Ireland: Where the Grass Is Greener

They don’t kid when they say Ireland is green.

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this is my friend, Kevin, loving life

I’m here in Dublin!! My red eye flight on Aer Lingus was pleasant and a lot quicker than I imagined it would be. Sitting for 6+ hours still made my legs want to shrivel up and fall off, but at least I got to sleep and eat the good airplane food (← never thought I’d say that!).

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fresh veggies AND fresh fruit!? AND KERRYGOLD BUTTER?

I listened to the inflight music selection, which included Adele, Ben Howard, and “Irish Pulse”. I did not actually listen to Irish Pulse, but I wish I did in retrospect. Like, electro-Celtic perhaps?

‘Twas especially sunny in Dublin when we arrived on Tuesday morning, which helped us to feel more alive after traveling overnight.

We also got a mini sweat session just by hauling our 50+lb. luggages around the airport, on and off the bus, and up a couple flights of stairs.
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Our campus is gorgeous!

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We had our information and orientation sessions, with a much-needed lunch in between at their dining hall.

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smoked colley (?), mashed carrots and parsnips, peas, potatoes, veggies, and an apple cobbler thing drowned in custard sauce

There really are lots of potatoes here. The dining halls serve them both mashed and roasted/fried. I can deal with that.

But since we have a nice kitchen in our dorm, we’ll all be cooking throughout the semester (yay!). We went to the grocery store in the afternoon, and I got two huge bags of groceries. Most people only bought one bag, and one girl told me, “You went HAM in there.”

Listen, I am good to go with what I have, and I only spent 60 euros for a lot of food + staples that will last a while. I’ll take “HAM” as a compliment.

I have yet to drink any booze here yet. My friends at home are probably screaming at me right now, but I just haven’t yet! I’m definitely planning on going out for some drinks and having some Irish whiskey, don’t worry. I just…napped through the first night when people went out to a pub for dinner. Whoops.

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Post nap: “I don’t know where the heck everyone is but I got dressed up anyway.”

I conked out at 5pm and slept through my 5:35 alarm until 7:40. I wasn’t mad about it, but dinner was a little weird, since I was lazy and not too hungry.

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spinach and (fantastic!) tomatoes with hummus

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a roll and kerrygold butter that I got off the plane haha

Our wifi doesn’t work in the dorms yet, so I went outside in front of another building to FaceTime Madre and do some other internet things before heading to bed at around midnight.

I wanted to move and groove yesterday morning, so I put on my gear and went outside to find a potential spot to work out, but there were too many people walking outside, and I didn’t want to be weird, so I just did an indoor HIIT workout.

{side note: I’m typing this in a sketchy dark corner outside to get wifi, and there’s a friendly man who keeps walking by, and I don’t know if he wants me to leave or not, but I’ll just stay until he kicks me off this bench}

Pre-workout breakfast (since I was a little hungry when I woke up) was a banana and more toast with another knob of kerrygold butter from the airplane packet.

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I am a big fan of this.

Post-workout breakfast was Greek-style Irish yogurt, which was a little thinner than what I’m used to, but still very good! I had it with raspberry preserves and peanut butter that my new friend lent me, since Madre is actually visiting this weekend and bringing me all my peanut butter then 😀 #spoiled.

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We had more touring and orientation things until 1 pm, when I was READY for lunch.

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We ate at a dining hall again since we weren’t anywhere close to our dorms. This whole plate was only 5.50 euros, and it was everything I needed. Simple, tasty, and filling.

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Then we had a scavenger hunt around the city centre (what they call downtown) of Dublin. Rachel told me that the Dublin transit system is horrendous, and she was right. I’m already terrible with public transit on the subways back in Boston and NY, but the Dublin Bus system makes me want to weep inside just a little bit.

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Maybe by the end of October I’ll be able to understand it. They’re double decker buses though, which is cool.

My scavenger hunt group found a guy on the sidewalk selling these beautiful-looking strawberries for 3 euros, so we bought them to share. Our reactions: “HOLY **** THESE ARE THE BEST STRAWBERRIES I’VE EVER EATEN.”

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So tender, sweet, flavorful, and fresh. I even ate the leaves because a) they were so small that I could barely hold onto the leaves, b) I didn’t feel like holding juicy leaves in my fingers, c) they can’t hurt, right?

Of course, we also chatted with handsome Irish musicians on the street. And they actually have angelic voices.

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Also, many people drop the f-bomb here very frequently.

At the end of the scavenger hunt, a few of us ventured to get some new SIM cards for our time here in Ireland (data usage, huzzah!). And then I was again starving for dinner, which I made back at the dorm.

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I snacked on a KIND bar while cooking up some chicken breasts, which I had on top of toast with white cheddar. Plus a salad and an unpictured peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I brought from NY  (thanks, Aunt Tina!).

Confession: A lot of people are out at a club right now because our tour guide could get us all in for free this one night, but I didn’t want to pay for transportation for the fourth time in one day and I know I will have plenty of time to go out when I truly want to (not just because it’s free to get in. still need those dollas for booze ya know). PLUS, it was good to stay in with a couple of friends and help one of them out with room lockout issues.

I really want to do a wine and cheese night. Mostly for the cheese, but wine is good too.

Thank you to those who made suggestions for places to visit! I am very grateful for this experience. Dublin is seriously stunning and charming, and the people are so kind. I’m also meeting lots of new friends! I’m excited for what’s ahead.

So tell me:

When do you say “no” to going out?

Where are the best hidden gems in Europe? I’m trying to make travel plans and would love some input!

Summer Job + Recent Eats and Moves

I’ve had some pretty sick tan lines for the past few weeks, and I’m proud of them in an odd way.

There are two different shirt styles printed on my back though. Like, mostly a racerback tan line, but also a faint bathing suit tan line. It’s a good thing I’ll be working in business casual clothes and scrubs all summer.

Speaking of which…

Yesterday I started my job at a rehabilitation hospital!

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It’s called HELP (Health Experience Learning Program), specifically designed for college students studying to be health professionals. We’ll be exposed to various health professions through classroom and clinical learning experience, and I could not be more excited!

I felt like a nervous child on her first day of school going into it yesterday, but as the orientation went on, I felt more comfortable and made some friends (I hope)!


I haven’t done a classic show-and-tell of my eats, moves, and grooves recently. I don’t know about you guys, but these are some of my favorite kinds of posts (ex: Kath’s “Lately” posts) because I like a nosy quick and dirty rundown of someone’s food and fitness.

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Gina’s oatmeal cookie dough cereal with blueberries and bananas

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avocado, smoked salmon, roasted red pepper, artichoke, spinach in a Flatout wrap

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whole wheat toast: one with avocado, egg, sriracha + one with pepperjack cheese and egg

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overnight oat green smoothie

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spinach, tomato, chorizo, cheddar, avocado egg white omelette for Pop — I was so wishing that I made this for myself though

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Italian chicken, mozzarella, basil, balsamic toasted sandwich

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salad at a local Mexican restaurant (eaten with corn tortillas taco style) with the family

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summer watermelon

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dried figs with plain Greek yogurt!

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my new favorite pasta dish inspired by Fr. Barnes: whole wheat spaghetti tossed with olive oil, marinated artichokes, mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, spinach, Italian herbs, minced garlic, and lots of black pepper, topped with chicken/shrimp. WOWZA

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leftover oatmeal dried fruit cookies from Christmas (thank God for freezers)1

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overnight oats in a peanut butter jar on my first day of work

Moves and grooves these days have been really…organic. My workouts are chosen and done on a day-by-day basis, depending on what else I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and the weather. Honestly, this go-with-the-flow attitude allows me to have the most fun working out.

Last week involved a lot of rest and light hikes at Fiona’s summer house, but there were some other great workouts sprinkled in there!

Last Monday I knew I wanted to go outdoors for a workout. I also really wanted to use this wall, so I put on my creative cap (which I don’t have with me more often than not) and did this doozy of a workout:

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsI broke that dumbbell at the very end of the workout because I dropped it on the ground in my exhaustion. At least it was 25 years old and had a good life.

On Friday, I did Tina’s At-Home Chipper Workout outside also. For the squats and lunges, I used my makeshift sandbag (a canvas bag filled with a bunch of random free weights ~26 lbs.). The burpees and pushups were the hardest!

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Also, I know how I should do hollow rocks, but I feel like I am a useless, cranky banana when I do them.

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Sunday’s workout involved these:

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The stairs may be going up, but it kinda feels like hell.

3 rounds:

  • STAIRS UP
  • 5 pistol squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 v-ups
  • 20 tricep dips
  • STAIRS DOWN
  • 5 pistol squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 v-ups
  • 20 tricep dips

And then up the stairs uno màs.

My body still felt like a stone from Friday’s workout, so I let myself take decent breaks in between rounds.

those DAM stairs are always killer. nice to be back home for the summer 🌞 #fituniversity @gofitu

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on May 22, 2016 at 9:54am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsI also took a 1 hour walk on Saturday night in the drizzly dark while jamming out to music. Pretty sure all my neighbors thought I was an angsty teen.

Lastly, this yoga video saved my body from the tension and antsy-ness of sitting in orientation all day yesterday.

Hope you guys have a lovely day!

So tell me:

College students: What are you up to this summer?

What was your favorite summer job you ever had?

Do you like these kinds of posts?

Best way you moved this week!

Best dish you cooked this week.

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? 

Weekly Moves and Grooves XXVI {Going with the Flow}

Phew. So much to tell you, so little time!!

We’ll start with weekly moves and grooves, and then I’ll get to some more fun stuff tomorrow 🙂

My workouts have just been happening as they are able to, and that’s what my body and mind appreciate right now. I don’t need to be lifting heavy “X” number of times or anything. Bodyweight workouts (especially outdoors now!) are amazing and keeping me sane during this crazy time of year!

weekly moves and grooves

 Sunday

Rest

Monday

circuit workout by the river 

spring circuit workout

Ahh it was so beautiful to get the blood flowing outside!

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Tuesday

18 minute plank workout

Wednesday

jog to gym + circuit + random exercises + lots of walking!

For the circuit, I did 3 rounds of:

Then my body was tired and I just went up to the track to jog, do some box jumps, BOSU pushups, and some PUNCHING!

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I probably looked like a fool, because I’ve never done boxing or kick boxing before. But I was feeling adventurous…

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…but then I stopped because boxing without gloves is not a good idea. Go figure.

Thursday

Rest

Friday

100 burpee workout

  • 10 pushup burpees
  • 10 tuck jump burpees
  • 10 plank jack burpees
  • 10 spiderman pushup burpees
  • 10 180 degree burpees
  • 10 single leg (R) burpees
  • 10 single leg (L) burpees
  • 10 regular burpees
  • 10 broad jump burpees
  • 10 pushup to T burpees

A lot of these variations can be found in my burpee video here!

I wanted to do a quick workout before class because I slept in a little on Friday morning. Burpees are my default! This took around 11 minutes.

BONUS: Boston University broke the Guinness World Record for most people doing pushups at the same time!

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I don’t even know how many people were there, but we did it! We all did 10 pushups simultaneously. Woohoo!

Saturday

Purely Twins’ 10 minute challenge + swing dancing!

PFL DR youtube workout template

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I did 50 more or less…I can’t count with these kinds of workouts.

In the evening, my friends and I got groovy with some swing dancing downtown!

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My Wednesday workout buddy, PJ, and me pretending that we know what we’re doing.

“As long as you’re moving and you look confident, it looks like you know what you’re doing!” — PJ

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Gotta go, friends! I’ll be back tomorrow!

So tell me:

What was your most fun workout this week?

Have you ever gone swing dancing before?

Being Judgmental of Your Own Hunger Cues

I have concluded that video games/virtual worlds are not my cup o’ tea.

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“Oh I’m supposed to follow the arrow!”

My brother and I took our cousins to Disney Quest— Disney’s multi-floor arcade and video game attraction— for a fun “kids” day while our parents dined at a fancy restaurant. It was super fun spending time with the dudes, but I can only stare at colorful lights and crazy pixels for so long (ironic because I can look at a computer screen for quite a long time…but that’s different from looking at crashing cars and flashing neon lights).

I was literally saying Hail Mary’s before going into one of those virtual roller coaster things that require you to go into a capsule, be strapped in, and stare at a virtual roller coaster on a screen while you’re being tossed around inside the capsule. Bleccchhhhh.

It’s no wonder that I was perfectly content just drawing Minnie Mouse at the “Animation Academy” lesson.

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My cousin said she was a chubby Minnie. I call it baby Minnie.

Air hockey, giant Fruit Ninja, and Dance Dance Revolution were also pretty fun 🙂

We ended our night at Splitsville “Luxury Bowling” for dinner (even though we didn’t bowl). We shared fried calamari to start, and then I had the ahi tuna salad with Asian pear dressing. Tasty!

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Earlier yesterday morning, I ate a nice and filling breakfast that consisted of butt-end toasts with sunflower seed butter and peanut butter; plain Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and banana slices; and some mango.

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I woke up at 8:30 after going to bed at 2:30 AM, so I actually went back to sleep for another hour after breakfast and some blog reading. When I re-awoke, I ate another banana and then tackled some moves. Yesterday was a 5 minute jump rope warmup, foam rolling, and this at-home chipper workout from Tina.

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{via}

This is a GREAT workout. Challenging, quick, and no equipment required! However, I did use a 36# barbell for 50 of the squats and an abmat for the sit-ups for a little bit of an extra challenge. I also did jump lunges instead of alternating lunges. My quads were Jell-O.

Lunch followed immediately after! I ate some bites of my mom’s leftover seafood mofongo from Tuesday night, and then I made myself avocado toast and two-egg scramble with spinach and feta. I also ate a clementine after this— they’re sweet and juicy this time of year!

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We ate outside because the weather was perfection. I expressed my love for this moment on Instagram 🙂

Now I want to put on my serious-ish face and talk to you about something. (Warning: some of the following content may be triggering to those struggling with eating disorders. Take care! ♥ )

judgmental hunger cues

Whenever I go on day-long outings with family and friends other than my immediate family, I tend to fall into the dreaded comparison trap when it comes to food (obviously not a fault of my family or friends whatsoever!). I’ve gotten over the comparison trap quite successfully in college, but new situations always seem to throw me right back into it.

For example, I love breakfast, so I’m going to eat a big and/or dense morning meal such as the one I ate yesterday. Then I’ll see that every other person is eating half a waffle with a glass of juice or just a bowl of cereal, and they’ll be completely satisfied. “Oh…”

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This is not to say that there is anything wrong with small breakfasts if that’s your jazz!

It’s easier for me to brush this off because I know I tend to have bigger breakfasts than most of my friends, but that’s what works and that’s what I love. However, three hours later I might be hungry for a snack while no one else is.

There are also times when I’ll be hungry, have a snack, but then at dinner be just as hungry as everyone else who did not eat a snack since lunch. And sometimes I’ve had a bigger lunch than them.

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[source]

“Is there something wrong with me? Am I just thinking of food too much? (possibly.) C’mon, Alison, you can’t be hungry right now. You shouldn’t be.”

Shouldn’t. The judgmental word that messes with my brain and results in me overcomplicating food even more.

When I start judging my hunger cues, I sometimes end up eating more than I usually would once mealtime comes, because I don’t want to feel snacky later when no one else feels snacky. I am tempted to restrict (on a much, much smaller scale than I did during my eating disorder) or “compensate”.

{Allow me to clearly say: I have thankfully come a long way from my eating disorder, and I believe that I am at a healthy place mentally and physically. However, I think I speak on behalf of many people who have experienced EDs when I say that there are occasionally residual struggles that never truly disappear.}

In realizing the harm of judging my own hunger cues, I have also come to realize that I do not have the right to judge others’ eating habits (of course, unless something was clearly concerning). I used to wonder why some of my friends weren’t as hungry during lunch in high school, and I would criticize them for not eating enough. In reality, I was insecure about my own eating habits, and I unfortunately took it out on others.

God has mercifully given me the strength to deal with the temptation of judgement of myself and others, and I have been able to trust my body’s hunger cues. I know what works for me. Some days it’s a lot of snacks, and some days it’s three square meals. Some days I eat every meal three hours later than “normal” meal times, and some days I have totally disorganized mealtimes.

Our bodies are smart cookies (or smart banana in my case 😉 ) that all work uniquely for each individual. Even then, the body works uniquely for a single individual on different days.

There’s no place for judgement.

I’d also like to reiterate here that I almost never show everything I eat throughout the day on the blog!

Alrighty, I’m done.

Hope you all have a beautiful day! Go easy on yourself.

So tell me:

Do you ever find yourself judging your own eating habits?

Do you like visual-motion/simulator rides?

What is one delicious thing you ate yesterday?