The iron have me so bazodee…literally!

Morning!

My heading is the lyrics from a song about steelpan music: the “iron” is the steelpan music and “bazodee” means overwhelmed, confused, dazed in Trinidadian. Now, the original song was about enjoying steelpan music, but my heading means that my actual iron levels are low and I am literally overwhelmed, confused and dazed.

A few weeks ago, I collapsed in the washroom. I passed out for a few minutes and when I woke up, I had twisted my ankle and bitten through my lower lip. After getting bloodwork done and going through the agonizing twenty four hours after being told I had to come in to discuss the results and when I actually met with the doctor, I was told that there was virtually no iron in my blood. Sigh.

As a vegetarian, we’re always reminded that we need to keep up our protein. I do try to include protein in every meal and those close to me know that I’m always lecturing about protein in meals. Somewhere along the line, I guess I lost sight of the iron part of things. The doctor met with me and discussed the levels and while he didn’t try to make me start eating meat again, he did ask me a few times if I would consider eating meat, “not that I want to judge your lifestyle”. Hmmmm…

I can’t actually fathom chewing on and swallowing a piece of chicken or bacon on salmon. I actually can’t. Now I know the body is resilient and if I wanted to, I probably could actually do it, but the reality is that I’m not going to. The fact remains that I have been a vegetarian since high school and can’t go back now. If I can incubate a human and take care of two of us on this diet, I can surely take care of myself, right?

So like the lactose intolerant revelation a few months ago, now there’s this bombshell. I mean, seriously? Does my body want me to eat nothing at all? Sigh. To add insult to injury, since last year, I have given up juice and pop and have stuck to drinking only water and tea: I go through a cup of orange pekoe in the morning, 750 ml a day of green tea at my desk at work and then I drink unsweetened homemade iced tea at home (that I brew myself) and on doing my iron absorption research, I’ve come to find out that properties in tea (tannins) inhibit iron absorption. Here’s the kicker: tannins only affect iron absorption in iron found in non-meat sources. So essentially, because of the all-day tea drinking, my body has not been able to absorb any iron I’ve been consuming. What the f….annoying!

So now what? Now what do I do? I fear I might have to become those meal-planning, own-food-bringing, nutritional-content-scrutinizing people. I don’t have time for all of that! Can’t I just eat three beets and call it a day? I never want to reject food or bad talk food or shun food. I like to eat!! I have been doing research and my loved ones have been providing a lot of information and advice for me to consider, so that’s good, but I still can’t be bothered! hahahaha…I’m kidding.

Over the last three days, I’ve had to make changes. I have to take my iron supplements twice a day with food, but not with dairy (since that inhibits absorption) and try to have it with Vitamin C (which helps absorption), but after one hour of having tea, which affects absorption. It’s like an algebra formula! I just want to eat!!!!

Okay, enough with the whining.

I’m not invincible and despite how free-wheeling I want to live my life, diligence and organization is necessary. The amount of attention my body needs is growing and so to be healthy, I have to make a concentrated effort. No more fainting spells and low energy because I have my life to live. I have a son to raise and a job and a boyfriend and hobbies and this blog and my family and my Fitbit to keep busy. I don’t have time to have low iron!!! Right now, I have to work hard to get the iron levels UP and then maintained! That will take some effort, but pretty soon, it’ll be automatic and my body will be happier and I will be happier. This low iron thing is not going to keep me bazodee!

So on I go, one meal at a time.

Have a good week!

Vikera

The Internet is bullsh*t

Okay, so the title is a bit strong, but read on…

So Kidlet and I were running an errand on the weekend. A song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while. Naturally, I began car dancing. I’m a GREAT car dancer. I can drive and shake my shoulders like nobody’s business. The car slowed at red light and then I really started dancing, putting my hips into it. I then felt a kick on the back of my seat, “Mum, stop!” I thought, “Huh? We’re just getting to the best part of the song!” “Mum, stop dancing!” I looked beside me and realized that both people in the car beside us were looking at me. It didn’t bother me really, but I thought, “I should be able to car dance if I want to!” I asked Kidlet, “Are you embarrassed of me?” What he said next is what blew my mind.

“Mum, do you want people to laugh at you? What if they’re taking video and then they put it on the internet? What if they put it on Facebook and then everybody just laughs at you? Is that what you want?”

Yeah. That happened.

Am I just naive? Maybe I just don’t get it. Is this something that people have to think about these days? What the hell? It took a while to process. I suppose he had a point, but it wasn’t something I never, ever thought about before. Sure, sometimes when I’m engaging in a shenanigan or two, the thought does cross my mind that perhaps what I’m doing is unseemly for a woman of my age, but my car dancing? Bite your tongue!

His reality is that people who are different or who are just living their lives are subject to JUDGEMENT on a global scale. Maybe twenty years ago, shows like American Funniest Videos were good innocent fun, but now, kids are killing themselves trying to escape from the fallout of viral videos. It weighed heavily on my mind.

Then last night, a friend on Facebook posted a picture of a female topless sunbather whose breasts had not recovered from breastfeeding. She was wearing sunglasses and looked like she was sleeping, so it could be that she didn’t even know the picture was being taken. My eyes were drawn to that picture since you know how I feel about my boobs. The woman was wearing a bikini and you can see the stretch marks across her belly, so she probably has had children. Anyway, I didn’t need to see the stretch marks, I know the cause of those boobs because I have a pair that do not look dissimilar.

The comments on that picture broke my heart. They really did. I piped in with

Vikera Hunte When you push out some chirren and feed them for a year each, then you can make any comments here….

but it didn’t make a difference. My three comments and one other were the only ones that were not negative. Everyone else seemed to think it was the worst thing they’d ever seen. The reality is though that this is how life is now. Anything is open for ridicule and judgement regardless of the cause. While I was taken aback by Kidlet’s comments in the car about my car dancing on Saturday, I had proof that he had a valid point.

The internet is a place where you can bring good and positive things to the light. It’s a place where things you never knew about can be seen, like those flowers whose petals go transparent when they’re wet (or was it frozen, I forget) or you can see what people or places look like in countries you’ll never be able to visit. The internet can also be CRUEL.

So where is the line? Can I not car dance anymore? Can I not sing (and dance) while I’m doing grocery shopping because it makes me happy? Can I not wear my bikini if I don’t have the perfect breasts and perfect body according to “people” even though my body is ravaged because I brought another human into the world?

Sigh.

Vikera

p.s. While I do not actually think that the internet is bullsh*t, it’s becoming or has become a weapon of mass destruction and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all!

Don’t get lippy!

Good morning!

After a relaxing long weekend, I’m back to the grind. Instead of doing things around the house and being a responsible adult, I spent many, many hours shopping. I didn’t buy much at all, but what I did buy was a FABULOUS lipstick!

Ahem...this is my picture. Git yer own!

Ahem…this is my picture. Git yer own!

By way of pleasure, this little purchase really packs a punch. It makes me happy to see my smile (moreso) when I look in the mirror. Even though I was home alone yesterday, I reapplied a few times to make sure I kept my purple smile. I’m going to wear that sucker until it begs for mercy! haha…

I went to get a mini makeover for a girls day out this weekend. Historically, I’ve never been a big fan of makeup. It’s only recently, like this last year, that I’ve been interested in it. I have time on my hands when Kidlet is with his dad, so I experiment and do research. I’m not confident yet to proclaim that I have any kind of true knowledge, so getting my makeup done was quite the experience.

[Note: this is not the makeover makeup. This is me fooling around….poorly.]

The second time for the month, I was told what ‘good’ lips I have. The first time was at my dentist’s office. I had been going over my teeth cleaning bill with the receptionist and we started talking about what’s covered under extended health benefits. We got around to talking about boob implants and that someone she heard of was able to have her implants covered. She then told me about the time she paid about $1000 to get her lips plumped. She told me, “You’re lucky you have good lips.” I thought, “Huh?” I smiled and thanked her. Like tanning, I just don’t get it. A friend has to keep explaining to me that I don’t understand those things because I don’t need those things. I feel like, why would I NEED better lips…I don’t get it.

Then at the makeup place too, over the weekend, I was told that “you can pull off any colour because you’ve got great lips”. What are great lips, I wonder…If I had to walk around worrying about the list of things I already worry about and then have to obsess over lips too, it would make for a very stressful life.

Currently on my worry list:

My three loads of laundry waiting to be done.

What am I making for dinner for me and New Boyfriend tonight?

I have about ten reports to prepare for work.

How am I going to stay awake today?

What’s for lunch?

Should I wash the car after work today?

I have to take the garbage out.

It’s 7.37 and I haven’t showered AND I’m still writing this post.

What shoes am I wearing with my new dress to work?

This is what I’m currently worrying about since I woke up an hour ago. To think that I would have to think about my lips too? Sigh.

I don’t want to diminish anyone’s feelings (that’s a new thing I’m trying to work on – not diminishing people’s feelings just because I don’t see things the same way), but the way I figure, if we can’t or won’t change things, can’t we just learn to accept it?

Having said that, I will admit to you, if I had $5000 free and clear, I would get a boob lift before you can say “lip plumper”! It’s not something I worry about too much, but it’s one of those things like a clean house and keeping the kitchen sink clean for a week and staying up past 10 pm…you know…like a genie wish! 🙂

Going to jump in the shower and put my lipstick on 😛

Have a great week today, my friends!

Vikera

Yeah, it’s not flat…and?

Monday? Again? Seriously? Well, if we must, we must.

I haven’t posted about body image in a while. I guess it’s been winter and every body has been under 14 layers of clothes. Okay, so despite not trying (and much to my friend’s annoyance), I have trimmed down a bit. Not sure how it happened or when, but it did. I notice it in the way my clothes fit. I notice it in the smaller clothes I buy these days.

As I’ve said before, I don’t exercise. I am not interested in going to the gym or any of that stuff. I did give it a go though. Last summer, I was a bit more active: getting out on my bike and generally being busy. Now, I drive to work, so there’s minimal walking and it’s been cold, so I’ve been indoors way more, yet, I’ve trimmed down. I’m not going to lie, I do feel healthier and less jiggly.

We were invited to a house party for New Year’s at a friend’s house and on a whim, I bought a dress to wear. It wasn’t something I would EVER wear, let’s say, two years ago. I would never expose my stomach because it wasn’t flat and toned and with nary an ab in sight. These days though, I’ve really gotten used to my new old body. In the end, I never did wear the dress. I thought it might have been too fancy to wear to a house party and opted for something a bit more casual. Flashforward three months and I had to attend a dance festival social and I thought, “Hell yeah!”

One night last week, one of my besties came over and I tried on the dress and she gave her stamp of approval. My stomach still wasn’t flat and it was still going to be exposed, but I was stoked. I asked Kidlet, “This looks great, right?” Here he comes with, “Yes, but your belly is a little big-ish!” What came next was the gasp heard around the world! My wee kidlet had an opinion on my body? What? Um…

Right there and then, I thought, this world is F**KED UP. At first, I thought, “Wow, prior to that comment, I felt good about myself and my non-flat stomach and now there’s this cold bucket of water poured unceremoniously over my self-confidence.” The second thought was “What does this boy know about flat stomachs?” Though not actually flat, this is the flattest my stomach has ever been, so what’s he comparing my body to? The third thought was, “Thank goodness I don’t have a girl because right about now, I’d be even more PISSED!”

I’ve discussed this before. If your wee kidlet has an opinion of your body, and a negative one at that, what the heck is wrong with the world? What about unconditional love? What about loving yourself? Then the panic set in…does HE have things about himself that he wishes was different? EEEEEEK!

Okay, I may be overreacting here, but still. See? This is why I am a believer in positive body image! This is why I’m always trying to see the beauty in people. This is why I’m always trying to lift people up. This is why I always compliment people, not just women, but people in general. There are all these latent opinions and judgements lurking out there that HAVE to be counterbalanced. Grrrrrr….I know people who don’t like their ankles or their necks or their ears or their knees or whatever! Sigh. I try to tell them it’s okay, it’s good, but I’m only one person. Double sigh.

Inadvertently, though, by even buying that dress, it was to counterbalance the perception that only rock hard abs can be put on display. I wasn’t making a statement when I bought it, but I sure am making one now! By wearing the dress, I’ve said, “Yeah, it’s not flat. And?”

IMG_2716 cropped

We have to make up our minds not to give in to what ‘they’ want us to think about ourselves. We have to push through and accept our bodies as is! It’s the only one we have and if it’s a healthy body, ROCK ON!

I don’t hate food. So what?

I don’t hate food. I just don’t. I enjoy eating and tasting food. My only restriction is if there’s meat or horseradish in it, not if it’s overloaded with calories or gluten or whatever else.”

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, and I suspect for a large part it is, but I’ve always had a healthy appetite. I enjoy eating. In the Trinidadian culture, an abundance of food is a sign of wealth and health. People often show off at weddings, not by the venue or the music, but by the spread of food presented. When someone comes over to your house, you offer food even if you live in a one-room home. Food is a good thing. Being a good cook is a high ranking skill in our culture. Being a vegetarian in a BIG carnivore culture was often met with disapproval because when I would visit others’ homes, they felt like they wouldn’t be able to feed me, which meant they were a failure as a host/hostess. Food is serious business in Trinidad.

Food is serious business here in Vancouver too, but not in the same way. How many times would you go somewhere and hear people beg off an offer of food because “I’m watching my figure,” or “I’m on a cleanse,” or my most hated, “I shouldn’t.” Okay, I get it. People want to lose weight and be healthy and be fit, I get it. I really do, but when did EVERYBODY stop enjoying food? Why ‘shouldn’t’ you eat food unless you’re allergic to something or you’re already full?

Let me ask you a question? When did rice become a bad thing? Remember when it was called “a staple” like flour and sugar and pasta and milk? None of which are welcome anymore, by the way.

[I want to apologize if I’m sounding sarcastic, but I just can’t help it. The volcano has erupted. I can’t control how the lava spews.]

I often go to potlucks and when you have treats and other stuff, it’s left untouched. Even if it is touched, there has to be a ten-minute preface about how bad it is and a spiel about weight-loss or calories. Do you know in Trinidad, there are things that we buy and eat and we don’t know where it was prepared, let alone what’s in it? Heck, doubles, which is pretty much our national food, is a kind of fried bread and people eat that all the time without batting an eyelash.

I feel like food should not be something that has to be apologized for before eating. Remember the good ole days when you said Grace Before Meals, giving thanks for the food. Now it’s the opposite. Now we have the Preface Before Meals. You don’t have to be religious to be thankful that you have food to eat, but maybe that’s what it is. Here in North America, having food is a given, so no big deal there, so something else needs to be said, I suppose.

There are days when I eat that I feel grateful to have that meal. When I prepare a great meal and Kidlet and I polish it off and go back for seconds, I feel grateful and happy. When he eats and he tells me he’s too full because of food I’ve prepared, I’m happy. What scares me is that, despite how I actually feel, I find myself saying things sometimes that I know I don’t believe. The subtly negative attitude towards food is starting to rub off on me slowly. I will try to make a genuine effort to resist it though. I’ll continue to drink my full fat milk and white rice and all the desserts I can get my grubby hands on and I won’t apologize for it.

V

p.s. I don’t think I’ve finished ranting about this yet…..

My new old body

Okay, so let’s discuss my new body. I haven’t discussed body image in a while.

So I’ve sworn off drinks. When I say drinks, I mean juice, definitely pop, smoothies and everything else. The only thing I’ve had to drink for the past few weeks is water and tea.  I started drinking all kinds of tea and even brewing my own iced tea, which is delish, by the way. I make all different kinds and finish two litres in two days, but it’s been mostly water. What started off as an experiment has turned into a lifestyle change, and I’m starting to see changes in my body because of it.

Those of you who read my blog know that I don’t exercise, not on purpose anyway. I started biking, which is fantastic, but I have a flat tyre and since what I know about bikes (and their tyres) could fit in an elf’s thimble, the biking situation has been on hold. I still try to keep active, but it’s not a priority for me. Any weight loss or toning of muscle happens purely by accident. I’m pretty easy going that way. I accept my body for what it is.

Anyway, since I look at my body every day, I started noticing subtle changes: my pants waists started loosening up, my I-can’t-sit-in-these-pants pants can be persuaded to be sat in and the shadow of the stomach overhang is a bit shorter. Thick thighs aren’t as thick, but still good and strong! I thought, “What the heck?! When did that happen?” Then I realized it’s drinking all that water. It’s crazy how that little change brought about these results. How much sugar WAS I ingesting?

I also noticed that I’m not as winded when I walk up the stairs briskly. In fact, now I CAN walk up three flights of stairs briskly. I haven’t weighed myself – my clothes don’t lie and my lungs definitely won’t lie. I don’t need the demo scale at the store to tell me I’m healthier. I can also bike without having to rest after more than five minutes. Maybe because I’m lugging around a few less lbs. I didn’t stop drinking that stuff to lose weight. I just started feeling bloated, so I did it kinda like a cleanse (without any green, bad-tasting stuff) and what do you know, it did clean out some excess bits.

I'm not hiding my face on purpose, but it's convenient!  [Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

I wasn’t hiding my face on purpose, but it’s convenient!
[Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without permission.]

It’s not easy drinking only water, especially when it’s 30 degrees outside. I passed by the smoothie place yesterday and longed for a pina colada iced smoothie goodness, but I fear that it would be SO sweet I wouldn’t be able to choke it down anyway although I had no problem eating half that chocolate bar while I was watching a movie today, but it was dark chocolate, so that may be why. Hmmm….

As you can tell, I still eat the same: no change there! If anything I eat more junk because I know I have calories in the bank  to waste! Just today, I thought, “Hmmm…I could probably get rid of the stomach overhang if I just did a few crunches a day, but then I thought, ‘Naaaaah, you’re good!'” I want to keep my curves, lumps and bumps – it’s what makes me look like a woman.

It’s interesting that now that my body has changed, the clothes I wear has also changed too. I’m wearing closer fitting outfits and showing a little more skin. I have a little pep in my step, I’m not going to lie. My body confidence is pretty high. Am I ready to wear a two-piece bikini to the beach? Not so much. I will wear the bikini top and shorts for now, but I’m getting there…one sip at a time.

I have THICK THIGHS and I can not lie!

Hiya!

Personally, I’ve always wondered how I would feel about my body if I still lived in Trinidad. Sometimes I feel a little like Mowgli from the Jungle Book: a completely different species trying to integrate, everybody telling him, “You’re one of us, you’re the same,” yet he knows and they know he’s different, but everyone just plays the game. Anyway, on to what I wanted to write about today.

A friend of mine shared an article from Elisabeth Akinwale’s blog. Admittedly, I don’t know much about Elisabeth. All I know is that she does Crossfit, which seems to be a kind of hardcore bootcamp-ish kind of exercise that focusses on all over body strength. (Because I’m not sure what it is, I’m deliberately being vague, so as not to misrepresent it. People who do it seem to love it though! You should check it out.)

Anyway, Elisabeth shared  this article about the “thigh gap”. Go ahead, click on the link, read it and come back, I’ll wait.

According to Wikipedia, “A thigh gap in women is a space between the inner thighs when standing upright with both knees touching”and I will confess to you: I once wanted a thigh gap.

Years ago, I admitted out loud that I wanted a thigh gap. I was tired of shorts being bunched up because of the friction. I have thick and solid thighs…not super muscular, but dense and they swell into full hips, so in my mind, if my thighs would slim down, because my hips were so wide, it wouldn’t take much to get that gap. I had it all figured out! Sigh. Poor delusional me. I never did anything much to achieve it, but it was one of those things I wished I had, like a million dollars!

In Elisabeth’s article, she talks about her big thighs being 26 inches around. I knew mine was in that area. Sure enough….

I only had the mini sewing kit measuring tape, so I had to stick one side down to get the other side around.

I only had the mini sewing kit measuring tape, so I ran out of tape.

Over the years, a few things happened that help me accept my body the way it’s structured:

  1. I went on a trip with a couple friends who had full thighs, and they introduced me to some kind of powder to prevent chaffing of the thighs. That was a revelation to me. Not only did other people exist that had touching thighs, but there were enough people with full thighs to have products to address specific concerns about rubbing thighs. Whoa!
  2. On my 3-week visit to Trinidad, there were thick thighs as far as the eye could see, strutting proudly. They probably never even heard of a thigh gap and they all seemed to be happy.
  3. Hearing my cousin talk of her thigh issues and pants, I realized that I come from a long line of thick thighed (<– I just made up that word!) women, so I don’t know who I’m trying to fool anyway. You can’t fight genetics.
  4. Elisabeth alluded to it too, but I’ve realized that if my thighs were smaller, my butt might get smaller too and that’s definitely not a risk I’m willing to take!

I’m really glad that I read this article. I found myself nodding the whole time I was reading it. It confirmed that I have stopped the insanity and accepted that whatever will be will be!

To counterbalance the “Mowgli effect”, I deliberately seek out images and sources for positive reinforcement. If you can’t find someone to be inspired by with the bodies you see, find other bodies to look at! If what you’re looking at makes you feel bad about yourself, look at something else!

I’ve always looked to professional athlete Serena Williams’ and the ultimate dance performer Beyonce for inspiration because they have thick thighs too, are FIT and fabulous! Now I will add Elisabeth to that list!  Feel free to comment with other women I should put on my radar.

In the comments section of Elisabeth’s article, there were things said about how ridiculous the whole ‘thigh gap’ thing is to begin with, but I felt very sheepish to judge. After all, I was once a believer.

To write this article, I did an image search for “thigh gap” and the results were pretty crazy…crazy like a ketchup and peanut butter sandwich! Click on the link and see what I mean – it will petrify you!) Just looking at those pictures, I know that it’s not even something that is desirable to me anyway, let alone being possible! It’s like busting your hump aspiring to be a size 4 and then you see what a size 4 really looks like and you almost pass out because you realize just how misguided you were in the first place!

Humour me, next time you’re in a clothing store, go check out a pair of pants in your ‘dream’ size and ask yourself if it’s reasonable that you can make it happen from where you are today and think of what it would take to get there. That will put it in perspective. I know it helped me be realistic about my body and my expectations of it.

These days, I’m embracing my body for what it is. Sure, I’ve thickened up a bit over the years, but for someone who eats popcorn and yogurt (not in the same mouthful though) in bed at 11 pm, what’s to be expected?

The thigh gap? I’m okay with not having one. Besides, like Elisabeth says, having a pair of thick thighs has its uses.

No-gap thighs are GREAT for hide and seek!

No-gap thighs are GREAT for hide and seek!