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21 April 2010

carry that weight.

lemon meringue pie I

I have been afraid of writing this.

This morning, at 4:45 in the morning, I lay awake in the bed in the dark grey light, Danny asleep beside me, Lu asleep in her room. I couldn't sleep for thinking what I might say in this piece, something I have been meaning to write for awhile, but could not. I need my sleep.

You see, it has been tougher in our lives in the last year than I have let on here. This site is about baking and the goodness of life and funny stories and loving each other and cooking with a darling kid and falling down and helping others and the work of a chef and different flours and saying yes to it all.

It has not felt like the right place to talk about terrifying life decisions, watching a baby in pain, living on the ragged edge of desolate sleep deprivation, worrying about cancer, taking a pill that saddens our lives into something we never expected, and coping with it all in old, familiar ways.

This is a site about food and the joy of it.

I have been eating too much food. And now I want to talk about it.

strawberry rhubarb pie II

We live in food around here. Danny and I talk about dinner, about dishes he might create, about the childhood memories of standing in the kitchen making dinner that Lu might have one day. For the past year, we have been cooking and baking on double time, testing and re-testing recipes for our cookbook. We have a darling toddler who loves to bake with me, and who is so active that she grows loudly grumpy if she doesn't eat every three hours. Between making breakfast and falling into bed, food is a huge, joyful part of our lives.

But it's hard to live a life of food, under the best of circumstances, and not put on weight. There's slurping and nibbling and licking off of fingers and tasting and going back for more. It's part of the job, part of the joy. With more mindfulness and rest, I might be able to do better at it. But this year? This year I have been a bit of a wreck.

It started a few months before Lu's surgery. Hell, it started 12 hours after her birth, when she stopped breathing beside me and was rushed to the ICU. I was strapped to the bed, because I had undergone a c-section that afternoon and the suffocating leg cuffs that help prevent blood clots were circling my calves. I watched them race our daughter away from us, then I saw the code-blue lights flashing and the trampling sound of what must have been a dozen doctors and nurses running toward her. I couldn't go to her. I thought she had died.

She lived. She lived in the ICU for a week, with a breathing tube and feeding tube in her. We couldn't hear her voice for a week. When she first fed, she got my milk through a syringe. Danny and I never left her side, unless the nurses ordered us to sleep on the single cot in the room. If we cuddled into each other, we each touched part of the cot, and the other part of us falling off. There wasn't much sleep. I didn't eat much, either. Food felt foreign to me, removed. I lost 30 pounds in 1o days. By the time we finally returned home, all my pre-pregnancy clothes fit.

I realize now that just screwed up my system for awhile.

We could breathe again. She was alive. She was going to be fine. But as we sat her in the kitchen in her little bouncing chair as we cooked recipes and wrote them down for the cookbook, ate rich dishes for breakfast lunch and dinner or we would never finish the manuscript in time, we knew there was this cloud hanging over us. Her surgery.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of this. She's fine now. But still.

Food tasted like a rich gift in those dark winter months. The cakes we developed were soft on my lips. The bread was so much better with a slather of butter. The dishes finished with sauces were so good that I kept going back for more.

Then, Lu stopped sleeping. She had started sleeping through the night when she was 10 weeks old, from 7 pm to 7 am. Every night. After the terrifying tumult we had been through after her birth, we figured we deserved it. Also, the first draft of the manuscript was due. Her sleeping allowed us to finish it.

Then she stopped. No matter what we tried, she cried piteously as soon as we lay her down in her crib. We lost more sleep every night. We couldn't figure out why.

After her surgery, her neurosurgeon told us that her brain was pressed so tight against her skull that it actually relaxed into space. She couldn't sleep because of the brain pressure. We didn't know that yet.

We moved to the island, a welcome moment but moving is always stressful. Just as the lilacs outside our bedroom window came into bloom, it was May. It was time.

It has been almost a year since Lu's surgery, thankfully. Back then, we didn't want to say what exactly happened. It was all too raw. But it might help one of you reading, if you are going through the same thing. So here it is.

She was born with a condition called craniosynostosis, which meant that the soft spots in the front of her head had already fused before she was born. This is what caused her breathing problems that propelled us into the ICU the night of her birth. Luckily, it was just a genetic anomaly, unaccompanied by anything else. But there was no room for her brain to grow, and without the surgery she would have suffered brain damage and blindness. The decision was easy. The dread of it was agony. They told us she would need to have this surgery when she was 11 days old, so we lived every day with her knowing this was coming.

In an 8-hour surgery, they lifted her skull bones off her head, re-sculpted them to be bigger and a better shape, fused them all together with space-age polymers, and put them back on her head.

We waited, barely breathing, until we could finally see her. She was alive.

Then we waited in the hospital with her, on duty by her bed and sleeping in a small cot again, until we could leave a week later. She didn't adjust well to her pain medication and we had to go back to the emergency room and stay another few nights. And then we all came home.

And then no one slept for another 1o months.

Lu woke up every hour, on the hour, all night long, every night, for 4 1/2 months. The doctors had warned us this might happen, but we didn't expect it to last this long. I don't know how we did it, thinking back on it. And even when she started sleeping for a bit longer of stretches, because we brought her into our bed to cuddle between us, so we could soothe her back to sleep quickly, she still didn't sleep that long.

For a solid year, I did not sleep for longer than 3 hours at a time. Not once.

There was a lot of pie for breakfast.


pie crust

Pie is comfort. Food became comfort again, instead of the singular joy of eating healthy and living in my body that it had been after my celiac diagnosis. In a time of crisis, I went back to old habits — eating without thinking, filling my mouth with sugar and carbs and dough for comfort, not paying attention. Hell, I couldn't pay attention to anything with much focus those days. I was just so tired. Danny was beat-down tired too, but I tend to hear Lu cry earlier than he does. In those days, she could only sleep if she was cuddled up against me, sometimes on my head. In the mornings, I walked like a zombie into the kitchen and grabbed a hot cup of coffee and whatever we had baked the day before. And then I kept eating, all through the day.

Everyone I know who has a toddler does this a bit. The kid leaves behind some scrambled eggs and you grab them and eat them instead of throwing them away. Spoonfuls of oatmeal, a cube of cheese, a handful of crackers — there was always food lying around. No good letting it go to waste, right? Throw dark-circles-under-the-eyes sleep deprivation to the mix and there's no counting how many bites went in without my thinking. I couldn't think about me or my weight or exercising (yeah right) when our baby was healing and we had to earn more money to pay rent and the edits of our cookbook were due. And god, I needed more sleep.

(Now I know that many studies show sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. "Women who skimped on sleep — getting five hours or less a night — were 15 percent more likely to become obese than women who got seven hours of sleep per night." Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life Sleep deprivation produces more cortisol, which makes more hunger and anxiety both.)

The summer meant lots of fresh vegetables and picnics with friends, slices of watermelon and huge salads. I was okay. As the fall descended, my diet went right into braises and breaded foods. I started to feel lousy about my health, my body, but I had to just keep going. I didn't have the time or energy to worry about me.

Just before Thanksgiving, I went in for my annual mammogram. With a breast-cancer-survivor mother (along with her three sisters), I don't play around with this. They had always been fine before. A suspicious set of mammograms led to a biopsy the day before Thanksgiving. Those results led to an MRI. That led to a more extensive surgical biopsy.

Around them all, I baked and baked and baked some more. If you made anything from this website for Thanksgiving or Christmas, just know that was from me turning fear into love through my hands. I had to think about someone else besides myself. I thought about you at home for the holidays, wanting cinnamon rolls.

I don't have breast cancer. But it took a lot of scary moments until we knew that for sure.

And then we weren't in the clear, after all.

Based on my family history, and what they found in the surgery, I'm officially in a high-risk category for developing breast cancer. In fact, I have a nearly 50% chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some point in my life. Nearly 50%. That's just too high.

My oncologist gave me a list of things I can do to minimize the risk. Not smoking. (I don't.) Not drinking (Danny quit after Lu was born, so I wasn't drinking much. Done now.) Exercising. Eating well. And going on Tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen is an estrogen inhibitor, given to women after they have survived breast cancer. It's also recommended for women who are at high risk. Taking it for five years can reduce the risk of developing cancer by nearly half.

Taking Tamoxifen also means you cannot be pregnant while you take it.

I'm 43. If I take the tamoxifen for 5 years, I will be 48. Taking that drug meant not being able to have more children.

We adore Lu. That's probably clear in everything I write. We also always hoped (and pretty much assumed) we would have two kids. We had the names picked out long before Lu was conceived. And now, we had this choice: take our chances and try for another or take the drug and let go of our expectations.

There was a lot of grieving in December and January. A lot of rugelach and graham crackers and homemade mayonnaise and World Peace cookies. A lot of comfort food. Danny and I both were bereft.

One day in January we were at the Children's Museum in Seattle for the birthday party of the son of dear friends. I went into the bathroom, still pretty raw with emotion. I saw this gaggle of girls, about four years old, gathered at the sink. They were elbowing each other for room, laughing and talking and discussing important matters. I stood and stared. I suddenly saw Lu at that age. I ran out to Danny, crying. "I don't want to miss it. I don't want to miss a minute."

I've been on the Tamoxifen for the last three months.

We let go.

In the midst of this, another doctor's appointment turned up worrying signs, enough that I was sent for a pelvic ultrasound to make sure I didn't have ovarian cancer. And just last week, after intestinal issues of some mysterious nature, I had a colonoscopy to make sure I didn't have colon cancer.

(This is, by the way, the hardest house to fast for two days in. Ay, the food everywhere.)

Luckily, I don't have either. This has been the year of Shauna not-having cancer. Thank goodness.

But shit, this has been hard.

All through it, we were working on our cookbook, even down to the last moment. And being the parents of a sweet, active little girl who grew healthier by the moment. She is healed now, completely. And finally, she is sleeping. For the past six weeks, Lu has slept from 7 pm to 6 am, with maybe a brief rising somewhere near midnight.

Finally, finally, this year is coming to an end.

And I haven't made a pie in awhile.

first halibut of the season, with sorrel sauce

It's spring again, the time of re-birth. With halibut and sorrel, quinoa and chard, everything feels more healthy in the world.

Me? I'm trying to change my habits, deliberately.

Last month, I started running. If you know me, you know that's pretty unexpected. I've always hated running — the knees, the bouncing of the boobs, the repetitiveness. But actually, I've always been scared of running. It just seemed like something I could never do.

My oncologist told me, directly: you must exercise. Every one of us should. "Daily exercise is the other pill you have to take. Studies have shown it has a much bigger effect on diminishing the risk of cancer than any diet. Do it." My other doctor told me that studies have shown that people with higher body mass index who exercise are in much better shape, and at lower risk of developing cancer and heart disease, than those with lower BMIs who don't move. I'm already in good health — my blood pressure is consistently ideal — but I could be healthier.

So I'm moving. I'm doing the Couch Potato to 5k program, walking and running in this gradual process, three times a week. To my utter surprise, I love it. I love leaving the house with the headphones on, walking down our street to see Mt. Rainier, being washed with the smell of lilacs by that one bush, then entering the forest trail to move my body. Our lives are busy. I work from home. I'm the mother of a toddler without any childcare. I don't have much time to myself. Feeling my feet on the dirt is one of the best parts of my day. Breaking a sweat and feeling the muscles in my legs grow strong makes me much happier than that second piece of cake ever could.

I once told a friend of mine: "I've realized that happiness is movement in the body and stillness in the mind." I'm learning it once again.

On the other days, I'm doing this Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred, which kicks my ass, but a little less every day. I'm doing some weight training, some yoga, some long walks. I just make sure to move for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. And the rest of the time, I'm running after a toddler.

Movement makes me feel alive. I'm moving.

pea shoots and fava bean seedlings

And I'm out in the garden every afternoon with Lu. That doesn't feel like exercise, but I'm moving my shoulders and bending my back and growing more limber by the day. There's a funny stubborn place when I'm not exercising, a place that makes it seem so impossibly hard to do. And then, when I start, that stubborn place softens, then disappears. I start to love it. And I wonder how I ever went without it.

We're growing some food in our garden. Those are the first pea shoots and fava bean seedlings I thinned yesterday. We've already planted lettuce and arugula, spinach, bush beans, carrots, red cabbage, chard, lacinato kale, tomatoes, summer squash, plus lots of herbs. We have plans for much more in May. Every morning, I go out to the garden to see what has risen. It's all green and growing. We'll be eating our share of vegetables, plus the raspberries from the 20 thriving canes along the fence. It will easier to eat healthier with this.

I've been very inspired by my friend Megan's piece about losing 25 pounds in one year, which she wrote on her blog Not Martha. She articulated how I feel about diets better than I could:

"The bits involving food slowly sorted out into simply eating in moderation. Previously I had tried low carb diets and counting calories or keeping track of what I'd eaten in a day. And you know what? All that being aware of food all day drove me crazy. The result was that I grew resentful and obsessive and felt hungry all the time. And then I would eat a whole bag of Doritos. So instead I decided to try to just not think about all that hard. I ate more carefully, more kale less Annie's Mac and Cheese, and smaller meals with more snacks. I started eating breakfast, something I'm not inclined towards, to keep my metabolism going. Slowly I learned how long it takes for me to get rid of sugar cravings (two weeks), and that bagged baby carrots make me ill, and that I really like farro and kale, and that a little bit of olive oil used to cook a meal makes it far more satisfying than when using one of those olive oil mister things. I cut down on sugar and white flour and beer and eventually started avoiding those things knowing that they would only make me hungry later. Apples and almonds and light Baybell cheeses are surprisingly satisfying snacks, a mug of green tea in the afternoon helps a lot. I ate more carefully during the week and less on the weekends."

Exactly.

I don't believe that it's any particular foods that make me gain weight. I have plenty of friends who love butter and bacon as much as me, and they are slender and fit. I'm still working on puff pastry and other baked goods. I'm not giving up on that, especially when I bake them for you. However, Danny's co-workers at the restaurant are going to have a steady stream of cookies and breads from now on. Three bites, maybe one slice, and then it leaves the house.

When I remember to put my fork down on the plate between bites, I feel a difference.

I'm still going to live in food. This is my passion, my joy, my shared work with Danny. I'm just trying to find a new relationship with food in this, a different way of being with it. I'm very much interested in reading Melissa Clark's book, The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever. I stayed away from it because of the title. (I will never be a size 2. I laughed out loud when a doctor told me a few years ago that I actually do have big bones.) But now that I look at it more closely, I see that she has written a guide for living a life of eating well and often while still being mindful.

It's being mindful that matters.

I've been inspired by this new book, written by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. It's a Buddhist approach to looking at how we eat, which really moves me, especially this compassionate passage:

"As you begin to look deeply into the roots of your weight problem, take care not to be harsh on yourself. The 'judge' inside your head often makes you feel abad about all the 'shoulds' — you should not have eaten that cheesecake, you should have spent more time at the gym. You may also be daunted by your past failures and struggles with weight. It is time to stop blaming yourself for these failures. Perhaps you were following the wrong advice. Perhaps you were able to lose some weight initially on one diet or another, but the diets were too restrictive, your cravings took hold, and you eventually gave up and gained the weight back. You are not separate from your family and environment. In the past you did not have enough of the right conditions supporting you to maintain a healthy weight."

I'm not going to say no to the self I am, or wish to remove parts of myself, or aim for some artificial goal. I haven't weighed myself once in the last month. I'm not interested in the numbers.

I know I am on the right path by the way my clothes fit, by what other people say, by how my body feels. This isn't about a goal for me, the endpoint when I can finally relax and say now I'm good enough. I'm here. Now.


smoked salmon chopped salad

My flickr friend, Lisa Moussalli, gave a beautiful interview to the incredible Jennifer Causey at Simply Photo. I was moved by everything Lisa said, but particularly this:

"I've spent a good bit of time in France, and something I certainly observe there is the importance of sitting while you eat, and of always making room at the table for guests. This starts with the early evening apéro – a drink and a snack and a time to regroup and relax at the end of a busy day – and continues with the meal and and then the cheese plate and then dessert and coffee or tea. Keeping slowness and welcome at the heart of eating is a simple and profound ethos, and it's one I try to practice."

I'm still going to be eating great food. I'm just going to try to do this more mindfully.

Lu's leftover scrambled eggs can go in the trash from now on.

she wants to touch the peas

She is the real reason I am doing this. She has endured some enormous suffering in her short life, and yet she is resilient, aware, and funny as hell. This kid is alive.

She also never stops moving. She climbs every surface, runs at full pace, dances at the first hint of music, and is all muscle and motion. She inspires me. I want to be as active as this kid. Little kids know how to live. I want to go back to that.

Mostly, though, I don't want to miss a minute of her life. I want to see her grow up. She's turning 2 in three months. (What?!) Given how quickly these two years have gone, I know that 2 will become 3, 3 become 6, 6 become 12, and 12 become graduating from college in about 14 seconds. I want to be limber for this. I want to be here as long as I can.

In the past, when I tried to lose weight, I thought the pounds were the point. I hated my life. I wanted something more. I believed I could never be okay at that weight.

Now, for the first time, I'm not trying to change anything about me or my life. Danny adores me, wherever I am. But he wants me around for a long time too. In these past five years since I stopped eating gluten, I have learned more and more, in ever widening circles, about where my food comes from and what works for my body. This time, I'm listening to it.

I love my life. I just want to walk through it more lightly.


at the Oro Valley farmers' market

You may be wondering why I have told you all this. Well, for one, I would like you to know this: if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, "Wow, she's really let herself go," just remember that there is always a story behind it.

Also, something has not been sitting well in my stomach these past few months, not writing about all this. I did what I could. It was all too raw at first. But this space is a haven, for me, for some of you. A place of laughter, yes. But also a place of sharing our stories and learning from each other.

Our lives have not been as idyllic as they might have seemed. They have been hard. They have also been beautiful.

Telling you is telling me. I've been able to hide from myself. I'm always the one behind the camera. When I saw photos of myself on friends' blogs, I cringed and did a dozen sit-ups immediately. But with all this grieving and too much to process, I dove right back into my old habits.

For years, I have felt an affinity with this quote from Mark Doty, a brilliant American poet:

"I don't exactly feel that this openness has been a choice, although of course on some less-than-conscious level it must be. Rather it feels to me as if it's simply the course my life has taken, beginning in the early eighties with the process of coming out. I felt then a great thirst for directness, an imperative to find language with which to be direct to myself, which is of course the result of having been, like many young gay men, divided from my self, from the authentic character of my desire. I felt I had to hide for years! And the result of that for me, once I began to break through the dissembling, was a thirst for the genuine."

The thirst for the genuine. That's why I am sharing this.

Finally, if just one of you reads this and hears something of yourself, I hope it helps.

452 Comments:

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Margarita said...

That was beautifully written, it brought a tear to my eye. I've been there, in certain ways at least, and I've just recently started a diet regime and am trying to get into excercise, if not only for my daughter but for myself. I've been depressed and back, eating as a form of comfort, which I obviously knew but didn't care enough to stop. My heart goes out to you. Just keep hanging on, and thank you for the book suggestion :)
http://www.margaritareczek.com

 
At 12:14 AM, Blogger Ruth McKenna said...

Shauna, I have read your posts for over a year and loved every single one. I often wondered how you managed to write so beautifully, always...and sometimes your posts kept me smiling when I was out of work, our of love and out of money. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, even now as I sit here typing this there are tears running down my face. I am so glad that you are in the clear, and I send you love and health for this new year.
Ruth, Dublin Ireland

 
At 12:25 AM, Blogger Jones said...

My mother was a chef, and growing up, she always used "comfort"food to express her love for her family. Every vegetable was sauteed in a half cup of butter; every grain was doused in olive oil; and every slice of pie was accompanied by a double scoop of haagen daz, whether you asked for it or not. Seconds were encouraged.

At 24, I am only now learning to eat in a way that honors the emotional significance of food, but is also mindful of my actual nutritional needs. Your daughter will only benefit from your good example.

Honestly, I've always wondered whether my favorite food bloggers have trouble with this issue, and I really appreciate you putting it out in the open.

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger Valentina Vitols said...

Lovely to see this on writing. You're a rock, woman! There's a say in Spanish that translates "God will give you cold but he'll give you a blanket as well". Some times it's hard, but at the end, all is good. Very good. And warm!

It's great to hear Miss Lu is healthy, happy and always running around. And it's good to see you "running" towards a more healthy life. It's a decision always tought to execute. But I find those to be the best because the results are so enjoyable it's ridiculous. Like you said, maybe the goal is not the size 2 little black dress, but that lovely size 8 sundress, lots of energy, strength and a big smile.

A system of support is always wonderful, too. Count me in on that one.

XO

 
At 12:31 AM, Blogger Tami Hagglund said...

It takes a lot of courage to be that vulnerable- thank you for sharing, Shauna.

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger Marg said...

Thank you.

 
At 12:55 AM, Blogger MargieAnne said...

Hi. I've been reading your Journal for about a year. Thank-you for being so honest about your difficult years. You have held together most excellently well.

I'm glad you are finding a way to look after yourself, your health, in more general terms.

I know it's no consolation to say this but most women who have been through all that you have would either have gained weight or become terribly thin. I guess I wrote that because I don't want you to feel shame or guilt or be angry with yourself.

It looks to me as though at the first opportune moment you have taken control.

It takes discipline at the best of times and I guess you have that in spades. I'm so glad I don't have to resist all your wonderful baking. *smile*.

Best wishes to you 3.

 
At 12:55 AM, OpenID durdlin said...

Thank you.

 
At 1:12 AM, Blogger HannahHandpainted said...

Shauna,

Thank you for writing this. Firstly I want to give you a big old hug, even though you don't know me.

I'm a mother of a child with seizures, sensory problems and sleep issues. I have also gained a boatload of weight in the past couple of years due to stress and self-neglect.

I have been feeling like utter crap lately and your post did indeed remind me of this. I am thinking I should go to the doctor just to make sure nothing worse is wrong, but I admit I'm nervous. But it's still better to know, and to be involved in your health than not.

As you said, we have daughters that need us (and we need them). I have also always thought I would have a second child, but I'm not so sure now.

It's 2am and I really should get to sleep but I'm glad that I saw and read your post.

Much love to you,
Hannah

 
At 1:23 AM, Anonymous meg said...

Beautiful raw & real post! Thanks for sharing your vulnerability with us!

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Miss Welcome said...

Bravo. I cried during some of this, it hits home so so well. I live in France, but have still managed to become obese (anti-depressants, poor eating habits, 3 kids). I had a similar experience to you with my daughter at birth (me in the leg cuffs from pre-eclampsia) and my daughter rushed to NICU from not breathing. The ending was easier for us. But I, too, had 2 boys that often woke up every 45 minutes for up to a year.

Just yesterday I tried simply to add in more fruits and vegetables so I'm going to keep doing that. For me, it's not cancer - it's heart. And I never thought I'd be in this place.

Thanks for writing all of that.

 
At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You're so right, it isn't about the weight, it's about living now!

 
At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Jenn said...

Shauna, you pour your heart and soul into everything you do. Sharing this, your hardships, your love, causes all of us who read to reflect on ourselves. The act of just sharing your story makes me want to improve myself; it's so fundamentally inspiring, and I cannot even imagine myself enduring half of the stresses you have gone through or the burdens you have had to bear. It's so amazing to see that nothing, absolutely nothing, gets you down, and even when you see something you wish to change, you are so completely proactive about it.

I wish I could be just a fraction as motivated as you are, for I too have been comforted by food entirely too much. For me, food is the consistent and familiar in a world where everything is new and different, my dear darling husband is my only friend here and while I love where our lives have taken us, I am incredibly and incessantly homesick. When home is literally thousands of miles away, I can bring just a little bit of it across the ocean and into my apt by cooking - even in something as simple as pancakes - and well, my waist too has suffered a bit for it.

I have given myself many reasons (not excuses, but reasons!) for why I have not been exercising - from pain to sleep deprivation to work (all of which valid in their own right) - but full of merit they may be, my body still suffers.

I've done 30DS, it's tough! I may have to go back to it and also try C25K, I have heard so many great things. 3 years ago I was running 4-5 miles every day. In fact, my day wasn't complete if I didn't get in a run. Then somewhere along the way life and its craziness took over and I lost the comfort I found in running - and instead found it in pasta, bacon, and butter. Not that I could ever give up or stop enjoying those things, but I need to find pleasure in exercise again. After reading your post, maybe now is that time to start.

I haven't even started yet and already I don't know how to thank you enough.

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger Tanya said...

Thank you Shauna. For honesty and realness. It has helped.

 
At 1:54 AM, Blogger Κάθαρσις said...

A wonderful post, heartfelt and, most importantly, truthful. We all live double lives, not because we are bad or hiding something bad, but because we are not just one person. We are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, lovers......And we can be sick or our precious ones can be seriously ill. I shall think of Lu (she is so lovely and sweet) and of you. My sister is, barely, a breast cancer survivor and it was hard. Still I take days as they come, que sara, sara (like a song). About the weight: start eating what your doctor has recommended, and soon all unwanted weight will simply disappear, I promise you. Diet is a very big part of the cancer prevention. Huggs and regards.

 
At 2:54 AM, Blogger DweezelJazz said...

I have often thought how hard you must work and how difficult things might be in these last couple years and have been wishing you and your lovely family well.

Thank you for this post. I read your blog because you are genuine. It takes tremendous courage and effort to open up to life, to be honest with ourselves, and to reach out to others. Thank you for sharing; it gives me hope and yes it helps.

 
At 2:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was severely sleep deprived for 9 years until I crashed. And then I slept. 7 years later, I'm almost better. Eating well, exercising and sleeping. I felt like crying when I read that you were able to sleep again. Bless you as you as you recover.

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger Poet said...

Long time reader, first time commenter, probably.

Wow, Shauna. What can I say? Ever since the first time I read your blog in 2007 and went through every single recipe and cooked up my first lemon and rosemary roast chicken, I've been hooked ever since.

Your story about you and the Chef captured and enticed me and the struggles that you went through with Lu was heartbreaking to read.

I had always thought that you seemed so joyous, so happy, so alive on your blog. You blogged about such happy events, such wonderful and amazing things that when my friend and I who read and discuss your blog talk about you, we talk about how wonderful it must be to live your life. However, like you said, you don't write about such things in your blog. And that's probably why your "life" seems sooo....blissful. A successful writer, living your dream of spreading the word about being gluten free, the wonders of the Chef and Lu, as much as you have suffered, you are indeed blessed, Shauna. As much as you have endured the pain and the aches and the heartbreaks of all the bad things that have happened, you are so wonderfully fortunate to have all this amazing support and love from your family, your friends and your online readers.

I admire your honesty and your consistency to focus on the positive things in life and I think it just goes to show that its all about what you focus on, whether good or bad, that makes life worth or not worth living for.

Thank you, Shauna, for the joy and the happiness that you share on this blog. I wish you, the Chef, and Lu all the best and God bless you.

Regards
Paul

 
At 3:04 AM, Anonymous Siv in Sweden said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I´m glad to know that all of you are ok. I recoginze my self in what you write about eating..... I lost my job in december and I struggle to get a new one. Since december I´ve been eating and eating. You inspire me to start exercise again - I cant blame the weather, the workload, all my trips. Try to reduce my worry and do something constructive instead. But I will never ever give upp baking and cooking!

 
At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Finally, if just one of you reads this and hears something of yourself, I hope it helps.'

It helps. Shauna, thank you for having the courage to write this. Isn't it terrible how food, which is supposed to nourish and sustain us, which can bring us so much joy, can turn into little bites of resentment and regret? I too have used food as a security blanket, honestly for most of my life but especially in the last year while undergoing infertility treatments. It's been so easy to just let go and give in to the comfort of chocolate cake, or yeasty bread, or that bag of Doritos--to tell myself that I'll eat better tomorrow. I've been unhappy with myself for a while, and these last few days it has come to a head. Reading your blog post has just given me more confirmation that change is possible, that I can get through this. Thank you for opening your life, for sharing your pain along with your triumphs. You have been more inspirational than I think you know.

 
At 3:23 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Thank yu for sharing all this. I'm glad that so much of the anguish over the past year has had a happy ending. I know the feelings when your body seems to be betraying you.
I struggle with obesity because my health problems prevent me getting enough exercise, and that feels bad, especially as I love my food. I eat healthily but with enthusiasm,and I don't burn it off.
You are inspiring me to eat things I miss through your blog, and hopefully you'll inspire me in managing to get more active. God bless you all three and may the sleep continue for you. Thank you again.
BTW, some of the flours you use, like tapioca, is incredibly hard to source in the UK. One day maybe we can talk about this some more, how I can best use what I can find to use.

 
At 3:29 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

Thank you for writing that. It really resonates with me.

 
At 3:29 AM, Anonymous Corliss said...

Your post meant a lot
Thank you :)

 
At 3:34 AM, Blogger MJ said...

I would wrap you in a hug if I could. (perhaps Danny and Lu would oblige) Blessings on you for your honesty, which will surely help others. There's so much I would want to say to you, but can't find words right now. Know that what you've written will touch and enlighten people, and lodge in them and change them.

 
At 3:43 AM, Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

I so much appreciate the honesty, Shauna. It takes your blog to a deeper level.

And about it being a food blog and not wanting to mix in surgeries and illness and body image: don't we all, each and every food lover, know that food IS life? To separate food out from the rest of life trivializes food, no? Food needs to be real, authentic, and wholesome in the big sense. It is life itself, tying in with EVERYTHING we do and are.

Congratulations on making this a REAL food blog.

Hugs.

 
At 3:47 AM, Blogger anna said...

Your story moved me deeply, and it came at just the right time. Last night I found myself watching something on hulu after a long, long day, a story before bedtime, and for the umpeenth time a commercial about cervical cancer came on. And I just burst into tears. I guess it was just the last straw.

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer last fall. I had surgery, it was all removed, but I was so scared. I was only 29, I want to have children someday, I want to be active and crazy and in love with the world. And with my mom by me the whole time, and afterward, the doctor telling me I still would be able to have children - something big and cold inside me unlocked.

Funny, my fear was less about death, more about not being able to have a child, and not being able to live fully. But coming through, there's still a grieving, but also a commitment and a will that now drives me more than over toward what is true and good for my life, making decisions with a wider lens.

Thank you so much for sharing. It's exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. Thank you for reinforcing.

Anna
Earth Kind Herbal learning blog
The Purple House blog

 
At 3:47 AM, Blogger Amanda Acton said...

I have carried excess weight my whole life. I could never stick to a diet or exercise plan, always just fell to pieces. Then, I had a rough year, some crazy nervous breakdown and started to look deeper. For the first time, I was able to look at the emotional reasons behind my weight issues. 10kg slid off like hot butter. Now I know that might not sound like a lot, but I'm a pint sized individual. I am supposed to weigh under 50. 10kg's is more than a fifth of my body. That's a big number.

Good luck to you. Once you know the why and you understand your reasons for needing to loose it, the process is much easier. You're relaxed about it, no longer pressurized.

 
At 3:48 AM, Blogger muffinmoon said...

Blimey, Shauna, talk about making me say yes, yes yes and then blub into my hankie. You have been deep in the trenches and have done a fantastic job. I, too, know the pain of facing having just one child when I had imagined two or three. BUT life teaches us acceptence. Small children live so much in the moment that we can learn a great deal from them too. And I am so happy that Lu is sleeping well. Could she give my boy, Frank, some pointers about not running in a 5:30 saying "I'm a digger!" and proceeding to make loud construction noises.
Pass ME the pie ... oh, and the builder's tea...

 
At 3:53 AM, Blogger Theresa said...

I cried when I read your post.
I can't add anything else without sounding cheesy. I think the struggles you've been through are unimaginable and I really admire you and your husband for working through them and coming out sane and strong.
God bless you, and I pray that this year and many, many more have no big dramas for you!

 
At 3:55 AM, Blogger Nina said...

Thank you. Hearing about your journey has inspired me to be more compassionate with myself. (And I just took a long deep breath as I reviewed my little comment -- it felt amazing.)

 
At 3:59 AM, Blogger Birdie said...

Dear Shauna, what a post! First of all, thank you for sharing and most importantly I'm very very happy for Lu and you being ok. Kids have a huge capacity to recover.And as I write this I'm hoping for my son as well who has been injured by a greedy doctor who performed our birth. I know all about being scared to death for your child; I know all about watching your child in pain. I know all about how it feels when you have to make a peace with the fact that you might not have another child (a different story for me but the feeling is the same I believe). I know all about sleepless nights (2 years - I don't know how we made it :-) Don't worry about the extra weight; the most important thing is that you are taking steps to live a healthy happy life :-) Breath in and out. Step by step. The most important thing is that Lu and you are well!! Love to you and your lovely family!

 
At 4:01 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I had gained an unexpected amount of weight due to thyroid issues in the past year, and I've also been struggling (through diet and exercise) to get back to a healthy BMI and weight. Then I was hit with the news that I was gluten intolerant and needed to go on a gluten-free diet. Do you know what I did? I ate foods that I'd previously avoided...unhealthy foods...just because I COULD. Because they were gluten-free. Deprivation of something is a very difficult thing. I am hanging on to that wagon of exercise and healthy eating, but I've fallen off. I hope to be able to get back on board soon. I have tasted the joy of feeling good when I can fit in my "old jeans" and when I get a compliment from a friend, "have you lost weight?" Thank you for your inspiration.

 
At 4:03 AM, Blogger Sue-Ann said...

Thank you for your frankness. Everybody, absolutely everybody, has their private pain. Merging pain and joy, being able to hold both of them at the same time (Keats' negative capability) is the daily challenge.
And if you haven't been, it's still not too late to "wear" Lu in a babysling - I carried my (only ever child) until she was over three years old.

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger שלומית נאור said...

I admire you.

(cannot finf the right words)

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger Kay said...

Yes, A lot of it resonate within me!

A huge hug to you, Shauna! You can do it!

 
At 4:18 AM, Blogger Jessmeca said...

Thank you.

You are a very brave and wonderful woman with an equally brave and wonderful family.

I am learning so many things with and through you.

I am grateful, and i hope many others are as well.

Much love and may your future be allot more settled and idyllic for you.

xxxooo
Love Light & Reiki

 
At 4:23 AM, Blogger L Vanel said...

So many elements of this ring true for me, thank you Shauna. Over the years my blog has been a positive meditation and a kind of charm against many of the sad discoveries we've dealt with. My heart aches anew for you now. I understand the feeling of loss you have at having to make that decision. Let's keep running.

 
At 4:44 AM, Blogger Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

I am so sorry for all the hurt and pain (with no sleep) you've been through these past few years.

You are a huge encouragement to me.
What an amazing post,
Sarah M

 
At 4:47 AM, Blogger Suzann said...

Your words truly did encourage me to move on.
Thank you.

 
At 4:48 AM, Blogger toasted said...

Thirst for the genuine? - your words quench.

I've known such sleep deprivation, and a touch of fear for the wellbeing of my child. Your words spoke to me, for me.

I haven't known such depths to the fears you've had though. You have indeed soldiered through emotional assault day after day. You are amazing (even when you felt you weren't!)

My love goes to you even though I don't really know where you are - I'm sure it will find you.

xx

 
At 4:48 AM, OpenID meanderingpathtoself said...

Thank you so much for sharing a bit of yourself with us. The way that you consciously choose to venerate the light and happiness of the world, while understanding that it cannot exist without the darkness and uncertainty is inspiring. Your posts are candid and individual. I have struggled with the idea of why and how I eat for some years now, and am finally letting go of the idea of consuming to suppress panic. Lately I've been remembering to honor food. To sit down when I eat it, like I did with my family every night growing up. Reading this blog has certainly helped: the beautiful pictures, the beautiful, local produce, and all those baked goods certainly deserve a little reverence. I run everyday and love it. There is nothing that can fill the void of eating deliberately, spending time with yourself and using your body to its fullest potential. It is the feeling of being alive.

 
At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time commenter here, but have enjoyed your blog for a long time!
Thank you for sharing your story so openly. You are a strong woman and I am absolutely certain you will accomplish what you set out to do. I'm cheering you on from the East Coast!!
- Kathleen

 
At 4:59 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Oh Shauna. What an incredible lot you've gone through. And still to be finding the joy (and making the food). It's amazing.

Never a truer word was spoken, too, than when you write "if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, "Wow, she's really let herself go," just remember that there is always a story behind it."

My past year has not been as multi-faceted as yours, but yeah, my heaviness has a story to it, and it's not an easy one to talk about. I'm trying, like you are, to move more, to reclaim a fully functional and healthy body so that I can be here to raise my three daughters and see them grow. Sometimes it's hard to see the way through exhausted eyes. But I will keep going, because I need to.

And so for me, this is inspirational. Because it is real, and because you are you. So thank you. Just, thank you. For sharing it with us.

 
At 5:00 AM, Blogger Fiona said...

Wow - what a rollercoaster ride, Shauna. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us - it puts other problems in perspective. I, too, have been battling health problems over the winter that have lead to weight gain, so much of this resonated with me ... I'm trying to get back on track and take control of my health and life.

All the best to you and your family.

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Hi Shauna - I a reader, but normally not a commenter. Just want to say I am so happy to hear your daughter, mom and you are all doing well. It sounds like you have an amazing new perspective on eating and how you're going to go about getting to where you feel comfortable. I can't wait to read your blog post in a year from now describing the changes you see in your body from the small changes your making in your life - I'm that confident you will see change :)

 
At 5:08 AM, Blogger Stargirl said...

Thank you for writing this. It was truly beautiful to read and something that I think I will come back to, often. I can't imagine the struggles you have endured this year (and the cancer scares- oh my!), but your words did speak to me and remind me. They reminded me that I still need to take care of myself if I wish to take care of anyone else. If I want to see my little grow, then I must make an effort to grow myself. Thank you for your wonderful words and for sharing.

 
At 5:09 AM, Anonymous carol said...

what a beautiful & genuine piece from the heart..thank you so much for sharing your life behind the scenes as it has been soooo much more than just the edible bites you have created each week here...truly in awe of how much you guys have accomplished in this year! first, i'm so happy for you that you are cancer-free! WHEW!! second, cheers to you & danny for making the decision to let go...not at all an easy one to make, and i'm happy for Lu too! third, WAY TO GO with your new healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise & movement!! you ARE figuring it all out, you are listening to your body, and you're feeling the difference...keep on doing what feels good & right, trust your gut, and listen to your body...and every moment do as you already do, live, love & laugh with danny & lu !

cheering you on from holland!

 
At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Marilou said...

Shauna, you consistently amaze me with your tremendous resilience and ability to continually see the joys of life despite the hardships that bump up against you. You are amazing. Little Lu is incredibly lucky to have parents like you and Danny. Thank you for your frankness and humour; you never cease to inspire your readers with your posts.

 
At 5:25 AM, Blogger Krys72599 said...

When I started to read this I was thinking, "Ah, NOW I'll go back on my diet and start exercising. If Shauna is carrying a few extra pounds and she eats healthy foods, I must be REALLY carrying too much unhealthy weight."
Then I realized this post wasn't about ME. It was about YOU. And Danny. And Lu.
And THEN I realized that reading about YOU WAS about ME! I've been going through some non-life-threatening medical issues but disregarding the most important one of all: I must lose weight to be healthy. I am going to be 50 in December. If I don't start now, I will be overweight and not as healthy as I should be FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. And my life will not be as long as it could be.
I'm not obese. I'm carrying an extra 20, 25 pounds. But those 20, 25 pounds are heck on my knee, my hips (I was blaming early onset osteoarthritis) - I must lose weight.
I'm going down to the cafeteria right now. For fruit. NOT for eggs and cheese on a wrap.
Thanks for the kickstart, Shauna.
And thank God for helping you and yours!!!

 
At 5:26 AM, Blogger Kelly and Kelly said...

I love your honesty. And your beautiful words (as usual). Best wishes for you as you begin this new journey.

 
At 5:42 AM, Blogger Em said...

Thank you. That was exactly what I needed this morning. Reading your blog has been such a blessing to me over the years.

 
At 5:44 AM, Anonymous the Rebbetzin said...

really beautiful and heartfelt. may blessings abound for all of you.

 
At 5:47 AM, Blogger Heather said...

wow, i'm so glad you wrote that. i know you feel so much better getting it all out in the open. i'm so sorry you have gone through so much in the last couple years. i will be sending prayers your way for better times ahead!

 
At 5:48 AM, Blogger Yvonne said...

I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and I've even gone back to read every single post since the beginning because I find your writing so honest and heart warming. I love hearing about your life, and it's been inspiring to read about you falling in love. I can honestly say though, that this post has touched me the most. Thanks for sharing.

 
At 5:51 AM, Blogger Claire Mauksch said...

the beauty of what you just wrote is astounding, and what's more, SO easy to connect to! thank you for taking the time, and the risk, and the chance, to share.

 
At 5:55 AM, Blogger Helen said...

This was a wonderful post, I so enjoyed reading it. My friend's little girl was born with the same condition as little Lu and, thankfully, she's now totally healed too.

I gained a lot of weight during the last year, mainly out of heartbreak after the love of my life left me. I joined Slimming World in January and have lost 26 pounds since then. It's not a restrictive diet, it just encourages healthy eating. Plus I've started running too and am also surprised by how much I love it!

Thankyou for writing this xx

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Eileen said...

Thank you. As another survivor of life in general, I know just writing this must have lifted a big weight off you! Fly like the wind...

 
At 5:57 AM, Blogger Pepper Blossom said...

thank you...more than you know, thank you for this.

 
At 6:06 AM, Blogger dmoms said...

extremely powerful. thanks for writing your journey.

 
At 6:08 AM, Blogger Kristin Glasbergen said...

Mindfully is a great word. It is something I struggle with too, ultimately it's not worth missing out on great opportunities by doing it otherwise.
I can not imagine how terrifing to see your 11 day old baby in surgery.
Sleep deprivation does terrible things. I believe in being a 24hr/day parent, sounds like you do too. Sometimes that keeps you up. It is hard to remember to take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your family. A lesson I am learning everyday.

 
At 6:08 AM, Blogger Angela said...

Well said. I can tell you wrote from the heart and it is something many of us deal with. Food is everywhere now days and it is so easy to medicate with it. We all need to take a step back now and then.

 
At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Sho said...

Shauna,

I carefully read every word of your post. I know this sounds cliche, but I could really relate to so much of what you said.

You really should pat yourself on the back for making it this far in such good shape. You may have gained weight, but you are not morbidly obese. You are doing a great job at excercising. It is great that you are eating in moderation instead of tabooing foods from your home.

It sounds like you are developing a very healthy relatioship with food and excercise. You are evolving. You are growing.

That is one thing about your site I have noticed. You are always learning and growing. That is what makes your posts so moving, along with your wonderful writing, of course.

Just because you shared here does not mean that you are unable to say "Yes!" Think of yourself as an olympic runner. Do they say "Yes" as they are struggling to jump over hurdles? I bet they say "yes" after they jump each hurdle or at the finish line.

In time, you will be saying more yesses.

Take care,

Shoshannah

 
At 6:23 AM, Blogger Ann said...

I had my only child too at 41. She was always healthy and still is. Thanks for sharing all this Shauna, it's relevant to me in many ways.

One extension to the point about 'she's let herself go' - one time I read this: Sometimes, when you see someone 'letting herself go', it's often when she is just hanging on for dear life. And as you say, we don't know the whole story. Compassion is what's needed for ourselves and each other.
Thank you Shauna for all your work and for your insights, and for sharing your life.

 
At 6:23 AM, Blogger Geekgrl64 said...

Thank you Shauna. It helps.

 
At 6:23 AM, Blogger Navigating the Mothership said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this.

 
At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Ina said...

Shauna - what a beautiful post....so incredibly heartfelt! Thank God we have the good days to help us get through some of the most challenging days! My heart goes out to your family, blessings to you all, Ina

 
At 6:30 AM, Blogger gfnoor said...

Hi Shauna!

I've been reading your blog for the better part of a year now, and enjoyed your openness,and honesty.I't comforting to know that you and your princess are better.

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger Sholeh said...

Thank you for sharing this. Sending good vibes and prayers your way!

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger Sirena said...

Shauna,
I have not even finished your entry and felt compelled to just stop and comment. I am so excited for you and proud for you! I know that life involves so many difficult choices and that none of us can presume to comprehend others' choices - it's hard enough to understand our own. But GOOD LUCK to you and Danny, and I wish you a year filled with health, energy, and a very long and thriving life with your beautiful family! Good luck on this journey. I'm trying to live a healthier, lighter life too as we prepare to start our own family so, yet again, you have served as a huge inspiration to me. Snif!

 
At 6:34 AM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

Darling Shauna, I've felt like you were family for years now...but this post. It was straight from your heart to mine. Thank you for this gift and sharing your journey. It's been the roughest kind of year a person can have, and am so HAPPY that you all made it through, and are looking out on the other side at the wide, bright future before you.

I lost 40lbs after my celiac diagnosis, and then gained 60lb back 2 years later in my own year of personal hell and crisis. I did exactly what you did to cope - hid out in the kitchen creating and caring for everyone but myself. And you know what - I don't resent those 60lbs or the photos of myself, because I got through. So did you. Those were my warrior's pounds, and when I no longer needed them, I was able to cast them aside. And you are doing the same. That armor no longer serves you. Time to shed the cocoon like the butterflies do.

I'm also in the same camp as you with 50% chance of developing breast cancer. I know that wrenching decision too. But the result in a long life without cancer with Danny & Lu...that's the real gift.

I'll also say, that in losing those 60lbs, I ate homemade ice cream every single day. A healthy life does not mean giving up the things you love - as you know. I just eat that ice cream in a very small dish. Just as satisfying. I do track what I'm eating and working out on dailyburn.com, and dailymile.com...I now like to include nutritional info in my posts, so that I stay mindful of portion size for myself, and I love the community of support on both sites. They keep me jogging/biking and feeling positive about my progress even when I don't want to get out there.

Thank you for sharing your personal story. We're all family here.

 
At 6:35 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

Thank you for sharing. This was beautiful and honest and clear. It is so hard for sometimes to really get clear and be open about my relationship to food and stress and how I judge myself so much that I forget to just live. You inspire me.

 
At 6:44 AM, Blogger Sizzle said...

Thank you for your bravery in sharing this struggle...and the beauty you find in life. It is truly inspiring.

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger Gemma said...

Shauna - Having read this twice now I keep trying to write a comment and failing to put my thoughts into words so I will need to leave it at this, thank you for writing this post, it truly resonated with me and I am so very glad that Lu is well.

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

I am yet another reader who was brought to tears by this post. Thank you for having the courage to share with us, because it isn't always easy. I hope that this will inspire some of us into making healthier choices for the RIGHT reasons.

Stay brave and stay strong, we are all cheering for you!

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger Danielle said...

"Our lives have not been as idyllic as they might have seemed. They have been hard. They have also been beautiful."

This is what I am always trying to remember.

 
At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Tracey Mardon said...

Shauna,you've given so many so much, we all just want to wrap you up and make the challenges go away but you're doing exactly what you need to do. Running which you've found is play and invigorating. 30 min a day is a great thought, like a little gift. I was listening to an interview yesterday with Isabelle Allende and she had such terrible gut problems they thought she had cancer but tests showed nothing. Her husband said he thought that it was "the book", that when it was done it would go away and it did. Our bodies find ways to tell us when they are stressed. You're listening and doing, bravo!
65 wonderful hugs before me shows how much good you've put out there.
All the best, Tracey

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Shauna, I have two kids, lived sleep deprived for months. My daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was three, one day I couldn't remember the movie I had just seen the night before, it was all gone. My kids were healthy, thanks goodness, but my son was hospitalized twice because of asthma, I spend many nights next to him giving him asthma treatments. My mother in law died of cancer, it was brutal. I know where you have been, I know your pain, and I know how food makes you feel better. I always joke that chocolate is my drug of choice. I am 15-20 lb overweight, was out of work for 18 months, and I didn't exercise for a year (!). Winter is always depressing to me since I am an outdoor person so I always pack pounds then, and if I don't lose them in the summer I am stuck. As a pastry chef I always have something sweet in the house, always testing recipes. I have done weight watchers three times, and trying it again now, with mixed results. Like you, I get tired of thinking food all the time, so I am trying to exercise, eat when I am hungry, and fill my tummy with vegetables. I loved that you poured your heart out here, and so eloquently, I bet you will only get more support because we all have something we are struggling with and we all understand. I am happy for you, for the fact that you decided that you had enough, that you started moving, your body already feels better and your mind will feel that too.

Big hugs to you, Danny, and Lulu. She is really lucky to have you as her mother.

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger Therese said...

I can barely comment on the depth of this post. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months, it always seems to calm me down and inspire me. This was no different. Your strength, resiliance, determination and humbleness astounds me. Always.

I've lost 90lbs (of about 120) and your words speak to me on so many levels. I've been successful this time (as opposed to all the other attempts) because this time I'm just living my life. I move more and am more mindful of what I'm eating, how it's made and where it comes from. In fact, I love food more now than before because I'm paying attention.

But every once in a while the numbers can get to me. Thank you for reminding me of the reason I began this in the first place. To live longer, healthier and happier.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger erika said...

Thank you - your writing is always so positive and inspirational. It makes me smile. I appreciate it even more now that I know you have had challenges over the last year. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the crap - but it is always a nice break to come here and relax. Thank you for creating a little electronic getaway.

Thank you also for being so honest. It really helps to know that other people go through the same things - to hear how they lived through it, how it made them stronger, how they never gave up. Thank you a million times over. Lu has one special Mom!

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger lilmissjen said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You've been an inspiration to me as I've struggled with my celiac. What a beautifully-written piece - it's nice to see that the people we look up to are human, after all.

Thank you!

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admire (and aspire to) your life - the island, the love, the laughter, the cooking. To that, I now add wisdom, courage and commitment.

Thank you for sharing.

AnnB

 
At 7:20 AM, Blogger Kirephene said...

Thanks for your honesty. My mom has had great success with Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. She's lost a good chunk of weight and really gotten to the bottom of the feelings behind her eating. The program has helped her grow as a person as well. I highly recommend it. http://www.foodaddicts.org/

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger FridaWrites said...

It sounds like you did what you needed to in order to survive a very difficult time. Not only does sleep loss lead to weight gain (not just the cortisol, but eating to physically survive sleep deprivation), but food does release endorphins. I find that food really does work as excellent pain relief--when I was still working--was to take too many ibuprofen for my stomach and liver. Then when that didn't work well enough, eat--it wasn't emotional eating, but rather for pain relief. And it really does take the sharp edge off. The pain was unendurable (as sleep deprivation can be--I had a severly colicky child).

I have gained 25 lbs. since using the scooter and now the wheelchair--I gained most of it right away. I can see people thinking that the weight led to the wheelchair, when it was the other way around; this is faulty thinking since there are many young women as overweight who do not need wheelchairs. I need to lose weight for my health; I have not succeeded in losing it, though I have succeeded in not continuing to gain.

I think you can trust your readers to deal with the difficult times too--though it's difficult to write about until it's over, especially when things are uncertain.

Thanks for sharing your story--we very much live in a culture that judges rather than one that offers support. Thanks for writing this. I have found calorie counting helpful just so I know my limits--but not as a permanent change since then all I think about is food and how many calories I eat. Instead, as an initial way for me to accurately estimate how much I need (or don't need). That's not often something I can stick to easily since the caloric needs for a power wheelchair user are pretty low.

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger Becki said...

Amazing post. Thanks for being so open, honest and real. This post is both an inspiration and a realization....thanks again!

 
At 7:27 AM, Blogger Gaile said...

Shauna, thank you for opening yourself up like this to us. What an act of trust and courage. I know what it's like to look at my body after two years of school and incredible stress and not recognize it; to be winded after one flight of stairs. You, as always, inspire me, and make me think. About the things my own doctor recently told me I must do if I want to live to 60. Thank you.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Cindy said...

Shauna,

Thank you. I’ve wondered, as probably many have, about Lu’s health issues. I am so happy to hear that she is truly OK.

It is so hard to talk of illness and especially of weight problems. Some things we just want to sweep under the rug and hope nobody notices. I appreciate your candor.

I am a cancer survivor, and have been managing other serious health problems (details in my first blog post at www.wheatlessfoodie.blogspot.com) for several years while raising a special needs child. It’s hard, and I’ve gained a great deal of weight. One of the medications I had to take for a few years after diagnosis causes increased appetite, one of my health problems causes painful joints and fatigue, and then there’s food. I love to eat.

I, too, am struggling with weight. I know I need to move more, that is the key for me. I am working on mindfulness, another key, I believe. I’m currently reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth, and plan to add your reading selections to my reading list as well.

I hope you’ll continue to share your progress, your ups and downs, joys, revelations, recipes, and your thoughts.

Again, thank you.

Cindy
Wheatless Foodie

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Jenious said...

Your writing always inspires. This beautiful post, in particular, demonstrates your honesty, strength and courage. Thank you for sharing it ALL with us. Cheers to you, dear, and may much peace and contentment come your way this year.

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger FridaWrites said...

Oops, I wrote that wrong--carbs release serotonin, I think. Exercise releases endorphins (though not enough for me, I get far more inflammation than pain relief); peppers and salsa release endorphins, though.

 
At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna, thank you. It helps. Thank you.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

You are amazing, and we love you. I've always understood why you didn't share all of this with your readers, but it feels right that you've told the whole story now.

 
At 7:45 AM, Blogger Tisha said...

Nothing is more powerful than honesty. Thanks

 
At 7:45 AM, Blogger Brisa said...

80 people have spoken before me, so what I am going to say might sound unecessary, seeing that so many already said it, but, nevertheless... I´m saying it: you´re brave. You´re corageous. You´re one of my three idols (in a good way!). - can I count Darwin in as an idol?

Lucy is lucky beyond belief to have a mother like you. And the Chef is just blessed to have the chance to spend his life by your side.

I too would have chosen the medicine. I´m still 23, but I already feel like I just couldn´t bare to miss any of this, any of the havoc, chaos, utter confusion that my life is becoming these days. And as much as I feel like crying out of despair (sometimes), I know that life IS a blessing, and that this mess is PART of the way. I am here to learn something. And you have taught me a lot through your recepies, through your pics, through your words. Thank you, thank you so much for that.

When I read your blog, I feel love; love for life, love for food, love for getting the chance of waking up for another day, as tiring as that day might be. And in the end of those long, drab days, when we´re not too sure of which direction to take, all we need IS love, after all. But I guess you already know that, as a Beatles fan...

Shauna, you´re absolutely amazing. Never forget that.

Bárbara, São Paulo - Brazil

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger Anna Jean said...

A wonderful, moving piece. Thank you for being so open. All the stories you share here are inspiring.

PS. I love Mark Doty also :)

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger Alice Q. Foodie said...

Shauna - You are such a trouper. I have a hard time writing about food when other more "important" things are going on out there. Kudos to you for keeping up with your blog and continuing to share with your readers. I gained 20 lbs since starting to blog, and just lost 12 since the 1st of the year, with a personal trainer who prescribed 300 minutes of cardio a week. It's been really, really hard. Thanks for sharing this. It's a beautiful post.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Brenda said...

Thank you for sharing honestly. Life can be so hard at times, not knowing where to turn, not having the skills to deal with being so exhausted, and still having to give of yourself. Being the mom of a child with special needs, I totally relate.

I do have to admit that I thought about your "foodiness" on more than one occasion while reading your blog. I don't allow myself to bake more than 2ce a week. Because, we'll EAT it! I'm already overweight. My husband lost 60 lbs a year ago, and I swore to myself that I wouldn't sabotage it for him. It's hard on the self esteem to be heavier than your husband.

I look at pictures of food, and if they glisten, I can see the fat. In the past year, I've learned what is healthy, and what isn't. I'm learning that nutrition usually means FEWER calories. That we should choose the fruit over the hamburger. Excess food and calories causes disease, and like you, I need to stick around for my daughter.

Kudos to you for adding the exercise as well!

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Mona said...

First time commenter, though I've been reading for several years. Thank you for this post. Just...thank you. It is so honest and real and brave, and I have to agree with the person who said it takes your blog to a whole new level. So many of us clearly struggle with these same issues -- for me it is a struggle every single day. Today, I start again. In fact, I bought the "30 Day Shred" over 2 months ago, and it is still sitting in a drawer somewhere, with the plastic on. I'm unwrapping it today.

Thank you, Shauna.

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Kate said...

Good for you, Shauna. For sharing all of this, and for doing all of this. What you've been dealing with!
I am right there with you in the struggle to eat more intuitively/consciously (this sounds like a contradiction, but I think they're getting at the same thing). The Beck Diet Solution helped me lose weight, though I put it back on. Now the only thing for me is to exercise exercise exercise. Like you, I hated running (the boobs! the knees! ouch!), and tried couch-to-5k. Now I'm training for my first half marathon next month, and hardly ever experience any kind of pain. It will all turn out beautifully! You might visit SocialWorkout on the web, too. I find it an inspiring community of people who love to exercise in a million different ways.

 
At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

L'Chaim!

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger Mama Tawn said...

Bless you Shauna,

I am a fan, fellow friend, mama, foodie,and emotional eater. Your story has inspired me and created opportunity for empathy. May sharing this story free you from your fear and pain. I wish you only the best on your journey. Tanya

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Thank you, Shauna, for your honest and courageous post. You've given me much to think about.

 
At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for sharing! inspiring and beautiful

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Thank you Shauna! Sincerely.

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Thank you, Shauna.

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Deb(bie Debbie Doo) said...

"This has been the year of Shauna not-having cancer."

Shauna, I suggest we hold another vision along with this statement above and that being: "This has been the life-time of Shauna not-having cancer." - let's hold that vision :)

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Shauna, This is my first time posting, but not my first time reading. After being diagnosed with celiac a year ago, your blog has been one of my staple reads. I really admire your honesty and thank you for putting yourself out there in this post.

Heather

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Casey Dozhier said...

Wow, thank you for sharing -I lost my son right before her turned 3 , life sure can be tough at times. My daughter is on GFCF diet - I appreciate all your hard work and caring enough to share your hard work . Life is beautiful - just not always easy - Take care -and may your days be blessed happiness and love -

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Ann Pierce said...

Shauna, Thank you for sharing this with us. I admire you for being able to admit that you need and want to change your lifestyle for the benefit of yourself and your family. I am a nutritionist and I focus on HEALTH, not WEIGHT. People are too focused on their "ideal" weight but really it's about health, eating fresh, whole foods, enjoying meals, and being mindful of your emotions when you eat. I'm glad you share this vision and best of luck!

Ann Pierce
Pierce Whole Nutrition
http://www.piercewholenutrition.blogspot.com

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Geo said...

You just described a thoroughly beautiful woman. Thank you for being brave. I'm sending you love and strength today.

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Ally said...

Amazing story. Your writing is always soothing to read, and your story is so heartfelt and real. I give you so much credit for keeping it all going -- you are made of tough stuff, and you do what must be done in times of frustration and fear. That is the definition of courage.

I too took on running this year -- LLS offers free training in exchange for fundraising, and I'll run the half-marathon in San Diego, CA in June. I've never done anything like this and I can't believe how GOOD it feels. You describe it perfectly -- feeling your legs grow stronger, your feet against the ground...it's so natural and archaic. It is who we are meant to be and what we should be doing with our bodies.

I wish you health and happiness. May you be blessed.

 
At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Adrienne said...

Wow. Really powerful. I'm in the same boat -- it's hard not to eat too much when you love everything about food. I've been doing pilates for a couple years now and love it. It makes me a lot stronger. But I really need to amp up the cardio to lose all that extraneous matter I don't need. I always say I don't have enough time, etc, etc. But really, I need to make time, for my health and my life. Thank you for being inspiring!

 
At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you. I know a lot of people have said that - but I thought one more couldn't hurt. I have experienced the pain of food from the opposite side - from the restricting, adverse emotional connection with food that comes with an eating disorder.

Food can be wonderful and food can be painful - it depends on what you let it be. Your attitude and bravery are inspiring.

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Molly said...

what a beautiful, brave post, shauna. i'm thinking of you.

 
At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Carla said...

With tears in my eyes, thank you. I will be sharing this with my mother who has given of herself for decades caring for my sister and her own mother and who recently started listening to her body because she, too, doesn't want to miss a minute. All the best to you and your family.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you so much for this Shauna! And deep blessings to you. I will re-read this. I am nourished by this.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger NatalieD said...

Thanks for your openness and honesty and for sharing this with all of us. You are a very inspiring lady and have faced your challenges beautifully.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Jennywenny said...

Wow, what a lot of worry. So sorry to hear of you going through all this.

I tip the scales a little higher than I should, I need to be inspired by you to lose a little more.

Good luck with the couch to 5k. I suggest that if you have big boobs like me you get yourself a decent bra. I love my moving comfort and it makes jogging so much easier!

I also suggest that you check out my favourite uk retailer, bravissimo. They have wonderful bras, you'll feel like a million dollars!

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger JessicaW said...

Well said! Thank you! So sorry to hear of all of the stress in your life these past few years. I'm in much the same situation for some of the same reasons. Thanks for sharing the link to the fitness resources--I'll be joining right along with you.

Peace, friend and thanks for all that you teach us!

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger Indigo said...

Thank you

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger anniem319 said...

Shauna,

Thank you for having the courage to write so openly about your challenges. You gave me and many others I'm sure a tremendous gift with this.

Like you, my entry to motherhood has been wrought with overwhelming challenges. I like to joke that if Lifetime made a movie about what we have faced as a family, I would shut it off in disbelief because NO ONE would have to deal with all that. The plot would be unbelievable. Like you, my response has been to eat. I have gained over 50lbs, and now that the worst of the trials are over, I hate myself daily for how I've let myself go.

Thanks for the reminder that I should be more gentle on myself. I really needed to hear that. You keep on cooking, writing and loving little Lu and I will continue reading every bit!

Anne

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Tracee said...

Beautiful. That was the most inspiring post I've ever read. I too often fall into the "should or should not" trap, but you are right. I want to be around for all of my children( and grandchildren's) lives, I don't want to miss anythign, either. Thanks for reminding me.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

Wow. Wowowowowow. I had no idea you were going through so much. You're so positive and joyful, and all of the pain and fear has never once come through in anything you write. Thank you for sharing this so honestly. I cried a little reading it all, because I just can't believe you've been through so much.

Love to you.

 
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous SMITH BITES said...

A kindred spirit, you are; your writing knocks me to my knees and I find myself very, very grateful to be a part of this blogging world and to have come across your site. Always a lesson to be learned, a laugh to be laughed and a sorrow or hard time to share with those of us who read this blog.

As someone who has battled the weight for years - I have said,felt and believed every. single. word. you have written about myself and my body.

It ends today. I am headed out the door to walk and then run.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Ryah said...

Thank you. Best blog post yet. I started following you after I assisted one of your cooking classes at PCC. And now, a Bastyr graduate, I am in Boulder studying at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating with Marc David. You might enjoy his book--the Slow Down Diet--it's not about the food. As much of a foodie as I am, I am learning that each of our relationships with food is complex, personal, deep and symbolic of how we are in life. A beautiful paradox: it is about the food and it isn't at all. Blessings.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Shuku said...

Shauna, you and Danny are two of the bravest, stick-to-it people I know of. Weight. Oh dear lord, -weight-, it's always the issue isn't it? I've been fighting it for years; I was fine when I was still doing 17 hours of dancing a week but when I had to stop that due to injury, things just went south in a hurry. I was on medications that made me put on weight; when I stopped them things were a bit better. Now though, my doctor is worried because I'm -dropping- weight so fast he doesn't know if it's stress or anything else at work (my tests have come back negative). For the first time in my life people are now desperately worried that I'm -losing- weight; I find that somewhat ironic. The worst thing? I want to keep dropping more even if it's not healthy. Because I am a performer who performs regularly with a very willowy stick-figure soprano, and it is hard to watch her glide out on stage and not compare. I've had health problems lately with sore throats, swallowing problems which don't seem to have a cause, and overall body fatigue that doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason except excessive stress and perhaps even depression. Which means I haven't wanted to eat, and even when I cook, I can't seem to be inspired to do anything more than make something vaguely edible.

But this post - it's made me realise that the important thing is to be healthy and alive. You're an inspiration, you're a courageous woman and I am so, so very grateful to you for sharing your struggles. That takes guts and strength. In the words of some of the little kids I teach: My hero!

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

When you realise how beautiful you are on the inside, it can finally show on the outside. Thank you for sharing your difficult and painful story. I wish you great joy, peace, and luck on your journey.

My sister was born with a similar genetic disorder (Aperts Syndrome, but she also has fused/webbed fingers and toes, and no rotation in her hips or shoulders, plus severe scoliosis, and is mentally delayed too with some degree of autism). My parents were told, when they brought her home from the hospital nearly 39 years ago) to expect to find her dead in her cot. She's now living independently, working, and enjoys crafts and has taken many textile college courses! She is a constant source of amazement to me.

You have certainly been through more in this past year than many go through in a lifetime...but I suspect because of that you have found an amazing strength you didn't know you had.

And it sounds like you know how to use that power now too! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story, trimuph is always the best ending ;o)

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Sharon said...

Shauna, I can't thank you enough for this post. It just goes to show how much emotional weight we all carry that no one knows about. What is however exposed is our physical weight that is often judged harshly. No one knows and cannot truly "walk in our shoes". I don't have the young child issues that you do but mine is a terminally ill alcoholic husband that has caused me tremendous grief. I smile at the world all day while crying on the inside. Thank you for your tremendous courage and I hope just getting it all out there was a healing in itself for you as well. Bless You and your family!!

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger A-Rob said...

Hi - I found your blog when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. You are an inspiration in so many ways. I am crying right now because I cannot thank you enough for talking about your relationship with food. The world would be a much better place if everyone was so honest. Thank you for helping me - A

 
At 8:45 AM, OpenID mennogirl said...

Shauna,
Thank you so much for this piece it echos and reverberates with so many fragments of thoughts floating around in my brain. I am always amazed and so impressed when people find such beautiful words to express their hard times and are then willing to share their story with perfect strangers. So thank you for this post and thank you for this beautiful blog that I always find so inspiring.

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

Shauna, thanks for being you, and thanks, too, for sharing all of you here. Warmly, Maggie

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger K-Sweet said...

Bless you, Shauna, and your family. And I wish much strength to you in your quest for better health.

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

Shauna, Thanks for being you, and thanks, too, for sharing all of you here honestly. Warmly, Maggie

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's just time. And sometimes the time is just right. I'm at a similar spot in my life right now, and I'm hoping my timing is as right as yours seems to be.

Best of luck and best wishes!

Oh- and have you heard of the five finger shoes by vibram? They're great and very healthy for running and walking, especially on Vashon where you can run and walk on nice trails.

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Shauna said...

Good for you. Mindfulness is the key to everything... whether it be weight loss, happiness or love.

Good luck with running and "shredding." You can do it!

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a facebook fan who has checked your book out of the library, but doesn't often have the time to read your blog. For some reason today's blog caught my eye.

I have struggled with compulsive overeating and immediately recognized what was going on with you (and is going on with me). You have been under tremendous stress - a level I cannot even imagine - and the eating was something that helped you cope. I have been reading a book recently called Breaking the Food Seduction and basically, certain foods create a kind of high by causing dopamine to attach itself to dopamine receptors. If you happen to be someone with fewer dopamine receptors than other people, then sometimes a little extra "high" is needed to make you feel normal. Especially when you (anyone) is under stress. You have gotten a much better handle on it than I have, but I am just starting out. Your words have encouraged me so much. Thank you.

BTW, have you heard of low-dose-naltrexone? It may be an option other than tamoxifen that will protect you from BC and still enable you to get pregnant. I am taking it for an autoimune condition and it is also used for cancer patients. NOT giving advice here, but I was very grateful when someone told me about it for my problems and I just want to pass the word.

 
At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Your blog has often been an inspiration for me, helping me to learn to love food again after it became such a frustration (and fear) after my son was diagnosed with myriad food allergies. Your words today spoke so directly to me, to my need to take care of myself so I can be a better momma. Thank you so much for the gift you've given me, and so many others. I wish you and your family peace and health and an overabundance of blessings!

--Karen

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger Iris said...

Beautiful and brave post. I'm sure all of us reading it hear something of ourselves in it. I know I did. It's a comfort to hear such honesty from someone I admire and know that we're all in the same place sometimes. And to see such wonderful recipes and posts coming out of such a difficult time for you is very inspiring.

 
At 8:49 AM, Anonymous NMW said...

YES, Shauna, you can and will do this. Celebrate the small changes and keep piling them up. Have you considered adding yoga to your regimen? The benefits go far beyond "limber", and can help us slow down the fast-forward part of our lives, and deal with little daily crap, as well as the much bigger crap that challenges us.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Marianne Richardson said...

As writers, we often feel we should somehow "know" what to say.

I got nothing. Nothing but love.

Thank you. For being honest, for sharing, for being strong enough to show how vulnerable you are, for helping us to see how vulnerable we are, too.

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Melanie Heavenly said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful post. Well done on your brave decision to tackle your eating in a mindful way. I particularly liked your observation about not judging an overweight person and thinking they're lazy etc. You are so right, there IS always a reason why people are the way they are. Larger people wear their issues on the outside and thin people wear theirs on the inside. Everyone has them.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Larissa said...

First.

*HUG*

Oh, mama. I relate to every word of that. I have two kids who have had special needs and health crises and my own health has been a rollercoaster (celiac is just one of a pile of diagnoses we have over here). And I've eaten my way through it, and I am working on living lighter, too.

Our babies are worth it.
*We* are worth it.
And we can do it!!!

Lu is looking so tall. And so, so beautiful. I've been there on the never sleeping over 3 hours, the children's hospital, the worry. I wish I could hug you, because those of us who have been through that - we gotta stick together. Its so horrible. And my aunt has breast cancer, and I had to have 2 mammograms this year, and... yeah.

*extra hug*

 
At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Valerie @ City|Life|Eats said...

I have been in my own version of what you are going through - so many of us have - the weight that won't stop going up, the endless doctor's appointments and procedures and fear.

The two things that helped my emotional/comfort eating and carb cravings more than anything were:

1. Julia Cameron's Writing Diet - it really spoke to me (I was also an Artist's Way fan to begin with)
and
2. Green smoothies with very little fruit (they tend to kill sugar cravings for me)

I wish you all the very best.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Meg Gross said...

Thank you Shauna. My brother was hit by a car years ago and i gained weight. Celiac disease has been tough. I totally get it. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone with that tough relationship with food, grief, stress, and Celiac stuff.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Fuji Mama said...

What a powerful reminder of what all of this "life" stuff is really about. Thank you for sharing you with us so that we can better know ourselves. XOXO

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger Bear and Bones Mama said...

Thank you for posting this. YOU CAN DO IT! I'm working on me right now too, and you know what? It's lovely. You should be so proud of yourself.

 
At 9:01 AM, Anonymous michelle whitehead said...

Your post was timely. I know that during a child's crisis I am stoic, strong and on - I am not allowed to breakdown. I therefore push it all aside with food - wonderful joyous food. Then after the crisis has passed again, I look in the mirror and see each lb as a tear I did not allow myself to shed. It has also been a long journey for my family and I feel your sadness at wanting to just breathe a little easier. I am also "dieting" and finally letting myself cry for all the things I could not do to protect my child from genetics, environment - life. Hoepfully as I shed each pound, I will remember that I as a mother am not alone in this world, that my strength can come from sharing my sorrow, my pain and my struggle and allowing that occasional tear to fall before I stuff it down with that mouthful of mac and cheese. Instead I will use the food -wonderful, delicious food - to celebrate the wonderful steps my children have taken in recovery, growing and being.

Namaste.

 
At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Ricki said...

I can't imagine a single reader of this post who DOESN'T see at least a bit of her/himself in it! I've certainly been there and came to the same conclusion--eat well and eat mindfully, exercise, enjoy life and don't be too hard on yourself--these are all such important points! I have a weakness for sweets as comfort and have been trying to learn to find that same comfort elsewhere. . . it's a journey, to be sure, but a rewarding one. (And I had to laugh at the quote about taking "two weeks" to lose sugar cravings--um, for me, maybe 10 months or so?) ;)

 
At 9:02 AM, Blogger LutherLiz said...

wow. I stumbled on this via twitter. I can't imagine how hard this year has been. I am just starting to couch to 5k myself and have weekly links so others can share their story with it too if you ever want to stop by. (lunargoat.blogpsot.com)

In the meantime good luck, God bless and you'll be in my prayers. In the scheme of all you've went through this is definitely a hill you can climb.

 
At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes I get frustrated by how blogs seem to be saying,"life is perfect, problems are few." It's refreshing to hear you being so real, and to know that everyone has their burdens and that we can share them with one another.

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger LutherLiz said...

wow. I am so impressed with your writing, your strength and your honesty. I'm sure any of the last year can't be easy but I'm proud of you for coming through and taking charge.

I'm just starting the C25k program myself and hosting a blog challenge for it if you ever want to link up (lunargoat.blogspot.com)

In the meantime good luck, God bless, and I'll be praying for you and your journey.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger NoKas said...

Thank you so much for this great post! I wish you and your family all the best.

Greetings from a Portuguese living in crazy Belgium

:)

 
At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Diane said...

Wow. So sorry for all you've been going through.I am thinking good thoughts for your struggles.

I recently came to the realization - at age 40-something - that I hate the gym. I join, pay for it and don't go, find it boring, etc etc etc - so in what was mostly a budget decision, but turned out to have great consequences I gave up the "Y" completely. I like to eat. I don't like to exercise much. I'm lucky in that I don't have a weight issue, but exercise, as you so rightly point out, is for so much more than weight. It's about longevity. Health.

So, I've made a bargain with myself. As long as it's not raining (and I live in CA, so a long stretch now coming without that), and as long as it is daytime, I am going to do all my errands on the bike or public transportation. I've dragged out the bike from storage and fitted it up with a nice set of panniers. Want to go grocery shopping? Bike. Want to go to visit a friend? BART/Bike. Want to go to get my hair cut? Bike. It's saving lots of money on gas, and I feel so much better. I highly recommend it.

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger Rina the Mama Bear said...

Thank you.

I was in the same position when my son was born. Whisked away immediately after he emerged from my body, ICU then a big city Childrens hospital NICU for a month...feeding tubes, breathing tubes, more wires and cords and electrical things dangling from him that picking him up was awkward and scary because we might pull something out, or crimp something, or make the damn machines beep.

I lost every bit of my pregnancy weight and more in that month. I had to go out and buy new jeans on a day when I hadn't showered, didn't remember the last time I'd slept and hadn't been home in weeks because my pregnancy jeans were literally falling off when I took a step.

Once we were finally allowed to come home (oh, such joy!!!), we settled into life and yes, food. Joyful cooking and baking. Celebratory style stuff: cookies, cakey breads, pastas, etc etc etc.

Gained weight. Parents took us to California last year so we started ChangeOne, a diet from Reader's Digest that in actuality is very, very good. No counting calories or anything, just eating better and more of the good stuff like fruits and veggies. Lost the weight, looked fantastic.

But I'm gaining weight again. And I feel so awful. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach when I look at my undressed self in the mirror. Worry about whether or not my husband still finds me attractive.

Now I have a gall stone that I'm going to have to have surgery for in June. It's a big 'un - nearly 2cm in diameter (your gall bladder is only 4cm in diameter when fully distended). For the past 8-12 months I've spent countless nights writhing in pain, or in the hospital on morphine and gravol drips, spent so much time with this pain that debilitates a body so badly.

While we don't eat that poorly, we do eat too many sweets because I just love baking. And we could definitely eat more veggies, and fruit.

Thanks for this article - it's the kick in the pants I think I needed.

Good luck to you, and I am so thankful that you bared your soul to all of us devoted readers. Thank you.

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger Littles said...

Shauna,
Thanks for sharing your life on here, the joy and the hardships. I've been reading your blog for a few years now...your writing is captivating. I've always struggled with being about 30-40 lbs overweight. Just lost 25 this fall, by doing most of what you mentioned. Eating from the earth in portions that looked and felt right. Slowly. Moving my body. That's it.
You're doing this. You are well. you are healthy and you will be a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend for a very long time.
Love and Light
Liz

 
At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Amy said...

"...if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, "Wow, she's really let herself go," just remember that there is always a story behind it."

This is SO true, and something that really needs to be shared. I've been dealing with chronic pain for 20 years or so (and I'm only 42), and have been undiagnosed, underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed for many, many years. That also means I haven't had adequate treatment or pain control. Food has been a constant, loving companion when my body hurts so much I don't want to move or I *have* to move to care for children, work and just live my life.

I so wish that one day, people will look beyond the outer shell we move around in and see the stories behind the fat, the alcohol or drugs, the homelessness, the ugliness, the anger or whatever face we see in front of us. Because we all have a story that matters. We're all walking wounded in one way or another. We're all human.

Thank you Shauna, for trusting and sharing your "secret" pain over the last few years with all of us.
xoxoxo
~Amy

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Sam said...

This is a very brave post, Shauna, bravo. Although no two stories are the same, there are many things I recognise in this piece. Thank you for putting it out for discussion.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger nm said...

Wow. You gone through the wringer and survived. Everything you have identified - lack of sleep, stress, cleaning up the plates, being less mindful, and not getting enough exercise are all important. You are working towards making it work for you - I salute you.

You are also so lucky to have a supportive spouse - that makes the battle/transition so much easier.

Best of luck,

nazila

 
At 9:20 AM, Anonymous stephen said...

Great post, Shauna. Good luck...you can do it. I know: food is everything in this house and in September 08 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I thought the joy of food was over for me...but found, cooking and eating mindfully, as you say, and adding in some exercise, that I could still eat the food I love while losing 40 pounds in about a year and bringing my blood glucose numbers down dramatically. Now when I create recipes for my blog I'm always doing it with an eye on the calories and carbs, and when I take a serving for myself I usually use a measuring cup or a scale, but I'm still loving food! My granddaughter (5 when I was diagnosed) is my inspiration, just as your Lu is for you: I have the feeling she's going to become an interesting woman and I don't want to miss it.
Thanks for a great post...it will help me stay focused. Best, Stephen

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Freedom Runner//Liz said...

Andrea S. tweeted about this post this morning, and I am so glad to have bounced over here and read it, having never visited this blog before. Thank you for sharing this!!!!! There is more I want to say about how meaningful this post is, but I just can't find the words today, so know that you made a difference with your story, and I am cheering for you as you continue to live mindfully and feel better about, well, everything!

 
At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Melissa said...

Thank you. You are brave and strong and so beautiful. You inspire me.

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger cdrushin said...

Shauna, Thank you so much for saying yes to your pain and trials and sharing them with us. I have been reading your blog for about 2 yrs and love the way you have embraced your life and been willing to share it with others. I have been living with depression for about 10yrs and Celiac for about 3yrs and I am still struggling with finding balance in my life and want you to know what an inspiration you are to me to just relax and live fully in the moment and I know you are going to do great at taking control and continuing to say yes to the joy of food and the joy of a healthy body and the joy of every moment of life and relaxing into all it has to offer both in good times and not so good. I hate to run but I am so going to start hitting the swimming pool for laps and water aerobics. All things in moderation and balance. Blessings to you,the chef, and Lu(I still love the "little bean" nick name).

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous rniteflyer said...

Shauna, I've been reading your blog for about a year, ever since I gave up gluten. I have never commented. However, I find myself at a similar place in my journey and I cannot express how much your post today touched me. By the end I was moved to tears, as well as inspired. Thank you for the courage to give us a glimpse behind the scenes, to let us know what has been going on, and for sharing this most intimate of posts. As someone who is now also trying to move more each day, eat in a way that my body considers healthy, and struggle with my own Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, I applaud you!

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Desiree Adaway said...

This has to be one of THE most beautiful things I have ever read in my life. My heart was moved in a real and profound way from the sharing of your story. I understand your pain and struggle. I looked up one day and saw this body-- that was not mine but has a sould that is definitely me.Like you it came from my love of food and stress--food is comfort but too much of anything can be bad. I am so happy you are in the clear. I send you peace, love and beauty. I am a new and devoted fan.
Desiree

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous IrishGirl said...

Thank you for sharing and for your authenticity. "Reveal" is something that I am working on in my life - letting people see the REAL me. You are blessed, as are we all. Whether happy, sad, curious or frustrated, you have something to say, as do I. The world needs our voices!

Love and dreams,
IrishGirl

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Mymsie said...

Thank you for being honest about your struggles. We need more voices like yours!

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Mary said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us, it was and is inspiring.

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

Shaun,

To add to the many other voices...thank you, so much. This was an incredibly courageous post and so moving to me. Though are struggles are different, I related to much of what you said. This past year has been a rollercoaster for me: I was laid off, moved, got engaged, and am still struggling to finish my Master's degree while working 40 hours per week. It's not easy, and like so many others, I turn to food for comfort. I also began blogging a few months ago, which amped up the eating even more. Hello weight gain! Portion control is by far the hardest thing for me. As is a) finding the time to exercise and b) not getting bored by it. I'm starting to commute to work by bike, and joined a soccer league; these are activities that don't feel like "exercise" to me. My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in her 40's, and died 10 yrs ago, when I was 16. I'm at much higher risk for developing colon cancer as a result, and getting back in to shape and dropping the extra 20 lbs hanging around is so, so important. I don't want to miss anything, either, and your honesty and awesomeness have inspired me even more. I'm so happy that those rough times are behind you and now you can focus on yourself, instead of worry and stress and no sleep. I wish I could hug you.

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger Kdog said...

Wow...is all I can say. Your family has certainly been through a great deal. I love the way you tell your stories. Thank you for you deep honesty.I have been a celiac aware person for 2 years now. Through diet changes to address my gluten issues as well as some hardship, my weight is the highest and I am the unhealthiest I've ever been. I still walk my dog daily for about 20 minutes, but know it's not enough. Thank you for the motivation you offer the rest of us who, at least with me, use food as a calming agent. I need to learn and follow new patterns. Thank you for your inspiration!

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger nicole said...

Thank you for writing this -- so hard to put it all out there sometimes, but so necessary. You're right: it IS all about being mindful and balancing out our diets. And, I'm so glad you've come to running! Running is one of my very favorite things in the whole world, and almost always puts me to rights (especially during difficult times it is a solace and a way to get out all that twitchy energy) ... plus, it just makes you feel so *good* mentally and physically. (Yes, I am a fan!)

Best of luck with it all -- and so glad your little girl is recovered and healthy.

 
At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Cindy said...

Yes, inside the exterior of all of our lives you find the interior. Sometimes it is nice to be able to go to a place where you don't have to face the realities of the day and you are able to be "normal". Or maybe it is just what you conceive as normal. I believe sharing what has broken you down is a step in the healing process. I have been there and admire you for being able to write about it in such a brilliant way.

Since I developed an allergy to wheat and yeast I have been obsessed with food. it was no longer, I am hungry" it became, "can I eat that". The satisfaction came in finding something I could eat not satisfying a hunger. Lucky for me, one of the quick snacks I could have was chocolate. A great way to medicate my sadness about not being able to eat what everyone else was. I am now wearing 20 pounds of chocolate on my hips and stomach!

I was just thinking the other day, that I wish there was a weight loss program for people who were gluten free. Life has become, cooking something that tastes good and any thought about being healthy has gone out the window.

I would love to see recipes that are low calorie, quick to cook and healthy.

Thank you for sharing your story, it really made me think about what has got me in the spot that I am in.

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger Deliciously Organic said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You'll be in my prayers.

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I know that you will continue to get stronger and healthier and lighter. Lu will get faster and you'll get faster too just to keep up! Danny will help you create amazing new recipes that will nourish your family and friends, body and soul. The rest of us out here will continue to support you with good thoughts, and prayers, and lots of blog reading and comments. Again thank you for your beautiful story.

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger A New Leaf said...

Thank you so much for this post. I've been reading your blog ever since I was diagnosed with celiac nearly two years ago. It has always been an enormous help to have someone so eloquently display themselves and their love of food and feeling and living well. It's always interesting, the juxtaposition between being extremely happy at the way I feel and being extremely frustrated at the way I look. It's confusing, and your post brought tears to my eyes in your (perhaps unintended) sympathy. Your support in cyberspace is great - the exercise regime is hard, and I hope to travel through it with you.

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I know that you will continue to get stronger and healthier and lighter. Lu will get faster and you'll get faster too just to keep up! Danny will help you create amazing new recipes that will nourish your family and friends, body and soul. The rest of us out here will continue to support you with good thoughts, and prayers, and lots of blog reading and comments. Again thank you for your beautiful story.

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger Harmony said...

Thank you for writing this. I wish you and your family health and happiness.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Cathi said...

Shauna, I have been reading your blog for at least 3 years now and truly love your honesty. We all have different stories of our lives - but I, too have had an extremely difficult few years and gained quite a bit of weight. I have been exercising and being more mindful of what I eat too and it's working - slowly but surely. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your words. I don't often comment, but I read your words daily and they always warm my heart. So thank you for being you. This post was beautifully heartwarming and inspirational! Have a wonderful day! :)

 
At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Andrea said...

Thank you for sharing your life. I'm in the process of changing my eating awareness right now too. I"m reading Geneen Roth's book "Women, Food and God" Changing my life. And she wrote on facebook today, "Everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat"
I"m staying curious about how this works in my life.
Thank you again and wishing you much ease in this coming year!

 
At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Leslie Anne said...

Shauna - your post made me laugh, cry, and identify even more with you. Two years ago I was diagnosed with an extremely rare auto immune blood disorder that ripped my life and health apart, the drugs they gave me were worse than the disorder and i ended up nearly dying in ICU through what modern medicine could provide for me. I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old and it as them and wanting to see them grow up that keeps me going. I found your site at the beginning of this year when, as my new years resolution, I decided to SCREW modern medicine and I went gluten free to see if it would help me resolve some of my issues. I have not needed a chemo treatment in 8 months, clearly eating healthy and going gluten free has benefited me.

Your site has been inspiring, though now I feel a little awful knowing that you were hiding so much pain in your delicious and wonderful food.

Thank you for all you do, and for sharing your story. I so appreciate your blog and recipes, they help me see that life as a gluten-free girl is not quite so awful. (I need bagels!!)

Many wishes for good health for you and your whole family, and thank you for confiding in us.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Vivian said...

Shauna, I can't even begin to tell you how close to home this post hits for me. You are brave, strong and courageous . If I could hug you right now I would. Thank you for writing this post.

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Meg said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Shauna. What a year you've had with all its joys and sadness. I have been following your life via your blog and flickr stream, but I had no idea things were what they were.

Like many here, I've had my own share of tragedy, though it's not child-related. Still, very, very hard and coming out of it was like coming out of a bad dream.

Glad to hear you're running! I am going to start up again, so thanks for the inspiration - this post was well-timed for me. Thank you also for the various links - I'm going to check out the Jillian DVD and the Thich Nhat Hanh book. They really seem to be right up my alley.

Thank you for all you do with your blog. It's at the top of my feed reader and I always enjoy it. You are doing a great job, with everything! Sending love and hugs from NYC.

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Just one word: YES.

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Becky St. Marie said...

It's hard to type through tears. Sometimes I read your blog and wonder how anyone can be so happy, so optimistic (depression was one of my celiac symptoms, which is getting better, slowly). Now I realize that you were doing the best you could, staying as positive as possible under all the circumstances. Thank you for sharing.

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Kathryn said...

Thank you so much for writing about this topic. I was diagnosed with breast cancer about three weeks ago. It runs in the family. I have had more biopsies and tests than I can count. I am blogging about it (URL below in case you're interested) and agree that getting it all out in writing is terribly therapeutic.

I also have a long history with food and weight loss. I have lost 100 lbs over the past years and been able to keep it off. I am terrified that my upcoming surgeries and treatments will leave me weak and unable to keep up my exercise regime...that the weight will return. But less afraid today because I was able to make a lifestyle change - not just "diet" away the weight.

I hope you remain healthy and never have to deal with cancer. But if you do - you are obviously a very strong woman. And there is always pie.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger amy said...

I love that you wrote the truth. These may be the most important words you've written (yet). Thank you Shauna for sharing.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

I have read this over and over now, all morning. My favorite line remains, "just remember, there is always a story behind it". If we could all just remember that simple line before passing judgement on anyone for any reason. I love you my dear!

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Thank you, Shauna. For your honesty, for your reality. And for sharing. You've very much inspired me. To move more, to be more mindful.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

It sounds like you've been under a tremendous amount of stress and I truly can't imagine doing what you're doing. Don't be too hard on yourself because that's just about the most legitimate reason for a weight gain I can think of. Even if it doesn't feel this way now, your life will begin to even out and this too will pass. Once you're in that place, THEN you will have plenty of time to focus on healthy eating, and it will absolutely be something you can do.

I love Thich Nhat Hahn! All the best and prayers to you. YOU CAN DO IT.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger lolliejean said...

This is a brave and beautiful post. Being allowed to see the struggles as well as the joy in your life simply adds depth and richness to the experience of reading your words.

I am so happy to hear that you're cancer free. I've been down the breast cancer road; with my mom during her last year of round two. And then, a year and a half of my own walk. I lived to tell the tale. I have new boobs and my (before chemo) straight hair grew in curly. Thanks cancer! :) xo ~ Lori

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live, so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit." -- Dawna Markova

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Cookie said...

Thank you for your honesty, Shauna. The uncertainty of life allows us to TRULY live; living each moment with intention, passion, and appreication. What a great teacher uncertainty is. Now, EACH moment is precious and as you walk this path of truly KNOWING this with all of your heart, you can share it with all of those who have yet to know the poignant teachings of fear and uncertainty. Grace is now your teacher. I look forward to all the great recipes that will help us all live a healthier, and slimmer life!

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Green Acres in the City said...

Thank you, from one Mama who is on a long journey of weightloss herself. I have over 150 lbs to lose. Your posts inspire me. I have lost 13 lbs in 4 weeks and you know I am doing it for myself for the first time. Yes I want to be thinner but the truth is I have these 2 amazing gifts from God who call me Mama and 1 other who calls me his Wife and I want to be here for them too! Thank you my friend. I am walking right along with you!

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Cannelle Et Vanille said...

shauna- i read this post twice. just again so i could really absorb it. you are right. our blogs are about food and we want to inspire others so our true lives never really shine through as they are. with all the downs we also experience. i feel the same way about my life. you have gone through a lot with Lu and your own health scares and this piece will be a source of inspiration for many of us. I'm sure it was difficult to spill your guts out, but boy will this be in our minds! So here's to a healthy life, with less emotional eating, healthy exercise and the appreciation of what we have and we want to be. Cheers to you my friend! xx-A

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Tapia said...

Wishing you all the best on your journey. Thank you for opening your life to us and sharing it with such eloquence. Peace and health to you always.

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an athlete before I discovered my celiac, but it's brought me closer to food than ever before. Food and fitness go hand-in-hand. It's just another part of the story about yourself that you're learning... Best wishes! - lauren

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger Gina Perry said...

You must feel lighter for sharing so much with us. I have a toddler and work from home as well, and have wondered how you have been able to do so much only knowing those obvious facts. Sleep deprivation ALONE is a maddening, maddening, thing. I am so happy for your daughter and mother's health - and the plan to keep yourself healthy for the longest life possible. I loved this post, and would give you a hug if you weren't across the country! Bravo to you for sharing so much with us, and for being a heroic and strong mama.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Dorothy said...

What a beautiful post - so raw and so real. Thanks Shauna. You are an inspiration to us all.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Rambling Tart said...

Dear Shauna, I'm weeping at my keyboard, wishing I could reach out and give you a big hug. Your words meant the world to me today. My last few years have been utter hell too, and finally sun is glimmering and I have hope. Thank you for being brave, wise, courageous and strong, even when you're feeling a bit of a puddle. :-) I wish you much peace and joy this year. :-)

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Janna said...

Shauna, I love your writing because it's genuine. It's life, and it shows. If you want to go on a walk/run in the city, Discovery Park is my home away from home.

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger judy said...

Oh Shauna, you've touched me deeply. Words are your medium, like food. All I can really say is thank you for sharing and articulating your experiences so well. Gosh, what a year you've all had.

I did not take the time to read all the comments, but noticed just above mine that Andrea recommends Geneen Roth's book: "Women, Food and God". That is the book that has been profound for me. It has helped to look at the empty places I am trying to fill...sometimes with food or exercise or shopping or relationships...and embrace the discomfort rather than try to get away from it. Then we recover ourselves.

Because it can be so tempting to simply substitute one compulsion for another, it's been important to touch the tender places I can think are untouchable or unbearable. I've found out that I'm not so bad :). Embrace is the way through. Our bodies tend to reflect that love.

 
At 10:59 AM, Blogger Cara Maat said...

you are beautiful

 
At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

I wish you the best...

 
At 11:05 AM, Anonymous MamaOrganique said...

In tears! We have a daughter almost exactly Lu's age and I'm a motherless daughter so I can relate to so, so much of your post. Your work is an inspiration and brings beauty into my life. I hope you can accept the support and good energy that I and I'm sure many other readers send you. It's the least we can do for you. Feel well, be happy and nurture yourself - it can do wonders!

 

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