What does it mean to be “in shape”?

One of my broad resolutions for this year was to get in shape. I mentioned before that after having Christian, I gained quite a bit of weight. Part of that may also be due to taking Zoloft daily – but I’m guessing it’s mostly due to grief-eating and my body changing as I get older. (I turn 30 this year! Hooray!) This is the first time in my life I’ve had to actually consider the benefits or ill effects of what I eat. I’m not a fan. I loved my old metabolism.

At any rate, I had to buy new pants. I donated too-small clothes that I wasn’t very attached to and boxed up the ones I love, as motivation to be smaller.

Many times I was getting ready to go out, even just to the grocery store, and ended up in tears because I hated my shape. It isn’t the shape I used to be. It isn’t what “attractive” people look like. I felt miserable because I needed to be smaller, and slimmer, and to weigh less.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. If I eat well and am active, do I really need to be smaller? Am I allowed to just be the size and shape I am? Aren’t there better things I can do with my life than struggle with body image issues? I’ve had 3 children. I’m almost 30. Of course I don’t look like a teenager. Of course I don’t look like a young twentysomething with no kids and no major stress. And of course I don’t look like a model – from what I’ve seen of retouching, even models don’t look like models.

That being said, I still want to change something. I don’t think the number on the scale is nearly as important as how I feel about myself. So my resolution isn’t necessarily “Lose 10 pounds” or “Fit into a pair of pre-Christian jeans” or “Do a workout every morning before the kids get up.” That last one is the most unlikely of the three!

Here’s the resolution I’ve made, at least for now:
Eat dessert only once a week (Monday night), with no sweets any other time; and take Ender on a 30-minute walk at least twice a week.

Now, I realize this won’t significantly change anything about my body. But it’s where I can start to form healthier habits without feeling like I’m being starved – or that I need to be starved.

I guess I don’t have a really clear definition of “in shape.” That’s more or less intentional. Instead of saying I want to get in shape, maybe I should just be trying to be comfortable with my shape while making healthy choices. What do you think?

I like beginnings

The idea of a fresh start is always appealing to me, but especially as we leave 2013 behind (good riddance, in many ways). I’m not the best at keeping resolutions – or necessarily even at making them. This year I have a few broad goals in mind, as well as some specific things I’d like to achieve.

1. Get in shape.
2. Get organized.
3. Get out of debt.
4. Take care of my yard, so it isn’t embarrassing.
5. Create a vertical indoor herb garden for my kitchen.
6. Finish my reading challenges.

It’s so easy to feel motivated at the beginning of the year. What do you do to stay motivated?


If you’re stumbling on this blog because of my story in Spark: A Creative Anthology, there are a few things you should know.

First, I tend to blog more when I’m upset about something. As a result, my recent posts paint an unfair picture of me as a rather bitter and resentful person. Obviously I’m still grieving Christian’s death, but my day-to-day life is pretty mundane. I don’t actually sit around sobbing, shouting, or otherwise suffering. My grief has become a part of me that I can deal with most of the time. Of course, there are incredibly painful moments, but those are nicely spaced out so I’m not overwhelmed. They just happen to be the times when I have something to say, so it ends up here. I promise, though, I’m doing well. I feel plenty of joy and happiness and sometimes even boredom along with the grief.

Second, my oldest brother, Brian, is the genius behind Spark. He had the idea several months ago of using my posts about Christian in Volume III, and he did all the editing that made the story worthy of publishing. It’s beautiful! I think of it as one of the wonderful things that has resulted from Christian’s death.

Third, I started a blog in 2005. It’s still here, deep down in the archives. Don’t feel tempted to go back that far. I was much younger, much less mature, and a much less interesting person than I am now. I’ll summarize the last 9 years for you: Jarom and I dated, got engaged, got married, had Evan, had June, graduated (Jarom with a law degree, I with a bachelor’s degree), bought a house, got a dog, lost Christian. Somewhere in there I also read a lot of books.

Fourth, I really want to help other families who have lost a baby. If you know someone whose baby has died or will die, please send them here! Keep this blog in the back of your mind, because eventually, you or a friend will run into someone else facing the loss of their child. And you can tell them about my blog, that there is a person ready and willing to talk about the experience and listen with real sympathy. Please let me help.

Fifth, a list of four things just didn’t seem long enough. I don’t have much to say for a fifth item. On Monday I rearranged our bedroom furniture (again). I get restless every so often, and I need a big change. My options are usually to rearrange furniture, make a big purchase, go on a road trip, have another kid, get a haircut, or go crazy. Most of those weren’t possible this time, though – I’ve already made a few big purchases this year, I just got back from a road trip, having another kid is really not an option at the moment, and I love my long hair. Oh, and going crazy just isn’t fun. So I got rid of our big desk (I used it for a work space, but I’m not doing any art for a while) and cleared out the clutter that always ends up in our room. Now the bed is made and there are very few things in here – just what I wanted.

Sixth, I thought of one more thing. Isn’t Jarom the hero of the story? He is incredible. This is my favorite picture from our day in the hospital.

Baby Christian-45