Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lessons Learned from my Dog

It is the one-year anniversary of adopting our sweet angel Celine, also known as Cee Cee, our dog.  I honestly believe that rescuing Cee Cee has helped me to make even more progress toward overcoming my food-related issues and anxiety.  One morning, I was about to step on the scale in my bathroom and Cee Cee was staring up at me.  It was almost as though she was saying "What the heck is that meaningless contraption.  Let's cuddle." 

Lessons learned from my dog:

1) Always stop to sniff the roses (and roll in the grass).

2) Love and accept the way you look.

3) Be un-apologetically yourself.

4) Ask for the things you need and communicate them clearly.

5) Be grateful for the special people in your life (maybe don't lick their face when they greet you at the door), but make it a priority to just be with them. 

6) Persevere when times are rough.

Our lives may be a bit more complicated than our dog's.  But they teach us that it is important to acknowledge the simple pleasures and love in each day.

Any you can think of to add?  Add them to the comments below :)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Beachbody anyone?

How does everyone feel about the Beachbody / Shakeology stuff taking over my newsfeed?

My initial thought when I began seeing these "coaches" posting inspirational messages and touting how easy and convenient the Beachbody workouts are, was that huh - maybe this isn't as bad as most of the fad diets that have graced my television screen in the past. The messages they post are often focused on believing in yourself - their most popular hashtag being #igotthis. 

But then I reminded myself that the goal is to sell shakes and workout videos. Starting to feel a little fishy...yes?

As the weeks have progressed I have seen more and more Beachbody coaches talking about "clean" eating and cutting "bad" foods.  About replacing meals with shakes, about never missing a workout despite your body being tired or needing sleep.

THIS is where I start to really question any "healthy-living" program.

These coaches are not trained in nutrition, or in any science related to health or fitness for that matter.  THEY MAKE MONEY FROM SELLING SHAKES.  And just because you add "ology" to the end of your product does not make it scientifically proven to do anything.

As I am writing this post I am disliking it more and more.  Maybe because it isn't until you peek under the surface that you realize what this really is.

Convincing women that they need a product to feel worthy enough to go to the beach is not right. Implying that their body is not enough as it is. That they are not enough as they are.

The business of fitness and nutrition is one where I believe companies need to tread lightly and be extra responsible.  These companies have a moral obligation to their customers to put their health first.  I just am not sure if I see this happening in this case.

It just seems to me that the better alternative (if you feel lost about how to get healthy) is to meet with a registered dietitian or check our an intuitive eating program.  Move around more, or do the Beachbody dvds when you can, take days off when you need to.  Find your set-point and accept your body.  Live.

Rant over.  But would love to hear other opinions, care to weigh in?  Add a comment below :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Lifetime Ago

I haven't written in a while.  I've thought about it a lot, I just haven't had much new to say.

This blog has been a place for me to ramble about all the overwhelming feelings and challenges I've faced over the years.

Six years ago, it started as a healthy food blog, which was actually a manifestation of my obsession with food, as I had been restricting the amount I needed to be nourished.

This blog then evolved into a place where I could share my struggle with disordered eating, and then it chronicled my journey back to happiness.

Over the past few months I have felt pretty distanced from my old life of restrictive eating and over-exercising.  Maybe that's why I was hesitant to write again.

Moving to a new city, starting a new job, getting a dog, and meeting new friends has been a true reset for me.  It has allowed my to settle into my new self in a fresh new world. 

I must say that it has made it much easier for me to let go of the old habits and damaging thoughts that accompanied them. 

I was looking through my own Facebook photos today and I realized that you really can't tell at all when I got to my rock bottom or when I started feeling better.  Other than looking smaller in photos, I look pretty much as happy and content as I do now.

Just another reminder that you don't have to look a certain way to have a disordered outlook about food, exercise, or body image.

I haven't freaked out about calories in a long time.  I haven't felt guilty about not working out in a while.  I sometimes look at myself in the mirror and think - I look good (I have good and bad days like everyone of course).  But two years ago, sitting with my therapist, I NEVER thought that day would come.

I guess the purpose of this post is to say that I am still alive and I am doing great.

AND I hope that anyone who feels guilty when they eat the "wrong" foods, and who pushes their body too hard too frequently, and who eats and exercises in order to look a certain way, believes that they can be completely happy and carefree again.  

That you don't have to worry about what to order at a restaurant, that you don't have to count calories, that you don't have to workout when you are tired.  That you don't have to hate yourself.

Life is so much more then that.


PS - Hoping to pop in more often to share some healthy living tips and of course to ramble about myself.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Adjusting with Gratitude

Adjusting to change has never really been my strong suit.  And this year marks a record number of major changes in my life.  I got married, moved across the country, AND I will be starting a new job soon.

When changes happen in our environment, I think it's important to keep true to yourself internally.  I definitely have faced some challenges over these past few months.  Figuring out how to navigate a new city, loneliness, self-doubt, missing my old friends and co-workers...but it is important for me to remind myself that with change comes new adventure.  San Diego might never feel the same as DC, but it can still be really great in its own way. 

Sometimes we tend to focus on the negatives in our life instead of being grateful for what we have - definitely something I am guilty of in the past. Today I want to take some time to appreciate all the new positives in my life.

Though I truly miss my DC co-workers,  my work-from-home "look" is legit. 

And I love not wearing makeup.

I have various offices all within 700 square feet.

In DC, I lived what I consider a pretty "restricted" lifestyle.  I let "healthy" steal my happiness.  Not anymore. AND IT FEELS OH SO GOOD.

I'll even enjoy shit like this. 

And cook meals like this!

I get to see my momma.

I don't have to attend football games in blustery weather.

I get to go to outdoor weddings and never worry about summer thunderstorms.

I get to toast my lunch (this might be the biggest positive)

After eight years, I get to be officially locked down with this guy.

When I start to feel down.  Practicing gratitude is the absolute best remedy.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Battling Perfectionism

I got married four weeks ago.  As someone who regularly puts pressure on myself to look perfect in pictures, to always say the right thing, to be an amazing employee, girlfriend, daughter - having a wedding was a very overwhelming experience.

The wedding industry sells this vision of what weddings should look like and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get sucked into it.  I wanted my day to be perfect, I wanted to look perfect, and I wanted everyone else to think it was perfect.

Maybe this is why I felt like I was having heart palpitations all day leading up to our 4pm ceremony.  Thank God I had my best friends to keep me laughing.

I told my friend Hayley that I was feeling overwhelmed and she said "just try to stop thinking every now and then and focus on just that moment."

So I did what Hayley told me.  A lot of the rest of the day was a blur, partly due to over stimulation and partly due to the the alcohol I was hoping would take the edge off, but I do remember a lot of very special moments that will stay with me forever.

We happened to get married on one of the hottest days San Diego had had all Summer.  I felt the heat when I stepped out onto the aisle.  But when I saw Travis looking wonderful at the end of it, I didn't care about anything.

I didn't look perfect in every picture....

But some turned out awesome...

 Our dance was pretty awkward...

 Our cake started to melt so we had to cut it early...

We drank a lot...and got pretty raunchy on the dance floor.

I was so sweaty, I stood in front of the tent's fan, completely destroying my $100 hair style.  No f***s given.

I looked like a hot mess by the end of the night.  Sweat dripping from my brow.  My large chest practically falling out of my dress. 

But I got to go home with this guy.  And will for the rest of my life.

After the wedding, and our friends all left, I had a lot of worries.  I worried about whether everyone had fun.  I worried that my dress didn't flatter my body.  I worried that I drank too much.  I worried that I didn't talk to enough people.  I worried that I missed pictures with my family and friends from out of town. I worried that the curves of my body were too pronounced. I worried that my makeup was dripping off of my face.

I was supposed to be on cloud nine, I was supposed to have just had the most perfect and happy day of my life. And here I was on my honeymoon questioning the perceived perfection of my wedding day.

This angst was all to familiar.  When I struggled with food and body image, I got into my head like this a lot.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to exercise to the max, to eat the right foods at the right times, to never "slip up", to do whatever it took to have the perfect body.

The voice in my head repeating all of the imperfections on my wedding day is the same voice that spoke to me in the midst of those disordered days.  It was just in another costume.

I have the skills and confidence now to challenge that voice.  Maybe not to turn it off completely, but to turn it down and to focus on how I felt that day.  Not how I looked, or how the decor came out, or what others may have thought of me.

How I felt when I first saw Travis standing at the alter.

How I felt when I saw my tough aunt Mary sobbing during the ceremony.

How I felt when my dad spoke about how happy and proud of me he was.

How I felt when I saw my childhood friends all together again.

How I felt when we were dancing and singing with all of our favorite people.

How I felt that day from the moment I walked down the aisle, when I didn't feel one bit of angst, or pressure, or even the heat.

When the only feeling I had was pure joy.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

What happened when I stopped exercising for two weeks

I AM BACK FROM MY HONEYMOON!  I have had an amazing three weeks of life.  I got married to the most loving man, and then we ate and drank our way through the Greek Islands.  The past few weeks have been full of a ton of emotions, excitement and even anxiety - I have some much to write about.  But right now I want to share an experience I never would have felt comfortable with a couple of years ago.

Travis and I went to Greece for our honeymoon, and I spent two weeks eating more and drinking more than I ever have.  I also swore off exercise and spend most days lounging by a pool or beach.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about what would happen to my body as a result of this, but I was determined to let myself truly feel the freedom of having no responsibilities.  

For those of you who read my blog, you know that I used to be too thin for my body type.  I over-exercised, under-fueled, counted calories and was pretty miserable. About two years ago, I decided to change my relationship with food and exercise.  Although I have definitely eased up on my exercise during that time, I have still stuck to a 30-60 minute workout at least 5 times per week (I do genuinely love being active).  That being said, I always make sure to eat a lot in order to fuel that much activity.

I still am not 100% comfortable taking multiple days off from exercise.  So I thought that my honeymoon would be the perfect opportunity to 1) prove to myself that taking a long break wouldn't cause as big of a change in my body as I thought it would.  And 2) to prove to myself that if I DID gain weight, it didn't matter.

Honeymoon recap
After sitting on a plane for 10 hours (and eating 3 crappy airplane meals), we landing in Frankfurt, Germany where we found an amazing pho restaurant.  We ate our pho and drank a beer, then got on another 3 hour flight to Athens Greece.  This time, we were able to sleep a little on the plane.  After 23 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Athens and enjoyed our first AWESOME Greek dinner, in the touristy area of Plaka.  Moussaka, Greek salad, and pork souvlaki paired with a few glasses of wine was all we needed to get amped up to explore Athens for a day before heading to the first island on our adventure, Santorini.

 This meal was actually lunch the next day.

After a good night's sleep and a huge complimentary breakfast, we were off to explore the acropolis.  Yes, that is boob sweat, it was 97 degrees.

That night we jetted off to Santorini.  We arrived late and ate fish at the hotel restaurant, paired with wine followed by vinosanta, an amazing local dessert wine.  We got to bed early so we would have plenty of energy to explore the island the next day.

And that we did!

We enjoyed another fantastic breakfast overlooking the ocean.

Followed by some INSANE gyros at a favorite local spot, Pitogyro.

Followed by a sunset view from our balcony.

The next day we went wine tasting!

Then the following day, we took a sailing trip to the volcanic hot springs and a couple beaches.  We snorkeled, enjoyed lots of wine and the local liquor, Ouzo, and filled up on delicious BBQ eats.

We left for Mykonos after four days in Santorini.  Mykonos has a completely different vibe.  Santorni was romantic and relaxing, Mykonos is a party island mostly with young people enjoying the last week of summer.

Again we ate some delicious meals, and drank a lot of cocktails.

We rented a car an visited three beaches in one day (after getting lost several times).  But we navigated the island as a team, and it was great fun.

I was on a roll, but then the guilt set in.

During this meal, I thought a lot about how much I had consumed already, and the trip was only halfway over.  I felt guilty and I worried that I was over-doing it.  I was sure I had gained five pounds.  Travis talked me out of a mini meltdown, and I made a conscious decision to ignore those feelings and continue to enjoy every minute of the honeymoon.  And that's what I did.

This was my favorite dish - pumpkin mousse.

After three days in Mykonos, it was time to ferry back to the mainland.  I was actually excited to get back to Athens to explore the city some more.

Our first day back, we took a bike tour around the city.  It was the first really active thing we had done and I it felt great to feel my muscles working!  The bike tour was awesome, it helped us figure out how to navigate the city a bit better.

We ate frozen Greek yogurt, which was SO good.  We also ate regular Greek yogurt practically every day we were there.  I don't know why, but for some reason, it was insanely more delicious than the packaged Greek yogurt I buy in the states.

We went to an amazing restaurant called Aleria in Athens.  There we had a five course tasting menu of dishes inspired by authentic Greek recipes with a modern spin.  The courses were all paired with wine and we were seated in the gorgeous garden area.  It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

I can honestly say that I fall more in love with Travis every day.  Spending two weeks in paradise with him was a dream, and I enjoyed every second of it.  I focused on how happy I felt and tried not to focus on how I looked.  I didn't jump out of bed to go for a run, I didn't pass on the sugary cocktail he ordered me when I specifically had requested a vodka soda (he knows me well enough to know that wasn't what I really wanted), and I didn't skip the huge bowl of ice cream he insisted we eat right before dinner.

I weighed myself a few days before our wedding weekend. I know that relying on the scale is a dangerous game, but I thought that it would be good for me to see the reality, and I knew I was in a place where I could handle it.  I trust myself not to fall back into old habits of obsessing over my weight, I am past that.  I could accept if I gained some weight, a honeymoon and wedding indulgences are totally worth that in my book.

So this morning, a day after my return, I hopped on the scale.


I was the EXACT same weight three weeks ago.  Yes.  The exact same. 

Everything would have been worth it, even if I had gained 20 lbs.  My husband loves me no matter what, and these days I am getting better at loving myself no matter what too.  But it definitely feels good to know that I can relax. When you have accepted yourself at the the weight you should be, a few weeks of crazy eating and no exercise isn't going to make a huge impact.  I needed to see that my metabolism is working again, I needed to trust my body a little more, I needed to rest.  For someone who used be consumed with guilt if she had wine on a weeknight, this is huge.