Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This Week's Thought: February 19, 2018

I remember a girl I went to college with. She was gorgeous. Supermodel gorgeous. Just the kind of girl that you can't help but stare at.  She was confident, stunning, fit and she'd stride across the campus like it was her runway.  The first time I saw her, I thought "I want to be exactly like her." I was never very confident.  I always doubted myself. I had (have) body issues and I admired those who felt comfortable in their own skin.   I envied her.  I wanted so much to be like her.

Then one day, I was behind her in the campus bookstore. She was laying into the cashier because the sweatshirt she wanted was sold out. She was so obnoxious in her tirade that everyone standing around her was uncomfortable. She finally called him an "a**hole" and left the store. When she was gone, it was like a gush of cool air blew in. This was just the first episode. Throughout the semesters, I saw her cut people off in the parking lot when she wanted one of the coveted few spaces close to the dorm. She was infamous for leaving her trays on the tables in the dining hall.  She would park her things on a chair next to her in a crowded classroom. Then I noticed it. 

She was usually alone. This gorgeous girl who looked like the prom queen was as mean as a hornet. Her intolerable attitude to anyone she considered less than her was ugly and this reflected in her.  I thought maybe she just didn't have the right friends in her life. Naively I thought maybe she just needed a friend who was kind to her so she would then be kind to others. I don't know what I was thinking. We had a class together and I asked her to grab coffee one day. She agreed. The next day, we met  at the coffee shop and worked on our upcoming assignment. It was going well and I thought "She isn't so bad. Maybe we all just misunderstand her." 

Then she took a sip of coffee,  smiled, looked me dead in the eye and said "You know, Taylor, if you just lost fifty pounds, you could get any guy you wanted. Seriously. How did you let that happen?" I felt  the sting. My face flushed and it took everything I had to not cry. I knew I had a weight issue. It was something I had been ashamed of and battled since I was a teenager.  It was the last line that hurt the most 'How did you let that happen?" Even thinking about this now, I feel my face get hot. Even now, the humiliation of that moment makes me want to tear up. I wanted to say so many things to her but instead I said "Excuse me." I gathered up my books and left. I walked to the chapel, sat in a pew and cried. It was not one my favorite moments from college. It breaks my heart when I think of how I let someone else's unkindness hurt me. 

I knew I had a problem. After seeing therapists and nutritionists and trainers and doctors, I know what the underlying reasons are and I am working on it. I promise you that if someone has an issue, they know it. To put a spotlight on it, to hurt someone by shaming them is about as unkind as it gets.  

The next day when I saw her in class, she wouldn't make eye contact with me. I didn't exist to her. My feelings were hurt but then I realized that my weight issue can fixed. I had friends around me who loved me and a life that made me happy. I didn't tell anyone about what she said, how she hurt me. Words can hurt. They can deliver just as severe a blow as a slap across the face.  For the next few weeks, other than class, I stayed in. I didn't want to see any of my friends. I felt embarrassed. I starved myself. Finally, my roommate and my friends pulled me out of that bad place. They didn't know what was wrong but they weren't going to let me wallow.  With their friendship, their kindness, I came out of that protective shell I built around myself. My friends with their kind hearts were the most beautiful souls. 

Later, on a beautiful day in May, at commencement, as I was surrounded by my family and friends, in the middle of an all encompassing hug from my grandmother, I saw her. The girl stood alone with her family who were standing off to the side. In a sea of other graduates with their families and friends, this girl could not have looked more miserable. In that moment I felt sorry for her.  I hoped that kindness would find its way into her heart. I could only imagine how beautiful that would be.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Happygirl Wellbeing Experiment Week 2: The White Noise Machine

One of my top ten favorite things is staying in a great hotel. It isn't the feeling of getting away or the breakfast on the patio or even the languid, happy feeling of sitting by the pool. Instead, for me, it's the sleep, the complete knocked out, wonderful eight hours of sleep that I get in a hotel. I love that sensation of sliding into cool, smooth sheets and falling asleep listening to the drone of the room's air conditioning. At home, I just never sleep this well. It is a battle for me to get three to four hours of sleep a night. This, of course, affects my day, my wellbeing, my fitness program and my happiness.

Countless studies have shown that without proper sleep, your body (and mind) don't function at their optimal ability. One study even shows that without thorough sleep, your emotions can run amok and your brain will overdramatize events of the day. You can become irrational and your immune system takes a hit. Without the right amount of quality sleep, your entire system reacts negatively.

As part of this new wellbeing experiment (and weight loss program), I am interested not only in the weight loss aspect but also in how the rest of my body and mind are reacting to my environment. I have never slept well. My mind is always going, listening to every sound, thinking thinking thinking. I am laying there in the quiet and while my body may be tired, my mind starts reeling ("Did I move enough today? I need to get in more steps. Where do I walk a lot? Oh, Walt Disney World. I love Disney. I like Dole Whips. . .") And that is one reason that I don't sleep well.

Lately, I've been thinking about my best sleep and how we can recreate the kind of sleep we get in hotels. We started by buying different sheets (a future post) and two weeks ago, L. bought me a white noise machine. The ElctroFan High Fidelity White Noice Machine is a miracle. While I have tried several other white noise machines and sound soothers in the past, none come close to this one. One reason being that the sound is non-looping. When you're falling asleep, your bran can detect repetitive sounds. For example, one sound soother we purchased for the baby featured sounds on a short loop, Every time the loop started over (it was almost imperceptible), I could hear it and it jarred me awake. This ElectroFan features non-looping white noise that sounds just like an air conditioner. It also features different frequencies, similar to the sounds of oscillating fans, air conditioners and air purifiers. We fine-tuned the volume and the depth of sound, until we found one that felt right. We fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep. It was exactly what my brain needed to quiet itself.

Also, if you have ambient noise from traffic, neighbors or other family members in the house, turn up the volume and this will shut out even the most distracting sounds.

For a perfect night's sleep, there's always The Four Seasons, but the ElectroFan is a good alternative. I highly recommend this machine for your wellbeing. For travel, ElectroFan also makes a micro version. The sound you get from this tiny machine is incredible. It will knock out even the loudest party happening next door. We won't travel without this.

Weight loss February 1- today: 16 pounds.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The text when you're missing someone

Sometimes when I am out, I think I see someone I know in a crowd but then I remember that this friend lives 3000 miles away in Massachusetts. This is what happens when you miss someone you love. You think you see them everywhere. So, I sent my friend the words above to convey just how much I miss them. Distance doesn't hold a candle to love.

If  you miss someone too, tell them. Even if it's just a brief text to let them know that they are never far from your mind. In a crowd, a little part of you will always search for them.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Video: Grandpas in a Donut Shop singing from "The Lion King"

My grandfather (Pepe) left such an indelible imprint on my heart that I still today have a soft spot for grandpas. I came across this video of grandpas in a coffee shop singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and I like this even more than the original. I hope you enjoy it too.

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