You Are Enough.

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. As a woman and as someone who has experienced disordered eating, I wanted to write a post on this topic.

Yesterday’s situation:

I woke up and ate overnight oats for breakfast at 7:30am.

I sat in class for 75 minutes.

I came back home and contemplated going on a run or doing yoga, but I instead took a 45-minute nap instead.

I ate a super early lunch at 10:30am of avocado toast with two extra large eggs + veggies with hummus + a clementine.

I sat in class for another 75 minutes.

I ate another clementine before gross anatomy lab, which involved sitting and some standing.

I ate a granola bar + three cheese sandwich crackers after lab because I was hungry (apparently formaldehyde makes people hungry? weird).

I studied, went to a meeting, and went to Mass, all of which involved sitting.

I ate [white] pasta with meatballs, lots of parmesan cheese + salad for dinner at the Catholic Center. I also went back for a piece of garlic bread and another meatball.

I studied some more and sat some more for retreat reunion.

I came home and finished the last of the PB&J ice cream I bought for Rachel’s birthday. And for one last hurrah before Lent, I ate some yogurt with pb and banana.

I sat some more to write this blog post.


Yesterday involved lots of sitting, little movement, and lots of food (much of which was processed and not “real”). But yesterday involved so much joy as well. First of all, that nap was much needed. Additionally, I had wonderful conversations with people I love. God made Himself present to us in the Mass. I had energy to focus and learn in class. I was satisfied.

Five years ago, or maybe even four, I would have been on the verge of tears if this day happened as it did. Actually, I would not have let it happen. No way in hell would I have eaten before a specific time, eaten white carbs, or eaten ice cream AND yogurt before going to sleep, especially if I didn’t work out to the point of exhaustion that day.

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2013, the year I started this blog

No amount of exercise was enough.

No amount of calorie cutting was enough.

No number on the scale was enough.

No space between my thighs was enough.

No reassurance from a friend or family member was enough.

No truth about God’s Love for me was enough.

Nothing about me or the world around me was enough.

When food, exercise, and exterior features became the center of my life, every concept of my self-worth crumbled. The things we eat, the ways we move, and how we look all change every single day. It takes a great deal of energy just to keep those things constant, and even then, constancy is impossible. That is why it was so taxing for me to reach the point of “enough” fitness/thinness/muscularity/strength; once I reached a satisfactory point, I either wanted more, or I declined and became dissatisfied again.

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My worth rested in fleeting and terribly exhausting things of the world. This disordered way of thinking caused me to close myself from the world, to look at what I didn’t have, and to chase endlessly after those things.

The truth that I knew but did not internalize until I started recovery is that there is no measure of our worth except that we are unique human beings who have been loved into creation by God. This makes each of us infinitely valuable and deeply, infinitely loved.

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You are enough.

This a truth, and this is a truth that will set you free. Free to love, to serve, and to thrive.

However, although this is a truth that your loved ones and I can tell you over and over again, you may not believe it, no matter how much you want to believe it. An eating disorder attacks a person’s physiology and soul relentlessly, and it is not an issue that can be solved after reading one blog post. Eating disorders are a serious health issue that are prevalent in our society, and the healing process is a long and treacherous battle. But recovery is possible and it is worth it.

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I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.

-St. Teresa of Calcutta, I Thirst For You Meditation (written as if God is speaking to you)

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please:

  1. Find professional help. Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly, and proper health care is necessary in order to fully recover.
  2. Find support. Having trustworthy people who you can talk to in person is essential. There is also an incredible community of bloggers who I know are more than willing to lend support and resources.
  3. Keep persevering every day, every hour, every minute. Every decision you make around food/fitness is an opportunity to triumph over that eating disorder. This does not mean that every decision will be a triumph, but just keep adding drops of water into that large bucket, and one day it will overflow.

On that note, today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent. As always, if you observe Lent and have an eating disorder, please talk to a priest/religious sister and your doctor about what you can do besides fast from food.

Whereas restriction in eating disorders is often done out of self-loathing, fasting is (or at least should be) done out of love for God and certainty in God’s Love for us.

Never hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns, or prayer requests.

I love you.

 

 

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Fasting and Feasting

He is risen!! He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter, friends! ♥︎

Phew, wow, I cannot tell you what’s going on inside of me right now, because you would have to physically shut me up (or pry my fingers from the keyboard in this case). Joy, gratitude, stress, fullness, tiredness.

Last week was a stressful week, but powering through the stress made the Holy Triduum and Easter all the sweeter.

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*Disclaimer: These next few paragraphs include content relating to fasting and restriction. Please take caution ♥︎ Those with mental disorders (including during recovery from eating disorders) are not required to fast from food.

In light of Good Friday (the day we commemorate Jesus’ death), I fasted from Thursday night until Saturday (not a full fast, just less food than usual). Obviously, it was challenging. The point of fasting in the Catholic Church is to feel hunger and weakness as our Lord did in His time of suffering for our sins, and to unite our (minor) sufferings with His.

When I fasted for the first time last year, I was in a more delicate place regarding my relationship with food. I was a lot more worrisome about making sure that I was eating enough but not more than I was supposed to. This year, fasting was 100% sacrifice mode for me. You don’t have to tell me twice to eat enough at this point in my life, so I didn’t have to worry about mixing up restriction with fasting at all.

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Although sacrifice is involved, we’re encouraged to be smart with fasting. I had a three hour class and then a campus tour on Friday, so I made sure I had just enough energy to get through those things. Fasting should not cause you to be utterly incapacitated nor make you feel super lightheaded/nauseated.

The most significant thing I noticed while fasting this year was that it was freeing to feel that hungry yet know that my hunger pangs were volitional not for restriction but for sacrifice. It empowers me to be okay with being very hungry sometimes, because I know the hunger doesn’t have to be connected to the intention of losing weight. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I was planning on doing a quasi-fast on Saturday, but I went out to lunch with my parents and family friends, and this happened:

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I couldn’t be rude and say no to their generosity and kindness….

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I also took— not one— but two naps on Saturday. They were both 20 minutes, so I don’t feel too bad.

The weather cleared up nicely by late afternoon, and I hadn’t moved and grooved in a while, so I did this workout (one of my favorites!) by the river.

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For whatever reason, I think my body produces a HECK of a lot of gas after I eat a big, fatty meal and then work out later that day. ‘Cause my GI tract was hurtin’ from after I worked out until much later that night. (It felt just like this day last summer!) The gas just stays inside of me and it feels like pins and needles are poking me from the inside out.

TMI, but welcome to the blog.

Saturday night involved the coolest Mass of the year—the Easter Vigil! Followed up by a late night Easter celebration, which commenced the FEASTING. It was also fun to wear makeup again 🙂

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I went to bed at 3 AM, haha. I got 6 hours of sleep that night, and now I’m typing this at midnight the night after. I’m so prudent with my life decisions.

Easter Sunday started with a 30 minute walk to brunch with the family + family friends!

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THIS PLACE. Dreams. Check it:

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apple donut holes for appetizer, because Easter

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cast iron skillet cornbread with honey butter *moment of silence*

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my entree: cornmeal crusted cod + mango salsa slaw sandwich on brioche

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also shared some of my mom’s “Breakfast Club” waffle sandwich (triple decker with fried chicken and fried egg + syrup for dipping)

Heart-stopping on so many levels. It was so wonderful seeing my family again too. Thank you for making the trip up here, Madre and Pop!

Then I went back to the dorm to do some homework (blah) before hanging out with friends from the Catholic Center and eating MORE.

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WOMEN.

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radiant souls

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tradition ♥︎ 

It looks like it was warm outside, but it wasn’t. We sucked it up #ForThePics.

What a blessed day. I am at a loss for words except “Alleluia!”

The rest of the day involved me rushing to get in an assignment due at 5pm, mobile soup kitchen with my inspirational friends, and late dinner.

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spinach artichoke dip to share (we all burned the roofs of our mouths devouring this)

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arugula salad with golden raisins, candied walnuts, blue cheese, red onions, and Italian herb vinaigrette

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my aunt’s homemade zucchini bread with almond butter

Plus another cookie and more almond butter.

Thank you, family. Thank you, friends. Thank YOU for reading this and supporting me so lovingly. Thank you, Lord for your Death and Resurrection and Love beyond imagination.

Hope you all have a splendid Easter week!

So tell me:

Three things you did this weekend!

The best thing you ate this weekend!

Do you have any insights on fasting/feeling very hungry after having experienced an eating disorder?

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.

Consciously Avoiding Sugar Again?

It’s so pretty outside!!!

At least here in Boston. I hope it’s pretty outside for you too. It’s so pretty here, in fact, that I did some yoga-ish stuff out by the river yesterday. The crisp temperatures are perfect for keeping you cool when you start working up a sweat.

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All while the leaves are starting to change and I am starting to realize that getting out of bed in the morning becomes exponentially more difficult.

I haven’t shared a full day of eats in a while, so let’s look at that for this wonderful What I Ate Wednesday!

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While we’re at it, I want to talk to you about sugar in my life lately. It’s present (that’s for SURE), and sometimes I feel like it’s present a little too much. I don’t hide the fact that I am head over heels for the dining hall desserts and that I have one basically every day.

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breakfast // dorm oats: rolled oats with vanilla protein powder, banana, cinnamon, and pb

I don’t eat dessert because I feel like I “deserve” it or because I feel like I need to prove that I’m not afraid of dessert. At this point in my journey, I eat dessert because it’s delicious.

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lunch // roast beef, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, roasted veggie, honey mustard sandwich on whole wheat + pear

Needless to say, I’ve noticed that my dessert intake has been rather indulgent in the past few weeks. I should make it clear that I am not guilty in regards to the calories/sugar/fat from the desserts. Rather, I am aware that I’ve been eating a lot of sugar, and I dunno…as a health-professional-to-be, I feel inclined to do something about that.

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snack #1 // cinnamon rice cake from a stash of communal snacks in the Catholic Center

I somewhat consciously try to avoid processed sugars throughout the day when I’m walking, dancing, learning and such. However, I still do eat quite a bit of sugar overall throughout the day (often in the form of bananas…)

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snack #2 // banana with peanut butter

I try to keep my sugar sources pretty wholesome for the most part. That being said, I don’t obsess over it. I mean, some of the sauces that the dining hall uses for their savory dishes probably have just as much sugar a cupcake, but it’s guatever.

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dinner // Creole chicken (like a sweet BBQ sauce) with rice + side salad

With all this in mind—my higher consumption of desserts lately and my fairly high consumption of sugar (from wholesome sources or otherwise) throughout the day itself— I decided to take a break from all desserts for five days last week. I challenged myself to not eat dessert from Monday-Friday (I kinda cheated on Friday during retreat…so Monday-Thursday).

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dessert (last night, not last week) // carrot cake a la mode

It was obviously challenging some nights, but I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself. I know that during my recovery, it was dangerous to deny myself sweets because there was a good possibility I was avoiding sweets because of calories. But these days, I have NO FREAKING CLUE how many calories I’m eating every day, so I’m just eating what feels right for my body. Some days that includes dessert and others it doesn’t.

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post-dessert // some pineapple at a night event

Instead of eating dessert all last week, I still ate some cottage cheese with granola and more banana (I know, I know). Arguably, I was consuming just as much sugar in eating a concoction like that as I would be in eating dessert.

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post-dessert part two // a couple fried plantains with honey

So I guess, in my mind, my dessert fast last week was to lower my sugar intake, but in reality, my dessert fast was more about challenging my self control. The wonderful thing about all this is that I feel comfortable challenging my self control in regards to food again. I’m not worried that I will start having disordered intentions in avoiding certain foods.

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late night snack // spoonful of pb

I feel one step closer to that elusive 100% recovery, if that’s possible.

To clarify, the eats I just showed you were from yesterday, so I wasn’t on a dessert fast. I only did the dessert fast last week. 🙂

*DISCLAIMER: It has taken me a long time to get to this point at which I feel comfortable and healthy avoiding certain foods for a short amount of time. If you have a history of an eating disorder, please be honest with yourself in making these decisions.

Hope your day is sweeter than my three-part dessert last night!

So tell me:

Have you ever fasted from dessert for an extended period of time? 

Do you prefer sweet foods over savory foods? I do indeed. If that wasn’t obvious.

Does anyone else eat bananas like insanity?

What did you eat yesterday?

Recent Eats {and the Lowdown on Lent}

Hey we didn’t have a snow day this week yet! And it’s Ash Wednesday!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while the past week, you might know that I’m Catholic and incredibly proud of it. Today is the start of Lent, aka 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. That means yesterday was Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, aka do and eat everything you want to give up for the next 40 days.

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In case you want the lowdown on what we Catholics even do during these 40 days:

We only really need to fast (only one full meal and two smaller snacks that do not add up to one full meal) on the first Wednesday and last Friday of Lent, so it’s nothing crazy. We abstain from meat on every Friday though (meatless Friday instead of meatless Monday!). Also, we are strongly encouraged to give up unnecessary things that we love and/or do something extra as a sacrifice throughout the 40 days. It forces us to remember that there is nothing that can satisfy or fulfill us like God’s love and mercy can.

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^^^Not what Lent is.

Even if you’re not Catholic, it could be a refreshing experience to give up something for a month or so that will help you stay more focused or grateful. It doesn’t have to be food-related at all— it could be trash TV, profanity, petty complaining, gossip, looking at your phone at the table, etc.

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Just for the record, here’s what I’m doing this Lent:

  • Giving up music (I won’t voluntarily play music for myself, even when I work out ahhhhhhhhhh) and spending my quiet time praying instead.
  • Giving up scrolling through Instagram (I might still post photos of my own, but I won’t look through my feed at all.)
  • Reading Scripture every day

So yes, I was listening to music and looking at Instagram all day yesterday.

Some other things I’ve heard people are doing or have done for Lent: only getting one plate of food at the dining hall, giving up complaining, elevators, social media, makeup, meat, cheese, hot water (that means cold showers!)… People can be hard core.

I want to focus on making sacrifices that don’t have to do with food, so I’m not going to make any changes to my eating during Lent. With that said, here are only some of the delicious things I’ve been eating in the past few days!

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whole wheat French toast with banana and pb + scrambled eggs + glass o’ milk

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oatmeal with shredded coconut, pb, banana, and honey + scrambled eggs

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lentil and veggie African stew with sweet potatoes (YASSS) + some saucy-brothy Italian chicken 

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a five pound salad with romaine, carrots, tomatoes, roasted veggies, beets, and blue cheese(!!!)

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chipotle chicken (buried under there) with greens, barley salad, and feta

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roast beef, provolone, hummus, and veggie sandwich on wheat + more veggies and hummus + major veggie food baby 😛

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pork gyoza + scallion pancake + ramen with pork and a soft-boiled egg at Shabu and Mein when my parents came to visit!

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vanilla soft serve with frozen blueberries and granola (like, 10x this amount of granola)

Ahh food is so good. But not nearly as good as God.

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Side note: Fasting can be tricky if you are struggling (or have struggled) with an eating disorder. Fasting should be a challenging sacrifice, but it should also be reasonable and attainable in regards to your individual situation. If you are struggling with an eating disorder (which can be categorized as a mental disorder), you are exempt from fasting [source]. We fast to reiterate that our earthly needs cannot give us anything as valuable as God’s love, not to make ourselves miserable or unhealthy. Take care ♥

So tell me:

If you’re Catholic: Are you giving up anything/doing anything special for Lent?

If you’re not Catholic: What would you give up or do as a sacrifice for 40 days?

Do you like blue cheese?

Do you ever wish you didn’t eat so many vegetables at a meal?