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Our Proposal Story

So, I didn’t run the Tar Heel 10 Miler on Saturday. Instead, this happened on Friday and a 5:30am wakeup call didn’t sound so fun.

Yep, we got engaged and it was a COMPLETE surprise. I’m an oversharer by nature and really want to have the story documented somewhere, so let me start at the beginning.

Chip and I have been together for a little over 7 and a half years. We went to rival high schools, but I guess you could consider us high school sweethearts. Over the years, we have talked about getting engaged and married a lot. In fact, I was pretty sure we would get engaged this year, but it wasn’t on my radar yet. He graduates next May, then I do in December, so we thought it made the most sense to get married sometime later in 2018. I thought that the absolute earliest he might propose would be July or August, so I was completely caught off guard on Friday.

So, Friday. I went to school and work and let me tell you it was HOT outside. Chip and I had plans to eat dinner with my sister (Sarah Beth or SB) and her fiancé (Cody) at Mellow Mushroom in Durham. I had been texting them about how gross it was outside and how I wasn’t sure if I could shower before dinner, and apparently Sarah Beth and Chip were trying to delay in the hopes that I would have time to. I totally did not. See above photo with ponytail and no makeup.

The Mellow Mushroom there is at the lower end of the American Tobacco Campus. If you’ve never been, here’s a picture to show you what it’s like. There is a lot of green space with businesses and restaurants on either side. We went there for a date for our 6th year dating anniversary, and it’s just beautiful! First of all, Chip parked on the opposite end of the campus. I didn’t think anything of it, but he got an earful from me about how I didn’t want to walk any more before the 10 miler. I’m a peach. So we eat dinner, say “See ya in a minute” to SB and Cody, and start walking up the sidewalk back to our car. The plan was to go to the rooftop of The Durham Hotel to grab a drink with them.

via visitnc.com

Instead of walking on the same side as earlier, Chip started to split off and go to the right side. I said, “What are you doing, our car is on this side?” And he was like “There’s a crowd over there, just walk over here.” I was like, “Well, we could just walk around them!” Anyway, I realized he was not crossing back over so I caught up with him. We walked up the stairs and got to the area you can see in our pictures, and I totally jokingly was like, “What, are you gonna propose? Is the ring right here?” And hit his pocket AND IT WAS THE RING BUT I HAD NO IDEA. Omg, he thought I felt it. But even if I had, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it because I thought there was absolutely no way this was an engagement. Like I said, we talk about it a lot, so it wasn’t weird for us to joke about it.

His response was “Oh, do you think I’m pulling a Jim?” For those non-Office fans out there, Jim would always tease Pam and pretend like he was about to propose. Like, he would get down on one knee and look really serious and then just tie his shoe. That is 100% what I thought was happening. I started to get embarrassed, like why is he pretending to propose to me when I know it will be so many more months away? That’s so mean! I realize this doesn’t make much sense now, but I really thought he was just joking around. We get closer to the grassy area and he said to walk over there with him. I kept saying “No, please stop, why are you pretending?” He literally had to drag me onto the grassy spot! LOL, I’m so sorry Chip. My sister and Cody were following behind and they were getting a kick out of this. I was thinking oh my gosh he is going to pretend propose then we are going to walk away and I’m going to be so sad, even though I knew it wasn’t happening.

Finally he stops walking, turns to me and says he loves me and some other sweet stuff. I still thought it was a joke. He seemed really nervous, but I still was like there is no way he is proposing right now. He got down on one knee and my response was “This is not real.” I kept saying that a lot and he was like “Yes it is, this is happening!” So then he opened the box and I saw my dream ring, the ring I thought there was no way he had yet. I said yes and was in complete shock! My sister took a video (don’t know how to post it here) and you can see right when he gets the ring out I turn around. I was like surely if this is real, my family is hiding or maybe Ashton Kutcher is here to tell me I got Punk’d.

Yes, he is on his knee and I am barely taller.

Surely enough, out came Chip’s brother Brock and my sister and Cody. Brock was there while we were eating to kick people off the lawn! It was so great- everyone that was there knew there was about to be a proposal, so they all clapped for us. My sister was so excited that all her pictures were blurry, but a stranger came up and said she was watching and got some pictures, including the one above. Chip told me he had decided on the location a month ago, and kept driving over to see what time the lights came on, pick out the perfect spot, and make a back up rain plan. He thought of everything!

Wow, this is getting long. So we all freak out and take pictures, and I asked where my parents were. I knew they had to be in town. SB said, “At the rooftop bar!” We drove over and all my closest friends, my parents, and Chip’s parents were there! Chip had been scheming to get everyone there, including 2 of my best friends from Charlotte and one from PHILLY!

Low quality photo high quality people

We spent the rest of the night there and it was a blast. At one point, I had to make a decision about running the Tar Heel 10 Miler. On one hand, I felt bad to back out because all my family and Anna (my roommate) had paid the race fees and trained to run 10 miles. They said if I ran it, they would too, but they didn’t care at all. On the other hand, it was our engagement night and I wanted to enjoy all of my friends and family without worrying about a race. So that’s what I did! There’s always next year, right!?

I’m still on cloud 9. It feels a little more real now, and I’m so excited to marry Chip and start our life together. Well, I guess we already have because we have been together forever, but y’all know what I mean! Thank you to all my friends and family who made this weekend so special. I will definitely never forget it. And thank you to you all here for letting me share our story!

Ranting and Raving

Hello and happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. Over the past week, I’ve found myself reading some ridiculous things in the news and social media, especially related to “health.” I’ve been ranting about all of it to my classmates, friends, and family, and was like, “You know what, Imma write about this on my blog. But I’m also going to include some positive things at the end so people don’t think I’m some grouchy person who just rants all day.” Grab a cup of coffee- you will need it to keep up with my rambles.

Rants

  • Cosmo headline about a cancer survivor’s weight loss

Cosmo published an article (link to a Huffpost article, not the real thing) last week about a 31-year old woman who has overcome several life-threatening illnesses, including a severe kidney infection, a partial lung collapse, and cancer. Based off my description, you may think the headline would be something about how strong this woman is and everything she has endured. Nope- it was “How This Woman Lost 40 Pounds Without *ANY* Exercise.” Woof. Where do I even begin?!

This is so disgusting on many levels. 1-She lost weight BECAUSE SHE WAS VERY ILL. I went to the article for context, and it says “Since modifying her diet early last summer, Simone has lost 44 pounds without a single session at the gym. (Because she’s still recovering from surgery, she isn’t physically able to work out the way she used to before her cancer diagnosis.)” It sounds to me like the healthiest thing for her right now is to recover, and it’s great that she is listening to her body and doing that. THAT is something I can get behind, not praising someone for losing weight because they are sick. 2-Her weight loss is the least interesting thing about her story. I’m much more interested in her journey and how she is feeling now.

3-SHE LOST WEIGHT BECAUSE SHE WAS VERY ILL. Ok, just wanted to make sure I got that point across. 4- If Cosmo is promoting health (I would argue they are not) why wouldn’t they want to promote physical activity for everyone? 5-This is another example of why it is not a great idea to equate weight and health. And one example of why it is problematic to comment on the size of someone’s body.  Maybe they’re losing weight because they’re depressed and can’t get out of bed to eat. Maybe it’s their body and not your business. I was at my lowest adult weight when I was experiencing the worst of my anxiety. I can assure you that was not my healthiest.

  • When people say “no excuses” as it relates to food and exercise
Still loving @bodypositivememes

Last week, I saw a trainer on Instagram saying “let’s get fit for summer-no excuses, ladies!” This was on a post to promote her “bikini body” program. AGH this makes me ragey. You know what, sometimes there are excuses. And I wouldn’t even call them excuses, I would call them reasons. Like maybe you’re mentally exhausted and you need a day of rest. Or maybe you’re busy parent and the best you can do tonight is feed your family fast food. Or maybe you don’t have the money to buy this woman’s “bikini body” program. Why do we have to act like “getting fit” and “eating healthy” is a moral crusade? I personally do not feel like I need to give an excuse if I don’t move my body or eat like others may want me to, and you shouldn’t, either.

Raves

  • This somewhat controversial blog post by Glenys @ Dare To Not Diet

Glenys is one half of the duo over at the Dietitians Unplugged podcast, but she also has a great blog. This post stirred up some lively conversation/disagreement in the comments section as well as a Facebook page where I originally found the article. I think the title (Food is Not Medicine) turned off some people, but she does a good job arguing her case and explaining what she means by that.

The main thing I took away from this post is that, yes, nutrition is important, but so is enjoying your food! She writes,”If you’re treating your food like medicine, holding your nose and shoving it in, or in a less extreme version, dutifully eating your “healthy” food but wishing you were having something else instead, you’re doing your body and your mind a disservice.” Yass, Glenys.

Definitely enjoyed this mimosa and order of fries
  • This slideshow about Intuitive Eating myths

Sorry mom, there is some profanity in this slideshow. Kelsey Miller is hilarious and writes for The Anti-Diet Project at Refinery 29, which is an ongoing series about intuitive eating and body positivity. I’ve heard of her book on various podcast episodes, so I’ll have to add that to my growing summer reading list. This slideshow does a great job of explaining what IE actually is, and what it isn’t.

Whew, thanks for letting me share some of my frustrations (and things I’m loving) with you. I feel better already. Now go out there and have yourself a great weekend.

How Diet Culture Harms Our Health

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life (source). Eating disorders incredibly harmful to mental and physical health. You can find much more information about them here. Millions more suffer from disordered eating, which is a disordered relationship with food that may not meet diagnostic criteria but is still harmful.

I have never suffered an eating disorder myself, so I will not try and speak on behalf of those who have. However, I’m surrounded by diet culture, and I can speak to that. The times I felt the worst about my body and had the worst relationship with food were when I was trying to lose weight. There are so many factors that lead to someone developing an eating disorder, like genetic disposition, personality type, life experiences, and trauma, but diet culture certainly plays a role.

A 2010 study of elementary school girls found that 69% said pictures in magazines influenced their idea of an ideal body type, and 47% said the pictures made them want to lose weight (source). ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GIRLS. Another study found that 46% of 9-11 year olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets (source). What does this say about our society and what we value? What we are doing and saying about health and bodies as a society is harmful. It’s certainly not improving the health of all people. I’d like to lay out how I believe diet culture negatively impacts our health.

Step 1- Being Surrounded by Diet Culture

In diet culture, certain bodies are deemed good and worthy of praise, while others are viewed as bad and deserving of shame. We hear that to be happy and healthy we need to make our bodies smaller. That is false.

Via @jennifer_rollin

Step 2-Dieting

The diet industry makes $60 billion a year by preying on our insecurities about our bodies, and a well-meaning desire to improve our health. I do not think pursuing weight loss=health, but this is an important statistic to point out if that is your goal: 95% of diets fail and most people regain the lost weight, if not more, in 1-5 years (source). There is a wealth of evidence showing diets don’t work, and are actually quite harmful. Weight cycling is associated with many negative health outcomes.

Why does weight cycling occur? Diets are restrictive and leave us hungry and unsatisfied. We inevitably binge or “cheat” on our diet. This is normal. It is your body’s way of ensuring you have adequate energy. Your body also slows down metabolism to maintain equilibrium. It doesn’t know whether we are trying to lose weight or are starving in a famine. Then we start another diet, hoping this will be THE ONE that leads to weight loss and happiness. Rinse and repeat.

Step 3- Low Self Esteem, Disordered Relationship with Food

Of course, not everyone who diets ends up with an eating disorder. However, I stand by my view that diets are harmful. We may fear eating certain foods, or just say “Screw it, I’ll never lose the weight, so I don’t need to take care of myself.” Both of these outcomes are harmful to our health, and the second one is a good example of why it’s harmful to tie weight to health. Bottom line: instead of blaming the diet, we blame ourselves. The diet industry depends on this to stay afloat.

Bonus Step: Disordered Behaviors are Praised

Many disordered behaviors like overexercising and only eating “safe” foods are often praised in our culture. I don’t have experience with this personally, but I’ve read and listened to a lot of stories where someone with an ED says that praise for their behaviors kept them trapped in their disorder. There is a difference between supporting people in their health journey and praising them for disordered behaviors. I get that it’s a tricky subject and a fine line to walk, but sometimes these comments can be harmful-you never know who may be struggling.

So yeah, I don’t think diet culture is helping us become healthier. It’s making us sicker, more body-obsessed, and less trusting of our own inner wisdom. To me, health is taking care of myself for the sake of taking care of myself. It involves moving my body in a way that feels good, sleeping enough, managing my stress, and eating all foods. You can have a “perfect” BMI/weight/whatever, but if you’re terrified to eat something less nutritious, that’s not healthy-even if our society would praise you for your amazing willpower.

Via @immaEATthat

If you’re interested in a non-diet approach to wellness, I suggest reading Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating (my posts on that are linked here). Immerse yourself with body positive messages and surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, not what you look like. If you struggle with your body and food and are unsure if you should seek professional help, here’s a link to an anonymous, short screening. If you know someone who may be struggling, share it with them. This year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It,” so let’s. You never know whose life you may be saving.

Friday Favorites #2

Happy Friday!

I’m heading into the weekend after a week with no tests (insert praise hands emoji). I have a biochem test a week from Monday, so you can probably guess what I’ll be up to this weekend. For that class, it’s never too early to start. I can hardly believe that in 2 weeks it will be spring break! Time is flying by.

I feel like I’ve been writing a lot of serious posts lately, which I love doing and feel is necessary, but I thought it would be fun to switch it up and share some of the things I’ve been loving this week.

Slow Mornings

This semester, my classes start at 11 or 11:15. I don’t have to be at the bus stop until 9:45, so I am loving my long mornings. (The next bus doesn’t come until 10:45, which would make me late.) I usually get up around 7, make breakfast and coffee, and sit on the couch with my dog while I watch the Today Show and read blogs. I know, I’m cool.

This mug was made for me.
Around 8 I usually run, go to the gym, or do school work. Some days I do none of these things and just enjoy being still. Having this time to myself before class starts is wonderful and starts my day on the right foot.

These Podcast Episodes

I’ve mentioned Food Psych before, but I discovered Body Kindness after I wrote that post. I missed last week’s episode of Food Psych and listened to it the other day. It was great to hear Christy and Jennifer’s thoughts about working as a dietitian with a body positive, Health at Every Size perspective! This is the type of work I hope to do in the future, so it is encouraging to see others who are doing it and thriving.

Rebecca (of Body Kindness) had a guest on who has been treating eating disorders for 25 years. They talk a lot about being who you want to be right now, in the body you have now. Amen!

Fun Lunches

Ever since I’ve really embraced intuitive eating, my meals have more variety and are more satisfying. In the past, I would have thought mac and cheese is “bad” and not something I should eat at lunch. I would usually only let myself have it when I was sick. Then I would be so excited that I would eat the whole box, then feel bad. My attitude towards this food was making me feel out of control around it.

Now I think about food neutrally and eat what sounds good. A couple days this week, that was mac and cheese. Carrots, cucumbers, and clementines also sounded good. I do try to add fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks, but I do it in a way that feels and tastes good. I choose what ones I like and prepare them in a way that tastes good, just like I would with any other food. Gentle nutrition for the win!

This Instagram Account

I found this Instagram account this week, and I love it! They take memes and make them body positive. It makes me so sad to see an image like this, posted for real, and then see people (many women) tagging their friends. I’m sure I’ve done it before. I want a reply all option so I can be like “THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!!!” Anyway, I’m really glad this Instagram user has created a space to call out what’s wrong with many of these messages.

My Treadmill Setup

For about a year, I have been doing my weekly speed work on the treadmill at the gym. I let that gym membership expire recently and now just use the one at my apartment complex. I quickly found out that there is zero air flow by the treadmills. It gets super hot and I already sweat more than any person should, so I bought this nifty fan from Amazon. Best $10 I ever spent. I also bring my workout on a post it note and my iPad so I can watch This is Us or Gilmore Girls. I look kind of ridiculous carrying all my stuff over there, but I don’t care-it makes me happy.

I hope you have a great weekend! But first–anyone else watch This is Us? I know it’s cheesy, but I love it.

Grocery Haul + Dinners This Week

Happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a good week. My one class for the day was canceled, so it’s the weekend for me! Don’t hate me. Tomorrow I’m headed out of town for a friend’s birthday celebration, but for today I thought it would be fun to share this week’s grocery haul and menu. Like always, I’m not sharing to say that what I eat is the best and you should eat like I do. I share to show what intuitive eating looks like for me, and to share ideas for easy and delicious meals and snacks.

Although I try to listen to my body and eat what I’m craving, I have to balance that with the reality of a busy schedule and a budget (don’t we all!). This means I plan dinners ahead of time, but I am flexible and can cook a recipe a different day if it doesn’t sound good that night. I make sure to have a variety of foods on hand for snacks and lunches, and then pick out what I want that day.

Ok, anyway, here’s what I was up to this week in the food department..

What I Bought

Produce: clementines, bananas, strawberries, spinach, cauliflower, frozen broccoli, green onions, cilantro, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery

Proteins/meats: Italian sausage, bacon, chickpeas, eggs, peanut butter

Other dairy: milk, shredded cheese

Canned goods: diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, jelly

Grains: bread, brown rice, penne pasta, Annie’s mac and cheese, pretzel crisps

Other: coffee, basil, curry powder

What you see here cost $75, which is more than usual but for the sake of transparency I didn’t change anything I did for this post. I would say my weekly grocery bill averages to about $60, which covers all of my meals M-F. Well, except for the dinners Chip cooks-we live & shop separately. From this grocery haul, I made dinner for 4 nights, and breakfast and lunch for every day. I seriously didn’t spend another dollar on food this week. Best of all, I didn’t have to make a second trip to the store. I’ll share more on how I stretch my grocery dollar throughout the post.

This week’s lunches consisted of leftovers, curried chickpeas and rice, and pb&j. Breakfast was oatmeal (I already had that in the pantry) or peanut butter & banana toast.

What We Had for Dinner

Sunday- baked pasta and roasted cauliflower

Woof, sorry about the bad lighting. I made this pasta a long time ago, and Chip kept dropping hints that he wanted me to make it again. I finally got the hint and made it on Sunday-I had to work late Monday and knew I would be happy to have leftovers. It was just as good as we remembered. In the past I made it with turkey Italian sausage, but Target was out, so I used regular Italian sausage. They really taste the same, so I would choose turkey if it was available.

The cauliflower picture was even worse, so I’ll spare you that, but I just chopped it up and roasted it at 400°F for about 25 minutes with olive oil, spices, and lemon juice. After dinner, I packed up some leftovers for Monday night and froze the rest for another time. I love freezing leftovers because 1-it reduces food waste, and 2-I get all excited when there’s a night I don’t know what to eat and remember I have food in the freezer.

Monday- leftover baked pasta and cauliflower

Tuesday- slow cooker potato soup

I learned my lesson and took this picture when I had leftovers Wednesday for lunch-yay natural light!

I really wanted to use the immersion blender I got for Christmas, so I went to trusty Budget Bytes and searched “immersion blender.” This came up and it was SO good. This was my first time making potato soup, and this recipe was easy to follow. We topped it with plenty of bacon, cheese, and green onions.

Budget/life tip: Chop and freeze any leftover vegetables you may have from a recipe. This recipe only called for 2 medium carrots and 2 celery stalks, so there was a lot left over. The next day when I had some time, I chopped it all up and froze it to use another time. Pretty much any soup recipe calls for chopped celery and carrots, so it’s good to have on hand.

Wednesday- out at Zinburger

We decided to wait and celebrate Valentine’s Day on Wednesday. This was great because we didn’t have to wait for a table at one of our favs, Zinburger. I started with a chopped wedge salad and we split the zucchini fries. I was too excited to get a picture. They are fried/coated in parmesan and served with the best ranch dressing. If you know me, you know good ranch is important for my restaurant experience. For our meal, we both got the buffalo chicken sandwich, with more ranch of course. There was a mixup which resulted in a free order of fries (!) so we ate some of those, too.

Thursday- leftover potato soup + roasted carrots

Chip was planning on making tacos, but we both thought potato soup sounded nice on a chilly day. I had a bunch of baby carrots that were going bad, so I roasted those with olive oil and garlic powder. Mmm you can’t beat roasted carrots. Ok actually you can-roasted broccoli. Or cookies. You get the point, the carrots were yummy.

That brings us to today. Tonight we’ll have the tacos meant for last night, and then we will be gone tomorrow night.

What was the best thing you ate this week? 

On Body Shaming Lady Gaga

I know, this is probably old news by now so I’m not exactly coming in with a hot take. However, I’m still pretty angry about this and need an outlet.

On Sunday, I watched the Super Bowl halftime show, and I thought Lady Gaga was awesome. Her vocals, dancing, and costumes were all wonderful. I thought she looked confident, powerful, and like she was having the time of her life. Soon enough, I found out some other people were preoccupied with her “fat rolls” and decided to share those feelings on the interwebs. I have a few thoughts of my own that I would like to offer here.

1. We witnessed 13 minutes of Lady Gaga, a woman at the top of her game in the performance of her life, singing and dancing her face off. She delivered an incredible performance. Yet the only thing some people could focus on is her stomach. This makes me sick. I think it is important to ask WHY. Why are we so afraid of fat? Does having fat on your body mean you are unhealthy or a bad person? No, it does not.

2. I know men are subject many of the same pressures to have a certain body type that women are, and I don’t want to minimize that, but do you remember the talk about Bruno Mars’ body last year? What about Lenny Kravitz the year before? No? Neither can I. I can’t say for sure that if they had come out in a belly shirt, they wouldn’t have been subject to fat shaming. I hope not-we shouldn’t do that to anyone. But I do believe there is a hyperawareness in the media of women’s bodies and a minimization of contributions women like Gaga make by focusing on their appearance. We are supposed to be thin, but not too thin, and curvy, but not too curvy. The objectification of women only makes body shaming worse and we must reject the notion that women need to look a certain way.

3. I have seen some comments along the lines of “omg she’s actually really thin I can’t believe they’re hating on HER stomach, clearly she is in great shape.” I can see where people are trying to go with this. She is thin, and an attack on her body reminds us of the unrealistic standards we are taught to strive for. However, I want to challenge this type of comment. At what point would you deem a person’s body unacceptable and deserving of being called out? If she had one more roll of fat, then would it be okay to pick apart her body? It’s important to accept ALL bodies- small, muscular, large, not muscular, abs, no abs.

4. What does this say to people who look like Lady Gaga, and those who are in larger bodies than she is? I’ll admit I started thinking “Dang. What would they say about ME if I got up there?” I quickly neglected that line of thinking. We are not the problem. Society is the problem. We are held to unrealistic standards of what we “should” look like. Some people do look like that, but it is not feasible for all. If you do look like a VS model, good for you. If you don’t, good for you as well. All bodies are good, none any better than another.

5. What did these people want Gaga to do? Eat less and work out more so her body would be acceptable to them? That’s wrong on so many levels. If her body made you uncomfortable, I want you to ask yourself why.

6. Body shaming anyone, regardless of your reasons, is harmful. You may say, “Well, I just want them to be healthy.” I would direct you to the Health at Every Size movement. If our goal is to improve the health of all people, why would we shame anyone for how their body looks? Research has shown that weight discrimination leads to poor health outcomes and is not a motivator for people to change. (Duh. Source but there is a large body of research on this.) Body shaming of ANY kind, whether it is criticizing someone for being “too thin” or “too large,” is wrong.

I’ll leave you on a positive note, with the response from Lady Gaga herself:

You go, Gaga. And here is a link to some of the important work she is doing (in addition to her music), if you would like to focus on something other than her body.

My Body Is Not My Life’s Work

Oh my goodness.

There’s always that one week at the beginning of the semester where it gets real. That is this week. My first biochem test is Monday and other assignments are piling up, so I’ve been in a fog all week. However, I know that it’s a privilege to have such small problems. I am so thankful to be working toward my education and wouldn’t trade the that for anything. Anyway, I wasn’t sure I would post this week, then something happened that got me thinking.

I had an annual check up yesterday, which means I had to step on the scale. For the first time in years I didn’t have anxiety about it. I didn’t think about eating a small breakfast so I would weigh less. I even kept my boots and jacket on because I didn’t care to make myself lighter. As the digital numbers finally stopped, I didn’t even look.

I am happy and healthy, and that’s enough of a measurement for me. I’ve come a long way with body positivity, but I’m not immune to the feelings that number can stir up. If it was lower than I expected, I didn’t want to know. It’s not necessary. If it was higher, I would like to think I wouldn’t care, but years of messages to the contrary aren’t that easy to forget. If I was unhappy with the number, what was I going to do? Start over-exercising or cutting out food? No thank you.

My body is smart. I do my part to take care of myself by eating intuitively, exercising in a way that feels good, getting enough sleep, and managing my stress. My body will settle in size and shape where it needs to. At the end of the day, what it really comes down to is this:

My body is not my life’s work.

It allows me to do my life’s work, but how it looks isn’t important. To me, being body positive isn’t looking in the mirror and thinking I’m the hottest thing since sliced bread. I like my body and I accept myself as I am. I love my body for what it allows me to do and I respect it, but I’m not walking around obsessed with my appearance. Most days I don’t give much thought to what my body looks like. My value lies in so much more than that.

The problem is that we give appearance so much importance. We are told all the time that we need to be working harder on our bodies. Just run farther, lift heavier, eat “cleaner,” and you’ll be.. what? More successful? Happier? More lovable? I remember those summers that I tried to slim down before the beach. Every time beach week rolled around, I would think “If I just had one more week to work on this, I would be happy with how I look.” Y’all, that week never comes. When you’re in that mindset, you will ALWAYS find something to fix on your body. It’s a self-absorbed, self-defeating mission.

Almost as self-absorbed as this selfie
I finally learned that my body/weight is the least important thing about me, and over time I’ve learned to treat it as such. I place much higher importance on my relationships and things that I care about that actually matter. What if we all accepted ourselves and others as we are? My hope is that we would embrace all bodies so nobody feels like they need to change the one they’re in.

What if we diverted the time we spend stressing about our bodies and trying to change them into our relationships? Our education or careers? Wouldn’t life be so much better if we had that mental capacity and energy to use for more important things? Life is too short to spend another day hating your body and trying to change it. I’m not saying it’s easy- you can’t will yourself to be at peace with your body, it takes work- but it’s more than worth it. 

Yes, this all came from a doctor’s visit. Sometimes I wish I could turn my mind off, too, but thank you for letting me share it with you.

Friday Favorites

Hello and happy Friday!

I hope you’ve had a great start to the new year and that the first week back to reality wasn’t too bad.  Lucky for me, reality won’t come back until Wednesday! One of the perks of being a student.. I guess it balances out all of the loans 🙂 This semester will definitely be harder than the last, but I feel refreshed and ready. I’m hoping to keep blogging once a week, but we will see how it goes (if you have any post suggestions, I’m all ears!).  Today I wanted to pop in and share my favorite things from my last week of the holiday break!

Favorite Meal

  • Japanese takeout for lunch Monday
Shoutout to shrimp sauce, making food 100x better since whenever it was invented.

A styrofoam box of chicken, vegetables, and rice was just what I needed on Monday. My parents and I neglected to grocery shop on Monday, so it was slim pickins around here. I thought I could find something at home, but by 12 PM I was ready to run away from the house. Livi (my dog) + my parents’ dogs were going nuts because there were multiple people here to fix the dryer and AC/heat. I decided a trip to Sakura was in order. I picked up takeout for mom + myself and crashed my parents’ lunch break. Yes, they work together and they’re adorable, I know. Luckily mom had some left over, so I got to have that the next day for lunch (pictured above with some added broccoli).

Favorite Workout

  • Crossfit (again)

I went once a week to Crossfit with my parents while I was home, and I really enjoyed it. They both had today off, so we opted for the 9:30 am class instead of the 7:00 am class. Although Crossfit is not something I’ll keep doing once I’m back at school, it definitely motivated me to push myself harder and gave me some ideas for things to use in my own workouts. I really like how they tell you what the “prescribed” workout is, but then explain modifications or ways to scale it back. I definitely took those options, which made the workout more enjoyable and safe for me.

Favorite Instagrams

  • A resolution I’m on board with

  • If you aren’t following barkpost, do yourself a favor and make it happen

Helen understands the importance of self care.

Random Favorites

  • Dad learning to be a blogger

Dad was cracking me up on Wednesday when he kept blowing up the family group text with pictures of his food. I made sure to stock up on all his favorites and was happy to see some of them made it to work with him! I think he should guest post his daily eats, no?

  • My Hydroflask

One of my Christmas gifts from Chip was this amazing 40 oz Hydroflask. I mentioned wanting one of these one time months ago, so I was very surprised to open it! He’s a sweet one. This thing keeps water COLD and also prevents me from needing to fill my water bottle up 6 times a day.

I thought I would be going crazy by this point of break without a schedule or anything to do, but it has been SO nice. I’m heading back to Durham (I live in Durham but school is in Chapel Hill) on Sunday, but until then you can find me on the couch with the dogs watching Netflix. I know, I don’t need you to tell me how cool I am.

What’s your favorite thing from this week? If you live in NC, do you think we’ll get snow this weekend!?

I got my Monday shift at work covered just in case I can’t make it back Sunday!

Christmas Week Favorites

Merry day after Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate!

I had a wonderful first week of winter break, full of family time and good food. What more could I ask for? I wanted to pop in today and share about what I’ve been up to in terms of eating, reading, moving, and other randomness.

Eating

I’ve had so much good food this week.

For lunch, I’ve been making something easy like the chickpea/grain/feta bowl on the left, or leftovers like beef stew on the right. The bowl on the left came together within 30 minutes by cooking a grain mix then sautéing chickpeas with onion, garlic, spices, and canned diced tomatoes. As for the beef stew, we bought it from an amazing cook in town. It was hands down the best I’ve ever had. I wish I could send it to all of you.

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without reindeer chow, AKA white trash. In my expert opinion, my mom makes the best. In the past, I’ve come home for break and devoured a whole container of this in one sitting.  I usually wound up with a stomach ache and a little guilt. I think it came down to two things.

1-I knew I would only eat this once a year, so I wanted to get it while it was hot. 2-I knew I would keep eating it every day so I wanted to go ahead and get it over with, if that makes sense. This year, I still had my fair share but I ate it when it was what I truly wanted, and I stopped when I was satisfied. In the past I just ate it on autopilot since it was there. This time around, I knew I could truly have it whenever I want (I could always make another batch) so I didn’t feel the need to eat it all at once. I took what I wanted, enjoyed it, and went back if I wanted more-no guilt necessary.

Ok, back on track..

On Wednesday, my parents had the day off and my sister and her fiancé were in town, so I told Chip to clear his schedule for a family fun day 🙂 We went to Sierra Nevada Brewery near Asheville, which is under an hour drive from home. If you live anywhere near here, GO!! It is an incredible place. I don’t even drink beer and I had a blast. They have wine so I was a happy camper. They also have shuffle boards, corn hole, several fire pits, and a wonderful restaurant. I could go on and on so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Pretzels and pimento cheese
Some very fancy looking (and delicious) wings

This was the perfect way to spend the day with my family. I’m already itching to go back!

I didn’t take any pictures of our Christmas Eve feast, but it was wonderful as always. My mom has 3 sisters who are all married with kids, so combined with my grandparents there are 20 of us. Every Christmas Eve we go to my grandparents’ house for dinner and presents. It’s one of my favorite nights each year, as it’s rare that we’re able to get the whole crew together.

Moving

I’ve been enjoying exercise at home, whether it’s running on the treadmill watching Gilmore Girls or joining my parents in their favorite workouts.

On Wednesday, I went to Crossfit with my dad.

This is my “it’s 7am and I’m barely awake” face
It had been a hot minute since I went to Crossfit or any group exercise class. I usually just do weights/TRX workouts on my own. My parents go at different times, so I told dad I’ll get up with him and we’ll make the 7am class happen at least once a week while I’m here. I enjoyed the workout but did not enjoy crying every time I laughed for the next 3 days thanks to a billion sit ups! The next day I took it easy with walking and stretching. Christmas Eve included a run with my mom and sister, which was a great way to hang out before the craziness of the holiday.

Reading

I seriously never read for fun. Even when I had a year between undergrad and grad school, I found it hard to get into a book. I’m a super slow reader, yet I am flying (by my standards) through Intuitive Eating!

I’ve mentioned Intuitive Eating here on the blog, and learned a lot about it on my own, mainly through podcasts. If you’re not interested in the book, the podcasts I mentioned in this post have a lot of material on this subject-even interviews with the authors. I didn’t want to go in depth on this topic until I had read the book, so expect a post on this in a couple of days! I’ve been nodding along so much I feel like my head might fall off.

I hope you were able to take some time away from the craziness of life to enjoy the holiday season. I’ll see you back here soon for the Intuitive Eating book review!

My Favorite Body Positive Resources

Hello friends!

Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the response to my last post. It was scary to put all of that out there, even though I know my experience is fairly common. I would say I’m glad some of you could relate, but that honestly sucks. We live in diet culture and everywhere we turn we see images of what we “should” look like, which often leads to dissatisfaction with our size. In reality, bodies come in ALL shapes in sizes and you can be healthy and happy at any size. Let’s appreciate our bodies for what they do for us and take care of them.

via emilyfonnesbeck_rd

Ok.. that’s great all, but how do you get there? I can only share what has helped me, which is surrounding myself with positive media and messages on podcasts, other blogs, and social media accounts. So many great people are doing work in this area, and listening to the experts out there helped me immensely with body acceptance. There are so many more than I’ve listed here, so please share resources you love in the comments!

Podcasts

I listen to podcasts almost daily- when I’m walking, running, riding the bus, or cooking. Here are some of my favorite health-related podcasts that don’t focus on weight.

Nutrition Matters by Paige Smathers. Paige is a dietitian in Utah who approaches nutrition and health in a sensitive, compassionate way. She breaks down what really matters and seems like such a lovely person. If you’re new to all of this, I would recommend starting with Episode 41 about Health at Every Size (also abbreviated HAES). I think it does a nice job discussing what HAES is, and dispelling some of the myths about this approach.

Food Psych by Christy Harrison. Christy is a dietitian who specializes in body positivity, intuitive eating, and HAES. Christy interviews a wide range of people on her show, from dietitians to comedians and she talks a lot about people’s relationships to food. She is so passionate about what she does and I love listening to her perspective each week.

Dietitians Unplugged by Aaron Flores and Glenys Oyston. I found this podcast after listening to an episode with Aaron on Food Psych. Seriously, once you start listening to podcasts you’re in a matrix and just keep finding new ones. From the description: “We want to help you build the confidence to ditch the scale, and embrace your health without shaming your body.” My favorite episodes are when they talk about hot topics, like The Biggest Loser and the “clean eating” trend.

Blogs

I read blogs every morning while drinking my coffee. Two bright spots in my feed are Kylie at Imma Eat That and Robyn at The Real Life RD. They are both dietitians who talk a lot about body acceptance, intuitive eating, and intuitive movement, and are great on Instagram as well. Which leads to my next topic..

Instagram

Whew.. Instagram. Instagram can be really, really harmful to body image. Even though I follow mostly body positive people, my Explore tab is still filled with before-and-afters and bikini pics of fitness models. I certainly do not look down on people who are super fit or have lost a lot of weight (hello, the point of body acceptance is accepting ALL bodies!), but seeing ONLY those images in the media reinforces the idea that we need to change our body to be “good.” I hope that makes sense. To combat this, I fill my Instagram feed with images of ALL bodies, small and large, and body positive messages. I follow most of the people mentioned in this post on Instagram, as well as some others listed below.

via @marcird

nourishedmindbody

moderationmovement

goodnessgraciousliving

jenniferrollin

Other Things That Help

I only keep and wear clothes the make me feel good. I recently threw out a pair of jeans I’ve had since high school. HIGH SCHOOL! I kept them in my drawer year after year, thinking maybe I would fit them one day. Every time I tried them on it only made me feel bad. I tossed those suckers out and only wear jeans and other clothes that make me feel good.

I do my best to avoid body checking. Body checking is so easy to do, especially when getting dressed or in the shower. If I notice I’m criticizing my body, I stop immediately. I’ll go ahead and get dressed or hop in the shower and move on, and remind myself that I’m great the way I am.

Whew, that was a lot! Again, I’m not an RD yet or any type of health professional. I’m simply sharing what has worked for me. Body acceptance is a lifelong journey. I certainly have days where I don’t feel great about my body, and that’s when I’m really glad I follow a lot of people who share positive messages and images. I hope that you listen to some of the podcasts listed and add some of these awesome people to your blog reader and social media feeds.

What resources did I miss that you love? Share with us!