The Number

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The number those asterisks represent that had me almost in tears. The number of failure for me this morning. The number I avoid purposely (I’ve thrown out all scales in my home). The number that brought to this page, to my pen. The number that made me feel defeated. The number that isn’t that much different than it was 3 months ago, but enough different that it feels like a knife shearing through my heart. The number that represents my relationship with gravity. The largest relationship I’ve ever had with gravity. The number that I’m not even sure I can share with you all.

Today is a bad body love day. Today may even be a bad self-love day.

I consider myself a body positive advocate. I no longer post pictures about my workouts, runs, weight loss, before and after pics, or dieting plans. I think this is damaging. It makes women, young, old, accomplished, and everything in between, doubt who they are, think themselves less, and wonder why not me. It is also is quite boring to me. I’m tired of talking about diets, exercises, thighs, fat blasters and all in between. If that is your thing, go ahead! I don’t care what you do. Just don’t do it with me please. I also suffer from a history of disordered eating patterns, distorted body image, and likely undiagnosed body dysmorphia and an exercise addiction in the past (and I can diagnose myself because I’m a licensed counselor J). So, participating in those conversations are triggers for me and bring about serious self-doubt and pain. Like you have no ideas how many hours I can spend dedicated to speaking about that. According to my past therapists and researchers on ACES (adverse childhood experiences survey), it is also all likely a symptom of PTSD. Isn’t that bitch? Haunted by things that are not my fault and yet I still try to find it ways to make it my fault – enter all of the distorted images of self. Well, fuck. Either way, because of my experiences and experiences of my clients, I’ve realized that for some people, these images and talk are highly damaging, or at the very least demoralizing. It’s made me feel like a personal failure many times (me: why can he/she/they lose so much weight, and I can’t? brain: Must be a person defect.) So, I usually don’t any more.

Today is different. I took this picture below of me because I was disgusted and disgusted I was disgusted and needed evidence for this blog. I needed everyone to see an unflattering picture of me. I needed you to see some of the blooper reels. And then I needed to post it because I needed proof that I’m still human and loveable and all those things. And that fat people work out too, to be perfectly honest.

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And after that picture here is a running reel of things going on in my head as I worked out:

  • Your belly, do you see and feel how full it is? That’s probably why he disappeared after making out with you; he was probably disgusted.
  • Your doctor is going to poke at you on Monday and you’re going to feel awful.
  • Speaking of which, no need to bring in the concerns of your digestive system or any other ailments – it’s all your fault anyway.
  • You look awful in that t-shirt. Remember when it was loose?
  • When you go home, everyone will notice your weight and realize what a failure you are.
  • Two months ago, things were fitting looser. You’ve failed.
  • You are not pretty
  • You will never find love.
  • Some people are larger when they are younger, they are allowed to occupy bodies and look amazing in whatever size; You are not allowed that, because this isn’t your body type.
  • Why can everyone else lose weight so much easily? Did you see all those summer bodies online last night? HA, not you.
  • Why are you reading this book on radical self-love? Do you really think you are allowed that?
  • Your walks around the park aren’t enough twice a week. You know better. You know you need multiple days of intense exercise for 2 hours to lose weight. We have been here before.
  • The wine. It’s the wine. Also, the birthday fun. Nope.
  • You’re not worthy.
  • You’re not sexy.
  • You will be alone forever.
  • You should be embarrassed.
  • You are not enough.

As, I listen to India Arie as the soundtrack to this blog post, and reflect on the words and thoughts I had today, I feel even more ashamed but then it moves to sadness. Timely, she is is currently singing “Just let it go. Set yourself free. Healing is in your hands.” If I reflect on the past few months, this has been the first time in maybe 3-4 months that these voices have been this strong. I suppose that’s progress, although they have transformed into other lies about my incompetence (my work, friendship abilities, partnership abilities, and my intelligence). Even so it demonstrates that I have the capability to heal, I just need to create the capacity.

Speaking of capacity, I haven’t had much of that lately. I have been traveling a lot for work for a few months now, spending the majority of most weeks out of town. In fact, I am writing this from a hotel room in Lansing, MI. I can’t say that it has been fun. It’s been difficult to find food that makes me feel nourished and is nutritious. Workouts are hard to come by. I’m exhausted and not sleeping well. And I’m so very bloated all the time or gastritis is flaring up all over the place. I have had little time for reflection, painting my nails, a social life, or just play. I don’t feel like myself. I’m moody, my patience is low, and I miss my “me time.” On top of this, I’m making some major life changes right now and managing feelings of inadequacy and incompetence isn’t easy. But it’s familiar. It’s my limbic system’s way of dealing with threatening or stressful situations. I’ve started drinking more ginger tea (stomach issues) and my favorite is the Yogi teas. The Yogi teas come with inspirational messages on them, and every single one has been about compassion. Reflecting now, I think that this is the universe’s way of telling me that the person who needs my compassion most right now, is myself.

“I am not the voices in my head. I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside. I am light.” –India Arie, I Am Light

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are…

When I say I’m fat, I’m not saying it just for kicks. I’m not saying it to hear someone reply back to me “no you’re not”, just so I can feel better about myself . I’m not saying it because it makes me feel better in certain situations.

I’m saying it because it’s true!

Sure, “fat” is a harsh word, but it’s the truth. Overweight, of course, is the better choice of word here, but in any case, it’s a problem that I need to deal with. I just love the fact that when I say I shouldn’t be eating something because I need to lose weight, I get so many interesting, perplexed even, looks. Looks from people who may be bigger than me that says “You are not fat, I’M fat”. Looks from people who are smaller than me saying “I wish I was your size, I can’t gain any weight”. Looks from people that literally say “You’ll be fine”. Looks from people who’ve said “Well, it’s because you’re tall!”.

And yes, while some of these things are true, this still doesn’t negate the fact that I am overweight; Height considered and all. But, of course, I give into the idea of being perfectly fine because I have no willpower. Invite me to go fast food, I’ll go along with all the dinner plans. Mostly because 1, it’s convenient and 2, I can’t eat healthier foods when I see friends are going out and ordering terrible foods. All in all, I’m glad that my weight isn’t a problem for you, but my weight IS a problem for me, and I intend to address it.

I had a enlightening moment the other morning, attempting to put on a pair of pants that I probably have worn no more than a year prior with ease, and I could no longer button them. All of my favorite shirts are starting to “shrink” and I have to buy things in 2XL out of necessity, and not choice (like we used to do back in the college, over-sized shirt, days). It was an eye opener.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are, is that you’re surrounded by well-intentioned enablers. Even if it’s on purpose or by accident. This is my reality, plain and simple. No I may not be your definition of overweight, and that’s part of the problem. People around me don’t truly understand that I need to do something about my health before it gets too late. And the “you’re fine the way you are” comments make it seem like people are disregarding my feelings about my self, my health or my general happiness. Being close to being pre-diabetic will have you thinking about these things.

But you know, I can’t blame my environment. I can only blame myself. I should have the willpower and wherewithal to be a healthier person, but in certain situations, that’s easier said than done.

Temptation is a bitch…

I should definitely have more self control…

My appetite laughs hysterically at both of those statements. I can’t control it (how many people are rolling their eyes at this); And I feel that it’s getting worse as time goes along. So when I make these statements, it’s because I’m trying to train my brain into wanting to be better. Trying to tell myself that hey, you might want to catch this before you get too crazy. Before it’s too late. So yeah, I might not be your definition of fat, but my physical from the doctor is saying I’m headed on the wrong path.

And yeah, for the people who knew me when I was in the gym 5 times a week, working out regularly and keeping up with it pretty consistently. I enjoyed that I was getting stronger, but still not dropping most of my fatty weight. It was kind of the trade off muscle for fat thing going on, but the reason for this happening was because I was still eating like a pig. So then i got to a point where I stopped working out, and lost track of my progress, never to find it again. I stopped working out, but kept eating like I was still working out. A recipe for disaster.

This started due to the fact of going through a mild case of depression during the end and after my last serious relationship, which kind of led me to just not really being into ANYTHING other than food. Eating was a comfort zone for me, instead of hitting the gym harder. It’s known to be a common coping method for many people, and I ended up gaining about 20 or some odd pounds (after already being like 30 pounds overweight). I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to food, but more so addicted to unhealthy food. And even though I’d like to think that I’m technically out of that depression phase, the eating continued and I just started not caring. Then when I got back to the point where I wasn’t happy with my weight and vocalized it, the majority of people I’ve hung out with or around has always asked me why I was so worried about it. Well, because I am, in a word, fat. I’m owning it and will continue to until I do something about it. Hopefully the path I’m taking now will lead me back to the track that I once wandered off of, but I can’t say for sure at this point.

It will be a process.

Life is tough. No sugarcoating it. You will be beat up by it time after time. I don’t think I was ever taught that officially until college. I had to learn on my own, and this is just another battle I’m trying to take head on. And if I’m being honest to myself, I haven’t been trying hard enough, I know that. So if I say I’m fat around you, it’s because I am; And I need to do something about it. I might be annoying…sure. Just ignore me. I know that just saying it does nothing about it, but just know that I’m working on it. This is just me trying to get my mind back to the point where I NEED to force myself to be better. Hopefully this is the beginning of another era of working towards health.

What’s Keeping Me Up at 3 a.m.

1. Debt. How is that one can have more debt than ever and simultaneously the best credit they have ever had? The system that’s what.

2. Even plus sized models are airbrushed. I recently got to meet one of my faves in person, and although stunningly beautiful (like I’m jealous), she is clearly photoshopped quite a bit. This helps because I have been having a bad body image week, and seeing plus women with all flat tummies has not been helpful.

3. But then I just saw a “curvy” untouched model who says she is normal and is half my size with no stretch marks. Feeling a little terrible again.

4. My relationship with food is a nightmare, especially now with health concerns. I worry about everything I put in mouth, I feel out of control often even if I’m cutting something into thirds or fourths, and I make a lot of nutritious choices, but also a lot not so much. I envy people with no sweet tooth or wine craving. I should not be up worrying about meals ate yesterday and all the people with more self control than me. I am a therapist, I know this unhealthy. And yet, here we are.

5. Speaking of food and health conditions, I’m so afraid I’m going to die or become really sick young. And yet, making a lifestyle change is harder now than ever before.

6. For one, I’m tired of dieting. I’ve done it all my life. And now, I need that control more than ever.

7. I haven’t worked out in two weeks. Sure, I have walked miles most days, I can climb stairs with minimum effort now, but that seems to do little for my waistline or arms. I feel kinda huge compared to everyone. It’s not enough.

8. I’m ready for the snow today. That will help make it feel like the holidays.

9. Can’t believe NC got snow before I did!

10. I hope the mouse in my apartment is dead. Haven’t seen him since the super put out the poison. Living in the city is weird.

11. Will I ever find love? Am I even cut out for a relationship?

12. Plane flights. Coming back from NC after the holidays has not been planned yet. They are expensive right now. Ok, not awful, but the return flights were cheaper 6 weeks ago when I bought my outbound flight. Wasn’t ready to commit though.

13. Why am I always warm? I could use a little a/c and it is 30°F outside and my fan is on. Something might be wrong with me.

14. I think writing this all out helped clear my mind.

Back to sleep I go.

Hello Fresh and My Experience! (Pics)

So most of you know that I subscribe to Hello Fresh but a lot of people don’t understand why? Mostly because of the price and I get that.  But the number one reason why I subscribe to HF is…well, to be blunt, I’m lazy…as hell!

But for real though, I’m bad at grocery shopping. The following reasons are why (but not limited to):

  • I can’t plan meals for dinner worth a crap
  • Most of the food I buy will sit in the freezer or go bad, because at the time I wanted it, but then my mind changes.
  • I’m lazy. (that part)
  • I’ll usually buy too much food, because I be like #mealPrep
  • I get tired of eating the same thing over and over
    • It’s hard to cook for 1 without having a massive amount of leftover sides
  • I’m lazy

So, instead of buying a weeks worth of grocery that will probably only feed me for about two days and then go to waste, I’ve decided to go with Hello Fresh and see what it’s about. I’ve only had good things to say about it, honestly.

 

Here are my Pros to ordering Hello Fresh

Food Delivert to your doorstep

This is BY FAR the best part of HF because again, I AM LAZY! The hardest part is putting the food in the fridge, and BAM I’m done.  I mean, if the pricing was a little bit better, it would be a no brainer that I would continue to do this.  Which kind of brings me to my second point!

Each meal feeds me twice!

I do the 3 meals for $60 plan.  Which, since I’m single, turns into 6 meals for $60, because each meal serves 2, and I bring the second serving to work for lunch the next day.  However, this does not necessarily save me money, it does ensure that I’m eating “decently” at least for half of the week.

Decently healthy

If I didn’t have Hello Fresh, I’d probably be eating fast food for every meal.  Which I have indeed done and the reason I’ve gained like 20 pounds over the course of the last year. That and no exercising…lol.  HF keeps me eating veggies (which I hate), and keeps me from overeating because I know that the serving size is exactly what I should have instead of cooking too much and force feeding my face.

Bunch of options

Vegetarian? No problem, they offer those options.  Vegan, not so much.  The food is pretty awesome and easy to cook. Considering if you know how to follow directions.

The only Con I can think of is that at the price point, I can’t see it being a long term option.

And this is where the fun part comes in.  Hello Fresh sends you recipe cards for EACH AND EVERY MEAL.  So after you get yourself a little catalog of recipes from them, you can cancel your subscription, and cook your favorite meals over and over again. Only thing is, you give up the convenience of having food sent to your door, but you save money on getting food shipped to you, but then again, you’re bound to pick up extra items if you go to the grocery store (like wine and candy), so I guess it’s kind of a Catch-22.

And yes, I know that you can just look up your own recipes online, but there’s something about cooking it first from HF and then going out and cooking it again yourself and doing it your own little way.

Things that don’t really matter but bother me anyway…

Why all the Garlic?

Also can you all send the Garlic pre-minced?

Don’t send me those little jars of ketchup that requires me to get a paintbrush in order to scoop out…ketchup is a household staple. Add that to the “you should already have this” list.

(Note: Hello Fresh has a list of items that it will never provide in their boxes, such as Oil, butter, salt, pepper, etc. “Everyday items”)
ketchup(Tomato for scale)

Send me something like EVOO….not no damn ketchup.

Why do your recipes require me to use multiple medium sized pans and bowls? I only have 1 of each.

It’s impossible to get into the vacuum sealed proteins…I almost die EACH TIME.

Can you all ship herbs OFF of the stem please? Thank you!

Anywho…

If you have any questions on Hello Fresh, let me know! I’d be glad to share my experiences in more detail if needed!

Sunday Dinner w/Lee

I love to cook and bake. It is usually super relaxing for me and it is healthier and cheaper than most food in NYC. Most Sundays, I turn up the slow jams, pour a glass of wine or bubbly, and take my time to make something delicious. This week was Mussels and Hot Sausage in a tomato garlic sauce with veggies and shirataki noodles (mostly no carb noodles – great for diabetics). This meal was quick, easy, and flavorful! I’m gonna share it.

I love Aldi, the grocery store. It’s super inexpensive, Trader Joe’s sister store, and carries tons of gems. Like frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce for 2.99 and hot italian chicken sausage -3.71 for 6, waiting to be transformed into a dish. Find it. Buy it. Make this dish.

Other Ingredients:
Frozen mussels in tomato and garlic sauce
Hot Italian Sausage – in the casing or already ground
1 Green Pepper
About 10 Cherry tomatoes give or take
2 cloves of garlic
Italian seasoning
Fresh basil
Butter (optional)
Dry white wine (optional)
Rice, cauliflower rice, noodles, OR shiratiki noodles (pick one)

Next, remove the sausage from the casing, and put their insides right into the pan. A pan that can also go in the oven. Just make a little slit all the way down and peel off. Easy peasy. I did three of ’em, put the other 3 in a Ziploc bag, and froze the rest for later (single girl moves). Now, turn on that heat, brown that sausage. Aye, look at you doing the things. Go ahead and pre-heat that oven to 400 degrees while you at it.

Ok now, chop up some veggies. I used a whole bell pepper cut into strips and then cut the strips in half. Also cut some cherry tomatoes in half, add them. Mince up some garlic. If you’re not a cooker, this just means, peel garlic (2 cloves), cut em up really fine and chop it again. Just throw it in the pan (in my Dream voice). Put the garlic on top of the veggies, helps it not burn. But then stir it. It’s weird. It works. Add salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. A dash of each, except maybe a lot of italian seasoning.

Ok, everything is getting a little saute, add a little splash of white dry wine if you dare, maybe a bit of butter, like a little pad. And dump the frozen mussels and the sauce into the pan. It will be frozen and stuck together. That’s ok. Then transfer the dish to the oven. Let it cook about 15 minutes, until mussels open up. Take out of the oven. Roll up some fresh basil into a cigar, chop thinly. Boom, you just did a fancy cutting technique that I don’t know how to spell. Sprinkle on top.

I recommend serving this with rice to soak up the juices. I did not do this. I used those gluten free, carb free, vegan shiratki noodles (that are actually quite good despite those descriptors). You could also use cauliflower rice. That would be good.

Now eat. I recommend a glass of that white wine you opened for this dish. Thank me for making you happy.