Sunday, September 20, 2015

Begrudingly Leaving My Comfort Zone and Learning to Play with Others

As a child, the first words used to describe me were always "outgoing" or "talkative". I loved being known as the funny friend, even when it got me in trouble. It was nice to be known as someone who could make other people smile.

When I took the Myers-Briggs test my sophomore year in college, I scored as an Extrovert. No surprises there; I loved talking to new people, going to parties, etc. Making friends in new environments was never something that scared me. Years of theatre performances and experience on improv teams made me feel confident speaking in public and thinking on my feet.

As my sophomore year continued, my eating patterns took a turn for the worse. Not only did I distance myself from friends, family, and social situations altogether, but I lost my outgoing personality. If you've experienced any type of disordered eating past, you can probably relate. I ate most meals alone because it was comfortable, and giving the excuses of being too tired or having too much homework were all too easy to spew out. Who cares if I don't have any friends so long as I can eat my "safe" foods?

This past summer, I had an internship away from home for the first time. Living alone didn't scare me in the slightest; I had the freedom to cook my food to my liking, to eat when I wanted, to go about my life in whatever routine I pleased. It was safe and it was easy. I didn't keep food in the apartment that would stress me out and no one could question my eating habits. I was constantly alone yet I was never lonely. This was the dream...right?

I moved into an apartment on campus this year with three of my teammates. Despite my excitement to live with my closest friends, and to have a kitchen to cook all the meals I could never make in a dorm room, I was terrified. This would be the first time that I would have to challenge myself and to let other people into such a private part of my life. I've never been someone to advocate stepping outside of your comfort zone. Why would I step out of it? It's comfortable here, duh.

In the last month I have realized how much I missed out on over the last few years. Having a social atmosphere at my fingertips has reminded me how much I enjoy spending time with others. Instead of fighting with myself and forcing myself to enjoy being introverted, I am slowly remembering who I was before the disorder. Sure, I still love to have my alone time, but it feels wonderful to know that spending time with others isn't as scary as I thought, and that it can be much more special to have an unplanned or "scary" meal with them than it is to eat safer foods in solitude. I wouldn't say that I'm welcoming this new territory yet with outstretched arms, but uncrossing my arms and loosening a fist is good enough for now.

Monday, April 6, 2015

MyProtein: Double Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie

Recently I was able to get my hands on the Protein Cookies from MyProtein and was way too excited. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a major sweet tooth, especially one for chocolate. Needless to say, I was beyond stoked to dig into this cookie.

When I took my first bite, I was amazed by how many chocolate chunks there were. (I'm allllll about that chunk factor being turned all the way up). I liked how the cookie tasted by itself, not too crispy or chewy, but perfectly soft. However, I decided that no harm could be done by warming it up. I popped it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and yeah, it turned out to be an excellent decision. The chocolate chips got all melty and the cookie was soft and warm....the only problem was that I got some chocolate on my fingers but um, let's just say that this was not an issue for long.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with this product. Great taste and quality in general.

Macros for one cookie are: 320 calories, 10g fat, 20g carb, 37.5 protein

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Gave My Friend an Eating Disorder

I have had an eating disorder for long enough now to still not be surprised with the amount of filth I can dig up on myself every time I look in a mirror. But yet every morning I’m able to come up with new insults and new body parts to hate; it’s amazing how much my mind can wander and how many new hateful words it can think of. I guess all the SAT prep wasn’t for nothing.

My battle with orthorexia nervosa (an eating disorder or mental disorder characterized by an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy) began almost two years ago. It started as an innocent interest in losing weight and getting healthy and in shape enough to compete on my college’s crew team and maybe along the way look better in a swimsuit. The summer after my freshman year I successfully lost thirty pounds and left for school feeling more confident than ever. I had no idea that maintaining my new weight would be the hardest challenge I would have to face.

What no one tells you when you finish losing weight is that your problems don’t just disappear once you see a certain number on your scale. I spent the majority of the fall semester of my sophomore year thinking of ways in which I could make myself look even better. My eating disorder spiraled out of control as I pushed myself to look as perfect as possible. I mastered the art of avoiding meals and invitations to any event where I would have to be confronted with an unplanned meal or an unsafe food. There were moments that I reveled in it. I loved being the girl that people looked up to. Every day people would tell me that they were in awe of my dedication and will power. Little did they know they were simply pumping the gas into my car and filling the air in my tires.

Unlike some other people with eating disorders, my goal was never to be skinny. I wanted to have bulging biceps and defined obliques and rock hard quads. I thought that nothing was wrong with me because I knew that thigh gaps and visible ribcages weren’t my goal. I thought I was better than everyone else because I had outsmarted them.

It didn’t matter because I still had the same paralyzing fear of gaining weight, something you need to do in order to gain muscle. Losing weight left me smaller and without much muscle on me and while this was not a look I was content with, I was not willing to gain weight in order to give it up. So instead, I was stuck in a limbo of hating everything I saw in a mirror but without the courage and strength to make a change. Rather than take a step out of my comfort zone and eat spontaneously at the dining hall with my friends, I sat alone in my room eating the same handful of almonds because carbs after 5 p.m. were unthinkable to me.

After months of torture, I realized that I’d had enough. While this realization came in waves (anyone who’s had an eating disorder knows how comfortable they are and despite being harmful can be terrifying to let go of), there was one day that I knew that I couldn’t continue to live like this. I sat at a table with my friends as they made comments about their appearance and what they wanted to change. A teammate of mine commented on her stomach and how it was too large. I was instantly irritated. “What the hell is she talking about? She looks great. Yeah she doesn’t have a six-pack but who cares.” I thought about how mad I was that she would think so negatively of herself when she had no right to. It took a minute but it finally clicked: if I’m so disgusted with someone making negative comments about their own body, why do I do it to myself every day?

Recovering isn’t easy, but learning to take a step outside of myself and my disorder helped me and projecting it onto others helped me realize how flawed my behavior was. I would never let someone else sit in their room and miss out on a meal with their friends or Thanksgiving dinner with their family just because they were obsessed with looking a certain way. And now I do my best to make sure that I don’t miss out on any more memories either.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's What's On the Inside That Counts


It sounds weird, I know. But adding zucchini (yes, zucchini) to my oats was quite possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to me. First off, it packs your oats with an added serving of veggies (all the micros, all the fiber). Second, it pumps up your oats with a ton volume. Like triple the size. And lastly, because of the super mild taste, it's like you aren't even eating a vegetable.

I used to be a huge fan of adding "riced" cauliflower to my oats but the prep for that, as well as the smell, was just becoming a pain in the ass after a while. I prefer zoats because it takes no time to prepare and it's a lot milder of a taste than cauliflower. Here's how I make mine!

1/2 small or 1 large zucchini
1/2 cup oats
1 1/4 cup water 
1/4 cup egg whites
1 T chia seeds
Protein powder, nut butter, fruit, etc. (optional)

1. Grate your zucchini onto a paper towel and then squeeze out the excess water (I used to omit this step and still do if I'm pressed for time but it really helps!)
2. Add zucchini to a bowl with your oats and water.
3. Microwave until the oats are pretty well cooked.
4. Stir in your egg whites and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the oats have fluffed up.
5. Add 1T chia seeds and after the oats have cooled a bit, stir in desired amount of protein powder (I typically do anything from 1/4-1/2 scoop).
6. Top and devour!

My One Year Transformation

One year ago I decided to make an Instagram account to hold myself accountable to staying on top of working out, eating right, and to hopefully learn how to make a pretty bowl of oatmeal. I had no idea what the next 365 days would hold in store for me. I refrained from making a post at the beginning of the month so bear with me as this might be kinda lengthy but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this past year.

2014 was by far the toughest year of my life. This time last year I was in the absolute depths of orthorexia and was digging myself into a deeper hole every day. I spent the majority of my spring semester last year being terrified of everything, every situation that would force me to deal with an unplanned meal or possibly missing a workout. It still makes me depressed thinking about how much I missed out on and how many times I gave up making memories with friends in exchange for eating my "safe" foods alone in my room.

About halfway through the summer, I took a huge step and gave up counting macros which is by far the best decision I made for myself in the whole process. Looking back, I can see that I was still eating basically the same things every day but nonetheless, it was a step in the right direction. 

Towards the end of my fall semester, I fell back into some destructive habits (obsessive macro counting, restricting, etc.). Sometimes, and I feel like I'm not the only one who feels this way, I feel like the only way to achieve goals is to become obsessive about them and mask it as "dedication". This works for some people but all in all, it can just take over your life. 

It has taken time but eventually I just decided that enough was enough. I no longer count calories, I eat a wide variety of foods, and I am getting better at having less anxiety about skipped workouts/unplanned meals. Sure it's nerve wracking sometimes. I won't lie and say that I feel 100% free from my disorder. I believe I'll always be a work in progress. But over the past year I've really thought about the person I want to be when I'm older and I know that I'll never get there if I waste my 20s being obsessed calories and my body fat percentage. I am so unbelievably happy to have made this account because I've made some amazing friends and have gotten so much support from some pretty amazing people. I have big goals for this upcoming year and it's thanks to a lot of you guys that I feel confident in my abilities to achieve them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Banana Bread Muffins

In the words of one of my teammates, "bananas shouldn't even be considered a fruit because they are basically on a dessert-level in terms of how delicious they are." I'd have to agree. I found myself with quite a few ripe bananas the other day and decided to give banana bread a go. Turned them into muffins though because it's just a lot easier to control the portion sizes and they look a little cuter. It was a highly scientific decision making process.

These were everything that banana bread muffins should be: moist, dense, sweet, and cakey. Give them a shot!


3 large bananas 
1.5 cups old fashioned oats
1 egg 
Vanilla extract 
Stevia to taste 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda

Grind oats into a flour, then mix with the rest of your dry ingredients. Mash bananas in a separate bowl, mix with rest of wet ingredients, the combine with dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips if desired.

Pour into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Macros (serves 9): 77 calories, 1.8g fat, 13g carb, 2.6g protein (macros will differ based on brand/amount of chocolate chips used)

Cinnamon Swirl Zucchini Waffles

If you follow me on Instagram, then you definitely know that I am obsessed with putting zucchini into any and all of my foods. It started as this weird need to eat something green in every meal of the day but now it's simply because zucchini is a great food for adding not only volume to recipes but also moisture for minimal calories (and yeah, yeah, yeah, it's good for you or whatever). It sounds weird but zucchini's taste is super mild and it can be masked relatively easily.

Once I acquired a waffle maker a few weeks ago (thanks mom) I knew that I could definitely figure out a way to make a zucchini waffle because, why not. It turned out amazingly and I've been having it almost every morning since I first made it! My recipe yields two almost full size waffles so bang for your buck + taste bud party = you should try this recipe (#DoIEvenMath)


 1/2 grated zucchini (squeeze excess water out with a paper towel)
40 g Kodiak Cakes mix
10 g whey (I used Cinnamon Swirl by Cellucor)
1/3 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
Cinnamon and stevia to taste

Mix, cook, top, and devour!