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.