The struggle and the work

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For a few weeks now I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a post about what I’m struggling with.

This will surprise no one, but it’s food. I’m struggling with food.

sigh.

That’s not really the truth though, is it?

Behind food there is always something.

Behind every struggle there is always something that you’re (me) not facing.

For me, it’s a lot of things. I never quite know where my discontent comes from but recently I’ve been doing the work of unpacking a lot of my guilty thoughts.

As in, it’s a nice day out and I’m inside lying on my bed listening to This American Life and playing Candy Crush instead of being “one with nature” so I feel guilty.

As in, none of my clothes fit and I’m eating m&ms instead of broccoli so I feel guilty.

As a side note, as someone who binges, I’ve gotten the advice a lot: why not just binge on carrot sticks? It’s kind of like saying to a depressed person, why not just think happy thoughts? Ok maybe not exactly the same, but still, I wouldn’t be a binge eater if I was craving string beans.

Anyway.

The struggle, my struggle, is how do I stay with myself in the moment that I want to binge…how do I stay with myself long enough to move to the next moment. To not fear that moment that at the first twinge of discomfort I turn to food.

And then, after I do the thing that I don’t want to do, to not feel guilty about it and keep the cycle alive.

So I’m working on unpacking my guilt, which is a self-helpy way of saying that when I feel guilty about something I try to immediately question it.

An example: I was looking through social media (don’t all bad stories start there nowadays??) and I saw people out enjoying nature and I immediately felt guilty over the fact that I had NOT spent all weekend enjoying nature. But since I’ve been working on this for a while now, I was able to feel suspicious of that guilt and I was able to remind my self that feeling that was silly. I am in control, I can do whatever I want, if I wanted to spend all weekend lying in the grass somewhere I could, and just like that, the guilt dissipated, as did some of my self loathing, because obviously guilt + self loathing are bffs. duh.

I’ve struggled with guilt my whole life, and I’ve struggled with self worth my whole life, and I’ve struggled with food my whole life.

Here’s what I think about all of this: the last few days I’ve been feeling good. Gratitude has come easy, and I’ve felt blessed in all of my friendships. As a result of that, I’ve felt more in control.

Now, I won’t pretend that this is the norm for me lately, because honestly my life has been more struggle than ease, but there’s a few things that I keep coming back to that have brought me to how I’m feeling right now.

One:

Burdens are the foundations of ease. (Rumi)

and two:

Do the work. (Maria Bamford)

To me they mean essentially the same thing, that the longer I spend in my head with thoughts of fear and failure, the most paralyzed I get in taking action. Make the hard choices when they are in front of you, embrace the discomfort, and don’t worry about the outcome.

So easy right? Ha. Haaaaa.

But, there’s so much beauty that comes from facing your discomfort.

I think I get caught up in my head a lot with my struggle, the food struggle, because it can feel so trivial.

Trivial in that it’s FOOD. It’s not a “real” problem, or even worse, it’s a #firstworldproblem (barf) so I almost don’t give myself permission to face how out of control and anxious I feel about bingeing.

Yet doing the work of self care means supporting myself and showing up for myself no matter the struggle.

Jodester, I give you permission to stop struggling.

To stop pretending that you’re okay when you’re not.

Struggling is not virtuous. You don’t have the be the tortured fat person that every media outlet everywhere portrays. You don’t have to live in a world of self hate because of the size of your thighs and belly.

You can love yourself WITHOUT guilt. You can celebrate your body as it is. You can jump and run and be outside.

You can take up space in the world, as much as you want.

I give you permission to make the hard decisions when they are made with love and an open heart.

I give you permission to say “no” to anything for any reason at all. Even if that reason is listening to This American Life and playing Candy Crush.

I give you permission to be CONSCIOUS of your food choices because I believe that food + well being are intrinsically tied. Eat the food that makes you feel good, and stay with yourself when the pain wants to be soothed with sugar.

As a fat person, it’s really easy to turn the judgment on yourself and say, well, I deserve to feel bad because I’m fat so this is the price I pay, but that mental clutter is bound to build up one day and explode.

I’ve strayed so far from the wonderful body empowerment that I used to feel (another thing I have guilt about. oy). But there’s no secret to self acceptance. There’s no magic that will give it to you in the future. Accept yourself in the present and and end the struggle of self hatred. Face the discomfort that is self care.

You don’t have to hate yourself. End of story. You are enough, right now. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how you’ve been treated, you deserve your love.

(Healthy) Odds and Ends

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It’s Tuesday! It’s July! It’s finally consistently hot out!

I’ve been having a blast the last couple weeks getting my drink (and food) on watching tons of World Cup action but am finally starting to CRAVE healthy food and exercise again! All the hydration!

I’m still kind of figuring out what HEALTHY actually means to me. It’s officially been a year since I was at my lowest weight, and last I looked at the scale…. yeah.. I don’t want to share. It’s my blog. Sorry.

So if HEALTHY isn’t my weight right now, what is it? Is it eating well M-F and hitting the sangria pitcher hard on the weekend? Probably not.

Here are the odds and ends that have been feeling “healthy” to me:

Kabocha squash

This was a food trend that I never really took to until NOW. Kabocha squash all the time. I’m not going to tell you all about its calorie count and vitamin stats, because I just don’t know it, but it’s delicious! Unlike other squash, you can eat the rind so there is little prep wok involved. I cut it open, stick it on a baking tray and am DONE. To me it’s also sweeter than a sweet potato (my favorite carb) and goes with everything. I’ve paired it with greens and eggs and even with some almond butter, inspired by Kiss My Broccoli. The other best part, it’s smaller than most squash, which is perfect for my cook-for-one lifestyle.

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Not feeling guilty over not working out 

In the last two weeks I quit one job, started another, and had my bestest of best friends in NJ, which is a rare occurrence now that she’s doing her thing down in NOLA. So… I skipped CrossFit in favor of sushi dinners and shopping one week and then skipped CrossFit again last week in favor of hustling at my new job. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty about not working out. I do…but I know that guilt is NOT a useful feeling. It’s not motivating, it makes me feel bad about myself, blah blah blah. So, I’m working on RECOGNIZING the guilt (instead of just feeling it and being all waaaah) and separating myself from the emotion. This is how adulthood works, right? Go away guilt.

Because HEALTHY is so undefined to me right now, i’m working my best to remove the guilt from certain foods and behaviors, because all it does is trigger my binge eating and make me want to be a shut in. AND, it takes away from my happiness when things are genuinely fun. Food is not moral. Eating m&ms does not make me a bad person. BUT – I WANT to be living consciously. I know that sugar makes me feel like poop, so in conscious, dedicated living, I don’t eat sugar and I’m happier. There’s a point in there somewhere.

A lot of times I FEEL like I should be doing one thing (not eating m&ms) when I’m doing another (eating m&ms), and that is the definition of pain and then I feel guilty and then the whole cycle starts all over again. Eradicate my guilt, live happier, Keep it Simple, Silly :)

I WANT to be moving my booty every day

How many times have I written here that I am happiest and feel the best when I exercise in some form EVERY DAY.

So…. I quit CrossFit. Basically, I’m at a job that I chose because it makes me happy, not because it makes me rich, and I can’t justify the expense when I’m barely even going three times a week. I’ve been floundering for a while with consistent exercise and I think I’m going to keep it simple (see above) and just head back to Retro Fitness. It works for me because I can walk to it and it’s open early and late and is cheap.

Listen, I don’t need to justify my choice of fitness center to anyone.

I’m a big believer that there is no ONE way to be healthy (hello, that’s the main point of this post), so if you’re not going to the box, or gym, or fitness class that everyone else is going to, it really doesn’t matter. There are a million ways to get your sweat on, and an air conditioned room where a movie is playing on a giant screen (yay Retro movie room!) seems more attractive to me than a CrossFit box right now.

Plus, gym selfies.

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Exploring the Great American Landscape

Ha, I wish! But I am going to Baltimore this weekend to celebrate the nation’s birthday and heading to Maine to eat some lobstah at the end of July.

I LOVE travel but I also happen to get very STRESSED by it because I LOVE my routine (well, I do now. yay new job!). I’ve yet to find away to embrace eating well and exercising on vacation, but I’m not giving up trying!

Note to self: Ice cream is not “special” because you’re not in New Jersey. You won’t regret not eating all the ice cream when you travel but you will regret major sugar/mood crashes.

I’m not really sure what this post is about anymore

But I’m having a great time writing it and certainly THAT is HEALTHY! I’m embracing my every desire to write words in all caps and pouring out every little thought that crosses my brain.

I’ve also now been writing this post over THREE hours because I had TWO great phone calls with my favorite ladies in Baltimore and NOLA. LDR friendships are hard but so, so, so worth the effort.

I hope this is the beginning of me again writing more spur of the moment posts that are more about life and less about free stuff I received from Influenster.

I think a lot of the guilt and stress and such really relate to the emotional roller coasters of losing weight and it feels so good to share and get it off my chest.

This week for my job I got to interview Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my all time favorite authors, and she talked all about how shame lives in the shadows and can’t exist when you bring it out into the light.

It’s something I never felt good about doing, but the more I talk about how I’m eating m&ms instead of working out (or something) the more I’m able to release myself from the GUILT that I feel. Things are just things. They are not good or bad, but I’m happiest when I’m dedicated to living my best life (SUP OPRAH) and sometimes that means sacrifices and courage and punching fear and guilt in the face. Hello new motto. Anyway, in random conclusion, that’s where my relationship is right now with HEALTHY.

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Go VoxBox Review

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I’m back with another Influenster review.

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I received my Go Vox Box about a month ago and like usual couldn’t wait to tear it open.

This box included:

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance

Vitamin Shoppe Next Step Fit N Full Protein Shake

Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored Almonds

Profoot Triad Orthodic AND Profoot Pedi Rock

Aqua Spa Body Creme 

1 Voucher for a FREE Muller Yogurt Product

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I’ll cut right to the chase: the only thing I really liked were the Blue Diamond Blueberry Flavored Almonds. I’ve been a big fan of Blue Diamond products for a while and knew these would be great. They were sweet, crunchy, and surprisingly blueberry-y.

photo 1I’m not going to review Playtex. They’re tampons. They do what tampons do. Let’s move on.

The Vitamin Shoppe shakes were the most disappointing. I only tried the berry flavor and honestly couldn’t stomach the thought of another one. I’ve tried many, many different protein shakes and have loved most of them. This was the first time I almost considered tossing my smoothie out completely. It was sickly sweet and reminded me of cough syrup. Nothing I would ever want after a workout. The protein powder also came with a shaker cup, but I’ve been using the Blender Bottle for a while and love it and have no plans of switching anytime soon.

With the Profoot Pedi Rock… it’s okay. They say you don’t have to use it in the shower…but I tried out of the shower and then your skin just kind of gets everywhere. Because you’re exfoliating. Plus, pedicures might be my only consistent indulgence.

The Aqua Spa Body Creme.. I really wanted to like this. The creme was thick, always a good start, and not greasy, even better, and LAVENDER. I love lavender. But this lavender just kind of smelled like old lady. And don’t get me wrong, I love strong lavender smells. I always toss lavender essential oils in at bath time, but this was so perfume-y. I wouldn’t use it for everyday wear… but I do find myself slathering it on now and then when I know I’m not going to see people right away and the smell has a chance to dilute.

Last, Muller yogurt. To be fair to the yogurt, when I got to the store most flavors were sold out. I tried two kids: vanilla with granola and plain greek with strawberry. The vanilla with granola was too sweet. I’m a fan of Fage 2% plain yogurt and don’t like the sugary flavors. I wasn’t impressed with the greek/strawberry combo either. The strawberry was too sugary and the greek yogurt wasn’t very tart or thick. Overall, no.

But, it’s so, so, so fun trying tons of new products. Thank you Influenster! These products were all given to me for free, but this subpar opinions are 100% my own. 

#PinterestFail

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It’s Friday and I want to have some fun.

In April my best friend Amanda got married which meant for months and months I got to indulge in hours and hours of guilt-free pinning.

Bachelorette party inspiration? Yes.

Wedding shower gifts? All of them.

Bridesmaid hair? PIN ALL THE THINGS.

This brings me to my epic Pinterest fail.

I had seen on Brenna’s blog someone make shortbread tea bag cookies.

Amanda and Felix love tea so I thought, why not?

Except I wanted to go above and beyond, so these would be chai-spiced shortbread teabag cookies dipped in chocolate. With little notes attached with quotes about marriage.

Let me preface: I am NOT a baker. I’m not very patient which usually leads to improper measuring, dough that isn’t chilled, clumsy hands etc. I also don’t own a rolling pin (a bottle of Merlot works just fine, thanks) or any kind of cookie cutters, or a double boiler, yet through all of this I remained optimistic.

I mishmashed a few different recipes together for shortbread cookies and got to work.

This is what they were supposed to look like:

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And this is how they turned out….

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A couple of notes in my defense:

  • Felix and Amanda said they were still delicious.
  • The speckled look is from the chai tea, and if you were ever wondering whether chai tea cookies are a good idea, the answer is YES.
  • Dipping things in chocolate is harder than it seems IMHO.
  • That notes says, “Marriage is a relationship in which one is always right and the other is the husband.”

My sister (hi!) reminded me of my great Pinterest fail the other day and I thought it was about time to submit it to the Pinterst Fail blog and and at least get some traction from this beautiful mess.

I’m sorry I hadn’t shared this with you sooner. Happy Friday.

Dirty Girl Mud Run Recap

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I have so much I want to say! But isn’t that always the case?

I keep saying I plan to post more regularly and then half a month goes between posts…and here we are again. Blarg.

But, I’m starting a new job (well, old..new..job… it’s complicated) in a week and I’ll have a freer schedule which hopefully means more blogging and more stuff that inspires blogging, like working out and cooking.

Anyway, you’re all here today for the run recap, so let’s get to it.

This weekend I was a blog ambassador (fancy, right?!) in the Dirty Girl Mud Run! The folks over at Dirty Girl contacted me a few months ago to see if I would be interested in doing the run and writing about my experience – of course I said yes – but I was still nervous. I like running well and good enough, but obstacles……climbing on ladders, nets, walls….super scary to me.

What won me over was the philosophy of the Dirty Girl Run:

I am not in the best of shape, can I still participate?

Absolutely. Dirty Girl Obstacle Run is non-competitive and will not be timed, so there is no need to hustle to get through the course. We do recommend some light cardio a couple times per week paired with some upper body strengthening to help you get up and over the obstacles. However, you’ll have the option to bypass any obstacle you’re not comfortable tackling.

Sign me up!

I roped two girls onto the run with me (one agreed to do it the night before after a few drinks and seriously KICKED butt at the run!) and we had a blast!

We left about 8:30 a.m. to make it to Trenton a few hours later for our 11:30 a.m. start time. We showed up late and without wavers but Dirty Girl was prepared and we were able to fill out electronic wavers. It also wasn’t a big deal at all that we were late to our start time.

We got our bibs, swag t-shirts, and free beer tickets and headed over to the bag check.

The race was held at a paint ball course and it made for a fun 3.1 miles. Before going out onto the course a Dirty Girl dancer pumped us up with music and dancing. I was surprised how few people were in each wave, but I think it made for a better experience overall because some of the obstacles were shaky and I think I would have been more nervous if there were a bunch of people all doing it at once.

Within a half mile of the run we came upon our first obstacle and all scampered up a big inflatable bouncy wall and bumped our way down on our butts. Next we dived right into a mud pit to crawl under ropes.race_309_photo_3638228

The obstacle I was most nervous about – the wall climb – came early in the course and I was able to get up and over the 8-foot wall with only a little bit of protesting and whining. Thanks friends!

The course wound through fields and woods and we alternated running and walking the whole way. Turns out, running with sneakers (and undies..gross…) full of mud isn’t all that hard or uncomfortable.

We passed big teams along the way dressed up with tutus and hair bows – I would definitely put more thought into my outfit if I were to do it again.

We climbed up rope ladders, hopped through tires, went through tunnels of love mud, climbed down and out of a few different mud pits all leading up to a giant slide that landed you butt-first in a pool of mud.

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Overall I thought the race was really well organized and the course route was never boring. There were mini bridges and little mazes that broke up the stretches without obstacles. There were water stops at mile 1 and 2 but honestly we could have used more because it was so hot out.

Now… for the cons.

We finished the race running through a final mud pit and I immediately went in search of water only to find that there was nothing but warm Sparkling Fruit2O.

HUGE fail. I don’t drink anything carbonated to begin with (unless of course its tonic… with gin…) and this was sticky sweet and warm and the complete opposite of what you want when you finish a race.

There were places that you could buy water, but at that point we were still covered in mud and would have to wash off before getting in our bags to dig out some money. What were they thinking?! Ugh.

With dry mouths, we got our stuff from the bag check and then waited about 45 minutes on the line to hose off. No one seemed to care much about modesty at that point so I stripped off my muddy clothes for shorts and a new t-shirt after a quick rinse in some freezing cold water.

After getting as clean as possible, we went in search of food. There were a few food vendors but honestly I was unimpressed. Usually after races there’s some healthy stuff – bananas, granola bars, yogurt, bagels – this was stuff you would find at a carnival like zeppolis and corn dogs and the food was super expensive! I ended up getting some sausage and peppers and splitting a huge plate of fresh potato chips (those were wellll worth the money..mmmm…) and relaxing a bit with our free beers before heading back to North Jersey.

All in all I would say the race was a huge success. I conquered some fears (looking at you 8-foot wall) and had a great time with my friends in the course. The dirty girl staff was friendly and and the other runners looked like they were having a great time, but the lack of post-race amenities was disappointing. Dirty Girl seemed to really think through all the details, I’m surprised that they would provide warm, sweet Fruit20 and no water after 3.1 miles of sun and mud.

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WOULD I DO ANOTHER MUD RUN? Eh. I enjoy being pushed past some of my physical fears, but I get more out of it in a setting like CrossFit where I know I’m being supported. Also, the price tag is quite hefty for these events. I was provided a free entry and my team members received 50 percent off their entry, so it would have to be something special to make me shell out the whole ticket price.