Tuesday, February 22, 2011


... but only for a week.

I'll probably be away for a while, as I am going abroad on a business trip with my dad. Although I am amazingly happy/exited about being able to travel again so soon after my last trip, I'm feeling a touch of the usual pre-trip anxiety (fear foods and unknown situations and all). Thinking back on my last trip makes me feel a lot bolder in that aspect though. I know it'll be great and if that annoying little voice in my head tries to ruin any of that for me, I will not-so-politely tell it to take a hike.

Hopefully I'll be back soon, with lots of exiting stories and pictures. In the meantime I hope you all have a good week/weekend.

And in honor of the NEDA here's something I really like:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Attitude change.

I had a mini-revelation today. I have completely changed my attitude towards food.

Pre-ED I enjoyed food, but not more so then the avarage person. I didn't give it much thought actually, I would eat whatever was put in front of me or available at the time, even if I didn't particularly enjoy it. I focused my attention on other things, so food never really played a major role.

During my ED I went to the opposite extreme. I ate a whole lot of things I hated and that were (admittendly) really gross, just because they were low calorie. Think oats cooked in water, celery sticks, lettuce dunked in mustard and water soup (that is really all it was, with a few veggies floating around in it). It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth just thinking of these diet staples I used to have. I talked myself into the fact that I "liked" these foods when very little could be further from the truth.

When I first started recovering I was scared of enjoying food. For some reason food and enjoying it seemed wrong, like I was enjoying something dirty or morally unacceptable. I treated food like medicine - nothing more. I ate what I had to in order to gain weight while secretly enjoying some of it, but never being able to admit it to myself or others.

I'm so happy to say I have come so far since then. I now not only enjoy food, but am able to experiment with it, create my own recipes and really savor the results. I don't feel guilty for enjoying food, or admitting something tastes good. Actually, I have a certain sense of pride in discovering new and tasty combinations and flavors. I have more of an appreciation for what I put in my body and how it benefits me and my health, but at the same time I am able to extend my focus to other things as well such as flavor, texture and presentation. I don't always put a lot of effort into my food, usually because of lack of time. But when I do I rarely ever regret it.

Sitting down to eat a meal is not a waste of time. Experimenting with a new recipe is not a waste of time. And adding something "higher calorie" to your food is not wrong. Food is meant to be enjoyed as well, otherwise we might as well all be hooked up to feeding tubes all the time. Food is a social event, a pleasant conversation, a moment to stop and relax. I never realized this till recently.

Today for instance I tried some chocolate oat bran. It was
a bit too chocolaty for my taste, so I added some coconut (gasp -extra fat and calories). Did it taste better afterwards? - It sure did. So instead of suffering through a lower calorie, but unappealing owl of oat-bran I was able to savor a satisfying, nutritious breakfast.

Another thing I did today is I made a curried chicken, broccoli and carrot stir fry just so I could try out the new mango chutney someone gave me. In times past this would be unthinkable, because chutney is almost like a savory jam.

(Fortunately, or unfortunately because I have such a small jar of this delightful condiment it is terribly addicting and I could eat out of the jar plain - and already have :P)

All these realizations have brought me to one conclusion. I like food. And I am (slowly) learning to accept that.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My weekend.

My weekend involved long walks in the snow (to the library in my case, which was unfortunately closed):

I also ended up experimenting with new recipes (with some amazing results):

Chickpea soup from Oh She Glows

This soup is totally worth all the reviews. But you absolutely have to garnish it with lemon, a bit of paprika and a few drops of olive oil. The flavor is not the same without it.

Lentil pilaf (I made up this recipe myself)

Organic red lentils cooked with 2 tsp of madras curry power, half a chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic and some vegetable broth. Half way through the cooking process I added chopped carrots and some soya sauce to taste. I cooked some pearl barley and steamed cauliflower on the side. Then I mixed it all together and topped it with some sunflower seeds and voila - a healthy, filling, tasty dish.

And I've also jumped on the oat bran wagon. If you're wondering what's the difference between oat bran and normal oats, I've found that oat bran is much creamier and doesn't have any chew on it's own. It also doesn't seem to retain as much of the "banana" flavor as oats do, and instead it gets thick and creamy, which is fine by me.
Today's mix was: 1/4 cup oat bran with 1/4 cup oats cooked with 1/2 banana mashed in, cinnamon, and vanilla essence. Topped with coconut butter (the picture is borrowed since I didn't take one of my own, but the oat bran looked exactly like that )

And indulging in some treats:

I tried chocolate again for the first time in over a year and I discovered I LOVE dark chocolate. This came as a surprise because I was always a milk-chocolate girl. Not anymore apparently. But I'm so happy I was able to defy ED enough to try both types of chocolate, otherwise I would have never known.

And there's nothing like a good cup of coffee. My dad brought some back from a coffee fair and it is HEAVEN in a cup.

In my free time I did a good deal of this:

And some of this:
(That's a yoga video, in case you can't tell :P)

I'm totally psyched about the week ahead. Sounds like there'll be a lot going on, and I'm totally looking forward to it.

What are you guys and gals looking forward to about the week ahead?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Opinions of others.

I have a confession to make....
I'm terrified of this guy:

Not him so much as what he represents actually :P

But seriously, I've come to the realization that I am terrified of other's disapproval.

I've always been a perfectionist so some extent. Anything I did I wanted to do well, or I figured I might as well not bother. So I definitely put my 100% into everything I did. But there also came a point that if I knew I did my best I was confident in that fact. What people said to me didn't influence my self-worth, because I knew I had done a good job. I was able to see right through them and recognize the fact that they were either:
a) jealous
b) malicious
c) ignorant

But somewhere down the line that changed. I suddenly needed other's praise and recognition because I wasn't able to get the assurance I craved from an internal source. I was NEVER good enough for myself, so I relied on others opinions to let me know how I was doing. Now this can be a positive thing when you are surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends. But unfortunately not everyone out there is like that. There are people who will kick you when your down, and take advantage of your weakness.

Right now there is someone in my life who does that. He's an instructor and as such I simply don't have the option to distance myself from him. But I dread every minute we spend together. I react so negatively because I am unable to please him. I do everything he tells me, and the next time we see each other he ignores the progress I've made and instead chooses to focus on my mistakes and shortcomings. And it's tiering and infernally frustrating. I always leave him feeling like I want to cry, because I feel so low. Add some personal insults (he's asked me if I'm "slow" or just stupid) and you've got yourself the person I am faced with several times a week. I think it's understandable that I spend the whole day dreading our next lesson.

I react to the disapproval of this man in a very peculiar way. I go between beating myself up for being stupid and unable to learn, to wondering if he is just a particularly difficult person that happens not to be too fond of me. On the one hand I want to believe I am doing my best, and that he should have some appreciation of that fact. On the other hand I feel like I should be pushing myself harder, because if he's so harsh there must be something wrong with me.

To be honest I don't know how to deal with this particular situation. But I DO know I need to learn to deal with others disapproval of me. I can't walk through life expecting to be congratulated, patted on the back and encouraged at every turn. There will be people who want to knock me down, make me feel worthless and unimportant. But I am going to be stronger then them. I am going to learn not to back down, and be confident in who I am. If I am doing my best that needs to be enough for me.

I think it's so important to develop and internal confidence, a sense of self-worth that is not swayed by every harsh word or comment. If you've had an ED or just have low self esteem this is so much easier said then done. But try to find your good points and focus on those when you're feeling low. Even if all you can find is one, it's better then nothing. Cling to that positive quality, put it up on a pedestal in your mind. If you can believe it and celebrate it, soon others will learn to see it in you as well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Struggling to find balance.

I'm annoyed.

I'm annoyed at my eating disorder taking something as basic as eating and making it complicated.

I'm annoyed at myself for not being able to achieve the balance I so desperately seek.

I'm annoyed at my life for being at a standstill at the moment, and me being powerless to change that at the moment.

I'm annoyed at my body for the way it reacts to food.

I'm annoyed at the weather for being -15 C.

I'm annoyed because I can't seem to focus these days, and thoughts of food seem almost ever present.


Here's the good news:

I'm becoming freer with my food. I'm experimenting more and measuring everything less :)

I'm going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to my healthy fat intake and I'm including more then I absolutely HAVE to. I have also discovered a new love for almonds, which makes this much easier.

I've allowed myself a fear food today and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I'm defying me ED quite a bit, which is why I'm feeling somewhat shaky at the moment.

I don't have a whole lot to say, except that I'm having a hard time dealing with my increased appetite. In a way it's good to be hungry, but being ALWAYS hungry and trying to figure out what to eat to satiate you gets on my nerves. I seem to end up majorly bloated and stuffed at the end of the day, yet still craving more food. What is going on here?

You'd think extra fats would satiated me, but I'm not finding that true at the moment. It's taking all my strength just to listen to my body, and not try to restrict so I feel more comfortable with my intake.

On a plus side I have been eating lots of yummy foods recently and discovering new favorites. Such as banana/cocoa oat bran - amazingly good.

And figs cooked into oatmeal - so incredibly sweet.

I'm also enjoying experimenting with new recipes, with good results:

Penne pasta tossed with spinach sauted in garlic and olive oil with chicken

And chickpea burgers sandwiches with baby spinach and a tzaziki sauce dressing.

So I guess things are still going pretty well for me. I'm just struggling to find balance, and that can be the hardest thing of all. I feel like my backs against the wall and every way out seems to end back at the beginning. I'm having such a hard time trusting my body and giving it what it needs. But I will give it time, and hopefully it will change.

In the meantime:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Short 'n' sweet.

I don't have much to say, but since I made a challenge/goal I feel it's important I let everyone know that I'm sticking to it :)

I ate my first bit of coconut butter yesterday. First bit went into my morning oats - and that was really good. So happy I decided on that combination. The next little bit I had plain on a cracker, but it was a bit too rich for me and ended up making me sick for the next 6 hours. Not fun! Although my ED wanted me to feel guilty for making myself sick, I decided to keep up the positive attitude that it was worth it because I was sticking to my commitment. And I learned an important lesson for next time - I can't stomach coconut butter "straight". But nothing ventured nothing gained.

Today I snacked on some almonds for my "additional" healthy fats, because I didn't feel ready to tackle the coconut butter again just yet. But I will probably be adding it again to my oats tomorrow, because it was really nice :). I am proud of myself for keeping up with my goals so far and not backing down.

Although looking in the mirror today I realized something slightly disturbing - I think I may have lost weight. I have been sick for the past 3-4 days so my appetite has been someone diminished and I have been eating less. I guess I should have been more careful, but I kind of let it slip. This is NOT something I can really afford at this point, so I need to be careful of letting it happen in the future.

Also, I need to start eating more energetically dense foods for snacks. I usually grab something quick and easy to prepare - such as a fruit and crackers with hummus or cottage cheese. But this sort of thing is not going to help me gain weight. It'll take me a while to step out of my comfort zone, but the sooner I start the better.

Today I made some veggie wraps and chickpea bites using this recipie. They were super yummy. A little more work then I expected, but I enjoyed them a lot :) And I ate a LOT as well. I actually surprised myself. But I guess I needed it because I don't feel especially overstuffed, just full. So I'm ok with that.

(Picture taken from Oh She Glows where I got the recipie from as well)

So here's to the new week ahead, I hope it will be filled with new and exiting things.
Enjoy the last few hours of your weekend anyone.

Any suggestions on easy to prepare, fairly nutritionally dense snacks?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting back on my feet.

The past few days I've been knocked for a loop. This week in general has been a hard one for me. Throw in being sick with the flu/fever and you've got yourself a person lying in bed all day feeling utterly knocked down and defeated. When I spend too much time inactive my depression kicks in, and that's when I really get floored. There were a few times in the last few days I broke down and started crying (when the other people in the room turned their back) or sat in front of a plate of food wanting with all that is within me to walk away.

But guess what ED - you haven't won yet. I'm back on my feet and ready for another fight.

Thank you for your helpful comments. When I'm feeling a little better I will sit down with my parents and explain to them my feelings , goals and vision for the future. I'm trying my best to believe that they are simply trying to do what's best for me, although they will probably never realize how much some of their comments hurt me. They are humans and humans make mistakes. I'm sure I've hurt them much worse it times past, so it's time to forgive and move on.

In a way I think I should be grateful for the fact that they brought up some issues I still need to work on - weight gain and normalizing my eating habits. I've fallen into a few food ruts and although these aren't detrimental per-se; it's good to hear someone else's perspective on these things. And I am willing to do my part to change. It is scary, it is intimidating, but it's the only way to embrace the fullness of life ahead of me. So I'm going to go for it.

The first thing I decided I needed to do in terms of weight gain is up my calorie intake. I won't be counting calories (I have been in times past to ensure I was getting the minimum amount needed to maintain) but I will be adding more healthy fats into my diet. That includes nuts. nut butters, avocados and olive oils.

To be honest this is something that terrifies me a little, because although I have made progress in this area I still am somewhat uneasy about eating nuts and nut butters. Well in order to break to keep myself from going back on my commitment I've decided to make it more specific. My goal is to eat either:
- one serving of nuts a day
- one tablespoon of nut butter a day
- 1/4-1/2 an avocado a day

Most of you are probably things "tsh, what is she making a big deal about". And I know all the health bloggers include a significant amount of nut butters in their daily menu. But we're all different, we all have our fears and this just happens to be mine. I am going to overcome it though, even if it means taking baby steps at first. I am stronger then I think.

100% nut butters are crazy expensive here, because they are all imported from the States or the UK. But when life gives you lemons (or in my case coconut) make.....

Coconut butter :)

Using this little fellow here (the hand blender):

And some unsweatened shredded coconut I was able to create:

Coconut butter.

I think I should mention that of all nuts/nut butters I was always the most aprehensive about coconut. But it was the only thing my poor blender could process, so coconut butter it was. I was afraid that as a start straight up coconut butter would be too much for me, and since I only made a little bit anyways (this was an experiment) I decided to copy this lady's coconut butter idea. And it is SO GOOD. Right now my stomach is a bit upset (fever, flu and all that's going on) so I only had a few tastes of it. But I honestly can't wait to eat it tomorrow :). I can't remember the last time I looked forward to something so much .

So you can be expecting some new and exiting coconut butter creations in the days to come. My only question is, should I be keeping it in the fridge?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Getting it all out.

(Warning: This post will be very emotionally tainted. Usually I wait till most of my emotions pass before posting, because then I get a better perspective. But I need to get this off my chest now, so I apologize for the way it's presented).

Let's start at the beginning:

My family has always been involved in some way during my recovery. Some times it's been for the better, others it's been for the worse. At the very beginning stages when I wasn't sure I wanted to recover, they pushed me to do what was best for me. They monitored my food intake and weight, and set me up with medical help as soon as possible. Then the situation got tense. Sometimes having your family TOO closely in your recovery can be detrimental. They don't have any experience in treating eating disorders, only what they're read from on-line articles or heard from others. All they want is their little girl (or boy) to become the same person they once were. In my case this resulted in a lot of mental stress, tears and not a little misunderstandings. Finally they decided it was better to back off, hooked me up with a psychologist (who had no experience in treating eating disorders) and hoped for the best. This was the time I made the most progress - I gained weight, stopped counting calories and obsessing over meals and meal times. Suffice it to say I was doing better then I had in a long time.

Today we sat down and had a very emotionally loaded discussion. They are still unhappy with my progress, primarily because I'm not fully weight restored yet. I am no longer a minor, yet they still treat me as if I was a naive adolescent. A lot of things were implied in that conversation : that I didn't WANT recovery enough, that I wasn't pushing myself hard enough, that my unwillingness to seek professional help was caused by a fear of recovery and most of all that they would not support me or offer me any help if I didn't recover "their way".

I won't lie and say that didn't hurt. It hurt because I want recovery more then anything else, that I have made steps in the right direction that go far beyond just weight gain. And I HAVE gained weight as well, just not quite as much as I should yet. I feel shaken and disoriented, because the support system I thought I had just came crumbling down. There are so many things they can't understand about my illness, so many steps of progress that they ignore. And it's just hard to be judged in that way.

Although I do have a confession to make. I have NOT been making much progress in my weight gain over the last 2 months. I kind of stopped caring about it and figured since I wasn't exercising and was eating "normally" it would just happen. Apparently it isn't happening, although I haven't weighed in for almost 2 months. Not knowing that number gives me a feeling of freedom. I eat what I want to and simply don't give a damn. But I've come to face the fact that I probably need a safeguard to keep me from (even accidentally) slipping back. So that's definitely something I will be working on.

But today will be rough. I feel weak (emotionally and physically as per my recent sickness), tired and overwhelmed. For the first time in a long time I feel completely alone with my demons, and they are growing larger by the moment. My appetite is absolutely non-existent and depression is slowly settling over me like a dark cloud. I will go out for a long walk later, because that's something that usually helps clear my head. I just hope I am strong enough to face this alone.

And it doesn't matter if no one believes me, because I know I want to recover. And I will keep taking steps in the right direction, even if I receive no outside support.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things I've learned in the past few days.

First off, THANK YOU all for your comments on my last post. I'm proud to say that I am feeling better now then I was that day. It's still a bit of a struggle, but I believe it will only get better from here on out.

So here's a quick re-cap of the things I've learned in the past few days:

- If you are feeling weird - it's ok to REST. I didn't and today I have a fever and pounding headache, not fun!

- When one is sick it's best to listen to ones cravings. I woke up this morning desperately craving yogurt. But after remembering my last yogurt/cereal day I decided on oats. I didn't enjoy them AT ALL. When you have a fever the last thing you want is something hot. Well, all that to say - lesson learned.

What I ate:

What I actually wanted to eat:

(Who wants to take a wild guess what I had for snack?)

- Attempting to make a balsamic/soya sauce glaze without the proper ingredients is NOT a good idea (let's just say I had a bit of a sodium imbalance from tasting that sauce trying desperately to fix it)

- Attempting to make vegetarian white bean chili from a recipe is VERY easy (even though I am incapable of following a recipe through to the tee)

- I am addicted to my cornbread (yah, I am bragging here a little bit) and I can never stop at just one piece
(this picture doesn't nearly do it justice, but I was hungry :P)

- Having too much free time turns me into a girly girl (case in point, since I NEVER paint my nails)

- When one is sick sometimes the blandest of foods make you feel horrible and it's hard to enjoy anything. I'm feeling really nauseous after snack, for no good reason :(

- And apparently I am incapable of lying in bed for longer then 2 hours at a time and I feel the obsessive need to blog about insignificant details of my day.

What's an important (significant or less significant) lesson you learned recently?

How do you eat your cereal? I like it crunchy so I usually just moisten it with a bit of yogurt and eat it right away (I actually added a bit TOO much yogurt to the cup in the picture)

Monday, February 7, 2011

When you're near the top... there's a long way to fall

I think I've reached the point in my recovery where the worst is over. The "chatterbox" (sorry for stealing your phrase Katy, but it's such a good description) is quiet for the most part, and I am free to live my life. Old habits die hard, but there is none of old mental struggle, the obsessing over every calorie in every bite of food. I have my moments where things are worse, where old thoughts slowly seep back into my mind. But for the most part it's better then it's ever been

The problem is that when you're near the top, you're a long way from the bottom. And when you fall you fall hard. Today I fell and there was a point I wondered if I would be strong enough to get back up.

It started this morning when I woke up this morning ravenous and decided to brake out of my breakfast routine and ate some cereal. I've had cereal for breakfast before, that wasn't the big deal. What bothered me is that since I was extra hungry I just dumped unmeasured portions of cereal into my bowl, and after eating half of it went back and added some more. When I was finished I was full, not overstuffed, just full. But the chatterbox started up "Oh my God! You've eaten far too much this morning. And what were you thinking not measuring your cereal, you could have lived off a lot less." on and on it went. I did my best to ignore it and push my thoughts aside. Still, come snack time I skimped on my portion a bit. The truth is although my breakfast held me over better then I thought it would, I partly really didn't WANT to eat any more food.
Then came the breaking point in my morning. I looked in the mirror and I looked SO FAT and BLOATED. I have a delicate digestive system, so bloating is a pretty common occurrence for me. But I've never had it happen in the morning. That, combined with my already spiraling thoughts sent me over the edge. I just couldn't get a moments peace, I couldn't focus on doing anything productive. All I could do was try to fight off those thoughts that were flooding in. I kept repeating that these feeling were just feeling and they would pass, like a mantra. Unfortunately this didn't help much. Then I had a confrontation with someone I was close to and I totally freaked out. I started exercising, just to have something to do, to get a moment of peace. Lunch rolled around and I felt at a loss. What should I do? I ate, but every mouthful was a struggle. I didn't restrict, although once again my mind was screaming at me to do so. After that I felt so low, all I could do was lie down. I wanted to cry, but even tears wouldn't come. I felt so overwhelmingly full, but this was only the mental fullness that we all know far too well. My head was swimming and I felt like I was drowning but there was something weighing me down that prevented to from going up to catch a breath of air. I hit bottom and I hit it hard.

I became resentful at the progress I had made in recovery. I wished that I still believed that starving myself would solve all my problems. I wish I didn't know that restricting or purging only makes me feel worse in the long run; and was more unaware of the detrimental medical consequences of these action. Then I could just "cope" with what I was feeling, instead of having to sit with these emotions. A part of me longed for the simplicity of an eating disordered life. Because let's face it, all my life revolved around was not eating and burning off what I did eat. Those are pretty simple goals right there. And reaching them did give a certain sense of satisfaction, it gave me some sense of purpose. More importantly it kept my mind off the other important things in my life. Nothing else had first place, my life was dictated by a strict set of rules and regulations. And it made me feel safe, because I knew what to expect. Every day was like every other day - carefully planned and calculated; the element of "surprise" was virtually none existent. All in a panicked effort to avoid moments like these, moments when I feel there's no point in fighting anymore, that there's more of the ugly then the beautiful in the world and that my existence is simply meaningless.

I remembered the countless times I had told others to "hold on" and that the "brightest hour is just before dawn". I had been doing so well for so long that I had all put forgotten just how hard holding on can be. I had been walking in the light for so long I had forgotten how disabilititated and disorienting the darkness is. In that moment I didn't know what was the right thing to do. Quite frankly I didn't care anymore. I just wanted to make it all stop - all the dark thoughts, the self hatred, the depression. I wanted it all to vanish like a bad dream.

I had to go out to town on some business, so I dragged myself off of the couch and set off. I know from experience that in times like these I need to be out of my familiar surroundings and around people. Thankfully once I got back home I felt better. My stomach was just not feeling up to a snack, but thankfully I was able to get dinner down. This evening I need to tackle the mountain of to-do's I still have left over from this morning, and avoid the mirror at all costs.

I know tomorrow will be better. I know that feelings like this pass, and that chatterbox shuts up eventually. I already feel much better and I am optimistically facing tomorrow and all it will bring. I am still fighting though, and it's not easy.

But just because it isn't easy, doesn't mean it isn't worth it.

In moments like these I need to think about all the people that support me in my decision for healthy. I remember all that this horrible illness took away from me, and what my life was like with it. I review my reasons for recovery over and over again, because I know that I made the right choice. There are people that love me and need me in their lives. My life is what I make it, and I am choosing to make it meaningful and beneficial to others. I have dreams, goals and aspirations that go far beyond the realm of eating and food. And so I am holding on.

For all those of you going through something similar right now, don't give up. We're all in this together and although we may face different battles, we are all choosing to fight them. And if we keep holding on, we'll make it though.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Exercise and appetite.

The human body is a funny thing. Mine in particular never ceases to surprise me.

I used to exercise as a way to curb hunger. I would do a good hour of work out and that would kill any and all hunger pangs for then next 2-3 hours. Between that and chewing gum and drinking diet cola like there was no tomorrow I would somehow make it through each day on the minuscule amounts I wanted to live off of.

Now it seems that the opposite happens. I exercise and I am RAVENOUS. I usually have a pretty good appetite, but when I work out it seems multiplied x 100. This is a good thing, because I know my body is compensating for lost energy and building up muscle tissue. But it is a little unnerving. I'm used to my appetite being a certain way and when I find myself STILL hungry after eating a rather significant amount of food I end up scratching my head and feeling more then a little puzzled.

Take this hearty curry lentil/barley soup for instance. It kept me full for only about 2 hours when the average is 3-4. It's all a little weird I tell you. At least it was yummy.

At the moment I am faced with a dilemma. I love exercise and movement. As a matter of fact I need it to stay sane. And right now to be honest I feel like I'm ready to move on from just walking, yoga and the VERY light resistance training I do.

My body seems to automatically compensate for the burned calories when I work out, through increased appetite. The question is can my mind keep up with my body. I did a light work out today, and when my appetite kicked in I found myself a little uneasy. I did what was right and ate till I was full, but there was a bit of a mental struggle involved.

To be honest my appetite scares me sometimes. I think back on the times I could live off virtually no food and wonder how it was possible. I'm mentally at peace with the amount I eat now, but more seems hard for my mind and body to handle (I still have a rather screwed up digestive system).

On the other hand I still want to gain some weight, and I know exercise will help me do that if I am able to compensate by eating enough. Muscle weighs more then fat and I like feeling strong and empowered. I wouldn't do any hard-core cardio work outs like I used to when I was trying to lose weight. I would focus on resistance training and building up those muscles.

The question is, am I able to compensate? Do I trust myself to not panic when the hunger sets in and actually listen to my body? To be honest I don't know.

In other happy news today the sun came out for the first time in almost 2 months! This was reason to celebrate in my book, so I took the opportunity to stroll around the neighborhood.

Sun, glorious sun!!

Don't I live in the most adorable of neighborhoods :P

Do you have any advice for me about my exercise dilemma. Have you faced similar issued before?

PS: Thank you all for your supportive comments on my last posts. It's so good to know I'm not alone in all this craziness.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Everyone's different.

Everyone's different, everyone's different, everyone's different.

Hopefully if I say that enough I'll get it through my thick skull. Because this is a concept that I can't seem to come to grips with.

I compare so much with people's eating habits, work out routines, meal sizes - almost everything in that aspect. Be it other bloggers, my family and friends, or just random people I hear about.

I have this set idea of how I want my diet/exercise schedule to look like, the amount of food I'd like to eat each day and at what times. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to my work schedule for the day, and it bugs me when my eating schedule and work schedule coincide. I almost get indignant at my body - "How dare you be hungry now. I'm not ready to eat" Sounds so absurd when you say it like that, but that's essentially what does through my mind. In addition to that I tell myself "I'm not allowed to eat that much now. Look at so and so who ate such and such at such and such a time. They're not hungry yet, so why are you?" It makes life really hard for me, because I'm constantly at war with myself - doing what I feel I "should" do or doing what my body wants me to do.

For the past few days I've tried to conform to the 3 meals a day rule with one snack in between. It doesn't work for me. I find myself getting so hungry my body goes into overdrive and I stuff myself at the next meal. After that I have horrible stomach pains, bloating and I just feel genuinely sick. But I still stubbornly try to stick to what "most everyone else is doing" as opposed to what is right for my body.

So as of today I'm saying screw the "rules". I need to eat 5 times a day to make my body function properly. Some people don't and that's ok. Some people don't eat breakfast - I do. Some people work out for an hour each day - I don't.

It's hard for me not to restrict when it seems that eating only 2-3 meals a day is the "normal" way to eat. But then I remind myself that I'm only choosing to look at things from one side of the coin. I choose to ignore the late night snacking, or the volume or caloric value of those two meals. I just look at it from a logistic point of view, because it justifies restricting in my mind.

The truth is I'm having a hard time remembering what normal eating habits are for me. Throw in the fact that they might have changed over time and I'm really confused. All I know and remember right now is restricting or trying to restrict. And whenever I'm in that "zone" things seem right and normal. I don't worry that I'm overeating, I don't feel that being hungry is weird. I have clearly set rules and guidelines. Without them I feel lost and second guess myself at every turn - "Am I really hungry? Maybe I'm just bored. Have I eaten all my food groups for the day?" And it's hard to have these questions constantly flooding my mind.

But I hope that I will slowly re-learn what normal eating is for me. In order to do that I need to accept that I am different and that my meals and snacks will not look like some other peoples. It doesn't matter because in the end my body knows what it needs, and if I give it what it wants, it won't take any more then what is essential.

Speaking of needs, this is something my body desperately needed this morning :)

The best overnight oats ever!

I loosely measured 1/3 cup of oats (probably was more, because I don't really care) and added 2/3 cups yogurt and 1/4 cup milk. I mixed in 2 tsp of shredded coconut (major fear food till now), a mushed half a large banana leaving in some chunky bits. Stuck it all in the fridge to sit overnight and this is what I got in the morning.

It was ALMOST too sweet for me, the coconut really added that extra something I've been missing before. It doesn't look so pretty but is was amazingly creamy, thick and delicious.

(See how thick that is. And if you look closely you can see chunks of mushed banans in there- yummy yummy good for tummy)

And if you haven't tried avocado on toast with a sunny side up egg you are totally missing out on the good things in life.

Alright, I'm off to see a movie and enjoy a glass of sparkling white wine. Have a nice Saturday evening.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When's the last time you...?

When's the last time you went to a post office, and actually mailed a letter?

Or used one of these (or even saw one of these for that matter)?

When's the last time you bought honey from a place like this?

Or went to a farmers market that looked like this?

What can I say, I live in the coolest town ever. When you see fresh produce that is sold like that, or honey in unlabeled jars you know it's gotta be good.

Or ate something as good as this?

Cous cous cooked in broth with thyme infused chicken, mushrooms and broccoli.

Mini pita pockets (I made them all by myself :D) with tomatoes, cucumber, spiced chickpeas and a yogurt tzasiki sauce.

Recently I've been making an effort to really ENJOY and savor my food (you can read about my revelation here). So I've been trying to have one meal or snack a day that I put specially effort into. And yes, I do feel the need to brag about it just a bit, so you'll just have to excuse the food pictures.

I had a crazy busy day today : mailing a letter, shopping, lunch, paperwork, meetings, a job interview, writing a resume and finally getting here. It was a fun day though, and although I have a bunch of work lined up for me tomorrow, I will be going to sleep a happy girl.

(Hopefully though my oats tomorrow won't be bitter like they were today, because that nearly ruined my morning - mental note to self go easy on the vanilla essence. Nothing that a bit of creamy full fat yogurt couldn't salvage though. )

Take care all, and see you tomorrow.

What's the last odd thing you did recently?
Did you ever manage to ruin your oats?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My relationship with exercise.

I promised to detail my relationship with exercise in a post a while back. So I decided today was a good day to talk about it.

(This could be triggering for some people. If you are easily triggered by descriptions of other people's disordered behaviors don't read on.)

I've always been a sporty type of girl. I genuinely enjoyed the adrenalin rush you get from work out videos, sports and dancing. Before I knew what a scale was (basically) I spent at least an hour or so a day engaging in some kind of physical activity. Be it dancing, soccer or a long walk - I did it for the pleasure. There was rarely another motive involved. Obviously I knew exercise was healthy and kept you fit, but that's not really why I did it. I did it because it made me feel good and I enjoyed it.
I'd describe my relationship at this point as healthy.

Then I started becoming more weight conscious. My body started developing and I gained weight. At first I wasn't too concerned, but after a few people commenting that I'd "better start working out" I decided it was time to try to change my appearance. First it started off pretty innocently, although there were more and more days I'd FORCE myself to exercise, even if I didn't feel like it.
Then it started snowballing out of control. I HAD to exercise and hour each day, with only one "free day" a week. I would work out in the oddest times if I knew I was going to be busy that day. I didn't really restrict during that time, although I did try "dieting" on and off. I got to a stage where I would work out up to 3 hours a day if I had the time. That stage stopped after a short time, but anyone in their right minds could have told me that something was wrong and I wasn't heading on the right track.

Slowly but surely my "diet" got stricter and stricter and my exercise increased. At this point it varied from 1-2 hours a day. My food intake became more and more minimal, and usually my exercise schedule was dependent on it. At this point there were no "free days" unless I was sick or didn't eat that day.

Then my family did a mini "intervention" and I was forced to stop my restrictive eating habits. My exercise on the other hand, didn't change one bit. I upped my exercise in order to compensate for the added food. I stopped losing weight, and even gained some, but obviously my behavior was still very much disordered.

After a month or so of "normal" eating I slowly began restricting again. My exercise stayed at the same intensity, pretty much regardless of my eating habits. As my weight started dropping I was banned from exercise. I would still go for long walks and work out at night in my room. I wore weights around my ankles and would sit down as rarely as possible, just so I could "burn more calories".
I would say this is when my relationship with exercise was at it's worst point.

Then I was put into IP and wasn't allowed to exercise at all till I was nearly weight restored. Afterward I would exercise for about 30 minutes each day. For a normal person this would be healthy and even advisable, but my mentality was that I "HAD" to and that made it wrong. Then I started going to the gym, where I would work out for at least an hour a day. I was still eating "normally" so no one minded that much. I was advised to "take it easy" and "not push myself too hard", but somehow I always managed to allay the worries of those around me. But they were rightfully concerned, and deep inside my heart I knew it as well. I just didn't want to face the fact that I was slowly slipping backward, because I didn't want to stop.

After a while I got a job and had no time to go the gym anymore. But by then my food intake had dropped so low that I didn't even have enough energy to exercise, even if I had wanted to. I was waitressing, so standing on my feet for 6 hours a day, combined with early working hours and not enough food made me too tired to exercise. I figured that meant I was doing well. "I'm not exercising anymore" I would tell myself "This means I'm doing better, right?" Of course I was still losing weight, despite not exercising. Even as tired as I was on the days I had less working hours I would try to fit in some gym time. But for the most part I was just to physically fatigued to do anything of the sort.

Once I went into recovery the third time I was banned from exercise because of the critical weight I was at. Thankfully I was not as obsessive about my exercise habits as I had been before, because I hadn't been regularly working out in a while. What I struggled the most with was eating, as my stomach had gotten used to very small portions. I would still go on walks from time to time, and that was enough for me.

Now, looking back at my history with exercise I can say it's an area of my life I need to proceed with caution. At this point my struggles with food have lessened a great deal, but I catch myself wanting to do more then just walk and do yoga. Exercise DOES benefit me, because it definitely increases my appetite and helps my mood (endorphines and all that). But I need to bear in mind that it is easy for my to spiral out of control. Detailing my relationship with it helps me to clearly see my history, and where I'm coming from. I long for the day when I can have the same approach to exercise as I did when I was younger - when I would do it just for pleasure. Who knows, maybe someday?

Till then I still need to fight not to compare myself with others who can exercise more then me. I need to remember that my body is different, and I have a different history then they do. For some of us it's fine to add a bit more activity to our lives, to others it isn't. I just learn to be content with the fact that for now I need to go easy on myself and give my body the time it needs to heal. Then someday, when I'm in a better place, I can enjoy this aspect of life once again.

What's your relationship with exercise like? Do your past issues affect the way you see it now?