Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fight for Progress

PNFO

Alright, so no – I didn’t eat a whole person. But sometimes, it sort of feels that way.

**This post will have some mention of calorie calculations and numbers – if you think that might trigger something, please be wary! I’m writing this to help, not to hurt.

At the time I’m writing this, I am currently at a point where I feel uncomfortable eating anything over 200 calories or so. Yesterday is a good example. After work, I had about 20 minutes before we needed to head out to the YMCA to workout. In that time-frame, I had a serving of peanuts and maybe an ounce of leftover chicken from the night before.

I was in tears on the way to the gym, simply because I had a snack that was maybe 250 calories, if that.

After the YMCA, we returned home. Then came a dinner of eggs, sausage, cheese, and green beans. Again, not bad, and probably just a little bit over that self-imposed 200 calorie limit. But then, here comes the kicker: I had half of a muffin I made earlier, and a fourth-cup of sugar-free ice cream with whipped cream.

And it felt like all hell broke loose.

20 minutes later, I drank a cup of soy milk, and had half of a low-carb tortilla with half a tablespoon of peanut-butter. And then I just had to high-tail it out of the kitchen, because I could feel a binge in the making.

That’s how it always starts for me, at least. It doesn’t matter if I’ve had an entire day of indulgence, or if it was a day of balanced eating – give me one meal over a certain number of calories, a bit of self-doubt or frustration (or any negative emotion, honestly), and BAM. Just like that, and I’m not in control anymore. It’s that easy.

I can’t tell you how many times this happens. Once during the school year, I felt overwhelmingly lonely, so I sat in my room and ate bowl after bowl of cereal. Another time, at home, I was so mad at myself for a reason I don’t even remember, that I decided to fill up on those packaged, cream-filled cupcakes. Those are just two examples.

Let me take you into the the mind of someone still fighting the urge to binge and purge. It’s a place where logic takes a backseat to emotions. It’s an all-or-nothing mentality – and it is hard to break.

Spock-logic

You must bring logic back into the picture. For instance, just looking purely at the numbers – my overall caloric intake, minus exercise, was a little over 1200. That is essentially the bare-minimum recommendation for calorie intake, given the fact that your body needs energy to function properly. (You can see an quick explanation here.)

What I had eaten, on the whole, was good for me – plenty of fiber, protein, good fats, and even carbohydrates (gasp!). I had plenty of water, well above the often quoted “8 glasses a day”. And I had gotten a nice dose of exercise (Body Combat and cycling, if you’re curious).

So why was I having a meltdown?

I estimate my food intake high, and my exercise burn low. I use the math to make myself feel guilty, crunching the numbers until I feel hopeless. In the past, I might have gone back to the gym to burn another 400-600 calories, in addition to the 300-400 I had already done. I might have taken some laxatives, or tried to force up what I had taken in. Yes, even as I showered, I felt sick to my stomach, wishing I could get rid of what I eaten.

That’s how bad my relationship with food is right now.

I suppose it’s not seriously about the food, though. It never has been. For me, really and truly, it has always been about punishment. It’s for failing to eat below an arbitrary number I calculated on a website. It’s for not working out. It’s for being shallow, feeling lonely, making a bad grade, fighting with my brother. Anything and everything. All of these worries, and nearly every single one is self-imposed.

The binge and purge cycle is a means of self-sabotage – to make my body look as bad as I feel.

For those of you fighting similar struggles, take heart – you are not alone. But we’ve got to keep fighting, one day at a time.

Here’s what I did to get through the evening:

Slow down. Once you get into “the zone”, where making and eating food becomes methodical and almost second-nature, it’s tough to stop. Try to figure out if you’re hungry, or if something just upset you. PLEASE eat if you’re physically hungry! But realize that food won’t help at all if you’re craving something emotionally.

Push back against that negative self-talk. Always remember how much people love you – and why they love you – even when you feel like you don’t like yourself at all. I promise you, I PROMISE – someone out there looks at you in wonder, wishing they could be like you. Yes, they think you’re that amazing. And you ARE that amazing. You can do it.

Forgive yourself. I still track my food, but up until last night – I was doing it without qualms. It’s alright to eat. We HAVE to eat. If you eat a little too much, don’t beat yourself up for it. Same thing goes if you have something deemed as a “bad” food. The world isn’t going to end, and you’re not a terrible person. We’re only human, you know?

Last night was rough. I wasn’t kidding when I said everyday is a battle.

But being healthy? That is something worth fighting for.

Don’t hesitate to comment or contact me if you want to talk or need support. Much love to y’all!

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Categories: Motivation | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I LOAVE BREAD: Flaxseed Muffin Recipe

​​​I really don’t eat “bread” products anymore, except for grandma’s homemade tortillas on Friday. Or the low-carb tortillas my family buys at the store. And I wasn’t a huge sandwich-eater, and those hamburger/hotdog buns don’t do anything for me. 😉

But I do miss sweet breads – banana nut, pumpkin spice, and muffins of all types. In fact, it’s safe to say these were (and still are) some of my “trigger foods”. At school, the biggest temptation at breakfast were the muffins – and at one point, if I had one, it could send my entire day spiraling into an overeating frenzy.

But look at this recipe I found!

It’s lower-carb (roughly 3 or 4g net without the berries), JUST sweet enough to satisfy, and I don’t feel guilty after eating it. That’s the best part. 🙂

It’s a single serving, too – so that means there’s not a bunch sitting around the house to consume later in boredom, sadness, guilt, or what-have-you.

Flaxseed Breakfast Muffin

1 oz berries
¼ c flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp orange zest
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar free syrup
1 egg white *

* I used a fat-free egg white substitute.

1. Mix dry ingredients together (I used a medium-sized beaker…there’s really not much “batter”).
2. Stir in remaining wet ingredients.
3. Pour mixture into lightly-greased mug (I just sprayed some cooking oil into a cup).
– Key point: you’re using 2 containers! Don’t try to mix all the ingredients in the greased mug (like I did at first…oops, my bad!).
4. Heat in microwave for 1:30 – 2:00 minutes.

And that’s it! Seriously. I am no chef, and my kitchen escapades are always an adventure – so if I could make this, so can you. I’ll definitely be using this recipe during the school year. (More random health foods to add to our mini-fridge – sorry roomie!)

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GUYS, I’M SO HAPPY. I can eat a muffin at breakfast and actually enjoy it. So can you!

Estimated Nutritional Value (w/o berries):
170 calories
3 net carbs (22g total – 8g fiber – 11g sugar alcohol)
10g fat
9g protein

Recipe found: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=975928

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Let me know if you try it!

Categories: Food & Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Don’t Accept Defeat

Today, I’ve got a challenge for you.

Think of your best friend, and what comes to mind? Let me guess: they are hilarious, or nice, maybe they like to watch sports, or they’re an awesome student. I bet you didn’t even think of their weight, their BMI, or whether they ate a cookie last night at the party.

We don’t think about those things, because those things aren’t what define our friends – and for the record, they don’t define us, either.

Years of a poor self-image (how I feel about myself) left me with a poor body-image (how I perceive my body). That is why the trend towards body acceptance is a welcome relief.

However, there is a fine line between body acceptance, and what I’d like to call body defeat.

Here are some comparisons.

ACCEPTANCE: You look in the mirror and say, “Wow, these jeans look good!”
DEFEAT: You look in the mirror and say, “These jeans used to be so loose, but I’m never going to be in that kind of shape again.”

ACCEPTANCE: Trying a piece of cake your friend made, enjoying it, and opting to eat a little lighter at dinnertime.
DEFEAT: Eating that piece of cake because you already messed up your diet today and it won’t make a difference anyway. Getting another slice, and then hoping no one judges you for eating it.

ACCEPTANCE: Going to the gym to stay active, release some endorphins, and get a workout.
DEFEAT: Going to the gym because you ate too much today and you at least don’t want to gain any weight.

Similar actions, but which one is leaves you feeling better?

To me, body acceptance stems from self-love and self-respect, or at the very least an effort to develop those feelings. Body defeat comes from giving up on ourselves, and the perception that we aren’t good enough to even try to improve our wellness.

Here’s the bottom line: we should love ourselves.

From experience, I know that the bingeing, the purging, the hours on the elliptical, and the days of 500 net calories – I didn’t do those things because I loved my myself. It wasn’t to make me feel better, or to be healthy. In fact, it was to punish myself – but for what? Maybe for not understanding my economics class, or for having that muffin at breakfast, or for going to a party I didn’t want to be at. Who knows? But at the end of the day, it left me unhappy and unhealthy, and disliking myself more than I did at the start.

Body acceptance involves loving yourself enough to strive for a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re aiming to get to the gym once a week, or you’re training for the Iron Man Triathlon, the fact remains the same for everyone. So, forget about being “too skinny” or “too fat” – but don’t let that become an excuse for being inactive or eating poorly. That’s not acceptance of ourselves and our good qualities; rather, it’s letting our sadness or laziness defeat our desire for health. Every hour of every day offers up a new chance to eat a little better, to work a little harder, and to be a little happier in our lives.

Fall in love with yourself, without becoming complacent. You are awesome, you are strong, and you are worthy of love and respect. And you CAN be healthy – no matter what the number on the scale says, what some jerk said in an offhand comment, or what that nagging voice in the back of your mind tries to convince you otherwise.

Always accept yourself – but never accept defeat.

jeremy-the-lion

Love y’all!

Interesting Reads
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/06/fat.acceptance/index.html
http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/im-overweight-boyfriends-not-big-freaking-deal-134800157.html
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=271

Categories: Motivation | Tags: , | 1 Comment

My Story

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Hello friends! Ariel is my name, and living healthy is my aim. But for a very long while, I went down a path that wasn’t healthy at all. Before jumping into the wonderful world of blogging, I’d like to share my story with you.

Before high school, I was at my highest weight and noticeably unhealthy. Through four years of varsity tennis, my father’s own weight-loss success (over 100 pounds – go Dad!), and my family’s transition to low-carb eating, I reached my lowest weight and my peak physical condition by my senior year. I did experience bouts of low self-esteem and I struggled with body image, but those years were all-in-all the healthiest I ever had.

I did have one episode, following the end of my first relationship, in which I spent a week exercising excessively and skipping random meals. That is, until I fainted twice in the same day, bumped my head on the way down, and ended up in the emergency room for dehydration and a head wound. As the doctors brushed liquid stitches on my forehead and pumped me full of saline solution, I made a promise that I would never go to such extremes again.

If only! Once college began and the homesickness set in, I sought solace in food. I put on a few pounds – but in my head, it felt more like a ton. I started working out out at the gym excessively (again). Even worse, I began binge-eating. I might go to the gym the next day, and burn myself out as a punishment, but I’d still binge and I’d still feel guilty.

Second semester, I made the choice to lose the weight. But for me, that meant severe calorie restriction, hearkening back to the summers of high school when I would strive to stay trim for tennis. I lost a lot of the weight, but an accomplishment like that doesn’t mean much when you still don’t like yourself.

I ended up going to the other extreme – partying on weekends, eating way too much, crying all the time. I thought I was overweight, I thought no one would like me, and I was just so ashamed. After talking with a close friend, he mentioned that I was probably one of the most-likely candidates for bulimia nervosa. Little did he know, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I had already tried abusing laxatives, and for a few weeks – particularly after a large binge, or if I was upset – I had attempted to force vomiting.

One night, I did it. Coughing, eyes stinging, and throat on fire, the gravity of the situation finally hit me. I was headed down a truly dark, unhealthy path that could wreak more than emotional havoc.

But I knew that person wasn’t me, or who I wanted to be. Since that point in time, I’ve taken steps to regain my life and my control over food. I’ll be honest: even years later, some days are still tough. There are days when I eat way too little (or way too much!). Some workouts I burn more than I mean to, and act like I don’t need to adjust my calorie intake. Sometimes I just get really sad or lonely, and the bingeing comes back. Then the guilt sets in, and I want to undo everything. But we can’t go back, only forward – so why waste time on shame or tears or things of the past?

I want this blog to be a place of support and motivation for everyone. For people like me, who were or are on the precipice of a life-consuming eating disorder, for those that struggle to find their personal balance, and for anyone in between. Every day is a battle, but I promise you aren’t alone.

Join me as we head towards health and happiness, one day at a time!

Categories: My Story | 6 Comments

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