Lipedema Keto Recipe – Easy Coconut Yogurt

Does keto help lipedema? It helped me lose 140 pounds with only dietary changes and walking. Many of you have been asking to hear more about what I eat, so today I want to share one of my favorite lipedema keto recipes and a staple of my keto diet plan for lipedema. I’m going to show you how to make coconut yogurt at home! When I went dairy-free in 2021 to reduce my inflammation, I discovered Culina coconut yogurt. Unfortunately, it was too expensive for me to eat regularly. A friend in the lipedema community suggested I make my own and I was incensed. I am a busy woman with a full-time job, managing multiple health conditions. I don’t have time for that!

Well guess what? It turns out that I do and so do you. Watch the video below to join me in the kitchen or continue reading to learn how to make homemade coconut yogurt with probiotics. We’ll need two basic ingredients, five to ten minutes of prep time, and about two days from start to finish.

Supplies and Ingredients

Flavoring Ideas (Optional)

  • Fresh blueberries
  • Lemon zest
  • Key lime juice
  • Ginger paste
  • Almond extract
  • Vanilla extract (add 1-2 tsp to any and all of the above)

Easy Coconut Yogurt

  1. Open both cans of coconut milk and empty them into a clean ceramic bowl.
  2. Use your silicone whisk or a rubber spatula to break up any clumps in the coconut milk and whisk until it is smooth.
  3. Count out your probiotic capsules. As a rule of thumb, use a minimum of two capsules for each can of coconut milk. I like to use one extra (for a total of five) to get some extra tanginess, but you do you!
  4. Carefully open the capsule casings and dump the probiotic powder into the smooth coconut milk.
  5. Whisk until powder is fully combined and all clumps are broken up. Avoid using anything metal once you add your probiotics.
  6. Cover with a paper towel or tea towel and place in a warm dark place. An oven works great as long as you don’t forget it’s in there! Tip: leave yourself a post-it note on your oven controls if you are as forgetful as I am.
  7. Let it sit for a day and a half to two days, checking occasionally. When it starts to thicken and has a jiggle to it, it’s getting ready. If it starts growing on the top, you’ve pushed it too far but can probably still save it by skimming off the very top layer. (I’m a former Peace Corps Volunteer and may be more relaxed about my food than you are.)
  8. It’s ready! You can either scoop it into single-serving size jars or put the entire bowl in the refrigerator. Flavoring is optional, but highly recommended. Add your flavoring of choice before refrigerating.
  9. If flavoring with low carb fruit such as blueberries, cook it down a little bit before adding it. This will let it get nice and juicy so the flavor really mixes with the yogurt. Pour fresh or frozen berries in a pot and warm them over medium on your stove top for 15 to 20 minutes or until the berries have burst and you have a nice thick juice. If using frozen berries, make sure they don’t have sugar added. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool before adding the berries to your coconut yogurt. I always put 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extra to make it extra indulgent.
  10. Enjoy!

If you purchase through an Amazon link in this post I may earn a small commission, but that’s never why I recommend something.

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Lipedema Before and After: Measuring Progress on Your Journey

Have you started a new lipedema treatment or lipedema diet and you are wondering if it’s working? This week I share my complicated relationship with the scale and recommend things other than weighing that Sturdy Women can do to track non-scale victories on their journey. As usual you can read or watch, but this week I recommend watching because at the end of the video I do something I never thought I’d do. I share my lipedema before and after pictures.

Has the scale ever given made you feel good about something, Sturdy Woman? Or are you like me, and scales have most reliably made you feel like a failure even when you’re trying really hard? I hadn’t weight myself for nearly six to nine months before starting keto and I didn’t weigh myself at all until three or four months into my journey. I didn’t even own a scale! Like many of you, I believed it was impossible to lose weight with lipedema and I didn’t want to feel like a failure if it “didn’t work”. I knew there were non-scale benefits to keto and I didn’t want a lack of weight loss to discourage me from pursuing those.

What did I do instead? I took pictures about once a month and also used a measuring tape to track changes, particularly in my lipedema legs. Get yourself a cute little notebook and take notes. How do you feel? What does your skin look like? Is your energy level or sleep changing? These things matter! If you don’t have anyone you trust to help you take photos, there are many low-cost options on Amazon. Here’s a tripod and BlueTooth remote option similar to what I use. It might be emotional a first, but looking at your body (and being kind to it while you do that) will go a long way toward learning to befriend her.

If you are on keto, I highly recommend tracking your blood sugar and ketone levels. Make sure you’re in ketosis before you say it isn’t working! Remember that your body is going to want to do some healing before it starts letting go of weight. Don’t rush it. In addition to letting you know if you’re in ketosis, a meter is going to help you learn how different foods affect you and what different blood sugar or ketone levels feel like. For example, when my blood sugar is elevated I feel hungry, cranky, and tired. A quick walk usually snaps me out of it. My favorite meter is the Keto Mojo GK+ which can measure levels of both, syncs to your phone, and only costs about $50 USD. I’ve been using mine regularly for more than two years.

One final thought on weight and BMI… before you get lost chasing a number, you should know that BMI was originally developed with data from white men and was designed to be used for populations not individuals. You can read more about that here and here and by searching on Google Scholar.

If you just have to weigh yourself, no problem. You do you. Give yourself a gift, though, and before you start any new conservative treatment for lipedema, collect multiple data points so you can also track the fantastic non-scale victories you are going to achieve.

If you purchase through an Amazon link in this post I may earn a small commission, but that’s never why I recommend something.

Onederland (Free)

This week I hit a huge milestone that I never imagined I’d see when I started keto in October 2020.  I am officially in onederland.  That’s right, a few days ago I stepped on the scale and was out of the 200s – and solidly there at that.  I finished a big work project a few days ago and had a huge whoosh when my body let go of all the stress.  I’m a lipedema woman so, generally, weight doesn’t mean a lot to me, but this felt like a big deal.

The last time I remember a scale reading less than 200 pounds was before I left for Liberia in 2011 (more about that here).  That’s 11 years.  For a long time, my body has felt like an enemy, something uncooperative, unpredictable, and unattractive.  Now that I understand what she is struggling with, I know how to support my body and I appreciate how damn hard she works every day.  Even at my lowest weight in 2010, I look back and can see the puffiness in my face and legs.  The one I was fighting the most ended up being the one who needed the most help and compassion. I was sick and had no idea.

What’s gotten me here?  I give most of the credit to keto and fasting.  I do less than 20g total carbs each day and I periodically alternate day fast (read more about that in my Fasting February series).  No cheating ever.  Not one day.  Not one bite.  Nothing.  The longer I have been keto the easier it has gotten – I can even watch The Great British Baking Show without crying.  Yes, I gave up a lot of foods, but I have gained so much.  Finally free from the endless up and down cycle of carbs and hunger, I no longer feel cravings or an emotional connection to food.  So what if I have lipedema?  I am free.

That’s the inspiration for today’s Music Monday pick, Free by Rudimental.  Yes, lipedema turned my life upside down, but lipedema also gave me back an even better life.  In one word it gave me my freedom.  The sky is the limit.  I’m flying.

Whoa, c’est la vie
maybe something’s wrong with me
But, whoa, at least I’m free

Rudimental “Free”

Sturdy Reader, what’s holding you down?  What do you worry is ‘wrong’ with you?  Could you dare to put it down?  Take a bold step with me today and, like the guy in the video, jump off the cliff and fly.

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Be the Lightning | Music Monday

It doesn’t matter what other people think about your body. It matters how you think about it, talk to it, and feel inside it.

This is the second time I’ve lost more than 100 pounds. The first time was from a place of anger, self-hatred, and body shaming. Even at my smallest I was miserable, agonizing over everything I didn’t have and everything I thought I wasn’t. I exercised too much, ate too little, and drove myself to an eating disorder. After undiagnosed lipedema made each of those pounds come back, I had a reckoning with myself. I didn’t want to wake up every day the rest of my life hating myself and feeling like a failure. No one deserves that.

With the help of a good mental health therapist and a lot of body positive books, I did things differently the second time. I threw out my scale, cut out everything and everyone who made me feel “less than”, and focused on myself. What if I stopped trying to lose weight? After a year of this work, I started realizing my worth and beauty had nothing to do with size. That’s when the universe dropped the word “lipedema” in my lap. I started to support my lymphatic system and started shedding pounds like magic, even after nothing else had worked. For the first time I feel awake, alive, and bursting with light.

I’m smaller now, but I might get bigger again later. I’m at peace with that because I’m so in love with the person my body carries around, no matter its size.

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Today’s Music Monday pick is “Rise” by the Lost Frequencies.  It has me dancing, running, and celebrating everything that has happened since my lipedema diagnosis.  It’s been an uphill battle but, wow, the view is amazing. Sturdy readers, join me and be the lightning.

Ain’t no way I’m stopping now
Gonna make my way right through the clouds
I’ll rise
I’m going to break my teeth and bear the pain
Gonna climb this mountain once again
I’ll rise
I’m feeling stronger than I’ve been
I’ll weather the storm, weather the rain
I am the lightning

Lost Frequencies “Rise”

Stepping on the Scale Didn’t Help Diagnose My Fat Disorder | Don’t Weigh Me

Over the past few days a Washington Post article about patients requesting not to be weighed at the doctor’s office is making the rounds on social media.  It’s done a wonderful job rallying the anti-fat trolls.  Seriously, don’t they ever sleep?

I’ll summarize the article for those who don’t have access or time to read it.  A few years ago, Ginny Jones, an eating disorder coach who is herself in recovery, developed business cards that read “Please don’t weigh me unless it’s (really) medically necessary: if you really need my weight, please tell me why so that I can give you my informed consent.”  You can buy them on her website here.  The article goes on to present perspectives from patients as well as doctors and does its best to be balanced.  The internet hive mind, on the other hand, is vociferously against these cards, at least in my feeds, which I thought were pretty body positive.

I unfollowed most of the people I’ve seen post about this article – including some in the keto community – because they reinforced the idea that weight equals health and without knowing your weight your doctor can’t know if you are healthy.  “Give me a break!” scream some of the trolls.  “Denial!” shout others. 

I don’t know how I can say this more clearly…  For nearly 30 years I lived with an undiagnosed fat disorder.  Every doctor I saw weighed me.  Every doctor I saw mentioned my growing weight.  None of them diagnosed my lymphatic and fat disorder.  The doctor who finally recognized my lipedema, and who has treated me with great success the past two years, never once weighed me.

So how can my doctor possibly know how I’m doing?!  We talk about my symptoms, self-care regimen, and concerns.  She listens, examines my body, and gives me her advice.  I drive 15 miles out of my way, past many other doctors, to see her because she trusts me as a partner in my own health and as a reliable source of data on the state of my body.  How revolutionary is that? 

The people who are truly in denial here are not the patients – many of us have long suspected something was off about the simple calories-in-calories-out weight arithmetic peddled in diet books – it’s the greater medical community that needs to wake up.  Too many of our doctors are in denial about how woefully little they understand weight and what makes people fat.   (Hint: not always too much food and too little exercise!)  That’s the real fantasy that needs to be shattered.  That’s the denial we need to confront. 

In the meantime, no, you don’t need to weigh me.

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Why I Love Alternate Day Fasting (Part #2) | Fasting February

Week two of my month-long alternate day fasting (ADF) challenge was more difficult than the first.  I struggled with some hunger and low energy toward the end of the week, but I increased my salt and got some extra rest.  I also planned a lot of decadent meals for the weekend because I over shopped and needed to eat everything before it spoiled.  Last week I wrote about ADF saving me time, but one of the other major reasons I love it is that it saves me money.  A lot of money.

When I do ADF I only eat four days a week, effectively reducing my grocery needs by just over 40%.  That translates into so much money!  Of course, you must realize you don’t need as much food and stop buying it, but you’ll learn that quick when you find yourself emptying half your refrigerator into the trash can.

On my eating days I make sure to have two solid keto meals and eat to satiety and with ADF I can afford to make those high-quality meals.  One of my favorite “feast” day meals is a big ribeye steak.  I have a decent job, but I can’t afford to eat one seven days a week.  When I’m doing ADF, however, I will sometimes have one on each of my eating days.  In fact, the high-quality fuel makes it easier to get through the next fast.

This week I had super low energy and a lot of hunger on my last fasting day.  It was the first time I’d felt like that since starting this challenge, so I paused to reflect on what was different.  I’d been busy the night before so, rather than cooking up a bunch of meat, I’d thrown some sausage and asparagus in a skillet with bacon grease and called it dinner.  That was a lot less protein than I usually get and probably explains why I felt so low on fuel the next day.  Because I was.  Don’t skimp when you’re doing ADF or another fasting protocol.  Chances are that you’ll be able to eat well while also putting money in the bank.

Even though I had one rough day this week, I have settled into a comfortable pattern with my ADF and expect I’ll likely continue it beyond the one-month challenge.  I’m continuing to lose weight, my legs feel lighter, and I’m saving both time and money.   What is there not to love about that?

Be sure to join me next week to hear how I manage attending an in-person work event on a designated fasting day.  Sign up below to make sure you don’t miss that or any other Sturdy updates.

Remember, I am not a medical professional and it’s essential that you involve your care team before and during any changes you might choose to make to your eating plan or routine. Each of us is individual and our bodies may respond differently!

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Why I Love Alternate Day Fasting (Part #1) | Fasting February

I love fasting, but it didn’t come to me naturally or easily.  Before I knew I had lipedema, I spent years counting calories, restricting, and over exercising in an attempt to shrink my body.  Of course, having an undiagnosed fat disorder made that a Sisyphean task.  Endless.  Impossible.  Or so I thought.

Doctors and researchers disagree about the best way of eating for lipedema, but I have found strict keto (less than 20g total carbs) works wonders for me and so have many other women I know.  When people talk about keto, however, they often also mention fasting.  Those two are the keto version of peanut butter and jelly – perfect together.  Fasting felt restrictive, however, and triggered thoughts of my dark days hopelessly counting and restricting. 

I waited three months before I finally found a coach, first reading up on the science behind fasting, particularly as used by Dr. Jason FungIt made sense, not as a restrictive way to punish the body but as a way to support its healing.

During our initial calls I explained my goals and walked her through my daily schedule and what I considered non-negotiable.  The big non-negotiable was an eating window.  I hated the idea of watching the clock and telling myself I had to wait.  That felt restrictive and triggering.  “I’d rather not eat at all,” I told her in frustration.  Enter alternate day fasting.

There are different ways to do it, but the rhythm she helped me land on is fasting the entire day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Those days I drink only water and black coffee (a transition I never thought I could make) and make sure I get enough salt.  And by enough, I mean a lot.  I literally sit with my saltshaker next to my keyboard and nibble on crystals all day.  Sounds weird until you try it.  The other four days of the week I eat normal keto meals, something she emphasized as essential.  Not eating enough on those days, she said, could make things worse rather than better.  She even made me text her pictures of my meals to make sure I was eating them.  We started with one fasting day a week and once I had worked up to the full three days a week, she challenged me to alternate day fast for a full month.   “Challenge” is not a word I walk away from easily, so it was game on.

I very quickly felt amazing, even more so than I do on keto, but I also had to develop a few strategies to adapt to my new routine.  First, on fasting days I have a lot more time.  This is a blessing but also a challenge for someone who tends to eat out of boredom.  I quickly realized I needed to stay busy on fasting days.  It might sound paradoxical, but I started grocery shopping those nights.  Without anything to rush home and cook, I could circle the store leisurely and plan gorgeous keto meals for my eating days.  I really found once I “flipped the fasting switch” for a day the cravings and temptation were gone, and this wasn’t as strange or stressful as it sounds.  On days I didn’t need to grocery shop I instead went to the park to exercise rather than walk around my neighborhood.  This was something I truly enjoyed and that felt like a treat on a weeknight because normally I wouldn’t have time.  Fasting days also become opportunities for “spa nights” with candlelit Epsom salt baths, relaxing music, and fancy soaps.  Basically, learning to fast meant learning to nourish my body and soul with things other than food and I came to look forward to what felt like long, leisurely evenings.

At the end of my month-long challenge, I had lost something like 15 pounds and dramatically reshaped my relationship with food and my body.  I no longer felt tempted to eat just because it was “time to eat.”  And if I did, I could recognize it as habit rather than hunger.  I had also developed a solid set of habits and practices that lowered stress and brought me joy but had nothing to do with eating.  That’s huge for someone who has struggled with weight, emotional eating, and anxiety most of her life.

While I love alternate day fasting, I don’t do it all the time.  I often do it for about a month – until my body tells me it wants a break – then go back to my regular daily keto meals until I feel ready to start again.  I don’t know how to explain how I know when it’s time, other than to say I can feel when it’s time to “tighten the screws,” which fasting does for me. 

With this post I wrap up my first week of fasting for Fasting February.  I’m down about 5 pounds (if you remember I lost nothing in January, so I was overdue) and my legs feel light and amazing.  My ketones are also through the roof, which means my mind is clear and sharp.    

Be sure to join me next week to learn the other major reason I love alternate day fasting and sign up below to make sure you don’t miss that or any other Sturdy updates.

Remember, I am not a medical professional and it’s essential that you involve your care team before and during any changes you might choose to make to your eating plan or routine. Each of us is individual and our bodies may respond differently!

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What Happened When I Didn’t Eat Dairy for a Month | Non-Dairy January

This weekend I should be counting down and stocking up on heavy cream to celebrate the end of my month-long dairy elimination challenge.  Instead, I’m tightening the screws just a little more and buckling in for at least a few more weeks.  You see, Sturdy Readers, some interesting things have happened over the past few weeks that underscore why non-scale victories are so much more useful for tracking progress on keto (and with lipedema) than the scale.

Last weekend my friend Kristin called to see how my challenge was going.  You might remember she’s the friend who encouraged me to do this whole thing.  I told her nothing had happened and that I planned to go right back to dairy on February 1.  “Hmmmm,” she said pausing thoughtfully.  “Tell me more about what you’ve been doing.”  I showed her my Milkademia and explained how I had, for the first time, been eating a lot of nuts.  During the first few days of the challenge, I experienced cravings and finding a long-forgotten bag of macadamia nuts at the back of the cupboard felt like stumbling upon a case of cold La Croix in the desert.  Salvation.  I checked the carbs and serving size and did a pretty good job pacing myself, but I enjoyed them so much that when that bag was gone, I bought more and I also bought a big canister of pecans, which sat dangerously on the corner of my desk.

 “You swapped one problem for another,” Kristin deduced.  “Keep going a few more weeks but get rid of the nuts and clean up your nut milk.”  It turns out Milkademia contains a few different gums and emulsifiers that may or may not cause inflammation.  Kristin’s advice was to steer clear and see if that made a difference.  Thankfully, a few days earlier, I picked up a jug of Malk.  It’s super clean (three simple ingredients) and foams like a dream, so move over Milkademia.  Malk is expensive, but comparable in price to the super clean, organic, and local heavy cream I bought before.

So, for the past week I have been off my nuts and on my Malk.  Here’s what happened.

First, my energy went through the roof.  And I mean through the roof.  I literally feel like I have a jet pack on my back on my daily walks. My speed has increased that noticeably.  I’ve even started running the last few blocks to my apartment just because I feel so good. 

Second, I went down a size in my jeans, which is a big deal when you have lipedema all over your hips and thighs.  No, I don’t think all that shrinking happened this week, but it certainly happened this month.  A few weeks ago, I needed to buy a belt.  Then I needed to start tightening it a few more notches.  Finally, this week I decided to try a smaller pair of jeans and… bam!  They fit. Same brand and same style that I was wearing before.

What didn’t happen this month?  Any weight loss.  Not a single pound.  In fact, at one point I was up more than five pounds, but I didn’t let it phase me.  As the user of this body, I know when it’s doing great and it’s doing great.  That’s why non-scale victories are so important to track and rely on rather than the scale.  I didn’t weigh myself the first six months I did keto.  Heck, I didn’t even own a scale.  Instead, I took pictures and made notes about how I felt and what I was doing, and I did something similar for non-dairy January. 

You don’t need a fancy tracker or a spreadsheet for non-scale victories.  In fact, I keep mine as a list on my phone.  Since it’s always with me I can easily add to it when I notice something and before I forget.  The important thing is to give yourself as many data points as possible in addition to (or even instead of) the scale.  Just think!  If I wasn’t paying attention to my clothes and only watching that digital display, I would think nothing had happened this month when, in actuality, I lost two dress sizes in my hips and thighs! That’s a sturdy woman win. I also want to stress bio-individuality and how different each of our bodies are. Working with a coach can be a game changer and really help you figure things out quick.

So, that’s it. I’ll give my body a few more weeks on my new cleaner regimen then sometime in February I’ll have a big cup of cream and see what happens.  Stay tuned.  In February I’m also planning to restart my fasting protocol.  Be sure to sign up for sturdy updates to learn why I love alternate day fasting and how it has taken my ketogenic lifestyle and my health to new levels.

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Pillars of Self-Care

Walking is the foundation of my self-care routine and today is a rare day I’m not doing much of it. After a long streak of 60-70 degree weather, winter finally arrived in Washington, D.C. and the sidewalks are alternately covered with heavy wet snow or black ice. At the time I’d normally be heading out for my evening walk, here I am with you, Sturdy Women, snuggled under a blanket, reflecting on what has become one of the great joys in my life. Walking is my daily opportunity to celebrate what my body can do and how far I have come. Two years ago I would have shaken my head and said No, I don’t have mobility issues and No, I don’t have pain. Isn’t it amazing what you can normalize and learn to accept, even as your health slowly (or even rapidly) deteriorates?

Of course, gaslighting and fat shaming from doctors doesn’t help, but that’s another post…

My lipedema journey started in 2019 with a strange and persistent ache behind my knee. It didn’t feel like a sore muscle, but I didn’t know what else it could be. Massaging, stretching, and heating did nothing. It will go away. I’ll ‘walk it off.’ Within a month that knee became a “trick knee,” giving out without warning if, for example, I stepped onto a curb or stood up from a chair. Even though I taught and attended intense spinning classes several times a week, I labored to walk the half mile from my bus stop to my office and always took the elevator at work, even between floors. Spinning worked because I could do it sitting down. I guess this is old age, I told myself. I was 35 and had gained 100 pounds, mysteriously and rapidly.

Yet miraculously, here I am almost exactly two years after my diagnosis, sad that I can’t go for my 2-3 mile evening walk! That pesky 100 pounds? Almost all gone. The two flights of stairs outside my apartment? I take them at a run. Those are truly accomplishments to celebrate and things I’m grateful for each day. It hasn’t been an easy road, though, and I know you Sturdy Women understand. Managing lipedema (or any chronic health condition!) is hard work, but as one woman in my support group says, “you are worth it.”

Even if I’m not walking today, I’m still doing everything else on the self-care list. I try not to think about how much time it all takes, but I estimate it’s a least three hours a day.

  • Clean, low carb nutrition. I went keto more than a year ago and never looked back. It has been a game changer for my swelling, inflammation, and energy level. I do less than 20g total carbs a day with some alternate day fasting.
  • Compression! All day everyday. CZ Salus is my favorite. Yes, you can get them on Amazon, but they ship really fast from their Italian website and – big bonus – their site offers more colors. Your closet deserves more than black and medical beige, Sturdy Woman. I’ll write a separate future post on compression, but I find both the K1 and K2 work well to control my swelling.
  • Whole body vibration is great to get lymph moving, especially on days like today when I can’t get outside. I have a LifePro Waver that I use on a low setting for 15 minutes each night before I use my pump. There is a great private Facebook group called Vibration for Fat Disorders if you need help figuring out how to use it. When in doubt, put on one of my Music Monday selections and dance it out, whatever that looks like for you!
  • Pneumatic pumping simulates manual lymph drainage (MLD) massage, but at home. I have used a Flexitouch Plus for almost two years. I started out doing it 2 hours a day – one leg at a time – in the extended size garments, but have since sized down twice and now do both legs in a single 1-hour session. There seems to be a sort of weird competition between the pump companies, but I have found Tactile super easy and accommodating as a company. With practice, I can also get suited up alone in about 5 minutes and out of it in about 30 seconds. If you are a frustrated newbie (like I once was) stick with it!
  • While I pump I elevate my legs on my Lounge Doctor wedge pillow. A lot of people seem to use a stack of regular throw pillows, but this has been a game changer for me. Not only does it get my feet nice and high, but there is no arranging, sliding, or toppling to deal with, which is great for those of us who suit up solo. The Tactile tech who visited me a few months ago was really impressed and said it was perfect. Bonus that it’s also a really comfy leg pillow. Even when I’m not pumping I like to use it while watching TV.

Those are my pillars of self-care that, in addition to walking, I do 95% of days. The 5% of time I have to cut something because of bad weather, a late night at work, or a friend in town? So what! That’s life. Consistency is key but so is flexibility.

What are your self-care pillars, Sturdy Women? Drop a note in the comments and let me know how you show up for yourself and what makes your life more joyful, comfy, and fun.

PS – There are no affiliate links in this post, just honest opinions.

What’s wrong with being confident?

My biggest battle with lipedema has been self-confidence. You see, I grew up with the narrative that my size and my worth had an inverse relationship. An increase in one required a decrease in the other. Because my body – let’s be honest, my legs – took up extra space I believed I had to work harder, smile bigger, and show more deference to earn my place in the room, to deserve to be heard.

In my twenties I pushed myself to the brink of an eating disorder trying to get smaller, buying into the big lie that “thin” was the key to achieving my life goals. At my smallest I was recruited to teach spinning classes at my gym and I loved it. I obsessed over creating the right rhythm and experience and spent a big chunk of each pay check building and rebuilding playlists to motivate my students to push just a little harder.

Eight years later, in a different city and with a different career, I dreamed of again teaching spinning classes in the evenings. But my undiagnosed lipedema had reared its head and I weighed just over 300 pounds, my largest. Damn that inverse relationship. Bigger size equals smaller worth. Or does it?

Drowning in body shame and desperate for a change, I started psychotherapy. She nudged, prodded, and poked holes in my inverse theory and one day I took a big breath and walked up to the front desk at the YMCA. Big smile. “I heard you need a spinning instructor. I am one.” They made me audition twice, but couldn’t find a reason not to hire me. At least not one they could say to my face.

I pulled out my old playlists and started tweaking again. That’s when I found Demi Levato’s Confident. Sturdy women, it has made me do things. I have applied for jobs and turned down jobs while listening to this song. I have unfolded my body’s tight origami and allowed it to relax on public transportation while listening to this song. And, yes, I have flown through a spin class leading a pack of determined riders up the biggest hill they have ever climbed.

So you say I’m complicated

That I must be out of my mind

But you’ve had me underrated

What’s wrong with being

What’s wrong with being

What wrong with being confident?

Demi Lovato, Confident

The narratives we play in our minds matter. Pop in your headphones and dare to be Confident on this Monday. What would you dare to do if you had more confidence? Don’t wait. You don’t need to lose weight, cut your hair, or buy a new outfit. Today can be the day.