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Will You Listen?

November 23, 2009

After reading about the film, Beauty Mark over at my friend Jillian’s blog, I was excited to receive a copy of the movie myself for a private HEAB screening. CD and the pups were invited, and this past weekend, we all settled down on the couch for Saturday night at the movies.

Beauty Mark examines our culture’s impact on the individual’s perception of beauty, documenting the struggles of various individuals as they attempt to conform to society’s unrealistic beauty standards. Diane Israel, a former triathlete and executive producer of the film, shares her own story throughout the documentary and interviews others on a quest for physical perfection.


I chose to watch this movie on my forced day off from any exercise, and the film simply reiterated the fact that I am not alone when it comes to my battles with exercise and food addictions. I know a lot of you think I’m so together and laid back about everything, but trust me, my demons are still there. I will never be the girl I was before I lost all my weight. Yes, I am much healthier now, at least physically, but I sometimes wonder about my mental state as I tend to get really uptight about my food intake and daily activity…read I freak out if I think I’ve eaten more than 2000 calories, and if I don’t get in a walk or a little yoga, I don’t feel like my day is complete.
When will these internal battles with ourselves end? According to this article, even Israel herself still keeps a rather intense workout schedule:

Daily: A 45-minute run, 1-hour hike or 90-minute bike ride up and down Flagstaff Mountain, with nordic skiing at Eldora in winter. For agility and flexibility, three times a week: Pilates, dance or Gyrotonic exercise, a yoga-based system emphasizing arcs, spirals and breathing.

Sounds like too much to me, but I know many of you exercise just as much if not more. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again (I need to hear it too): WE DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE OURSELVES MISERABLE TO BE HAPPY IN OUR OWN SKIN. Hours and hours of cardio are NOT necessary to stay thin, and neither is starving yourself. You simply need to stay active and EAT nourishing whole foods. I get so many emails from girls struggling to lose weight, and it usually turns out that they are not eating enough. If you restrict your calories day after day, you are only going to totally screw up your metabolism. Our bodies need nourishment. They need fat to function and survive. Stop listening to your mind. Tune it out, and listen to your heart and belly instead. OK? I’m going to do my best to do listen as well. I started with breakfast this morning…

First I made some homemade pumpkin butter.


Inspired by Taco Bell once again, I decided on a chicken soft taco for breakfast, but then I asked myself, Heather, what do you really want for breakfast? Turns out I wanted two chicken soft tacos. So, that’s exactly what I ate. πŸ™‚


2 La Tortilla Factory tortillas filled with pumpkin butter, 4 ounces grilled chicken, tahini, cinnamon, and maca powder.


Oh my gosh, you must try this combo!!!! To my veggie friends, I think it would be most excellent with some grilled tempeh.

What about you? Are you listening?

108 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2009 9:48 am

    I am so with you on this! We do not have to be ‘miserable’ or do something we ‘think’ we need to do to be in the shape we want.

  2. November 23, 2009 9:50 am

    This post is perfect timing for me! I have REALLY been struggling with those demon voices lately and it is driving me plum crazy!! Thanks for the reminder that we don’t need to kill ourselves to fit in to societies mold. I am trying to listen, but it is SO hard sometimes!!

    Your breakfast looks yummy! Hope you have a great day!

    Your pups are cute:) Did you see my new baby on my blog? He’s a doll and I already LOVE him to pieces!

  3. November 23, 2009 9:51 am

    I completely agree with you, too. I have my “days” where I struggle, but I’m learning (through prayer and lots of God teaching me) to listen to my body, to not stress about one day with too many snacking, to be glad for my strength and physical abilities, to see exercise as a joy and not a compensation, and to eat to be healthy, not out of control. Thanks for writing this post and being so honest!

  4. shelby permalink
    November 23, 2009 9:51 am

    I’m working on listening to my body now. I kind of forgot how but it’s getting easier everyday.

  5. November 23, 2009 9:53 am

    Hi Heather! This film sounds really interesting and this is a topic I in which I take tremendous academic and personal interest. Since I’ve been 100% off exercise (including things like walking from my class to my vehicle without crutches) due to injury for a month now, I can attest to the fact that not only can you remain lean and happy with less cardio, but life can still be great with none at all! Even though it will be 2 more months before I get the ok to even get into the pool, go for long walks or get back in the gym/do yoga, there is so much to look forward to in life!
    Inury aside, my whole quality of life (and fitness) got better as I cut out all of the metabolically useless steady-state long sessions of cardio. I’ve trained as a competitive athlete for years and contrary to what most people think, athletes (including runners) do much less “cardio” than you would think. We do tons of strength work, lactic acid training, lift a lot of heavy weights (and no, women don’t get “bulky), flexibility work and some short sessions of intense cardio. In fact, I don’t think I’ve done anything over 30 minutes in duration in the past 3 years and I have been in the best shape of my life in terms of fitness testing and HR in these years!
    It takes a lot of self-trust to change these ways, but I couldn’t agree with you more… less is more when it comes to exercise. I love your philosophy when it comes to movement and activity as embedded into your daily life, but I really respect your honesty about the challenges we all face in trying to find our balance with food and life. GREAT post!
    Jaya ❀

  6. November 23, 2009 9:57 am

    Thanks Jaya. GREAT comment! πŸ™‚

  7. November 23, 2009 10:05 am

    Ow-the pumpkin butter looks so yummy. I want some right now. The movie sounds really interesting. I’d love to watch it. I think we all get stuck in our own heads about how much we’re eating/working out. Glad you put this post up!

  8. November 23, 2009 10:06 am

    Great post Heather! I am so over the “over exercising thing”

    It does nothing but hurt our body!

    Exercise moderately, listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.

  9. November 23, 2009 10:08 am

    Nice post Heather. Those tortillas look yummy.
    If you want to see a NEW nut butter, head over to my blog for a peak πŸ™‚

  10. November 23, 2009 10:13 am

    miss heather, we are way too similar. I too sometimes feel out of control if i cant get in a walk, run, elliptical, weights session daily (read- ive been sick for a week and couldn’t work out every day 😦 ) and if I eat over 2000 calories and am not active in the day then I too freak out. I think it is a girl thing. I think we all go through similar issues. I just wish more women could stand up and say “I am tired of trying to force a lifestyle on my body that doesn’t work.” For my height, 5’9 and build (small boned, tiny muscles) I need more food than most other girls. But hey, this just means us tall girls get to enjoy more fruits, veggies, green monsters in a day than others! I think when I start to freak out, I need to remind myself that I am doing what is right for me. It was hard to take 4 rest days this week, but I knew with a cold/flu on most those days, it was the healthy thing to do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and own story Heather!!!!

    xoxoxoxox to infinity

  11. November 23, 2009 10:14 am

    Demons, ah yes. Thanks for being raw and honest Heabs! I am trying to listen- I will also always have issues with wanting to be a certain weight/size. Always. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s a struggle. If I eat more liberally and enjoy life a bit more, then I’m 5 pounds heavier than I’d like to be. If I’m “good” and eat much less than my body is happy with, I get to the size I like, but my mind and soul suffers.

    I am actually quite good at listening to my body about exercise though. I like Jaya’s comment and will take it to heart. I have also cut back on steady state cardio and love to do intervals and short burst of cardio in addition to heavy lifting and plyo. And if my body says no go, I don’t train. I haven’t trained for two days now- first day b/c I was lazy, second b/c I had an ingrown toenail removed AND I was lazy. Today I really WANT to do something- so I will (as soon as I mash thru Reader!)

    Love you heabs and thank you for helping women address these issues outright.


  12. November 23, 2009 10:14 am

    What a great post. I keep trying to remind myself that yoga, Pilates, walking, and weight lifting are just as valid forms of exercise as running or other forms of intense cardio!

  13. eaternotarunner permalink
    November 23, 2009 10:16 am

    Great post, I sometimes get so upset with myself if I missed a planned workout or eat more than I was supposed to. I know the best thing to do is listen to my body, but sometimes my brain takes over!

  14. November 23, 2009 10:25 am

    Thanks so much for this post. This describes me alot I think. Ive been a tad on the overweight side to scary thin and now Im maintaining a normal healthy weight. Its true, every so often some old thoughts come back into my mind about calorie restricting but then I remember how happy I am now and not happy I was then. It just old habits die hard sometimes I think. Although now, eating whole foods and exercising I feel awesome. I dont worry about it if I miss a workout, (Hey thats life!) or one day if I eat too much cause I know the next day I’ll be right back on track! Life is not about perfection cause we are already perfect as we are! Thanks again for writing this!

  15. November 23, 2009 10:56 am

    Great post and thanks for sharing your thoughts on eating and exercise. I still have my struggles when I eat too much or did not workout, but I have gotten a lot better ever since I have changed my eating habits. I now eat to nourish and heal my body, so it helps me have a different focus. I think too many girls are striving to be someone they are not instead of listening to their own bodies, and doing what is right for them. Yes it is important to learn and listen to others, but it comes done to YOU. Only you can change your health, and I hope through all these great blogs out there more people will start making small changes to better their health.

  16. November 23, 2009 11:21 am

    I so agree. Do what you want because you want to do it. Not because someone else wants you to be some way.

  17. DiningAndDishing permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:21 am

    I really like the sound of this movie – certainly a very interesting and relevant topic. I would love to check this movie out. I’m totally on board with your attitude towards work-outs :O).

    – Beth @

  18. November 23, 2009 11:26 am

    I must look into that movie… I actually appreciate to hear that you still struggle a little. For some reason it makes it seem what I struggle with more normal πŸ™‚ I’m trying to constantly remind myself that even those girls who look like they have it all together probably don’t – we all have our issues we are learning to deal with! But honestly, if I let my body have all the say, I would eat nothing but hummus, peanut putter and pita bread and be 30 lbs heavier again. Sometimes I need my brain to kick in and be like “Now are you SURE that’s really a good choice Susan?” πŸ˜›

  19. November 23, 2009 11:27 am

    Excellent post, as always, my friend. I especially appreciate what you said about not being able to go back to the girl you were before you lost your weight. While you may not want to go back to that person in some aspects, I’m sure, like me, you might have a little envy for that girl who was so casual about foods and workouts. Once you count calories or start working out religiously, it’s hard to stop knowing those numbers. The trick I’ve tried is just to try to forget, and to remember that we are animals first and foremost. A lion isn’t going to beat himself up for eating too much zebra or for not running around the plains enough πŸ™‚

    Have a great day, hon.

  20. Lauren permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:35 am

    Although I wasn’t overweight as a child or teenager, I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t think a second about it. Then, it’s like the more healthy I got physically, the more my brain became way too focused on what I looked like. I even started gaining more weight the more I focused on what I was eating! I’m grateful to be growing in my knowledge of health and to exercise the way I want to. I’ve been thinking about how much I enjoy strength training and how much cardio bores me quite often. I think I’m at a place where I’m ok to just get my heart going for only 15-20 minutes a few days a week, then go get on with the strength training and stretching. Great post, Heather!

  21. November 23, 2009 11:36 am

    Great post, as these demons you speak of originated in Abbyland and have taken up residence for the past few years. Exercise and healthy eating are my coping mechanisms, the things that make my head settled when chaos swirls around me. Unfortunately, I took it to an unhealthy extreme and my body was seen as a vehicle for validation and overexertion instead of a shell for my soul and true nourishment. Exercise=eating more. Gotta “earn” the goods…

    So, now I’m still on exercise restriction/weight gain mode and trying to find new ways to cope (read: leave long comments on other blogs). It drives me nuts. Saturday I had a cold and it was the first day in months that I did nothing other than 40 minutes of yoga and didn’t restrict, using the lack of activity as a motive.
    My head went nuts, but my body was most grateful. It’s just so hard to remember this and find new ways to express and work through my anxiety.

    However, day by day. Eventually I hope to be able to listen to myself and my body more–motivation to sit on my ass, I suppose.

  22. November 23, 2009 11:52 am

    You are SO right, we do not have to be miserable to be lean and healthy! I think what we do have to do sometimes (I know I do) is redefine our idea of miserable and happy (i.e. miserable does not equal getting your heart rate up just the same as happy does not equal an entire cheesecake). We have to find things we enjoy doing, enjoy eating to remind ourselves that we are not meant to make ourselves suffer, and that suffering comes from outside sources, not ourselves.

  23. Jilli permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:58 am

    Heather, I just want to say I am in the same boat with you on this one! I recently lost 30 lb’s, and I do the EXACT same thing when it comes to my daily intake of food and exercise! I completely freak out if I think I’ve eaten too much and/or haven’t exercised. Often times I feel that physically, I’m doing good but mentally speaking, it’s a whole different story! I couldn’t agree with you more that I don’t need to freak out and stress out about these things to be happy! But that’s much easier said than done!

    What’s really helped me is the book (I’ve actually been listening to the book on tape) “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. It’s all about the power of positive thinking and how important your thoughts are in shaping your life. Whenever I have one of my freak out sessions, listening to a chapter of this book does help significantly in getting my mind under control, but I usually have to listen to it every 3 days! What is the best way that you cope with your mental “freak out” sessions? Are there any thoughts that make you feel better?

  24. November 23, 2009 12:04 pm

    What a beautiful post…I just posted on my Yoga experience this past weekend and some struggles I’ve had recently. I also intend to post on this topic soon about comparing, body image, over-exercise, etc. as we talked about it this weekend as well…if you are obsessed over something or comparing yourself every time you open a fashion magazine or read a blog or watch a movie…then DROP IT – seriously just let go of it and get away from it. Then come back to it…months later, a year later – only when you are FREE and can enjoy it again.

    Life is too short.

    (and yah I agree that’s a freaking lot of exercise from Israel!!)

  25. November 23, 2009 12:45 pm

    If person were to ever lose the ability to exercise, they would re-think all this. The only thing I have done for the last year (and never going to end in any neartime future) is a 30-minute walk a day. And then I read and see these super-tiny girls obsessing over food and afraid to eat or feeling guilty for eating, and feeling guilty cause they took “one day off”….one day off ???…if you can go for a lazy walk each day, then I admire anyone who does that. You never appreciate what you have until you lose it. I get so peeved when I see blog comments from girls saying “i feel so guilty cause I ate this….or a did nothing today”. I just wish people would think about what they have and appreciate it — really appreciate it .

    Your picture looks good. I am weird though. Sometimes all I want is protein and I have meat like 7 days straight…other times I get into a phase where I just chop all whole (yep, whole) avocados and eat them on 2 wraps or a sandwich…no “real” protein source…only well…I just go with the phase and ride them out πŸ™‚

  26. Limerton permalink
    November 23, 2009 1:00 pm

    It is so true- I have been known as ‘the runner’ among my friends and family for years, or ‘the devoted yogini’, ‘the basketballer’, ‘the tennis player’ blah blah, and I narrowly defined myself and my value to others by such things to the point where my world was narrowed and warped. Struggles arose where there should have been none- I overate in compensation for rigid, and covert eating habits . I’ve struggled with my weight, but only now am I seeing that I can take however many days off my body needs. There is always give and take- but the world never ends no matter how much I weirdly try to convince myself that my eating or exercise habits need to be a certain way. I have never been more happy or healthy than I am now, because I am nurturing the hope that people really can exist peacefully in the world.

  27. November 23, 2009 1:02 pm

    love your words of wisdom today. It is hard balancing it all and also keeping in check your motivations. it sure is for ME too.

    Thanks for the reminder..and yes..I am listening!

  28. November 23, 2009 1:03 pm

    LOVE you, Peach. πŸ˜€

    Amen to all of that. Why is it so hard?

    Honestly……. oh boy…. this will be a doozy. BLOGS I think are a new addiction for many girls. Holy crap I said it. Taking pictures of food (on a regular basis and every bite) might work for a very FEW people. FEW. Not me. No No No. Love your honesty. Fight those demons. The Lord made us whole and healthy with HIS help so we can LIVE. When our brain is taken up with guilt, worry, and FEAR… no room for love. Not even wiggle room.

    There is no room in love for FEAR. 1 John 4:17

    I hate being afraid. Getting better. Heather, we can do it, sister peach!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXO

  29. claire permalink
    November 23, 2009 1:17 pm

    I always feel better after reading your posts.I didn’t workout Sat.I ate way more carbs than usual,but I had to because my body just needed it(also, your post got me through it,too).Thank you,Heather!! cc

  30. November 23, 2009 1:20 pm

    Thank you for posting about this. I’ll admit that with the holidays getting closer and more emphasis on food I’ve been getting pretty antsy about it all. I’m going home where I won’t have access to the gym or be walking around all that much. I just have to remind myself to listen to my body, not to worry too much about what I am putting into it, or how I’m getting those calories out. I still don’t trust myself to do this, but films like this are an excellent reminder that ‘healthy’ living is not all about counting or measuring.

  31. November 23, 2009 1:34 pm

    Jilli, I do have coping mechanisms. Usually my husband will talk to some sense into me. He is the smartest person I know, and as much as I hate to admit this, he is ALWAYS right. He knows me better than anyone else, and it often it just takes listening to his common sense to calm me down. I also seem to well with the idea that tomorrow is a new day. I do mess up, but I love knowing that a fresh start is never far away. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself in your comment. Love, Heather πŸ™‚

  32. November 23, 2009 1:36 pm

    Love you so much Polly!!!!

  33. November 23, 2009 1:41 pm

    Calmkindpeace, Thanks for the reminder that we should never take our abilities for granted. πŸ™‚

  34. hotflashbang permalink
    November 23, 2009 2:19 pm

    It’s so interesting to me… I feel like I’m living on the opposite side of your current mmmmm issue (?)… I also obsess over food and exercise.. but my obsession manifests itself in overeating and lack of physical activity. I’m trying to reprogram my feelings towards food – away from comfort/friend relationship and towards fuel and health. I’m dealing with some physical limitations now (plantar faciitis) which keeps me from doing the things I really enjoy and that help me lose weight (walking my beautiful fun dogs and doing Zumba).. I fool myself into believing I can’t do anything.. ugh.. I could chose to swim or bike ride but do neither.. I could go on but I’ll stop… I just wanted you to know you have readers like me whose core problem is the same but how it manifests are different.. Blog On Sister (uhhh although you’re young enough to be my daughter!)

  35. Jenny R. permalink
    November 23, 2009 2:24 pm

    Heather, I’ve never actually left a comment here but I couldn’t NOT comment on this post. Everyone needs to listen to what you just said. It’s all about balance and being happy. Eat whole foods and your body will know what to do with them πŸ˜‰ Calories are really just a heat measurement…they are based upon readings done within a calorimeter. Our bodies don’t work like these machines and therefore the whole notion of calories is kind of flawed. If your body is craving something I say go for it. You only live once.
    p.s. you’re awesome πŸ˜‰

  36. November 23, 2009 2:29 pm

    With the cold and wet in the PNW I have pretty much stopped exercising. I might get in a walk or two a week, but yoga hasn’t been working out for me as the dvds frustrate me because I cannot do what they do, and have actually hurt myself a couple of times trying to do them.

    My main worry isn’t that I will gain fat, but that I am losing muscle. I want to be in shape, and having lackluster muscles isn’t making me feel good. I stopped the gym membership months ago as I found the whole place to be unhygienic and the gym rats to be a tad annoying. I am still trying to find something I can do (and afford). My next attempt is going to be with DVD dance things, like ballet training and some Indian dancing. Plus I do intend on getting into the yoga, perhaps I can get a family member to gift me with a yoga pass for a month somewhere.

    I know full well that I can control excess fat with my diet, but muscle tone is something different.

  37. November 23, 2009 2:33 pm

    Thanks Jenny. πŸ™‚

  38. November 23, 2009 2:38 pm

    Once again…thank you HEAB, for all that you bring to this blog. I am grateful for your words. You help me all the time. I think what works best for me is living each day as you feel you want it to go when you wake up that morning. I struggle with expectations and have goals I wish I could meet faster. We just have to live and love each day. Thanks again!

  39. November 23, 2009 2:46 pm

    I hope I get there one day…….

    That almond butter looks divine x x

  40. November 23, 2009 2:46 pm

    I hope I get there one day…….

    That pumpkin butter looks divine x x

  41. Ozlen permalink
    November 23, 2009 3:03 pm

    Hi Heather- I hate to say I dont agree. You are underestimating the power of exercise especially its power over depression which may also be related to over eating, being overweight and obesity.

    Running is and has been the perfect medicine for me over the years.

    As for forcing yourself to take a break?? Do you really need to do that? Please do not hate me but why do you force yourself? If you ant to exercise, do so be it yoga, hiking or running up the steps. But be sure to do what you LOVE to do. Do not let the society force you into doing something you do not love, because then you let them get to you.

    Ahhh I found it particularly interesting that the producer of this very movie herself has a regimented workout schedule. I guess that says a lot of the power or lack thereof this movie.

    Still, I would like to see it. I thank you for all the information and valuable suggestions you give via this blog. Please do not hate me. Thank you,

  42. November 23, 2009 3:28 pm

    Wonderful post, Heather. It’s all about tuning the nonsense, chatter, and negative or unproductive mental chatter out, and tuning into your inner voice. Sometimes, or some days, weeks, months it’s harder, sometimes it’s easier. Compassion toward yourself when you’re in a tough spot and overthinking/overexercising whatever it is, is the best medicine. Easier said than done though πŸ™‚

    Onto wayyyy lighter matters, I made Almond Butter Cookies. Sorta in honor of you πŸ™‚ They’re posted right now.


  43. November 23, 2009 4:17 pm

    I definitely needed to hear this again today. Thanks, as always!
    And your breakfast looks marvelous. Will have to try it!
    Have a great week.

  44. November 23, 2009 4:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Heather. It sounds like I need to watch this movie!
    Like so many other reasonable, sane women and men out there, I have had serious problems with self-acceptance and body-image. I have gone through periods where I exercise for hours a day and eat as little as possible, and have also exercised little and ate whatever I felt like… now I’m usually somewhere between, which looks and seems healthy, but my mind is still not at peace with my body. I’m still always wondering if I should be eating less, eating differently, exercising more, or exercising differently… etc. ad infinitum.
    It is such a shame that so many of us have to struggle with what should be simple and intuitive: nourishing our bodies and taking care of ourselves.
    PS-Your pumpkin butter looks delightful!
    Am making apple butter right now… better go check on it!

  45. November 23, 2009 4:37 pm

    Heather, GREAT post! It’s refreshing to hear that someone (well more than someone…some of your readers too it seems) experience this before/after weight loss phenomenon. I do too! While I don’t miss the ‘unhealthy on the inside’ person I must have been from all the garbage I ingested before I lost weight, I sometimes miss the “happy go lucky” attitude I had toward food. Sometimes I do admit that having been oblivious to what was in my food made me easier to be around (i.e. go out to dinner with!) I definitely feel judgment from friends/family about what I DON’T eat now and why. I’m pretty good at knowing they don’t mean any harm, they just don’t understand it.

    Additionally I think once we HAVE lost weight, there’s a bit of fear inside of us that we never want to go back to being what we were before – which has a tendency to feed anal or obsessive personalities (like me!) I think that will always be there and maybe it’s a good thing because it keeps me on track. I think I’ve learned a LOT about balance over the last year, and I (like you) no longer count calories and have backed off on so much cardio. But… I have a new job starting next week and already I can feel my mind ticking about making sure I can plan ahead well enough that I still get my green smoothies in, still get in all the healthy stuff I’ve been eating every day, still getting in my own workouts, plus workouts for my personal training clients, plus planning time, etc.

    I will remind myself of your post if/when I start to feel stressed from having had to miss a workout or two. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing – beautifully written as always!

  46. stephanie permalink
    November 23, 2009 5:26 pm

    What an excellent post, something that I think needed to be said in the Food Blog world. I’ve struggled for years with balancing eating and exercising, since High School I suppose. I now go through phases of enjoying exercise and periods of time when it feels like a total chore. I found when I was so obsessed about HAVING to exercise and counting every calorie, that’s all I would think about. How sad is that….in this great big amazing world, I was totally SELF focused because of being afraid my butt would get big or I’d get soft in the middle. Really, what value does that have? Since having a baby 1 year ago, I’m much more focused on eating nutritious foods and enjoying being active with my beloveds, not on staying perfectly thin and toned. I’m more comfortable with myself and in my skin than I’ve ever been before, and that includes the several post baby pounds that are here to stay.

  47. November 23, 2009 5:40 pm

    Ozlen, You know I would never hate, and I welcome your opinions and advice. I am so glad that running has helped you – I truly do think that is awesome.

    It’s really hard for me to listen to my body. On those days that it’s really tired, and I’m already sore and tired from a week of tough yoga classes, I will still push myself to do more even though I know a day off would be good…one of my many internal struggles.

    Thanks again for your honesty. LOVE, Heather πŸ™‚

  48. November 23, 2009 5:43 pm

    I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing you are. First of all, you are so right. I am so with you … I am not the same person I was before I started losing weight either. I freak out over eating out, ordering in, and food in general. However, I do eat very well for the most part, ie i don’t starve myself and I eat good food. I’m actually much happier overall because I feel so much better. Yes, I look better too and that helps, but aside from my freak outs, I do feel better. This goes along with the whole “why are we so hard on ourselves?” thing. But if we’re not hard on ourselves, we might fall back to our old ways. (or will we? because I know for a fact that I do NOT want to go back to what I was) The only part of what I was before that I miss is being OK with eating and drinking with the guys….but I don’t miss how I felt the days after.
    Ok enough ramble. You rock. And I LOVE your legwarmers. xoxoxoxo

  49. November 23, 2009 5:44 pm

    Oh that homemade pumpkin butter looks very smooth! I like it! thanks for the recipe.
    I once bought them in TJ, yet really disappointed – they were so sweet, and not very buttery flavor…Now I can make them myself! yah!

  50. Carolyn permalink
    November 23, 2009 5:59 pm

    Loved your wraps with chicken.. Gotta remember to use cinnamon more…

    Forced day off from exercise is fine! I am having my forced 2 days off from nut butter.. Sometimes ya just know!!

    The Demons will always be there for all of us, for many things, food and non food… It’s keeping them at bay that empowers us… Take no prisioners or doubt yourself on how you do things…Surround yourself with those people, and even food blogs, that make you feel strong! Let the others go, like a balloon…

    Loved your comment too Polly!!!

    Food… The only addiction we have that you aren’t allowed to just stop doing completely…(I was going to say stop “cold turkey” but it’s too close to Thanksgiving…) …We must learn to do food in moderation…HARD

  51. Avery permalink
    November 23, 2009 6:49 pm

    Hi Heather. I never post but I have been a devoted reader from the start (I remember when you had some real dark hair that looked beautiful on you as well).
    I am feeling so troubled lately and conflicted with all these blogs. Its overwhelming when I visit some blogs and read girls writing that you eat no treats whatsoever, or will only occasionally have some raw treats. I cannot help but feel guilty. I guess that is human nature. But how do people battle that?
    I know it is important to be healthy and to eat more healthy foods than not. But there is so much disdain for all things packaged, or sweet. I start to feel it is not the norm to eat ice cream or a chocolate bar.
    I see blogs flooded with protein powders, only vegetables, over-exercising. I feel caught up in it. I suppose the answer is to stop reading ? But I trying to find advice and tips or a post or a blog that has a rounded approach. Something that shows its possible to enjoy life and food and not obsess to the third degree.
    I realize that you are one of the healthy eaters, and do not misunderstand me. I respect you enormously. But I find myself overwhelmed nonetheless. To be honest I enjoy your blog because of your personality. I like Eatliverun and KathEats because they show a varied approach to diet with splurges also, though the splurges are not fantastic, but at the very least demonstrate them.
    Do any of you out there exist? Or is there advice on how to combat the guilt or a person can relax and not take it all so seriously ?

  52. November 23, 2009 6:55 pm

    So glad you liked it Heather…the movie and Diane are absolutely amazing. Sooo wish you could have been here for the event/screening. I wish you were here with me to make fudge babies too!! Hugs

  53. My Style permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:00 pm

    Me again! I haven’t forgotten about the challenge! I’ve been making all sorts of fudge babies, and I definitely have to make the pumpkin pie ones now too. But I’ve also discovered blended grains. Amazing!
    Anyway, hope you’re well, Heather :-). I’m going to click and see about that pumpkin butter now.

  54. November 23, 2009 7:07 pm

    Great post! Sometimes I feel those demons creeping back on me, especially when I just don’t have enough time in my day to exercise. Then, I think…well if you can’t exercise, Katie, then you need to restrict your food intake. BUT! I know that is NOT right. That only gets me back to where I was about a year ago, anorexic and calorie-obsessed. I stop myself every time I get to that point in my mind. I am still struggling and want to achieve those perfect abs, legs, butt, and thighs. But, I know that my body is not supposed to be tortured to obtain these things. Truthfully, my body isn’t made to be “perfect”; no one is perfect. This week I pledge to only exercise if I have the TIME and if I WANT to do so. Tonight, studying for an economics exam comes way before pulling out the yoga mat or fitness DVDs.
    Again, Heather, thanks for this lovely post…I have a feeling it helps us, fellow-bloggies, stay in line. πŸ™‚

  55. November 23, 2009 7:16 pm

    Avery, Thanks so much for reading…you have been around a while. πŸ™‚

    I can understand getting overwhelmed by all the various blogs out there, and if some (mind included) are causing you confusion and/or feelings of guilt, then by all means, STOP reading. I’ll be the first to admit that I do restrict some foods that others don’t have a problem with at all. I usually never touch sugar, and I mention that often on the blog. If readers find this upsetting, or if it triggers feelings of guilt, then I will also be the first tell them to stop reading HEAB. I try and convey a healthy message, but for some, my way of eating is probably too strict. However, it works for me, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s fairly well balanced.

    Avery, you need to do what is best for you, okay? If you are reading a blog, and it starts to bring you down, DO NOT read it anymore. So easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. I used to read so many blogs, but I decided to cut way back when many of them started to discourage me. Why waste your time reading something that is not helping you. Life is too short.

    Hope this helps. Love, Heather

  56. November 23, 2009 7:18 pm

    My Style, Glad you’re still around…I know…those kabocha babies Kate made looked amazing. Love that girl! πŸ™‚

  57. Scott in Ohio permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:23 pm

    I want to say so much about this post but sometimes simple is better.

    Wonderful, wonderful post!

  58. November 23, 2009 7:24 pm

    Burritos look DELICIOUS. I may have to try to recreate it with tofu!

    Good job on eating what you want. I’m still struggling on no food guilt. Somedays I do GREAT, but holidays definitely don’t help.

  59. November 23, 2009 7:26 pm

    Thanks Scott!

  60. November 23, 2009 7:33 pm

    Love this post, Heather! I love how “raw” you are in explaining things. I think women in general over do it. We need rest. No matter what our brain telling us, we need to listen to our body!
    ❀ jess

  61. November 23, 2009 8:00 pm

    I do try really hard to listen to my heart and tummy. For the most part, I’m always successful, but I find it’s when I do exactly that, that I receive the most opposition from others. Strange, but true…

    Heartfelt post, Heather. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing!


  62. November 23, 2009 8:12 pm

    Aw man, I definitely still hear those “voices” but the more time goes by, the more I am able to tune them out. I’m not perfect by any means and I still have my moments but I feel like I’m in a place where I can finally just eat the foods that make me feel the best and do exercise that is fun and still challenging but not killing me. Thanks for this post, I’d like to see the film too!

  63. November 23, 2009 8:27 pm

    ok seriously that combo, wouldn’t have thought of it and yet it looks delicious!

  64. November 23, 2009 9:09 pm

    That movie sounds really really interesting.

    I am definitely with you about still having our demons and struggling sometimes with calories and exercise on a day to day basis…but like you, i needed to hear “WE DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE OURSELVES MISERABLE TO BE HAPPY IN OUR OWN SKIN” too. so right.

  65. November 23, 2009 9:15 pm

    I so want to see this movie now! And what a great point you make. I’m still trying to learn how to do that in my own life but I’m a lot closer now than I used to be:)

  66. November 23, 2009 10:14 pm

    THANK YOU for this. I don’t know what else I can say to express how I feel about what you wrote. I needed this. So many of us needed this. Thank you for being that voice.

    (I’m a new reader, but now a loyal one!)

  67. November 23, 2009 10:16 pm

    Thoughts of the This Girl, You’re welcome. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading.

  68. yogiclarebear permalink
    November 23, 2009 10:18 pm

    Thanks for this post and for your openness. I feel the same way about my “pre weight loss” self. I was in a much softer and forgiving mental place.

    I wish I could take your advice and listen to my belly, but because of damage done by major undereating and overexercise, my belly speaks lies. Signals are totally off or non-existent, or painful.

    So numbers it is for me, but numbers are there to make sure I get enough, not restricting.

  69. November 23, 2009 10:24 pm

    brilliant insight heather. i couldn’t agree more. there is a line to be drawn on exercise/eating when it turns into something you hate. and i love your leg warmers πŸ™‚

  70. threehannas permalink
    November 23, 2009 10:50 pm

    Love this post! I have similar struggles. I am well on the road to becoming an intuituve eater though and it is fabulous!!

    I still struggle with taking time “off” from excercise, it is a tough one. When I do take a day or so off though I feel a million times stronger when I get back to it. I need to keep reminding myself of that when I am tired and needing rest – I just need to take it : )

    The food thing is a whole different deal for me. I used to really obsess over calories and restrict like crazy. I had a certain number of calories “allowed” each day. Then I started thinking that I don’t move the same every day. Some days I go far and hard and some days I don’t. My need for fuel varies. Now I am all over the place. Sometimes I know I easily exceed 2000 calories (which would have sent me into a panic in the past) and other days I don’t. Also, as Jenny said above – calories are really just a measure of heat. Every body “processes” them differently, and even the same body can “process” them differently on different days and in different circumstances.

    I maintain a perfectly healthy weight. It is a couple of lbs heavier then where my “head” wants me to be but I am spot on with where my body is happy : )

    Our bodies are beautiful and amazing machines – they know what they are doing and how to do it. Where we get in trouble is if/when we stop listening to them.

    Much Love!

  71. Samantha permalink
    November 24, 2009 12:20 am

    Must try the chicken/pumpkin butter/tortilla combo. I haven’t the foggiest how to make healthy pumpkin butter but will figure it out!

    The struggle is so hard, for so many, on a constant basis. Can I get an AMEN?! I’ll raise my hand to that. I had my PCM tell me yesterday when I went in for some bloodwork, “You are TINY, you are FINE, your in monumentally better shape than most of the people that come through my office. Why aren’t you satisfied?!” Then I get on the mag to spin, and turn it to Project Runway…not the smartest diversion tactic. πŸ™‚

  72. Tamie permalink
    November 24, 2009 1:31 am

    This is besides the subject, sorry. But does anyone know where to get walnut butter that is not so darn expensive?> thanks, Tamie.

  73. November 24, 2009 5:03 am

    This is an amazing, amazing post. Thank you!

  74. November 24, 2009 5:11 am

    Heather, I don’t think that I have commented before, but I read your blog regularly. I so appreciate your stance on food and exercise, even though, as you say, you still have your inner demons. I just wanted to say that, for me, these “little voices” have gone away more and more as the yeaars have gone on. I was bulimic in high school, and then was an exercise addict/calorie counter for several years. But eventually, through trying to ignore those demons–and through having kids, which has helped tremendously, although I’m not advising this as a solution to body issues–I would say that I am 97 percent healthy in terms of food and exercise and body issues. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  75. November 24, 2009 7:08 am

    This movie sounds really interesting. It’s so hard to look at yourself outside of social expectations. I think I’m perfectly healthy but I know I want to weight 10lbs less. Even when I weighed 10lbs less I wanted to weigh 5 lbs less. Sadly, I’m not sure I’ll even be TRULY happy with my body but I’m working toward it.

    Thanks for the post! Have a great day!

  76. November 24, 2009 7:36 am

    This speaks the truth so much. We all struggle everyday. Yesterday, I went to the gym and wanted to run so bad, but I was like well you haven’t given yourself an easy day in a while, so i hopped on the spin bike to which my legs responded, “Seriously sister?!?!” so I had to hop off and I just left the gym. It wasn’t my planned day off but I was so happy I just listened to my body, I just made sure to walk around campus and do some errands since I didn’t have work or school (AKA it was supposed to be a long workout day to push myself). I just have to tell myself those things happen, relax, watch TV since that hasn’t happened since school started in September, bundle up and walk around outside and EAT still!

    It was a rewarding today. I woke up today feeling refreshed and hopefully this mornings run will benefit from it!

  77. November 24, 2009 7:39 am

    Heather, I am so with you. It’s taken me NOT being able to run to realize this – I’m thinking this was God’s plan all along. πŸ˜‰

    I was terrified of gaining weight without the intense cardio, but I haven’t – sometimes that is mind boggling to me, but then I realize I’m still active whenever I can be, and I’m trying my best to feed my body good, wholesome foods. Thank you, Heather, for this post. I really think some people don’t get that you don’t HAVE to do one or two hours of cardio a day to maintain a certain weight…you just don’t!

  78. November 24, 2009 7:55 am

    Really liked this post. I recently had a little epiphany that I wrote about on my blog (here: on this topic.

    It’s a tough one and a frequent struggle…but YES listening to your heart and belly are your best hope for healthy and happy.

  79. Melissa permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:04 am

    Love your post Heather…thank you for the link to beautymark..Im excited to see it. I have a beautiful 7 yr old daughter and my prayer is that she not feel that pressure to be anything other than the beauty God made her:) Have you seen this Dove commercial? Its pretty powerful:

    ‘The king is enthralled by your beauty’ Psalm 45:11

  80. November 24, 2009 8:28 am

    a question…what is the symbol for the “other” emoticons (like a wink or something…i know the frown and the smile, but that is it πŸ™‚

  81. foodcents permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:49 am

    I am curious to see this film and learn more about the producer. Knowing the area she frequents for her exercise, that is some serious terrain.

    Exercise and movement are important, yet they need not define our existence. There doesn’t seem to be alot of talk about it, but for some exercise can be addictive. Note I said “some”, not “all”…

    Down time is good, our bodies and minds need time to decompress and recoup.

  82. November 24, 2009 8:54 am

    Thank you so much for this post, Heather. I have such a hard time gearing myself up to do cardio, which inevitably leads me to feel guilty about my lack of motivation. I just need to cut myself some slack sometimes! I eat fairly healthy and do a decent amount of strength training (which I love). If I don’t do cardio 5 days a week I’m not a bad person.

    In food news, that pumpkin butter looks amazing! I have a pie pumpkin on my counter, perhaps I should give it a go.

  83. Felicia permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:57 am

    great post and great comments by everyone πŸ™‚ so many of us go through it and its nice to have someone just put it all out there. I keep a few blogs saved that I check when I can, and its for reasons like this! we all love ya heab!

  84. Amanda permalink
    November 24, 2009 9:10 am

    THANK YOU for this!! It is so nice to know that I am not alone in telling myself that I “have” to do something. Says who?!?!? I am going to try to start challenging the voice in my head and just doing what I feel. You rock πŸ™‚

  85. Erin permalink
    November 24, 2009 9:12 am

    I have to say that Avery hit the nail on the head for me. Sometimes all the blog-reading I do makes me feel a little crazy. A lot of bloggers convey perfect control of their diets, which can make me feel guilty. While I am a very healthy eater, I do indulge – a lot. Especially on weekends. I always give myself at least one or two rest days a week since I work out pretty intensely during the week. I was once very strict with my diet and very thin, and while I do want to get back to my super skinny former self at times, I’m not sure I can. It just seems unattainable.

    I LOVE food. The problem is, I love all kinds… my diet is made up of the super healthy and the super junky. I wish I could be as strict with my diet as you are. I know that I don’t need the sugar. Ughh… always an internal struggle!

  86. November 24, 2009 9:18 am

    Sam, simply sub canned pumpkin for kabocha in this recipe:

    It’s so hard to avoid all “the triggers” that our society puts out there for worship. Trust me my friend, I get it.

  87. November 24, 2009 9:19 am

    Thanks Felicia, I love all of you too. πŸ™‚

  88. November 24, 2009 9:20 am

    Coconutbutter, A wink is a semicolon ; followed by a closed parenthesis )

  89. November 24, 2009 9:23 am

    Melissa, What a powerful commercial. I hadn’t seen that one yet. Beauty Mark interviews the Dove folks in the film – one of their partners/sponsors I think.

  90. November 24, 2009 9:25 am

    Megruns, Awesome. πŸ™‚

  91. November 24, 2009 9:29 am

    Tamie, No, I don’t. I know that Artisana makes raw walnut, but they don’t sell it in Nashville. I’ve also heard great things about Futter’s Nut Butters: I’ve made my own walnut butter with great results. Just roast some raw walnuts for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, and then follow these instructions:

  92. November 24, 2009 9:33 am

    Ser, Thanks for the encouragement. It’s more helpful than you know…really. πŸ™‚

  93. November 24, 2009 9:35 am

    Thank you for this post. I know that I sometimes freak out when I don’t think I’ve moved enough or I’ve eaten too much. You are so right–we do not need to be miserable. This will never lead to happiness! Thank you Heather πŸ™‚

  94. November 24, 2009 9:55 am

    The key to this battle is finding balance. We all know we need our 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies everyday, but some of us also need chocolate as part of our balanced, healthy diet- that’s nothing to feel guilty about! As for exercise; our bodies were made to move but that doesn’t have to be hours of running. What about dancing around the living room or playing tennis or volleyball with friends just for fun? Exercise and movement should be done because it feels good and never as some sort of punishment!

  95. November 24, 2009 9:58 am

    Hungryforbalance, I could not have said it any better. Thank you!!!

  96. Erin permalink
    November 24, 2009 11:07 am

    PS – Heather, where do you buy your maca? And how would you describe the taste? I keep finding it in pill form but want to try it in the powder. Do you use Navita Naturals?

  97. November 24, 2009 11:43 am

    Hi Heather! Great post, as always.

    Although I am at a perfectly healthy weight now I sometimes see myself as the overweight girl I was when I graduated college. I hate that my friends are all smaller than me, but then I realize that none of it matters because I am happy, healthy and strong, and life is good.

  98. November 24, 2009 12:00 pm

    Erin, I’ve been using this maca powder that Smoothie Girl Deb sent me: It taste kind of…malty, and I think it pairs well with cinnamon and nut butters. I know my Whole Foods sells it in powder form in the supplement section, but not sure what brand. I’ve heard that Navita Naturals is really good stuff.

  99. November 24, 2009 2:03 pm

    Thank you for this post!
    Eons ago I gained almost 100lbs on a medication. I’ve lost 60lbs, and the last 35 was with Weight Watchers. I’m leaving that program behind because I’m tired of it and I became obsessed with it. I’ve recently switched to better foods, less sugar, and less wheat. I don’t really care how many points are in quinoa and coconut milk because they are great foods! I try not to think about food unless I’m buying it, cooking it or ready to eat it.
    I have the tools all in my head. I know what to do food wise and I don’t have the time to be obsessed with exercise.

  100. November 24, 2009 2:56 pm

    Heather, you are awesome! πŸ˜€
    I go through stages when I take everything easy and then other times I am constantly feeling bad about not exercising enough, eating too much, etc. It’s so hard to turn your brain off when these things happen. What’s crazy is when I’m more relaxed, I actually eat better and still exercise consistently (I love it, so I need it for sanity!)… and when I stress out about it, I end up bingeing or at least over snacking. Thank you for this reminder!!

  101. MaryO permalink
    November 24, 2009 4:54 pm

    Hey Heather, I find your blog with its content and the responses you elicit from your blogging fascinating. Unrealistic beauty expectations and the disorders that result from them are a real issue in our society today. However, as a society I feel WE are setting those standards just as every (male dominated) culture has over the ages. As a consumer driven society (your blog is a prime example) every aspect of self expression is tied to selling something; beauty is a commodity which is used to sell goods and unwittingly our self worth. Those who are able to β€œdivorce” themselves from this hawking of beauty are able to have a sense of self that is immune to these sales pitches. The actress, Gabouriey Sidibe, in the movie β€œPrecious” comes to mind. She is a woman who is clearly clinically obese, but who has such a great sense of self that she refuses to be defined by her weight.
    I bring this up, as I see a common thread with your response and many of your respondents’ replies to exercise, which is blame. Blame cardio, or blame an β€œintense” workout schedule. Although you advocate that everyone should exercise and eat in a healthy manner you then suggest Israel’s workout is extreme, which it is not. She’s basically burning 300- 450 Kcals a workout session (depending on body weight and exercise intensity) with 3 resistance/flexibility training sessions per week which burns minimal Kcals, maybe for a total of 325- 514 Kcals a day. As a 5ft 4in.122 Ilb woman my daily Kcal requirements without exercise, but normal daily activity, is a mere 1800 Kcals, with Israel’s amount of exercise I get to consume a whopping 2125- 2300 Kcals a day to maintain my weight, not exactly excessive numbers.
    Maybe I’ve been lucky and always loved exercise; I don’t feel trapped by it or beholden to it. As I get older, I’m in my early fifties; I realize exercise is an essential tool to help maintain lean muscle mass, flexibility, strength, endurance, cardiovascular integrity, balance, appropriate body mass, elevation of mood, and ability to carry out activities of daily life to ensure an independent lifestyle. Weight control is one piece of the puzzle of total health, yet exercise, including aerobic exercise, is integral to all of the other aspects. I happily schedule my workouts for the week, whether a spin class, yoga session, hikes with my dog, or a speed session on the track. I use races to periodize my training, so that I take recovery breaks from more intense periods. This keeps me from getting bored/and or over-trained.
    One of the American College of Sport’s Medicine (ACSM) stands is to weigh the benefits of exercise against the negatives before embarking on an exercise program. Clearly if exercise causes anyone to be miserable they should desist from it; just be sure it’s the exercise and not what the scale says that’s making them miserable.

  102. November 24, 2009 5:22 pm

    This is such an unbelievably compassionate, sweet, and forgiving post, Heather. And it seems to have inspired a lot of readers. Thanks for sharing your insights, which are always empathetic and kind.

  103. November 24, 2009 8:15 pm

    There is so much I love about this post. I’ve taken the past week off from blogging so I can figure out my mental state regarding food. It’s been rough and I know it’s something I will always struggle with. But I feel like I’ve made my own progress in the past week by not giving into night time eating urges and letting go of some stress that I have. I will listen to my stomach and body, instead of my head! I must!

    …and the pups are super cute. πŸ™‚

  104. November 24, 2009 9:13 pm

    i am so in agreement heather! just at work today, my boss was like how do you stay so skinny when you eat that much food? i am like because I EAT FOOD AND AM ACTIVE. and the foods i eat are whole, good foods. so yes, eat away! i just wish we could stop being so hard on ourselves and being our own worst critics – life is too dayum short!!!

  105. November 25, 2009 10:24 am

    I’ve been reading every day! I love your blog. I’m addicted.

    I’ve struggled with issues like this myself. Whatever workout I do every day, never seems to be enough. And if I don’t work out, I get mad at myself and regret it all day and the next day. So basically, I HAVE to work out every day or I make myself miserable.

    As for eating issues, I have those also. I’m actually worried about Thanksgiving dinner, because I know that over-eating is bound to happen, and then I’ll feel sick about it for the next few days. 😦

  106. November 25, 2009 12:28 pm

    Heather you have done it once again! You always seem to post the right things just when I need them most. I have noticed that because of the holidays I am beginning to fall into an unhealthy pattern, exercising more, and pinching my calories. I know this is not the way to go but the stress from the holidays is getting to me.

    Having been extremely overweight I always have a fear of going back, it terrifies me. Sometimes I feel like if I eat or over eat a couple days and don’t get in my exercise that I will just balloon up again. However I know that’s false. I know that if I fall off the wagon I can pick myself up again. I know that Im young and at 17 I should be worrying about much more than my weight. Sometimes the pressure from the media and peers gets to me.

    The reason why I love your blog so much is that it is all about balance, you show me an example of what a real balanced girl can be like. You inspire me. Thank you! πŸ™‚
    Happy thanksgiving β™₯

  107. November 25, 2009 1:46 pm

    Emily, It was really refreshing for me to read your comment. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. I just keep telling myself…focus on the time with family tomorrow…NOT on the dessert table. πŸ™‚

  108. November 25, 2009 1:48 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well Michal. πŸ™‚

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