Loved and Worthy of Love

an endless journey toward self-acceptance

Worthwhile Reads 9.25.16

Hey there! I’m actually blogging twice in one week, and I can hardly believe it, but I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to get in on Amanda’s weekly link-up. It was another week of great reads, and I can’t help but pass them along. Enjoy!

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Recovery

Normal Eating is Healthy Eating

Robyn nails down some great points once again.

Nobody Cares How Much You Weigh

Things recovery has taught me: people don’t care how much you weigh, and you likely do not see yourself the way that others see you.

This New York Fashion Week Was The Most Body-Positive Yet

We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

Anti-Obesity Message Contributing to Rise in Eating Disorders

Ugh.

When Workouts Go Too Far

Repeat after me: it is possible to exercise too much.

Life, Etc.

‘A Five-Alarm Threat to Our Future Food Supply’: Experts Describe Bayer-Montanto Merger

This kind of stuff makes me a little nervous.

 

That’s it for this week- I hope the rest of your Sunday is fantastic!

What I Ate Wednesday 9/21/16

Good morning! I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing in general, and back into the habit of blogging. As I have moved through the recovery process, blogging has felt less necessary for me, primarily because I’m just so busy. I think it is really important for there to be blogs out there of people who are pursuing full lives through recovery, though, and I want to be that kind of blog. So, I’m back at it today! I’m linking up with Jenn to share a day’s worth of food with you, which I haven’t done in quite some time.

This particular day was one in which I was visiting Indiana for my best friend’s wedding. I landed at 6am in Chicago, and I was starving when I got off of the plane. Before getting on the train to Indiana, I stopped at Panera for some oatmeal and a whole lot o’ coffee.

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oatmeal with strawberries and pecans

While on the train, I snacked on a bag of trail mix that I had brought with me.

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My friend picked me up in Indiana, and we grabbed some lunch on the way into town. One of the grocery stores there has a great salad bar, so we decided to stop there.

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salad with cottage cheese, garbanzo beans, and  vinaigrette

After I had settled in for a few minutes, it was time for my friend’s bachelorette party group yoga class! If you’re ever hosting a bachelorette party, I highly recommend this idea. It was such a nice way to spend time together, and it was something that my friend absolutely loved.

When we finished with our class, we went back to my friend’s house to get ready for our bachelorette party dinner. While we were getting ready, we snacked on various little things to hold us over until dinner.

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Oreo cookies, pretzel sticks, and unpictured M&M’s. 

After we had fancied ourselves up, we headed out to dinner together at a nice restaurant. Everything looked incredible, and after much deliberation I decided to order mussels and a plate of goat cheese, which came with little toasts. I also ordered a cocktail with jalapeno-infused vodka, which was absolutely delicious.

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We got home pretty late, and I was exhausted from a long day of travel. I walked to the house where I was staying, had a little snack, and collapsed into bed.

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homemade granola, m&m’s, and pretzels

It was wonderful to spend the weekend celebrating my friend’s wedding, especially because food fears feel so far away to me now. They are still there, and they occasionally pop up unexpectedly, but I feel as though I can actually live my life now. I can have a cocktail while out to dinner because it’s a special occasion. I can order what I really want at a restaurant. I can travel without crippling anxiety.

With these freedoms, I have gained weight. There was a time when that idea was the most terrifying thing in the world to me. Now that I’m living it, though, it doesn’t feel quite so scary. I have gained weight, but I can think again. I have gained weight, but I can exercise without feeling exhausted. I have gained weight, but I have gained a life as well. If you feel like you are the exception in recovery, the person who really does have to restrict forever, let me assure you that you are not. I’m going to be entirely honest: you will probably need to gain weight, but it will be so fucking worth it.

Worthwhile Reads 9.18.16

Good morning! I finally have some time to sit down and put together a Worthwhile Reads for y’all. I’ve come across some great reads over the past couple of weeks, but I’ve just had too much going on to do much blogging. I’m still here, though, and I’m glad to be able to share some of those reads with you today!

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Recovery

Saying Goodbye to Size “Sick”

Accepting a larger size is hard, but it is so essential for recovery.

Extreme Hunger in Eating Disorder Recovery: Why You’re Not Bingeing and Other Fears Explained

If you’re struggling with extreme hunger, please read this.

How I Learned That My Body is Beautiful Just the Way It Is

Such a beautiful story of choosing to love ourselves and our bodies as they are.

The Fuck It Diet is Temporary

Does healing ourselves mean never exercising again? No. Does it mean we can’t choose salad over fries again? Of course not. But being more extreme in our recoery may be what we need while we rid ourselves of our disordered relationship with food and our bodies.

 

Life, Etc.

The Worst Types of Workplace Sexists – And How to Avoid Them

Sexism is something we can deal with in any work environment, and it’s good to be equipped with how to handle it.

Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have to Eat Alone

This is so cool! It’s great to see young people with creative minds doing so much good.

Why Women Need a Tribe

Amen to this. It is so vital to have a strong support system for our entire lives.

It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are

Such a fascinating concept to consider in our efforts to understand trauma.

That’s it for this week’s links – I hope your week starts out wonderfully!

Worthwhile Reads 9.4.16

Good evening, lovely readers! Things have been a little crazy in my life, so I haven’t had blogging on my mind much. In fact, I was heading to bed last night when I thought to myself, “Oh shit! Tomorrow is Sunday and I haven’t put together a Worthwhile Reads post!” I was too tired to throw one together last night, but better late than never, right? After all, I do have some great reads to share with you all.

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Recovery

Losing The Diet Is Not Losing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the point at which dieting becomes disordered, and this post is a great resource for giving up dieting even in its most seemingly innocent forms.

My Body Positive Journey

There isn’t necessarily a before and after in our journeys with our bodies. They are ongoing, and ever-changing, which is pretty incredible.

Weight Watchers Led to My Eating Disorder. Here’s How.

It seems like Weight Watchers is often seen as the healthiest diet because it teaches things like portion control and doesn’t demonize some foods over others as much as some diets do. It can, however, lead to an eating disorder in the same way that any other diet can.

Surprise: Not Shaming People About Weight Helps Combat Both Anorexia And Obesity

Seriously, people. Can we finally learn this lesson?

I’ve Experienced Fat Shaming and Thin Shaming and I Can Tell You Which One Is Worse

Yup. Thin shaming isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but fatness does not hold the same positive connotations as thinness does, and that is the reality.

Life, Etc.

 

Why Talking About Death Should Be a Natural Part of Life

Amen to this. I used to work at a grief center for children and families, and I can’t overemphasize the importance of speaking about death in an honest and open way.

11 Ways To Make Dating Fun And Not Stressful

Dating always kind of sucks, but there are ways to make it suck less.

That’s it for this week! Have a fantastic Monday!

Thinking Out Loud 9/1/16: Feeling Thankful

Good morning! How are you on this fabulous day in September? I’m feeling great today, because I just slept for over ten hours. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but I decided to sleep without an alarm clock and that’s where I ended up! Nothing feels better than a solid night of rest, am I right?

This morning, I’m linking up with Amanda to share some of the things that I’m feeling thankful for right now. There has been a lot going on in my life, and I felt the need to pause for a moment to recognize how grateful I feel.

 

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This awesome new snack container that I bought at Grocery Outlet (the best store ever). It’s so much better than using a plastic bag because your food doesn’t get crushed and it’s endlessly reusable!

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The opportunity to see Malala speak this week. She came to Portland, and it was a privilege to be able to go. What a courageous, impassioned person! She lives with an attitude of humility and activism that is astounding.

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A beautiful rainbow after the first rainy day in a while. I was feeling a little blah about the rain coming back, but seeing this was a reminder that rain is a beautiful part of our climate.

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My mom bought me this badass chair when she was visiting here, and it is a godsend. Although it’s getting less warm these days, I’ve been enjoying reclining in the back yard while I can!

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I have experienced phenomenal support over the past few weeks, and I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for that. I found out recently that I need to have surgery soon, and it’s not something I’m looking forward to. Fortunately, my friends and coworkers here, along with my family back home, have been so supportive. I’m still not looking forward to surgery, but having such incredible people around me makes it much more tolerable.

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I moved to Portland a year ago this week, and I am endlessly grateful for all that has happened since. I have met amazing people, pushed myself beyond my comfort zone countless times, and truly formed a life here. I feel gratitude for every person who has helped make this first year here such a phenomenal one!

That is in no way an exhaustive list of the things for which I feel thankful, but it’s a start. We have so little control over the things that happen in our lives, but we can always control our attitudes. I get frustrated and complain plenty, but sometimes it’s nice to think of all there is to feel grateful for.

Worthwhile Reads 8.28.16

Good morning! How has your weekend been? Mine has been busy, as usual, but quite lovely. It has been far too long since I’ve put together a Worthwhile Reads post for y’all, and I’m looking forward to linking up with Amanda today to share some of the great links I’ve seen over the past few weeks!

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Recovery

Fitness Trackers for Kids: McDonald’s Dangerous New Marketing Ploy

I remember when McDonald’s included pedometers in meals when I was in middle school, and I remember it becoming somewhat obsessive for me. I wholly advocate for encouraging activity, but I think there are ways to do that without focusing on specific numbers.

Sweet Nothings: Life With An Eating Disorder

A beautiful post on the similarities between an eating disorder and a relationship.

Confidence in Eating (lots of food)

As always, The Fuck It Diet provides an awesome countercultural perspective.

What I Wanted My Partner to Know About My Eating Disorder But Never Said

Great things to know for those who love somebody with an eating disorder.

Your Body Positivity Needs To Include More Than Just You

Body positivity should include all bodies: the differently abled, the scarred, the “perfect,” the large, the small, and the in-between.

The Difference Between Full Recovery and Recovered Enough

It’s easy to get stuck in a “recovered enough” place, but we can all do better for ourselves.

What Intuitive Eating Is Not

It is not perfection, and it is not a diet, among other things.

 

Life, etc.

How I Got Over FOMO as an Introvert

Its hard to accept introversion without feeling like we are missing out, but it is worth trying to be okay with the fact that we may often be happier in smaller groups or on our own. I have found that I am much happier when I simply validate my choice to lie low and not waste time wishing I were more extroverted.

Batman The Four-Eared Supercat Finds a Forever Home

This was just too good to pass up.

The Culture Of The Smug White Liberal

This article points out things that may be hard to hear, but need to be considered nonetheless.

The New “Ghostbusters” and Race: Why It Matters That Leslie Jones Isn’t Playing One of the Scientists

I enjoyed the movie, but I had a lot of thoughts along these lines.

 

 

That’s all I have for this week’s roundup – I hope you have a fantastic remainder of your Sunday!

 

What I Ate Wednesday 8/24/16: What’s Normal?

Good morning! I have been majorly slacking in the blogging arena lately, but I’m linking up with Jenn today to share a day’s worth of food with you, along with some observations on what it means to be “normal” when it comes to food.

I know that the desire for normalcy fuels a lot of my actions, and I know that I’m not alone in that. We are naturally inclined to compare ourselves to others, and it is hard to not do so in a lens that errs on the side of negativity. A little shy of three years into my recovery journey, I am still trying to be normal, and still learning that normal isn’t necessarily something that exists at all.

Yesterday morning, I began my day as usual with oats brought from home and eaten at work.

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 oats with peanut butter, a beaten egg, and banana

For reasons unbeknownst to me, this breakfast filled me up a lot more than usual. I wasn’t hungry again for some time, but I snacked on part of a piece of banana bread when I did get a tad peckish.

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vegan chocolate chip banana bread that is the absolute best

When my lunch break rolled around, I was pretty damn hungry. In the service industry, you have to eat around your break times and that can be challenging. Sometimes you’re not hungry at all, but you know you will be later if you don’t eat. Other times, you’re ravenous and you know that you need to make your lunch last for a while. Yesterday, I was definitely relating to the latter of those options.

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sandwich with avocado and chicken, vegetables with hummus, and barbecue chips

When I got home from work, I wanted a little snack to hold me over until dinner. I ate a few naan crackers with some goat cheese, did a little yoga, and started to throw together a quick dinner.

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I had made spinach lasagna for dinner the night before, which is my jam, and there were plenty of leftovers yesterday, which made for an easy dinner before I headed off to see the movie Florence Foster Jenkins with some of my roommates.

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The movie was great, and it was only made better by all of the snacks that we sneaked in to eat while we watched.

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Gardetto’s, yogurt raisins, and Sugar Babies

I used to freak out about the idea of snacking at the movies. I associated it with eating enormous tubs of popcorn three times over, and I associated it with fatness. As I was watching with my friends yesterday, though, I realized how normal it is to snack at the movies. No, I don’t think it’s a great idea to skip dinner in favor of two buckets of popcorn on a regular basis. Nor do I think it’s a good idea to miss out on snacks with friends just because you’re paranoid about snacking at the movies immediately leading to morbid obesity, however. I ate the snacks and enjoyed the movie, which felt incredibly normal.

After the movie, I rode my bike around Portland in the dark for a while, which is one of my favorite activities. There’s something about being out and about in the warm summer night air that I absolutely adore. When I got home, I did a little reading and watched some Teen Mom 2 (no shame). I was a bit hungry again after a while, so I enjoyed an english muffin with peanut butter before calling it a night.

Is it normal to eat a snack before bed? Absolutely. Is it normal to not eat a snack before bed if you are still full from dinner? Sure. Is it normal to eat with friends at the movies? Of course. Is it even normal to eat candy and popcorn for dinner every once in a while? Yep. Normal is what makes us happy. Normal is what gives us fulfilling relationships. Gradually, I am learning that normal can be almost anything, and that striving for an objective level of normalcy only limits us from being our normally weird selves.

Reclaiming Rest

I remember a lot of things about rest.

I remember my grandpa criticizing my decision to take a nap when I was sixteen years old. This criticism came during the time in my life when I came home from school with a migraine every day and napped on the couch while watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit until the headache disappeared. I was deeply depressed, suffering from insomnia, uninvolved with school or friends, and recovering from viral encephalitis, an illness from which I have since recovered fully.

I remember being criticized for sleeping in on weekends instead of getting up and cleaning the house after new rules were put in place when I was ten years old.

I remember lying on my dorm room bed in college, playing Angry Birds and watching through seasons of The Office, Arrested Development, and Scrubs. I did this whenever I wasn’t in class because I was too anxious to get out and meet people. I was too insecure to think that I had value, so I kept to myself. I would buy bags of my favorite “junk food” and try to limit my consumption of them, inevitably eating what I believed was too much and feeling worse about myself.

I remember deciding, at age 22, that I would no longer be “lazy.” I remember committing to running every day, to ab workouts alone in my room at night, to working three jobs and going to school full-time. Running from what I perceived as laziness meant running from my former self, my fat self, and I couldn’t get far enough away from her.

So here I am today, fifteen years from the shaming about sleeping in on weekends, a decade from my post-encephalitic self, five years from those early college days, and only three years since beginning the diet that could have killed me. And in this place, I am trying to reclaim rest. When I look back at that timeline, it’s no surprise that I associate rest with inadequacy. Through all of my middle and high school days, I considered myself lazy. I considered myself worthless. I believed that the antidote to this laziness was to remain busy all of the time. To some extent, I wouldn’t trade those busiest college days for anything. I worked hard in school, I loved my jobs, and I made it through even the most stressful times. But now I need to learn a little bit about rest.

Early in recovery, rest was much easier to justify for myself. I had all but been forbidden from exercising, and walking was the only real exercise that I got. I did not have a job, so my days were spent journaling and reading. I was the furthest thing from busy, and that was exactly what I needed at that time. As I have moved through recovery, however, the urge to busy myself has crept back in. It is far too easy to cram my schedule with work, social outings, and the double-edged sword of exercise. Now that I am not expected to limit my exercise in the ways that I used to, it is quite easy to spend all of my free time in movement. It is easy to slip back into my old expectations of myself, to convince myself that I am lazy if I don’t move every second of every day. Even as I sit here writing this, I’m linking about the activity that I will do later. It’s an obsession with movement that our society is gradually encouraging more and more, and I find it troubling.

Truthfully, I wasn’t happy when I was sleeping all day long, playing Angry Birds, and resting only because I had no other hobbies or passions. On the other hand, I was definitely not happy when I forced myself to run every morning that my friend was visiting me in college, or when I rushed from work to class to the gym and back every single day. But rest was never the problem. Looking back, I can see the culprit of my feelings of inadequacy was never rest. And for that reason, I want to reclaim it in my life. Rest has a place in our routine just as movement does. It serves an important purpose in the same way that work and socialization serve their purposes. It does not need to be all that we do, but it absolutely needs to be some of what we do. So today, I encourage you to think about how you can rest without guilt, rest without shame, and know that you are taking care of yourself by doing so.

Thanks to Amanda for the opportunity to Think Out Loud today!

What I Ate Wednesday 8.10.16

Good morning from beautiful Montana! It has been a lovely vacation week here, which has included a little rest, many visits with loved ones, and plenty of delicious food. One of the best things about coming home is being able to get out of my routine and enjoy some of my favorite restaurants with family and friends. Today, I’m linking up with Jenn to share a day’s worth of Montana eats with you!

I began my day leisurely with my brother and two close friends who had stayed over at our house the night before. Everyone was doing their own thing for breakfast, so I whipped up a bowl of oatmeal and made a strong pot of coffee.

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oats with peanut butter, an egg, and fresh raspberries

My friends, brother, and I went for a walk and did some thrift shopping before meeting up with my mom for lunch. It was a rainy day, which called for soup.

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vegetarian chili, salad with poppyseed dressing, and french bread

I ran around town visiting various friends, baked a cake to take to my dad’s house, and went for a walk in the afternoon. On my way out the door, I snagged a handful of baby carrots, some nuts, and a little granola to eat in the car.

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When I got home, I snacked on coconut greek yogurt with Rice Krispie cereal while I frosted my cake.

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For dinner, my family went out to my favorite Chinese restaurant. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to be able to go to a place like this and feel a sense of flexibility around what I order. I told my brother that I would split whatever he wanted, and we settled on chicken with broccoli and vegetarian egg rolls.

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After dinner, my brother and I went out to our dad’s house to visit him for a bit. I brought the cake that I made, which was a dark chocolate cake with bourbon coffee buttercream. I only had a sliver because I knew the chocolate and coffee would keep me up, but it was delicious. If you need a solid chocolate cake recipe, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

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After visiting with our dad, we headed home to watch an episode of Chopped that features somebody I know in Portland. For the occasion, I made a bowl of popcorn with garlic and olive oil.

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I was a little bit peckish before bed again, so I settled for my peanut butter toast standby.

Honestly, this particular day wasn’t my easiest as far as body image is concerned. I was struggling to give myself grace and struggling to allow myself to live without fear of food and insecurities about my appearance. Recovery is still a journey that I’m on, and there are moments that feel extremely hard. Despite this, the reality of recovery is apparent to me whenever I return home. Every trip that I make, it gets a little easier to break routine, a little easier to have a bit of cake, and a little easier to focus on real life. Days like this remind me that it is possible to pursue recovery and possible to enjoy food even on days that feel a bit more challenging. One step backward does not negate progress, and it does not take away from the incredible freedom that recovery affords.

Worthwhile Reads 8.7.16

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Good morning! I’m writing to you from beautiful Montana, where I surprised my mom by visiting for a week. I’ve been absolutely loving my time here, and it has been a great opportunity to visit friends and family and get some much-needed rest and relaxation. I haven’t been very active on the blog lately, but I found some great links to share with you!

Recovery

Patients With “Wrong Weight” Refused Care

We seriously need to reevaluate the criteria for treatment. It’s absolutely absurd that people who aren’t ‘sick enough’ are not able to get care.

What I Wish I Knew Before My Daughter Developed Anorexia

There are so many lessons we can learn from those who have dealt with eating disorders, and society needs to open up to some of these lessons.

5 Important Things You May Not Know About Eating Disorders

This post does a great job of summarizing some of the things that people still don’t understand about eating disorders.

Once The “Fat Kid,” Always The “Fat Kid”

Such a beautiful reflection.

Life, Etc.

How Pokemon Go Helps Kids On The Autism Spectrum

Whether or not you are in on the Pokemon Go craze, I do think that it provides an opportunity to get people out in the community who might not otherwise do so.

Making The Case For Being Quietly Awesome

Quietly awesome people unite!

 

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