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Taking care of your mental health is 100% as important as taking care of your physical health. And sometimes, your heart and your soul just need ice cream and popcorn. It’s a thing. I swear.

I’ve always been an emotional eater. Stressed out, overwhelmed, sad, whatever, I’ve generally used food as a crutch to deal with my feelings. As I’ve progressed on this journey, I’ve gotten a lot better at acknowledging the difference between genuine hunger and emotional hunger. And most of the time I’m able to talk myself out of making poor food decisions. Sometimes, though, I have no interest in talking myself out of it. Sometimes I need to accept that I’ve had a stupid day and eating a snickers ice cream bar and a bag of popcorn is good for my soul, even if it isn’t good for my health.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned several times over the past few months that I have a cyst sitting on my tailbone. I don’t love the idea of sharing this information with the interwebs, but it’s something I’m going to be dealing with for the next few weeks and it’s going to affect a lot of different things, so I might as well just be up front. It’s a pilonidal cyst, which sits at the base of your tailbone and causes nothing but grief. I’ve had them before, but they usually flare up for a day or two and then go away. This one, however, has been hanging around for several months. And it’s quite large and quite painful. I went to Dr. Robinson yesterday for what I thought was going to be no big deal. Turns out he needed to cut me open. Also turns out it’s a bit more serious than we thought and I’ll probably have to have surgery to get rid of it in the next few months.

Everything is fine, I’m fine, and the thought of surgery SUCKS, but it’s something that will hopefully keep it from being an issue again. But for right now, I have stitches along my tailbone, making sitting and bending pretty freaking painful.

And that is what brings us back to ice cream and popcorn. Yesterday was rough. I hadn’t mentally prepared for that. I didn’t expect to leave the doctor’s office with stitches. I have to keep them for two full weeks, meaning sitting will be even more uncomfortable than it’s already been for two weeks. Trying to bandage yourself is pretty hilarious when you can’t actually see/reach where you’re trying to cover. So I was overwhelmed and tired and frustrated. Work was rough, so when I got home I wasn’t in a place to deal with anything. Luckily, I had plans with Rebecca to watch The Desolation of Smaug. So when I stopped at CVS on my way home, I realized I really wanted ice cream. I also have no willpower to stop myself from eating an entire carton of ice cream, so I bought the mini snickers ice cream bars. And so we sat in my room and ate ice cream and mini bags of popcorn while watching dwarves and elves and a hobbit be awesome.

Long story short, did I need ice cream and popcorn for dinner? Absolutely not! I had that delicious kale concoction sitting there waiting for me. But my brain and my heart needed to know that it was okay to feel like crap. And it was okay to deal with feeling like crap by having an utter girly breakdown with one of my best friends.

I woke up this morning and my stitches HURT. Who knew day two would be even worse? But I also woke up this morning and smiled because last night was wonderful. I got to watch an awesome movie with an awesome friend and forget for a while about my cyst. And that was all I needed. The popcorn and ice cream may not have propelled me forward in my physical health goals, but they did wonders for my mental health.

Basically, you need to remember that it doesn’t HAVE to be all or nothing. I will have days and weeks where I’ll stay totally locked in. I’ll eat clean, I’ll hit new PRs running and lifting, and I’ll see quick progress. But that’s not going to be all the time. I’m human. I’m a girl who is hilariously emotionally unstable sometimes. I’m going to have days and weeks where I just say forget it. As long as I keep moving in the right direction, though, the progress is going to come. And ultimately that’s what matters most to me. What’s my motto? Baby steps. Baby steps are still progress. And sometimes they include wonderful, delicious ice cream.

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My love for kale knows no bounds. My love for throwing a bunch of crap together in a pot and creating something magical doesn’t either, apparently.

Chicken sausage, rice & veggies

4 sundried tomato chicken sausages

1 can cheap-o tomato sauce (seriously. i bought a 99 cent can at bruno’s and that ish was delicious.)

tomatoes

rice

greek yogurt

nutritional yeast

3 zucchini

whole bunch of purple scallions

as much kale as you can pile on top of everything else

lots of garlic

paprika

oregano

parsley

cumin

thyme

pepper

cut the sausage, zucchini, tomatoes and onions into manageable pieces and throw them in a large pot over medium heat. cook them while you rip your obscene amount of kale into reasonable pieces. add spices and tomato sauce to pan. Get really excited cause that mess smells delicious. NOW IT’S TIME TO PILE. Pile the entire bag of kale you got from the farmers market on top and carefully put the lid on it. Let it sit a while, then stir it around to make it continue wilting. Realize you have some nutritional yeast and that it would probably be delicious. Add a 1/4 cup of it, confirm that it is indeed delicious. Then remember you want to make it creamy and add 1/2 cup greek yogurt. Stir. Let it sit a bit. Then remember the two servings of rice you made last night and throw those in there too. Stir. Smile. You done good.

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Isn’t it amazing how differently we view ourselves from how the rest of the world views us? We look in the mirror and we pick out all of our imperfections. We see the pimples that won’t go away, the belly that sticks out more than we would like, the way we grow a second chin when we cheese too hard (just me? Okay…). We are so hypercritical of everything we say and do.

I know I’m guilty of it. Even after losing 100 pounds, I still see the fat girl. My stomach is still far bigger than I want, my arms and thighs still jiggle around more than they should. And I also see any questionable food choices I’ve made. I get frustrated because I know if I hadn’t had to take three weeks off, my stomach would be a little smaller. My face might not be so puffy.

We pick ourselves apart so we are no longer the beautiful, whole sum of our parts. We’ve decided which parts we would keep, which ones we would change, and which ones are probably just there to annoy us.

But something magical happens when other people see you. They see the sum. They see the sum of not only your physical features, but the way the person you are, not the body you are, but the spiritual, emotional being that you are, informs your presence. They don’t see a double chin when you grin so big; they see their friend enjoying the moment. They don’t see your arm fat wiggling in the wind; they see someone excited to see them. They aren’t there trying to cut you down and make you feel less than.

I was reminded of how important it is to let others help build up your sense of who you are this weekend. I’ve been frustrated with myself because I’m stalled at this weight and I can’t seem to figure out the right way to get unstuck. I feel like a whale and it’s been really affecting my confidence and my sense of who I am. But you know what? I’ve gotten more comments on how much weight I’ve lost and how much of a different person I am in the past three weeks than I probably have in the past six months. And the beautiful thing about it is that they aren’t just comments about how I’m definitely not as fat as I used to be (which seem to be the only ones I can come up with about myself as of late); they are comments about how inspirational my journey has been. How my confidence in who I am radiates. How I’m a totally different person now than I was in college; a better version of that girl.

I think it’s God’s way of being like SEE?! Don’t you doubt my creation. He has a funny sense of humor.

I don’t think there’s much of a point to this story except to say that it’s vital that you get outside of your own head. There are going to be people in the world trying to cut you down. But they aren’t the ones that matter. It’s the consistent, kind voices of the supportive friends in your life that matter the most. Draw yourself closer to them; when you can’t seem to hold yourself up any longer, they’re going to be there to keep you pushing on.

(The three photos are really just an excuse to show you all of my adorable outfits from this weekend. Can’t forget my degree is in fashion design, y’all. ;) )

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Continually picking yourself back up is exhausting. But letting yourself give up is the worst mistake you can make.

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Hey friends. Breaking my own rules and posting something personal here. Sam (you all know him as my trainer and the guy who tries to kill me on a regular basis) has a sweet, giant puppy named Bubba who has had some sudden, serious health issues come up. They took him to a local vet, who thought he had cancer, so they rushed him over to Mississippi State where he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. He is recovering nicely and was able to come home, but his medical bills are not cheap. A friend of theirs has set up a fund for others to help cover the costs.

Sam is really important in my life, and I’m so grateful for him, so I was eager to help out. I also know what it’s like to get terrifying health news about your fur child. A few months after I adopted Tux, he suddenly dropped a ton of weight and stopped eating or drinking. He has some mystery auto-immune disease that caused him to stop producing blood and start killing off the good blood he did have. My adorable 15-lb fatty dropped to 4 lbs. It was terrifying. And a year later, it happened again. Now, Tux is fat and happy and taking prednisolone once a day. It was expensive and scary to deal with, so I really feel for Sam in having to go through this.

So now that I’ve told you way too much about my personal life, if you feel inclined to help out, please do so. :)

http://www.gofundme.com/8duuz8

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Woo. He got us good.

Each circuit, then run the stairs. 2x through

Glider lunges

band upright rows

burpees

gilder mountain climber

band kick backs

lateral hops

glider hamstring curl

band tricep extensions

high knees

glider in & outs

band walk

plank jacks (i don’t think that’s actually what we did, but that’s what my paper says so i’m going to go with it)

My quads were still killing me Wednesday so it was a struggle. But this week has been good. :)

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FOOD!

I tend to eat the same thing for a week, then cook on the weekend, then repeat. This week, I made that delicious bean sausage greens thing so I’ve had it for dinner every night.

Breakfast: an egg, chicken sausage patty, tangerine, either oatmeal or a piece of Ezekiel bread, kombucha and my combination of vitamins. Woo pills!

Lunch: usually varies, but this week I’ve been all about some PB&J. So I have that on Ezekiel bread with some ak-mak crackers and some fruit or salad on the side.

Snacks are where I mix it up. It all depends on how hungry I am and what I’ve got going on next. This week it’s been a banana and/or tangerine, Greek yogurt, larabar, or hummus & veggies. Just something good to keep me going.

So there ya go. I don’t know yet what I’ll make this weekend but I have a bunch of veggies from the farmers market calling my name. And the local beef and pork I bought. Hmmm…

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Mmm that’s my sexy face. Yikes. Sprints are a tough thing to jump back into. My quads were marginally less sore when I woke up this morning, but my arms decided to jump on the sore bandwagon, so my core is the only part of me that feels like doing anything. And let’s be honest, it’s not that useful. Haha

Anyway. I just did one tabata set today. I need to ease back. Also, my “sprints” were pathetic. But at least they were faster than my run? So we will still count them. Whatever. They are done now.

Today I go to the orthodontist to do the molds for my Invisalign. Yikes! Still freaking out about dropping this much money on my teeth, but I’ve been saving for over a year for it. And in the long run it’s going to be worth it. But still. Money. Teeth. Scary.

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Sometimes I daydream about the Jason’s Deli salad bar. Is that normal?

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Oh ohhhh look at these pants. :) They are adidas running tights and I’m in looove. I do a jump test with every pair of pants/tights/whatever that I try on. Because inevitably, they slide below my belly, which causes endless frustration and makes me have to stop my workouts or hold them up the entire time. Not cute, not efficient. I got these at Ross, who has a surprisingly decent selection of athletic wear.

Today was Upper Body Pull day. Ahhhh so good. I spent some time laying in an epsom salt bath and stretching last night, so the legs are a LITTLE bit looser today. Not by much, but every little bit helps. Lifting this morning was gooood. The weight room is never too busy at 7 am, so it’s just me, my jams and the weights. And there’s something fabulous about being the only girl in there, in my hot pink tights, pink shoes, pink nail polish and pink head phones. I dare you to say a word. I look fabulous. ;)

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