Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Recap

So many good things happened in 2014, and I'm going to stick with the good memories exclusively for this post, as I don't feel like reminiscing about the bad at the moment.  Plus, one day years from now when I re-read this post, I will think that maybe only good things happened!  Except one bad thing that has sort of come to define the second half of my year will just have to be mentioned.  

Here's what happened in my life in 2014:

1) I finished my final semester of school at the University of Memphis!

I love being a student, and I miss it fiercely.  And more importantly, I planned my final semester out well, finishing most of my least favorite requirements *cough*foreign language and natural sciences* cough* earlier.  

I took an acting class, a legal writing class, a gym class, and more.  I discovered a passion for African American history.  The only "difficult" requirement that I had left was statistics, and I ended up doing very well.  This was the first straight A semester since Mom died, and I was very proud of myself for boosting my GPA back up enough to earn a cum laude beside my name in the graduation program.

2) I went to Grief Camp for adults.  

the stepping stone that I made for Mom

It was a weekend program offered by the hospital where Mom died.  I spent two days surrounded by others going through the same thing as me, and it was truly the turning point for me in my grief journey.  Just knowing that there are so many other people in real pain, missing loved ones who died too soon... something about that feeling of community really helped me.

I'm not saying that everything immediately got all better, but since that weekend, things did start to finally seem... well... not so unbearable.  And even though I will probably never see those folks again, just knowing that they exist helps so much.  We talked, we cried, we laughed, we made crafts dedicated to our loved ones, and we just plain bonded in such a special way.  I will never forget that weekend.

3) I graduated cum laude from the University of Memphis!

I freaking did it.  This is an accomplishment that became even more impressive somehow after Mom died.  Because I could have quit, but I refused to give up.  Even though I spent the better part of a year both crying constantly and going to class, I stuck with it.  And I'm so glad that I did, because even though I hate the grades that I got that first semester back, I wonder if taking a semester off to grieve would have not just pushed my graduation back, but made me decide to never go back.

I love that I graduated.  I love that I am now a political scientist.

4) Stacey proposed to me!  We are engaged!!!  

And in less than a year, we can stop living in sin.  It's hard to believe how long I've had this man in my life sometimes.  We met in late 2007, and started dating in early 2008 (the year that we moved in together, too).  We've had our ups and downs like any couple.  We ALWAYS have each other's backs.  I think our biggest strength as a couple is our mutual respect and support.  I love this man, and I look forward to having a big party celebrating that love with our friends and family.

5) We moved to Nashville!

After graduation and getting engaged, we packed up a u-haul and moved a three hour drive away from Memphis, to a part of Tennessee that I actually really love.  This city is filled with progress, and diversity, and entertainment.  I love it here!  For the first time in my life, I can actually say that I'm happy to live in this state. To each their own, but for me: Nashville rules, Memphis drools.

6) I broke my leg.  

Yep.  Badly.  I was about to start a new job, and instead, two days before the start date I roll my ankle in a parking lot hole and crash down so hard that I needed surgery.  I had my final follow up appointment today, nearly 6 months later.  I was just now given the go-ahead for regular walking.  It's been a rough few months, to say the very least.

I was unable to walk for two and a half months.  During this time, I was also unemployed, having lost my job before it began.  So on top of the severe pain and handicap, Stacey and I suffered badly financially and almost lost our home.  Thankfully, some friends and family helped us get through it.  Seriously, if you are one of them, and are reading this, once again THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU SAVED US.

7) I visited Joel and we went to Central Perk!

For my 30th birthday, Stacey got me tickets to see my brother!  Joel is an amazing composer/lyricist who lives in NYC, which is my favorite city ever (so far).  We went to Central Perk and sat on the big orange couch.  If any of you don't know the significance of either thing in the previous sentence, I just don't even have words for you.  You are either really young or don't appreciate one of the best TV shows ever created.  It's okay, though. I'll be there for you.

9) I got a really good job that I love.

I work for a personal injury law firm here in Nashville, and I love it so much.  My coworkers are amazing people.  And my boss is supportive and encouraging.  I have never worked in an environment like this before, and I love it.  I'm the intake coordinator, which basically means I talk to potential clients first, and pitch the cases to the attorneys for review.  I love it, but hope to work my way up in the company one day.

So that's my 2014 in a nutshell.  It was a pretty good year, if you go by the saying "all's well that ends well".

How was your 2014?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ED thoughts can KISS MY ASS

Anyone who has had an eating disorder knows what I mean when I say "ED thoughts".  These are the thoughts that sneak into an otherwise healthy mind, telling the person that they aren't good enough to eat, or aren't good enough to stop eating, or that they are shit because of FAT.

I have been hearing those old ED voices again.

Lately, I've been having a few too many "I need to lose a lot of weight by the time I get married or else I'm shit" thoughts.

I've been thinking stuff like "I can at least lose a pound a week, right?  RIGHT???!!!"


My ED thoughts tend to be all caps, and also profane, so I apologize for any offense.

Anyway, I think that I have made a lot of progress with my EDNOS, despite these thoughts.

Here's why:  I recognize them as ED thoughts.

I realize that it's not true. 

I'm not a "LAZY FAT FUCK". 

I can lose a pound a week, sure, but it's not "THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER  and if I don't lose weight before the wedding I'm SHIT OMG!!!". 

I'm a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman who deserves nice things and nice thoughts.  I deserve happiness and health.  I deserve to not give into these ED thoughts.  I deserve to continue to choose recovery over dieting, time and time again, no matter what the scale says.  I deserve to not worry about my weight or my pants size. 

And I know these things.

So, I'm going to recognize and acknowledge these old ED thoughts, and I'm going to breathe. 

I'm going to accept that I still have these thoughts, and I'm going to breathe.

I'm going to love myself, and live my life, and I'm going to take comfort in the thought that as long as I don't give into the ED urges that these thoughts are trying to give me, eventually the thoughts will stop.

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Weight Gain Palete

Duh, the chocolate now and the apple later.
Or the chocolate now, then go to the store and
get more chocolate and let the apple go bad! 
Yes, do that.

I just ate a banana and it was delicious.  But it tasted and felt... somehow wrong.  It was strange.  It was all rough and natural and fiber-y. 

Halfway through, I realized that the strange sensation wasn't the banana's fault: it was mine.

My palette is no longer used to things like raw produce.  It's been a long time since I've eaten a banana.  It's been a long time since I regularly ate any raw produce.

I never crave fruit, vegetables, or beans anymore.  I can eat these things and enjoy them, but they just don't satisfy me anymore, other than I feel good about myself momentarily.

I have developed a "sophisticated" weight gain palete.

Things that feel normal in my mouth: soft bread, pasta, fast food, cake, cookies, chips, steamed vegetables, chicken, fish, lunch meat, pickles, yogurt, granola and cereal bars, fruit cups, soup, pizza, popcorn, and anything else that I have consumed regularly since Mom died.

Things that feel strange in my mouth: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, beans, whole grains, and pretty much everything that I ate when I was a healthy vegan, including plain water.

That's right.  I no longer enjoy water.  It has to have Mio or some flavoring shaken up inside for me to want it these days.

I'm not quite sure what to do about this, other than to begin reintroducing some old favorites back into my daily diet.

Of course, since I'm trying to stay away from dieting and "food rules", I don't want to be strict about this. 

BUT I feel that the old intuitive eating concept of "eventually your body will tell your head that it needs healthy foods, and you will begin to crave bananas and salads and all healthy things and they will taste better than EVER before!!!!" is bullshit.  At least, it's been bullshit for me every time I'm tried to listen to my body after extreme weight gain.

My body either is not craving healthy foods at all, or that mind-body connection has truly become lost in me.    Since I'm not a Gilmore Girl, I am going to assume that it's the latter, and that my body really does want healthy stuff but my mind refuses to admit it.

I'm 30 years old now, and I'd like to have kids before I'm 40.  I fantasize about having figured all of this food/body shit out by the time I have kids.  It may be just a fantasy, but it's still there.

I think it's one of those things that will remain a dream instead of a goal unless I make a plan to get there, ya know?  Kind of like getting that college degree, or moving to NYC (one out of two isn't bad...).

A good start to getting past this is to start adding healthy foods back into my regular diet, one by one.

Today I ate a banana.  Next week I will try to eat one every morning.  Over the next several weeks, here are some things that I'd like to add back in, one week or so at a time:

- oatmeal for breakfast
- cooking a big batch of a veggie/bean/grain dish on the weekend and eating it for lunch all week
- cutting up fresh veggies on the weekend for easy cooking through the week
- drinking a decent amount of plain water every day
- eating salads and raw vegetables regularly
- regular exercise

These are just some examples; I'm sure that there are more!

I'm never going to take things out of my diet (unless a doctor tells me to), but I will begin to add back in some old healthy favorites that my palete has grown out of.  I'm hopeful that I can develop a healthy appetite and maybe one day get those health food cravings for real. 

But if I never get the health food cravings, I'm still hopeful that one day I will choose the healthy options more often than not, out of love and respect for my body and mind.

What things do you naturally crave these days?

Monday, December 1, 2014

a food and feelings journal

I have created a sister-site to this blog, where I plan to track my food and feelings for awhile.

Click pic to link

I'm not going to commit to blogging there every day, but I will try to blog daily for the next couple of weeks, just to get into the swing of things.

The main reason that I quit My Fitness Pal (see that post here) is that I thought it was detrimental to my EDNOS recovery.  But I still feel that planning and tracking my meals would be a positive thing for me, so long as I track feelings instead of calories.

So, if anyone is curious about what I'm eating or how I'm feeling about it, please feel free to follow my new blog along with this one.

It is a completely judgment-free zone, so I disabled comments for the posts over there.  I don't always eat "perfectly" or even kind of okay.  I started the blog on a lying-around-the-house Saturday, so it really didn't start out pretty. 

Anyway, I encourage any of you who has issues with emotional eating, whether or not you are recovering from an eating disorder, to track their feelings after they eat (and/or before!).  If you have a need to track calories or other macronutrients, that's fine, but please don't discount  your feelings. 

Were you really hungry before the meal?  
Were you really stuffed after the meal?  
Do you feel guilty?  
100% neutral?

Since I've started this, I've realized that there are many feelings associated with my eating.  I always assumed that my binges and overeating happened because of boredom and depression, but sometimes nowadays it really is just out of habit.  I feel a strong habitual desire to binge eat whenever home alone with easy access to those foods.

I haven't noticed any true patterns yet, but I hope to figure some stuff out over the  next few weeks, while journaling on my new blog.

It feels very vulnerable to share my food and feelings with you, because I know that it doesn't look "good".  But I felt like it was time.  I may one day make that blog completely private, but for now, I'm being 100% vulnerable and allowing you all to peek if you so choose.

I have a link to the blog over to the side under "Stuff to Check Out", along with a link to my amazingly talented brother's site.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Deleting "My Fitness Pal"

Saturday, I took a big step towards real EDNOS recovery:  I deleted my My Fitness Pal accounts.  

My Fitness Pal is a great site for people who want to log their food and exercise for whatever reasons, including weight loss and fitness goals.  But for people who have major issues with food and body image, including a history of disordered eating, it can be a scary place that feeds into an addiction.

I had created several accounts over the years, including a couple that I had forgotten about.  I have gone back to MFP time and time again, between bouts of binge eating and bouts of recovery (intuitive eating).  I always went back.  I will try really hard to not go back this time, because I feel that counting calories is not for me anymore.  

I started with my oldest account, VeganGal84.

Then I moved on to other accounts I had made but hadn't used very much, including one that I made especially for this blog.

Next, I moved on to my most recently abandoned account, BuffyEat2Live.

Finally, I deleted my active account, after saying a final good bye to my friends.  Earlier in the week, I had made sure to give my email address and social media information to them, so that we can stay in touch outside of MFP.

my final "food journal" entry - beautifully blank

I don't know if I can fully express how scary this step was for me.  People who don't have ED histories may not understand why anyone would devote a blog post to deleting accounts from a calorie counting website.  But I know that most of you guys will get it, because you know me pretty well by now.

MFP's "are you sure???" warning message

Anyway, that's all done.  Now it's time for me to find a better balance in my eating WITHOUT the calorie counting.  Because I have been overeating a lot lately.  And I've also been eating nothing but junk food.

So for now, for health's sake, I am going to focus on adding healthy produce back into my diet.  Fruit with breakfast, raw veggies with lunch, and cooked veggies with dinner.  No "rules" about junk food, because I don't want diet mentality to sneak in; I just want to eat vegetables and fruits again.

What scary steps towards health and/or recovery have you taken?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Goodbye, calorie counting websites

I am working towards full recovery from my EDNOS. 

What does this mean for me?

Basically, I want a life that is centered around living, not around food+body+exercise thoughts.  In order to accomplish this, I'm taking steps towards it.

The first step was realizing that calorie counting and food planning/logging in general no longer seemed important to me.  One day, I realized that it had been several days since I had logged my food, and I was okay with it.

Also in this first step was realizing that I am not okay with exercising to eat more.  When I start a regular exercise routine again (hopefully soon), it will be because my leg and ankle are feeling better.  It will be to get my left leg back to normal.  And then, hopefully, it will be to train for a marathon.  But it won't be because I ate Pop Tarts this morning, or because I want to eat pizza tonight.

The second step was realizing that I cannot follow steps towards recovery anymore.  This entire process needs to be day by day, and intuitive.  Why?  Because every time that I have assigned steps to myself, I ended up failing, and giving up, and going back to what I know (dieting, tracking calories, exercising to burn calories, body hate, etc.).

One thing has become clear to me though:  I need to step completely away from all of those calorie-counting and dieting websites.

I am going to step away from those sites, which will hopefully help to discourage me from going back to my safety net of food logging.

If there was a site that allowed me to track my food but not any macronutrients, I would probably sign up, just to keep that security blanket for a bit longer, while I sort though my emotional eating issues.  Like a food log that tracked feelings instead of calories. 

A place to recover from emotional eating habits, and from disordered eating in general.  Perhaps I have just found a need and should start creating a site like this?  Hmmmm...  Or maybe I should start to keep a real paper journal again, with real feelings written down, along with an emotional eating journal for as long as I need one.

Anyway, I'm going to start by removing all of the links anywhere on this blog that are about anything "diet-y".  The next step will be to deactivate my multiple My Fitness Pal accounts (which is deserving of its own blog post, in my opinion, because that will be a huge step for me).  I'm planning to deactivate my MFP accounts (I have at least three) on Saturday.

I am also going to stop following any diet pages on Facebook (as myself.   I won't unfollow anyone as my blog page, because I hardly use FB exclusively from the page).  I will continue to follow the people who don't trigger me, but if your page makes me want to hop back on the diet bandwagon, then I'm sorry but we have to part ways for now.  I love you, I get it, and I am not saying that your page is bad or that you are doing anything wrong.  I'm just saying that I need to fully recover from my EDNOS and seeing posts about calorie burning exercise challenges and how only organic food is food, is not helpful to me right now.

Sorry for no pictures, but I'm posting from work (slow morning, thank goodness.  Monday and yesterday were CRAZY).  I may come back in here later and add some pics. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I struggle.

I'm not talking about the struggle to lose weight.  In the grand scheme of things, that is relatively easy for me to do (I know that makes me a lucky bitch to those of you who have issues in that area... but hey, if it makes you feel better, I just turned 30, so that ability may disappear soon, who knows?).

Also, keep in mind that though I've always managed to "easily" lose weight, I have NEVER kept it off, so in the long run, that's not actually weight lost. 

Losing weight comes pretty easily to me.  If I wanted to, like really wanted to, and focused on weight loss as a central part of my life, I could lose a pound or two a week.

But here's the rub: 
I don't want to make it a central part of my life.

I really don't.

But, at the same time, I don't want to be unhealthy.

I would like to stop eating so much convenience foods, and to begin cooking more.  I'd also like to start a regular exercise routine, now that I have the doctor's permission to stationary bike, elliptical, and walk short distances. 

But, I wouldn't like to
Or to
Or to

So the struggle that I am talking about is the struggle between my desire to lose weight, and my desire to enjoy life and accept my body as it is currently, thin privilege and (self-)fat shaming be damned.

I deal with the internal struggle daily.  I do find myself and my current body to be attractive.  So does my future husband.  And I make enough money now that I will soon be able to afford stylish fat people clothing.

But my damn desire to experience thin privileges.  To be able to know that I will always fit in seats.  To be able to shop at Express or Gap.  To be able to eat junk food in public without being judged.  To be able to know that when I'm "feeling fat", I'm not actually fat.  To see "my people" represented as the attractive main character instead of the joke-cracking best friend.

Ultimately, my desire to not have to count or burn calories, and my desire to be a well-rounded adult without constant body-hate thoughts win over my desire for thin privileges these days. 

But I still struggle. 

I struggle to let go of my younger, food-obsessed, get-skinny-or-die-trying self. 

I struggle to accept that it really is okay to not be thin, or even "normal" sized. 

I struggle because letting go of the food journal, and the scale, and the desire to be thin is just scary, because I have literally not been like that since age 10.

I struggle because I'm afraid of the unknown.

I struggle because I'm afraid to let go and to just be happy.

I struggle to find the balance in food and exercise, especially without any RULES lording over me and my thoughts.

I struggle. 

But I'm going to try to let go of these unnecessary problems.  Life is hard enough.
What area(s) in your life are you struggling with right now? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Intuitiveness and not caring...

So the last couple of days I have been trying to listen to my body and mind, and to respect myself.  

I have tried to be an intuitive eater several times in my life, so I'm not going to try again.  Instead of giving myself that "intuitive eater" label and preaching about the benefits of "intuitive eating" and following steps,  I'm going to instead just stop thinking about it.

I just don't care anymore.  Not in a "giving up" kind of way, but in a "eating is a part of life but it's not the most important thing anymore" way.  I am beginning to think that my disordered thoughts about food may actually be disappearing.

My attitude about food now is that it just is.  I eat when I'm hungry and when I feel like eating.  Usually these are the same things, but sometimes they are not.  I try to avoid emotional eating, but I'm not obsessive about it.

I've been obsessively trying to avoid emotional eating for years now, and that has not resulted in the behavior ending.

My new theory is that if I stop caring so much about my eating habits, they will eventually end up in that intuitive place, and my weight will end up where it's supposed to be.  I will still lose weight, because I won't be obsessed with food anymore, which will lead to less binges and more healthy decisions.  It may not be a fast paced weight loss.  I may lose 20 pounds a year or less.

But that's okay.  I have about 70 pounds left to lose to reach my goal of weighing what I weighed before Mom died. I truly believe that I will reach that goal (if it remains my goal, that is).  It may take a couple of more years, but I will reach it.

I also believe that along the way, I'm going to let go of my EDNOS completely, run a marathon, do a pull-up, go to law school, get married, and do anything else that I set my mind to.

I will have to figure out what to blog about, if not food and exercise.  Maybe I will take a break from this blog.  Maybe I will find a way to write more about my EDNOS recovery.  Either way, please know that I'm doing very well right now when it comes to this area of my life.

selfie in Central Perk

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back to recovery

As I alluded to in my last post, I'm going to try to move this blog back towards EDNOS recovery and away from dieting.

I started this process about a year ago, taking the first three steps towards permanent recovery.

I revamped the blog and really started to focus on recovery again, by writing and following my own path, which started with letting go of the guilt, total body acceptance, and intuitive eating.

This time around, (hopefully the last time), I'm going to be more intuitive about the entire process.  No more road maps, no more plans.  Just working on letting go of the EDNOS, one day at a time.

It will be a struggle, because I do want to lose weight, and I don't want to be a fat bride.  These are two thoughts that I need to weed out of my brain.

How many times do I have to learn that more than anything, I want happiness and health, not a skinny body no matter the cost?  Apparently at least one more time.

I have a few thoughts about what recovered me will be like.

  1. I will love my body, inside and out
  2. I will eat whatever I want, whenever I get hungry, and just kind of naturally stop when my body is done, except on rare occasions 
  3. I will naturally gravitate towards qualities and quantities that are  healthy for my body and mind (which sometimes is whole foods, and sometimes is milk chocolate kisses)
  4. I will train for races with no secret weight loss goal.  The only goals will be to enjoy the movement, and to beat my last time.  I will also walk a lot, because it feels good and I enjoy it.
  5. ... and most importantly: Most of my life is spent pursuing goals, accomplishing things, and enjoying things that have NOTHING to do with food, exercise, or my body size.

All of these things are very important to me, and I know that once I'm truly recovered from my EDNOS, my life will be better.  Not perfect, but better.  

P.S. I had a blast in NYC!

Monday, October 6, 2014

My twenties, in a nutshell

I had four job interviews last week, and today my favorite one told me "no thanks".  Today is the last day of my twenties, so this seems about right.  What a trying decade this has been.

I was born on October 7, 1984, which means that tomorrow I turn thirty years old.  Many people dread big birthdays like this, women especially it seems.  Sure, forty is the new thirty, but what does that make thirty?  Certainly not the new twenty, I hope.  I hope that thirty is just thirty, because I am ready for a new decade.

The first couple of years of my twenties were spent in recovery from anorexia/EDNOS.  I was in and out of recovery from 19 to 22.  During this time, I was also in and out of college.

When I was 19, I moved from Memphis to Omaha, and rushed into a relationship with my high school sweetheart which lasted for about two years.  That relationship was full of many firsts and many wonders.  I loved that man a lot.  I still do, in that "I hope that his life is incredibly happy and that all of his dreams come true" way, but not in any sort of "I regret ending that relationship" way.  He was a very sensitive and kind of strange but very cool guy.  It was definitely young love.

It ended badly.  But it still defines my extremely early twenties to me.  I think back on that time fondly, because he was the one to convince me to get help for my eating disorder, and he was the one who held my hand during those initial critical times.  Mom came and visited several times, but he was there in the thick of it.  He made me feel beautiful and worthy during a time when those are nearly impossible but very important feelings to have.

So that covers 20 and part of 21: first adult relationship and recovery from anorexia, while also earning a very few amount of credits from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and earning minimum wage part time at Dillards.

The second part of 21 and all the way until 23 was spent with a new guy, who ended up being my first fiance, and a huge mistake.  This guy made me feel ugly and unworthy, but for some reason I loved him and wanted to stay to prove him wrong.  It was an emotionally abusive relationship that ended confusingly.  I literally had to move across the country to end it.

I had completely dropped out of school by this time and was working as a front desk receptionist at a gym.  I partied hard almost every night, but definitely thursday through Saturday.  This was a very big drinking time for me, especially 21 and 22.  Also, I started smoking a pack of menthol cigarettes a day.

I had a very scary thing happen to me, which stopped my heavy drinking.  One night, I completely blacked out drunk.  I woke up in a strange man's car with no shirt on and a police officer asking me to get dressed.  I passed out and woke up again in a hospital.  It was terrifying.  I never recovered those memories, but I did get tested for STDs the next day, just in case I was raped.  That was the end of my "drinking just to get drunk" days.

I quit my job at the gym to work with my fiance as a bill collector.  He convinced me that it would be better money, and I agreed.  I hated that job so much, but it was better money.

During all of this relationship, I was convinced that I needed to lose weight, because my lovely fiance told me (and I believed him) that this was fat:

When I finally got the nerve to end the relationship, I called my parents to come get me.  To their credit, they immediately drove up to Nebraska and helped me move, without making any scenes about my smoking or about the fact that my ex was still staying at my place.

I kissed my ex goodbye, and moved back in with my parents in Tennessee.

I realize now that 23 is not old, but back then I thought that I was such a failure for living with my parents again.  I tried to make the best of it, and spend as much time with my mom as possible, because she ruled.  If it had been just us and the dogs, I probably could have stayed there forever.  But my dad and I have always had a difficult relationship, and soon the sparks began to fly.

I started working part time at The Home Depot to save up enough money to move out of my parents' house.  This is where I met Stacey, who was a harmless crush for me.  Harmless because he was totally off limits for two reasons:  He had a girlfriend, and he was my boss.  So, never gonna happen.  But, I thought he was cute, and that was all I was ready for at that point anyway.  A harmless crush.

Meanwhile, I quickly gained a bunch of weight, because I was finally free from the body hate that consumed me when I was with my ex... or so I thought.

I moved out, and into a bedroom of a rental house with three roommates who I had never met before, all male.  Risky business, I tell you.  But it worked out.  It was a crazy living situation, with the roommates changing often.  Within a few months, I started dating Stacey (he broke up with the girlfriend, but was totally still one of my bosses, so oops).  He moved into my room with me fairly quickly, and eventually became one of the "official" roommates and we took over the master bedroom and paid more in rent.

In 2009 (I'm 24 by then) I landed a full time job as an administrative assistant at an engineering firm, and Stacey and I moved to our own place.  I thrived there, and finally felt like an adult with a real job, a real relationship, and a real place to call home.  For the first couple of years at this job, I was content.  I had a good thing going.  I visited with Mom every day, either at lunch or after work; Stacey and I were doing well; and I was good at my job.  Also, I quit smoking!

Oh, yeah, I also started this blog and lost a lot of weight.

Some time in 2010, I decided that I wanted more.  I knew that I'd never be able to advance at my job, because everyone else there were engineers or accountants.  There was only one solution: Go back to school.

So in 2011, at age 26, I went back to college.  I stayed at my job for the first year, which means that 2011 went like this: Work 8-5; Class 5:30-8:30; see Mom and Stacey on the weekends (though I lived with Stacey, he worked 3p-12a, so I rarely saw him through the week).  It was a rough year, but I loved being back in school.

still wasn't skinny enough
(so I thought)

I had to quit my job in 2012, because I had to take classes during the day if I wanted to stay full time.  Suddenly I was living off of my savings and student loans.  I loved the first semester.  By this time I was 27 and loving being a student more than anything, and finally felt like I was right where I supposed to be in this world, and that my future was bright. Then came summer break...

That's when my mom died quite suddenly.

And everything went to hell quite quickly.

My late twenties have been all about two things: figuring out how my life works without Mom in it, and finishing school.  I'm still working on the first (though things are getting better every month or so), but I nailed the second.  And as an added bonus, Stacey and I are engaged.

And I gained a bunch of weight and even though I've lost 28 pounds (woo-hoo!!!), I'm still heavier than ever before (except these 28 pounds of course).  I've also grown up quite a bit,and despite "recovering" from my ED in my early twenties, I still deal with some obsessive thoughts about food and about my body.

older and bigger maybe,
but still pretty cute.

This blog is going to get another makeover soon, to adjust to a new era in my life.  I'm sick of having an eating disorder.  It held me back enough in my twenties; I refuse to give it another decade.  Not going to happen.

One day very soon, I will be completely free from disordered thoughts about food, exercise, and my body.  It's time to love myself from the inside out, and truly take this new decade as an opportunity to live life.  It's time to focus on getting a job, on getting into law school, and on getting married to the love of my life.  ED has no place in this life.  So I'm letting go.  One day at a time.

Tomorrow I'm going to start my 30s by taking a trip to visit my brother, (who has lived in NYC for all of my 20s)!  I can't wait.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I love/hate my body

I'm trying to work on accepting and loving my body. Trying so freaking hard! Why is it so hard sometimes? 

For the record:  I believe that the woman pictured here
could be ANY size, and the message
would still be true.  This is not a size-ist blog.

In theory, I love my body.  I mean, it's the only one I've got, and it's gotten me through my entire life so far.  I appreciate my body, and want to do only right by it.  

I'd like to believe that my body is not just useful, but beautiful.

I'd like to believe that it doesn't matter if my body is beautiful, because I don't owe the world a beautiful body.

But in actuality, sometimes I hate how it looks, and I hate how it lets me down (e.g., breaking to the point of necessary surgery when I rolled my ankle).  And I always ALWAYS always blame myself for how crappy my body can sometimes be.

I feel like lately, I've quickly done a 180 on this blog's mission statement.  When I switched the blog from "Leah: The Kind Weight Watcher" to "Leah: Not Otherwise Specified", it was with a purpose.  

I mean... when I wrote this, I was so inspired to leave my dieting ways and my obsession with weight loss in the past.  I was ready to love my body and accept that I may never lose any more weight, and to just focus on healthy habits for the sake of health.  I was ready to throw out all of my dieting books, along with my scale and measuring tape.  I accepted that my EDNOS had morphed into a diet addiction.

Somehow, I lost the message over time.  I stopped accepting my body and practicing healthy habits.  Instead, I gained more weight because of emotional binge eating, and became determined to lose it, and have been dieting hardcore again, which had led to the dieting cycle.  Ultimately, I dived right back into my EDNOS thoughts and behaviors and my diet addiction.

Seriously, google "dieting cycle".  There are so many
gems out there that really made me think.

Anyway, enough is enough.  I am tired of making blanket statements about how I'm going to "eat/exercise/feel about my body" from now on.  

I want to keep on trying to improve myself, while also accepting and loving my body.  It won't happen overnight, so I won't pretend that it will.

But here's what I'm going to do for now.

1) Take better care of my skin, hair and nails.  This has been rough on me lately, as because I don't have a shower stool and am afraid to try standing in the shower with one leg, I always need assistance to wash up.  I just need to be more assertive in asking for help.  Sometimes I think that Stacey forgets that I used to shower EVERY day...

2) Add one or two new healthy behaviors/habits to my life every week or two (depending on how hard of a change it is) until everything feels normal.  I have become very out of whack with my health since this injury.  I don't drink enough water, eat enough produce, have a solid post-surgery exercise plan, etc.  But because of my all-or-nothing thinking, I continue to stick with "nothing" because "all" is just overwhelming.  I want to keep this a positive behavior, so things like "more water" and "more veggies" instead of "less junk food" or "no chips".  The "yes rules" are just a better way to go for me I think.

3) Read more.  I have spent the last couple of months in front of screens.  And only a small portion of it was my Kindle screen.  I consider myself to be a reader, a book-lover, a bibliophile.  And yet given an extremely unlimited amount of immobile time to myself, I chose the boob tube over my books time and time again.  I still read a little bit every day, but not nearly as much as I'd like.  Zoning out to Netflix or YouTube is much less rewarding than getting completely lost in a book.

4) Better communication with loved ones (and add some new loved ones to my life).  I tend to isolate myself from too many people, because of my depression.  It's time that I start contacting family more (the ones who I actually want to talk to, anyway) and it's time to make some new friends (book club perhaps, cleverly combining two of these new goals).  Now that my leg is well enough to get out of the house now and then, it's time to actually do so.

I think that those are enough goals to start with.  I'm ready to get back to at least part of Leah: NOS's original mission statement, which was all about loving myself and moving away from dieting and my EDNOS thinking.

For now, I have a love/hate thing going on with my body.  And that's okay, because it's where I'm at, and it's honest.

What about you?  

Do you truly love your body as it is, or do you love/hate it?

My body, right this second, aerial view.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

-25 Pounds Progress Pictures!

So this happened yesterday:

And I was pretty excited.  I am still recovering from the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ankle break.  I'm not allowed to put any weight on my left leg.  

Therefore, I usually skip exercise.  I say "usually" because there have been a couple of times that I tried to do some upper body stuff, but I didn't enjoy it at all.  I prefer being able to use my entire body when I exercise.  

Anyway, my pants have been feeling loose lately, so I went ahead and weighed in and YAY another goal reached.  I'm excited about it.  This means that all I have to do now is repeat the process of losing 25 pounds three times, then keep it all off forever (the hardest part).

I can do this.  

So here are the latest progress pictures:

I honestly just don't see a huge difference between 254 and 240, but oh well.  I know I've lost the weight, and I know my clothes feel loose.  (Also, LOL at my pinky when I take selfies)

I'm not truly following the Slim Fast plan anymore.  It got old.  So now I basically just watch my portions VERY carefully, and replace only one meal a day with a shake or bar.  It's hard to lose weight while immobile, but if I count my calories, it's not impossible.

I hope that all of you are having great days!  xoxo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Losing Weight while Loving my Body

According to mainstream media and pretty much every diet book and website out there, it's impossible to both love your body as it is and still want to lose weight.  It's either one or the other.

Use your body hate to motivate yourself to put down the cake and lose some weight, OR love your body as it is, eat lots of cake, and be okay with being fat forever.

Where is the program that preaches body love and acceptance while still promoting healthy habits that will help one reach their ideal weight (assuming they aren't already there)?

I'm sure it's out there, but for now, I'm going to try to do it myself.

Because despite how fat I got over the last couple of years, I look at the pictures taken of me on the day of my college graduation (my highest weight) and see a beautiful woman with a beautiful body worth respecting.

And yet, I knew that I was not healthy at that size.  How did I know that?  Because I gained the weight with a lot of secret binge-eating.  I mean, a LOT of secret binge eating.  Like, trips to the grocery store that no one knew about, for just a box of cakes and a bag of chips (and a 2 liter of Diet Coke to wash it down with), then taking the empty things to the garbage dumpster before Stacey got home.  I did this, sometimes three times a week.  For months.

I knew that once the binges stopped and I started to eat healthier (in both quality and quantity), my body would shrink.

Honestly, I also prefer the way my body feels and looks when it's a size 14 or 16 instead of 20 or 22.

However, I think that I've always thought that "body acceptance" had to mean that I was 100% happy with the way my body looks and feels, and that I don't want it to change at all ever.  I mean, acceptance means that you totally accept things as they are and don't want to change, right?  Right?

So, despite how much I wanted to accept my fat body, I kept on being unhappy with it instead, because I want to change it.

But I've realized recently that there is a third option:  Accepting and loving my body as it is, at every stage during my weight loss and after.  I can accept my body right now. 

I actually believe that loving my body as it is now will help me to lose weight.  Accepting and loving my body will motivate me to treat it with love and respect.

I really believe now that self love and self acceptance are not only helpful, but KEY to weight loss success.

They were definitely missing ingredients for me in every single weight loss attempt I've done so far.  Sure, I've lost weight, but I've never kept it off.  This time, I am going to do both, because for the first time in my life, I love my body.  I accept my body for what it is, for how it looks, and for its current limitations.  

I accept it and I love it.  And I am determined to treat it well, which I think will be easier to do with self-love in the mix.

Because of my current physical limitations (I am unable to walk for at least another month), I am still trying to stick to a meal replacement plan for now.  But I'm gentle with myself, and if my appetite is saying "Nope, not today.  Today I need to eat three meals, no shakes or bars" I will respect my body enough to fill it with healthy foods.  And if my mind says, "Nope, I want pizza and chips" I will respect my mind enough to eat a serving of pizza and a small bowl of chips.

And in a month, when I can (hopefully) begin to walk a bit, I will be changing my meal plan entirely again.  And that's okay.

It's all okay, because I am comfortable in my own skin.  Even though I want to be smaller, I'm happy with my body.  And I don't consider those ideas to be antitheses to each other anymore.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Broken Leg Adventures...

On July 13 around 7:30pm, I twisted my ankle while stepping off of a curb onto some uneven pavement.  I twisted it so hard that it broke my leg and ankle in several places and needed surgery in order to correct the breaks and relocate the ankle.

the after surgery x-ray
It is such a bad break that even though the surgery technically fixed the broken bones, I am not allowed to put any weight on it for at least another 6 to 8 weeks.  After that it will be on to physical therapy and slowly adding weight, until one day I walk like a normal person again.

So as you may imagine, my life has become pretty mundane.  I mostly just lie around with my leg propped up (it is still ridiculously swollen, weeks after surgery) with my chihuahuas nearby.  I read, watch TV, and sleep a lot.

I didn't want to gain any weight while being immobile.  In fact, I want to continue to lose weight.  So, to compensate for my immobility, I am sticking to a semi-strict way of eating for this time.

And it's working.  I've lost 7 pounds in the last 3 and a half weeks.

I had to figure out a way to eat that would keep me at a pretty low calorie count and to make it so that no one had to cook me three meals a day.  (I can't put ANY weight on it, so I have been staying out of the kitchen so far.  That may change soon!)

I decided that the easiest way to accomplish these goals was to do a meal replacement plan like Slim Fast.  Special K makes delicious meal replacement protein bars, and Slim Fast makes delicious meal replacement shakes, so for two meals a day I eat or drink one of those instead of a real meal.  My one meal a day always consists of lots of vegetables, lean protein such as chicken, Boca burger, or beans, healthy oil, and fruit for desert.  I also am regularly tracking on My Fitness Pal and allowing myself a junk food snack or two each day, depending on how many calories are remaining.

I never thought that I would do a meal replacement diet.  But it makes the most sense for my current situation.  Losing weight while being immobile seemed impossible, but with this plan, it's not.  It's actually pretty easy.

My appetite has decreased, probably due to lack of moving around, which makes this not feel like deprivation at all.

Anyway, so that's where I'm at.  It sucks.  I hate that I'm here.  But some day it will be in the past, and I'll be able to exercise and eat more normally again.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

10 pound progress picture, and some athletic goals...

Here's a fun progress picture of me!  I started at 265 pounds, and got down to 253.8 a few days ago, and took this picture yesterday.  I didn't take an official "before" picture, but I do plan to take all progress pictures in this swimsuit (which is way too small right now, but really shows my shape, which is great for progress pictures).

I wrote a list of goal weights, and I plan to post a new picture whenever I reach one of these milestones.
-10 pounds (255): 7/10/2014
-25 pounds (240)
-30 pounds (235)
-40 pounds (225)
-50 pounds (215)
-60 pounds (205)
-75 pounds (190)
-80 pounds (185)
-90 pounds (175)
-100 pounds (165)

Sometimes I get sad that I'm not naturally thin, or at least naturally inclined to make  healthy choices.  Unfortunately what comes naturally to me  right now is to eat crappy food when not even hungry and to sit around a lot.
But I'm not giving up on my quest to be healthy, just because it doesn't currently come natural to me.  It may take a long time to develop a healthy relationship with food, and it may take a long time to become truly naturally inclined towards healthy habits. 
For now, I need some structure.  One thing that has always helped me become healthier is training for a race.  I can't afford a gym membership currently, so it will be tough for the first month or so until I get a paycheck (new job starts on Tuesday!).
But for now, my apartment has a small gym and a pool, and I have a bike.
So... I'm going to be keeping this event in mind:

That's right: the Music City Triathlon!!!  Not this year's, because that's in one week.  But apparently this is an annual event, so I have an entire year to get in shape and train for next summer's race.
For now, I'm just going to swim, bike, and run regularly.  I will be training for the Sprint Triathlon, which is a race of 400m swimming, 22k biking, and 5k running.  If I rock it, maybe I'll try the Intermediate Triathlon in 2016!  ;-)
Here's this week's exercise schedule:
Sunday- bike
Monday- cross train: elliptical
Tuesday- rest
Wednesday- swim
Thursday- walk/run intervals
Friday- bike
Saturday- rest 

I'm thinking about the triathlon, I'm going to train for the same half marathon that I did last year, maybe even going for the full 26.2 next year.  I've been told that training for a triathlon will help my running alot.
Have you ever trained for a big race like a 
marathon or triathlon?