7.31.2013

free to eat

Dear readers,
My life in regards to my relationship with food has changed drastically in just one week. As a "clean eater" for just over a year, I finally ate a pop tart. I ate an ice cream sandwich. I ate cream cheese. I ate cinnamon bread. I ate all of the things that I had turned away for fear it was poison and automatic fat on my body. I ate it all, but lacked something. Guilt.

I no longer saw the food as poisonous, devilish fat that would ruin my figure and make me gain ten pounds in a matter of minutes. I didn't cry afterwards. I didn't call up Boyfriend in a grumpy mood because I felt so defeated. I didn't beat myself up for hours. I didn't say, "Why did you do that, you failure?"

You see, that's how I often felt about food that was considered "dirty." When I would have treat meals once a week on my "clean eating" diet, I would shame myself. I remember a low point of when I ate "too much" peanut butter (in reality, probably a half a cup) and I was devastated. Literally. It was to the point of standing naked in front of the mirror and holding my peanut butter belly, saying, "Why did you eat that? You are so stupid. Now look at you." I remember taking out my bad mood on Boyfriend over the phone, and he was in shock that it was over peanut butter.

Looking back on it now, it makes me so sad that I had reached that point. I had let a few bites of peanut butter (PEANUT BUTTER. LIKE, REALLY?!) destroy my happiness. I had let food become associated with guilt. I had let every health food junkie's reasonings alter my perception of food in an unhealthy way. I had let it go too far.

At first, clean eating was something exciting and new. I didn't need to count calories as I had a few years ago, which led to a forty pound weight loss (read about that here and here). I just cut out foods and read nutrition labels. I was all about it, and always reading up on the latest super food or health foodie blogs. I even came out with a "clean eating" cookbook, which I still stand by! There are great-tasting healthy meals out there, and I still cook them from my book.

Before I knew it, I had cut out a good amount of food. Like a good amount. I cut it out because it was deemed as poisonous and would kill me. It seemed as though everything was off limits. It basically looked like crack cocaine with the way people made it out to be. I had this mentality of when I saw people eating these "bad" foods that they were uneducated. It was a terrible way to think. I struggled with date nights, going out with friends, vacations, going to parties because I couldn't eat the food, and if I did then it was all downhill mentally from there.

Much further into the lifestyle change (like a month or so ago) I began obsessing over weight again. I pulled out my scale and weighed myself a few times a day and hated that the number wouldn't change. I began paying closer attention to calories again, and making sure I wasn't eating over 1200 calories a day. Then I would go do hours of cardio, leaving me with a net calorie amount of around 600 a day. It was wrong, and I knew it. Little did I know how wrong it was, until I came across Layne Norton. He talks a lot about metabolic damage that I see so many women do to themselves by restricting calories to asinine amounts and spending hours on the elliptical. Watch his video on metabolic damage here.

It wasn't until recently a follower on my Instagram mentioned Orthorexia. I had never heard of it before, but after reading up on it, I realized I had been suffering from it for a long time. It is described as this,

"Those who have an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.”  Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity.  They become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with “slip-ups.”  An iron-clad will is needed to maintain this rigid eating style.  Every day is a chance to eat right, be “good,” rise above others in dietary prowess, and self-punish if temptation wins (usually through stricter eating, fasts and exercise).  Self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the purity of orthorexics’ diet and they sometimes feel superior to others, especially in regard to food intake.

Eventually food choices become so restrictive, in both variety and calories, that health suffers – an ironic twist for a person so completely dedicated to healthy eating.  Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships, and become physically dangerous (NEDA)."

Well, my health did suffer. As much as I promoted clean eating, I was sick all the time. I had digestive issues where I was unable to go poop for three to four days. I was bloated a lot of the time. I was often tired and grumpy. My mental health suffered too. Clearly, as I mentioned above. Why was I promoting something that could possibly be ruining my insides and my outlook on life? I didn't understand that my eating habits could play such a huge part on my life, and take a toll the way they did. After learning more about Orthorexia, I realized that eating habits could be damaging, and that I had a problem.

This is when I found IIFYM. I kept seeing the hashtag everywhere on Instagram. These people were in amazing shape with muscles popping, and they were eating Pop Tarts and Skinny Cow ice cream. WTF? I had to know more. I researched and researched and researched some more. First of all, macros are protein, carbs, and fat. IIFYM (if it fits your macros) is the flexible diet plan of eating foods that meet your macros in grams. Everyone has different macros for their goals and body types. Food isn't really considered "clean" or "dirty," it's just recognized by the body its amounts of protein, carbs, and fat each day. I suggest you read up on it for yourself. I am not an expert. I can't calculate yours for you. I can't explain it as well as experts. So, do your own research. This post isn't about fully educating you on IIFYM. This post is simply meant to give you honesty and the reason I have changed my eating habits. I will, however, post the resources I have found helpful!

IIFYM
Scoobys Workshop
Michael Kory Fitness
Do You Even

With this new eating style, there is so much freedom and balance. I get to eat dessert every night, or have french toast in the morning. It sounds silly that there is freedom in something as tedious-sounding as counting calories and grams, but there truly is. You can fit the foods you want into your every day diet, and you can feel good about your choices, even if it's considered "dirty." I don't have to eat chicken and broccoli and egg whites for every fucking meal (excuse my language), and I'm sooooo okay with that.

I can honestly say that I haven't been this happy in a long time. I haven't had a healthy relationship with food like this in an even longer time. After a week of IIFYM, I am more awake than ever. I am up at 5:45 AM every day with tons of energy, ready to take on the gym and cook breakfast and go to work. I have regular digestion. I am no longer bloated. I started strength training again and have incredible strength and endurance in the weight room. My muscles are popping more than ever. I am eating the appropriate amount of calories for my body, which would have seemed like an insane amount to me before. I can go to dinner and be social. I have hidden the scale away in the depths of a closet. I am elated.

With the change of diet, some people don't understand and they criticize my Pop Tart and my fat-free cheese. They tell me it's terrible for me. They tell me what's in it, as if I don't already know after over a year of reading nutritional labels. They tell me this and that, and it has actually become humorous to me.

People will find something that is bad for you in anything. It's like food has become this terrifying thing that's on the same level as drugs (like I said before, crack cocaine). People scare the shit out of you, which leads you to obsess, which leads to an unhealthy mind and perhaps even an unhealthy body, as it did in my case.

What I have to say to them is this, it is my life. Life is about trial and error. It's about experimenting and finding what works for you. If I want to change my life or my diet or whatever, then I am more than free to do so. Your choices are your choices. Mine are mine. Respect that. I would much rather have a piece of pizza and a healthy mind, then a cup of quinoa and a screwed up mind any day. So, pass me a bowl of cookie dough ice cream (as it perfectly fits in my macros) and a sprinkle of "happy" on top.



what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Macros
I love this "flexible" diet plan. Please go read up on it. There are various resources, and I am not an expert. Google is your friend, people.
2. Mama dates
I went to dinner with my mom and Boyfriend's mom, and it was a blast. I love family time.
3. Deja Vu
Go buy blessthefall's newest single! You won't regret it. I'm so proud of Boyfriend and his band.

7.29.2013

chevron clutch

I adore this chevron clutch from Hearts. It is the perfect combination of neutral colors to go with any outfit, and the big chevron pattern adds a fun touch to any outfit. What I love even more about this bag is that it's handmade in Cambodia, which makes it extra special. I love that I get to support artisans from different countries while looking super stylish.
[shirt: Hanes, shorts: Urban Outfitters, Belt: H&M, shoes: Jeffrey Campbell, clutch: Hearts, hat: Topshop]





7.26.2013

foodie fridays

[image source]

Doesn't this look delicious? Guess what? There are only five ingredients needed to create it. This recipe for tomato ravioli is from Cooking Light. I sure do love that resource. This just proves that cooking healthy doesn't need to be difficult. In fact, it can be quite easy. So before you pop that Lean Pocket in the microwave, try to opt for a cleaner option.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 shallots, cut into wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 ounces cheese ravioli
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. 2. Halve half of tomatoes. Arrange cut tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and shallots on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
  3. 3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  4. 4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.



7.25.2013

twenties vs. thirties

After watching this, I realize I'm basically living like I'm in my thirties.


7.24.2013

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Bone
I love the bone color for nails, especially when you add a hint of sparkle.
2. Skype
Back to being apart again, Boyfriend and I love this invention.
3. Peanut M&M's
One of my weaknesses are these little boogers. The perfect combo of nutty and chocolatey.

7.23.2013

two, not one

It's funny when you find yourself in a relationship, or should I say the relationship, when you finally understand it all. Well, almost. People may not find their match right away. They could find them in high school, when they're fifty, or when they're coming into adulthood. Whenever you find it, there's this settling feeling that comes over you. A sort of calmness. It's as if everything leading up to this person makes sense, and everything in this moment makes sense, and everything in the future will make sense as long as you're together. Sappy, I know.

This isn't to say these relationships are perfect every single day. That's impossible, and weird, and not real in my opinion. Every couple has their own peeves, issues, and dilemmas that they have between them. It's just life. There are moments when you want to tear their hair out or burn that one pair of blue basketball shorts (sorry, babe). There are moments that you learn from and grow from, and there are those you look back on together and laugh at how trivial the matter was. There has to be give and take. There has to be push and shove. It's healthy.

You don't let each other get away with everything. That's just stupid. You need to call each other out on things, whether you didn't pick up the dog shit or whether you need to give a little more affection. You help each other grow, and you make the relationship work. This doesn't mean change someone into a completely different person to match exactly who you are. What the hell is that? You might as well make a clone and slap some opposite genitalia on. Ew. It means you pick and choose your battles on the things that really matter to you. It means compromise. It means accepting someone for who they are and learning to work together as a team.

It's not about fully relying on someone else. Being completely dependent on another person shows weakness, and you kinda look like a helpless nag. Trust me, you'll be able to breathe without another person as your life support. Being independent is an attractive thing. Paying your own bills, or putting in your share is fair. Having a life outside of your relationship is healthy. You may not want to ever be without your partner, and that's okay, but knowing you'll survive without them (for whatever reason) is okay too. Remember, the strongest relationship you should have is with yourself. My boyfriend puts it perfectly in saying, "You're like my left arm." Together we work really well and we bring a lot of great aspects to each other's lives, but if he did happen to lose his left arm (me) he would still have other limbs to function. That's at least my take on it.

And...that's my two cents for today.

Oh, and just because I think we're pretty cute..
..I'm happy I found the relationship.

7.22.2013

innocence & intelligence

My friend, Gabby posted this video and I had to share it. It just goes to show how incredibly innocent and intelligent children are. It's one of the main reasons I enjoy working with them.



7.19.2013

foodie fridays

I love black beans and I love oatmeal, so when I saw that Women's Health had a recipe for a burger combining the two ingredients I was immediately hooked. It's a great option when you're not feeling like using the grill. Check it out!

Ingredients:
1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups diced mushrooms
1/2 cup plain rolled oats
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
6 100% whole-grain buns
6 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup baby spinach



Preparation:
1. Preheat grill to medium. Place half the beans in a food processor or blender along with mushrooms, oats, garlic, egg, cumin, and pepper. Process until well mixed. Add remaining beans and pulse the machine until they're combined into the mixture. Form into 6 patties and coat each with vegetable oil.

2. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve bean burgers on toasted buns and top with mustard, tomato, and spinach.


7.18.2013

east coast

Hello readers! My apologies for being MIA for the past two days, but a girl has to take a vacation every once in awhile. As I mentioned, I was on the east coast with Boyfriend hopping from city to city for Warped Tour (just like last year). I had an amazing time, not only with him, but with some dear friends who were also out on the tour. I honestly feel so blessed to be able to share these experiences with those close to me.

The trip consisted of a lot of band-watching, drinks, exploring some cities, a dodge ball tournament (yes!), meeting more of Boyfriend's family, and great laughs. Blessthefall (Boyfriend's band) put on an amazing show day in and day out. They never disappoint! While I certainly miss Boyfriend already, I know the show must go on, and I have to start work up again.

Here are snapshots...

















7.15.2013

the truth about indulging

Okay, I hope you are ready for a little bit of honest truth. The other night, I said "screw it." I wanted pizza and wine, so I got pizza and wine. I'm so hard on myself a lot of the time, and it's just plain silly. I sometimes feel terrified that I will turn into the overweight girl I once was. From one meal? Get a grip, B! (Yes, I just talked to myself) But it's common to feel guilt and fear over food. We see these quotes all over the place.."The food you've craved for an hour vs. the body you've always wanted." or "Is it REALLY worth it?" We see these women with insane bodies that we wish we had. It's not like people are humble enough to post their food babies proudly (unless we are jazzythings on Instagram. Bless her). So we see only the best side or six-pack of people, and it makes us feel guilty for indulging, which is something I rarely do. I eat clean 95% of the time. I'm not a fitness model. I'm not competing in shows. I'm a regular girl trying to take care of herself and set some sort of example. But what kind of example would I be setting if I didn't live a little. I would be setting an unrealistic one. So ladies (or gentlemen), stop beating yourself up about the damn piece of cake or the damn bread basket for heavens sake. Be a human being and enjoy it. I'm not saying, "Go wild!" Our country is a prime example of everyone gone wild on bad foods. Hellooo, obesity. All I am saying is there is a balance to everything, especially when it comes to our bodies. So remember that, and I will try to remind myself too.

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