The Last .01% of Recovery

Remember when I posted about 99.9% recovery?

I posted it in the summer of 2015, examining the question: “Is full recovery [from an eating disorder or any disordered eating] even possible?”

My answer at the time was:

More often than not, I don’t care about calories, I eat what I want, and I can skip a workout without any problem. However, there are days when eating more or skipping workouts doesn’t come easily or without thought.

Maybe you can reach 100% recovery, or maybe you have! I am so genuinely happy for those who do. This post is just my two cents based on my experiences, and I have concluded that I might be at 99.9% for a while.

I believe that I was in a healthy place last year, mentally and physically, and I don’t think that there have been groundbreaking changes in my mindset since then. Yet somehow I feel that I’ve tasted that last .01% of recovery.

I say “tasted” because our mental state is transient— it is constantly shifting and wavering depending on our environment, experiences, and seasons of life. Maybe there’s something about being home that triggers more inner demons. Maybe there’s something about being abroad that has forced all those demons away.

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God has granted me the incredible opportunity to study abroad this semester, and these past 3.5 months on a different continent has helped me develop as a person in many ways, including my mental health. Being in a completely different country with an unfamiliar culture and new people has forced me to adapt in every way—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. I don’t have my familiar surroundings to fall back upon when I’m stressed or bored or whatever, which can be either disastrous or fruitful. I’m grateful to say that it has been the latter this semester.

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The main things I have noticed in this last .01% recovery are that:

1) I don’t remember everything I’ve eaten in the past week, and I don’t feel the need to share it all with everyone on the blog.

I’m definitely NOT saying that people who share what they eat at every meal are in a bad place (hello, I’ve been doing it for the past three years on this blog), but for ME, there was always safety in knowing pretty much everything I ate in a week as a subconscious “balance” check.

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Showing you these dates with peanut butter, because a lot of you recommended it. 10/10. 🙂

Now it’s more of a day-by-day, or even a meal-by-meal, evaluation. It’s a little more present and future-focused than past-focused.

Past-focused: “What did I eat earlier today/this week? What should I eat now, since I ate that before?”

vs.

Present-focused: “What will satisfy me right now?”

Future-focused: “What do I need to make me feel better later?”

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In other words, there is little to no room for regret or compensation these days.

2) I’m not afraid of meals that make me think of “something I would eat in my disordered eating days.”

This one sounds strange, but I used to be slightly afraid of eating a meal that was very light or extra “healthy” during recovery, because that would make me think that I’m heading backwards. I feared that I might fall into the mindset of cutting calories again.

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But I know that I have zero desire to cut calories consciously or to restrict myself. Zero. Therefore, I can trust myself to eat a small box of salad or a small breakfast and know that I’m not trying to restrict or compensate. When my body is ready, I will naturally eat more later. Does this make sense?

3) I’m not afraid to be lazy.

THIS ONE. This one was hard for the longest time. Detaching myself from calories and food restriction was the easy part, but detaching myself from a mindset of constant activity and fitness has been the most difficult part of recovery.

Move, groove, walk everywhere, yoga, don’t take the bus, have a constant desire to be active.

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Don’t get me wrong, I still love moving and grooving, walking, etc. a lot! But listen, at the end of the long day, I just don’t want to walk 1.5 hours home, even if I have the time. Sometimes I don’t want to get off three stops early just to get in more steps. Sometimes I don’t want to take an active 5 minute break every 25 minutes while I’m working at my desk.

In other words, I trust myself to be lazy. I’m not going to spiral into a pit of sedentariness forever and ever if I’m lazy every now and then. It is indeed possible to enjoy sitting on your butt and to also love fitness, and I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I truly do exercise in ways that are enjoyable to me.


To answer the original question: Full recovery is possible. I think initial recovery can and should be pursued vigorously, but 100% recovery (in my eyes at least) is mostly reintroduced to us over time. 100% recovery finds YOU, but you have to be willing to be uncomfortable, whatever that entails for you. Over and over again.

For me:

  • sitting for very long periods of time without exercising beforehand
  • sitting for very long periods of time after eating a lot
  • eating salads that have more dressing than I would have wanted
  • going a whole day without a whole grain

Those are just some examples of discomfort for me. Does this mean I force myself to feel this discomfort every day? No, not at this stage (earlier in recovery, I did). But these discomforts must be welcomed and embraced, and honestly, just passed over with as little thought as possible, which you can only accomplish if you allow them to happen a few times. Only then might you find that they aren’t as uncomfortable anymore.

I have come to the conclusion that 100% recovery does not mean that we don’t care about my body image at all or that we disregard calories completely. It doesn’t mean we act oblivious to all those things, because that’s impossible. Instead, I think 100% recovery means that we have an abiding sense of peace in ourselves that cannot be budged by external factors (missed workout, more sweets than usual, someone else working out when you can’t, etc.) NOR internal factors (feeling tired, feeling extra hungry, etc.).

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be more like St. Francis

As always, I must remind you that I am not a professional by any means. I share all this from my own experience only. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please find help from a registered dietitian (you can reach out to RD bloggers like Robyn or Kylie even!). 

So tell me: 

Any thoughts! 

Have you learned anything more about what does good for your mental health recently? 

Current Mood(s)

It’s been a funky weekend.

My mood is currently a slurry of the following:

Upset, confused, uneasy, and heartbroken by the shootings (Christina Grimmie + mass shooting at Pulse) in Orlando this weekend.

I’m having a hard time just typing this blog post, because I’m watching several videos, reading tweets/statuses/articles, and just grappling with the whole situation and with the state of the world. May God be merciful to all, and may He grant rest to the souls of those who died and console their loved ones.

Friends, keep loving more deeply every day. Reflect on your purpose in this world. I don’t mean to be preachy right now, but when it comes to life and death, it’s important to ask yourself: What if my life on earth ended today? 

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Enraged, saddened, yet awe-inspired by the powerful letter the Stanford rape victim read aloud to her attacker.

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Unsure if cutting down on dairy is helping my tummy troubles. I’m currently drinking Lactaid milk (surprisingly, it’s exceptionally tasty milk) and avoiding Greek yogurt and cheese. I think I feel better with less Greek yogurt in particular (*tear*).

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the day before my mom picked up some Lactaid // carbs+pb isn’t the same without a glass o’ milk

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leftover green banana pancakes + banana cream sauce + glass o’ Lactaid (← doesn’t have the same ring to it)

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overnight oats made without Greek yogurt but with extra Lactaid milk, chia seeds, and half a scoop of vanilla protein powder — not bad!

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classic banana egg white oats (video tutorial coming soon!)

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baked banana bread oatmeal for this week’s breakfasts

I’m also unsure because I’m weak. I had a tiny bit of ice cream Saturday night with our leftover apple strudel from the farmers’ market 🙂 And I had a few cheesy jalapeño Popcorners yesterday.

I didn’t keel over or anything though, so it’s all good.

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Another likely culprit is definitely stress. I don’t notice my stress, but I think my body/mind has objectively been stressed these past few weeks.

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All that being said…

I’m ashamed and disappointed in myself. Honesty is the best policy. I feel ashamed that maybe my tummy troubles were actually coming from a few too many days of eating until I was stuffed, even if it was just a bunch of vegetables.

I have definitely not been binging by any means, but I do know that I sometimes stress eat and/or eat too quickly when I’m stressed. I was struck by the possibility that maybe my insides haven’t been cooperating because I just haven’t been too kind to them in regards to the volume I eat.

So I’ve been more aware of my stomach cues (without worrying about calories or anything), which (DUH) has been helping me feel more comfortable. I’m tempted to beat myself up about my recent eating habits, but I know that will just do me a disservice. Evaluate, learn, make the changes, and move on.

Somewhat off topic: Lunches these days have been all about eggs, which I find are easy on my stomach.

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two egg omelet with greens and onions + cherry tomatoes + avocado toast

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avocado toast with sunny egg and sriracha (among other things) for lunch on Saturday

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delicious bowl of quinoa, roasted broccoli, sautéed greens, onions, cherry tomatoes, chorizo + sunny egg + sriracha added post-pic

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Thankful that my body can move and exercise. I always try to be, but I’ve had to especially remind myself to be thankful this weekend because of some recent body image issues that I’ll talk more about tomorrow.

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Mom and I have been doing 7 minute workouts and Pilates together. So wonderful to move and groove with Madre.
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Working at a rehabilitation hospital has also done wonders for my perspective on physical ability, movement, and health.

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scene at lunch break

Saturday’s workout was a doozy! 4 rounds for time:

  • 10 burpee tuck jumps
  • 20 crazy Russian twists (10 each side, 15#)
  • 30 side jump lunges
  • 40 air squats with side leg lift
  • 50 mountain climbers

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HUSTLED on those last squats and mountain climbers when I saw that I could finish at 20 minutes

I did this yoga video yesterday, since everything was sore and my body had been craving good, organ-nourishing twists.

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Happy that I get to spend quality time with my parents on the weekends. We went out for sushi on Saturday night after Mass, followed by an evening walk.

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Mom and Pop’s sashimi for two

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cutest soy sauce dish

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my order: “Soho roll” (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, rice, roe, wrapped in soybean paper) + eel cucumber roll

Ain’t nothing like gooooooood sushi.

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Excited for friends and family in their adventures and endeavors. It’s so cool to see loved ones explore the world, learn, grow, and allow God to work through them.

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So there’s a lot happening in the head and the heart right now. A lot of it is growing pain, I think, which is encouraging and comforting. God is good, always.

I’m sorry if this post seems like a big, negative smash on your Monday, but that’s not my intent. This is just a reminder to myself and to all who read this that we need to support and uplift one another. Joy, beauty, heroism, and love exist, and it starts with you.

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So tell me:

What are your current moods?

Have you ever gone through periods of “meh” eating habits, even if you have a healthy mindset?

What are you thankful for today?

What is the best thing you did this weekend? Mass + dinner and walk with the parents ♥︎

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Five Minute Friday #3: Making Changes to Fulfill a Purpose

I have a new companion who comes with me to all my meals, but I’m not really sure I want him there… He kinda weighs me down sometimes, but I can’t let go of him, and I always pay attention to what he has to say.

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See him? Mr. Exercise Physiology. I have an exam for on Tuesday, and I need all information about metabolism to saturate my brain.

Other recent happenings include lots of sandwiches with guac…

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…and Lent! It started this Wednesday, so this week’s Five Minute Friday vlog has to do with making changes in one’s life in order to fulfill a purpose (not just from a Catholic perspective).

link to the video here!

Catholics do have set rules for fasting and abstinence throughout Lent. Here are some infographics if you’re curious!

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Ooo Valentine’s Day is this weekend, isn’t it? Flashback to when I wrote a letter to my future husband on this blog for Valentine’s Day two years ago. “Dear No One” is still my theme song.

Happy weekend!!!

So tell me:

If you participate in Lent, what are you giving up/adding? Giving up: makeup and scrolling Instagram (I can post but that’s it). Adding: Must be at least 5 minutes early to everything if I can help it and a decade of the rosary each day.

If you do not participate in Lent, do you feel called to make any specific changes in your life to meet your goals?

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day/President’s Day/the weekend?

I’ll be celebrating “Galentine’s Day” with Rachel tomorrow night! 🙂 The only way I might choose a guy over Rachel is if he comes up to me with a single rose in his mouth, Coldplay/Tori Kelly tickets, and a box of chocolates jar of peanut butter within the next twenty-four hours.

My Diet is the Anti-Whole30

Whole30. Have you heard of it?

Perhaps you have seen some bloggers or other social media figures try it out. I had seen a handful of bloggers mention it or try it for themselves in the past, and I noticed that Jen @ Peanut Butter Runner and Robyn @ The Real Life RD (both ladies I adore!) are currently partaking in the program.

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In case you have no idea what the Whole30 Program is, it’s essentially a 30 day eating program that cuts out certain food groups (such as dairy, legumes, added sugars, and grains) that could have a negative impact on overall health.

It’s not a diet in the sense of cutting out food groups for the sake of attaining a certain body shape or weight. It IS a diet that completely cuts out “psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.” Learn more here.

Both Jen and Robyn are participating in Whole30 mainly for health reasons (skin issues, overall energy, etc.), and I’ve enjoyed following their Whole30 experiences so far. I especially love Robyn’s persistent message about NOT restricting on Whole30.

It got me thinking: Huh, maybe this would help with that nice zit and dry skin on my face. Or the discomfort that I currently feel in my intestines. Or my raging sweet tooth…

But then I started thinking about a few things:

  • In college, it would be a pain in the butt to scope out Whole30-approved foods in the dining hall.
  • I would really feel uncomfortable declining a whole host of foods or requesting uber-specific cooking instructions when eating out.
  • My current diet is the anti-whole30.

…And I just don’t want to change it. I could. But let’s take a look, shall we?

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Wednesday’s breakfast was Kylie’s “banana pudding for breakfast“. It includes yogurt, peanut butter, oatmeal, and honey. All foods in red are no-no’s in Whole30.

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Wednesday’s dinner was two hard-boiled eggs that were marinating in teriyaki sauce + salad with cheesy, saucy pasta.

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Yesterday’s breakfast was leftover green pancakes (made with oatmeal, milk, and maple syrup) topped with Greek yogurt and banana cream sauce.

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Yesterday’s lunch was a Flatout wrap with avocado + egg + sriracha and cheese + egg. Plus some carrots, crackers, and hummus.

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A couple more breakfasts from this week with dairy, oats, some kind of added sweetener, and peanut butter.

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Check out this fabulous late night yogurt mess with peanut butter and granola.

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This delicious and wholesome dinner was brown rice + chicken (marinated in a lime, cilantro, olive oil and honey) + zucchini sautéed in olive oil.

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A meatless lunch of quinoa, avocado, roasted broccoli, hummus, and sriracha would not make the cut.

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Nay to this gem.

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Hey, look! This could work! Salad and chicken….marinated in honey mustard and olive oil, darn.

You get the point— I need dairy, oats, legumes, and sriracha.

Now, I’m not saying that I couldn’t ever commit to Whole30, and I am NOT trying to bash Whole30 whatsoever. I think it sounds like a great and wholesome eating program that aims to help people feel better. After all, I’m writing this post because I’ve been contemplating how Whole30 could be beneficial for me.

At this point in my life, I truly believe that I could do Whole30 without the temptation to restrict (calories, carbs, or fats). However, I realize that Whole30 would be a drastic change to my diet. Maybe Whole30 would “change my life” (as their website says) for the better, but I don’t currently see the benefits outweighing the costs:

  • No oats, rice, pizza, pasta, quinoa
  • No milk, yogurt, ice cream
  • No peanut butter (← problematic)
  • I would have to make my own nut milk.
  • I would have to ask every dining hall station what kind of oil/added sugars they use to cook the food (i.e. I would not be able to eat in the dining hall).
  • I would not be able to enjoy eating out with friends.

…even if it is just 30 days. In college, that is too much added stress.

Yes, it would be awesome if Whole30 helped me have fewer skin problems, a GI tract that basically never feels icky, and a little more energy around the clock. However, for me personally right now, it is not attainable. Maybe some other time.

I do love to eat healthy foods most of the time, and I feel pretty great as a result. So I guess I will appreciate how great I feel right now and not think about how great I could feel on Whole30. 🙂


 

P.S. I’m currently very averse to many foods because when I was blending a green smoothie earlier, the motor started smoking and it made the smoothie smell and taste DISGUSTING. I sadly threw the first batch out and made it again, but I couldn’t get the nauseating odor/taste out of my head. When I ate peanut butter later, the taste of it was almost like the nasty blender taste for some reason. As a result, I’m averse to peanut butter right now and it’s freaking me out!!!

Anyway, here’s some positivity to end this post:

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Linking up with Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud party today!

So tell me:

Have you ever tried Whole30?

Would you try it?

Not Quite Back to Dining Hall Food

I unintentionally squandered my unlimited meal plan yesterday.

I didn’t eat a single meal in the dining hall. I did, however, use my unlimited swipe-ability without guilt to pick up some fruit as a snack.

Yesterday was our last hurrah before the start of classes, and I’m glad to say that it was both a productive and fun day (without any heart palpitations, thank God).

I felt like a spring chicken after sleeping in and doing a bit of yoga and foam rolling in the morning. Once I was finished with all that, it was 10AM, so a quick dorm breakfast felt like the way to go.

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peanut butter + vanilla protein + banana on Dave’s killer bread

Followed by some human physiology reading, Jesus loving (Mass), and then more food. The admissions office graciously hosted a welcome back BBQ for all the admissions ambassadors (tour guides, etc.), complete with burgers, dogs, cookies, and sunshine.

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there’s a big burger patty in there somewhere

I was kinda antisocial at the BBQ, but I didn’t mean to be. I just needed to sit down and eat my burger with two hands, which meant that I had to remove myself from all the people standing and talking. In reality I was doing everyone a favor by not talking to them with lettuce in my teeth and mustard on my cheeks.

Domestic dorm duties beckoned me, so I went back to the dorm to do laundry and tub scrubbing.

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fueled by some zucchini bread that my wonderful roommate baked

My roommates told me not to clean the bathroom since it’s only been a week, but I rebelled and cleaned it anyway. Mold preys quickly.

And I prey on peanut butter even more quickly.

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My accidental homage to “I ♥ NY (aka The Big Apple)” 😉

I passed more time with blogging, folding laundry, and getting distracted by Tori Kelly’s VMA performance before leaving for the Catholic Center’s trip to the North End!

This week for me is filled with the BU Catholic Center’s First Week events, which is a time for any and all returning students and new students to hang out, meet friends, and partake in a merry time.

Day one was a scavenger hunt with tasks such as proposing to a stranger (who happens to look like Morgan Freeman).

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Day two was a trip to Quincy Market and the North End of Boston, which is like a more quaint version of NYC’s Little Italy.

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gyro plate with rice pilaf and salad from Quincy Market

HOUSED THIS. I told Rachel, “It scares me and thrills me that half of this meat is fat.”

Afterwards we walked to Mike’s Pastry in the North End, where our bomb-dig priest generously bought forty cannoli(s?) for the group.

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best cannoli I ever did eat // no chocolate chips 😀

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back to the endless selfies of college

Beautiful place and weather with beautiful people, eating beautiful food, and celebrating a beautiful Lord.

The day ended with deep thoughts/girl talk in my friends’ dorm room and typing up this blog post. Plus a shower, because hygiene is good.

P.S. I’m going to a modern dance class today, and I haven’t danced in forever, but I’m SO STOKED.

Wishing you all a beautiful day!

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So tell me:

Do you get self-conscious eating around people? I don’t usually, but when it comes to things with big leaves, I must hide my face.

Have you ever tried a cannoli?

Are you scrupulous about cleaning the bathroom like I am?