First half-marathon experience

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I want to lose weight! Maybe I will just go to run!

Since I was a teenager, I was always little fat girl. Comparing to my cousin and my best friend, I was always seeing myself as fat child, later girl and women. I was always thinking it is impossible for me to start some sports, exercise or even stop eating junk food, and especially start eating healthy food. For my family, there is moto – if you eat a lot you’re healthy and if you eat less it’s sign of unhealthiness. I grow up in this environment. And it was hard to push all those thoughts away and start living different lifestyle.

And I have to admit, I was never sports person. Ok, I loved to play volleyball with friends. But just once in a month of even less. And it was just for fun, without any goal. Truth is I was always lazy and not motivated enough. I was blaming and hating my own body. I hated that I had to buy clothes for older women, because they don’t have my number of clothes I wished. I hated that I could never look good on photos, because I was fat. I knew this, I knew I was fat. But everyone around me was saying, no you’re not, you’re in the middle. So, whenever I start to do something about my weight, these comments would make me quit. People around me made me quit every time. I never had any support from anyone.

 

But all that changed when I came to USA. After I got married, I became pregnant and after pregnancy I gained almost 25 pounds (11-12 kg) more than I had before, which was already too much. And it was huge change. I couldn’t fit in any of my clothes, I was so passive, inactive, lazy. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. But thanks to my husband, who supported me from beginning, I started running first. It happened in October 2017. I went for my first run, early in the morning. My husband left to school, and I took my baby, put her in strollers and went to park. Yeah, first I started running with strollers. I begin my run, and one minute later I stopped, I couldn’t even run more than a minute, in one breath. I was so sad and angry at the same time. But I continued walking. Then, next day I tried again. And day after it again and again. Until one day I run and walked for two miles, and I was so happy. It was huge improvement for me. I noticed I can run better. But what I didn’t noticed is my weight change. I was again so depressed. Even after one month, two months of running it is not changing. But I liked running. It made me so alive. It was like flying for me. And then winter came. Being depressed because I’m not losing weight made me quit running. Now I wish I never did this, but I did.  And I didn’t run for about 2-3 months.

 

But again, I felt really bad, I am still just gaining weight, not losing. I was reading everyday what to do to lose weight. And I would say, ok this one seems easy I should to this. And next morning I would start dieting, exercising at home, but until the dinner I would be tired and I would take that hidden chocolate and I would finish it. And blaming myself again and again. But doing the same thing every day. And it was like this for a while. Until one day I didn’t apply for gym. I said, ok I gave money for this, and I need to use it as much as possible. (or it’s going to be wasted) And I started going to gym 3-4 times a week. And it was good. Great actually. And all this was followed with healthy diet. But then one day I said, maybe I could go outside and run. And I did it. It was at the end of February. And after that day I am running 5-6 times a week. I enjoy running. What’s pray for soul, it’s running for the body, I say. Every time I come back I feel happy, full of energy and feeling so proud of myself. Being impressed seeing how time and effort are bringing results.

Than one day I decided to apply for half marathon. I knew I could easily do 5K or 10K, but I wanted to test my limits and try a half.

Trail run

I spend around two months preparing for it and I did it. And I have to tell you the feeling is incredible. I was even crying at the end. Crying from happiness. This was my Boston Marathon (goal of all runners), I might never reach that goal, but even this one was huge for me. But trust me, if I could do it, I am sure you can do it too.

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When I applied, I saw sign ‘trail run’. I never run on this kind of field, but I said I want to try it. I am usually running on the streets, without any jumping or climbing. But in this half marathon there were a lot of it. It was run throughout the woods, single road and lots of mud. But it made it fun for running. It wasn’t boring. And what I realized it’s much easier to run with someone, it doesn’t have to be someone you know, but just someone running similar pace as you do. I found one person, and around 8 miles (13 km) I was behind her. Then I got tired, and stayed behind. The rest 5 miles (8 km) were hard. I was making intervals of running and walking. But I made it. And I was done, being 6-th in my age group. When I finished, my legs were still fine, I was just walking around for a while, stretching and drinking water.

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Everything was fine, until I arrived home, after I rest. My legs got relaxed, and then pain in my knees started. It was really hard. I couldn’t even walk properly and my daughter wants me to go out, to play. And I did. The same day I went outside with her, for a small walk. I think it was good for me. It was hurting, but I wasn’t giving up. Next day, I didn’t feel any pain in my knee, but I felt in my thighs. So, I did some yoga, to stretch those muscles. I gave rest for two days, and today, third day after the run I went outside and run 3 miles (5K). it was good run and I am back on the tracks again.

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Forget the face! You can’t look good in running photos 🙂 

Why am I doing it?

Some of my friends, and even my family members asked me why you’re doing this? Why do you need this? Answer is simple, I want different lifestyle, I want to have this energy for a long time after. I want to prove myself, not anyone else, that I can do it, that this body can do amazing things, and all that with my hijab. This feeling of achievement, of winning is something I don’t want to lose. Yes, my primary goal was to lose weight, but now it’s not just that. I want to be active, I want my children to learn they should take care of their body as well as their soul. I want them to have a head start, which I didn’t, and start while they’re young. I want them to be proud of me and be better than me. That’s what I want, and that’s why I do it.

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8 things you should never ask one mother

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1. You are breastfeeding, right?

One of the most sensitive things you can say to one mother is about her breastfeeding. It is something she can’t fully control. Yes, she should be careful about her diet, she should be consistent but sometimes it’s not enough. Some moms are staying long time awake first few weeks, and it’s hard to have good sleep with new babies. And you need to have good sleep if you want to be able to breastfeed. Some moms are more sensitive and in first few weeks they are quitting, because they’re exhausted and they can’t take it anymore. But some of them are consistent and trying their best, but baby just doesn’t want to suck. Baby wants bottle, because mother was breast pumping for a while, and now baby just wants bottle. Also, some babies are lactose intolerant and drinking mothers milk is causing pain, they’re all the time fuzzy, always crying. And mom stops breastfeeding because it’s best for her baby. So, when you see some mother giving formula instead of breastfeeding, don’t ask why! You don’t know what they’ve been through. You don’t know their story. We all know that mothers milk is the healthiest option, but why some mothers stop breastfeed is something private. And most of them feel bad because they can’t breastfeed, so when you ask you’re just making them feel even more sad and upset. Which makes them even feel like they failed like a mother. Even without you asking, society is already making big pressure on moms when it’s about breastfeeding. Please, you don’t be another drop in already full glass.

 

2. Why is your child (not) eating that?

I got asked this one a lot. I am still not giving any sweets to my sixteen-months- old baby. It is my decision, and I don’t want to give it for a few reasons. First, it’s not healthy, then her body doesn’t need it, her teeth are healthier. And she’s not asking for it, because she doesn’t know what chocolate or pudding is. She eats better healthy food. She is overjoyed when I give her banana or dates (which contains natural healthy sugars). And there are so much more reasons. But it is something I decided. And everyone should respect that. But when one mom decides not to give meat or bread, or some fruit. It is their decision, it’s their baby. Or opposite, if they give everything. We all try to be the best mom we could, and we are doing mistakes. We’re not perfect. But all of us are trying. So, when you see that someone is giving or not giving some food to their child, be quiet! Don’t ask!  Maybe baby needs to eat gluten free food, or baby is allergic. You don’t know. Or mother believes that if she gives everything baby will not be picky eater. We are all having different views and ideas.

 

3. You look tired/are you sick?

Being mother of a baby, toddler is hard. It takes lots of time, energy and sacrifices. First few months, even a year I was constantly tired. I didn’t sleep well. My baby was waking up few times during a night even when she turned one year. And during a day, she would have just small naps. If I could sleep full 3 days and nights it wouldn’t be enough to take away tiredness. And like that I go outside, without make up, with the first clothes I found, and one is saying me – you look so tired. What’s going on, are you fine, you’re not sick, right? This questions are not helping. Of course I am tired, I have a baby for a God sake.

4. Why you’re not sleeping when baby sleeps?

This one is connected with previous one. When they see you’re tired, and you say you’re not sleeping well. They say, why you’re not sleeping when baby is sleeping. If I would do that, there would be mess in the house everything. I could never do all the housework, there wouldn’t be meal ready anytime, I wouldn’t have time to write this. When my baby sleeps, that’s the only time I can do some stuff in the house. And when she us awake, she is not calm until she make mess everywhere again. And I wait another nap time to do everything all over again.

 

IMG_26845. Do you work?

Mothers who are working, when their baby is small with pride are saying they are working. As if it’s something to be proud of. Well I wouldn’t be proud if I do work right now. For children first three years are the most important one, and why would I give my small baby, in most sensitive years to daycare or someone else to take care of her, so I could earn money just to pay the same care. I understand there are moms, they need to turn back to work, or they’ll lose their job but it’s not something you should be proud of. When you ask do I work I am saying – yes, I do work. I actually don’t have one job but few of them. I am mother, wife, cook, servant, maid…and more. The trick is just that I don’t get paid with money for the work I do, but with hugs and kisses. And if you think this is not real job. You’re right. It is much harder than real job. And when you answer, oh you’re at home. Don’t think for a second that I have nothing to do. I have even more than I can do in a day. And you, everyone, should be more respectful towards house-staying moms. We’re caring more on our back than those who are working and being payed with money.

6. When is another one coming?

Our girl was not even one year old, and everyone started asking when will you have another child. Why are people so curious about this issue? They want to know how many children you want to have, how big difference you’re going to make. Than giving advices how it’s better if they are close in age. You may be right but you don’t know few stuff. Maybe that mother can’t have any more babies, maybe they decided to have just one, or they have two and they don’t’ want to have more. Maybe they are moving to some other place so they want to get baby but sometime after. Again, I am saying, you don’t know someone’s story. So, don’t be so curious and ask stuff that are not in your concern.

7. How much weight you gained?

Yes, most of us mothers gained few pounds, or even more than few. And it’s really hard for us when we can’t fit our old clothes, when our stomach is so saggy and yes, we don’t fell attractive at all. And on top of it, you’re coming and asking this. For me, it was really hard. Especially because I was always having problems with weight. But with lots of determination and will I lost all that post pregnancy weight, and I have not even less then I had before I become pregnant. But in period when I didn’t have any hope that I will ever lose that weight it was one of the hardest questions. And I’m sure most of us mothers are feeling the same. So, please don’t make comments on weight with newly mom, you can just make them less confident.

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8. Why you are doing like that? I would do differently!

We all have those friends, they still don’t have children but they will in every situation say how they would do differently. How their children would never cry or would never have tantrums, because they will always have so much patience and understanding. Well that’s what I thought too. I was thinking I will have the best-behaved child, she will be listening everything I say, she will never cry in public, she will not be spoiled. Because I will behave her the best way possible.  But all these things are happening. And I am going crazy sometimes, I am losing it, and I am not behaving as perfect mother in most of the situations. But, let me tell you something. Children are not robots, you can’t program them the way you want. There are days they will be like angels, but the other ones they will make your life miserable. And that’s ok. That’s what they’re spouse to do. And you are there just to make balance between them being angels and being naughty. So, when you say to me you would do differently, I am just saying wait and we’ll see. And whenever you say I would never, trust me, it will come to you and you will. All those NEVER you’re going to do. So, don’t say this one to one mother, because we are all doing best we can. But all children are different, they have different personality, and one same method is not going to work on all children.IMG_2685

People around me

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Lately I got asked a lot what were my experiences after the new president came.
Well in this post I’m going to tell you what I’ve been through. When I first heard that new president is coming, and when I heard his ideas towards Muslims, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that one person like that could be allowed to be president. But then I heard some of his other ideas, and some of them make sense, but generally I thought he cannot be new president. After he was chosen I was even more shocked. And even more when I saw he won in Texas. But then, it was obvious, because here people are mostly conservative and he is coming from conservative party.
Then I was just praying that nothing of the things he said is not going to happen. There are lots of politicians saying one thing and doing another. I was praying he’s now one of them. But then he made this huge ban for seven Muslim countries. That was a first time I really felt fear. I’m not coming from any of these countries, nether my husband does, but just thinking about all those Muslims who are not able to see their families, or if they were visiting them and can’t come back, made me so sad and frustrated. After this ban happened I was scared about people’s reactions here in States.
But I was positively surprised. I never expected this kind of support and encouragement. In each city, small and big, there were protests against this ban. I went to one protest, here in CS, TX. And people there were coming to me, asking for hug. Saying you’re welcomed here. And there were more non-Muslims than Muslims. And that my heart filed with warmth. There are still good people in this world. They stand with us, fight with us. And that means a lot.

After this ban, I was scared people might become more aggressive towards us, they might agree with their president and want us gone. Especially after that one mosque here in Texas was burned. But nothing of it happened. Contrary, people are more kind and more respectful than ever. After this, they just became more interested in us, trying to learn more about us. And that all gives a hope.

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When you’re trying to take photo but your baby girl want you to take her sippy cup

I was never ashamed of my hijab. I was always proud of it. Now even more, when people see you’re fighting for something and you’re standing on the ground for things you believe in, they will also support you. And they will be there to fight with you too. And we’re grateful for people like that.

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I just wish that people read more and learn more about Muslims and hijab. We’re just like you, we laugh, cry, have families, we love others and just above everything we love Allah, One and the Only God. I am just like any other women, I like to look nice, I like fashion, make up, jewelry, shopping and more. It’s just that I am combining my hijab with all that. And by hijab I don’t mean just headscarf, I mean full body coverage clothes and behavior that flows it. Modesty is our key. Hijab is who we am, and it will always be part of our identity.

 

Butternut squash dessert

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Today I’m going to share with you another recipe. It’s one of my favorite desserts. It’s totally sugar free, gluten free and vegan. This healthy recipe is one of the rare things I’m giving to my daughter, because she’s still not eating sugar. And she enjoys it very much.

I am trying to use honey, as much as can instead of sugar. I used to eat sweet stuff a lot. I could finish one whole chocolate by myself and I would want still more. I read somewhere that more you eat unhealthy, more you want to eat afterwards. It’s the same with healthy food.

This delicious dessert is very common in my country. I used butternut squash for this recipe, even though we’re having different kind of squash and pumpkin over there. The only variation I made is added tahini and nuts, which is inspired with the decoration, my friend made once.

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Preparation time: 1 h | Persons: 4-5
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Ingredients:temporary

2 butternut squash

1 cup honey

1 cup water

½ cup tahini

½ cup nuts (I used walnuts)

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Instructions:

In big pan put together cubed squash, honey and water. Cover and cook in medium low temperature, for about 45 min. When it’s cooked, cool it in fridge for a few hours.

When it’s cold enough, put tahini and nuts over it. And you can start enjoying this dessert.

Our international neighborhood

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It’s been almost three year since I came to States. Before coming here, I had lots of different and confusing thoughts about this country. From one side, everyone was saying how this is dream country, all the dreams you have, you can easily realize it here. Whatever you want to have, you can easily get here. And there was other, totally opposite side, saying that it’s the worst country for Muslims to live in. You can’t go outside, but if they see you with hijab they’re going to attack you, say bad words to you. You have to be always careful and watch your back. I was even warned not to go outside alone, without my husband. Because someone might do something bad to me. So, I came here with fear, thinking about all the stuff people told me. I was scared to even look at people faces thinking they might say something bad. But then I started realizing my neighbors are always first saying: “Good morning!”; “Have a good day!”; “How are you today?” Little by little I was getting used to their greetings. But then I realized it’s not just my neighbors. Its everyone, on the street, in market, in park. Everyone and everywhere. It’s just a way of being polite. And people here are like that. After a few months, I got used to this people, this country. I met few of Americans and they changed me. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I started feeling totally free and comfortable, just like in my own country. I started going to park, grocery shop alone. And I truly love it here. And now even more after all this events about banning issue. People were getting curious about Muslims. I was so happy when a girl in Starbucks said: “I like your scarf. It’s called hijab, right?” Or the other one on the street: “I love how you make that hijab.” These situations are happening often lately. Now people know what hijab is. And before they didn’t. I see how people here are fighting for us, being with us when we need them the most. At least it’s like this in Texas. I’ve been in other states too, having incredible moments everywhere, meeting great people in each place, but Texas will always be my number one.

But on the other hand, I can’t say also its dream country, like someone else once told me. You can’t do everything easily. You have to work hard to get something. But yes, truth is that here work pays off. But if you think you can come here, do nothing and have everything, forget about it. There is no such place in this world. Except Jannah(Heaven).

But the thing I like the most about USA, is variety of cultures. It’s whole earth in one country. You can find people from each corner of this beautiful Earth. I was lucky enough to live in neighborhood where we have families from different countries. Few months ago, we decided to have Play groups. We are gathering every Friday in someone else’s house. Our children are playing with each other. And we are sitting and talking. Those talks are always interesting, because we are all curious to learn something about our different cultures, food, countries.

And our children maybe don’t know how to talk to each other, but they are playing and communicating in their own way. Just by looking at them, I am wishing we are all children. There wouldn’t be as much hate and fights as there is everywhere in the world. Each child loves other child, their main goal is to play with each other. If they got into fight, they’re getting over it easily, and continue to play. Like nothing ever happened. Because, that’s important. To be happy and have a friend is important. Not your pride, ego and wish for success.

With our children we, adults are learning true values, learning that we can be friends with everyone, that small things can make us happy. That there is no space for hate or pride in friendship.
So the main goal of this play group is not just for children to learn and play something new but also for us to discover new friendships and learn new things about our neighbors and our selves too.

Until next time, Amila

 

My favorite salad

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Hello everyone!

This is my first post and honestly, I’m a bit nervous. I have that enthusiastic feeling full of hope that you will like this blog and share and make comments for each post you see here.

I am starting my blog with food. Why? You may wonder. Because we are what we eat. To show you who I am, (at least one part of me, haha) I’m going to show you some cool, easy and healthy or close to healthy recipes, that I use almost every day in my kitchen. I love cooking. Even before I started my weight loss journey I loved cooking and eating at home. Now I love it even more. It’s cheaper, healthier and fun to explore new recipes, mixing unmixable ingredients and making something tasty, which I thought I could never eat before.

I remember back in my parents’ home how my mom knew how to prepare a dinner with just a few things she would find in her kitchen. And she was always saying it’s easy to be a good cook if you have full fridge, but can you be a good one without it. And she really was, and still is a good cook. But me!? I’m still the one that needs to have full fridge to be a good cook. But I use simple ingrediants and recipes.
My countries cuisine is not so healthy I can say, but its healthier than all this junk fast food everyone is offering around every corner, at least. In Bosnian cuisine, dough is used a lot, for different kind of pastries. Bosnian people cannot live without bread. Take away from them everything but not bread. That’s a must with every meal. So, when you grow up in this kind of environment, it is hard to start new chapter, where you can eat those stuffs just occasionally or never. I remember few years ago, when I told my mom I’m not eating bread anymore. It was like I committed some kind of sin. Than questioning, finding a reason for it, threatening, silence and at the end acceptance. But still I could hear her saying to others how I started refusing bread, how I’m going to make myself sick, and so on and on.

Now is different, not eating some kind of food is not just a phase it’s who I am now. It’s something I try to maintain for a long time. But I needed to go away, to live far away from my family, so I could start understanding myself, my body and to question and enjoy every piece of healthy food that’s coming into my mouth. Now I cook whatever I want and luckily my husband loves all the things I’m preparing. Which is great plus, to have someone to support you. But only If you have strong will everything is possible. You can start eating healthy, and be healthy. You can make a decision today.

Today I’m going to share with you my favorite salad. I could call it chicken salad.
It contains all nutritious needed, it’s delicious, light, and when you start eating it, you can’t stop. You can eat it as lunch or as regular salad with some light dinner.

Trust me, ones you try it, you’ll wish to make it again, and again, and again!

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Preparation time: 20 min. | Persons: 2

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Ingredients:temporary

3 cups lettuce, shredded

1 chicken breast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp curry

1 tsp olive oil

black paper to taste

1 cup sweet corn

1 cup grape tomato, halves

1 avocado (without it, is just as delicious), cubed

2 tbsp. croutons

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Instructions:

Cut chicken breasts into small cubes. In a pan put it together with olive oil, salt, curry and black pepper. Mix occasionally. It’s done when there is no more water inside and it gets nice yellow-brown color.

Now just mix all the ingredients and voila. It’s done. That simple. Enjoy it.

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