Chapter 8: Milestones

I used to fantasize about swimming through a pool of cookie dough ice cream. Neither frozen nor liquid, but melted enough so that I could chomp my way through it, like Ms. PacMan. This image doesn’t get me going like it used to. I no longer pine for access to as much ice cream as I want. If you’ve followed my story so far, I’ll bet you can guess why.

And if you can’t guess, read on.

In the last couple of months, I’ve reached several milestones in my ever-improving relationship with food. Because of a little thing called “professionalism in the workplace,” I don’t get to brag about these on a daily basis to the people with whom I spend the most time, as it would cross boundaries if I gushed about this at the internship to dietitians who supervise me. So thank you for being my sounding board :).

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About a month ago, my parents and I went to Katz’s Delicatessen with my boyfriend and his brother. Despite the fact that each sandwich is big enough for two, in true Groman form, we ordered 5 sandwiches, plus 3 knishes, cole slaw, and a couple plates of pickles. The last time we went to Katz’s was May 2013, when my sister was in from LA. I had recently finished a juice cleanse and was about 2 sizes smaller than I am now. It’s very safe to say that I wasn’t allowing myself to eat things like Katz’s on a normal basis. So at that dinner, I was very excited to eat, eager to get it all in because I wouldn’t be “allowed” to eat food like that again any time soon. In addition to the sides, I ate at least a full sandwich that night. Milestone No. 1: on this recent trip, I only ate about half a sandwich (yes, plus sides, I’m human after all). How? I stopped when I was full. I STOPPED WHEN I WAS FULL! I didn’t feel that anxious sense of urgency to eat as much as possible, and I felt satisfied without feeling totally stuffed. Gosh, I’m not sure if I’m conveying how exciting this was for me. It was such a different experience from last year – without the anxiety and guilt surrounding eating – and I felt so proud, because it showed me how far I’ve come. Plus, my nutritionist said that stopping when full is a very “advanced” step, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get a gold star when I see her next.

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This past Thursday night, I went to CVS and decided to pick up a pack of Mega Stuf Oreos while I was there. On my way back up to my apartment in the elevator, I looked down at my shopping bags and saw the characteristic blue of the Oreo package peering through. There were two other people in the elevator with me, and I wondered if they saw it, envious that I had Oreos and they didn’t (what, not normal?). I also wondered if they were all, “Omg I can’t believe she can keep a box of cookies in her apartment without eating the whole thing at once.” And that’s when it hit me.

I was like – Hold. Up.

Am I the type of person that can keep a box of cookies in her apartment without eating the whole thing at once?! And I think I AM!!! This was the second time this month that I’ve purchased a pack of Mega Stuf Oreos to keep at home (this has become my boyfriend’s favorite Oreo, so the first pack went rather quickly…), and I NEVER used to be able to keep multiples of any sweets in the house. But I purchased them the other night without feeling nervous, which is another major freakin’ milestone, and I’m so excited about it.

There were some other things, too – I had to leave early from a late dinner earlier this fall, and I was able to leave before dessert arrived without feeling like I was totally missing out. At a breakfast buffet this past Sunday, not only did I not go crazy and eat everything in sight, but I didn’t even feel the need to.

So, to address why I no longer secretly wish that Conrad will fill a swimming pool with cookie dough ice cream for my next birthday (or dream of bathing in a tub of Reese’s Pieces, or want to enter that Ben and Jerry’s contest where you eat a gallon of ice cream and like, win a T-shirt), it’s because I no longer tell myself I CAN’T eat those foods if I want to. Unlike last May, I don’t restrict desserts, pizzas, sandwiches, pasta. It’s not that I eat eat pizza and burgers all the time – it’s that I know I can have a slice every so often, or eat a burger if I’m really craving one.

Because I don’t restrict foods anymore, my body no longer thinks it’s missing anything, which means that when I have access to large amounts of food at once (Katz’s, buffets, etc.), my body doesn’t drive me to eat it all in one sitting.

I can’t stress enough the power of letting foods like this back in your life. Because doing so takes the power away from those foods, and gives it back to you. So you have the power to stop when you’re satisfied, or to decide whether you want a cookie tonight or tomorrow. And, since you no longer feel the need to eat all the cookies at once, you also have the power to share – which will make those in your presence very happy :).

Whole Wheat Pumpkin French Toast with Pumpkin Spice Syrup

French toast and fall. Two things I have always loved. When I realized how easy it is to make homemade French toast recently, I was determined to put my two beloveds together. If it was easy for me in my studio apartment kitchen that is the size of my future walk-in closet (finger’s crossed), then it will certainly be easy for you.

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I like this breakfast because since you use eggs, you get protein, which makes it more filling and satiating than having just 3 slices of toast.  It’s like eating toast with egg on the side, but instead of on the side, it’s in the dish.

Ingredients (3 pieces of French toast, serves 1):

French Toast

  • Whole wheat bread, 3 slices
    • *you can also use 3 egg whites here2 eggs (you will use 1 full egg and 1 egg white)
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice), 3/4 cup
  • Canned pumpkin, 1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Pumpkin pie spice, to taste
  • Vegetable oil (lining pan)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

  • 100% pure maple syrup
  • Pumpkin spice mix
  • Canned pumpkin

Instructions

French Toast

  1. Put a skillet over medium heat. If you don’t have a skillet, a large pan should do just fine.
  2. Drizzle the skillet with a bit of vegetable oil to coat and let warm.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, almond milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Note: If you have nutmeg and cloves in the house, that’s perfect instead of pumpkin pie spice. I didn’t have those and bought the spice mix recently because it was cheaper than purchasing several spices 🙂
  4. Dip each slice of bread in the mix and let it soak up some of the liquid. You don’t want it so saturated that the bread breaks, but it should be pretty soft. Make sure both sides are covered.
  5. Lay out the slices on your skillet, and let each side cook for about 5 minutes or until browned. This is also a personal taste thing – if you want it crispier let it cook longer.
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Skillet👆

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

  1. While the toast is cooking, pour some maple syrup in a small bowl.
  2. To taste, mix in pumpkin pie spice. About 1/4 teaspoon should do, but it’s up to you!
  3. To taste, mix in the canned pumpkin. I probably used about a teaspoon at most. There is no set recipe for this, it’s really about how you think it tastes. Pinky finger sampling is encouraged 😉
  4. Remove the French toast from the skillet, and dress with syrup and any other toppings! I sprinkled with some confectioner’s sugar for a bit of taste and also aesthetic, and chopped almonds for crunch (and healthy fat and protein). Makes a very pretty breakfast or brunch if you’re serving others, or if you just enjoy plating dishes as much as I do.

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Whole Wheat Avocado Cookie Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

I consider my sweet tooth an actual part of my personality. I own it, embrace it, and identify with it. I can’t live without sweets and eat them pretty regularly. In sum, you could say that I love sweets.

I also love fiber. I love anything whole wheat. In a perfect world, New York City pizza joints would only offer whole wheat crust, fast food places would make whole grain buns the standard, and pretzel stands on street corners would serve whole wheat soft pretzels. One can only dream.

Until this whole wheatopia exists, I take matters into my own hands and use whole wheat flour to bake items traditionally made with white flour. So far I’ve made whole wheat avocado cookies, whole wheat cinnamon chip muffins, and whole wheat no sugar added banana chocolate muffins. The recipe for that last one is in the works, as it was a total experiment and a bit of fail (although they were tasty with fruit jam). It’s fun to play around and swap out ingredients high in saturated fat or added sugar for ingredients that won’t raise your cholesterol or the number on your scale.

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So far my biggest success has been this avocado cookie cake. I made it for my coworkers on the last day my summer internship and it was gone by afternoon. One person held a piece to save for later but still went back for seconds and thirds in the meantime (no judgment). I got to enjoy it myself! Unlike cookies, a cake can’t be tasted until it’s cut into for the first time, so I had to wait until work the next day to try it. That was the least fun part about making this cake.

But I did have it as a midmorning snack, and can I tell you? I didn’t feel bad eating it because of it’s whole grain, fiber, and healthy fat content! The recipe (and a REALLY fun Nutrition Facts comparison!) follows below. Cool thing about using avocado: it’s a one-to-one swap, so whatever amount of butter a recipe indicates, you can just use that amount of avocado.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 3/4 cup RIPE avocado mashed
    • **Note:** trying to remove the pit of an unripe avocado is like trying to tear a cub away from it’s mama bear. In addition, trying to use a mixer on unripe avocado is like … it’s a big mess, and avocado flies everywhere, so just don’t do it.
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    • **Note: I used regular whole wheat flour for mine, and a culinary nutritionist I worked with suggested pastry flour because she found the cake too dense. This type of flour exists. It’s milled more than regular flour, so it’s lighter, BUT IT’S ALSO WHOLE WHEAT. It was DESTINED to be used in wholesome, fibrous desserts.
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (personal preference – I actually like the dough more than the chips, so I use less, and dark chocolate is stronger than semi-sweet)

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Frosting: By the way – this frosting is the BOMB. You can’t tell it’s avocado at all, and it’s so rich and decadent. Good on top of cake or on it’s own.

  • 1 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (I found this to be SUPER sweet – next time I’m going to try 1 1/2 cups and see)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup ripe avocado mashed
  • 2 Tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch (abt 1/8 tsp) salt

Instructions:

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″ pie/cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the avocado until it’s silky smooth (about 1 minute).
  3. Add brown sugar and beat until creamy (about 1 minute).
  4. Add in egg, yolk, and vanilla, and mix until well-combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
  6. On low speed, mix in the wet ingredients until well-combined.
  7. Add and evenly mix in the chocolate chips.
  8. Put the cookie dough in the pan and press until flat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cake should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out mostly dry.

Frosting:

  1. Mix confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder so there are no lumps.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the avocado until creamy.
  3. Slowly add the sugar and cocoa powder mixture to the avocado and alternate with the soy milk and vanilla.
  4. Taste and add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet for your liking.
  5. Using a piping bag (i.e., a plastic Zip-loc baggie into which I cut a tiny hole at the corner), pipe the frosting onto the cake in any which way you desire. Top with additional chips if you like. Sadly, I forgot to do so.

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I adapted the recipe from a more typical cookie cake recipe, which uses butter, regular all-purpose flour, semi-sweet chips for the cake, and heavy cream and butter for the frosting. No one said that eating a slice of frosted cookie cake, healthier or not, was going to be low-calorie. But the comparison below is pretty cool. Take a look. The proof is in the pudding, or in, well, you know…

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NutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avocado Skillet Cookie Cake à la Mode 🥑:

A serious crowd pleaser, made with the goodness of heart-healthy avocado and whole wheat pastry flour for added fiber and nutrients, and less saturated fat.

Make the following changes to the recipe above:
  • Make in a skillet instead of a baking dish so it’s ready to serve warm.
  • Be careful not to keep ion the oven for too long, as it will continue to cook once it’s removed from the oven.
  • Instead of avocado frosting, serve the skillet cookie warm with ice cream of your choice. Go for the real thing with classic vanilla bean (Haagen Dazs ALWAYS a fave), or, keeping in theme, a more nutritious versions like Halo Top (not sponsored! I’ve simply tried it and really enjoy). Just a thought — you can never go wrong with peanut butter ice cream either…
  • Optional: show your team spirit (or competitive nature 😉) by adding team-colored fruit, like half blackberries and strawberries for the Falcons, and half blueberries and strawberries for the Patriots!

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 7: Why is this Year Different from All Other Years?

They say that the most successful artists are the most troubled individuals. I’m not saying I’m the Van Gogh of blogging, but I feel like I’ve had less to say over the last … god, more than a month and a half?! I last checked in on June 30th, when I stopped recording in my food diary. Since then, I haven’t seen my nutritionist, and I haven’t written a blog post. Is something happening? Is food less of an issue for me? Am I starting to become the “normal human being” I referred to in Chapter 6?

A coworker recently told me she read my whole blog. “What happens next?!” She seemed genuinely interested and excited, which was actually really cool and flattering. But I wasn’t sure what to tell her. What’s happened in the last 6 weeks? If something had happened, wouldn’t I have written about it?

My most heartfelt posts have come from moments of great empowerment or pretty bad struggling. I’m happy to say that I haven’t struggled too much in the last month and a half, but I also haven’t felt that empowered. I suppose a neutral middle-ground is preferable to food being a such a “thing” for me. But do I need to be all emo in order to write something significant? Did I need to say good bye to juice cleanses in order to get my creative juices flowing? (That might be a really bad pun, but I kind of can’t resist it.)

While I may be less troubled, I still have a lot to say. A lot to share, because so many people deal with the same issues that I’ve dealt with. I know this because people have told me so and because I see or hear it literally every single day. My experience over the last year has made me feel REALLY empowered (ooo! I do still feel empowered! 😊) to share my message and story with others, and all that jazz.

Until I host a motivational blog-reading, much like Carrie Bradshaw’s book reading event on Sex and the City, but a more successful version, in which people don’t ask for their money back and wonder “why we’re even here,” I can only reach all of you beautiful people through thehungryclementine.com.

I think this less troubled, neutral middle ground means that I’ve come a really long way. And I catch myself doing things on a daily basis where I’m like, “Yeah girl! You totally wouldn’t have done that a year ago!” Kind of like those #tinywin moments in the Crystal Light commercials, but mine aren’t always about downsizing. Mine are usually about upsizing.

Thus in order to try to inspire others, I’d like to share examples of these moments in future posts. Today, though, I’m going to share a recipe, because those are always fun./In the hope of inspiring you in some way, I’ve shared some of those moments below.

Why is this Year Different from All Other Years?

  1. I eat bigger meals: This morning I ate a homemade banana oat bar (recipe below!) for breakfast with a schmear of almond butter. I grabbed a Greek yogurt, too, but wasn’t hungry after the bar. In the past, I would’ve nixed the yogurt and done a little happy dance because my small breakfast filled me up. TODAY, however, I knew that this breakfast would not, in fact, fill me, and I would have been hungry shortly, so I ate the yogurt. Former me would have continued with small meals and happy dances and likely pigged out tonight or tomorrow. Think about substantial meals as insurance that you won’t overeat later. And really small ones as increasing the chance that you will.
  2. I allow myself dessert: Monday at the hospital (I began my internship on Monday!) I sampled a couple petit fours and 2 bites of lemon meringue pie from the kitchen. Normally I would’ve said, “I’ve blown the day, so I can eat more crap and just be ‘good’ tomorrow.” Nay nay, my friends! Instead I considered these treats a part of my lunch and stuck to my eating schedule, with a snack a few hours after lunch, and still allowed myself a sweet bite after dinner that night. I didn’t eat a crazy big dessert to “finish off” a bad day of eating, nor did I deny myself dessert because I had already eaten some that day. I just downsized it. I guess that was a #tinywin.
  3. I eat the damn burger: A few months ago I was on my way home and my nose stopped me in my tracks. You know when you walk by a bar that makes really good burgers and your knees kind of buckle underneath you? (Sorry, vegetarians). I couldn’t get the burger out of my head. I resisted at first. Went home and made myself a healthier bread/protein dish: a sunny-side up egg on whole-wheat toast. All the while, I thought of the burger but pushed it away. Alas, I took two bites of the sandwich and threw it in the trash. I wasn’t enjoying it and knew – just knew – that I wouldn’t feel satisfied after dinner, which would have led to kitchen grazing and much nibbling. I ran out of my apartment to the nearest Five Guys and got the Little Cheeseburger and a Coke Zero. Craving satisfied. Ask me about the next time I walked by a bar selling burgers. My knees probably buckled. But I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.
  4. And the pizza: I used to cry inside when I walked by New York pizza places because they smell SO EFFING GOOD, but I didn’t allow myself to eat a slice. Inevitably, on a binge-y day, I would buy two slices and eat them super fast, leading to a burnt tongue and regret. The last time I was that kind of hot mess was over a year ago. Since then, I’ve enjoyed NY pizza several times (especially when they offer whole-wheat crust 🙌) but as a dinner, and not a meltdown. Again, sometimes you need to just give into the craving in order to reduce the craving.
 took this to show my dad how "working girl" I was one day this summer, in my office clothes "grabbing a slice" on my way home from work. It's a really bad pic, but it's also funny, so, here you go.

I took this to show my dad how “working girl” I was one day this summer, in my office clothes “grabbing a slice” on my way home from work. It’s a really bad pic, but it’s also funny, so, here you go.

I’m not suggesting that you eat all the sweets and burgers you want. Nor am I suggesting super-sizing meals to prevent feeling hungry. I hope that what I am conveying is balance. Neither extreme, but peppering a balanced diet with indulgences and allowable cravings in moderation. These are just a couple examples, and more will come! Now, though, the recipe for this morning’s peanut butter banana oat bar, below!

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars

Serving size = 1 bar. Makes 16 bars.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup nut butter (I used peanut butter)
  • 2 medium banana, very ripe
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

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Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Note: I had to play around with time and temperature. A friend suggested 10 minutes at 375, but I have a convection oven, which is more powerful, so I did 325 for about 15 to 20 minutes. It worked, but next time I’m going to try what she suggested.
  • Mash the banana.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed (spoon, hands, whatever floats your boat).
  • LIGHTLY spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Spread mixture into a baking sheet. Note: I legit don’t have a baking sheet because I’ve only used my convection oven, so I can’t tell you what size is best, and for that I apologize. I made only half of this, and my mixture spread to about 5×7″.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before removing from the sheet.
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This is actually the apple cinnamon version I made later. I kind of ate all the banana ones before snapping a shot. So this is the idea, but the banana ones are about 2 shades darker.

Nutrition Information (per 1 bar):

  • 150 calories
  • 9 g fat, 1 g 1 sat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 70 mg sodium
  • 14 g carbohydrates
  • 4 g sugar *This recipe used pre-made peanut butter, but next time I’m going to use the grind-your-own, which will reduced the sugar content
  • 3 g fiber
  • 5 g protein

Serving Suggestions:

  • On-the-go breakfast bar (grab 2!) or 1 as a snack
  • Substitute it for oatmeal, eat alongside an egg or Greek yogurt
  • Warm in the oven, and serve with frozen Greek yogurt, honey drizzle, and cinnamon
  • OR pick up fro-yo flavor of choice, save money on toppings, head home and warm up a bar to eat it with

 

 

Chapter 6: I have a dream

It’s incredible how much work it takes to eat like a normal human being. One of the reasons I initially went to see Linda, my therapist, is that I no longer viewed food in the same way. I was very aware of everything that I ate. I couldn’t just sit down for a meal with friends, like it’s no big deal. It was a big deal, and the fact that I was so aware of the food on the table that it took away from my experience with friends was disconcerting. Why couldn’t I just sit, chat, have some bread with the yummy oily tomato sauce, engage in conversation, and eat my DELICIOUS salmon and sautéed spinach, without being distracted by how much I’ve eaten or being jealous that my friend was able to leave food on her plate. This is what I fantasize about. Stop eating when feeling full or satisfied? What a novel idea?!

I could never.

At least not yet. My nutritionist, Laura, said that that’s a very advanced step, being able to stop when you’re full. I practice it sometimes and am really proud when I do. I left over a piece of sushi once because I was totally satisfied and content. Without sounding cheesy, it’s SUCH an empowering feeling. The food didn’t control me because I made the decision to stop eating on my own. I’ve even thrown out bites of frozen yogurt a few times! (VICTORY. What was that? Do I want a cookie or a medal? I’ll take the cookie…) Laura has really helped me regulate my eating and stop focusing on food so much. Two things she suggested early on have been huge.

Eat dessert once a day. She told me this during our first session. I have a major sweet tooth, and I would often have dessert in the middle of the day. I had not yet let go of the “last supper” mentality (this will be the last cupcake you eat because tomorrow it’s off limits, so get your fill today), so this turned into a string of midday treats. Also, I always obsessed about dessert after dinner and would feel incomplete until I had something sweet. She said dessert is like medicine for me. Oh, and did I take that and RUN with it! Not in an indulgent way. In a lovely way! I could have dessert every day! It helps me keep my cravings – and portions – at bay. If I want something sweet, I know I can have it later, and I can have it without guilt. One night, I got a DUNKIN’ DONUTS DONUT – the special pumpkin pie flavor for fall (disappointing by the way). I never would have done that without anxiety in the past. Laura thought that eventually, I might not even need dessert each night, because since I have it all the time, it becomes less of a “thing.” And she was right. There are some nights I don’t have it because I don’t crave it. I used to have episodes every 1-2 weeks in which I’d go a little nuts. Examples include: getting frozen yogurt twice on my walk home from school one night (mild); purchasing fro-yo at Yogurtland, more fro-yo at a coffee shop, then a cupcake, and then Yogurtland again, all within 5 hours (extreme); or eating a jumbo cookie after a final, followed by frozen yogurt after searching the streets, unsuccessfully, for an open pizza place at 10 am  (moderate, and also pathetic). Anyway – I don’t think I’ve had an episode like that since Laura implemented this rule. Serving as a medicine, it’s one of the things that profoundly continues to help me.

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Keep a food journal. This is pretty common. It helps the nutritionist and client see what the client is eating, potential problems, what the eating schedule is like. Sometimes hunger and mood are included to see if eating is based on actual hunger or some kind of emotion/situation. Laura told me to include whether I’m hungry, which I did religiously. For example, I’d write, “8 am, up; 8:20, hungry, Kashi with peaches and almonds in almond milk; 11:30 hungry, clementine and string cheese.” I was actually really attached to my journal. I left it in a school lounge one day and literally clutched it to my chest when the security guard took it out of his drawer the next day. From October 10th of 2013 through June 1st of this month, I recorded every. single. thing. I ate. For me, this helped because Laura and I would go through my log each session and see if I was eating regularly throughout the day and if my meals were substantial enough to prevent hunger/cravings later. I learned that if I eat a small dinner, I pick later in the night and eat more. Or if I eat less than I should have for a few days in a row, it’s often followed by uncontrolled eating on a day shortly after.

If you think I didn't add "Lost & Found" info IMMEDIATELY into my 2nd journal...🙅

If you think I didn’t add “Lost & Found” info IMMEDIATELY to my 2nd journal…🙅

 

But lord, has this all taken work?! Winter break in Austin and LA led to weight gain, to which I did NOT react healthfully. It’s kind of funny looking back, and I’ll explain it at some point, but basically I had to regain control because I minorly freaked out. Linda suggested I put myself on an eating schedule, and Laura and I perfected it: Meal, 3 hours, Snack, 1-2 hours, Snack, 1-2 hours, Meal, 3 hours, Snack, etc. Basically don’t go more than 3 hours after a meal or 1-2 hours after a snack.

I’m 28 years old, I’ve been eating meals my whole life, and I need to be put on an eating schedule in order to regulate my eating. With that said, it’s actually totally normal and typical for those with any level of disordered eating, but I realized the other day how much work it’s taken me to just … eat.

I saw Laura last week, and we decided I could try ceasing the food journal for a bit and see how I do. On my first day without it, I actually spent the first half of the day recording my hunger cues and what time I ate because I felt all out of sorts not knowing when I ate last. Then, I felt a bit freer, somewhat unchained from my journal. Now, one week later, I need to remind myself in my head when I’ve eaten so I can get a feel for how often I get hungry. This still takes some work, but eating without having to record it has begun to put me in the “eating like a normal human being” category, I would say.

I’ve had healthy and unhealthy food fantasies. Juice fasts fall into the unhealthy category. But a healthier one is just being able to eat normally. To be able to go to dinners, parties, and special occasions without food being the focus. To just eat and engage, stop when I’m full, not agonize over or regret what I ate, not have the dessert buffet in the back of my mind.

Is anyone this carefree? Feel free to use that “Leave a Reply” section below 😉

 

Chapter 5: Cheater Cheater Junk Food Eater

Hello – I’m back! Finals ended two weeks ago, and I’ve been catching up on life and itching to write. So here I am. Writing, whilst I get a pedicure. As part of my story, I’ve wanted to share all parts that have contributed, based on this timeline:

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I think it’s time to describe how it all began – you know, aside from childhood eating behavior, blah blah. In my more recent years, it began with George. My very first personal trainer. I had graduated from college that summer (2008) and started working at Equinox Fitness. I sold memberships there originally, and as a membership advisor, I got to try out a bunch of different trainers. One almost made me cry because he didn’t understand that my lower back could NOT support tons of sit-ups. Another, a former military member – female by the way – worked my quads so hard that it was hard to sit and pee for 3 days. There were others, and then, there was George. He and I would do running exercises together and chat while I was on the treadmill, and one day, he said some stuff that made me realize he was The One. The one to sculpt my body. He painted this picture of me looking great from head to toe, toned and beautiful. I had NEVER ever in my life felt good in a bikini. Ever. So this was tempting.

We trained twice a week. He totally challenged me (without making me cry), and he used a ton of positive reinforcement as I got stronger and leaner. Fitness became a huge part of my life, and as George changed my body, other trainers changed my diet. Two in particular introduced me to the idea of the “cheat day.” If you haven’t heard of this diet tactic, it involves eating super clean 6 days per week and then eating whatever you want on day 7. At least that’s how it was presented to me. I remember one trainer telling me she ate brownie sundaes. Big ones, with ice cream, whipped cream, and everything. I literally did NOT believe her. I double checked to make sure she didn’t mean, like, some Weight Watchers frozen sundae. Nope, she meant the real thing, because 6 days of the week she avoided things like that completely. Another trainer told me to make my cheats good – pancakes, bacon, the works. And that actually was my first cheat day! I remember it well.  On a Sunday, I went to brunch with my friend Carly after her birthday. I had white chocolate chip pancakes with syrup and bacon (bacon dipped in syrup…), whipped cream on the side, and we all shared an ice cream shake with Bailey’s in it. That night, I went to dinner with my parents and had pizza. PIZZA! With bread and olive oil to start. It felt so delicious and exciting. I felt kinda crappy and food coma-y after, but the next day began my 6 days of clean eating. A very welcome start to the week after a heavy cheat day.

I continued this cycle for months. I lost 1/2 to 1 pound per week. I weighed myself every Friday, before the weekend, during which I “cheated.” I started at 126 lbs, and my original goal weight was 118. I hit that goal, followed by 116. When I hit 114.5, I told my mom because I was so excited.

The thing is, I wasn’t TRYING to lose that much! It just kept happening! My diet was conducive to losing weight, so it just kept going. No one had taught me how to maintain, and by that point – nearly one year – I didn’t know how to eat any other way. George contributed to my eating behavior as well. He noticed when I ate salt the night before a session and called me puffy. Not in a mean way. In a personal trainer way. But it led me to avoid salt. I didn’t salt my food. I made my mom avoid added salt when we cooked as a family. I asked waiters at the Chinese restaurant to avoid salt (“Soy?” they said? “No, salt – sodium,” I replied, frustrated. My sister’s boyfriend was visiting from LA, and lord, I’m sure he thought I was nuts.). My salt thing actually got to the point where I got dizzy when stressed. I went to see my doctor about it, and he asked me if I was getting enough salt. I said, “Actually – I try to avoid it as much as I can.” He asked why. “Because my trainer told me to.” He explained that too little salt can lower blood pressure, and if I’m feeling dizzy to keep Gatorade or pretzels on hand. I said, “My trainer had said I shouldn’t eat too much sodium, but I guess I should have taken that with a grain of salt.”

I will never not be proud of that joke…

ANYWAY. My lowest weight was 111.5, in September of 2010. I weighed that much for like a minute and then started to slowly creep back up, until we get to “Life Sucking” on my timeline in early 2011, during which it shot up to around 121, and I freaked. We’ll get there.

But before you use this story as diet advice and try the cheat day to lose weight, let me me tell you why I wish I’d never tried it to begin with, and how it still affects me to this day.

In my first post, I referred to unhealthy, hyper-balanced eating behavior. Well, this is it. It was very black and white, and it did not teach me balance. It only taught me to eat in a way that was either very restrictive or totally indulgent. I carried that mentality with me until just 9 months ago when I started seeing my nutritionist, but that type of eating pattern is not sustainable. While I was able to tightly control myself several years ago while feeling okay, I have not been able do it anymore. My body began to fight back. If I try to restrict, I get hungry, feel deprived, and break my “diet” before the day ends. And so commences the cycle of overeating, feeling gross, restricting, feeling deprived, and overeating again. Not only that, but my body seems to remember still how I deprived it for so long. I still have a hard time leaving dessert left over on my plate, and I get really eager – even anxious – when I know I’m about to eat sweets (especially when I have to share dessert; “shared” is my least favorite type of dessert, especially molten chocolate cakes because they’re so small – am I right?). It’s like my mind thinks it’s the last time I’m going to eat something like that because every cheat day used to be like, “You can have this now, but no more for 6 days, so get it all in while you can!” In my eyes, this is the cheat day gone very wrong. It’s the aftermath of eating that way for almost 2 years. And it doesn’t work for me anymore.

A relationship with your body is just like any other relationship: if you continue to force it to do something it doesn’t want to do, it will give up. It will throw its hands up in the air in rebellion because you’re trying to force it to be something it’s not. That relationship is not healthy, and it’s not successful.

I get really passionate about this because I see people extreme dieting all the time – especially since I work at a gym – and it’s really hard to see because I’ve been there. It’s affected me in quite a negative way, and I literally want to tell the world my story, almost as a warning.. I feel like this post is ending on a solemn note, which wasn’t my intention. Thus, in order to end this more positively, I will tell you that I do try to listen to my body often. For instance, as I’ve mentioned, I eat dessert. Frequently. Tonight I ate a Chipwich. You know when the edges finally start to melt and the cookie gets kind of soft? 😏 Yeah…

 

 

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I hope you enjoy your next dessert as well. Cheers.

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Chapter 4: Love the One You’re With

I felt a strange mix of empowerment and helplessness yesterday afternoon.

It was a tough weekend. A good weekend – my boyfriend’s birthday (his name is Conrad, by the way), celebrating, relaxing, homework. But ultimately a tough weekend. I ended up in a pretty negative place, mood and body image wise.

Every so often, I get mad at my “treatment team,” as I like to call my therapist and nutritionist.

I’ve made a ton of progress with them both, but the last couple of months have been hard. I got into a total groove before winter break (actually, Linda and I refer to it as “the groove” now). I was eating balanced meals, I wasn’t obsessing over food, and I was really happy in my body and my clothes. It was pretty freaking cool. I was happy with how I looked and felt AND I wasn’t restricting. I’d never experienced that before.

Then winter break happened. I totally indulged, and rightfully so, trying Austin Tex-Mex and BBQ, and it was the holiday season. But when I got back, my clothes didn’t fit. ACTUALLY – I’ll never forget this – I purchased a pair of denim shorts in Austin on our first day there. Seven days later – seven days – I went to put them on, and they were tight. Total muffin top. So quickly! It was unreal. I guess after a week of heavy, salty foods, it made sense that I’d puff out in the belly region. But I thought once I got back to my ways in NYC – back in the New York groove, you might say – I’d lose it. I’d go back to normal.

But I haven’t. This is party due to a bump in the road back in January that I will describe in a separate post. Since then, though, Linda and Laura have both advised me the same thing: don’t restrict, focus on normalizing your eating, and your body will do what it’s supposed to do and go back to where it wants to be.

The thing is, I have been doing that. For about 2 months now. I haven’t done anything “crazy.” I haven’t restricted, I haven’t gone and eaten back-to-back froyo/pizza/froyo/candy. I’ve been following their rules. And my clothes still don’t fit.

Which makes me feel incredibly hopeless and incredibly frustrated and has numerous times made me burst into tears. It also makes me want to scream at Linda and Laura and juice for 10 days just to piss them off. But I know better than to do that now.

This weekend, like I said, was rough. A few things set me off. Thursday night I helped a friend model some jewelry and was surrounded by size-0 girls with little waists. (Also, they all had really good “non-smile smiles” for the camera, and we got our makeup done and the woman made my eyebrows so thick they looked like a man’s. Needless to say my self-esteem wasn’t through the roof on Thursday). Then Saturday night I tried to get dressed and dealt with the usual situation of nothing fitting. And summer is coming and people are talking about workouts and fad diets to get in shape. None of this is good for me.

👆Conrad – Eyebrows👆                               (This was at the end of the night. The brows had calmed down a bit)

So Sunday, I started fantasizing about restrictive eating behavior. I’m so sick of this, if I could just do a juice cleanse for like 5 days, IMAGINE how awesome I’d feel after – What if I just start eating more salads and fewer sandwiches? – I could try that 30-day City Row gym class challenge and be in awesome shape..

It made me feel horrible. Because it made me feel really bad about where I am (who I am?) right now. It brought me to a bad, negative place, wistful for when I was happy about my body, and itching for a way to get back there ASAP. I emailed my nutritionist and asked her to please squeeze me in Monday or Tuesday because I’m thinking about restrictive eating and feel it would be beneficial for me to see her.

She fit me in yesterday :). I honestly wanted to see her so she could help me find a healthy way to lose a little weight. I’ve learned so much from her so far, so there must be something she knows that I don’t in terms of how to help someone like me lose weight without restricting, right?

Well, there isn’t. I’m eating when I’m hungry and I’m eating balanced meals. She fears that if I try to limit something, it’ll set me down the wrong path. She’s right. When I want a sandwich, I want an effing sandwich. If I make myself eat a salad instead, I’ll think about the sandwich and pick at more food because I don’t feel satisfied. Even the littlest bit of restricting doesn’t work for me anymore.

But this is the other thing. The bigger thing. I told her why I’m nervous. I told her summer is coming. I told her I’m going to be in a bikini, and that I have things coming up with other girls and they’re going to look better, and I’m going to feel bad about myself.

“You know they might be thinking the same thing about you – that you look better,” she said. I agreed they might. “And who says you’re body isn’t good?” I told her that I don’t think it is. “But isn’t that subjective?” she asked. I agreed with her again. “No one has actually said your body doesn’t look good. You hold yourself to very high standards, which is okay, but not if it makes you feel bad about yourself.”

I know we’ve all heard things like You need to learn to love your body and No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your consent. But what she said yesterday was more than that. It made me realize that if I don’t stop thinking about my body in this negative way, I’m going to continue down this bad path. She asked me what else would make me excited, besides juicing for a few days. I told her that eating regular balanced meals without obsessing over food or overindulging would make me excited. But in order to do that, I need to respect my body. Because if I don’t like what it looks like, I’ll say F it, and I won’t treat it well.

SO. As of yesterday, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try tricking myself into thinking I currently have a body I love. I’m also going to buy a cheap pair of jeans that fit me right now so I don’t have a constant reminder and source of stress in the closet. But I’m hoping that if I start to believe I have a body I love, I’ll actually learn to love the body I have. And if I love the body I have, I’ll treat it even better. I’d be 100% lying if I said weight loss wasn’t a primary goal. But I know that if I do learn to love the body I have, even when it’s not where I want it to be, that will be an invaluable bonus and a huge victory in this uphill battle.

 

 

 

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A Week in Eating

We could all use some inspiration when it comes to healthy food ideas, right? I want to share some of my favorite meals and snacks from the past week to hopefully provide some of that inspiration. Below you’ll see nutritious, satisfying, and balanced combinations. Not only that, they’re all pretty quick and easy to make, which means that you can eat healthfully without too much effort. Read on to prevent one of those “I have nothing to wear” moments, but, you know, in the kitchen.

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OH, how I loved this. It’s a mushroom, tomato and Swiss grilled cheese sandwich with olive oil and salt. I don’t have an oven (truth), and I didn’t have a toaster oven when I made this the first time, so if you, too, happen to have a limited kitchen, this can be done on the stove. I sautéed the mushrooms first so they could cook down, and then I rubbed some olive oil on one side of a slice of bread and threw it on the pan. Once it was warm, I put the Swiss cheese, mushrooms, and tomato on and topped it all with the second slice of bread. Shortly after I flipped it, and I think covered the pan to warm the whole thing so the cheese would continue to melt. It was a bit haphazard, you see… REGARDLESS, once it was all done, I placed some fallen mushrooms back in between the bread, doused the plate in some olive oil and kosher salt, and enjoyed. I licked my fingers and the plate. To round this out and make it a filling lunch, add a fruit or side salad of mixed greens and some dressing.

Need:

  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • sliced white button mushrooms
  • light Swiss cheese
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt (or any salt)
  • tomatoes

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Do you hear angels singing right now? Kashi whole grain waffles have become a staple of mine for breakfast. They feel homey and indulgent and are a great source of whole grains. Pop them in the toaster oven (which I can now do instead of warming them on a pan…_and top as you wish. These have Greek yogurt, sautéed apples, raisins, almonds, cinnamon, and maple syrup. FUN FACT: maple syrup has less high-fructose corn syrup than agave nectar, which has lately been touted as a healthy alternative. Maple syrup is just as natural – it comes straight from the tree. So don’t feel bad about having your waffles and eat them, too.

Need:

  • Kashi whole grain waffles
  • non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • apple slices (thrown on a pan until they start to get warm and a bit softer)
  • raisins
  • almonds, chopped or sliced (I literally bite mine to pieces and then sprinkle them. Do this for yourself or those who don’t mind cooties.)
  • cinnamon
  • 100% maple syrup

ImageMy mom and sister got me cinnamon pear jam from a shop in East Norwich, Long Island. I’ve grown to LOVE it with peanut butter. I put the combo on waffles, too. I was craving both sweet and savory that day so I did one half whole wheat toast with PB and jam, and one half with light Swiss spreadable cheese and jam. So simple yet divine. I made this for lunch the other day but realized it wasn’t filling enough. Greek yogurt with some fresh fruit and cinnamon on the side would be a nice addition to add more umph to this dish.

Need:

  • 2 slices whole wheat toast
  • creamy peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • Laughing Cow spreadable light Swiss
  • fruit jam

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I bet this looks like a big plate of pasta, right? Well, it’s actually “beefed up” with a ton of veggies! This was a delicious dinner from earlier last week. I’ve been learning a lot about heart-healthy diets and disease-prevention, and whole grains and vegetables pop up over and over. If you look at guidelines like MyPlate, you’ll see how much of each food group is good to include. A big handful of these whole wheat noodles and the rest of the plate as vegetables was nutritious and totally satisfying. Low-fat string cheese added protein to round out the dish. This is a go-to of mine.

Need:

  • whole wheat noodles (pre-cooked to save time; I get mine from Fresh Direct)
  • spinach
  • mini peppers
  • white button mushrooms
  • tomato sauce
  • low-fat string cheese (Shredded mozzarella would be better, but I’m a student on a budget. I eat string cheese as a snack all the time – gotta make my groceries work!)

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This was the result of boredom with my usual meals, limited protein in the house, and a gorgeous plate from Anthropologie (thanks, sis 😉 ). I tried to crisp my spinach by throwing on the pan with no water or oil, but it failed. Try to use kale for this, which doesn’t wilt nearly as easily as spinach and will add a nice crunch to this dish. Lightly dress your kale with olive oil and let it sit on a big pan until it browns. Meanwhile, dress grape tomatoes in olive oil and put them in the oven on broil. Before I had a toaster oven I did this all the time on pan and it worked equally well, if not better. I call them “blistered tomatoes” because of the way their skin wrinkles (you’ll see). This brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes and adds a really nice flavor to a dish. Make your egg to desired runniness while the kale and tomatoes finish, and serve with cut up avocado. It’s light but satisfying and has healthy fats and a ton of nutrients from the veggies and egg.

Need:

  • eggs
  • avocado
  • kale
  • grape tomatoes (or cherry)
  • olive oil

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I ate this for dessert last night. Okay, that’s not true. This would have been my dessert last night, but then my boyfriend came home and made cinnamon rolls, so it turns out this was a pre-dessert snack. The POINT, though, is that this is nice snack that can satisfy a sweet tooth at the same time. Don’t be fooled. I don’t eat this for dessert on the reg. Sometimes I eat fro yo. Sometimes I eat chocolate. Maybe an ice cream sandwich. But this can do the trick from time to time. I also decided to add dried cranberries for a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants, both part of a heart-healthy diet.

Need:

  • Kashi sunshine cereal (it tastes like Captain Cap’n Crunch!!)
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • dried cranberries
  • almond/soy/dairy mik

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This isn’t a meal or snack, obviously. It was my latté this morning, and I’m proud of it. I’m trying way hard to save money and not spend $5 a day on coffee at Starbucks. So this morning I layered ice, almond milk, and a bit of sugar in a glass, and – this is the fun part – mixed in a couple drops of pure vanilla extract! I made a serving of espresso into the glass and voila – had a fancy vanilla almond milk latté, homemade.

Need:

  • milk of choice
  • vanilla extract
  • sugar/sweetener of choice
  • ice
  • espresso (I have a Tassimo machine, which is like a k-cup. If you have something to make coffee or espresso, that’ll work!)

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Today’s breakfast. I was super into it. Kashi waffles, this time with peanut butter and aforementioned cinnamon pear jam. And another with Greek yogurt, trail mix, and maple syrup. The trail mix added some protein, healthy fat, fiber, and antioxidants from the dried cranberries, and the yogurt and peanut butter provided protein. I could have added some fresh fruit to this to make it more filling, as I got hungry a bit earlier than normal, so if you make this, feel free to add to it.

Need:

  • Kashi whole grain waffles
  • creamy peanut butter
  • non-fat or low fat Greek yogurt
  • trail mix
  • maple syrup
  • cinnamon

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Snack time! I ate this in class one day. And somehow managed to snap a photo of it while in class… I cut up some apples before class and put them in a container and broke up walnuts and sprinkled them with cinnamon in a baggie. This is super easy, filling, and nutritious. Fun fact: acid can prevent your fruits from browning. I LIGHTLY rubbed some lemon on these apples after cutting. It adds a slight flavor, but if you don’t mind, it’s nice to keep them crunchier.

  • Need:
  • non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • apples
  • walnuts
  • cinnamon

Get more meal inspiration here!

Chapter 3: Forbidden Fruit [Juice]

I want to get to the good stuff. The more recent stuff that I’ve been dealing with since getting back from the vacation that “ruined” the beautiful flow I had gotten into beforehand. None of that will mean much, though, without a description how I got here, and why these recent months have been so difficult. I have a timeline in my head of milestones that have impacted my relationship with food, for better and for worse. I added the winter break vacation to it recently. It looks like this:Image

So far, you’ve heard about Ithaca. Before Ithaca came … (insert ominous music here):

THE JUICE CLEANSE.

They’re forbidden to me now, like Prince Eric and his legs to Ariel under the sea. I tried one for the first time last May, purely (and I mean this honestly) to see what all the hype was about. As a current nutrition student and future dietitian, I feel like I should experience what people are trying. I had tried a raw diet the week before for the same reason – to understand how it felt (it sucked), and then decided to try the cleanse, for only 2 days.

That was a mistake.

It wasn’t very difficult, especially after having eaten raw for three days. But oh, that morning after the cleanse. I got on the scale and was a proud 114 pounds. I hadn’t weighed that little since the days of George, who you’ll meet in a future chapter. I fit into jeans and shorts that hadn’t fit in 3 years. It was like getting new clothes without going shopping. It felt awesome. And the crazy thing was, I lost 4 pounds in 2 days! It was like magic. Literal magic. Especially because I wasn’t even juicing to lose weight in the first place.

Oops.

Juicing became a crutch. I didn’t do it often but attempted it a couple times since the first one. Once was after several days of “bad eating.” Another was before a vacation. But it never did the same thing again. I couldn’t lose 4 pounds in 2 days. I didn’t fit into my old stuff. And this frustrated me even more, which made me eat out of emotion, freak out, and then eat really “clean” again to make up for all of that emotional eating.

It’s funny. Cosmo printed an article recently on juice cleanses, and I was super excited to read it because of my experience with them. One part of the article totally sticks out in my mind: juicing can trigger a relapse of eating disorders in people who have previously suffered from them. While I don’t have a technical eating disorder, I’ve been dealing with disordered eating for the last few years. What’s amazing (in a bad way) is how the juice cleanse enhanced the poor eating behaviors – the restrict-and-reward cycle – I had been practicing. Those things should come with a warning label. Too many people do them without realizing their potential impact.

Like I said, I’m not allowed to juice anymore. It was one of the first pieces of advice Linda, my therapist, gave me. She said: “I’d like to suggest that you don’t do juice cleanses.” I kind of lost my breath for a second. She specializes in eating disorders (a fact that I decided to ignore in that brief moment), but she’s not a nutritionist, so who was she to tell me what to eat or not eat.

That became one the best things she ever suggested. It forced me to use FOOD to try to be healthy. It made me remember that I used to know how to eat balanced meals that weren’t compressed into a bottle. It prevented me from falling back on something quick and easy. However – I wouldn’t be presenting the full truth if I implied it was as simple as that. Voila, I stop juicing, start eating balanced meals again, and all is well. No, no. She also suggested I stop restricting in general – eat what I’m in the mood for. Well, telling a girl with a massive sweet tooth to “allow herself to eat what she wants” led to a bit more indulgence than was probably healthy, but it wasn’t all bad, because it led me to Laura, my nutritionist, another milestone in my timeline. And because of her, and Linda, I no longer drink this:

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And I get to enjoy this:

Pinkberry

Pinkberry,

or a Cadbury egg,

or a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich (BEYOND, by the way)

or a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich (BEYOND, by the way).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2: Breakthrough

I had originally planned to go in order with these posts. I was going to talk about therapy next – lessons I learned early on that I’d like to share with others, progress and missteps, and so on.

But I had a thought the other night that I want to share.

This was Thursday night after my midterm, and I was feeling EXHAUSTED but joyous for the next day. My Friday was going to consist of:

–       11:30 am workout

–       train two new employees at work for 2-3 hours

–       mani/pedi

–       dinner and drinks with coworkers.

Joy.

I was really looking forward to all of this, especially blowing out my hair and putting on makeup because the week had consisted of my hair in a bun, glasses, sweats, and the same neon yellow Victoria’s Secret sleep top that I wore to both the review session and the midterm… I hope my TAs didn’t notice. It’s really bright.

So, I had a thought. Thursday night I was excited about my Friday. And I realized that what I was excited about had nothing to do with my body. None of the things I listed had anything to do with how I look or feel. Yes, a workout is physique-related, but nowhere in that list was “I’m feeling really good about my body right now,” or something along those lines… and I thought, “Oh my god. It’s happening.”

Let me explain.

Most of my thoughts somehow come back to my body. It doesn’t matter what it is. My body becomes central to much of what I’m thinking and feeling. For example, three weeks ago I was totally stressed because I had a really large workload for the weekend and didn’t see how I was going to accomplish it all. Soon enough, my thought process progressed to: I’m never going to get my body back to how it was before vacation because how will I ever lose weight if I’m not really “strict” with my eating, and I’m going to “stay this way forever.” And I ended up in a hopeless fit of hysterics.

As hysterical as my fit could be, anyway, with my boyfriend napping on my bed. It was a silent fit until I got into the shower, which I had to do anyway, and which was nice because when new tears come you don’t really feel them with the water running (#emo).

My therapist pointed out recently that usually there is something else going on other than how I feel about my body whenever I get that emotional. In that example it was school-related stress. Other times it’s something with one of my personal relationships. Whatever it is, my body becomes a focal point of how I’m feeling. I might not even be focusing on how I feel physically intially, but something external triggers that thought process. And, more commonly, it goes the other way, in that my body affects my brain. I can be having a great day and suddenly try to get dressed and when my jeans don’t fit I’m in the “worst mood ever” (i.e., Saturday night).

A huge part of my work with both my therapist and my nutritionist (yep, the future RD has a current RD) is to separate how I feel in a given moment from how I feel about my body. Not to let the two get mixed up. Thursday night I realized that my general positive feelings about the next day were totally unrelated to my perception of how I feel physically. In addition to that, I don’t even feel so great about my body right now, and I was still feeling really positive! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

In therapy, I believe this would be called “a breakthrough,” and I’m super excited to tell my therapist about it today. I’m not totally sold on the fact that I’m going to continue to feel this way, but it’s a notion I’m going to try to hold onto. How many times have you said, I’ll be happy if I lose those last 5, 10, or 15 pounds, or those first 100, or 200? I’m not saying we should forgo our goals by any means. What I am saying is that happiness and physicality should not be so tightly interlaced, and that happiness can exist without having “achieve perfect body” checked off  a to-do list.  If I can feel the way I felt Thursday night for even a few minutes, then maybe it will happen again. And then again. And then even more, until I finally begin to stop letting my body drive my emotions.