Recent Podcast Loves: Nutrition and Body Positivity

Hello there!

The first couple weeks of my internship have been great. I’m getting used to a real adult work schedule and I’m enjoying having the evenings and weekends to myself instead of working on school.

Ok yea, usually I’m just sleeping, but whatever
I feel like I’m bursting with so many blog post ideas but just haven’t taken the time to type up my thoughts. I’ll get there. A lot of this inspiration comes from wonderful podcasts I’ve been listening to lately! I’ve professed my love for podcasts before and included some in my blog post about body positive resources, but I figured it’s time for an update since I’ve found some new ones. I’m including the repeats at the bottom for the sake of having all my favorites in one place.

Love, Food

I’ve mentioned this one in passing in another post, but I’ve listened to a lot lately and just love it. I had a 5 hour drive on Saturday and Julie kept me company for most of that time. The gist is this: listeners write in about their complicated relationship to food, in the form of a letter to food. Julie reads it, offers some of her wisdom and often calls other RD or therapist friends to lend their advice to the letter writer. In the end of the episode, food writes back-and signs it love, food. Ah it is just so good and refreshing. She is a dietitian, but also has a degree in counseling and you can tell. I feel like I’m in a wonderful therapy session when I listen.

The BodyLove Project

I follow Jessie, the host, on Instagram but just started listening to her podcast recently. She is an RD and personal trainer living in Boston, and she’s all about helping you develop a healthier relationship with your body and food. Her first guests were the authors of Intuitive Eating, so I knew it was going to be right up my alley. I’ve only listened to a few of her episodes, but I’ve found them really helpful. It’s especially great for those times you are being hard on yourself/your body. It happens, and this podcast reminds me it’s okay to feel that way and work through it.

RD Real Talk

Heather is a Registered Dietitian and invites other RDs to come on and talk about their career, nutrition perspective, and recent nutrition studies or articles. She is intuitive eating oriented and so are many of her guests. As a nutrition student I enjoy hearing about all the different career paths out there, and I also enjoy Heather’s rapport with her guests. She seems easygoing, and I would totally go drink a margarita with her.

from her Instagram

Others I’ve Mentioned Before:

  • Nutrition Matters
  • Food Psych
  • Dietitians Unplugged
  • Body Kindness

Ok, now I’ve provided you enough listening material for the year. I hope you find one (or more) of these helpful! Let me know if you do and we can start a podcast fan club 🙂

Thursday Favorites

Hello hello!

I had all intentions of posting Friday Favorites last week, but then school got really crazy. Our Maymester class ended on Monday and it was such a blur. I really enjoyed the material (public health nutrition) but it was a lot packed into 2.5 weeks! Now I’m out of the classroom until August 21. Hallelujah! For the next two months, I’ll be in my first Dietetic Internship-public health rotation. I moved home on Tuesday and today’s my first day!

To get the day kicked off on a fun note, here are some things I’ve been doing and loving over the past couple weeks.

Celebrating Chip’s Birthday

Chip’s birthday was on Memorial Day, but we celebrated the next day since I was driving back to school. His ultimate favorite restaurant ever is Outback, but to my surprise he wanted to eat at Zinburger! I’ve shared about eating there before, I’m sure. We are pretty boring and tend to stick with the places we know we love. I’m trying to make us be more adventurous, but since we were both moving to our hometown for the summer we decided to hit up all our favorites that week.

Usually we both get the buffalo chicken sandwich, but I had just had that at another place two days before. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I wanted, so I ordered three things 🙂 I got a large wedge salad, then ordered two “sharables” although I certainly didn’t share much mac and cheese. It had this crunchy stuff on top and was so good. Am I a food critic yet?

what a cutie!
Shoutout to intuitive eating, though, because it is so nice to go to a restaurant, order whatever I want, eat how much I want, and enjoy every bite. In my body obsessed days I would have tried to figure out how many calories were in all of it, probably eat something unsatisfying then spend all night trying not to give into my hunger if it came up. Nowadays eating out is fun, not scary.

(Almost) Growing Red Bell Peppers

I might have mentioned this, but a few months ago school was giving out plants as part of some nutrition day celebration. I snagged a red bell pepper plant and then was like… wait I don’t have a yard why did I get this!? So I asked the Interwebs what I needed and then bought some plant supplies. Now I am SO close to having bell peppers! I think. There are 4 or 5 places where you can tell one is going to grow, so I’m just waiting for them to break through. I’ve never grown anything or kept any plant alive, so this is pretty exciting for me. If I’m successful, expect me to never shut up about it.

Yummy Green Beans

A couple weeks ago I found some green beans in my freezer. I made them and was very sad about how watery they were, so I bought some fresh ones and ended up making the best green beans ever. Ok, that’s a bold statement, but they are pretty good. I didn’t measure anything, and it depends on how much you are making and what you like, but here’s a general outline of how I make them.

I fill a pan with water to cover the bottom, then dump in enough green beans to cover the bottom of the pan. After they cook for 5-10 minutes, I drain the water and add butter and minced garlic and stir everything up. The best ones are the ones covered in garlic. I also add a few cranks of my favorite Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning grinder and some salt. I let that cook for 10-15 minutes and eat at least a handful while they cook 🙂 They are best right after cooking, but they heat up well too.

Moving Home for the Summer

Although I’m going to miss living in Durham for the next two months, hanging with my parents all summer is going to be really nice. They have two little pups, and Livi is happy to have some buddies. Plus I have lots of family and Chip’s family here, too, so extra time with them is always appreciated. My parents and I have already established that Friday evenings will be for drinking wine on the porch. They have been cooking with Hello Fresh three times a week, so I’m excited to try it out.

lunch outside with mom yesterday
And on that note, I’m signing off for the day! Have a great one.

Our Bodies Aren’t Slabs of Marble

A few weeks ago, I saw an Instagram post by Jennifer Rollin that caught my attention. She is a psychotherapist, specializing in eating disorder and body image, and her posts are always great. She shared an article she wrote for Huffpost called “You Don’t Have to Try To ‘Get Your Body Back,’” and in the caption she said something that really stuck with me- “Our bodies are not slabs of marble.” They aren’t meant to always stay the same! We change all throughout life, yet we often become discouraged when our bodies don’t stay the same. Whether it has to do with the shape of your body or the smoothness of your skin-it is going to change at some point.

I’m assuming most of you here reading are women, and you know we have several transitions that bring body changes. Men do too, obviously. During puberty, girls gain weight. We NEED to! It is necessary for proper reproductive health. I really wish we included this as part of health education for young girls. Maybe they do now? Many women gain weight during menopause, and it is hypothesized that it helps women produce more estrogen. For more on that, check out Jennifer’s linked article above. Your body will probably change outside of these biological phases, too. The good thing is that your body knows what it needs to do. You don’t need to stress about it.

Another time of body change is pregnancy/delivery. I don’t have personal experience with this, but I am often frustrated by how women’s bodies are discussed around pregnancy. I recently read an article by Chrissy Tiegen about postpartum depression. She made a comment that everyone congratulated her on losing weight quickly after having her baby, but in reality she was too ill to eat. Why don’t we focus on getting women support they need during this special and challenging time rather than put the pressure on to lose weight? Why are we telling women to go get their body back? Where did it go, anyway!?

We are not meant to look how we did in high school for our whole lives. When I was in college and my body changed, I panicked. This is one of example of how scaring the bajeezus out of incoming college students about the “freshman 15” can be harmful. Instead of realizing that I was maturing and growing into my adult woman body, I panicked that I did all of the “wrong” things we were warned about at orientation. I suddenly was scrutinizing photos of myself, comparing them to others from a few years prior. This is just an unhelpful exercise-comparing ourselves today to our past selves in a negative light. We change internally and externally throughout life, and we don’t need to freak out or try to micromanage it.

This is a good lesson for me, too. I don’t typically look in mirrors for very long. I don’t wear makeup to school so I’m usually just putting on moisturizer and running out the door. Earlier this week, I noticed some lines under my eyes I hadn’t seen before. Even though I preach self love it made me panic a little!

Ok feel free to roll your eyes at me. You may be wondering, “Why is this twentysomething complaining about aging?” I share this because it was a reminder that we change throughout life. At first, I was like, “Oh gosh, I’m definitely getting older!” Once I thought about it a while, my thinking shifted to, “Yeah, I am getting older. This is what happens. Why would I expect to look the same forever?” I’ve laughed with my family and friends, cried, and struggled through some hard classes to get those lines. Our “signs of aging” are really signs of LIVING. They show that we have been through stuff to get where we are today.

I know that getting on board with body changes throughout life isn’t easy. Our society tells us do to everything we can to take up less space and to fight changes in our bodies. It has taken me years to be as comfortable in my skin as I am today, and sometimes my insecurities still sneak up on me. When I have a moment or day that I’m down on my body or appearance, something else is usually going on. I’m stressed, or feel inadequate, and instead of facing it I take it out on myself. If that’s what is going on, acknowledging it can help.

Beyond that, getting through those bad feelings about your body/appearance, especially during times of change, really comes down to knowing that you are so much more than your body. Of course it is important to feel comfortable in your skin, but when it comes down to it, your body is just the vessel that allows you to do awesome things. I’m pretty sure at the end of my life I won’t wish I had spent more time trying to get rid of wrinkles and cellulite. 1) Those things are normal and don’t need to be fixed, and 2) I want to do so much more with my time.

Your body is good how it is right now. You are good just as you are. Now get out there and do something awesome, and thank your body for allowing you to.

Grocery Haul, Dinners, and Why I Share What I Eat

Happy Saturday!

I made it through three days of my Maymester class- well, two half days and one whole day, close enough. Anyway, I haven’t done a grocery haul and dinner post in a while, so I wanted to this week! I also saw something on Instagram recently that made me question why I even share what I eat, so I’ll discuss that at the end.

Until this week, I hadn’t cooked dinner in a while. I was stressed with exams, my dog having a seizure, and I just didn’t want to! It happens. So I went with it and had take out, leftovers from the freezer, and cereal for dinner a few times. This week I felt ready to cook, but I didn’t really want to meal plan. I knew I wanted to make tacos, so I got stuff for that and then just stocked up on staples so I could throw something together other nights. Spoiler alert: this week’s dinners weren’t that exciting, but they were good.

What I Bought

This week’s groceries were about $55. I use the Cartwheel app every time I go to Target, and this time I had a coupon to use. $10 off groceries-score! The only thing I’ve bought outside of this all week was a coffee one day and Chick-fil-A for lunch on Friday. Chip bought most of the food for Monday’s dinner, but this covered all my meals other than that.

Dinners this Week

Sunday- turkey burgers, mac & cheese, asparagus

Grilling season is here and I am so excited. I have nothing against beef (see: tacos below) but I really don’t like cheeseburgers. It’s weird, because I like most other forms of red meat. So Chip made us turkey burgers and he gave me a hard time for being extremely boring. I literally just had a turkey patty and cheese, but that’s the way I like it! I did dip it in ranch dressing. He also grilled the asparagus and I was in charge of the hard task of making boxed mac and cheese. 🙂

Tuesday- taco Tuesday!

I love making tacos because they are so easy and delicious. Sometimes I use beef, other times I use turkey. They pretty much taste the same to me in tacos. This week, I had a coupon for a pound of ground beef, so that’s what I used. I sautĂ©ed onion, garlic, and beef with Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, then added a can of diced tomatoes. I had whole wheat tortillas already, so that’s what I used, but I prefer white flour or corn for tacos. They were still very good.

I also had tortilla chips, queso, and salsa. Chip was gone this day, but I had to break into his apartment to use his printer so I also stole his jar of queso.

Wednesday- burrito bowl

I turned my taco filling into a burrito bowl on Wednesday. I made some brown rice, stirred in the beef and tomatoes from Tuesday, and added some black beans. This was delicious but I was still hungry after, so I had chips/queso/salsa. Some days I’m hungrier than others, and this was one of those days. Rather than be like “dang, I shouldn’t still be hungry, I just had plenty of food!” I was like “Ok, I’m still hungry let’s get some more food.” Being kind to yourself > judging yourself.

Thursday- salad and pasta

I had a bunch of salad left over that I made earlier in the week for lunch, so I ate that. It had mixed greens, feta cheese, cucumber, broccoli, red pepper, carrots, bacon, and ranch that I added after the picture. I knew that wouldn’t fill me up (I need carbs!), so I made some pasta that I already had and added a jar of pasta sauce. Groundbreaking stuff, I know, but it was surprisingly good.

Friday- roasted broccoli and leftover pasta

Last night I had leftover pasta and roasted some broccoli. Like usual, I put frozen broccoli right into the oven at 400° F. After 15 minutes, I added some seasonings, then I put it back in for 15 more minutes. This meal was delicious but not super filling, and I ended up hungry about an hour later. So I had some ice cream and it was great.

Bonus Thoughts

I just searched for like 5 minutes and can’t even find the Instagram post that sparked this thought, but oh well. Basically I started thinking, “Why am I sharing what I eat if intuitive eating/my approach is all about everyone doing what feels best in their own body?” I’ve thought about this all week and have a few answers. I love food and think it’s important to highlight that food is meant to be enjoyed. Often times I see recipes on Instagram that are like “high protein muffin cake! only X grams of carbs and fat!” And there’s no mention of the taste. It’s like we water down food to numbers and manipulate it so we can try to manipulate our bodies.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that a recent study found Instagram use is linked to increased symptoms of orthorexia (source). That is a whole convo for another day, but basically orthorexia nervosa is an unhealthy obsession with eating “healthy” food. Some of the big “health” accounts that pop up in my explore feed make me cringe because I know the harm they can do to some people. Bottom line: I want to promote food peace, not food fear. I care about my health, and eating a variety of foods is key for me.

When I was starting to learn about intuitive eating it was so helpful to see what bloggers/people I follow who are into intuitive eating were eating. I’m not saying you should follow someone and copy what they eat-you gotta do you! But it was helpful to follow people who did not have food rules and were just kinda like, “Here’s something I ate and then I got on with my life.”

via Kylie

That really helped me see that no food is inherently good or bad, and all foods have a place in my life. I can go out for ice cream because I want it and not think twice about it. In contrast, I used to look up nutrition info first, feel guilty while I ate it, and regret it after. I had good intentions and just wanted to be “healthy,” but I took it too far. It felt restrictive and made me anxious about eating certain foods. I want to show that caring about your health and nourishing your body does not need to be that way. Food should bring joy and satisfaction. Also, caring about my health encompasses mental and emotional health, so there’s no room anymore for restriction or punishment!

Hopefully all of that made some sense. While I don’t feel like I need to justify my actions, I did want to discuss this question because it really made me think! If you made it this far-congrats, and have a great weekend. 🙂

Halfway There! Well, Sorta

I took my last exam on Tuesday, so I officially made it through a year of grad school! I say I’m halfway done because technically, we have two years of course work. It’s not quite that simple, but we will go with it for now 🙂

So what’s next?

I have a week off-hallejuah! Today (Thursday) we’re doing some fun wedding planning things, then tomorrow I’m off to Wilmington for a wedding. It’s for one of my very best friends and I couldn’t be more excited. When we got engaged, she and her fiancĂ© drove all the way down from Philly for the night! They’re the best, and I can’t wait to celebrate them all weekend.

Next Wednesday our Maymester course begins. It lasts about 3 weeks, and we have it 9-4 pretty much every weekday. Normally I wouldn’t complain too much, but I am anxious about leaving Livi so much after her seizure! However, I know she will be fine and I can’t be a helicopter parent 24/7. If I wasn’t in school and had a normal job, I would already be leaving her that often!

“Um excuse me, I did not approve of this.”

The Maymester ends June 5th, I move home June 6th, and my summer internship begins June 8th! It’s going to be quite the whirlwind. I will be working 40 hours a week as an intern until August 2nd. Then we get a nice break until classes start again August 20 something.

Then we get to do it all over again- a year of classes, a summer internship, and a final fall internship! It’s a lot to think about, so I try not to get ahead of myself. I can’t believe I’ve already finished a year of grad school, and I know the rest will fly by!

Year 1 Reflections

This year was hard, but more specifically, this semester was hard. The first one wasn’t easy, and we had a lot of assignments, but we weren’t in biochem yet. This semester, we had biochem and medical nutrition therapy, which were hard in their own ways. Many weeks I felt like I was just struggling to get to the weekend, then on the weekend I was catching up on studying. However, I’m obviously thrilled to be where I am and wouldn’t trade it for anything! I feel like I’ve learned so much and come so far in my nutrition knowledge in just a year. My program is wonderful and so are the people in it, as well as our teachers! I’m really excited to be a year closer to being a dietitian. I suppose I’ll have to come up with a new blog name at that point. Suggestions welcome!

I’m also really grateful that I immersed myself in the non-diet/Health at Every Size/intuitive eating world this year. I already wasn’t a fan of diets, but I came across some podcasts in the fall that showed me there is a way to incorporate my values in my approach to health. I’m in this program because I love nutrition and want to help people along their health journey, but I wouldn’t feel right doing it through restriction and rigid rules. (I am discussing clients in general, not those who have a medical condition diagnosed by a doctor that requires a specific plan. And obviously body shame is never warranted.) I’ve enjoyed learning more and surrounding myself online with other people who practice the way I hope to. I read Intuitive Eating this year and it was like a lightbulb went off; it made so much sense to me.

Breakfast at the beach a few weeks ago, courtesy of dad

I started grad school thinking I would become a nutrition expert who imparts knowledge to my clients. I would help them lose weight the healthy way, through lifestyle changes. (Rolling my eyes at former me.) Now I have a much different idea of what my role and work will look like. Of course, Registered Dietitians are nutrition experts, but our clients are the experts of their bodies and lives. It’s not my job to tell them what to do or what their goals should be. I won’t be promoting weight loss. I believe that we can approach health in a kinder, gentler way-without focusing on the scale. As people incorporate healthy changes in their life, they may lose weight, gain weight, or stay the same. Why would I celebrate one of these outcomes over the other? Weight does not = health.

I’m now very interested in working in the eating disorder/disordered eating population, which I would have never guessed for myself. Currently my dream job is working one on one with clients to improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Food is nourishment, for sure, but it is also meant to be enjoyed. I feel like in our current culture we have lost track of that and we are either fearful of eating food (or certain types) or using it to manipulate our bodies. (You can find more about my food philosophy in my intuitive eating posts, or read about why I ditched the scale.)

So yeah, my approach is a bit different from the mainstream in my profession and I do feel like the tide is slowly shifting toward a non-diet approach. I know there is a place for me in this line of work and I’m so inspired by the many RDs I follow online doing it already. It does make me a little nervous about my first job after graduation-what if I have to accept a job that involves me putting people on diets? Or focusing on weight loss? All I can do now is focus on what’s in front of me and keep exploring what I want to do in the future, and do my best to make connections there and make it happen.

Oh, yeah! And this year I started this blog! Thank you so much for reading here. I’ve really enjoyed spilling my thoughts in this space and I’m excited to keep sharing my life and my views on health-related topics. If you have any topic suggestions or requests, I’m all ears!

Embracing Chaos and Uncertainty

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. They have been mostly amazing, but we had a scare with Livi I’ll discuss in a minute. In addition, I’m in the middle of finals and life is just.. crazy. I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the present, but it can be challenging. Chaos and uncertainty are definitely not two things I would like more of in my life, but I’m learning to embrace it.

The best ice cream from my fav place at the beach.

So yeah, we got engaged April 21 which was amazing, as I’ve told you 🙂 Last weekend we went to the beach with my family, my grandma (Hi, Sasa!), and Livi. We had the best time and ate some wonderful food. The weather was perfect-warm on the beach, but not unbearably hot. Between my sister and me, there was plenty of wedding talk and we are just having so much fun in this season in life. She gets married September 30th and I am so excited!

We came home Sunday and on Monday night, our sweet Livi had a seizure. She is two years old and has never had one before, and let me tell you it was the most terrifying few minutes of my life. Maybe it sounds silly, but she really is like my child ha. I’m so glad Chip was with me because I was a complete wreck.

Livi was laying beside Chip and started twitching badly. Sometimes she twitches in her sleep, but it seemed more severe. We sat her up and she kept falling over, so we immediately rushed out to the car and looked for the closest emergency animal hospital (it was like 9:30pm). It was in Raleigh, about a 25 minute drive. While I was on the phone with the woman at the vet, she began seizing badly for about 10-20. Chip is sitting beside me right now saying it was more like 5 seconds, but it felt longer. Her legs were outstretched, and she wasn’t foaming at the mouth or anything, but she was super tense and shaking. I completely panicked and threw her at Chip, who was driving. I am really good at functioning under pressure.

Right after it happened, she threw up alllllll over Chip. Poor guy. After that, she was completely fine which we are so thankful for. The vet said it sounded like a seizure, maybe even a partial seizure, since she was coherent and it didn’t last too long. The whole episode lasted about 5 minutes. We decided the best option was to leave her overnight for bloodwork and seizure watch. On Tuesday morning, we were told she did great overnight but she did have one mildly elevated lab value for liver function after they fed her. I have an appointment with her regular vet on Monday to discuss it all and decide whether or not to order an ultrasound or other tests to rule out a liver shunt. It could be a mild one, or it could be nothing at all. She could have another seizure tomorrow and every month for the rest of her life, or she could go her whole life without having another.

Like most people, I like to have a plan and I like to know what to expect in general. Well, that’s not the case here. I’m doing my best to focus on the present-why use the time I have now to worry about the future and something that I have no control over? All any of us have is this moment so I’m doing my best to stay in it. Livi has been her usual spunky self all week, which has helped me not be so anxious. If she has another seizure, we will do everything we can to figure out why, if possible, or start her on meds if necessary. That’s all we can do!

If anyone can rock a half shaved leg, it’s Livi.

Ok, sorry, I know this is not a dog seizure blog. But it is a big deal to me and is causing me some stress, which is timely because it’s finals week 🙂 I’ve already had one take home final and one presentation, but I have an exam on Friday and my last one on Tuesday. Then we get about a week break and start a Maymester course, but I’m living in denial about that right now. That’s another reason I struggle to stay in the present; in our grad program I feel like I’m constantly looking ahead to the next thing. The next test, next semester, next internship.. it can get overwhelming. I’m going to do my best to focus on being present, and might even start listening to some of my old favorite mindfulness YouTube videos I turned to when my anxiety was worse. If you have any great mindfulness resources, do share!

On a happy note… we are going home to tour a nearby wedding venue this weekend! We have another scheduled for next week, too. I know it’s early, but since we are both in grad school we want to plan what we can now so it’s not as stressful later. In the midst of all of this, I’m learning to embrace the chaos. Well, I already did that before -we all lead busy lives!- but it’s really true right now.

I’m learning that I won’t always get it all done, and I may not be able to give my best in every situation. When things happen, whether they’re exciting like getting engaged or terrifying like a health scare for a person or pet, to-do lists go out of the window. I know in a week this portion of school will be over and I’ll have a short break. I may not get an A on every final, but that’s OK. I’m doing my best, and sometimes that means not doing my best on every single thing. If I need to take time for myself, that’s not selfish. In fact, I’m thinking about going for a run and to get my nails done this morning. The run will help me connect with myself and feel some good endorphins, and getting my nails done will just be nice. Both will help me reduce stress, so I’m going to make it happen.

I know I’m rambling a lot, but it’s almost like therapy for me to come here and spill my thoughts. I’ll check back in soon on the other side of finals and share if I’m successful at staying in the present moment. Wish me luck, and I hope you are having a fantastic week!

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 fiancĂ© (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.

Training for the Tar Heel 10 Miler-and Enjoying It

Hello hello!

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m training for the Tar Heel 10 Miler, which is a week from tomorrow! I ran it in 2015, and that fall I completed my 9th half marathon and finally broke 2 hours. After that, I was pretty burnt out on running and I haven’t done another race since then. Needless to say, this round of training has felt very new and fresh after all that time off from racing. It also has been really FUN.

I have always loved running, but in the past I took it too seriously. I still had fun, but I was more intense about it than I am now. Of course, I have to give up some things when I’m training for a race, like having nice looking feet and sleeping in on Saturday, but there’s no need for it to take over my life and brain space. I wanted to share some thoughts on how training has been different this time around and how I’ve reframed how I view running.

I remember that numbers don’t define me.

In the past, I would feel disappointed if I didn’t hit a certain pace or mileage goal. When I woke up for a long run, I would feel so nervous and end up with a stomach ache! I was convinced it had something to do with eating dairy before a run, but it was all in my head. I knew deep down that my pace didn’t matter. What was someone going to do, beat me up if I ran slowly? Of course not! A lot of that is my personality- I get really nervous before tests, presentations, and races, too. I still get a little jittery before a long run, but now I just go out and try to have fun. I do the best I can on that day, in that moment, and that’s enough.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still have a structure to my running and certain goals I aim for. On my easy day run, I try not to look at my pace at all. During speedwork once a week, I do aim for certain speeds. It’s fun to push the pace on those days. When I do long runs with Anna and Grace, we know what our usual pace is and would like to be there, but we are also OK if we need to slow down. (Oh yeah, run with people. That makes it way more fun!)

I would be thrilled to beat my time from the 2015 Tar Heel 10 Miler, but I’m also completely happy just to finish if that’s not in the cards on that day. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking “well, I’ve been running two more years since then-I should be faster.” We change all through life and I’m not the exact same runner that I was two years ago! There are so many factors that go into how we feel, especially when we run. It’s fun to chase goals and accomplish them, but there will be off days/races/training cycles. How fast or slow I run doesn’t define me, and focusing too much on my time takes the fun out of it for me.

I take care of myself, and sometimes that means skipping a run or cutting it short.

This was SO hard for me in the past. When I felt an ache or twinge, it was hard for me to skip a run. Part of it was a fear of weight gain, but I also thought I would lose any progress I had made in training. My fear of missing a workout was NOT healthy. That led to a couple of injuries I could have possibly avoided had I taken some rest. Now if I’m achy, I’ll stretch and foam roll and skip a run or two if I need it. Having a healthy body for life is way more important than hitting my mileage goal or even completing a race. Running will always be there for me when I come back if I have to take time off because I’m burnt out or something hurts.

I know I don’t have to do it all.

In the past, I felt like I had to do 3 runs, a certain number of strength workouts, and yoga each week. This was an unattainable goal for me and as a result, I set myself up to feel inadequate. I’ve learned that many things in my life are more important than running. Yes, if I want to complete a race without feeling like death I need to carve out some time for training. But some mornings I sleep late and don’t have time for all the miles I planned. Or I’m flat out exhausted after school and skip a run. Sometimes cuddling my dog and drinking coffee wins out over a morning workout. If I do all 3 runs in a week and make it to the gym a couple times, great! If I am super overwhelmed and only do half of that, great! 

I feel ya, Livi. Waking up is hard.

I’ve untangled exercise and food.

Let me just say loud and clear- YOU ALWAYS DESERVE TO EAT. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EARN IT. In the past, I tried to control my body using food and exercise, and of course the two were related. It definitely fed into my fear of missing a workout. Before and after a long run or race, I was so excited to eat all the foods that were still somewhat off limits. Nothing’s wrong with what I was eating, but my mindset was. I was eating foods I truly don’t even enjoy, just because I felt like I was “allowed” to. I would drink Gatorade because it was sugary and fun, and I really don’t even like Gatorade.

Whether you are training for a marathon or you’re currently not exercising at all, you deserve to eat. It is a biological need and it is not tied to how much or how little you move your body. Yes, running often makes me hungrier, so at times I need to eat more to support that activity. But now I do not have “good” and “bad” foods, and I listen to my body to tell me how much to eat. And I eat what I want in that moment.

post race in 2015

I don’t see anything wrong with having a goal and training for it if you’re in the right headspace and have a healthy relationship with movement. Training for a goal and accomplishing it is awesome and something to celebrate! However, I believe that your running/movement should fit into your life and be a way to relieve stress and have fun. At the end of the day, running is fun and part of my life, but it’s just that-part of my life. There’s a lot more to life and to my value than how fast or far I can run, and I’m happy to just be out there running.

Life This Week, Easy Dinner Idea, and Summer News

Hello and happy Friday!

Oh my goodness, this week. It has been crazy and exhausting and fun. I’m paying for it now as I study for Monday’s biochem exam and feel woefully unprepared, but it was worth it. I don’t have a super insightful post in me today, but I do want to share some of my week with you. I’ll throw an easy dinner idea in there too, so I can feel like I gave you something to take with you. 🙂

Coffee on coffee was a necessity this week because…

WE WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

(Sorry to those who know me in real life, I haven’t shut up about this yet.)

I grew up on Carolina basketball. When I was really young I would put on my UNC cheerleading outfit on and make up cheers and chants for all of the players. When we won the championship in 2009, my mom did cheerleading jumps in our living room while the fight song played. Then I went to college there, and my love for the team and the game grew more. We rushed Franklin a few times for beating Duke, but hadn’t won a championship since 09. Until this year. AND I WAS THERE!

I watched in Chapel Hill with Chip and some friends, and we rushed Franklin where we celebrated with 55,000 other Tar Heels. It was like nothing I’ve experienced before. I didn’t get much sleep that night, but it was so worth it. Then the next day, my roommate and I went to the welcome home celebration in the Dean Dome, and it was a lot of fun. I’m just so proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished, and I’m so glad they were able to clutch this win after the heartbreak of last year.

Found that picture on this guy’s Facebook-don’t know him but gotta give credit! Ok, now that I got all those feelings out, let’s move on.

I haven’t cooked much this week, but I did make some delicious curry.

I don’t think I can even call this curry because it is so far from authentic, but I don’t have another name for it. To make it, I sautĂ©ed garlic, onion, red pepper, a bag of cubed sweet potatoes, zucchini, a pack of chicken breasts, and this jar of simmer sauce. I let it all simmer for about 3o minutes and served over rice. It made enough for several meals, which was great. This sauce was good, but not quite as good as my favorite Trader Joe’s curry sauce. It was possibly my fault, though-I didn’t realize the sauce had coconut milk in it, so I added half a can which made it more sweet than spicy. If you’re looking for an easy dinner idea, it’s good and there’s really no way to mess it up! You can put whatever veggies you like and add meat if you want.

I’m moving home for the summer!

Livi cuddling my parents’ dogs at Christmas

I totally forgot to share it here, but I received my placement for my summer internship back in February. It’s our first RD internship, and it’s the public health rotation. I was placed in western NC, about 30 minutes from where my parents live. So Livi and I are moving in for the summer! Chip will be back home for the summer with his parents, too, so it will nice to still be close. Although I’ll miss my apartment, Anna (my roommate), and living here, I’m really excited about the internship and to hang with my parents all summer. My parents are thrilled, although I think they’re just excited because they know I’ll cook for them a lot. Oh, and I’ll be sure to chronicle my return to Crossfit. Pray for me.

Around the web this week

This great blog post by Kylie about fullness vs. satisfaction

The Love, Food Podcast I recently discovered and am loving (if you have an iPhone, just search in the Podcasts app!)

This Nutrition Matters podcast episode: “A Millennial Man living with Binge Eating Disorder” I listened to this episode yesterday and so appreciate Ryan’s bravery in sharing his story. Eating disorders are mental disorders, and they don’t discriminate. Men struggle with body imagine and food, too, and I’m so glad he is sharing his experience.

That’s all for me, folks! I hope you have a fantastic weekend.