I’m {Actually} Not Obsessed With Working Out Anymore

Winter is HERE.

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Freezing temperatures hit us like a brick wall this week! However, since mother nature likes to think she has a sense of humor, she’s making it 70 degrees on Thursday. Keepin’ us on our toes.

For the time being, nothing warms you up like some poutine!

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My beautiful friends and I were on a mission to eat poutine from Saus— one of the foods on the bucket list that Rachel and I are determined to complete by graduation.

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If you’re not familiar with poutine, it’s a Montreal specialty that involves French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. It sounds repulsive, but ohhhh man, it is delicious umami delight.

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Three of us shared a regular order topped with bacon and stout-braised beef, but I’m 99% sure they gave us pork belly instead. We didn’t complain.

I also ate something a little more nutritious—the lemongrass chicken in a whole wheat pita with “Pindasaus” (peanut sauce). So good!

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Thank you so much to Lauren’s dad for treating us! We and our college student wallets are grateful.

Other things from the weekend included…

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My lovely friend Fiona’s pass-in review for Army ROTC!

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street show watching

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a trip to Whole Foods for two jars of peanut butter, two boxes of peanut butter Puffins cereal, and two tubs of Greek yogurt. #Alison’sArk

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THIS.


Moves and grooves. I haven’t talked about them very much recently, huh?

This whole summer, I took it easy in terms of exercise in order to get my cycle started— only doing some bodyweight strength exercises, yoga, handstands, Pilates, and walking. I gained 10-15 pounds, felt more energized, and most importantly, started feeling more comfortable in my body than ever before.

After I messed up at the gynecologist office here in Boston, I finally got my lab work done and the results soon followed. The results evidenced that there’s nothing wrong with me so far. I know this doesn’t really say anything about something like hypothalamic amenorrhea (if that’s what I have), but being well past a healthy BMI and a very healthy body fat percentage, I just don’t have a clue what’s up. I apparently just need to give my body more time, but in the meantime, I have been exercising more (while making sure to fuel even more).

I mentioned several weeks ago that I’ve been participating in modern dance class twice a week as a physical education class, and I am loving it. I had forgotten how happy dance makes me. The dance class is definitely a step up from what I was doing this summer, in terms of intensity. I’ve also been working out at the gym once a week and doing some bodyweight/yoga workouts whenever I feel like it.

Now, I completely understand if this raises concerns about my whole amenorrhea situation, but in 100% honesty, my workout “regimen” (if you can call it that) is keeping me sane and happy amidst schoolwork and activities. Additionally, my attitude towards working out has transformed in the past year.

Just last year, I would often force myself to go to the gym, even if that meant sacrificing sleep. This year, I work out if I have the time and energy.

Last year, I would take a substantial amount of time to think about the workouts I should do that day/week. This year, I am completely going with the flow. 

Last year, I would do high intensity workouts multiple times a week. Yesterday, I did burpees for the first time in four months and I will probably keep those HIIT workouts to once a week, if at all. 

Last year, I would get anxious at the prospect of missing a workout. This year, I think about exercise, but stress is no longer an automatic response to the thought.

Last year, I would set a timer for myself to do some air squats, pushups, or burpees every 20 minutes if I was studying for a long time. This year, I don’t do that. I do like standing while studying still, but that has to do with my antsy-ness, not fitness.

Last year, I would do workouts that didn’t make me happy. This year, I have never loved exercise so much, because I allow myself to do what genuinely makes me feel good.

Last year, I would kinda-sorta monitor my body. This year, I’m only monitoring how healthy and energetic I feel.

Last year, I was still somewhat obsessed with working out. This year, I’m finally not.

To give you an idea of what a week of workouts looks like these days, here are moves and grooves from last week and this week so far:

  • Sunday: 45 min. yoga
  • Monday: apple picking 🙂
  • Tuesday: stretch and massage day for dance class
  • Wednesday: modern dance
  • Thursday: bodyweight exercises/yoga outdoors
  • Friday: leg strength at the gym
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: 60 min. yoga
  • Monday: 100 burpees (← thought I’d try it. cardiovascular system was hurting ever so slightly. won’t be happening again soon.)

So that’s my update for you. My next gynecologist appointment is next month, so we’ll see what that brings. At this point, I really don’t know what’s wrong with my lady system. For now, I’m moving and grooving, but with a healthier mindset than ever…in my entire life.

Thank you for all your support and understanding in this ever-changing journey. It’s pretty crazy how recovery unfolds itself more, even when you think you’re already at a great place.

So tell me:

Have you ever eaten poutine?

One fun thing you did this weekend!

How has exercise/relationship with exercise been for ya? 

I Tried Counting Calories Again and I Didn’t Like It

I am currently typing this in a lawn chair in front of my house!

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The sun finally came out to play this weekend after a rather gloom and doom week. I’m just trying to keep my laptop from overheating and keep myself from spazzing out every time a bug flies past my ear. I’m also (hopefully) getting a nice tan on the front half of my body. #twoshadesofAlison

What’s been shakin’ since I talked to you last?

On Thursday night I took Pop out to dinner for his birthday! He chose a local Italian restaurant, where we ate copious amounts of {delicious} dairy and salt 🙂

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bread and olive oil to start // to share: burrata salad + field greens salad with gorgonzola, bacon, and walnuts // my entree: grilled swai with sautéed spinach and rice pilaf

Dessert was my favorite, as is often the case.

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warm apple tart a la mode with a side of birthday singing

‘Twas a joyful celebration indeed!

Unfortunately, one thing bothered me while eating this fine dinner. For the first time in a long time, I thought about the number of calories I must have eaten during that meal. I didn’t let the the thoughts affect how much I ate, but they definitely made me quite anxious.

I’ve eaten several big dinners in the past year yet never worried about calories. Why was I anxious all of a sudden? I suspect that it was because of the fact that I’m not exercising nearly as much as I was just a few weeks ago, so I feel guilty eating that much, even though the guilt is completely unwarranted.

I keep reminding myself that need to eat a lot right now, and that’s what I’ve been doing. For the most part, I very happily do so! Like on Friday when I met up with my beautiful friend Fiona at the mall. I had a tasty late lunch at my internship, shared some of Fiona’s fries, devoured a cup of Cold Stone ice cream, and then ate dinner at home, despite being kinda full from ice cream.

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I don’t know what the peanut butter supreme Quest bar tastes like, but it’s not peanut butter

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mint Oreo is my go-to amazingness

Some people like to track their calories when they are recovering from an eating disorder or gaining weight for health reasons (like me!). In all honesty though, I’ve had no interest in counting calories in order to make sure I’m eating enough. I’m trying to eat as much as I can and as densely as I can, but I have no idea how many calories I eat every day.

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overnight oats smoothie: oats, Greek yogurt, milk, cinnamon, chia seeds, peanut butter, frozen banana, greens, topped with lots of trail mix

The reason I don’t want to count calories is pretty simple: I counted calories throughout my eating disorder, which led to restriction.

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night snack: full fat Greek yogurt, berries, cinnamon raisin WB Kitchen cookie, spoonful of pb

Of course, my mindset is in a much healthier place today. This weekend, I figured that I should probably gauge the number of calories I was eating on a given day to make sure I was eating enough. Thus, on Saturday, I counted my calories, keeping in mind that I want anywhere from 2500 to 3000 calories per day.

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Saturday breakfast: big toast with sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, banana + full fat Greek yogurt with berries + almond coconut milk

So I went about my day analyzing the portions and calories I ate after each meal and snack. If I tried to count before eating, I knew I might be tempted to hold back. I didn’t feel anxious throughout the day fortunately. By eating completely freely, I actually ate about 2800 calories— right in the range.

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afternoon snack smoothie: almond coconut milk, half a banana, big spoonful of pb, and Quest strawberries and cream protein powder // and then another spoonful of pb after

It was helpful to know that I’ve been eating enough, and I feel at peace with how much I’m eating, but I still didn’t like counting calories. First of all, it’s time consuming and tedious. Secondly, it reminded me of when I counted calories during my ED, and I feel that if I did it consistently, I might fall into stupid guilt again, just like I did at my dad’s birthday dinner.

My main points: It’s good to have a general idea of how much I’m eating, but I don’t want to overthink it by counting calories. I don’t think I ever want to count calories again if I don’t have to. It works for some people, but I’m not one of those people.

This was Saturday’s dinner, loaded with delicious and {mostly} nutritious calories.

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I used this recipe for slow cooker pulled pork, and it was heavenly. We ate it on top of sweet potatoes with a side salad dressed with homemade honey mustard vinaigrette.

It was also one of the easiest things to make ever! The slow cooker is one of those pieces of technology that deserves all the praise it gets. Also, the satisfaction of the pork falling clean off the bone as soon as I took it out of the slow cooker— everyone must experience that satisfaction.

Alrighty. It’s time to grab a snack and then go for a walk before this sunshine goes away.

Hope you all have a beautiful day! Do what works for you, whatever that is.

P.S. I made a vlog with Daliza this weekend. Coming soon to a post near you.

So tell me:

Calorie counting— like it or leave it?

Do you have a slow cooker? Any favorite recipes you like to make with it? 

At Peace + Giveaway Winner!

Thank you a million times over, y’all. All your comments in yesterday’s post means everything to me. Your words of wisdom, support, and encouragement are so motivating, especially in the many times when I feel like none of this is really worth it.

YOU are awesome— in the most literal and genuine sense of the word.

I was nervous about posting yesterday, but after receiving such wonderful support and encouragement, I am actually quite at peace now. I will do this resting thing right.

I’m also feeling better…and stronger(!?) physically. I’m eating more and resting more, and my muscles actually feel stronger right now, since I am coming out of a week of lots of fitness in Colorado. This just goes to show how much rest and fuel you really need to grow. More than you think!!! Now I need to keep that up and get some padding on myself as well 😉

Mentally, I feel liberated. I don’t have to worry about doing a workout if I’m sleepy or about bracing myself for an intense workout that I know will wipe me out. By just moving my body gently and doing exercises and stretches that feel nourishing to my muscles, tendons, and ligaments (hey, physical therapist in me coming out), my mind feels refreshed and relaxed.

Spiritually, I also feel liberated. Throughout this past year, I knew that fitness had some sort of harness on me that was keeping me from being selfless and humble at times. I had put fitness at the front of my mind so often that it would distract me from God. I tried to fight the distraction, but my continuation of intense exercise, when I knew it wasn’t the best thing for me at the time, still made me feel very unsettled.

So thank you again for your love and prayers. Know that I am keeping you all in my prayers as well! If you ever have anything special you’d like me to pray for, please email me!

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Enlightened + Blend Swag Giveaway Winner

And now for the giveaway winner!

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Katie! Congratulations! Shoot me an email so I can send it to you ASAP 🙂

I hope you all have a fun and relaxing weekend. You’re the bestest.

A Different Kind of Discipline

My moves yesterday: 45 minutes of yoga, attempting headstands (are they supposed to be harder than handstands?!), 8 minutes of abs, walking.

So basically, yoga and walking. That sounds like a nice active rest day doesn’t it? A few months— or even weeks— ago, I would say so. Now though, that’s a lot for me.

I mentioned yesterday that slower workouts need to happen right now…but didn’t I say that a couple times on the blog already? Yeah, I did. I said I wanted to slow down my workouts to help me increase body fat so that I can get my woman processes all sorted out. Then I said I wasn’t doing a good job of actually giving my body rest, so I put even more restrictions on my exercise. But I still exercised a good amount because I still had a gym membership, dance, and opportunities to work out with my friends.

To be honest, when I wrote that second post about how I wasn’t really resting correctly, I sort of gave up on the rest thing until the end of the school year. I was involved in so many activities that working out became…automatic? (For lack of a better term.)

Well now that it’s summertime, I ended my gym membership, and I’m done with dance, I’m buckling down and really (REALLY REALLY REALLY) trying to rest more. Just more, not totally. I know what you’re thinking— sure you are, girl who cried wolf. 

As someone who had an eating disorder in the past, increasing the amount of food I consume has actually been the easier part of recovery. Decreasing exercise, on the other hand, has proven to be so difficult, and I honestly think that has been preventing my body from doing what it needs to do (ladies…ya know).

Why is it so difficult to not work out? For one, I simply love to move (hence the blog name). But there is also a huge culture of “discipline” in the fitness world, which can help motivate people to exercise…

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…However, I feel like these kinds of messages are also guilt-trips. If I intentionally don’t work out for a couple days in a row, and I see a photo of a sweaty, flexing person on Instagram with the caption, “get it done” (or something similar), I can’t help but feel like I should get up and do burpees right then and there.

This kind of advocacy for workout discipline is great, don’t get me wrong. These “fitspiration” messages help prevent me from being a veg on the couch watching Giada and Ina on Food Network all day.

But right now, I need a sort of opposite discipline. I need the discipline to say:

No to burpees.

No to pistol squats.

No to tons of push ups.

No to running (yeah, RUNNING— the thing I don’t even like that much).

No to being out of breath.

No to pushing myself.

And I have been doing this for the past week or so. I’m not saying I’m completely resting, because I’m obviously not. I never did. It has just come to the right time for me to finally take this more seriously. Again, no doctor ever told me to stop exercising, and my doctor just told me last week that I should still be doing some sort of exercise, and I am. {I even said a few days ago that I could do a single dead hang pull-up now, but I’m pretty sure that’s mostly because of muscle memory. I use the door frame pull-up bar every time I walk by it.} Any movement right now is for my sanity— my mental health. I’m being mindful and careful all the while though.

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Am I sure a decrease in working out will help out my situation? Nope. But I think my body needs the rest either way. I’ve also been eating even more.

Foooooooood.

So maybe this is just going through one ear and out the other for some of you at this point, but I’m still figuring out what the heck is happening too. Whatever it may be, for now, I’m practicing a different kind of discipline in telling myself to NOT go hard. Hold me accountable.