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hello 2017, goodbye blog

January 2, 2017

Hello out there, Diana Banana readers–

It’s been a while, and I’ve been thinking: This isn’t working out. We’re going to have to break up.

I decided this a few weeks ago, actually, and I thought it would be fitting to ring in the new year by ending this blog. I know, it’s weird… This is typically the time of year when people start their weight loss blogs, not take them down… But for me, this is the step I need to take. Some battles are better fought in a big clan, but some battles are better fought alone. Because of many factors both external and internal, I’ve come to accept that, for me, this is a battle that must be fought alone.

I’ve spent too much time with other people’s voices in my head, and I’ve wasted too much energy rebelling against emotionally unhealthy internalized pressures. I still maintain that as a culture, if we want people to be able to live healthy lives, we need to teach people to love their bodies. Maybe a few individual examples can hate their bodies into submission, but on a mass scale, it’s love that has the power to shift the tide. It’s always love.

So, that’s it! I’m off to the gym… but why am I telling you that? Old habits. I’m accountable only to myself now, and I love it.

Please, to anyone reading this, if you take one thing away from this blog it’s that there is no right or wrong way to love & better yourself, just so long as you are plugged in and actively engaging in your process, whatever that may look like.

❤ With love and my very best wishes,

Diana Banana

no day but today

June 25, 2016

Well, it’s been forever and a day since I posted. I miss you, safe-body-positive-self-reflective-space. I’ve been too caught up in things… things like building a career and worrying about my family and trying to find time for art and writing and friendship and planning out my life… all very important things, but all things that ultimately suffer if I forget about my own health and happiness. So, here I am, I’m back, and while I regret being out of touch for so long, all we can do is make good choices today.

It’s amazing how certain central life lessons have to be learned over and over, how sometimes we can learn a lot from our past selves, even, because our past selves may have had more space to focus on what’s most important. Before I switched careers, for example, I had time and energy to work out all of the time and write blog posts and research helpful nutritional and biological information. It was a good foundation to return to, even if it wasn’t something I sustained as much as I intended to.

Now that my new career is finally on stable ground, it’s time to return to that space and to remember what matters most. It’s been painful lately feeling like my body is weaker and heavier than what’s comfortable, feeling like a detached brain floating above my desk chair all day. It’s time to remember that I have a body and that having a body is good. It’s time to remember that I want to be a good role model for naturally larger young women, that you don’t have to be stick thin to be healthy and that being healthy is something worth working for. So, here I go. So happy to be here now.

❤ Diana Banana

willpower: discipline or desire?

April 4, 2015

Throughout the years on this blog, I’ve had a lot of frustration with myself about my need to relearn the same lessons over and over. I’ve felt like I’m not moving forward, or not moving forward quickly enough; at time’s that’s just been my perfectionistic voice talking, but at times it has simply been true.

So for the past few months I’ve been contemplating this question: Why is it that I find it far easier to tap into my willpower in all other areas of my life (relationships, school, career, creative pursuits) than in the arena of my physical health?

Buried underneath this question was an even deeper one: Is willpower more about will or power? Is willpower a matter of discipline, as it is so often used in our culture to mean, or is it a matter of desire?

I have to believe that, at least for me, the later is true. Willpower is about the strength of your desire, the power of your will. I haven’t been struggling all of these years with my weight and my health because I lack discipline, as is evident in my persistence and successes in other areas of my life. If I trace it all back, I’ve only been successful in losing weight when I have had a strong belief that that is what I want.

The next question would be: Why wouldn’t you want it? Isn’t that what this blog is all about, the desire to be your healthiest self? Yes, this desire is the place from which I started this blog… but this doesn’t mean that that desire is a constant. In fact, this desire is something I struggle with very much, and it is the core of the issue.

It’s intricate, but I think these are the main factors that have held me back at one time or another from wanting to lose weight:

  • wanting to push back against unfair/unhealthy/unproductive pressures to be thin
  • wanting to only do it for the right reasons, which feels impossible when the wrong reasons seem to be everywhere
  • wanting to prove/feel that I am in control of my own body, which ironically is impossible to do unless you know what you truly want for your body
  • wanting to shield myself from unwanted male attention

I find it interesting as I write this to notice that all of these factors are wants, desires. Here are the other wants that do make me want to be my healthiest self:

  • wanting to be a healthy role model for my little sister
  • wanting to feel confident, strong, and capable
  • wanting to be physically capable to do whatever comes up in my daily life
  • wanting to stop hiding or feeling judged when I go out
  • wanting to be alive as long as possible to create and to love

Conflicting desires…. what do we do with them? We acknowledge their validity. We make peace with them. Only then we can see them at their actual size and see how they compare with one another. Even then they won’t go away, but they will be put into perspective.

My brother recently had a baby, and he told me that nothing else in life gives you the perspective that becoming a parent does. I have yet to experience this, but I want to. In fact, the perpetually growing desire to have a baby in the next few years is helping me put my other desires in their place. Yes, I want to protect myself from the unhealthy pressures to be thin that I’ve been subjected to in so many ways throughout my life, and yes I enjoy the ability to go out with friends and not be bothered by very many men… all of that can be true, but it pales in comparison to what I really want: to be a healthy mom for a healthy baby, to be a healthy parent with Sam, and to live a long and productive life with my art and with my family.

Do I have to be stick thin to do this? Absolutely not. I just have to be my honest-to-goodness healthiest version of myself, and that’s what I’m working harder than ever to be.

❤ Diana Banana

where I stand

October 6, 2014

When I first started this blog, the alternate title was “Balanced Body Blog,” which, although admittedly clunky, is actually a more accurate name. This blog isn’t about bananas, though bananas are lovely… and it isn’t even about Diana, really. It is about learning to hold on to hope and to self-compassion throughout the inevitably imbalanced process of finding balance.

I’m not so good at the self-compassion part, so that has been a primary focus of this blog. It’s tough for a lot of us, I think. I’ve noticed this year that my swings of imbalance–swings from implementing draconian regulations on my lifestyle to giving up all self-regulations entirely–are more unwieldy and wild the more I judge/punish myself, and I judge/punish myself more when the swings are wild. It’s a classic vicious cycle.

I’ve also noticed that these swings are much more severe when my goal is primarily to lose weight. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past few years, and I haven’t really gotten anywhere for a while. Just a bunch of ups and downs and back-where-I-starteds. BUT remember a few years back when I lost 60 pounds? Remember where my focus was? Taking care of myself. Loving my body even when I have a hard time believing that my body loves me back (though it does).

So, after a year of cleanses and slow carbs and high carb days and cutting out every kind of food you can think to cut out (all of which I learned a lot from!), I’m returning to what I know:

  • The best way to lose weight and be healthy is to stop trying to lose weight and start taking true, loving care of yourself.
  • When you are physically active, your body’s voice is louder and your appetite is more closely linked to your actual bodily needs.
  • You feel better in every other area of your life when you are engaged in a loving relationship with your body.
  • It’s not just OK to swing too far and to cycle back around: it’s actually an important part of the process of finding balance.
  • You don’t need to beat yourself up anymore. You can break that cycle by coming clean with yourself and accepting where you stand.
  • There is a huge difference between giving yourself a break and giving up. You know the difference.

❤ Diana Banana

juice cleanse part two & whole living part one

April 18, 2014

I can’t even tell you how glad I am that I’ve been on this cleanse relay race for the past few weeks. It has changed so much about my food desires, my relationship with my body, and even my relationship with my husband. And this is only the beginning.

The end of the juice cleanse was pretty much a continuation of the changes I noted from the first part of the cleanse in my last entry. I started weaning back onto solid vegetables and fruits for the last two days of the juice cleanse to ease the transition to week one of Whole Living (produce plus legumes, nuts, seeds, oils and spices). It’s a good thing I did a more gradual transition than I had initially planned, because it was a bit of a shock to my system to go from a fiberless diet (juicing) to a high fiber diet (whole living week one)! My tummy didn’t know what to make of it, but maybe that’s part of the cleansing process. Probiotics helped a great deal.

The coolest part about transitioning from a juice cleanse to a clean, healthy diet was that the limitations didn’t bother me one bit. After juicing, any real food was welcomed as a treat (as it should be! as it is!), and I felt so satisfied with just beans and produce. I couldn’t believe it, honestly, and Sam felt the same way. I should mention that Sam is a tough critic of these things… he’s a meat and potatoes guy, but ever since this whole living thing started, he has realized that he doesn’t need nearly as much meat as he thought. I’m having a similar realization about carbs.

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my chickpea, tomato & dill salad from the Whole Living plan

In fact, we are now on week two of Whole Living and we’re allowed to have gluten free whole grains as well as fish, but we’re hardly having much of either! Sam has decided he needs some fish every other day, and I’m good just having it once here and there. As for grains, maybe just a little each day is all we seem to need. I honestly could do without grains altogether, I think, once we add back in eggs and chicken and cottage cheese.

Next week for Whole Living week three we are supposed to add eggs and soy, but I’ve been reading up on soy, and I’ve decided to exclude it from my diet. I have a theory that much of my difficulty losing weight is due to hormonal issues, and soy is known to throw off hormones. I’m also trying to limit my exposure to hormone-altering chemicals as much as I can.

I’ve also been doing some research on the Slow Carb diet, as it is much like week one of Whole Living. I think the life-long eating plan I’m devising will be a mashup of Clean Eating and Slow Carb. I think I’ll call it the Slow Clean lifestyle.

It’s a big puzzle, and sometimes it seems like we can’t eat or touch anything at all if we want to be healthy! But I’m feeling hopeful, like I’m really unraveling something, and I’m not giving up this time.

❤ Diana Banana

juice cleanse: part one (days 1-4)

April 4, 2014

Greetings from the half-way point of the Juice Cleanse!

Things are going great… as well as expected, and then some. Let me bring you up to speed.

Day #1:

The first day is always exciting. Just the novelty of making such a dramatic shift keeps things fresh and interesting. But it’s also one of the harder days in terms of cravings, energy levels, and (by the evening) those nasty cleanse headaches. As you may remember, I did the Master Cleanse a while back, so I do have a point of reference for the physical sensations of a cleanse. Still, each cleanse experience is its own. The Juice Cleanse allows for more variety (but also requires more prep time!), which keeps it more interesting… and it immediately felt “right” knowing I was feeding my body real nutrients this time.

I started the first day off by going to my now normal Tuesday morning Zumba class with my friend Kelli. Zumba was a nice way to start the day (always is!); it gave me energy and put me in a good mood. Usually Kelli and I like to go get green smoothies after class, but this week I had to go straight home to make my first juice. As soon as I got home, my husband Sam and I made our juice together (did I mention that Sam jumped on the Juice Cleanse bandwagon?! So awesome!)

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First time using my new juicing cup from my juicing buddy, Kate!

The rest of the day went well. The juice always tastes better at the beginning, and I had fun experimenting with different juice recipes and flavor combinations as I worked from home (a nice luxury when you’re juicing).

In the evening, my little sister came over. When she got hungry, I made her some gluten free mac and cheese that I had bought for myself before the cleanse but didn’t get around to eating. She ate some of it and left the rest on the counter near the couch, right by where I was sitting. That was tough– mac and cheese is probably my favorite food, and knowing it was gluten free (i.e. made for me, right?!) made it seem wrong to tell myself I couldn’t have it anyway. But I made it… we threw it out and I moved on. (Lesson one: Just because it’s gluten free doesn’t mean it’s automatically good for me to eat!)

That night after Wynnie left, Sam and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, which is all about using the Juice Cleanse to lose weight, get rid of ailments, and get a fresh start. It really was a revelation. I saw how people farther off track than myself have the capacity to pick themselves up and make the change I’ve been slowly trying to make for years. It showed me that sometimes going quickly/head first can be the best way to ensure sustained motivation and change. It reminded me that there isn’t anything “wrong” with my body that can prevent me from getting to the weight I want. That part is huge. I think part of me has been walking around believing I can’t actually do this. But I can.

Day #2:

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Look at all of that juice…. yum?

The second day was the hardest so far. People usually say Day #3 is the worst, but for me it came early. I woke up foggy and not entirely functional, and then I had to prep and juice about a billion fruits/vegetables before work… and I started stressing out and slightly cut my finger, so Sam stepped in and kicked me off the juicer! That was my little freakout of the week. I feel like we are all allowed one freakout when cleansing 😉

That being said, Day #2 wasn’t all bad. I had to commute into work that day, but i actually love my commute. It’s a beautiful drive through the outskirts of the east bay and into the south bay; it’s peaceful, almost meditative. I noticed that I wasn’t interested in the stimulation of music on my drive, which is something I usually enjoy. Just my thoughts and me together on the road. I can see why the dude in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead took a road trip while juicing 🙂 In fact, I thought a lot about that movie during that drive, especially about issues of personal responsibility he touches upon in his interviews with strangers in the film. That’s when I had a moment of clarity in which I told myself, “I am a grown woman; this is my body and my responsibility.” And in realizing these kinds of things, I begin to realize all of the things that have been holding me back.

I have a lot of anger about weight-related prejudice and attitudes in America, and much of it is justified. But it’s not doing me any good to hold on to that anger and to let it carry the power and responsibility of my body’s fate. I’m taking back the baton.

That was one of the highlights of Day #2. The rest of the morning and the afternoon were rough… trying to concentrate at work with a pretty decent-sized detox headache was not easy, and then I ran out of juice (literally!) and had to commute back home feeling really hungry and odd.

Spending time with Sam that evening was another highlight. We felt like we were in some kind of altered state, and our bodies felt more sensitive and alive. We passed out at 9:30, which is unheard of for us! I slept for twelve peaceful hours.

Day #3:

Like I said, Day #3 is supposed to be the worst, but I woke up feeling wonderful. I got to work from home again, which was great, but the funny thing (which I somehow didn’t consider pre-cleanse) is that a big part of my job is formatting cookbooks!! Staring at recipes all afternoon generated cravings for things I never crave: rabbit stew, Guatemalan salad, veal in tuna sauce. Obscure meals felt so real I could almost taste them.

That night I went to visit my brother Jon, but I couldn’t stay long because I ran out of juice and was starving. He was eating a bean and cheese burrito and a pickle on the side, and I didn’t know which part of the meal I wanted more! I’ve been craving vegetables, oddly… I want to feel the crunch in my mouth and the fiber in my tummy.

I went to the store and bought more produce to juice…

Juicing supplies, mid-week

Juicing supplies, mid-week

…then I went home and went to bed early again.

Day #4:

That brings us to today. Today I’m really thankful that I have an exit strategy (the Whole Living plan). I’ve been fantasizing about all of the satisfying, healthy meals I can make during week 1. I am going to be so freaking grateful for real, wholesome food, even if it is a limited diet!

Today I do feel a little lightheaded but my ability to focus has returned and I also feel more energized… it feels like there is a stream of energy in my veins. Could it be all of these micronutrients, or is it a sign that my body is detoxing? Maybe this is the way we’re supposed to feel all the time! (minus the lightheadedness 😉 )

More soon!

❤ Diana Banana

checking in & looking ahead

March 28, 2014

I love that I created the Diana Banana Plan earlier this year because it gives me something to strive toward. It’s really a perfect plan for me, and it helps so much to see the landing strip ahead.

That said, I wasn’t able to sustain the plan when I jumped into it head first. I was amazed to notice how many of the foods I was eating–even after cutting out gluten and corn syrup a while ago–contained processed sugar and chemicals. Just cutting those ingredients is a big shift in and of itself, and that is my central focus for this year. Once I’m eating totally clean in the most basic sense (Method 1), then I can start cutting fats and carbs down to the kinds that are best for my body and spacing out my calories in smaller increments throughout the day (Method 2).

So, that’s the big picture.

In the short term, I’m gearing up for a juice cleanse with my dear friend Kate! This will be the kind of juice cleanse where your only food intake is freshly pressed juices from fresh, organic produce (of all kinds). We will be starting this exciting experiment on this coming Tuesday (April Fool’s Day 😛 … but I assure you we are serious!). We’re going to stock up on produce together, check in with each other, and keep each other motivated throughout the week. Then my plan is to transition off of the juice cleanse into the Whole Living food plan, which lasts for 21 days and weans you back on to “normal” food. It will serve as a reset button for my eating habits and help me clean out my system.

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If the juice cleanse goes well, Kate and I will be doing them every few months to keep getting rid of weight, toxins, and bad habits. I think this kind of cleanse will be even more rewarding than the Master Cleanse was… it seems like it will feel more nourishing in the moment. If you’re interested in doing a juice cleanse, there’s a ton of information & loads of recipes out there… check out books, websites, dedicated blogs, Pinterest, etc. Here is a simple FAQ for the basics, and here are some great tips.

I’ll keep you posted on the experience!

❤ Diana Banana

 

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