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WIAW- With An Approved Approach

Posted May 16 2012 4:38am

Good morning and yay for being halfway through the week!

I actually have a rather busy but gratifying (hopefully) day ahead of me…. First, I have an interview at 10 for a legit, real-life job that I could potentially continue throughout my time at nursing school and then stay with the company when I earn my nursing license, as this place requires nurses. This would be amazing/perfect to say the very least, so here is to hoping the interview goes well!

I have some emails to catch up on, errands to run, unpacking to (still) do, and a few other nagging to-dos that must be tackled asap. Also tonight Lindsay and I are meeting at J.P. Licks in Davis Square (Somerville, MA) at 7:30, so anyone around the area please come join us! We already have a few lovely ladies coming, and I am seriously psyched to meet everyone :)

A bit of a busy day but you will hear no complaining from me, as this is the first step in working to establish myself as a post-graduate student… to really get right into the next stage of my life now that college is over and to be mentally and physically ready for whatever comes my way next.

As I wrote about on Monday (and as always, thank you for your helpful and encouraging input), the last few well months really, have been tough for me while at school. The reality of what the disorder has done to me, how it has changed me, became very apparent towards the end of school.

After reading people’s input on Monday, you all did spur several thoughts around the matter and honestly, made me feel a whole lot better about it. While it may seem that “everyone” has tons of friends, loves college and such, this is clearly not accurate, and comparing myself to others lives is just not helpful. It certainly did seem like it for me while sitting in my room on a Friday night creeping on Facebook and seeing ‘everyone’s’ uber-great times. However, this is only part of the reality.

I have dealt with a majorly debilitating disease throughout my college years, the times that are “supposed” to be the best, and many of you helped me to realize that, wait a second, maybe I didn’t do too badly under the circumstances. There is also no use in dwelling on the past and being in a constant state of regret about what I cannot change.

I still have tons of unanswered questions in regards to what is really ME verses the disorder when it comes to making decisions, going out, being with others and such.

Even after all of this time, self-reflections, analyzing myself, really working hard to figure out such confusing matters…. but nope I still do not know. How would my college experience been different sans the disorder? What would my personality be like? Who would I have met? Who would I be friends with? Would I have still stayed in the same major?

Again, unanswered questions and there is just no need to dwell on them anymore. I am a graduate of college, that memorable (often sad) time of my life is over, and I have learned a lot about myself. It’s time to take the knowledge I actually do have and make it apparent and relevant in this new stage of my life, that as a young woman living at home, working, attending school, and continuously working and fighting hard to recover and also figure out what makes me happy.

Phew and after that lengthy intro (which does have to do with today’s post) let’s get to WIAW! Thank you Jenn for allowing this event to happen each week! You are one special lady :)

Although the focus on food, eating, weight, calories, nutrients and so on are only a symptom of an eating disorder, it is still essential that this part of the illness is improved before the more profound mental part of the healing process can occur. Food feels like everything, your weight, body shape, “fat” is the end all and be all…. but in fact it’s not, again only a symptom of whatever else is going on in your life that needs to be tackled and hopefully improved or fixed.

***Today’s food is from Monday, the first full and somewhat hectic-free day I have experienced in awhile. I tried my best to truly listen to my desires that day, whatever that entailed. I am doing today’s WIAW post as I have been lately… telling the story with the actual food in between my words. I apologize if it’s confusing, but bear with me :)

**************

I could not wait to have stove-top oats upon my return. While I have been cooking oatmeal at school, it has been via microwave and well, it’s just not the same, plus I never had all ingredients on hand in the dorm room. Oatmeal cooked on the stove tastes soo so much better, man I am glad this is back in my life!

In this particular bowl: rolled oats, breakstone low fat cottage cheese (my favorite!), canned pumpkin, egg whites, milk, vanilla extract, splenda, tons of cinnamon, 1 T of almond butter, and fresh, plump blueberries!

***************

When I was at school, especially toward the end, it was really easy to turn all of my attention on food because it gave me something to do and distract me from the sadness I was feeling. However, it was never positive of course as I was restricting more and more (especially with no exercise) and my body at least had to be thin and ‘perfect’ if nothing else! Yes this is ridiculous, even after all that I have come to learn, but when the disorder grabs and you starts to sink it’s claws in, all rationalization flies out the window.

Food and eating was becoming something I was fearing again, yet I could not sustain any old and dangerous habits as I once had during the height of the disorder, becasue I have come way too far with this recovery process. Hence the binging occurred, the focus intensified, but restricting was no longer an option, my body and brain would not allow it. A blessing in disguise really because this shows my recovery brain is far more powerful now!

***********

Roasted Kabocha squash with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter for dipping

That particular nut butter is the peanut and coconut spread from Earth Balance and let me tell you, that paired with the squash? One magical and flavorful combination! Next up will be drizzling coconut butter all over the squash as many of you enjoy doing, I must try it myself!

**************

In the last few weeks especially, I was eating the same things constantly because yep, they were safe and there for me. I will give myself some credit though, these were foods I still enjoyed, like salads, greek yogurt, nut butters, candy, etc… stuff I do in fact love! However, I only changed things up for WIAW posts, and I used this day to challenge myself.

Now that I am home though, I am approaching food, eating, cooking, and baking much differently. I am mentally more free now that college is over, and as I said earlier, completely ready for the next stage of life and EXCITED to properly heal and recover once and for all. And of course, the food is a major part of this!

************

Salad from the salad bar at my favorite local grocery store,

In the mix- spinach, mixed greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, kidney/black beans, red peppers, carrots, all drizzled with an olive oil/lemon dressing.

Now this is totally random and a weird pairing, but I decided to cook up some pancakes to enjoy with the salad… there are countless recipes I have saved (especially breakfast ones) and it’s time tackle them. Breakfast with lunch? Sounds good to me!

I used this recipe for inspiration and my pancakes contained:

Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

  • 1/3 cup flour (ww pastry, white, spelt, Bob’s gluten-free, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 packet sweetener (or sugar)
  • 1/3 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

1) Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add wet. Mix, but don’t overmix. Cook on an oiled (or sprayed) pan, on low-medium, flipping each pancake once.

2) Top with whatever tickles your fancy! I went with a small amount of legit syrup.

**************

It is something that should never be feared, never be focused on too much and never be the starring role in your life, rather play a part, in whatever way that works for you.

I realize I am not saying anything new here, but this is more of a reminder to keep changing my view of food as something that is nourishment for my body, rather than a mysterious substance that is only out to make me fat and miserable. Ehhh no, incorrect. This eating disorder has manipulated my thoughts into thinking about food all of the time, but that doesn’t mean I have to approach it with such a negative view.

It can be something that is celebrated- celebrated for its flavor, its nutrition, what benefits its providing for not only my body, but my mind as well… associate it with fuel rather than fear, and of course be willing and okay with consuming foods that are purely for pleasure, as the latter is what adds value to life- joy, happiness and freedom.

***********

Get ready for the afternoon snack I had on Monday,

Oh yes, Fun Dip made an appearance. I used to enjoy this candy all.of.the.time when I was younger… in fact my family would buy the huge packs from Costco.. the ones that contained three flavors- cherry, grape, and that delicious apple one that changed from blue color to a green. All natural and not full of chemicals, definitely not ;) That is okay though, all part of life right?!

I also did consume something that has a legit red color, as it’s supposed to… strawberries, along with a tasty mix of other favorite fruits:

That fruit looks almost fake to me haha, I assure you it’s not. All of these berries were on sale, I think we are officially in the on-sale fruit summer season, heck YES to that.

**************

While I was at school, I did have an on-campus meal plan and while the food there was truly fantastic, I was often afraid to try something else or just not in the mood to challenge myself and then have to deal with the guilt. This was physically related, as gaining weight is always #1 fear, but it was also my mind, I was too sad and feeling bad for myself to bother tasting new foods… as I type this, the connection makes zero sense, but somehow I managed to make it seem intelligent.

It was almost as if I was punishing myself for the way I had been acting- isolation, obsessing about food, not ever being with others… punishing myself by not eating what the recovering part of my brain actually wanted. I thought this would all somehow make me feel better, and at least provide me with a sense of accomplishment. NOPE the opposite in fact occurs, your mind, body and life falls apart at an increasingly faster rate.

***********

Pizzaaaaa! This is pizza from Antonio’s a famous place in Amherst, which I have now enjoyed only twice in the three years I have been there. I bought this with my brother on Saturday and brought it back to eat at a later time… cold pizza is always a win.

Again, this is only the second time I have had Antonios, literally a crime according to fans of this place. They have tons of unique flavors and toppings, pretty much whatever you can think of, and a bunch of healthier ones too.

But pizza is just…. difficult for me. White bread, oil, cheese, fat, calories, ahhhh! Plus the “fear” of filling up on something that is too high in calories, still being hungry after, but then feel that I cannot eat anymore because I have already “used up” my food consumption for the day. Sigh, this is simply not an okay to approach any kind of dish.

I wish I could say I ate this pizza with no guilt at all, but yep that would be a blatant lie. Even after all of the time, and the fact that I have had Antonio’s before, I still feel major discomfort. Oh freakin well though, I eat the slice- black beans, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, onion, feta cheese and drizzled with a bit of extra olive oil. Gosh this was GOOD, and meals like this inspire me once again and also help me to realize that there is so much more to food then just eating it… celebrated? YES.

Dessert later on was these nuts I found randomly at a discount organic food store near me in Amherst (Hannah if you are reading, it was DEALS AND STEALS :) )

These were Dutch Cocoa almond from Somersault Snack Company, from the site:

Our quest to bake the perfect snack led us to the miraculous sunflower. Just one serving of these tiny seeds have:

  • 4x more antioxidants than blueberries…
  • More fiber than an apple…
  • AND 50% more protein than almonds!

We couldn’t resist. Somersaults have a healthy bunch of sunflower and sesame seeds in every nugget. In fact, Somersaults are a good source of fiber, vitamin E and offer you the same protein as almonds, but with fewer calories and less fat.

They offer other flavors too, cinnamon sugar intrigues me the most… going to try and find that one next! (*** I was not paid and/or sent to review these, I just really liked the product lol)

***************

I will say it again, I know i am not saying anything particularly new here, but I know a new and improved approach to food is something that I need to do… going back to the basics, what I used to do and how I used to see food. The flavors and tastes are to be enjoyed, the nutrients are helping to heal my body, the treats, and “indulgent” foods are just as fine as the healthier and more nutritious ones. All about balance, moderation…. that aspect of eating that continues to elude me.

Being home is going to make such a positive difference with food. I have the means to prepare it how I want to, when I want to… but mentally I am happier here which in turn gives me the motivation to actually challenge myself once again and give myself the chance to get better. When I can think of food in a more upbeat way, I can see recovery process as something that is actually possible, rather than this seemingly confusing and futile goal.

In my opinion, the food I consumed on Monday was just awesome- items I actually enjoy and feel good about eating, with some room in there for food that is purely for pleasure. There is no reason to see food as the enemy, as this “thing” that is out to get me, ruin my life and make me fat. Nope, in fact it is something that can be approached with an open-mind and a chance to see it as fuel, a healthy approach to something I feel as though I am always going to have a certain amount of focus on.

I have so many recipes I want to make and this truly excites me! Here is to a tasty, flavorful, nutritious and just wonderful summer.

I would love to hear from you….

-Do you ever stop, take a step back and go back to the basics with food? What does that mean to you?

-Do you see food as something that can be celebrated rather than feared? How have you adopted this view or are you still struggling with the fears? I know I am still “scared” of eating becasue I continue to not full trust myself, but this of course a work in progress.

-How do you incorporate the items that you consider “indulgent” into your meals or days? How often? I want to work on this, feeling okay about it, sans guilt would be nice too.

-What is your favorite childhood candy/sweet treat? Fun Dip and me go wayyyy back!

-How often do you have breakfast for dinner? Or lunch in my case!

-And finally, what is the best thing you have eaten/cooked/baked in the past week? Those pancakes were great, and an interesting taste to add in the middle of the day!

Have a most glorious Wednesday and I hope to see some of you tonight :D

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