Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hugged by Lo (First Series)

Hello lovelies!


So, as you all may know, I have started a new feature called Hugged by Lo (click on the link to read more about it). I have decided to feature a maximum of five (5) stories/questions that readers want to share, once a week. Today is the first day of the series and I have a few questions/stories to share with you all, thanks to my awesome readers! Also, feel free to comment below on any of the responses/questions. I won't be able to think of everything ;)



QUESTION

Hannah asks:

Hey there!
Congratulations on such a beautiful family. Can you please explain how in the blue hell you stayed so fine? Seriously.
I know you are pro breastfeeding but is that just it? So
1) do you have to eat anything in particular to keep milk flow and supply?
2) did you alter your diet?
3) are you working out? If so how?
4) in ref to the above what is your usual daily schedule? Breakfast,pump, run?


RESPONSE

Hello, Hannah! I must first say thank you so much for the kind words!! In regards to how I "stayed so fine" lol, I would attribute my weight loss to the fact that I breastfeed. I wish that I could say I followed some strict diet and that I woke up and did a 45-minute workout every morning, but I can't. When I had my first son, who is now three years old, I was overweight (197 pounds) pre-pregnancy, and I went up to 231 pounds by the end of my pregnancy. I was never a really small girl (thanks boobs) but I knew that I had hit my heftiest weight and I didn't like the way I felt. After having my first son, I almost immediately got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight with no effort. But, I knew I wanted to lose more weight. It honestly took me a few months to get into gear, but in addition to breastfeeding, I began to go for really long walks, everyday. I walked for at least four miles around my neighborhood. I began to see the weight just peel away. I thought to myself that if I changed my diet as well, I would see even better results; so, I changed my eating habits. I began my diet (lifestyle change) by only drinking water, eating six small meals a day (three meals, three small snacks in between) and I ate every three hours. When I was only walking and not eating well, I lost twenty pounds. When I changed my eating habits, I lost an additional twenty pounds. I tried my best not to eat sweets and I also tried to stop eating after a certain hour; if I got hungry, I would eat an apple. I felt amazing in my new body! My breasts had gone down about three cup sizes and I could now shop in almost any store and be able to fit most, if not all, of the clothes. Then, I got pregnant again, less than a year after my weight loss. I was scared, honestly, because while others told me I would "snap back" I wasn't so sure. Well, I had my second son six months ago, and I did indeed pretty much "snap back". I still drink only water (other things are just too sweet for my taste, now) and I breastfeed. The reason why I keep mentioning breastfeeding is because it is scientifically proven that breastfeeding is not only beneficial for your baby, but it is beneficial to the mother as well. It helps your uterus contract so that it shrinks after having your baby and it also burns calories. It is said that a baby who is exclusively breastfed consumes 300-500 calories. How awesome is that?! I honestly have not gotten back into eating well, I've tried it and I just can't keep it up. What helped me the first time was using a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal. It held me responsible for the calories I consumed and after a while, I began to memorize how many calories were in different foods. I am currently less than ten pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and being that I have yet to work out or change my eating habits, I'm pretty damn pleased. I hope to begin eating well again, because more than just being a certain size, I want to be healthy. Thank you for your question and I hope this helped! I also want to leave you with a big ol' hug! Love you, Hannah!

Oh, and to answer the question about taking anything to increase my milk supply, I do not. Thankfully, I have not had any problems producing milk. Also, when I was eating well, I made a lot of substitutions; mashed up avocado in place of mayonnaise, no yolk in my eggs, salsa on my sandwiches instead of mayonnaise, as well, using lettuce in place of bread, sometimes. For some, eating their favorite things in moderation works for them, but it didn't for me. If I have a piece of chocolate, I'm gonna want the whole damn bar. So, for me I had to choose healthier options that were just as yummy, if not yummi-er. 


QUESTION

Anonymous asks:

Can you give tips on how a woman can rebuild herself after an abusive relationship? I've had people ask me how it is that after an abusive marriage, I've managed to maintain such a positive outlook on life and overcome circumstances.


RESPONSE

 Well, let me start by saying that I commend you for staying strong and overcoming your situation. Although, I was never in a long term abusive relationship, I have been in a very toxic relationship where abuse has occurred. I was dating someone for about seven months and I have to admit that early on I saw signs of anger issues. There were times where he would get so angry over the most trivial things. Case and point: I accident broke his oscillating fan and he proceeded to snatch the cord out of the outlet and angrily drag the fan down the hallway while mumbling curse words. While I thought his behavior was odd, I didn't make a point of it. Little things like this happened from time to time. I remember another time where I got upset at him and left his apartment and started walking. He pulled up in his car next to me and was shouting at me. I remember telling my cousin about the incident and how I could tell he had a temper; it was a bit unsettling. Then, on my birthday, something in him snapped. I can't quite remember what set him off (honestly, I could've chewed my gum and he would've gone off) but I had come back from seeing a friend and we started arguing. When I feel nervous, I tend to laugh, especially during times where laughter is not appropriate. Well, my laughter pissed him off, because he was having a serious moment, and next thing I know he had me pinned down on the bed, with his hands around my neck. Now, this man had roommates, and they were home at the time. The fact that he was "hemming me up" with other people present. scared the shit out of me. I could not believe this was happening to me. All of the women in my family were victims of abuse (some still are) and I swore to myself that I would never stand for that. I stormed out of the apartment, crying, and yelled at him out of disbelief and anger. I went on to enjoy my birthday like nothing ever happened. After that occurrence, I tried to ignore him; in my mind, it was over. Well, after he called me like crazy and said he wanted to meet up with me, I complied, like a fool. I met up with him, everything seemed okay, and we were back together. Things went okay after that but I was honestly always on edge. I, unfortunately, got pregnant a couple of months later and ended up having a miscarriage (a blessing in disguise). The final straw was when he went through my phone one night and found a friend's number (a male, of course). He proceeded to call the friend and when the friend answered, he lost it. He snapped my phone in half and threw it, I wore prescription glasses and he snatched those off as well and broke them in half. So, now I couldn't see and I couldn't call anyone. I was scared as hell! I knew he owned a gun and I saw him motion above his head (we were in the basement) and I was afraid he was going to pull that out; thankfully, that didn't happen. He kicked me out (it was about 2 am), I had no car, and I lived about a mile from his house; I was helpless. I left with one shoe (too scared to search for the other), no glasses, and no phone. I got about a block away and next thing I knew, he was in his car, right next to me. He wanted me to get in the car, I said no and we got loud. He got out of the car, grabbed my purse and hurled it on top of the neighborhood school. Fuck. Someone had called the police because we were so loud. I was extremely thankful because by that time, he had gone back in the house, and the police gave me a ride home. Needless to say, I was truly done with him this time. Plus, my family wasn't allowing anything different. They all wanted to kill him, understandably. That was by far the worst situation I have ever been in and I was so afraid to run into him anywhere. Luckily, he left me alone, so that made it much easier for me to move on.

After the relationship, I pretty much dated casually, never committing (this guy was my first EVERYTHING). It wasn't until 2009 that I began dating someone seriously (who is now the father of my two children). In the beginning, I was a little paranoid. There were times where I found myself feeling afraid for no reason. For some reason, the thought of a gun would haunt me. But, I soon let go of those fears. I believe being open about what I went through helped me. I had the support of my family and the few friends who knew. While I didn't go around sharing it with the world, I was definitely open to sharing if need be. 

To overcome abuse:
  • I believe a woman needs to know her worth; that she is indeed better than that and doesn't deserve to be abused. Women, too often, blame themselves; well, if I would've just kept my mouth shut or I shouldn't have put my finger in his face etc. We must know that no one deserves to be abused; EVER.
  • It helps to know that you are not alone and that you should never feel ashamed about being abused. It is so easy for someone to say what they would do if they were abused, but it's always a different story when it actually happens. 
  • As I stated above, talk about it. We are creatures who need to communicate and need the help of others. 5 times out of 10, the person you are sharing your story with has gone through something similar. 
  • Talk to God. I am not the most religious being, but I do have conversations with my God. Sometimes we need to dig deep and reach out to the most powerful being for comfort. 
  • This ties in with the previous tip and that is to pray for healing and strength. 
  • You must make the choice to be better than your situation and not let what you've been through, define you. People have been through a lot of rough situations and if everyone dwelled on them and let those situations take over their lives, everyone would be miserable.  Instead, let what happened make you stronger; learn from your experience
  • Always remain positive. You receive what you put out to the universe. 
I must also note that it is essential to pay attention to signs of  a potentially abusive person. As I mentioned in my story, there were quite a few signs that let me know that I was with an abusive person. I , in my naivete, chose to ignore them. Always know that people will show you who they are; believe them. This dude showed me his crazy several times and I just thought isn't that odd? instead of running like hell. 

We also like to think of just physical abuse when abuse is mentioned, but often we forget about the other forms of abuse that are just as harmful. Sure, he can break your nose, but a man can also break your spirit with his caustic words. Constantly being called bitch, fat ass, whore, etc. can make anyone begin to believe they are the names they are being called. I always say go with your gut feeling; it's usually right. 

I'm sure I've left some tips out. But I hope I have helped in any way I can. I'm giving you a really big hug! Love you and thanks for sharing! 


Disclaimer:

I must state once again that I am NOT a professional counselor or an expert in this field. I am just a person who would like to give general advice and words of encouragement to those who seek it. If professional help is needed, please contact the appropriate national help lines. If I feel that your story is one that needs professional help, I will suggest that you reach out to a help line and provide you with the appropriate contact information. Also, I am one person, so if submissions become overwhelming, please excuse me if it takes a while to post your story and a response.
 

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