Back To Basics

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Over the past week, I have been thinking more and more about what I want to do on Oh She Glows. I have come to the conclusion that I want to write about the topics that I feel passionate about- body image, self-esteem, eating healthy, finding a balance, motivation- just to name a few.

For example, I think somewhere along the way I started to focus more on the number side of things with my workouts (e.g., distance, calories burned, etc) rather than how working out makes me feel, how it makes you feel, and why we do it.

How do I feel when I enjoy a good hike in the woods or after a run that doesn’t leave me feeling winded? How does it feel to be able to hold a side plank for 20 seconds longer than I used to be able to? Or climb 3 flights of stairs? Or train for my first race when I used to not be able to run more than 1 minute at a time?

And I don’t want this to be the case. I do realize that many of you find the details of workouts to be helpful, and I will continue to post much of the information, but at the same time I also want to focus more on the big picture.

Which brings me to this afternoon’s topic. Last night I was a bit upset about a comment that I got in the survey, I’m not going to lie. I am a sensitive person and things like that do hurt me. However, I take it with a grain of salt because we are all unique and we all have our different opinions. The amount and/or what I eat will not be suitable for everyone. Yes, I do eat a lot, and I am proud of that fact. When you have struggled for years like I did and suffered from low self-worth, low self-esteem, and poor body image, the ability to eat freely is a huge bright spot in my current life.

I don’t try to assume that what I eat will be the same amounts that you will need for yourself. I just show snippets of my own life and what is working for me! I don’t expect you to eat dandelion, green monsters, veggie burgers, or herbal tea. What I do want you to get out of OSG is a way to challenge yourself to change up your current routine and to try new things. Maybe for you that is getting a bike and hitting some roads or trails instead of biking at the gym on a stationary bike. Or maybe it is trying a class at the gym when you have been scared to for the past 5 months. Whatever it is, I hope that this blog will make you think differently about the way you view ‘static’ things in your life.

I received a beautiful email today that I knew I had to share with you all.

Hi Angela,

I am relatively new to reading your blog, but am loving all the different facets of healthy living you talk about:  exercise, eating, cooking, body image and care, attitude, etc.

As someone who follows a few different blogs to get ideas on continuing my own healthy lifestyle, I really appreciate your honesty, especially with eating. 

Your post from yesterday, about your snacks, was really good for me to see.  I workout every day and try to eat very healthy meals, but sometimes I feel like I must be overeating if I’m hungry for lots of snacks between meals.  I feel like I’m always eating (which I don’t mind, but I don’t want to overdo it either).  I don’t have any weight to lose, so I’m sure it’s fine (in fact, my boyfriend is constantly telling me to eat more), but seeing your post about snacks helped to reassure myself that it’s okay.  My body needs fuel if I want to workout and lead the hectic lifestyle I live (I’m a high school teacher).  I eat before I workout every morning (4am), then have a bigger breakfast afterwards (which is at 6:30 am), eat a snack at 9 am to hold me over to lunch at 11:00 am.  I then end up eating another two snacks, at least, before dinner, which is usually around 6 pm.  Sheesh.  Doesn’t that seem like a lot???  Anyways, thanks for grounding me in the fact that if it’s healthy food (which it is!!!), then it’s okay!  Sometimes I need that reminder–and I’m sure many other young women need it too.  I just needed to take the time to say thanks for being a great role model!

M*

I am so glad that M* emailed me and told me this. I think it can help a lot of people. It is easy to look at food blogs and think ‘Gee I must be eating way too much!’ and then feel down about yourself. I don’t want this to be the case on OSG. That is why I did that post yesterday because I realized that I don’t often talk about the snacks I eat during the day. I eat a lot of food that doesn’t get shown on the blog. Some days I am plain old hungry and when I am hungry I eat. I don’t deprive myself anymore.

In my reply to M*, I said:

It is crazy how women deny themselves with such basic things, isn’t it?

Do you ever hear the men in your life complaining because they eat too many snacks or have too big of an appetite! Not usually! It’s usually something like, ‘Wow look at his appetite! He eats like such a man!’ In fact, I used to feel a bit strange when I would eat more than Eric. And to be honest, many days I do eat more than Eric! Guess what? Eric sits all day at his day job and doesn’t workout. Guess what I do during the day? I exercise almost daily and I am often on my feet baking. Our calorie needs are not the same which is why we shouldn’t compare what we eat to anyone else but ourselves.

I used to deny my hunger for many years. After I began my road to health, I slowly started listening to my body.

You know what I finally realized?

Hunger is NOT a bad thing! If you are truly hungry, you do need to eat. There is no other way around it. I know, it’s not rocket science, but when you deny your true hunger signals for so long it can seem like a foreign concept, right??

This is what now works for me:

When I feel true hunger pains, I eat. There is no denial. Sometimes, it is trickier to discern whether it is true hunger (or whether it is dehydration, tiredness, etc) but for the most part my body does a good job of letting me know when I need some fuel. We need to stop denying ourselves and start listening to ourselves.

Our bodies are amazingly smart machines that are extremely efficient. It’s only when society started to put pressure on women (yes, men too more and more) that we started to have problems with eating disorders, negative body image, and the like.

Do you ever notice that people who don’t diet also don’t binge? My urge to overeat only stopped once I finally gave up calorie counting and denying my body what it needed.

I think if we started listening more and over-analyzing a bit less, we would lead much more content and full lives. Get back to the basics with your health and simplify what you are currently doing.

Your body will thank you for it.

Angela_Signature

How are you with listening to your body and hunger signals? Are you trying to improve how you listen to your body? Is it difficult for you? What works for you?

See you tonight for a baking recipe + how to!

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ttfn300 May 21, 2009

great post! i know i’m behind again, but i’m trying to get back on track with listening to my body. my problem lately has been stopping when i’m full… but i think you’re right on about eating when you’re hungry and activity levels!

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Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) May 20, 2009

Ugh I’m sorry someone’s comment got you down. Seems like you are turning that negative into a positive though! :)

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Hangry Pants May 20, 2009

This is a great post and such a wonderful example of how positive “food blogs” can be! I am learning to listen to myself more and more each day!!!! :D

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Rose May 20, 2009

Great post girl – and definitely something we all need to remember!

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ashley t May 20, 2009

Your blog is great! Don’t worry about this random persons comment. Part of what makes you so great is your honest about your eating habits which not many people feel comfortable doing. There is nothing wrong with you or how you eat! Your obviously doing amazing or you wouldn’t have any readers. Keep doing what your doing:)

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Julie May 19, 2009

okay this was a GREAT post :) I LOVE your blog! I don’t always comment but I always read :) After all you were my green monster inspiration! I love your blog and I think you should keep doing exactly what you’re doing :)

as for me I feel the same way about you! It took me a while to realize that you have to EAT to lose weight :) Thanks for your blog I love ittt

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Hannah May 19, 2009

You are such a good role model Angela!

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kayla May 19, 2009

Angela- You are such an inspiration! please remember that you can not please everyone! Isn’t it ironic not too long ago people were critizing you for having an eating disorder and now people are critizing you for eating to much?! just ignore them and know that you are amazing!

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Minta May 19, 2009

How could anyone say anything mean?! Goodness you can see how happy you are – surely that is enough to show that you are doing everything right. I want to BE YOU!

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Sam May 19, 2009

Hey Angela. I’m a newer reader and I love your outlook and posts. I am currently on journey to stop counting and just eat healthy, listen to my body, and stop obsessing. Reading your blog has helped me to see that as long as you’re putting healthy, wholesome food into your body, you can forget the numbers and your body will be happy and healthy. Thank you for that and keep doing what you’re doing.

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Mallory May 19, 2009

I am SO glad I found your blog, Angela!
You have (and continue to) inspire me to take care of my body, love it (the way it is NOW), challenge it, and nourish it every day.
Like you and many women, I’ve also struggled with my eating and body image in the past – at times I still fall into that mindset of counting calories and looking at foods as good or bad. I mean, this afternoon for example, I got home from work with a grumbly tummy and headed to the kitchen for a snack. I was really craving yogurt with some fruit but ended up having carrots & zucchini with hummus instead because it’s lower-cal. Does this make sense? How did you finally get past that?
Also, when you started running did you start out with small spurts of running mixed in with walking? I’m trying to build up to running and right now I can only run for about 2min at a time before I need to slow back down to a walk. I hope to increase that run time gradually, but I often wonder if that’s the way to do it or if I am just “not a runner” ?

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Sam May 19, 2009

Don’t worry about what anyone thinks. Something you have shown everyone is that YOU are in charge of your life and you make the best choices for yourself. Don’t take things personally. Someone could have been tired or answered the survey as a joke

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Susan May 19, 2009

Awesome post Angela!!! I think the most important thing to remember is that we should look at blogs like yours for ideas, and not something to model ourselves after. It’s important to check in with ourselves and what our own bodies want before taking cues from an outside source. Keep up the great work, you are a top notch blogger! ;)

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Jen May 19, 2009

Ange, I think you have a great attitude toward food/eating healthfully! I realize it took you a long time to get there – you are lucky that you did get there, as so many of us still struggle with it. I starved myself all through highschool (fortunately not to the point of anorexia or bulemia) and still don’t feel like I have a healthy relationship with food (I certainly don’t deny myself like I used to, but I definitely eat more than I need to on too many days!) Be proud of what you have achieved!

You mentioned eating when you truly feel hungry, which made me think of something – do you ever suddenly feel so hungry that you feel nauseated? I find that happens to me often at work, almost as if my last meal just wore off all at once and if I don’t get something into me I’ll feel sick. It’s weird…maybe because I’m caught up in work I don’t notice the gradual signs of hunger and then it just hits me?

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Lainie May 19, 2009

Hi Angela,
I have been reading OSG now for quite some time and i absolutely love it – your attitude about food, career and overall life is seriously uplifting and encouraging. I’m so sorry that someone left you a negative comment; I understand how harsh words can hurt…but please, please realize that 99% of the time, when someone says something nasty, it’s because they’re jealous. I’m sure the poster who left you that comment is envious of you for many different reasons, and because they didn’t know how to express it, they left you with negativity instead.
I love the idea of going back to the big picture on OSG. It’s so easy to get bogged-down with numbers….to focus on the image at large will be fun!

Take care, and thanks for a wonderful website!

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Kris May 19, 2009

Keep up the fantastic work!

Jealousy cause people to be evil!

xo

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Kiersten May 19, 2009

Woops, typo in my comment. Ignore the first “If I skip any of my snacks”

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Karin May 19, 2009

Excellent post!
I found your blog a couple of weeks ago, and I really like it a lot. I’m sure it’s not easy to deal with negative or even hostile comments, but it’s just part of our lives and of being human. Don’t worry too much about it, you’re doing a great job, and you can be proud of it! There will always be people who disagree, whatever their reasons are – you can try to get out something positive for you, but then move on! The more people reading your blog, the higher the chance to get such comments.
Keep up your great work!

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Kiersten May 19, 2009

I know how you feel Angela, my eating habits are similar to yours. I eat 3 meals a day, a snack in between lunch and dinner, and a night time snack. If I skip any of my snacks I get hungry every few hours, so if I skip a snack I am usually starving before it’s time for dinner. I eat more often than any of my family or my boyfriend. I used to feel a little funny about it, but now I couldn’t care less. I’m glad you don’t care what anyone else thinks of your eating habits either!

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amy (veganissexy) May 19, 2009

Oh geez. I’m sorry you were hurt by some dumbos comment. Good lord, what is wrong with people? I got one of those stupid comments last week about my eating style being a mask for being anorexic…..Clearly that reader doesn’t see how much I eat and enjoy food. How rude! Seriously, get real. I know it is really hard not to take things personally, but obvioulsy anyone who is a true loyal reader knows you are super balanced and healthy! Just like every normal gal you eat a few too many cookies, love a big green salad, and would prefer real food over nasty diet food. You’re a great role model! I love your honest posts because it makes the rest of us gals feel NORMAL too :) BTW…I totally eat more than Hubby does….he’s so flippin skinny too, but whatever…..I eat what my body tells me tooo….even if it’s peanut butter & chocolate :) I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

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Stephanie May 19, 2009

Angela,

I found your blog a few weeks ago and I love it! Even though I’m not a vegetarian, nor do I want to become one, I enjoy reading about all the foods you eat. I have even bought some Almond Milk to try a Green Monster soon! And…..I’m excited about it! Just brush the dirt off your shoulders and keep your head up. You can’t please everyone, but you can please yourself. Do what makes YOU happy because that’s what really matters. Keep blogging…you are an inspiration!

Stephanie

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Amy May 19, 2009

As I was reading this post, the woman next to me at work looked over and said, “Amy, don’t be grossed out if I eat everything at lunch.” It’s so sad that women feel the need to apologize for being hungry and eating.

Of course you already know this, Angela, but your diet is insanely healthy. I eat all day long, and it’s made me so much healthier!

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Holly May 19, 2009

I agree with Caitlin…you are one of the healthy ones here. Of course with the internet, you’re going to have people who are petty and comparing themselves to you in a good or bad way. They’ll say you eat too little, too much, look too thin, or pick apart what you are eating. But YOU know yourself better than THEY do.

It’s very obvious you are doing SO much good here for so many! Myself included. It helps me in knowing that there are STRONG, active women out there who love good, healthy food – WITHOUT it being labeled as ‘disordered eating.’

Keep up the amazing, inspirational work. I’m excited to see your blog continue to grow! :-)

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Nicole May 19, 2009

I can identify with almost all of the comments posted. You are great! As someone else commented..you are an inspiration and an aspiration! I have gained so much from reading your blog. Simply put, the biggest gain has been learning to eat better in a non disordered kind of way, but there are many others. Your blog has been my “aha moment”. Something just clicked in my head when I stumbled across your blog. So, I hope the person who wrote the nasty comment on your survey will read all of these comments, learn from them, and take a long look in the mirror to figure himself/herself out.
P.S. I love your new ideas for the direction your blog!

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Christy May 19, 2009

Angela, I can’t begin to tell you how much I gain from reading your blog. You, singlehandedly, have caused a shift in my thinking to know that I can eat and not be afraid! Seriously. You set such an amazing example. Your kind hard and enthusiastic spirit radiate off the screen. I am touched by your warmth and your genuine desire to help people. It really shows. Don’t let one mean person get you down.

Love your blog, love your personality, love your spirit!
What’s not to love?!

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Sarah (lovINmytummy) May 19, 2009

I will never understand how complete strangers can criticize my beautiful, loving, GIVING blogging friends who share their lives with others. I have had so many dear ladies, like you, who I love, who have been hurt by this insensitivity. That “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” thing Mom always said holds true.

As for hunger, after years of trying to IGNORE that feeling, I’m still learning how to recognize it and feed it, and even more difficult me is know what is “I’m done” and what is “I’m full.” They are two very different things!

Keep up the good work, Angela.

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