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: Extreme Progress is Coming

So the semester ended on a bit of a stressful note, with papers piling up and finals presenting themselves as actual realities, not just scary tasks that may some day happen, somewhat akin to zombie apocalypse and nuclear meltdown.

I continued to do short, 15 minute workouts almost every day in my driveway until about two weeks ago, when I realized that as soon as it gets hot, I’m not going to want to do that anymore. I could say that I want to do outdoor workouts every single day, but the second that it hits 85 degrees with a ton of humidity, I’m going right back inside (or to the beach).

With this in mind, I also admitted to myself that I will never go back to that gym where the women yelled at me. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but I had no interest in continuing in that kind of environment. Also, as somewhat of a gym snob, I couldn’t really imagine going to a place without a TRX and a set of kettlebells for very long, no matter how nice the other members might have been.

I finally made the decision to go back to the gym I used to work at. I stopped going there when I left because I felt awkward seeing former coworkers and I rationalized it by saying that it was too expensive ($50 a month). While the other gym had only been $20 a month, I finally decided that although it was cheap, it wasn’t worth it to settle on a place that I wasn’t completely happy with.

So back to my former gym I went. You have to invest in your health, right?

Going back has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I’ve made in a long time. I’ve gone at least 3 times a week since I’ve joined, usually spending over an hour each time. This is made easier by the fact that I’m done with classes for now, but going back also enabled me to remember why I loved working out so much to begin with.

Here are some highlights:

Two years ago, I used to go to spin 6 days a week, sometimes more than once in one day. While that wasn’t overly healthy as I was a vegetarian who already wasn’t eating enough, I went because it was fun. I loved the group mentality that made me push harder, but also that I didn’t actually have to interact with anyone and get distracted.

I loved spin so much that for a long time I was going to get certified and start teaching my own classes. When I stopped working at the gym, I stopped going to spin for almost a iStock_000014641916XSmallyear. Last Tuesday I went to a 5:30 (p.m.) Spin with one of my favorite instructors.

There is NOTHING that says “you’re out of shape” quite as loud as your first Spin class in over a year. Sitting in front of me were a group of women my mom’s age, all in matching LuLuLemon tank tops, pedaling way faster and using way more resistance than I was.

At the end of the class, they all cheerfully and gracefully exited the room while I debated crawling to my car. Definitely a wake up call.

The best part of my new (old) gym is the fact that they have not one, but two sets of kettlebells. When I was in the best shape, I used to be able to swing a 50 lb kettlebell for 8-10 reps and a 35 lb for almost 100. photo-41

Recently, I’ve been using a 15 lb and a 25 lb as my higher rep weights, and 35 lbs for 10. Yesterday, I picked up a 35 lb at the gym and decided to see how many I could comfortably do. I was able to do almost 40 before I had to put it down. If that’s not improvement, I don’t know what is!

Not Weighing Myself
For the past few weeks, I’ve been weighing myself pretty obsessively and getting really upset when the weight stayed the same. I had been blaming the prednisone (which I am back on) and just assuming that it would all come off at once when I stopped.

I finally decided to stop weighing myself a few days ago after Billy pointed out that if I lost 6 pounds of fat and gained 4 pounds of muscle, it would show that I only lost 2 pounds but I would look way different.

So for now, I’m pretty happy with the fact that my clothes fit better and I’m starting to look like my old self again.

I was in the best shape of my life last summer, but I was only working out with no changes made to my diet. Two weeks ago, I sat down with Billy and we calculated our daily calorie intake as well as our macronutrient percentages.

My current goals are 1650 calories a day with 25% carbs (103 grams), 35% protein (144 grams) and 40% fat (73 grams). My first few days with the lower carb intake were definitely difficult, but as I started to cut out really sugary foods and processed breads, I stopped craving them as much.

I feel like I definitely have more energy without them and my stomach feels a lot better, which may be the prednisone, but I’d like to think it’s my diet. photo-42

The best part is that I still get to have a few Mike and Ikes every night when I take my medicine because I don’t like the taste it leaves in my mouth. All I really want are about 5, which is a quarter of a serving. I can meet my fat loss goals and still eat candy every day? Yes, please.

The lower carb intake has also led me to become a bit more creative with the foods I cook, so I’ll be putting up a ton of recipes really soon.


Anxiety, Ruts, and Other Concerns

Now that I’ve finally gotten my colitis under control (with medicine, not diet unfortunately), I’ve come to a few realizations.

The first is that if I want to live my life in a way that makes me happy, I am not going to cure my colitis through diet. I have zero desire to live off of bone broth soup, completely cut out gluten, and eliminate all allergens.

I love delicious food. I’m not saying that allergen free, gluten free foods can’t be delicious, I’m just saying that my days will be a little less bright if I know that a cupcake just isn’t in my future. That being said, I’m sure that there are some people who are able to fully commit to the diet and that it really helps them.

I cannot commit to this. I am sure of this, because after three days with no gluten, I had thoughts of stealing a baguette from an elderly man leaving a grocery store. Therefore, I am back on gluten and loving every medicated bite.

Although the colitis is better, I’ve started to have panic attacks whenever I leave the house because I’m so afraid of getting sick in public. I’m working to deal with them, but I’ve also decided to stop apologizing for my anxiety.

If Iron Man can have anxiety, so can I. I mean granted, Iron Man fell out of the sky trying to save Manhattan from a nuclear bomb, and I did not. But still, if Iron Man can save the world while suffering from panic attacks, I can make it through my classes.

Regardless of these things, the past few weeks have been great in terms of keeping up with my exercise schedule. I ended up with a bad headache on Monday and I haven’t worked out since. I can sort of feel myself slipping into a rut, so it’s time to start motivating myself again.

I did a really great, really short workout last Wednesday that I might repeat today to get myself back into it. It was three rounds of 30-20-10, each round consisting of Kettlebell swings, Goblet squats, and rows.

It was so tough, I felt it the next day, and it only took me 10 minutes to complete. Holy worth it. 

I think sometimes we recognize that we’re slipping into a rut and let it happen any way because it’s too easy to continue along the way we’re going instead of trying to change directions.

Time to change directions.


What Being Diagnosed With a Chronic Illness Taught Me About Willpower

When I found out that I was sick, I didn’t think much of it. My doctor seemed pretty confident about his abilities to fix the colitis and told me that I’d be back to normal in no time.

Three months later, I’m finally beginning to feel normal. 

Whether it’s due to the diet changes I’ve made or the Prednisone, the stomachaches are becoming less and less frequent. While I’m loving the new freedom that’s coming with an improved digestive system, I’m not a huge fan of the side effects that the steroids have been causing.

While at first being on the steroids gave me a ton of energy, lately it feels like I’m unable to think clearly, focus, or find motivation to do much of anything. On top of this, I finally started to see what people mean when they say that steroids make you gain weight. My face has gotten so puffy despite the increased activity level.

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How to Keep Going When You Just Want to Stop

When you’re sick, what’s the one thing you want to do?

If you’re like me, you probably said “take a nap”. nap-time

Well, what happens when getting better if entirely dependent on forcing yourself to move around, even when your body is screaming at you to sleep?

During these past few months, I’ve been exhausted as my body tries to deal with the inflammation associated with colitis. While most of the time I feel as though I could snuggle in my bed for the rest of forever, I realized that I feel best when I make some effort to exercise most days.

Although at first, my healing game plan consisted solely of watching bad Bravo TV (I just can’t get enough of Vanderpump Rules) and engaging in as little physical activity as possible, I quickly realized that I was making myself sicker by sitting on my couch. 

While I believe that I’ve had colitis for several years, I’ve always felt better during times where I was in great shape. In fact, I’ve never had more pain or felt sicker than when I stopped working out to try to rest my body into healing.

With inactivity and reality television being less than helpful and my body being exhausted all the time, I was seemingly at a stalemate. I obviously couldn’t continue to lay on the couch all the time and wait to get better, I’d have to go make it happen.

For the first few times that I went back to the gym, I was super discouraged by what I couldn’t do. Push-ups used to be easy, but on my first day back I was so weakWorkout_Fail_by_basalt that I actually collapsed and smacked my face on the mat (face was fine, pride was slightly bruised). Additionally, any time that I tried to get through I set, I often had to stop because I was too winded to keep going.

To keep myself motivated I started checking off the days that I exercised on a calendar, knowing that as long as I stayed consistent I should see results in about six weeks. It’s been three weeks so far. While the physical progress hasn’t been overly noticeable, I definitely have more energy on most days.

On days where I’m not feeling up to exercising, I have to honestly ask myself why I’m not up to it. If the answer is that I’m extremely tired, I choose to do kettlebell swings in my living room to get some activity in that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. If the answer is that I’m feeling really sick that day, I make the decision to relax and not to push myself, but to start back up the next day.


When I was just sitting on the couch all of the time, it was hard to stay awake throughout the day or even accomplish little tasks like doing the laundry or cooking dinner.

But as I got moving, I realized that Newton was definitely right. An object in motion stays in motion. Making a conscious effort to get moving every day definitely helped me feel at least a little better and gave me tons of energy that I thought had been lost when I got my diagnosis.

Has anyone else found that moving more gives them more physical and mental energy?


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.