Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Into 2015

Last night I took a Soul Cycle class (thanks little bro for the gift card).  One of the mantras the instructor repeated was...

"What are you leaving behind and what are you taking with you into 2015?"

Leave it to me to be inspired by a soul cycle class. 

2014 was a big year for me.  I hiked to Machu Picchu, I celebrated weddings, I got engaged.  I watched sunrises, I ate delicious foods, I played in the ocean.  I opened my eyes, I forgave myself, I gained weight.  It is baffling to think about who I was a year ago and how far I have come. 

I thought it would be nice to relive and recap some of the things I am bringing with me into 2015.

1) My fiance (duh)

2) Excitement for the future

3) My body as it is.
4) Family and friends I love

5) An open mind

6) Freedom from restrictions

7) Gratitude

8) The ability to recognize beautiful things every day

New year's resolutions do not have to be actionable goals.  For me, a new year is a new opportunity to open myself up even more.  To be present for every new experience, to accept love from friends and family, and to care for myself and my body.

What are you bringing with you in 2015?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's been so long!

I have been really busy!  Reading blogs, cooking fancy dinners, dancing...enjoying everything about the holiday season.  This is the first holiday in many years that I haven't had serious anxiety about the amount of food I will be eating and the amount of exercise I may miss out on.  It is the first time in a while I have been excited to leave the comfort of my routine to travel back to California and visit my family.  I had started to try to change my mindset before this time last year, but I was still ridden with guilt and shame when I indulged, and I still made sure to exercise every day. 

Last year, I was so tired of my restrictive habits.  I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I was so envious of people who could be "normal" around food and who could brush off any guilt if they missed a workout.  I decided I was going to get better.

This year, my goal is to discover my new identity (which no longer revolves around my restrictions), to truly accept myself, and to love and appreciate my body at whatever size.

Since I have been gone for a while, and before I jet set off to the West coast, here are some photos of what I've been up to. 

 Homemade tapas - Such a fun way to spice up a weeknight dinner

 Holiday party dancing!

Some healthy meals thrown in of course - this is a quinoa bowl with lots of veggies and a chopped up chicken burger

 Zoolights!  The only time I enjoy the zoo is during Zoolights with a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha in hand

One of the highlights was our Thanksgiving dinner accompanied by Episodes 1-12 of R. Kelly's trapped in the closet.  There is nothing like watching a brilliant piece of art alongside the friends you love.
I hope you are enjoying the holidays as much as I am.  I hope that you are finding ways to relax, letting yourself rest, and not worrying about the food.  Now is the time to focus on everything we are grateful for.

Happy holidays!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sometimes you need to remind yourself why

I rolled out of bed this morning after another night of drinking with friends and some late night pizza.  I walked slowly to the mirror and carefully glanced up.

My heart felt heavy.

I wished I were smaller. 

I could be smaller.  I know how to do it. 

But as I stared into the mirror I hushed my inner critic and asked myself "why?" Why should I try to look any different?

Do I have some extra meat on my thighs?  Yes.

Do I have a curve to my belly?  Yes.

Am I healthy? Yes

Am I happy? More than ever.

Am I surrounded by people who love me? Yes.

So why?  Why do I need to change my shape?

I don't.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Conquering Boston and Cheesy Eggs

Just returned from a great weekend trip to Boston.  I have a few friends up there, so me and my DC friend, Alexis, took a short flight up for the weekend. We started off right with cocktails and dinner at a great restaurant in Harvard Square called Russell House Tavern.   It was great dishing with friends – discussing the superiority of full fat cheese, how many dates are too many for one week, institutionalized racism in America.  All important topics, perhaps some more than others ;)

Got to see my friend Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate!  Was so good to catch up in person, texting and blog comments are not quite as fulfilling.  It was also nice to share drinks since we have similar obsessions with brown drinks and IPAs.

After a boozy night, I needed a hearty breakfast.  That’s where the cheese eggs came in.  This is an everything bagel with cream cheese topped by probably about eight eggs and loads of cheddar.  I first considered a lighter menu item out of habit, but changed my order because shit like this doesn’t scare me anymore and it sounded delicious.  I completely trust myself to eat what I want and stop when I am full – leaving the meal extremely satisfied, with all food groups met (carbs, fats, proteins), and no cravings later in the day.  Win win.

Two years ago I never would have ordered this, it had loads of cheese, it wasn't just egg whites, and all of this on top a carby bagel, no way!  If I had ordered it back then, I would have felt too full and then guilty. To be honest, I probably would have way overdone it, because my body was starving and it wouldn't have been able to stop me from continuing to eat when I was full.  This just isn't a problem when your body is getting what it needs - food becomes just food.

After brunch we wandered around Harvard with my friend Hayley who is a grad student there.  She is so smart, and I felt proud exploring her new home beside her.

Then went inside to warm up with some tea and cookies at a local bakery.  It was perfect.

Later that day we got decked out to participate in another friend's birthday pub crawl “Yellow is the new Pink.”  Don’t ask because all I know is that she loves those colors and it’s her birthday so we do what she says :)

We asked someone to take our picture at the bar and after taking a quick look I said "WOW we look great!"  Then my friends pointed out that I was only looking at myself - which I realized was true... please tell me I am not the only one guilty of this?   I doubt they let me live it down.

Take two!

The first one was better from my perspective.

After the plane ride home to DC and a weekend of drinking, I craved a big bowl of this when I got home on Sunday night (a picture from last weekend).

But I had spent a lot of money in Boston and decided I should cook in.  I tried to replicate this meal by making miso soup, shrimp and frozen Trader Joe's potstickers, it did the job.

Nice to be home, but grateful to have spent quality time with close friends.  There is nothing like being with people who understand you completely and accept you wholeheartedly as you are. Sadly, I won't be going back soon, I love my friends, but it's too effing cold up there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I REALLY Ate Wednesday

Many of us who peruse the healthy-living blogosphere (sp? is that a word?) are familiar with a special Wednesday event.  On Wednesday's I look forward to snooping into people's daily eats thought their What I Ate Wednesday (aka WIAW) posts.

However, I often find myself playing the comparison game.  Thinking I ate more than that today, or I should make healthier choices like this person.  But the truth is, I am sick of comparing myself to any one else.  And the even sadder, partially-related truth is... I still sometimes question and worry about what I eat and how much I eat.

Today I was inspired to participate in WIAW because I thought it would be a fun challenge to try to picture EVERYTHING I eat in a day and address how I feel about it.  Not to dwell on it or draw attention to some of these lingering issues, but to confront them and acknowledge that there is still progress to be made in my effort to escape the diet and food-rule mentality.

Here it goes!

I woke up at 6:30am and had a snack before heading to the gym.  I ate a piece of Trader Joe's 10 Grain Toast with extra crunchy peanut butter, I wondered if it was unnecessary considering I was planning a quick sweat session, but decided that if I didn't eat it, I would be starving later so it was the right thing to do.

Whoops almost forgot to take the pic!

Went down to Average Joe's (the little basement gym in our apartment building), where I did a 40 minute walk/jog session.  I wondered if I should be pushing harder.  Then I decided I was enough ;)

Stay Hydrated Folks.

Glad to be home to get ready instead of getting ready at the actual gym, as I do some mornings.  Lovely Fall morning.

Then there was breakfast at 8:30.  My favorite.  One egg and egg beaters on an English muffin.  I know, I know, egg beaters probably aren't the best, but I love the way they taste when you make them really thin.  No emotions here, just enjoyed by favorite breakfast in pure bliss.

Needed something sweet because I always need something sweet after my meals, even breakfast.  A handful of Honeynut O's did the trick.

Lovely walk to work.  Ahhh I miss California.  Luckily I live near California Street.  Also paused here to appreciate the veterans on Veteran's day.

Great view of the Washington Monument!

Morning snack around 11.  I was really hungry already, so I had a banana in yogurt with some peanut butter.  Yes yes, I love peanut butter.

At 12:30, I had a lunch with one of my favorite people at work.  She is our talented marketing copywriter, but also is writing a novel - I love sharing stories with her.  I did worry about how much more I would probably eat going out rather than packing my usual sandwich, but I reminded myself that it was about the company.  Lunch was about my friendship with Angie.  Not the food.

Though the food ended up being awesome!  
Grilled fish platter, from Grillfish DC plus some un-pictured bread and butter from the bread basket.

Went for an afternoon walk later in the day to escape the craziness of the office and to enjoy the freakishly nice November weather.

By 4:30 I was ready for a snack.


I knew that amount of popcorn would not be enough.  I needed a coffee-filter's worth...? Whatever works!

Walked home from work in the dark, so sorry, no pictures.

Noshed on some carrots while I preheated the oven and browsed Pinterest for boutineer ideas :)

Dinner was awesome.  We just went to Trader Joe's yesterday and I brought a precooked Turkey Pot Pie.  It was so good!  All you do is pop it in the oven for 20 mins.  Roasted some broccoli to go with it.  Don't judge me... yes, I put ranch dressing on my broccoli.  I have become pretty tired of certain vegetables because I overdid it on them back when I was obnoxiously, obsessively healthy.  Now I like them with ranch dressing - so eff it.

Did I think to myself I should have a salad or a chicken breast to be "healthier"?  Yes.  But then I reminded myself that this pot pie had fat which would keep me full, lots of root vegetables and turkey for protein.  And there couldn't have been a better fall day for it.  I cleared my plate (as I pretty much always do).

And dessert of course.  A Mini Ice Cream Sandwich.

My sweet tooth was still not completely satisfied.  When I saw my favorite treat in the fridge, I wanted a bite, but I worried that eating more would be overdoing it because I fairly full.  I decided to have a few blissful bites of this Coconut Milk yogurt  anyway (another Trader Joe's must).  That definitely did the trick - I will have the rest tomorrow.

This was a pretty typical day for me.  I hope you don't compare your food choices to mine, because I honestly don't know where they fall in the spectrum of "good" versus "bad."  I don't know if this is considered what people refer to as the 80/20 plan, and I don't think this meal plan would be featured in fitness magazines anytime soon. This is just what works for me.

I do hope this helps me figure out why I still sometimes attach emotions to my food, and how to stop questioning and over thinking my choices.   I also feel like this serves me as reminder of how far I have come in my journey to escape a weight-loss mentality.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Take a Breath

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

I believe I have always had some social anxiety.  I analyze a lot of the things I say, I question whether I deserve what I have been given, I am easily intimidated by smart, successful people. I think this has to do with the fact that I am a highly sensitive person.

I am not one to hide my thoughts or feelings, I live a very open life and I don't have any big secrets anymore.  While it is freeing, it also leaves me feeling very vulnerable quite often - it is scary. 

When the anxiety begins to surface..."I shouldn't have said that", "they must think I am crazy", "I am obnoxious", "I should have done better", "I am not smart enough".... I shut it down.

I think of the people who love me.  I think of the love I give others.  I use the skills I learned to fight back against my disordered eating.  I self-sooth.  I change the conversation.  I show myself the same compassion I show others.  

Just know that whatever you say or do, and whatever mistakes you make or regrets you have.  They are all part of the always-evolving journey toward figuring this life out.

Give yourself a break, mix a cocktail, and take breath.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Perfect Body

The perfect body is every body because every body is alive (unless the body is dead, of course).
A body is not perfect because of its shape, it is perfect because it is constructed so seemingly deliberately and intricately.  The body and its marvelous capabilities rival any new technology.  Its ability to process food as fuel, to sense millions of different smells, to keep decade-old memories, to learn languages and communicate, to feel deep love for someone else, to make babies, to run for miles and sleep for hours, to dream, to sing, to cry, and to laugh so hard it makes others cry.

Every body is perfect.

To learn more and sign the petition to ask Victoria's Secret to pull this campaign visit,

On a separate note, I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, I think because I have been feeling really good about things and I haven't had any need to rant or express myself.  Today my salad from Sweetgreen was way overdressed - something that would have caused a breakdown a year ago, actually no, a year ago I would have ordered it without dressing...  But today I felt a small twinge of stress about the dressing until I took a bite and realized how delicious the creamy goodness slathered over mounds of avocado, egg, and chicken actually tasted.  Then I devoured the whole thing and wiped up the extra remnants with the bread they give you.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sharing my Story

I am honored to be a contributor this month to Psychology Tomorrow Magazine.  Read about how my healthy habits became obsessive and disordered...and when I realized I wanted my life back.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'm Becoming That Girl

I never really thought about my wedding growing up like some girls do.  Or even prior to getting engaged.  Well, maybe in a broad sense, like what it would be like to walk down the aisle and who I would chose as bridesmaids... but not the specifics, like the dress, colors, and flowers.  Okay, okay... I will admit I watched "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Four Weddings" pretty religiously, but only because  those shows are terribly entertaining.

But this has become my new weeknight thing -

I will admit it's almost like a switch has been turned on and I am really excited thinking about all the planning - like picking the colors, thinking of cute details and decor, bridesmaid dresses, and all that stuff.

Many newly-engaged women also set a goal to lose weight for their wedding the day they get engaged.  Enroll in bridal boot camps, order their dress a size too small, and swear off desserts until their wedding day.

But my fiance was with me back in the days when my obsession with being thin made me a terrible companion.  He was with me when I was perfectly slim and svelte by society's standards.  He was with me when he had to walk on eggshells in fear that I would have a meltdown over our dinner options.  He was with me when I jumped from our cozy bed every morning to run for miles away from him.

On the night we got engaged a few weeks ago now, he said "You are back to the person you were when we first fell in love... And I am so happy."

He wants to marry me as I am now.  He wants to share ice cream with me, and he wants me to love my body as much as he does, and he wants to lay lazily in bed with me.

He wouldn't understand why I would ever want to change anything about myself.

And I think I finally agree with him. I want to be me on my wedding day, whatever shape that may be, and I want to celebrate every day of being engaged to the love of my life, with lots of cocktails, desserts, and lazy mornings.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I'm a Soul Cycle Convert

Right across from my office is the brand new Soul Cycle in DC.  It is impossible to avoid passing it at least twice a day, and it'd hard not to stare at the fit crowd of enthusiasts.  I knew I wanted to try it eventually, but as a frequent spinner, I labeled it as a cliquey cult-like version of the classes I love at my local gym.  A marketing masterpiece with little substance.

Tonight I went with a group of coworkers to cash in on the first-class-discount and give it a chance.

I left a changed woman...

I have been to a lot of group fitness classes.  So many of them are focused on changing your body, competition with the person next to you,  levels of exertion you must reach, instructors who tell you that you aren't working hard enough.

But not here.

As I walked into the studio it was like entering a concert hall, and my excitement built for the show to start.  Staff walked around to make sure everyone's bikes were set up.  The instructor was on the mic announcing the minutes until start time.  Then the lights dimmed, the candles lit up, the music thumped through my body and my adrenaline fired me right into the first track.  I knew as soon as I took off, legs spinning, that this was definitely my kind of workout.

The instructor's confidence and energy was contagious.  Judgement was gone, this was about focusing in on ourselves.  It was about pushing our bodies in a way that felt good and in a way that was fun.  It wasn't about changing anything, it was about letting go, being yourself, being enough.  It wasn't about our bodies, it was about our spirit and it was about facing challenges in our own way.  It wasn't about competition, it was about feeding off each others energy.  There were no calorie counts, levels, RPMs, it was about listening to your body and pushing yourself to your own limits.

At one point the instructor even said "you are enough as you are right now."  One of my favorite mantras :)

I know my pocketbook cannot possibly afford to make this a part of my regular routine, but I think its worth the splurge every now and then.

Have you ever tried Soul Cycle?

What do you like/don't like about group fitness?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I have been wanting to write about something that I think was the root of a lot of my issues with food and exercise.  I have been thinking a lot about who I am lately.

I think that when I graduated college, moved to a new city, and no longer had my grades and activities I cherished, I sort of lost myself.  I filled that void by becoming focused on perfecting my body.  It gave me a goal of losing weight, it gave me a new persona of "healthy and fit", it all gave me a new sense of self.

But I realize now that I am not how I look.  I can be healthy without that being the basis of my identity.  And I can be unhealthy if I want without any guilt.  The real me is not made to be that f***ing skinny either!  When I started really fixing my relationship with food and exercise, I realized I didn't know who I was without the calorie counting, meal planning, and compulsive exercising.  I felt empty again.  I am not a varsity cheerleader any more, I am not a student working to be on the Dean's list, and I am not the campus tour guide who tries to inspire others to come to her beloved school (go UCSB!). 

But I am doing some digging, trying to listen to my true desires and here is what I have come up with...

I care deeply about my friends, even though I am terrible at staying in touch.

I am pretty hilarious. 

I love fresh flowers and candles, and incense, and anything that sets a mood.

I can figure out complex problems on my own.

I tend to underestimate myself and sell myself short.

I love to cook and bake and I love to eat everything I make.

I feel strangely close to random strangers.

I am not perfect, and I am starting to realize that that's OK.

I like to eat food that is slightly charred on the outside...I know Kimberlyn, I am going to get cancer...

I am pretty needy, just overall...

I do not have a good fashion sense.  But I can copy my trendy friends and look pretty good.

I love really hot days, and the beach, and both of those together...

And I know how it feels to ache with love for someone. 

Anyone else have an identity crisis after college?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

An Update on Exercise

So I thought a lot about it and realized that my relationship with exercise was still off.  I still sometimes think of it as an equation, where I inadvertently compare the amount I burn versus what I consume.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am no longer trying to lose weight - if I exercise more I just need to eat more.  So logically, I can definitely exercise less and I will probably not be as ravenously hungry all the time. 

So far, it is working.

I decided to take a step back this week.  I have taken two rest days already and I plan to stick with that schedule.  I also am changing the length of my workouts two days a week from an hour to about 30-45 minutes.

It definitely feels uncomfortable to exercise less, but that just goes to show that I am stuck in old habits. I have noticed by appetite lessening a bit, so I think my body is processing everything properly. It is definitely challenging for me to trust it - but I keep reassuring myself that I am at my set point now, I have definitely stopped gaining weight.  I have pushed through uncomfortable before and I know I can do it again, everything always gets easier. 

I will leave you with another epiphany worth noting. 

If you ever have a chance to dance with a fox with glowsticks... You dance.

Sorry, feeling a little punchy tonight, it was a long day.

Oh!! And I almost forgot to tell you...

I am engaged!!!

I will share the full story soon, I am still beaming :)