My mother had died at 49. I was 25, the oldest of 4. My sister was the youngest at 16. My mother was ill but still a fighter. She wanted to write a book, she wanted to make a quilt, and she wanted to drive around the country with my Dad in a huge cross-country van when the kids were out of the house. My Mom died when she was still busy raising children. She never got the chance to grow old or tackle her bucket list. However, my mother left me a gift. The gift was being aware that I didn’t want to die without doing something (s) on my own bucket list.
For most of my life I was good at doing what was expected of me. I was a good student, an achiever, and tried not to rock the boat. After I became a Mom I was the best Mom I knew how to be. I supported and drove and organized and bought and cooked. At 46 I found myself with children almost fully grown. I felt “freedom” on the horizon. So I did what any middle-aged woman paranoid she might die early like her Mom did; I got out my bucket list.
Before I tell you what I did I need to go back a few years. I started with violin in 5th grade, went onto piano, clarinet, and finally hand bells. I have played an instrument most of my life. I love music. I became a pompon girl in high school and then also in college. I love dancing. From this love of music and dance I learned that I could stand in front of people and be dramatic and be seen. It was awesome.
So what was first on my bucket list? I took a ballroom dance lesson. I put on a dress for the first time in years. I brought shoes with a strap so they wouldn’t fall off when I was moving around. I was scared out of my mind but the studio was close to my home and the people that went in and out of the studio always looked so happy. And I always wanted to know how to ballroom dance.
It has been 6 years and I haven’t looked back once. Stepping into the dance studio was a big deal for me. It was indulgent. I was admitting that I liked attention, and glittery clothes, and was a bit un-traditional. However, I felt like I was going home – to myself. I competed in my first ballroom dance competition at the age of 49 on the anniversary of the day my Mom died -at the age my mom died. I like to think she looked down and smiled.
I started doing Intuitive Eating a few years later. I suppose it was part of my transformation of starting to listen to what I wanted and needed. Dancing requires you to be present and in your body and so does Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating asks you to listen to your body for hunger and fullness. It also asks you to meet your needs. Intuitive Eating also encourages joy in movement. Dancing easily met that step. Dancing and Intuitive Eating were part of my transformation into a person who listens to her needs, accepts them, and meets them as best she can. Thanks Mom.
What’s on your bucket list?
Intuitive Eating is a program developed by Elvelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch , MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. Intuitiveeating.com
Life has its sunny days and it’s rainy days. It’s up and downs. There are easy days and hard days. Working on any new goal (like Intuitive Eating*) also has its ups and downs. The downs can be hard. Change is hard. Two steps forward, one step back is a saying that often portrays how I feel when I am learning – almost anything. Sometimes I get really down. My life coach (who is fantastic) has really helped me with that (see her information below). Like the movie Inside Out I am learning to feel all my feelings without judgment. However, when I am ready to put a smile on my face I reach for my “happy” albums. It is a simple concept but works so well for me so I wanted to share the idea with all of you. Let me explain.
I have always loved a good scrapbook. I started one when I was quite young. This scrapbook was filled with my favorite pictures. At the time, that consisted of Richard Gere, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and John Travolta to name a few. If I remember correctly it also had stickers and things that made me smile – favorite cards from friends and family, etc. I would look at it to put a smile on my face and get away from the very real stresses of life in my teen-aged years.
Fast forward many, many years, I still continue this tradition. My scrapbook no longer has pictures of handsome actors in it but it does have lots of things that put a smile on my face. When life gets to be a bit too much I find myself pulling out my happy albums. I have funnies that make me laugh. Poems and cards from my kids, motivation sayings, articles that make me smile, cute animal pictures. Photos that make me smile. I am constantly cutting things out and updating my books. I suppose it is my joy book. This is in reference to Marie Kondo who recommends your home be filed with things that bring you joy – this is joy concentrated into one little album.
I am not one of those awesome scrapbooking people who make works of art. My album is the kind where the plastic page cover peels up so you can place the item and then you press down on the plastic cover so it sticks over the top of the item. (See photo) There are no fancy bells and whistles. It didn’t cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to do. It works fine for me. You can make your album in whatever way pleases you.
When I am looking for a smile I pull out my happy albums and spend some time with things that give me joy. It is a nice thing to help me through the stresses of life. I hope this helps you too.
*Intuitive Eating is a book and program by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. Intuitiveeating.com
My fabulous life coach is Suzanne Jobling CPCC. Creativeresourcefulwhole.com
I dieted from a fairly young age. I had decided I was fat (no I wasn’t) and would go on the popular diet of the time with my Mom who was usually on it as well. I learned that I was terrible with food restrictions. Dieting felt like I was holding my breath. Any restriction didn’t last more than a few days and I would “blow“ the diet. But what I learned that I was really good at was judging myself by what I was eating. This went on for years. I perfected my self-judgment. If I ate a sweet I would judge myself a bad dietitian who was a Mother of questionable influence and definitely bad with self-care. There was a lot of BAD about eating a “nutrient poor” food (sweets/treats). This was emotionally exhausting. So when I started the intuitive eating process and REALLY allowed myself to eat without judgment it felt like I was being let out of jail.
If no food was “bad” than of course I was going to start with the “bad” foods. What did I want the most? I wanted ice cream. One of my favorite foods besides chocolate is ice cream. Once I gave myself REAL permission to eat all foods and not judge myself I went a bit nuts. If it was no longer bad to eat ice cream I was going to EAT ice cream. I live close to a Dairy Queen, which is one of my favorite soft ice cream spots, and I went there - a lot. I told myself that if it wasn’t bad I was really going to enjoy every bite. I was going to look people in the eye and say yum I love ice cream. I wasn’t going to hide it – or eat it alone – away from judging eyes. I was going to own my love of ice cream. Once I tasted it I realized I actually liked the vanilla as well as the chocolate – bizarre – but true. And my favorite way to eat it is with mini chocolate chips mixed in but they don’t carry that at the store so I would have to add them at home.
Of course Intuitive Eating asks you to wait to eat until you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. I was never more excited to notice hunger in my life. But the hard part was stopping when I was satisfied. It was SO disappointing. I eat fairly quickly and my satisfaction happened quickly too. I would try to slow down the process but let me just say I know that I have no French genetics in my family. I really felt bad that I was going to stop eating the food. That was hard work. It tasted so good and looked so good and put a smile on my face. The only thing that helped was that I gave myself permission to get the ice cream any time I got hungry. At first I didn’t keep it at home. That would have been too hard but I went to Dairy queen a lot. Over time as I finally reached my “fill” I was able to bring home the leftovers and keep it for another time that I got hungry. It took a lot of practice for me to get to where ice cream was just another food I enjoyed. But the practice was really FUN and tasty!
I still work on not judging myself for eating nutritionally poor foods. But what was awesome was that once I DID allow myself to eat all foods WITHOUT judgment I truly was able to give the food some perspective and it lost a lot of its strong restrictive allure and became more neutral. I don’t hide it or binge on it or judge myself anymore. I just – smile – and enjoy every bite! Yum.
Intuitive Eating is a term developed by Evelyn Tribole MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. Their book is called Intuitive Eating.
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,