Eating Crap Will Make You Feel Like Crap

For the past few days, I’ve been a little more lenient with what I eat, and by lenient I mean I just ate whatever I felt like eating. I actually danced the entire way to Carvel last night for an ice cream cone. It was bad.

I somehow passed up the bag of bagels on my mom’s kitchen table this morning, only to go to brunch and have donuts for dessert. In my defense, they were homemade donuts. Then I went to my aunts house and ate EVERYTHING there as well.

As much as I regret eating poorly these past few days, I realize that it needed to happen. I needed to feel like absolute crap to realize just how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I’m exhausted, bloated, extremely thirsty, and kind of a jerk. I also get hungry a lot more frequently. The sad part about this whole thing is that I realize that this is what I used to feel like all the time and it’s a very real every day for a lot of people.

The way I feel now shows exactly what it feels like to be undernourished and overfed. It’s not always about what you look like. Sometimes it’s about not wanting to feel like you’re food hungover and wanting to punch everyone in the face, because trust me, when you start to feel bad enough, the rage monster just comes out of no where.

Having a great body is awesome, but it’s hard to have one if you eat crap all the time. Eating junk food sometimes is great, especially in moderation but it’s when it starts to become a more consistent thing that it starts to effect you.

Food is supposed to give you energy so why consistently eat something that’s actually going to take your energy away? It doesn’t make sense and yet we continue to do it just because it tastes good or feels good in the moment. It’s after that moment passes that it starts to catch up and you start to feel the effects of a poor diet.

Looking in the mirror and not liking what you see sucks, but so does being tired all the time and not feeling full from the food you eat. Although these things aren’t fun, they have an easy solution: eat good food that makes you feel good and the rest will fall into place.



I Ate 4,000 Calories and the World Didn’t End

When I had my cheat meal, I left the restaurant pretty satisfied. It was when I got home that the guilt started to set in.

I had worked so hard to lose the weight that I had put on so easily, so when I finally broke it felt like I had failed. I went to bed feeling like I had destroyed everything I had worked so hard for and I woke up angry at myself for doing so.

As the day went on, I kept stopping to look at myself in the mirror. I looked exactly the same.

“How could that be?” I kept thinking. After all, I had eaten EVERYTHING the night before.

Despite the feeling of a stomachache and a little bit of a food hangover, I didn’t even really feel that bad. But as the day went on, I kept imagining the sun to black out and the world to end. But it didn’t.

I made it through yesterday looking exactly the same as I had the day before, give or take some bloat. I didn’t suddenly turn into a 1,000 pound bed ridden woman in a special on TLC. I didn’t suddenly become a diabetic and my stomach eventually returned to normal. But most importantly, I was able to resume my normal, healthy eating.


A lot of women believe that they can never eat any kind of junk food so they deprive themselves for so long. When they finally do indulge, they binge eat and feel guilty about it. That feeling of sickness and guilt is punishment for a lot of us, it says “I can have my cake and eat it too, as long as I get it with a side of guilt”.

I learned this from my aunt. I had never thought of it this way but it really makes a lot of sense. Why else would we eat to the point of feeling sick? That guilt is a punishment, and an unnecessary one at that.

I eat healthy because it makes me feel good. It gives me energy to exercise and do the things I love. But we can’t all be perfect, all the time. I truly believe that in order to have a healthy relationship with food, you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself. Realizing that food does not define who you are and that everything can be consumed in moderation was a defining moment in figuring that out.

That is possibly the most important thing I’ve learned from gaining 20 pounds.

I put the weight on with guilt, I don’t intend to take it off that way.


Carboholics Anonymous Made Easy: Recipes and Tips

If you’re anything like me, saying no to bread, pastas, and desserts is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever have to do. There was actually a point in time where I HOPED to develop Celiac’s disease so I physically could not eat those things. Sick, right? I know.

But it actually turns out that it doesn’t have to hurt to give up (read: consume in moderation) these things. There are a ton of delicious ways to change up your carb heavy meals and keep them delicious, actually delicious, not kale chip “delicious”.

Recently, I discovered that I LOVE barbecue. When this passion developed, I have no idea. While barbecue is usually dripping with sauce and just flat out artery clogging, I’ve found a few ways to make it lighter on your heart and the scale.

Hickory Bourbon Pulled Chicken Tacos with Vinegary Slaw

Lets just say, I love these. The only thing that they were MAYBE missing was some chipotle aioli, but they were thoroughly delicious without it. The best part was that it took me probably 5 minutes of active cooking time and just as little clean up time.

Aside from the fact that they’re so easy, they’re also pretty good for you. The Stubbs BBQ sauce only has 40 calories for 2 tablespoons and 8 total carbs. For a while I had been buying Mission Carb Balance tortillas for tacos, but decided to change it up with corn photo-43tortillas instead. These are lower in calories, have less ingredients over all, and just taste better.

Pulled Chicken
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts too, I just like how these shred)
1 bottle of Stubbs hickory bourbon BBQ sauce

Vinegary Slaw
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm corn tortillas for serving

Place chicken thighs in the slow cooker and cover with BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily.
Mix cabbage with vinegar and oil and let sit for at least an hour.

If you want to crisp up the corn tortillas to make them even better, add a little butter or coconut oil to a frying pan, slightly wet the tortilla and heat on medium high for about 30 seconds per side. I highly suggest opening a window while doing this if you don’t want to irritate your smoke alarm.

Zucchini Linguine

I love pasta. I have tried every single alternative to the real stuff that you could possibly imagine. Gluten free, Dreamfields, spaghetti squash. With the exception of the Dreamfields, none of the alternatives are as satisfying as the real thing.

Then I came across zucchini linguine. I first had it in a restaurant that prepared it in a really watery sauce so I didn’t really feel the need to make it again. Soggy noodles are gross no matter what they’re made out of apparently.

Then, a few weeks ago, my grandmother called me to say that she bought a container of zucchini linguine from a local farm stand. The best part? She got me my own!photo-42

I had no real plans for how I was going to make it, until I got really hungry yesterday and decided to have it for lunch. I just sauteed it in olive oil in a frying pan until it was hot, then added some left over grilled chicken, spicy tomato sauce (Classico), and sprinkled some feta on top because I was out of parmesan.

It was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Apparently there’s a contraption for making the linguine, so tracking that down is going to be my next project.

Eating cleaner seemed a lot harder in theory than it is in practice. That being said, I have not had a cheat meal in two weeks now, but we are changing that in about an hour. Our favorite restaurant just reopened after being closed for expansion for about six months and tonight is opening night!


Shakespeare Diet: Update

Since deciding to lose 20 pounds while writing my senior thesis, I’ve had a few set backs, but a ton of success.

While at times colitis is great for weight loss, steroids are not. I haven’t put on a ton of weight from them, but there are definitely days where I’m super puffy from retaining water. The good news is that I’ve been off of them since Thursday and I can already see a difference in my face!

Though I hated the weight gain side effect, the steroids were just what I needed to start feeling better. Now that I’ve been having less stomachaches, getting to the gym and squeezing in home workouts have been easier than its been in months.


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Mini Broccoli Cheddar Frittatas

When we started meal prepping, it just seemed like common sense that breakfast would photo-33have to be made right before we wanted to eat it.

Just the thought of making an omelette and storing it in a plastic container for a few days was repulsive and there didn’t seem like too many other options.

We both were looking for something low-carb (overnight oats were out) with a good amount of protein. Since it’s not realistic to set aside time every morning for delicious omelette making and there’s only so many protein shakes you can drink first thing in the morning, I figured there had to be another solution.

Quiche had been something that we had experimented with before, buying pre-made, organic quiche from health food stores and using them throughout the week. These sometimes got expensive and I still wanted to cut out the pie crust.

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Winter Motivation (Or Lack Thereof)

There is nothing worse than trying to stay in shape in the winter. When it’s cold and snowy, all I want to do is snuggle up with Sheldon and read a book or take a nap. 

While neither of those things get me in shape, I have come to terms with the fact that I will also never be one of those people who is outside running despite what it’s doing outside. For example, the woman who was jogging down a main road during one of the worst snow storms we’ve had this year.

It took me 3 hours to drive a distance that usually would take a half hour, but she was out there with a ski band and thermal leggings. To me, that’s not motivation, that’s just insanity. I mean, aren’t you cold?

Finding time and motivation to exercise has never been a problem for me until recently. Lately, I’ll spend all day thinking about how excited I am to work out, only to decide later that it’s just too cold to move. To top it off, when I’m cold, all I want to do is eat heavy, carb or fat saturated foods that leave me feeling lethargic when I’m done.

Even as I write this, I get annoyed at this mentality. How can I be so motivated some days and other days just allow myself to be overcome by the winter blahs? 

Because I know that I’m pretty unmotivated in these months, I’ve decided to take a step to force myself to get back into it. Starting tomorrow, I will start working out with a trainer at Billy’s gym and start further cleaning up my diet.

Hopefully this gives me some motivation to get back on track!

How do you stay motivated in the cold months?


Recipe: Chicken Chili

When it’s snowing, there is literally nothing better than soup, chili, or stew.


Because this winter has been excessively snowy, I have entered into a long term relationship with my CrockPot. (I’m actually convinced that it really is the best thing since sliced bread.) The thing is actually magic. You put whatever ingredients you want in it, put the cover on, come back 8 hours later, and BOOM! Dinner.


Anyway, I’ve noticed that CrockPots and winter dinners involve a lot of red meat. Now don’t get me wrong, I love red meat just as much as the next recovering vegetarian does, but too much isn’t good either.

Unwilling to break up with my CrockPot, one day I decided to simply replace the ground beef in my chili with chicken thighs. The result was delicious as the chicken falls right off the bone and stays juicy the throughout the entire cooking process. The best part? It requires minimal ingredients, planning, or preparation.

Here’s the recipe:

2 14.5 oz cans of Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles

1 can of black beans (I used Trader Joe’s organic)

1 can of red kidney beans (Trader Joe’s organic)photo-23

1 lb of chicken thighs (or two sweet potatoes and some extra beans if you want to go veg!)

Chili Powder to taste

Cinnamon to taste (don’t overdo it, this one will sneak up on you)

Cayenne to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a CrockPot and cook on Low for 8 hours.

And there you go! Simple, delicious, and perfect for a cold night!




Colitis Cure Update

You know how sometimes you know you need to do something but you sort of need a push?

Well, I got my push.

While trying to stick out my first batch of medicine to try to heal any currently damaging inflammation, I was hit with seriously debilitating stomach pains. While my mom was convinced that the hospital was the solution I needed, I decided to call my regular doctor’s office for a second opinion.

Since it was a weekend, I was transferred to a doctor on call.

He decided that the current medications were not strong enough and proceeded to put me on steroids and two other medications. This all seemed a little extreme, so I decided to only take two of the medications until I could talk to my doctor.

Around 6 o’clock on New Year’s Eve, my doctor called.

When I explained what happened, he told me that I made the right decision by not taking all of the medications. Apparently, I had described what he called “a severe allergic reaction”. Awesome.

So problem solved right? I’m allergic to the medicine which I had stopped taking, so all is well? Wrong.

While the doctor on call had taken me off of the medicine which caused the problem, he proceeded to prescribe me two other medications with the same active ingredient as the original culprit: Mesalamine.

As I had taken the pills containing it on New Year’s Eve, only a few hours after getting off the phone with the doctor, I started exhibiting signs of a stomach virus. After looking at the information on the bottle, I saw that again, I was having an allergic reaction. Not the kind of celebration I was looking for to start the year off.

As it was a pill designed to release slowly, three days later, I am still miserable. 

If this wasn’t the push I needed to find a new solution, I’m not quite sure what is. There comes a point that you need to question how much medicine is helping you when you’re sicker than you were before you started.


KBF’s Cure (Hopefully) for Colitis

On Sunday night, after months of struggling between working out and not moving much, I had a bittersweet moment.

As I was getting ready for dinner, I got dressed, put on a new (bigger) pair of jeans and looked at myself in the mirror. “Hm, I don’t like the way these look”, I thought, being already a few minutes late and seemingly out of luck.

In a desperate moment, I grabbed a pair of jeans that were lying on my floor. They hadn’t fit in months, but I just had to try. Sure enough, with a little wiggle, they slid right on! Awesome! Sounds great right?

Well although my pants fit, a clear sign of my final recommitment to health, a larger problem was going on inside of me.

I was diagnosed a few weeks ago with colitis, an inflammation of the colon that causes extreme discomfort. So while my old pants fit and I should have been celebrating, I was still recovering from a stomachache that had left me curled up on the couch since I woke up.

My first thought at my diagnosis was “it’s not fair”. There are so many people out there who live their days eating candy and fast food seemingly stomachache free, meanwhile I try to be as healthy as possible, and I’m sick.

This thought quickly turned to “how do I fix it?”. The doctor prescribed a series of anti-inflammatory drugs as well as a steroid regiment. Not exactly what I had in mind. However, when I mentioned that I’m interested in nutrition and suggested a diet change, he simply responded with, “yeah, that’s not going to work”. His defense was that there is no cure for colitis, and it can only be forced into “remission” through medication.

Well, challenge accepted. 

Through a ton of research both online and through talking to my mom, I’ve decided two things.

1. Gluten and dairy have to go. Gluten so processed and tends to have an inflammatory response in a ton of people. Although I’ve never noticed a problem with it, maybe it’s just been years in the making.

According to mom, on the other hand, dairy has never been my friend. As a formula fed baby, milk made me sick from day one, causing my mom to transition into a soy based formula diet for me.

I’ve always gotten a bit of a stomach ache from drinking a glass of milk or eating ice cream, but I never thought much of it. Maybe cutting this out will eliminate some pain.

2. I will no longer eat processed foods. Every single blog, article, and piece of research I’ve read basically says that processed foods will harm your gut. Well, I guess that one should have been obvious.

So here it goes, starting 30 days gluten, dairy, and preservative free in an attempt to do what my doctor says can’t be done: cure colitis.

Wish me luck!


Kettlebell Fairy Strikes Again; Sprinkling Strength Dust Everywhere

I’ve been having some trouble getting myself to the gym lately. 

It takes me about 15 minutes to get there and 15 minutes to get back, and when I think about the travel time, I usually give up and workout at home instead.

Because I have an hour and a half break between classes two days a week, I decided to make use of the campus rec center.

I walked in and found it to be a very small but useful place. Aside from having far too muchTRX-kettle-bell-281x330-greyscale cardio equipment, they had a TRX, two small kettlebells and tons of free weights. Perfect.

I started my workout by doing sets of split squats, TRX rows, overhead dumbell presses and RDLs with a straight bar. During my last set, I was looking in the mirror and noticed that there were two kettlebells behind me. 10 pounds and 20 pounds. Both were too light, but I made do.

I started doing single armed swings when a guy came up to me. “You’re doing that wrong and you’re going to hurt yourself.” If there was one exercise that I had to perform flawlessly or teach someone how to do, it would be the kettlebell swing. I was doing it right.

I brushed off his comment and went back to my workout. In between sets of swings, I noticed him attempting to do high pulls. He was using a bar that was far too light for his size and I saw the problem. He was trying to hard to lift through his arms and was failing to explode power through his legs to propel the bar upward.

I went up to him and said the exact same thing he said to me. “You’re doing that wrong and you’re going to hurt yourself.” To prove my point, I walked over to the power rack and performed a few high pulls.

“Start in a hip hinge and explode up with your legs. You can even come up onto your toes if you power up enough.”

The dumbfounded look on his face increased when I told him where I learned how to do this. I had learned a few months ago when I was asked to lift with two strength coaches who I met in Billy’s facility. No better way to learn how to do Olympic lifts than from people who do them all the time.

After my little demonstration, he had added significantly more weight onto his high pull.

The Kettlebell Fairy strikes again, sprinkling strength dust everywhere. Fitness for everyone!

While the guy in the gym was open to my advice, not everyone is. In every gym you go to, you’ll notice people who are doing an exercise with improper form. While a good portion of people don’t know how to properly lift, most of the time they don’t want to hear it. It’s better to wait for someone to ask for help than to bombard them with your input. Chances are you’ll embarrass them or just flat out make them mad.

Follow the Kettlebell Fairy on Twitter. @melissacolleary