The Food and Fitness Relationship is Like Any Other

…for me, at least.

And I’m sure many others. Hence the existence of blogs / Instagram accounts similar to mine that were created for the purpose of she struggles of striking what is called “healthy balance.”

The food and fitness relationship is like any other inherently good relationship — lifelong, important, often fun, sometimes frustrating, at times hurtful, evolving, dependent on other factors in life, but always able to be healed / improved.

I would consider myself fully recovered from my eating disorder. But thoughts like these still pop into my head: Belly is fluffy today. What if I just ate half of what I normally do for dinner? What if I cut my daily calorie intake but a couple hundred? Maybe I’ll do burpees when I’m digested from dinner. I’m definitely not as shredded as her. I bet I’m heavier than that guy over there. 

To be clear, these can all be thoughts that are associated with disordered eating, hands down. However, it is the result of these thoughts that matters; what is it that you do when you have thoughts like these? Do these thoughts manifest as behaviors?

Thanks be to God, although these thoughts exist every dang day, I don’t think they ever manifest in behaviors that are harmful. But I’d be lying if there is not a little bit of a fight against impulsive restrictions or even just preoccupation with the layer of fat over my belly some days.

A photo of myself in a bathing suit from approximately 6-7 years ago (wow) came up on one of those Facebook “memories” (the best and worst thing there ever was on my facebook feed), and my jaw nearly dropped. I was like, “HECK, I had a dang 6 pack!” I was approximately 40 lbs. lighter then than I am now.

This is where you might be expecting me to say, “But I’m soooo much happier now!” THAT IS VERY TRUE, 1000%. But I am also at a point where I could afford to lose a couple pounds, and I would still be healthy and strong. I haven’t been able to do pull-ups in a while due to lack of practice but also a change in my body proportions so them lower limbs are hefty little fellas. So what do I do?

Option A: Intentionally cut some calories and lose some weight, because I’d likely be just as healthy as I am now. Who knows? I might even get those pull-ups more easily.

Option B: Do nothing about it.

Option C: Honestly evaluate my overall eating habits. Rather than saying, “I wanna cut X number of calories from my daily intake,” I could try asking myself: In which circumstances do I know I tend to stuff myself more than I’d like? Which emotions make me want to eat even though I’m not hungry? Am I sleeping enough? In which situations do I feel like I want to restrict? In which circumstances is the social/celebratory aspect of eating more important to me than my hunger/fullness cues?  And then, without judgement(!), I can address those instances where my relationship with food and fitness is a little rocky. Because any relationship needs consistent and constant evaluation. Some people’s relationship with food and fitness requires a little more effort and bickering back and forth than others’ and that is o k a y.

I’ll choose option C and see where it takes me.

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the usual suspects like oats and avocado egg toast are in there because I ♥︎ them, but you bet your bottom dollar we ate a boat load of sushi and several sweets on my birthday and we continue to explore new treats every weekend *drool*

Fitness has been pretty steady and level-headed. I don’t really count rest vs. workout days, and I’m varying workouts and still getting stronger / faster (besides the fact that I sprained my ankle last week while running).

Food always seems to be the kicker. Oh how I wish I could eat to my intuition with little to no thought in the world. Sometimes that happens! But not always, and that’s what this post is aiming to iterate; no matter where you are in your relationship with food and fitness — whether you are still recovering from an eating disorder, you are kinda sorta distressed about it sometimes, or whether you face unhelpful thoughts every day like I do — it’s okay to be fighting the good fight for a long time.

It’s not okay to be consumed by an eating disorder, and that fight truly requires the help of others who are qualified to help (i.e. a registered dietitian or a counselor/psychologist who specializes in EDs). But like any other relationship, it is okay to not have a perfect relationship with food and fitness.

So tell me: Thoughts?

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In and Out of Canada {Take 2}

Another year, another jaunt to Canada for the weekend.

Toronto, Canada. The land in which I undoubtedly consume an inordinate amount of carbohydrates and sodium. But goodness gracious, how can you say no to the fried rice and crispy noodles?

The food wasn’t nearly as important as the occasion and the company of course. My family took a little trek to Toronto this weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary! How beautiful, eh? (← had to)

Friday

Early wakeup to leave the house at 6AM! I definitely should not have stayed up until midnight to watch gymnastics/procrastinated laundry the night before. But Simone and Aly were worth it.

Nectarine banana overnight oats as per travel tradition.

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I was also nearly half deaf on Friday because my right ear has issues (I was born with two ear holes instead of one in that ear), so I’m prone to infection and having too much stuff in my ear. One of the more gross facts that you didn’t need to know about me. But not being able to hear that well out of even one ear really made me appreciate the gift of hearing!

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some morning double rainbow action

Madre had been up in Toronto since Tuesday, since she was the executive party planner. Pop, Ben and I took Friday off of work to drive up, and it took wayyyy too long. A road trip that usually takes 9 hours took almost 12 hours. But we made it safe and sound, which matters most.

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Salad dipped in guac. All I can hear is Rachel saying to me, “Be better. Or at least be less weird.”

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so much of this

We rolled into our cousins’ place at around 6pm. We were staying with the fit family again 🙂 Obviously that meant doing handstands and cartwheels in the basement with my cousin Amy upon arrival.

My family took off again soon after for dinner with other relatives at Congee Queen.

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congee = rice porridge with lots of good stuff inside

Pro: it’s cheap, delicious food. Con: it’s cheap, delicious food.

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best fried rice ever with [fake] crab, roe, and eel!

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I am positive that I ate more at this dinner than I do at Thanksgiving.

Back at home, I showered, and my cousin and I stretched while watching the Olympics with our parents. Only at their house can I enjoy a big stretching mat and foam rollers in front of the television!

Saturday

I slept in until 8ish and headed to the basement to warmup and do Jen’s 1000 Rep Workout.

My legs were insanely tight from sitting all day Friday, so this workout was great for loosening them up, but I could feel that there was lots of lactic acid in my body (not soreness but all around fatigue/tightness/heaviness). All I wanted was to foam roll and drink water until the cows came home.

After showering (and getting my right ear to hear again!), I helped Amy make avocado egg toast for her and her dad. She saw on my blog that I ate it once 25793 times before and bought the ingredients to make it while I was visiting.

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I’m always a proponent of spreading the avo-egg toast love, and I’m happy that they love it!

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For myself, I ate some quick banana oatmeal with protein powder and almond butter.

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While Madre, Pop and Ben were setting up the hall for the anniversary party the next day, I got to hang out with Amy. We played “Just Dance” and a Mario Party “board game” on the Wii after breakfast.

Working out + Just Dance made me pretty hungry again in no time. I ate leftovers for lunch with my cousin’s family before they left for Kung Fu practice (NBD). As for me, I laid horizontally on their couch (I had a stomachache for a bit), foam rolled, and caught up on blogs and reading.

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I did some handstands too. Amy believed that I could do a one-armed handstand facing the wall (after seeing my failure last week), and I could! The power of encouragement, man.

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When my family got back home, we headed to 5pm Mass. This parish we visited had the most beautiful-sounding music ministry. I cried.

Then for my favorite meal of the trip at my favorite restaurant in Toronto— Ten Ren’s Tea House! Everything here is cooked with tea, and they obviously sell a million kinds of tea beverages.

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p.s. More often than not in Toronto, we share everything family style. #justAsianthings

I actually skipped a tea beverage this time because I wanted a tea dessert, and I’m not really a dessert-sharer, so…. I ordered a green tea soft serve in a waffle cone for myself, which was fantastic.

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I also had a couple bites of “brick toast” for the first time ever. It’s what it sounds like— toast the size of a brick that’s caramelized and topped with something yummy. Our table shared a sweet milk custard one and a peanut butter (!) one.

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We’re pretty sure it was natural peanut butter because LOOK AT THE WAY IT MELTS. It also wasn’t too sweet. The sweet milk custard one was even better though, honestly. Imagine creme brûlée on top of toast….Yeah.

I also had a few bites of this snow ice dessert.

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It’s shaved ice topped with coconut milk and four toppings. We got tapioca, taro, lychee jelly, and red beans. Tasty and refreshing!

I think the rest of the night involved more stretching and Just Dance. We didn’t throw knives this time around, darn it.

Sunday

The big day! My family headed to the hall to prep for the anniversary party all morning.

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Sidenote: I was tweezing my brows in the car (I was NOT driving) on the way to the hall, which I do not recommend for effectiveness, accuracy, or safety.

We did some rehearsing, some decorating, and LOTS of food scooping into trays. As we were transferring all the food (that Congee Queen catered) into smaller trays, all I could think was, “these noodles are perpetual…this fried rice could feed an army and a half…this is all the General Tso’s chicken in Canada.”

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Needless to say, many people had many meals to take home at the end of the party.

There were several heartfelt speeches, many songs, lots of laughs, a couple baby screams, and almost three hundred people celebrating my grandparents’ inspiring 50 years of marriage. I sang “La Vie en Rose” for them with my brother accompanying on the piano!

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DSC_2657Pop and his bros singing + Ben on the keys + pad thai 
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twins!

I wore spiky, pointy-toed heels for 3 minutes before calling it quits and switching to sandals.

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So many people worked very hard to plan, set up, and attend this celebration. Special shoutout to my mom and her family and friends, who were indispensable contributors to the setup and cleanup of the party. They’re amazing! Everyone on both sides of the family who helped and came out to the celebration are just remarkable.

Cheers to everyone and to my Mah Mah and Yeh Yeh!

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We were utterly exhausted after running around all day. To think that Pop, Ben and I had originally planned on driving home to New York overnight immediately after the party makes me want to die inside. Thank God we were all able to get Monday off work.

I did go on a walk with my cousin, aunt and uncle after dinner because the weather outside was perfect and the sky looked like cotton candy!

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homemade jello made by Amy, naturally sweetened with honey and lemon — so refreshing!

But after watching the 100m men’s track final at night, I went to bed at 10 and passed. out.

Monday

Pop took one of our cars to go back home early with his aunt, and the rest of us slept in a little bit before we hit the road with our other car. I ate some breakfast cookie dough cereal before saying goodbyes, and then we were off!

First though, some road trip snacks from the Asian supermarket.

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cart-basket contraption

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“meat floss” seems neither appealing nor helpful in any way

Lunch on the road:

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pork bun

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cold Taiwanese noodles

Also, we bought ketchup chips in unhealthy and healthier form.

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A Canada classic that makes ketchup lovers rejoice and ketchup haters question humanity.

The trip home was a lot better than the trip to Toronto, thankfully. We even got some good views of Niagara Falls at the border!

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Our last hurrah was dinner at a Japanese restaurant with my dad’s aunt. I shared an eel avocado roll with my mom and ordered steamed chicken and vegetables with brown rice for myself. I was honestly craving as little salt and oil as possible. I love those two things, but Toronto serves it on a whole ‘nother level.

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It was a fun mini vacation with my beloved family, but I’m excited to go back to work and not have as much acne on my face 😀

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever tried brick toast or Taiwanese snow ice?

How has someone encouraged you recently? 

Five Minute Friday #5: Do Not Fear Your Weakness

My eyes are fluttering shut as I type this.

It’s been a long and blessed week, that’s for sure. There were a bunch of highs and lows worth noting.

High: The crazy warm weather.

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Low: Three exams.

High: Truly incredible people surrounding me.

Low: A lot of my friends have been hurting recently, which hurts my heart.

High: Lots of cake.

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High: Also a lot of veggies and some quality moves & grooves.

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Low: Some body image issues…

…Which leads me to this week’s Five Minute Friday vlog(s). As I mentioned on Monday, this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, so in honor of that, I made this first vlog about not fearing your eating disorder, because it does not have to reign your life.

link to video!

But then I had exercise physiology lab at night, where we completed body fat composition tests, and I decided to follow up with a second five minute vlog. Consider it version “5.5”, if you will.

link to video!

I’ve shared my story on the blog before. If you are interested in reading about that, feel free to check out these posts:

I Used to Have Hips

My Eating Disorder: Looking Back and Moving Forward

99.9% Recovery

Reflecting on My Exercise…Again

The Truth Is…

Lastly, here are a couple of helpful resources for those struggling with an eating disorder. I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking professional help for something as serious as an eating disorder. If you have a friend who is struggling, please consider it a duty to {compassionately, gently, and reasonably} get him or her to a professional.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Help Center

HELPLINE: 1 (800) 931-2237

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 Have a great weekend, friends ♥︎

So tell me:

A high and low of your week.

Have you ever taken a body fat composition test?

What are you doing this weekend? Going out with my girl friends tonight, studying, and sleeping.

Never Alone

Me right now:

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The week just started and I already feel smoked and kicked in the derrière.

I cannot complain, though. First of all, I am blessed to be in school and to have wonderful opportunities ahead of me this week. Secondly, this weekend I went on the Catholic Center retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, and the time away from school to spend a lot of quality time with God has refreshed my soul and filled my heart.

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The theme of the retreat was “Never Alone,” referring to the importance of friendships in this journey of life and faith. The speaker for the weekend, Fr. Tom, spoke about friendship in such a unique way. What he said was so simple and logical, yet so profound.

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Fr. Tom said two things that have been buzzing in my head all weekend long:

  1. It is improbable that we have the friends we have and that we are living the faith. There are so many improbable events that have happened to bring us to where we are now.
  2. There is such a thing as being “talented” at friendship.

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How true and beautiful those points are. It is no work of my own that has brought me into such a faithful family, to such a privileged life, and to such a loving community (both online and offline). Every good, bad, big, and little thing that has happened in my life shaped me into who I am today and continues to shape me into who God wills me to be.

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For instance, it sends chills down my spine to reflect on how the events of my life led me to start this little ol’ blog. My participation in performance sports ➔ my weight gain ➔ my obsessive and stubborn personality ➔ my discovery of healthy living blogs ➔ my eating disorder ➔ my loving family ➔ my recovery ➔ my renewed outlook on healthy living blogs ➔ the start of this blog ➔ the love and support I receive from the blogging community ➔ the friendships fostered here…

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It sucks that anyone has to have an eating disorder. It sucks that there is suffering and hurt. But the goodness that can be drawn from disorder and suffering can be more fruitful and expansive than anyone could ever hope or imagine. And this is largely because God gave us other people to live with. People can suck, don’t get me wrong, but people can be our companions on this journey that is life.

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Fr. Tom said that friendship is goal-oriented. If you have a shared destination, you have a shared journey. Furthermore, the depth and beauty of the goal impacts the depth and beauty of the friendship.

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happy 20th birthday, Rachel!!!

For me personally, eternal life with God is the ultimate goal, and sharing this goal with my friends transcends our conversations and interactions in order to match it.

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Recovery from an eating disorder is another profound goal that I can {fortunately and unfortunately} share with so many people, thanks to the blogging community. That goal has great depth and beauty, so our interactions with one another match that. I am constantly in awe of how close I have become to people from around the world through the internet, all because we know about hurt, and we know that we want something better.

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Two last things that stood out to me from Fr. Tom’s talks:

  1. The root of all religion is the desire to thank something or someone for life’s blessings.
  2. Each of us has a “sacred mission” and obligation to reach out to a specific person of God’s choosing. We won’t be able reach everyone, but we were definitely meant to reach someone.

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It’s impossible to count all the people who have made an improbable impact (whether it was positive or negative) on my life that has led me to where I am today. But I thank God for giving each one a sacred mission to reach out to me.

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This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness week, and I think this weekend’s retreat theme is so pertinent to the occasion. There is comfort in trusting that everything happens for a reason. Everyone’s journey is different, but I can say from my own experience that I could not have recovered to this point had I not found this community of bloggers/readers who shared the same goal. I also could not have recovered had it not been for such improbable factors in my life, and for all these things, I thank God.

This year’s NEDA Week theme is: “Three Minutes Can Save a Life.” If there is a way that you can compassionately and gently spread the word about getting screened for an eating disorder to your friends or community, please do. It may just be that improbable factor that leads someone to recovery.

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Thank you to all who made this retreat weekend wonderful. Thank you to all of you who have shown me love at any point in my life. Thank you to the Lord of all.

So tell me:

What are some improbable events that have led you to where you are today?

What did you do this weekend?

Thoughts? 

Fascinating Friday Links #23

Hey, would ya look at that? It’s Friday!

With only two and half days of school this week, I actually think my “week” starts now. My weekends are just as busy (if not, more) than my week days. At least next Friday is the start of our winter break! As if we haven’t had enough breaks this winter….Not complaining AT ALL.

I started watching the Olympics last night, and I’m already exited for what’s to come! The winter Olympics are definitely less popular than the summer ones, but I’m partial to the figure skating since I used to be a competitive figure skater. I also love watching skiing and speed skating because those can get intense!

Alright, well there are a ton of awesome links that I have to share with you all today! Enjoy the 23rd weekly Fascinating Friday Links!

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[Great info] Paleo Diet: Pros and Cons via Kath Eats Real Food and Eating Made Easy

[Are you resting enough?] Four Signs That You Might Be Overdoing It via Zuzka Light

[Go eggs!] The Most Overlooked Superfood in Your Fridge Right Now via Nutrtionella

[For those with a sweet tooth, like me] 5 Sneaky Ways to Beat Sugar Cravings via Health News and Views

[Strength training is key] Mythbusting: Weight Loss Workouts via The Healthy Maven and The Skinny on Health

[Drink up!] How Much Water Should You Drink While Exercising? via Greatist

[Form first] Avoid These 8 Major Abs Workout Mistakes via Brad Gouthro

[Awesome workouts] Crazy Skater Workout via Purely Twins + Total Body Workout via Peanut Butter Fingers + Winter Shape Up Week 2 via The Fitnessista

Food for Thought

[Good point] When Instagram Food Photos Deceive via The Big Man’s World

[Stay strong, mommas] When The Dark Days of Motherhood Threaten to Overwhelm via Tiny Blue Lines

[“Food is just food”] Food Shaming and Comparison via The Real Life RD

[Word.] 25 Things You Need to Stop Wasting Time On via Marc and Angel

[What do you think?] How ‘The Biggest Loser’ Sends an Unhealthy Message via Better with Sprinkles + Biggest Loser Winner: Too Thin? via Blonde Ponytail

[Be YOUR best self] Authentic Assessment: Are You Grading Yourself Fairly? via Run Pretty

[I need to start now] Why Everyone Should Learn to Budget via Fitting It All In

[It’s okay to rest] Let Go of the Ego & Go Into Child’s Post via Your Trainer Paige

Food for Belly

[Dreamy] Chocolate Peanut Butter Creamy Chia Pudding via Edible Perspective

[WANT.] Gruyere, Fig Jam, and Arugula Breakfast Sandwiches via How Sweet It Is

[Delightful] Baked Blueberry French Toast via Family Fresh Cooking

[Childhood favorite!] Homemade Cheez-Its via The Lean Green Bean

[Oh yes.] Oatmeal Cookie Dough Smoothie via Running with Spoons

[So festive!] Whole Wheat Vanilla Baked Olympics Donuts via Chocolate and Carrots

[Wow.] Banana, Pecan, Coconut, and Chocolate Chip Blondies via Top with Cinnamon

Valentine’s Day Specials

14 Bite-Sized Valentine’s Day Desserts via The Lean Green Bean

Valentine Strawberry Heart Pancakes via Weelicious

15+ Recipes for Valentine’s Day via Iowa Girl Eats

Miscellaneous Fun

[Mind=blown] 18 Paintings You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photos via Viralnova

[Pure GOLD] The Men of “Full House” Reunited on Jimmy Fallon via Buzzfeed

[Great tips] 12 Things to Remember When Taking Blog Photos via One Dog Woof

[We all think these things at one point or another] Thoughts When My Alarm Goes Off for a Morning Workout via The Lunchbox Diaries

Phew!!  That was a lot of link love. There were just so many good ones this week! (I say that almost every week, don’t I?) All my reading is invested in blogs. What are books anymore?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

So tell me:

Are you watching the Winter Olympics? Which are your favorite events?

Which links did you enjoy?

What are you up to this weekend?