of my yoga mat.

While I did continue with my yoga subscription, I decided to cancel the Barre3 one until my membership at the gym is up, OR  I begin using it more. I can’t justify paying for another subscription when I’m not using a membership I already have. I find I am incorporating yoga into my rotation a lot more, doing 4-5 classes a week so I’m comfortable with the additional cost. While fitness is something that’s very important to me, and we have a house rule that the cost of doing physical activities we like is over ruled always by our desire to do them, I do have my own comfort zone. So come April if I find I am using my membership a lot more frequently or am not wanting it at all, then I will add back in the barre3, because it really is awesome!

 

Just A Little Soul Sick: Health isn’t all About The Body

Just A Little Soul Sick: Health isn’t all About The Body

If there’s one thing I preach it’s balance. I strongly believe in finding the balance in life between work, play, fitness, self indulgence, family, spouses, kids or any combination which applies to you. Throughout the past 10 years of my life I have worked hard on finding a balance with  each new life change – whether it be a move, a baby, a husband, new job, school etc. At various times I have let one area dominate, particularly the anti-social, I love my own company more than I love your company side of my personality (the biggest part) and during the 9 months it took me to lose 60 pounds the fitness side definitely dominated and I became very anti-social (something I, ironically, didn’t even realize until years later reflecting because it’s just soo soo much part of my natural personality).

Because I am naturally very introverted, creative and independent it pretty much leaves for the perfect recipe to create the ideal hermit. Unlike many, many people out there who require the attention and company of others I, well… I simply don’t. In fact, I find the more I interact with other people in group settings the more unsure of myself I become, the less comfortable I become with who I am and to be honest I usually sit there awkwardly trying to to make sure not to call someone a “cocksucker” because something tells me they won’t feel it’s the term of endearment I aim for it to be. But then again, if they become offended they probably aren’t my kind of folk to begin with, hmmm?

I have never really felt the pull for other peoples’ company until motherhood approached and I found myself getting lost in the everyday of  dirty diapers and runny noses. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have friends who knew where I was at, to sit around and bullshit with on a daily basis, but the truth is that as much as I sometimes crave that, the bigger part of me just simply doesn’t have the emotional and mental energy to deal with maintaining a new friendship that would suit my ‘now’ needs. Or really, to do the courting to find and lock that relationship in; because making new, life long friends is no different than finding, courting and locking in a romantic partner.

I have never had trouble taking time for myself; whether it be hour long baths, followed by an evening of nail painting and eyebrow grooming or curling up with a good book and ignoring everyone for hours on end. I enjoy solitary activities like reading, writing, and I’m a big painter and drawer (and not too bad of one either). I also love scrapbooking. Of course a big one for me is activity, and once again I prefer solitary activities to group classes. Hell, even my preferred activities of yoga and swimming leave very, very little room for interaction between myself and others.

Lately though sitting here typing away or working on my baby scrapbooks or anything else while chaos ensued all around  me has left me with this tug of guilt and as a result I have a good 7 half written posts and am a good couple months behind in my life scrapbooks.

And honestly, when I have had a few uninterrupted calm minutes I have chosen my scrapbooks over the blog, perhaps because in my twisted little mind the books are kid related and family related and will leave for lasting photographic and print memories as opposed to my blog which satisfies and benefits only me.

It’s a funny thing, really. I don’t blink an eye when the husband takes up residents on the couch to enjoy some football, hockey, smithsonian channel documentary or anything else. In fact, we recently exchanged words because he’d come home from work and run around like a mad man unloading the dishwasher or washing diapers – things that could easily wait, instead of sitting down and relaxing and enjoying the couple hours before it’s little people bedtime. I encourage and enforce the belief upon him that soothing your mental being and enjoying life for an hour is more important than wether or not he unloads the dishwasher tonight or I do it in the morning.

And the reality is he’s just as supportive of my needs for hour long baths with books or getting lost in whatever soul soothing activity I’m engaging it.

For the past few months I’ve been acutely aware of my lack of time doing the Racheal things instead of the wife and mom things, but it never really bothered me until recently. Shortly before Christmas I was feeling like I was disappearing into the realms of dirty diapers and pot scrubbing and it was making into, to be blunt, a crusty bitch.

I was snapping at everyone, assuming it was the husband and everyone else who has changed their behavior when it dawned on me one evening that no, it was me. My once calm, let things roll off my back attitude had been replaced with one that had a tolerance level of -3.

Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about cooking, eating whole foods, being active and maintain good physical health; it’s just as much, if not more, about maintain a balance between the physical health, mental health and emotional, soul contentment.

So I started to reclaim my reading time, and creating time, and scrapbooking time, and yoga time.

I have this question that I always ask the husband when he’s getting worked up about something. I ask him if it’s going to matter in 5 years? No? What about next week? Still no?.. Then let it go. And I realized I had been ignoring my own fundamental question to a life of sanity.

One thing that has suffered greatly has been my blog. I don’t like that; and it’s not a matter of me outgrowing my space here in the interweb, but a matter of me not letting myself take the time for me.

So that’s going to change, because writing here – whether it’s recipes, fitness tales, body image issues or just sharing miscellaneous parts of my life keeps my soul happy. It’s one of those things that just makes me relax and allows me an outlet to express parts of my life I want to share… While still being anti-social and hermit-like.

The Body Monologues: I Want To Be Healthy Enough to Feel Good Mentally

The Body Monologues: I Want To Be Healthy Enough to Feel Good Mentally

I may not always be the sanest person necessarily, but I am somewhat of a realist when it comes to my body, my life and the expectations in which I place upon myself. While in theory it would have been beautiful to have my little porkchop and parade home in a cute summer dress, my logical mind knew better. I mean,  I was the size of a small house prior to popping him out, and while he was a bit of a chunky monkey he certainly wasn’t 33 pounds (my total pregnancy weight gain).  I was also very aware that having recently moved back to Regina, living with family an hour outside of the city, it being summer and having a new baby around well..it wasn’t exactly the best time to dive head first into a weight loss tunnel.

While I have no doubt in my mind I could have done it, I also know it wouldn’t have been what was best for everyone and I most certainly would not have come out sane on the other side. So I gave myself a break. We were due to move the beginning of October, and I told the husband that once we were settled then I would jump back in.  It was important for me to vocalize this to him because he would do his part and keep me accountable.

Let me make it clear, he does not care if my jeans are a size 28 or if they were a 38, but he knows it matters to me to get back into my pants, to feel good again and most importantly to be at the level of fitness I was prior to the little mans arrival. He’s the one who has to talk me off the ledge after I have a meltdown while standing inside my closet staring at all of my clothes that do not fit (and which I refused to replace or buy bigger sizes of). So one could argue that for selfish, non body related and sanity reasons he too wants to see me back into my jeans.

So October rolled around and we all got settled into a routine which included a workout one for me. Physically I am ready; for the most part I can confidently say that aside from some pretty weak lower abdomen muscles my body has, for all intent purposes, recovered. I jumped back into workouts, going 4-5 mornings a week and a couple nights a week jetting off to a water class. The weight started to fall off again much to my happiness, although not to my surprise. Common sense and history has told me that exercising regularly combined with my already fantastic eating habits would lead to a movement on the scale.

What I was not prepared for however was the mental disconnect I am struggling with lately. I have been active in some form or another for the past several years because I wanted to be doing it, not because I felt I had to. I did not have to work out if I didn’t want to, I simply made a conscious choice to do it.

Yesterday morning while feeding the littlest tyke I was flipping through the channels on the TV. I’ll admit I never do this because nothing ever appeals to me and after wasting 20 minutes channel surfing I give up, turn off the TV and crack a book instead (0nce a bookworm, always a bookworm…). But I saw a Drew Barrymore interview/special being given by Oprah, so I tuned in and caught part of it. She said something that just struck a nerve with me and made me go “YES! YES! YES!”  – internally of course, as I didn’t want to wake the sleeping (finally!) teething little person.

Oprah asked her how she felt about all the pressure to lose baby weight, to share your diet and workouts and what her goals were. Drew replied, I want to be healthy enough to feel good mentally. Sometimes for me, like my ultimate favorite body quote by Kelly Osbourne (in case you don’t click the link, I have to share it. Years ago she said “I Don’t want to be the prettiest girl in the world, I just want to like myself”.), I hear someone say something and it sticks like glue in my brain. This simple sentence in a string of many others just stood out. It’s almost like her thoughts resonate so deeply with my own they give me a calm as though  I said it myself.

Yesterday I came home from the gym very down and discouraged. For the first time that I can ever recall I had already checked out by the time I got there. I walked towards the row machines, completed my time and proceeded to do a chest and back workout. Yes, physically I powered through my workout and made the most of my time there. But the truth is my want wasn’t in it. I was there because I felt a need to be there. Generally this would not bother me – we all have off days, and  I would have came home, told the husband my workout was shitty and carried on about my life returning tomorrow for a bette workout. Except the truth is that feeling the need instead of the want has become a norm these past couple weeks.

So while I was verbalizing my struggles and more or less talking through it to myself while the husband listened I kept expecting a light bulb moment. A moment where it all makes sense and the answer to my problems suddenly appears. However, this was not the case. What did happen was a single comment was made. The husband stopped making his lunch, looked at me and said, “Don’t go. If you’re not into it, don’t do it. Find something else”. Just like that; a simple answer.

And I knew what he meant. He did not mean take up residence on the sofa and give up; he meant to give myself a break. Allow myself to breath without feeling that I need to go.  If it means taking a break from the physical building of a gym then do it. I am the first one to admit and to tell people that the gym is not for everyone, I just happened to be a person who enjoyed being there. Or perhaps it’s simply a change of pace – instead of weight workouts to spend more time doing yoga, pilates,  and swimming – 3 things that always make me feel calm and mentally sound.

And what it comes down to is that physically I am healthy, still a little over weight in terms of where I prefer to be, but overall still physically healthy. But mentally I am not. Mentally I feel unhealthy, too chunky  and feel terrible about my physical body. This feeling is not in a body issue way, because I do enjoy my body still, but perhaps the best way to describe it is to say that prior to becoming pregnant I was physically and mentally in awesome condition, so I struggle with comparing my now to my then and in turn it makes me feel unhealthy.  This is a new feeling for me, one I haven’t felt in many, many years and to be completely honest I’m not quite sure what to do with it. I know ignoring the physical aspect of my being is not an option; nor is becoming a couch potato. I know that the only way to get  my mental and physical selves on the same page is to work them both.

I suppose the first step is recognizing what the issue is, and today, thanks to one lovely Ms. Drew Barrymore, I can say it’s clicked. I realize now that I need to find a happy medium that will mentally help get me where I want to be physically, and in turn hopefully will mentally make me feel a little more like myself. And possibly help me get my want back.

Embracing the Body, Kate Style

Embracing the Body, Kate Style

Perhaps it’s because I was pregnant while Duchess/Princess/Whatever Kate was also, my pregnancy hormones were running wild combined with my usual crazy and generally emotional demeanour, my sympathies towards this young lady who was going through what I was, just with millions of people scrutinizing her every outfit and move, were running high. I cried for her (or me..or every other pregnant woman…okay, who the hell knows who it was really for) more times than I’ll admit to.

I should throw it out there that I’m one of those girls who LOVES the royals. Seriously, they amaze me.. well, the younger generations do. They manage to come off appearing to be so casual, personable and just like you and me when let’s be real here: they’re fucking royalty, there’s nothing normal about that shit.  Throw in the fact that a real, life Prince married a commoner and well, how else can a royal figure possibly do any more to appear normal and human?

Anyways.. in hindsight my concerns over the handful of jerks I encountered while pregnant are nothing compared to the scrutiny Kate endured. However, her pregnancy style or weight or any of the other headlines which constantly glared at me while I waited for the impossibly long and slow lines at the grocery store are not what grabbed my attention the most from her pregnancy.

No, instead it was the picture I saw yesterday of the beautiful woman stepping out of the doors of the hospital dressed quite simply and elegantly and looking downright happy. Pictures of the new little family waving, little quotes from Prince William regarding parenthood..all the normal fare you’d expect from such an occasion. Then I saw it: a picture of Kate, wearing a somewhat fitted empire waisted dress, the baby in Williams arms and Kate’s arms resting under her post baby belly.

In that moment I was suddenly overcome with so many feelings of emotions they threw me off guard. Here we have arguably one of the most famous women in the world not doing a thing to hide the fact that *gasp* she’s normal and like the rest of us woman she did not pop out a baby and hop into her post George (can we call him just George?) jeans. If anything she looked just so happy and content to embrace this belly I wanted to hug her. I feel this one single gesture did more for every new mother out there than any quote from any new mom celebrity will ever do.

Because what new mothers really need is not a famous person telling us how to get our pre-baby bodies back; we don’t need work outs, or recipes or to be shown how to camouflage our bellies. We need some positive, public figure woman truly embracing these new shapes, and I feel that’s exactly what Kate did. She could have chosen a more loose fitted outfit, or to shield her belly by holding the baby in a draping blanket as so many other famous women may have chosen to do – if for no other reason than to prevent judgement on their bodies, and who can blame them?  Whether it was a thought out decision to wear something more fitted, was unaware how prominent the belly would be or just a moment of “yes, that one please” I don’t know..what I do know is that I adore her for it.

While we can’t exactly blame celebrities for their decisions to wear spanx, hide out until the weight is gone, or put in unrealistic hours for any normal woman to work those extra baby pounds off, it does nothing for the average woman to see this except make us feel like we are somehow less adequate because 6 week postpartum we’re still in loose, cotton clothing – or as is the case for many women, still in maternity clothes.

I am slightly embarrassed to even admit this, but I will. There are times, depending on what I am wearing, that I do not want to go in to a store without my baby. And no, while I love spending every minute I can with him, it’s not because I will miss him so much if I happen to run in to the grocery store without him. It’s because I feel like it justifies why my stomach isn’t flat anymore. If I’m pushing a cart with a newborn in it, it’s my pass for my soft middle. It lets people know that I just had a baby, and he is my reason for the belly.

And that, my readers, is ridiculous. I personally do not care how big someone’s belly is, whether they just had a baby last week or their ‘baby’ just turned 10. I don’t care if they weight 120 or 220 pounds. It’s none of my business unless they chose for it to be, and the size of someones ass  does make them a good, funny, smart or caring man or woman.  Yet when it comes to me, those rules are no longer applied for whatever reason.

Maybe it’s because I have lost weight and there is so much stigma behind it because as you know, everyone will gain it back. So maybe subconsciously I don’t want people to think I just gained 15 pounds back, and need to parade my kid everywhere to be my reason for the belly.  Whatever my reasons are, I need to get the hell over it. End of story.

Over the past while there have been many celebrities speaking out against the harsh criticism pregnant woman have gotten (most famously Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian) for the amount of weight they’ve gained or how slowly it may take them to lose the weight afterwards. While I genuinely feel this does wonders to help new mothers everywhere, nothing has left a greater impact on me than seeing a beautiful woman, who happens to be duchess and married to the future King,  standing with her family, embracing her body.

**After I wrote this, but before I hit publish I was creeping around and apparently this little belly picture is causing quite the stir! Good! I Love that woman everywhere are embracing this, and taking such a positive message from a single action. However, I am complete appalled by all the negative comments and reactions.. I read a tweet sarcastically asking if the baby was still in there. Disgusting**

How To Get a Bikini Body: Put a Bikini on A Body

How To Get a Bikini Body: Put a Bikini on A Body

I was reading this article on the NYPost about plus size bikini’s, affectionately called ‘fatkinis’ , and I was skimming the comments as I always do (I find people’s responses to articles and ideas to be just as interesting sometimes as the article itself. Am I the only one who does this?) and one of the comments made was “how to get a bikini body: put a bikini on a body” and it made me go, “ha! Hell yes” Primarily because this is how I feel.

If you scan the magazine racks this time of year you are bound to notice the millions of articles and headings providing tips on how to get your best bikini body, or how to kick start your summer slimming diet… and well, I mean…really?!  First off, how can there be that many bests of something. Doesn’t best imply it is the ultimate; the number one? And furthermore, who cares? I am genuinely curious to speak to the people who actually take the advice given. SO if you’re one of them, give me a shout please.

I wear a bikini. I do not have perfectly sculpted abs nor do I have a stomach that stays completely flat when I sit down and I have stretch marks (thanks weight gain, weight loss and babies!). The best part is that I don’t even care. I’m comfortable with my body in and out of clothes so I figure, if you have nothing better to do that look at my body in a bathing suit and criticize it that say’s a lot more about you than it does about me. Primarily that you need a better hobby.

Bathing suit material is probably the most unbreathable, sweat inducing fabric around (I am discounting polyester suits  and tweed. For the simple fact that they are usually used to make skirts or suits and worn in air conditioned buildings..thus making them less sweaty than a bathing suit) and then we have to wear them during the hottest days of the year. I am not sure what prompted me to change my mind about 2 piece bathing suits. I will admit I used to never wear them..I just felt like it was too close to wearing your underwear in public but then it dawned on me: why in the heck am I sitting here letting sweat pool at the top of my bum crack and suffer through it trinkling down from my belly for no other reason than I simply didn’t want to sit in a two piece bathing suit?

With that being said, how do we get ourselves away from this elusive, perfect bikini body imagine we all seem to have to have in our heads? I have a lot of male and female friends where conversations about body image, attractiveness etc comes up and the only thing that I can conclude is that they all have very different taste in what they deem sexy. What one says is sexy in a bikini another may say she needs to eat a cheeseburger or 10 first, and another may think is a little chubby. There truly isn’t a bikini perfect body.  Primarily because there isn’t one designated look of sexy.

Can I also point out that  we don’t require men who may not have a flat stomach to wear wetsuits or one piece bathing suits and they can sit around with their bellies hanging over the waist band of their swimming trunks without another thought? They can let their hairy, sometimes stretch marked bodies be free from suffocating material, yet a woman who may do the same thing is bound to set off a mirage of chitter chatter about how “gross” it is.

While I hope there comes a point in time where a line of plus sized bikini’s no longer makes headlines for being so cutting edge and awesome simply because it’s part of main stream clothing, and we started pushing health over size, I must say that I sincerely hope that woman of all sizes can learn to embrace their bodies and learn that there is no ‘right’ size to wearing a particular type of bathing suit. Stretch marks, cellulite, an extra layer of chub, big boobs, no boobs, a boney chest, a round booty…regardless of what it is you feel is an imperfection on your body it doesn’t make you any less entitled to wear something you want to wear or instantly mean you must cover up a certain body part (or 2).