Monday, April 27, 2015

Adding Not Cutting

The weight loss industry is always telling us we need cut things from our diet.  Cut calories, cut fat, cut red meat.  This way of thinking can trigger a restrictive mindset.  The first time I met with a registered dietitian, she explained to me the importance of having variety in your diet.  There are no "bad' foods, all food is created equal, it all serves a purpose.  And it is OK if the purpose is that it tastes good or it is part of a celebration.  Fat keeps us full and helps us absorb other nutrients, carbs give us energy, they are good for our heart, and they help stabilize our moods.  Red meat provides iron, which your body needs to transport oxygen through your blood stream.  It also provides zinc which helps build muscle mass, strengthen your immune system, and promote a healthy brain.

The dietitian I met with asked me what foods gave me the most anxiety.  I told her macaroni and cheese and pizza.  She told me that the carbs give me energy, and the cheese contains calcium for my bones and proteins for my muscles. Rather than cutting those foods from my diet, her suggestion was to add vegetables to my pizza or add a side salad to my mac and cheese. 

When I stopping thinking in terms of cutting foods and started to appreciate all foods for the nutrients they provide, I was able to let go of the guilt that came with eating foods that I thought I shouldn't.

For example, instead of counting the calories as I add items to my salad, I now think about all the great nutrients I get from each component.

This weekend, I went to the farmers market and collected the makings of a delicious salad.  I tried to select ingredients to add to my salad that would keep me full, provide me with lots of nutrition, and most importantly, taste delicious.

At the farmer's market, I picked up arugula, asparagus and the sweetest grape tomatoes to ever grace this earth.  Then at my favorite locally sourced market on the way home, I grabbed top sirloin filets and creamy goat cheese.  I tossed it with rich poppy seed dressing that I had on hand at home.  This combo kept me full the rest of the night.

Topped it off with little bit of port before bed.

Not sure if port has many health benefits, perhaps the same ones as red wine?

Even if it doesn't, it's also okay to enjoy things just because...  :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Pre-Wedding Diet

I  can't believe it is almost May already!  My wedding is less than four months away.  There is still a lot to do, address and send the invitations, find shoes, select the menu, and finish booking our honeymoon.  But there is one thing that is not on my list... and that's the pre-wedding diet.

I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but since I got engaged, I have been receiving a ton of mail and emails advertising all things bride.  One type of advertisement that is all too common makes my heart pause every time I see it.  I feel as though I constantly need to shield my eyes from these ads that tell me that I am not good enough to get married as I am now.  That I have to "tone up" and "get those arms" and "tighten up that waist" in order to be my best self on my wedding day.

I know the photos will last forever.  But I want to look like myself, like the person my fiance loves to come home to each night, like the person I am when I am not worried about calories.  I am so much more than the shape of my body. 

I have been asked a few times "what I am doing to get in shape."  The truth is, I am pretty much just living my typical routine.  If anything, I am eating more crap, drinking more cocktails, and exercising less.  Because these last few months leading up to the wedding are going to be filled with so much celebrating with loved ones, lots of wine and cocktails, and lots of love from friends and family.

Nothing is worth sacrificing any of that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The seasons change and so do we

Spring is finally starting to show itself you guys!!!  That is one thing I will really miss when I leave the east coast.  That feeling you get when the weather finally starts to soften.  When the breeze begins to feel warm and the little buds appear, what seems like, overnight.  I took this pic on my walk home from work the other day.  I walk over Rock Creek park and it has been a forest of brown until just this week!

I can't believe this was that same park just a month ago!

So I have definitely been embracing the spring weather, which includes walking to and from work, picnics in the park, and the ability to wear cuter jackets in place of puffy coats.  This weekend, I am going to a friend's annual cherry blossom wine picnic during which we snack and drink wine discretely beneath the cherry blossoms along the tidal basin - it is a gorgeous scene.

The seasons changing reminds me a lot of how much I have changed over the course of the year.  It has left me pondering some things.  I have started to be really open on this blog about my personal struggles with food and body image.  I have also opened up to my close friends and family members.  I have learned that so many women battle similar issues.  But I still have this fear about certain people knowing this about me.  I actually have two slightly conflicting fears that come to mind when I think about talking more about what I have gone through.  I still get scared when I think about more people knowing

1)  I don't want to be perceived as someone with a problem, the perfectionist in me wants me to come across as "having it all together." 

2)  Secondly, I sometimes feel like my issues are not "as bad" as what others have gone through (i.e. I was never severely underweight, I was pretty thin for my body type, but mostly I was just unhappy).  Therefore, my problems are not "legitimate" enough to justify getting on a pedestal and whining about hard it is to overcome eating and exercise disorders (I even still feel uncomfortable using the word "eating disorder" and classifying myself in that way).

But the truth is, I am a work in progress.  I don't have it all together and I simply try to make choices that are best for me each day.  I also am now strong enough to realize that comparing my "problems" to anyone else's problems leads me right into the same comparison trap that got me to a nasty place to begin with.  Everyone deserves to be happy and everyone deserves to get the help they need to be who they are. 

Leaving you with another picture that reminds me of our ability to overcome...