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Weight Gain

I’ve gained weight. Well, I think I’ve gained weight. I’m still scale-free, so I don’t really know, but I can feel it… just a little thicker, a little bit uncomfortable. This is a problem.

Not the (supposed) weight-gain, per se, but the fact that I am scrutinizing my body and thinking I’ve gained weight–and taking my measurements and pinching rolls of fat. Um, NO. I don’t want to live like this. I gave up the scale to try and find a better relationship with eating and my body.

Of course, there was a moment (month?) of poor eating. I was no longer cleanse-ing. School was out, so I lost my routine. I definitely indulged a bit too much. In between indulgences, I was frantically packing, donating, cleaning, moving. I have moved my stuff out of my apartment in shifts. (I am getting the boot on June 30th.) One day, I cleaned out closets, hauled my stuff down a few flights of stairs and into my car for a trip to Goodwill. Another day, my brother and his roommate came to take my furniture for their new house. So, there was more packing, hauling, preparing, wrapping. In the middle of this, my apartment is in shambles and the two dying window units are gasping and wheezing slight whisps of coolness into the humid air. My brother nabbed my fan on his way out, so my workouts turned into sweaty messes as I tripped over boxes in between jabs and narrowly avoiding a stray roll of packing tape as I lunged across the room. I stopped working out as consistently.

I volunteered at the last minute for a school trip after another chaperone dropped out. Yes, this is the same school that I just resigned from, but I love the kids, and I had been on this service trip before. We spent a week in Avery County, North Carolina. Despite the twenty-hour round trip (huge van, leather seats, no air conditioning), I loved the week. I ran every morning with some members of the XC team, got in a trip to the Y, took walks, and spent entire days raking rocks and brambles off of steep Appalachian hill sides. Of course, for most of the week, the closest thing to a vegetable I could find was the tomato sauce in pizza. I probably ate too much like a high school boy, and it was difficult to kick the habit when I got home, especially with the constant packing, rising temperatures, and lack of a routine.

Meanwhile, my velocitized boyfriend lost 12 lbs in a month. I could feel my waistline expanding as his was contracting, and though I am so proud of his hard work (and think he looks hot), it made me insecure. I felt like I had no discipline. I could feel my thighs rubbing together where they hadn’t in the past.

I started reading all my diet books. I went back on the cleanse for about a day. I picked up a new book and decided to try that. It was scheme scheme scheme.

I came home from spending the weekend with my boyfriend. We ate out. I indulged more than he did. (Weak weak weak, guilt guilt guilt) I took my dad out for a belated father’s day and had pancakes for the first time in forever (chocolate chocolate chip-I don’t regret it).

I came home and stared at myself in the mirror. I could see the fat. I must have gained ten pounds. Why am I thinking about weight if I’m trying to spare myself from that kind of thinking and abuse?

I decided to work out. I popped in a new workout dvd. (I make good investments when I’m preparing to leave the country.) I was rocking it. We got to abs. I couldn’t keep up. I burst out crying. I have lost all my fitness and gained a million pounds.

And then I decided, no. This is not the way it’s going to be.

I decided to Nip It In The Bud.

I might call it NIITB for short. It sounds like a boy band.

As of last night (and this morning and tomorrow and every day of my life), I have two choices.

1–I just resign myself. I eat what I want. I beat myself up. I make myself crazy. I make the people around me crazy. I don’t feel good.

2–Do something about it. Do it my way.

I have chosen option 2. I am going to do something about it. I got up this morning and went for a 40-minute run. I prepped a green monster for breakfast along with two hardboiled eggs and a slice of German bread. I had some nuts and about 7 peanut M&Ms to tide myself over. I made my way to Panera for lunch and enjoyed a salad with a 1/2 sandwich and an apple. I am currently sipping a soy latte and will meet some former students for dinner soon. I’m thinking salad. I’m craving salad.

And that’s how it is. I am going to find my own path. I am going to work out because I love it and I am going to eat in a way that makes sense for me. I am going to aim for clean eating. I need to be more prepared, but I am going to give myself a break for this next week as I move out, tutor, meet everyone I know for some meal before I leave Delaware, and figure out plan NIITB.

I feel a lot better. I know that making a real change is slow and deliberate. I want to eventually arrive at my Happy Weight. I need to remember the wisdom of September. I don’t need to lose 20 lbs in two weeks and then give up when I’m frustrated after a day.

Will I be photographing and journaling everything? I don’t know.

Will I be blogging? A definite yes. I don’t have internet in my apartment, which also accounts for the lack of blogging, but I love it. It keeps me sane and connected. I read so many healthy living blogs and I love being part of the community.

Will I struggle? Yes. But I need to make some commandments for myself a la Healthy Ashley.

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It only takes a day!

I woke up on Monday feeling, unsurprisingly, like crap. Eating dairy right before bed left my mouth feeling coated. My stomach felt woozy. I did not feel like a healthy eater at all. I wondered where that healthy young woman had disappeared to as I scrutinized my swollen stomach in the mirror. I had to do a bunch of errands, which included driving down to Dover (about an hour away) to get stuff taken care of for my visa application to live in Korea. After printing out some paperwork and grabbing some files, I wanted to get right on the road. Again, my lack of shopping was affecting my meal plans (hmmm Heather, lesson learned?). I decided to just pop back in to the Dunkin Donuts and grab something for the road. As I was pulling my car up to the traffic light near school, I realized I had a choice.

1. I could turn left for DD. I was already feeling pretty icky, so who cared about another icky meal. It wouldn’t hurt anyone, and bagels are delicious.

2. I could turn right and dash into the local grocery store. Maybe I could pick up a piece of fruit or something. But would it matter? I already felt like garbage.

Then, I remembered the tag line from another Heather’s blog: “Make one healthy decision. Then make another.”

I turned right!

It might not be the most healthy breakfast, but it was a start!

I spent the morning getting my criminal records. Going to the police station to get criminal records is a lot like going to the DMV–there are all types of people around. It’s also worse. Some of the people there weren’t getting their records checked, they were reregistering. People have to live their lives, and though I find that particular behavior despicable, it was especially awkward listening to one guy scream about how he should never have been convicted in the first place. Get me outta there!!

I spent about two hours there getting my records together. Normally it takes a few weeks, but they said if I waited around they could expedite my stuff. Thanks criminal records people! I would not want that job. Before I could get the Apostille (an official seal from the Secretary of State of Delaware) for my criminal record (You have to jump through some hoops to live in Korea!), I had to get it notarized. Not a problem except the woman on the phone at the State Department told me I had to be there by 2PM to get my apostille on the same day, and it was already 1:15. I drove around looking for a bank, stopping in a grocery store to ask for directions and someone directed me over toward the government buildings. If there was a bank there, I figured that would be a good spot. I could just dash over to the Corporations section after for an Apostille.

And dash I did. I parked my car and ran–in my non-supportive flip-flops–to the bank. Unfortunately, they only notarize stuff for their customers. No exceptions. Fantastic. They sent me over to the courts, but I couldn’t find the entrance and dashed into the Delaware Archives Library instead.

The guy at the front desk at the library was awesome. He couldn’t leave the desk unattended, so he was going to send me into the archives to ask for help, but seeing that I would have to fill out some paperwork to gain admittance, I asked if he could just make a phone call. He called around to find the notary, but she wasn’t at her desk. He left a message, and we both pondered how long I should wait if I had to get my apostille by 2pm.

The clocked ticked by for 5 minutes and the notary walked through the door! She took me up to her office, notarized my record, and sent me on my way. I live a charmed life.

It’s 1:40 and I dash again to the correct office, unknowingly running right past it and being directed to reverse my steps when I stop and ask for help.

At 1:47, I burst into the corporations office, and the woman there is no nice. Apparently, I didn’t actually have to be there at 2pm because I am getting an Apostille for personal reasons not for a corporation, but oh well. It made my day exciting.

I had a few hours to walk around Dover, and I decided to go down to the local German bakery. I was so excited to get some German bread. I had my camera pulled out and ready to snap pictures as I approached, but it was closed. 😦 I didn’t even take any pics–too sad. Silly Germans and their work/life balance and their days off.

Instead, I went to yet another grocery store for the salad bar!

Salad Bar Treat!

I enjoyed the salad with a tall soy latte from Starbucks. Mmmm…

In my meanderings, I also came into contact with some Delaware history. Dover was actually really cute. I’m so glad to discover it just as I’m leaving!

Where delegates decided to ratify the Constitution--making Delaware the first state!!

After a nice stroll and lunch, I got the call that my apostille was ready! Success!

Success! So official!

I decided to be sensible and use the bathroom before the drive home, and look who was lurking…

No thanks, buddy.

After a nice drive home, I enjoyed some unpictured-cause-they’re-boring fruit and cheese. Then I went for a nice 45 minute run that ended at (you guessed it!) the grocery store!

I needed some basic supplies and some pasta sauce from dinner.

I made an awesome dinner. I prepared gluten-free rice pasta (sounds wrong, but it’s pretty good) and ground turkey and zucchini sauce. I put my beautiful creation on a huge pile of spinach and garnished around and on top of it.

The presentation makes the meal.

The spinach and peppers mixed nicely with the pasta and gave me some delicious raw veggie power. Piling your entree on top of spinach is a sneaky and delicious way to integrate more greens.

Delicious!

I loved my dinner, and after debating with myself about night snacking, I finished with a treat. I presented it beautifully and I enjoyed it.

Delicious Chocolate oat cake and 1/2 banana

I learned something important today. It only takes a day. We can go off track and feel awful and sluggish, but we need to give ourselves that day to get back on track. We cannot let perfect be the enemy of good. More on that later! Have a great day!

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Crap

When I eat like crap, I feel like crap and then I feel like crap about myself. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s partially borne of being judgmental and harsh on myself, but I also think there are real mental consequences to not feeling nourished. It’s hard to maintain a positive attitude without feeling truly healthy and whole.

Sometimes, I integrate a little crap into my diet in an OK way. Case in point, I enjoyed a delicious decaf mocha with Letters from Juliet.

I always need a treat at the movies!

Yummy Mexican Salad!

Oatcake Dessert

I have been snacking a lot at night. I am staying up later and just hanging out, and I think I associate that relaxed, tv-watching behavior with snacking. Luckily, I found this delicious microwave cookie recipe here and I made mine without sugar. I didn’t need the calories, and I wasn’t exactly hungry, but it was something to enjoy. I am partially glad to have given up the scale because who knows how this snacking is affecting my weight. I shouldn’t care, but I do, and I also don’t want to see lack of scale-ing as an invitation to eat whatever I want.

Sunday, things got ugly. I started off my day with a less-than-healthy meal and things got worse from there. I think a lot of my poor eating stemmed from competitiveness. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s somehow true. I love eating healthy, and I love being an example of healthy living for people. I love that many of my friends and family also eat healthy, work out, and aim to lead balanced lives. However, when the scale tips in a way that makes me feel like “everyone else” is super healthy and fit and in control… and I am not… it becomes difficult for me to pull myself out of an unhealthy eating pattern. Again, this is an example of where scales do not benefit any of us. I do not need to compare myself to other people or evaluate my exercise and eating against others–that’s a personal, internal scale that does not benefit me in any way. I need to take care of myself and eat in the best way for me, but sometimes I lose sight of that…

I began Sunday late. I had brunch from our local Dunkin Donuts with my friend Rosalba. I lived with her my first year at my school, and I used to stop and get breakfast from Dunkin Donuts all the time on my way home from the gym, so on the day of graduation it was nice to have a little closure. I really enjoyed my coffee with milk (no sugar–which was an old standby) and whole wheat bagel with lowfat cream cheese and good conversation with Rosalba.

Memories!!

After graduation, I had a veggie burger on a sandwich thin–unpictured because it was BO-ring. I spent the evening doing laundry, cleaning, starting to pack, contemplating my new life, and not going grocery shopping. One of the great things about cleanse-ing was how much I shopped and planned, and I really enjoyed that, but with traveling and all the end-of-the-year activities, I kept putting off shopping and planning, which led me next door to the Claymont Steak Shop.

Wrap!

Their food is pretty healthy, and I got a chicken and veggie wrap. Okay, that’s not quite it…

Wrap & friends

Look at that pudding. It’s actually kind of gross looking, but I saw it and I wanted a bite, and that’s exactly what I had… at first. I ate half the wrap and a bit of the pudding, and then put them off to the side because “I’m a healthy eater. I have willpower.” Okay, my willpower waned in the face of mindless tv, piles of laundry, and packing. And before I knew it, I had eaten the entire wrap and all the pudding and even procured a scoop of ice cream. YIKES. It was not what I needed at all. I just let myself turn off and GO. I felt pretty ashamed and like I didn’t want to write about it on my blog. I felt out of control and weak and gross, and my competitive side came out. “Everyone else is healthy! Why aren’t you!?!?!” One day of eating like an idiot and a lot of my work goes out the window, but hopefully only temporarily…

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The shirt off my back

I think we are measured (and we measure ourselves) on all different scales. When I was single (and I know many of my single friends feel this way), I measured myself against the social standard that not having a boyfriend somehow signified a failure. When I was younger, I compared my grades. Now, I compare my vacations, salaries, apartments. I even compare my food consumption and exercise levels against other people. Sometimes, I get the feeling that many of us live like there is some large scale in the sky and we need to measure up to some preset standard.

Well, I threw away my actual scale, and I am not afraid to throw away another.

I spent two years in Germany after I graduated from college. I had a blast getting to know new people, a new language, a new culture. While I never realized how awesome it was while I was there, since returning home from Germany, I have felt that something was missing. I can’t put my finger on exactly what. Was my life too ordinary? Was I scared that I had somehow begun a slow trudge through my adult years? Was I simply unhappy?

I have had a great experience teaching high school English for the past three years, but lately I have noticed my enthusiasm waning. I no longer wanted to volunteer for extra responsibilities or attend every activity and event. I begrudged the amount of time I spent grading and running aroud and often compared myself to coworkers who seemed to do very little. At times, even the environment felt stifling, like people were resigned to making the best of an unsatisfactory situation rather than working toward change. Most disturbingly, I found myself doing just enough. As someone who has consistently worked well beyond expectations, the idea of doing just enough to get by was disturbing. I didn’t like leaping out of my seat the second the clock hit “closing time.” I didn’t the lack of passion and drive I was bringing to my lessons. I didn’t want to be average.

It was time for a change.

Soul Card Clue

Though I had been considering a change for a month, being in Idaho really have me time to ponder my decision. Making soul cards provided me an important clue–do you see the cartoon woman forcing open the restrictive columns? Could that be me?

I quit my job on Thursday. I don’t have another job yet, but I do have plans to spend next year in Korea teaching English. It’s a big leap, but in a lot of ways it’s a safe leap. My cousin/best friend has lived in Korea for the past four years, and she loves it. My boyfriend is supportive and encouraging; he understands my need to experience different cultures and travel. I have not felt an iota of regret. I am sure that at moments next year I will miss America and my current life, but I am ready for the challenge!

I have also recommitted myself to quasi-healthy eating. My brand of healthy eating. I was going to joing John on Velocity, but I didn’t like it hanging over my head. I kept pushing the start date back rather than going for it, which suggested to me that I need to keep finding my own way and discovering my own path. I don’t need to do a jump-start crazy program if even contemplating that program makes me crazy. So, slowly but surely I am going to continue refining my own healthy habits.

I started with a run this morning! A shirtless run! I never run shirtless because I have never had the body for it, but I finally felt comfortable. My body won’t make anyone go “WHOA!” in an impressed gasp or repulsed sneer. I am pretty much an “okay…. good for her” which is fine with me! I felt good and strong and back on my way!

Pretty in pink!

Feeling good!

I met some former students and a colleague for brunch/lunch. I had a veggie burger (1/2 the bun, all the burger) and some fries. I didn’t get a picture. And now I’m just hanging in Panera after a debatably healthy snack that my body was craaaaving. I’m thinking I’ll treat myself to a movie today and then relax tonight… a perfect way to ease back into healthy habits!

Oh dear Panera, I will miss you!

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What Happens in Idaho…

Obviously, I’ve been away from my blog for awhile. Part of that was travel, part of that was hectic life stuff, and part of that was saying “eh, I can eat crap, I’ll write in my blog tomorrow…” like people who say “I’ll start my diet on Monday.” So, it’s finally “tomorrow” and time to wrap up my Idaho adventure…

A lovely breakfast of spaghetti squash!

Time to hike!

The littlest hiker--her mom is tough!!

Off we go!

A view from the top! Hey Sandpoint!

A little Larabar after our 3.5 miles up!

We did it!

<<our festivities that night are really staying in Idaho>>

then, the suuuuperlong trip home!

The rainy drive to the Spokane airport.

Chillin' in the Seattle airport.

Bathrooms are also Tornado Shelters in the Denver Airport.

Missed my train in Baltimore & got a quick sleep here...

Complimentary breakfast!

Before.

After.

Finally back in Wilmington! 6:45AMAnother coffee to make it through the day! (time to detox...)

So, after all those hours of traveling and the last couple days of school, I let my healthy eating slide–but it’s time to get back on track!
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