I decided to share my writing in a different space and reserve this for something else.....

Leg Workout

I wasn't feeling the gym today so I decided to put together a leg workout of my own. It's important to work all parts of the leg and from as many angles as possible. Most important though is proper form in order to avoid injury!

I performed the following workout as a circuit, from start to finish with a one minute break between sets. I did three sets of 15 reps each (15 each leg for single leg exercises). Don't forget your warm up and save the stretching until you're done.

1. Dumbbell Squat - You can also do a basic squat. Be sure your knees do not go over your toes and keep your back straight.

2. Forward Lunge with Ab Twist - I used a 10 lb weight. Again be sure the knees do not go over the toes. I find it helpful to be mindful of pushing back to the starting position with your heel.

3. Stiff Leg Good Morning - I used a 10 lb weight held behind my neck - but not resting on my neck. Be sure to bend at the hips and do not curve your back.

4. Glute Bridge with Dumbbells - I used two 10 lb dumbbells rested on my pelvis. You can use one dumbbell, a medicine ball, a weight plate, or you can nix the weight altogether.

5. Standing Bodyweight Calf Raises - I did this on part of the frame of my Bowflex. You can do it on a step or anything else that is sturdy. Or you can do it on a flat surface.

6. Plie Squat with Dumbbells - You can hold the weight(s) up or hung between your legs. You can add in a bicep curl, shoulder press, lateral raise, etc., upon standing. Same with the basic squat. More bang for your buck. Doing compound movements uses more muscles and burns more calories.

7. Step Up with Backward Lunge - These are my favorite because they get my heart rate up pretty quickly. When starting out it's best to start with a low step and work your way up. Move slowly so as to not lose your balance. Also dumbbells can be incorporated as you progress.

8. Stiff Leg Dead Lift with Dumbbells - As with the Good Morning bend at the hips and don't curve your back. Bend down until you start to feel a pull in your hamstrings and slowly rise back up.

9. Single Leg Calf Raises - This can also be done standing on a flat surface if you don't have a ledge of some sort. Be sure you have something to use for stability, such as a wall or railing.

10. Donkey Kicks + Fire Hydrants - I did the set of donkey kicks followed by the fire hydrants for one leg and then switched to the other leg. I feel it more when performed this way. But you could do a set of DK for each leg then the FH for each leg.

I was dripping sweat at the end of this circuit and my legs were a little shaky. I felt great!

I hope someone finds this just as exciting as I do!

I Don't Want to Be...

Yesterday I started thinking about my goals and where I'd like to be in the not too distant future. I was pondering how I wanted to be when I come out on the other side. I started to mentally make some lists of what/who I do and do not want to be.

I don't want to be...

...a big shot Hollywood trainer. exercise DVD guru.
...stick thin.
...a fitness model. object of envy.
...financially rich.

I do want to be... inspiration.
...a source of comfort. who teaches. who practices what she preaches.
...personally successful.

Stepping into the health and fitness field feels like I've finally emerged from my cocoon. It's where I was meant to be. It's natural for me. Did I always think this is where I wanted to be? Absolutely not! But I did know I wanted to work in a field that would enable me to help people one on one. I never quite knew how or how to even go about figuring it out. I trusted that in time it would come to me and finally it has.

I feel very reflective this morning. More answers have been revealed to me. I can now make sense of certain situations and the lessons they afforded me. I can now see how I got to this place. I am grateful for each and every bit of it.

I really want to help people realize their full potential as well. I want to show them that perseverance may be painful at times but it is rewarding.

We are all capable of wonderful things. We just need to believe in ourselves.

Chasing a Feeling.

Like Alice wandering down the rabbit hole, I feel as though I'm compelled to chase this unknown.

I have this deeply intense feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like a caged animal trying desperately to break free. Only I can't pinpoint what it is.

It's simply a feeling.

I know better things are on the horizon. I am so very ready to chase them down. One by one. Catching them like beautiful butterflies in my net.

Yet I'm hesitant.

For some time I've practiced turning inward in order to seek out an answer. I write, meditate, run, or sit silently weighing all of my options. But right now I'm seeking validation. My instinct is screaming at me to make a decision. A simple decision. After all most decisions in life really are simple yet we complicate them. So why do I need the world's opinion about this?

If our instincts won't lead us astray, why can't I do what I feel I should do? What is best for me in this situation?

I wholeheartedly believe this. I'm certainly not scared. I don't fear what comes next. I know it will work out in the right way.

While this isn't sinking me it isn't serving me either. It isn't doing much of anything to propel me forward. I've exhausted all positive angles, learned all I'm going to learn from this. I see the value in this experience. I believe everything - big or small - is meant to teach us something. Nothing is insignificant. 

But I think the well has run dry.
And I think it's time to find a new well.

A New Body Reality.

I've made significant strides in the acceptance of my body.

I eat healthy. I exercise. I rest when needed. I don't sleep well (due to stress) but I'm working on it. I have completely omitted the word "fat" from my vocabulary. I am conscious of the content of my self talk. I am careful to push out negative thoughts just as soon as they start to appear. I treat myself with kindness. I focus on what my body can accomplish rather than how it looks in the mirror.

Yet still I would like to lose a little of what I call my "squishiness."

I follow a lot of body positive Facebook and Instagram accounts. I read about body positivity all the time and do my best to reenforce that concept within myself. It's working. I mean that in all honesty.  I feel really good about myself. I'm confident about my outer appearance because I am even more confident with who I am on the inside.

Yet I still would like to get back to the fit physique I had prior to the onset of ED.

June 2011

But then I had a thought today. What if the body I want isn't the body I am meant to have? What if my set point is where I'm at now?

By 'standards' I am average in size. I'm more physically capable than some and not nearly as much as others. I accept that.

I work hard to take care of my body but I know I am still battling some internal effects from my ED. I believe I have digestive issues that are making it very hard to lose any weight/inches. I accept that and I'm working to correct it. But I have to admit it's extremely frustrating.

I don't need to look exactly like that photo above. I think it would mean more to feel the way I did when I took that photo. I had just finished a five mile run with nearly no walking breaks. It was a huge accomplishment for me. The thought that I may not accomplish that again, not due to size but due to some physical pains, is crushing. I know how hard I worked to get to that point and some days I feel like I work 10x harder now.

Looking slim and fit was the icing on the cupcake for me. And yes I want that back. But what if I'm just not meant for it? How do I learn to accept a new reality?

I won't give up and I certainly won't fall back into harsh restrictive patterns in an attempt to achieve what I did once before. My mindset is stronger now. I'm doing right by myself. That is what matters most. I will continue to honor my body and my mind for what it can achieve.

The way I look on the outside is not my measure of success.

My Pants Don't Fit (and Why I Don't Care!)

Thanks to a drop in temperature today I decided to opt for pants for a change. Jeans, my least favorite piece of clothing. I tried to squeeze into a pair I hadn't worn in a while and found I could barely get them all the way up my legs. Much to my delight my first thought was not one of disgust or disdain for my body. The forbidden F word never entered my mind. Oh no no, I have come so far from that place. Instead I thought "Whatever!"

Yes, my immediate unfiltered response was a big old WHATEVER. My second response was a huge smile across my face.

I'm not quite sure how or when the shift really began to manifest. I have been reading, writing, and reading some more over the last year in an effort to make the most of my recovery from ED and to plant myself firmly on the path toward radical self love and body acceptance. I started following plus-size bloggers and models, reading articles on body acceptance and fat shaming, and I started practicing mindfulness in all areas of my life. And let me tell you, it has all brought me to this very moment.

That one phrase has had a profound impact on my self image and self worth.

No longer do I set expectations on aesthetics. I am not interested in fitting into someone else's mold of what is beautiful or worthy. Instead I am more concerned with functionality. I focus on the action and the physical and mental feelings in those moments rather than how many calories I am burning or how my body looks. I am consciously aware of movements and my abilities. I also learned to listen to my body which is something that I never made a priority. I rest when it's needed and I push myself when I know I am capable of so much more. It's a balance I finally struck. I no longer take my body for granted.

I can honestly say my struggle with food is barely there these days as well. I learned so much from the Intuitive Eating Challenge. I eat when I am hungry, pay attention to satiety, and never deprive myself. I put into action what I learned from a nutrition course I took back in April and make sure I am eating a complete meal or healthy snack each time something goes into my mouth. But if I want to indulge I do it. If I want to go out to dinner or for drinks I do it. If I overeat so be it. No more guilt. That freedom is indescribable.

All of this letting go and lack of stress about weight, measurements, and looks has paid off. Not only am I mentally more sound, not only am I more confident, but I finally put in that last piece of the puzzle. After two long years and an excruciatingly painful road, my body has healed itself and amenorrhea is no longer a concern. I have finally put my ED experience to pasture.

I am thankful, never regretful, for the experience. I could have never gotten to where I am or who I am otherwise.

Today is huge for me. I feel like I quietly exited one door and walked blissfully toward another.


Technology and constant stimulation are a big part of most people's lives. I too am guilty. But as I get older I prefer more downtime. I prefer quietness. I value being alone. I would rather be outside in nature than bogged down by electronics. I like the simple things.

This morning I drove out to the gym only to quickly pull away and head to the park. Intuitively I felt drawn to being outdoors rather than being surrounded by strangers and equipment. I also decided to forgo strapping on my iPod and was glad I didn't have my GPS watch with me. This meant no distractions and no monitoring of time or distance. It was me and nature. It was without boundaries.

It felt incredible to be able to really marvel at the world around me, the trees, the flowers, the sound of birds chirping, the wind against my skin. So often these fade into the background and go by unnoticed and unappreciated. Today though these simple things were exponentially beautiful to me.

Admittedly I got lost in thought from time to time. Having no distractions affords a lot of time to think, to create and to connect. I was able to sift through ideas and situations without outside influence. I felt a bit more clarity afterward. I often felt a smile involuntarily spread across my face.

What I also enjoyed about my morning stroll was being able to feel a little more connected to the others who were walking in the park. Normally I would be running by and would give a brief smile and hello. But today I was able to offer a genuine smile, a more meaningful Hello, and in one case a very short interaction. I think we are so consumed with ourselves and what we are doing that we go through life with our heads down and eyes averted. I cannot explain how amazing and warm it feels to connect with a stranger even if it is for a brief moment.

And all of this happened by simply leaving the gadgets behind and going back to the basics. It's amazing what can happen and how you can feel when you slow down.

What Being Vegan Means to Me.

During my recent stay with my dad's side of the family my plant based lifestyle has become a common topic at the dinner table. Everyone is worried about what I can eat. Everyone is wondering if I still eat fish or can have cheese (goodness gracious with these questions!). At one point I even heard, "Oh you're so good about it. You're so dedicated." It was meant as though I was merely following a strict diet although I know no disrespect to my lifestyle was meant. And while I've been solid in my decision and my beliefs I started to think more about what it all meant to me over the last year.

Initially I adopted a vegan lifestyle after just shy of a year of vegetarianism. I was beginning recovery from anorexia and wanted to be sure I was healing my body in the most natural way. I went vegan for health reasons but shortly after I started reading more into the animal abuse side of things. My passion and my dedication grew, especially after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives. I have continued to educate myself over the last year and have done my best to compassionately share this knowledge with my carnivorous family and friends. I very much respect everyone's choices to eat as they do and do my best to not come off as one of those pushy preachy people. I simply want to share what I have learned so that we can all nurture our bodies and take care of the planet in the best possible way.

Recently though I've begun to see my plant based lifestyle in a more spiritual light. My decision to eat foods in their natural state makes me feel more connected to the world around me. Since childhood I have been such an advocate for environmental awareness and this seems like a natural extension of that. Eating a whole foods plant based diet, eating locally grown foods when possible, is one of the best things we can do not only for our bodies but also for the environment. For me I feel as though that is my way of giving back to Mother Earth.

It also brings about more consciousness in other areas as well. I have completely nixed consuming bottled water. I haven't used a paper plate in the longest time. I use reusable containers for nearly everything rather than snack bags and also use my own bags when grocery shopping. My spending habits have significantly decreased as I do my best to consume all that I have first before purchasing more. I am overall more aware of what comes in and what goes out. Following a plant based lifestyle has extended far beyond food. I feel like a better human being overall. And with this I feel more connected, more grounded, and more soulfully satisfied.

Following a plant based lifestyle is not about deprivation. It isn't about giving things up. It's about being aware. It's about nurturing. It's about exploring (I've tried more foods and flavors as a vegan than an omnivore). It's about giving back to the planet and to the animals who inhabit it. It's about kindness. It's about taking care of your body, your mind, and your spirit.

Won't you considering joining me?

For more information please visit:

Happy Herbivore
Forks Over Knives
VRG: Veganism in a Nutshell
The Vegan Voice

In Loving Memory...

If there is one thing I learned from my wonderful grandpa it would be to live life to the fullest. It sounds rather cliche but that is exactly the way in which he lived. He and my grandma were always on the go. They were very involved in and dedicated to their community, their church, and the UNICO National organization. My grandpa would meet with "the guys" at the local diner for breakfast. He was in charge of Bingo at the church every week. He was a dedicated family man and just last month celebrated 60 amazing years of marriage with my beautiful grandma. There are no words to describe what an incredible soul he was.

My heart is so heavy and so shattered right now. I am weighed down by the guilt of living not that far but far enough away. My mind is flooded with so many memories and his voice. Over and over again I hear his voice, "Hiya, Kris!" "When are we going to see you again? We miss you." He would always shove a $20 bill in my hand when I left even when I insisted it wasn't necessary, "Here's some gas money."

The next time I walk into the apartment he won't be sitting in his recliner watching TV or working on his computer. He won't walk into the kitchen and sit down to eat with us. He won't get to see his precious great granddaughter grow up or meet his great grandson. Never again will I hear my grandma shout "Mickey!" or "D'Arminio!" I won't see him and his gang at breakfast at the Arena Diner. I cannot believe I will never see him again.

No matter how far apart we were I loved him dearly and I know he knew that. I know he did. I know he asked about me and looked forward to my visits. I know how much he loved us all. He was always supportive and without judgement.

I know I am mourning the physical but that his spirit will always live on inside of me. I am so grateful to have been able to call him Grandpa.


Authenticity vs Conformity

As far back as I can recall I have always considered myself different, an outsider, a rebel, unique. Moreover I have always stayed true to myself. I wore whatever I wanted. I styled my hair differently and dyed it different colors. I didn't match and I didn't care. I didn't look like "normal" kids. I didn't worry about fitting in. All that mattered was that I stayed true to my core and visually expressed who I was on the inside.

For some that goes away once you've entered adulthood. That didn't happen to me. I never conformed to a societal norm of how to look or how to act. Who I am on the inside has grown and maybe I am not as spunky on the outside anymore but there are still certain ways in which I externally express myself, mainly tattoos and piercings.

I haven't ever cared what anyone thought of my tattoos or piercings. They are a part of who I am. Honestly I forget they are there until someone stares or asks me about them. Every bit of ink in my skin has meaning to me. And well, the piercings are something I enjoy. I do not look 'freakish' nor do I adorn my body with anything offensive.

I have always and will always have the attitude that this is me, take it or leave it.

Usually this isn't a problem. I seldom feel judged or like an outcast for the way that I look. My tattoos and piercings haven't ever been an issue when it came to dating, making friends or my job. Body modifications have become extremely mainstream. However there are still people and places who find them to be unacceptable for a professional appearance.

My brand new place of employment, a large retail chain, states in their handbook that tattoos must be covered and piercings are not allowed except in the ears. Had I known this I would not have applied for the job. This kept me from applying for another large company but I respect them for being upfront about it. I was asked on my date of hire to cover the tattoos and I agreed. Did I like it? Absolutely not but I would manage. Then today, my first day of training, it was brought to my attention that after further discussion I would need to wear a clear retainer in place of my Monroe. This comes after I had already been told that since I was hired with it in I would be able to wear it. And quite frankly I feel this is extremely unfair.

During my job search these last few months I was adamant about finding a job that would except me as I am. If a company was going to discriminate based upon body modifications then it wouldn't be the place for me. I still believe that.

I feel stifled. At this age this is not the way I want to feel. Especially for a part time job. Yet I feel like in this moment I have no choice. I have bills to pay and I need flexibility in order to complete my internship. And so again I feel stuck. A feeling I worked so hard to escape has now come back around and smacked me in the face.

I don't see this lasting very long as I cannot be in a place that does not foster individuality.

Letting Go of Bad Habits.

See also: Nothing changes if nothing changes.

After two hours and nearly seven miles something my friend said to me really made struck a nerve. I need to let go.

What I would say was the biggest factor in my anorexia and the continuity of disordered eating is control. When everything else in life is unsteady and not going as I would like I freak out and do what I know best, I exert extreme control over my eating. I haven't relapsed although I've teetered on the edge a few times. But it made me reassess my mental state when the going gets tough. It made me realize there are still some behaviors that do not serve me positively on any level and I need to let them go.

Marching into a second year of dealing with HA is frustrating to say the least. I have tried several medications, adjusted my diet, adjusted my exercising, and yet nothing seems to correct the problem. When I take on an outside point of view it seems rather obvious that changes need to be made. If what I've tried has not worked up to this point why do I continue to do the same things yet expect different results? That's preposterous!

I learned a lot from the intuitive eating challenge I took on in April. And while I continue to incorporate intuitive eating into my life, there is still that last bit of control that I need to sever ties with. I truly believe that I can heal my body holistically if I simply let go.

Today I am doing just that.

No more food logging. No more measuring. No more 'good foods/bad foods'. No more restriction.
No more weighing myself. No more scrutinizing myself in the mirror. No more pushing myself to extremes. No more stressing. NO MORE ABUSE.

From this day forward I am going to listen to my body. I will eat when I am hungry and I will eat what my body tells me it really needs (or sometimes just wants!). I will move in ways that make me feel strong and alive. I will rest when my body aches. I will laugh a hearty laugh when my soul needs it. I will meditate when I need centering.

I am going to stop worrying and truly start living.


If I had to choose three words to describe myself one would surely be independent. I am fully capable of taking care of myself, thinking for myself, making my own decisions, taking care of my finances. You name it.   I don't rely on anyone for anything. Not that it's necessarily bad if you do (unless you're taking advantage of someone obviously), but I pride myself on being independent and free of need. I have busted my hump for years to save money, to learn to rely on my instincts and know that I know what is truly best for me, and to take control of my life in every area possible. So when something goes amiss it's usually difficult for me to accept.

You mean I have to rely on someone else? Ask for help? How do I do that when I have been relying on myself for so long?

This is a situation with which I'm faced at the moment. It's nothing terrible. It's nothing that is long term. The auto shop caused a problem and can't fix it until next week when they can get a part. It's an awful inconvenience, sure. Yet I'm not thinking of it as a case of "bad luck." No, I've decided to turn it around.

It's an opportunity for me to learn how to depend on others.

I will have to cancel my internship hours tomorrow which is a huge bummer, but it isn't the end of the world. I start training for my new job on Monday and have another shot at internship hours on Tuesday. What's great is that these occur while my mom is working and she has agreed to again lend me her car as she did today. That solves that. It is going to be a little maddening being stuck home all weekend, save for any time I can borrow the car to run errands. But I have things I can do that I have been feverishly avoiding and I will be forced have time to spend with my sister and niece who are coming by for the weekend. See, optimism at its finest!

I struggle with asking for help. It's not that it makes me feel weak or needy. It's not that I don't have a few people on whom I can rely. It's just frustrating to be in a position that is out of my control and which forces me to feel as though I am inconveniencing someone else. It really is as simple as that. I like doing things myself and when I can't I have a hard time with it. I'm stubborn! But it's these times that show me on whom I can truly rely. It shows me that people love and care for me and are willing to go out of their way to help me. And that can't possibly ever be a negative.

I'm choosing to turn this little blip into something positive. I could let it bother me and go bananas on the shop for screwing things up. But they owned up to it. They apologized and even offered to pay for a rental which I declined. They were willing to go above and beyond and in turn I am willing to be patient and understanding.

Positivity will always beget positivity.


“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.” - Alanis Morissette

Living With Less.

Something I have learned in the week and a half of being unemployed is how to live with less.

I have never been materialistic. I don't own a lot of 'stuff.' I'm not into electronics. I don't drive a fancy car or wear designer clothing. The main thing I splurge on are cosmetics (hey, we all have our vices). I would sooner spend my money on my family than on myself. I live more for the experience than for possessions.

This has been something that has been growing inside of me with age. I slowly started letting go of materialistic things. I've gotten rid of so much clothing, so many tokens of memories, photos of people I am no longer friends with, just anything that no longer serves a purpose in my life. Let me tell you it feels great! And whenever I need a little more inspiration on becoming more of a minimalist, I look to Lindsay at Happy Herbivore and her Minimalist Monday posts. They have really been a huge help, especially since my finances are currently in disarray.

So what does this have to do with being unemployed?

When I was working and had a steady income I didn't think as much about my spending habits. Mind you I am not in any way in massive debt and often pay my bills way ahead of time (I am really incredible when it comes to money management). But I would food shop frequently rather than finding a way to use what I have first. I wouldn't think twice about stopping at Wawa for a cup of coffee or how much gas I am using to get around (although I was trying to work on this in an effort to be more environmentally aware). If I was shopping for something in particular and happened to see something else I fancied I would give more consideration to buying it because it's ok to "treat" yourself.

Now I am forced to be more aware of where my money is going since I don't have any coming in.  Stop at Starbucks for a latte? No - make coffee at home. Out for shoes to wear for an interview and see a dress that is cute? I ask myself "do you need it?" and the answer is always a big fat NO. I spend on what I need out of necessity only. And with that I wait until I am just about out of something completely before it gets replenished. I plan my daily outings in a way that will use the least amount of gas. I spend more time outside with myself, talking with my family, reading books, connecting with friends, and bettering myself. Not only are all of those things great for the soul but they are free!!

I may not have a job right now but my life has never felt richer.

That is what living with less is all about. I'm not worried about having the latest gadget or wearing expensive clothes or having my hair done. In the grand scheme of life none of those things truly matter. Connecting, living, being... those actions matter. I have my struggles. Not every day would be deemed a good day. But I embrace the bad with the good. I embrace feelings and experiences. Because that's what life is about.

Life isn't about things you can hold in your hand but about what you hold in your heart.

So I'm unemployed.

Being unemployed sucks. I don't understand how some people prefer to not work. I am going absolutely bananas being home everyday. And I'm not even really home the entire time. I go to the gym, go to the park, go to the library, and run errands. I keep myself busy and out of the house as much as possible. But I know once the task at hand is over I am going home. Going home with no direction beyond that. Going home without having had really any interpersonal interaction.

What does having all of this time to one's self do to the mind - my mind? It's a breeding ground for relapse.

Yes, I admit it. I have been struggling to maintain balance for the last week. Some (most?) people may associate being home with that fear of becoming lazy, eating emotionally and thereby gaining weight. I associate being home with having too much time to overthink and drive myself crazy with negative self talk. Self talk about how I got myself into this situation, how I am doing nothing with myself right now, what good am I, how am I going to succeed, and so on and so forth.

In order to keep that talk at bay I keep myself busy and I keep myself moving. Not so bad, right? Well, for me, this seems to be sending me back into the throes of overexercising and restrictive/disordered eating. Negating any efforts to reverse my HA and stay on track with recovery. I am at the gym nearly everyday and I am walking and/or running every single day. Some people would question what is so wrong with that. We should be active and healthy, right? Of course. But I also know that rest (boy, how I hate that dirty little word) is also necessary. The thought of rest and being still terrifies me. How will I stay outside of my head if I don't have much else to focus on?

I do have moments of clarity. I have moments where I stop and remind myself that I am unemployed by choice because I felt a stronger pull toward something more fulfilling. I needed to get out of a bad working environment. I am no longer stagnant. I am actively working to accomplish a huge goal. It may not be happening at a quick or even the most steady pace but it is happening. I have faith in myself and in the universe. I have faith that my goals will be met and I will be propelled into something soul satisfying.

It just takes time.

I give myself credit for being vocal and conscious of my behavior this week. Although I may have taken a few steps back all is not lost. I know this is part of the process of recovery.

Today is a brand new day.


Eat More.

Something an active anoretic hates hearing is "eat more." If it were as easy to "just eat" as many people tend to think then anorexia wouldn't be such an issue, now would it?

Fast forward to being in recovery. And hearing that although you've made great progress and have put on enough weight to be physically recovered 'you probably aren't consuming enough calories.' What?!

This is what I heard from a registered dietitian in-residence. From a dietary standpoint it doesn't sound as though I am eating enough in order to completely nourish my body and reverse the hypothalamic amenorrhea I've been experiencing for two years now. What was more concerning was her pointing out some behaviors and that being told to eat more and having a fear of weight gain translates to the fact that I still struggle with ED behavior even if I have made great strides in my recovery. The thought of eating more when I often feel I've eaten too much is scary for me. That I instinctually associated more food with more weight is of much concern to me. Intellectually I can discern that properly nourishing my body and reversing HA will solve my physical problems and my weight will stabilize. But deep down, locked in that cage with the key thrown away, ED tells me that eating more will make me fat no matter what.

I'm not really sure how to process this. I've been doing really well eating intuitively and I mentioned that during the conversation. I would likely feel as though I am force feeding myself in order to consume more calories. That is sort of damaging to the progress I've made in repairing my relationship with food. I certainly don't want to go backward in that respect but I also want my body to be back to 100%. So what do I do?

This woman gave me some other great suggestions that I intend to pursue, such as seeing new doctors and having my blood work checked. But those are easier in my eyes. Those are scientific and based on fact. Eating more and dealing with the emotions that are involved, drudging up the past and going in the ring with it for Round 2, are far more unappealing. It almost feels like the windows in my house of recovery have been cracked and soon the ghost of ED will seep in.

"The hardest part is getting started."

How true that is. I know I am a strong woman. I know I've battled far worse situations and I've overcome them. I know I can do this. I'm just not sure how to start.


I feel like I've challenged many deep rooted fears lately. The biggest one would be leaving my job of over seven years. The time had come and I knew what needed to be done. But I had nothing lined up behind that decision. I had no idea what came next and I had that dizzying fear of falling flat on my face. Still, I couldn't remain stagnant so I followed my heart and resigned. Two weeks later I landed an interview and the next day received a job offer. Excitedly I snatched up the opportunity and figured it was presented to me for a reason. I needed to find my next source of income and while it's far less of an income it's better than nothing. Right?

This new job I've accepted is not what my soul aches for. There is growth potential and it's a completely new field for me which is both exciting and scary. I'm not ruling out the possibility of liking it. Yet for the last few days I have had this nagging emotional feeling about it. I busted my butt through the personal training course. I've completed a third of my internship in a matter of days and nights this week. Getting into the health and fitness field is where I long to be. I understand and accept that it is going to take time to reach each of my goals. I understand and accept that I may need to 'suffer' through certain periods of time in order to stay afloat and ultimately get ahead. I don't expect anything to be easy nor do I even want it to be. Not at all. I rather enjoy putting in the work and earning my place. That makes reaching my goals so much more gratifying. I guess I have started to question if this is really the next step for me.

I've come to the realization that a standard 9-5 desk job is not for me. I did it for so long and it served its purpose but it is not where I see myself. I need flexibility. I need movement. I need a bit more freedom than that. I have, for far too long, been a slave to some sort of restriction and structure. I thought I couldn't handle spontaneity. I needed a plan and Heaven forbid a wrench be thrown into it. But that's not me anymore. I've freed myself from self imposed restraints. I feel so much more in tune with who I am at my core and really ready to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

I'm terrified to fall back into the trap of staying if something becomes comfortable. I fear following logic over instinct. I know these are conscious decisions that we all make and I can control whether or not I allow myself to be stagnant again. With the last job I kept telling myself I would one day get out. I worked at a slow pace to accomplish some things. I assured myself it would get better. Then seven years happened and I had to make a very tough decision to take a blind leap and force myself out of the nest. I don't want to wake up one day and be right back in that moment. I don't want history to repeat itself even unintentionally.

I have no idea what to do right now. Logically I feel I "should" give this new gig a fair try. What have I got to lose? I don't want to waste the company's time or my own though. And I don't want this new job to get in the way of pursuing what I really want to do. So now again I feel a bit trapped.

If you were in my position, what would you do?

Intuitive Eating Review

I'm a little late on reviewing the Intuitive Eating Challenge but better late than never, no?

I came away from the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge with so much more insight about myself and my eating habits. I knew that my relationship with food was in the gutter. While I eat healthy most of the time I knew that there were times my eating was 'out of control.' I was eating for emotional reasons. I was eating out of stress, anxiety, frustration and sadness. I wasn't taking care of my body as best as I could. I was tired of it but I didn't know how to handle changing my habits on my own.

At the beginning of the challenge I learned to give myself permission to 'eat what I want'. No more restrictions. No more "good food/bad food." I'd set so many food rules that it was hard letting go of the fear of eating something I had deemed "bad". I noticed that after allowing myself to enjoy whatever food that was that it lost its power. I no longer craved it or overindulged because I learned that I could enjoy it whenever I felt I really wanted it.

Once over that hump I learned how to really tune into what my body was telling me. What was it I really wanted? What did I crave? This is something I come back to frequently when deciding what to eat. Rather than choosing something simply because I'm hungry and it's there I try to tune into what my body is telling me it really wants and needs. Everyday is different and that's perfectly normal. There isn't a wrong or right way to eat throughout my days as long as I check in with myself. Beyond choosing foods that will satisfy my bodily needs, I also learned how to tune into the satisfaction feeling. I grew up in a home where we usually cleared our plates. My grandfather taught us from a young age that food was not to be wasted as there were plenty of starving people in the world. That mentality has stuck with me my entire life. But now I have accepted that it's ok to not overfill my body simply because there is more food to be had. What good will that do me if I feel sluggish and bloated? Or if I have food guilt over eating too much? It's ok to save leftovers and enjoy that tasty meal a second time around.

And more than just dealing with food this challenge touched on intuitive drinking, exercising, and living. I'm not a frequent drinker so that part didn't really hit home for me. I did know that beyond repairing my relationship with food I needed to focus on learning to listen to my body in an effort to not overexert it. I'm competitive with myself. I like challenging my body in ways I haven't tried before (most recently with Insanity). But at some point I stopped listening to what my body was telling me and allowed my mind to take over. I was in a mess of pain most days but kept pushing through it. Not smart! Then it struck me that while certain workouts were challenging both physically and mentally I wasn't having as much fun as I really wanted to have. And if it's not fun what is the point?? After a month of Insanity I decided to get back into the weight room more frequently instead (I hadn't given that up altogether but had slowed down). I enjoy being in the gym. I enjoy lifting weights and pushing my body there. That is fun for me. I also got back into running. I run because I love it. I run because I love being outside. I run because I can. I run because it is my personal time. It's my getaway. It ignites me. It's my friend when I need it. I want to fill my life with more activities that excite me, that make me feel and make me feel alive.

Which then brings me to intuitive living. I took off two days of work in the last two weeks. Normally I have most of my days off planned out. I'm crazy, I know. But these days were different. I checked in with myself, decided what it was I wanted to do in that present moment and then did it. I went with the flow and while it's so out of character for me it felt amazing. I didn't feel restricted. I didn't feel pressed for time. I placed no limitations on what I could do and it was wonderful. I'm incorporating that into my everyday life as well. It ties in with my post about slowing down. Digging down deep and doing things that make me happy and fulfilled and at peace are what I want and need more of in my life.

I know that this challenge was simply the a beginning. There isn't an end point to reach. It's about being more in touch with your body and your mind. It's about shedding the restrictions that society places on us regarding food, exercise, beauty, and an overall manner in which we "should" be living our lives. Who knows better what you need than you? Who knows what will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment more than you do?

I would highly recommend Jamie's 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge to anyone in need of change. If you have a poor relationship with food and body image then this is a great start. Not only do I feel better overall about my eating, exercising and the way in which I live my life, I have finally accepted myself for who I am. I've banished the word "fat" from my vocabulary. I no longer view my body as some sort of aesthetic fixture for people to gawk at. It is my vessel. It allows me to live, love, breathe, run, learn, drive, eat, and be happy. It's more than meets the eye. I finally feel free.

Thank you to Meg @ A Dash Of Meg for inspiring many of us to sign up for this challenge. I know it's changed a lot of lives.

Slow Down.

Two weekends ago I made a trip to North Jersey to visit my family. It's not a far drive but it gets a little monotonous. And while I've been doing my best to enjoy the scenery and time to myself I do sometimes have a slight lead foot. I'm not talking whizzing by every single car or driving recklessly but I was going over the speed limit. And then it happened.

An undercover cop made his presence known to me.

I slowed down but was still nervous. Even more so when he pulled behind me and then alongside me. I must have cashed in tons of karma points that day because instead of being pulled over he got on the loudspeaker and told me to slow down. I nodded and did as I was told for the rest of the drive. And you know what? It made a huge difference in the experience.

Simply slowing down.

His words have stuck with me since that morning. As I've gotten older I've lost a lot of the road rage and racing-to-get-to-nowhere tendencies. I really have. There is just something about the parkway and turnpike that make me impatient. But getting off with such a quick warning struck me hard. Not only have I applied this with my driving, I really took it to heart.

I've been striving for some time to be more present and this fell in line with that. I take the days one at a time. I enjoy the simple things more. I don't rush out the door in the morning. I pay better attention to my surroundings. I don't speed through my work. I take the time to really touch base with my friends throughout the day. I sit down and fully enjoy my meals. I make the time to call distant relatives. I skip the gym in favor of lying in bed watching tv with my niece. I am learning to be patient in what comes next for me once I leave this job in a few weeks.

Simply put: I am better learning the value of time. I am digging deeper to find what nourishes my soul, and I feel more complete because of it. All it takes is slowing down.

I'm sure plenty of people will think that is easier said than done but I assure you it is not. When you feel yourself tensing up and experiencing a level of stress or anxiety, just stop and breathe. When you feel rushed, stop and breathe. It really is as easy as that. Breathe.

Remember, driving faster, working faster, eating faster.. none of these things will make you feel better once they are over. You won't get to where you are going or achieve what it is you hope to feel by not fully experiencing that moment. You'll continue to rush through the motions and in the end you'll be left feeling flat.

It takes patience and practice to be fully present in this moment. I assure you, though, it is possible and it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.

Living Intentionally.

Oh how true this is. I have always known who I am at my deepest core. I am a giver. I am a servant (not in a religious fashion). My goal in life since I was a child was to help people and make the world a better place. The problem was that I felt there were so many ways in which to do this that I felt lost in my life's purpose. How do I help others and help the world in the most fulfilling way possible? Where do I start?

I think starting is the hardest part of anything. Knowing where to line up takes patience and time. Here I am now at the age of 29 and it's finally happening. I have finally begun to figure out from where I need to launch. I made a promise to myself that this year would be it. It would be the year in which everything changes. It had to. I have felt stagnant for too long, felt too afraid to really seek and jump. Then something happened at the end of last year. I met someone who would become a huge advocate for the changes I needed to make, a friend who has grown to be so dear to me and I to him. He was the force I needed to have standing behind me, pushing me constantly to challenge myself and live my life with intention.

Intention (n): a determination to act in a certain way : resolve; significance

Yes, I can now say that I am honestly living my life with intention. How did I do it? There isn't a right or wrong way. You have to do what you feel is best for you in your present situation. What worked for me is:

1. Figure out what you're passionate about and do it. For me I knew I was passionate about wellness, nutrition and fitness. I decided to become a certified personal trainer to start so I enrolled in a five week program at the local community college. It's a great launching pad in this field and I've been learning that this field is as wide open as they come. I can do basically anything I would like to do.
2. Make the necessary changes that are in line with this passion. Probably the scariest thing I have ever done, I recently resigned from the job I've held for over seven years without having a solid platform to fall back on. I haven't ever felt so irresponsible yet so free. I can now reinvent myself. I can work any job, become anything I want to be without restriction. I am no longer tied to a position that does not serve or fulfill me.
3. Don't give up! I have my moments of doubt and impatience. I am human and I have fears. But how we use that fear is important. I've chosen to turn it around and face it head on. I have no idea what lies ahead for me and I fully embrace that. I embrace all of the unknown possibilities because I know they will be presented with purpose. Every situation with which we are faced is a lesson to learn and to grow. I have been extremely blessed with support, encouragement and love. That helps to keep me on my feet when I feel like falling down.

The next few weeks are going to be a true testament to my personal strength and my drive toward living a life of meaning. I am both terrified and excited for what's to come.

Intuitive Eating Week 1

It's called a challenge for a reason and that is exactly what it is. Since beginning the Intuitive Eating Challenge I have begun a pretty hard journey toward listening to my body rather than my mind when it comes to food.

Food has long been a comfort and a stressor for me. I eat when I'm bored, tired, upset, hating myself although not too frequently when I feel I'm in a fine state of mind. Then that nasty guilt sets in and I hate everything about everything and want to hide under the blankets until I'm done feeling like a fat mess. An issue I have been facing in the last few months is a frequent physical feeling of hunger. I know it started when I began taking hormones to reverse amenorrhea and stay with me while I took a regular low dose birth control pill. I've since stopped since the hormones were making me feel legit crazy but that physical feeling of hunger still plagues me some times. What gives?!

I often blame my conscious self. Maybe it's all in my head. Maybe it's a cover up for whatever I'm feeling deep down that I'm struggling to deal with on the surface. But what if it's more than that and I'm beating myself up for nothing? What if my hormones are still a bit out of whack (which I do sort of believe)? How do you become more in tune with your physical body when you aren't really sure what could be going on in there?

All things considered I think I'm doing pretty well so far. I've been learning to put down the food and walk away (most times) when I catch myself overmunching. Sometimes though I go with it until I feel a little more than full, then I feel guilty and vow to remember that feeling so that I won't become a repeat offender. I had my lack of control tested over the weekend when I went out to eat with Dad and surprisingly did not have any guilty feelings afterward - not even for eating a few fries! I'm still working on figuring out cravings and deciding what I really want to eat over what seems practical and available. I'm only a week in but I do feel as though I've taken some big steps forward.

From where I was a year ago beginning ED recovery I don't think I could have imagined being in this place right now and having so much support in building a better mentality toward food. I had sort of resigned myself to the belief that food would always be, in some way, a struggle for me. Now I know that isn't the truth at all.

Recovery was step one.
The next, learning to eat and live intuitively.
I think I am more than ready.

Terrible Tues.

I'm not entirely sure what it is about Tuesdays lately but they leave me feeling flat. I have been on cloud nine recently. I was overly excited about every little thing in life just last night. But this morning, this particular Tuesday, I woke up feeling unlike my 'new norm.' I also woke up with food guilt.

Yesterday was Day One of  Jamie's 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge. I signed up for this challenge as a means to finally, after so many dirty struggles, repair my relationship with food. The objective yesterday was to eat whatever you want whenever you want. I struggled a little with giving up on measuring all of my foods but I did allow for plenty of wiggle room. I was fine with my eating all day... until I walked in the door at midnight with a slightly grumbly tummy. While I didn't gorge on junk food I was remorseful for eating too much of the good stuff. I woke up with that guilt lying right beside me. Welcome to Day Two - Let's Stop Judging Ourselves. I most definitely, no matter how far away from ED I have come, still feel pangs of self judgement from time to time after I eat. That is definitely part of the problem today.

And I hate it. Not that anyone would love it. But I truly loathe this feeling.

I have spent countless hours reading on eating disorder recovery from medical type books and articles to memoirs and blog posts. My old therapist told me I had a really good handle on my recovery process because of all of this. So why do I still worry about food? And furthermore why do I still worry about that God forsaken scale?

I've read a few blog posts lately with the same theme - thinking that when you reach a certain weight your life will really begin and you will finally be happy. Well, I've been a decent amount of numbers all the way down to 102 and let me tell you happiness cannot be measured in numbers. Yet I still have that nagging feeling way down deep in my brain. That does not mean I am not happy in this present moment. I most certainly am. I have accomplished so much in even just the last few months let alone the last year. I finally feel like I am right where I belong and working toward achieving so many goals I have set for myself, and I'm looking forward - without fear - to what else is going to come my way. My positivity has bred more positivity. I am absolutely IN LOVE with life. But I guess when things are going so well there has to be some sort of bump in the road to keep things interesting, right? To remind you that you are still human and falter? To remind you of your strength and how you got to this very moment?

Today's objective is a tough one for me. I struggle with self judgement even beyond my eating habits. I have long been a perfectionist - my own worst enemy - and only recently have I been learning how to be my own best friend. How do you wave a white flag when it comes to yourself? How do you resign yourself to just being who you really are in this present moment? How do you begin to believe in yourself 100% based on who you are and what you are capable of and not judge yourself based on what you look like, weigh or eat?

29 Things To Do Before 30

I've seen several bloggers in the past make up a To-Do list each year on their birthday. A countdown list until the next notch is reached. Back in January I turned 29, inching one giant step closer to 30. Last year was a rough one. It was a huge learning experience and I wanted to start this new age with some positivity and focus. So, here's my "29 Things to Do Before 30" list:

* Find a new job
* Run three 5K races

* Say “I Love You” more

* Meditate at least three times a week 

* Visit family more frequently 

* Find another freelance writing gig 

* De-clutter bedroom; donate clothes 

* Take a yoga class

* Schedule a Reiki session

* Cook one new meal a month

* Read 20 books & read more poetry

* Visit New Orleans again

* Consistently run a mile in under 10 minutes

* Write Morning Pages (

* Try a new hobby

* Eat whole foods (nothing processed) for 30 days

* Make a new friend

* Cook dinner three times a week

* Create a recipe box

* Explore new places

* Be able to do 10 unassisted pull-ups

* Dance around more (& in my underwear!)

* Learn new makeup techniques

* Volunteer
* Get tattooed 

* Be more spontaneous 

* Eat raw for 7 days 

* Increase savings account
I realize it's April 1st and only one thing is scratched off, however, there are several I am actively working on (becoming a trainer, reading more, being spontaneous, decluttering..). It feels great to be present and accomplish little goals along the way. This year is off to the best start.

The letter I will never send.

It has been four months since we last spoke. Four months since you texted me for the last time. Four months since I didn't believe the very last thing you said to me. Four months of missing you. Four months of wondering if you thought of me. Four months of secretly keeping up. Four months of wondering if you did the same. Four months of wanting to reach out. Four months of keeping my mouth shut. Four months of painful disappointment. Four months of wondering why you didn't stop me from leaving. Four months of wondering what I did to deserve this. Four months of wondering why you felt this was worth letting go of. Four months of constant reminders of you.

Four months of borderline hating you. But four long months of soul searching. Four months of forgiveness. Four months of making something of myself and four months of wishing I could share it with you. Four months have gone by and now four months later it is time to fully let go.

Goodbye, for good, S.


It's true. I finally feel free of ED. It hit me the other night, while I was eating actually. I wasn't worried about how much I was eating, how many calories I'd eat, what I'd need to avoid eating in order to make up for it or how much I'd have to exercise to work it off. I simply ate. I did the same last night. Studying had me stressed and I am a notorious stress eater. Although once I wrote down everything in my food log it really wasn't as bad as I thought it was.

To get to this place means everything to me.

For years, even before I knew it was happened, I struggled. I struggled with my weight, yes, but it has always been more than that. Older and wiser I realize this now. My self worth has been in the toilet for years upon years. I dug myself deeper with age. I thought I was supposed to let go of those things by this stage of my life. I thought I would have myself and my life a little more figured out by now. I thought I would have settled into some sort of self acceptance. Boy, was I wrong.

That's ok.

I'm finding more and more that not everyone pushing 30 or even beyond is at the place in their life where they thought they'd be. And that is so very ok. For the last few years especially I felt stagnant. I'm working an ok job but it has no potential. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life although I tried different schools, basic community college, mulled over every 'reasonable' career choice out there. Nothing fit. Nothing felt right. Nothing was flashing neon signs and screaming my name. Until I decided to become a personal trainer. Even then I procrastinated. Would I be good at it? What do I know? How will I learn in five measley weeks? Having such a bad track record of self loathing and harming my body, how could I even begin to believe that I was someone who could help others learn to love themselves and take care of their bodies and their minds? On impulse, and with some very hard coaxing, I enrolled and I am so happy I did and so thankful for that kick in the ass that I needed.

I am pushing my mind harder than ever to be the best trainer that I can be (I am confident I will pass the test in two weeks). I am learning to network. I am reading into what opportunities lie within this field. And I'm finding that it is "wide open" as a trainer and wellness coach advised me. I can go anywhere and do anything I dream of within the wellness field. I have known from a very early age that I was meant to help others. I've said it for so many years but never quite knew where my voice was meant to boom. Now I know.

How does freedom from ED play into all this? I am now 100% confident that my experiences, as ugly and painful as they were, were fought so that I could be where I am today. I had to suffer, nearing my demise, in order to help others. I wouldn't trade that for the world. I am grateful to my ED for the lessons. And now, I am so ready to bury it, continue to heal and grow and learn, and give myself to others so that I can help them battle their demons and learn to love themselves.

I'm so excited to turn this page in my book.