Therapy Thursday: On Love

Today’s Happy Note: Wearing one of my favorite skirts.  My mom gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago.  It’s long and fuschia and looks sort of like crepe paper.  Makes me feel like I should twirl.  Sometimes I do.

Marathon Training: My legs hurt yesterday after Tuesday’s 20-miler.  I am pretty nervous about this Sunday’s 22-miler (which will be done with a special friend!  I’m going to keep you in suspense as to who, mwahahaha — she is a blogger though).  I think the key to the run will be overcoming my psychic pain and anxiety; the physical pain is so much less intense sometimes.  Last night I did 15 minutes of abs followed by a lovely vinyasa class at Yoga Vida (my favorite studio in the city, that I’ve been to so far).  This afternoon I busted out 8 miles of speedwork: 1 WU, 3×1 mile @ Tempo pace with easy 400 between, 3×800 Fast with easy 400 between, 1 mile CD.  I’m not sure if that adds up to 8 but whatever, that’s how much I did in total.  I estimated on the easy portions.  I was super anxious about even starting this workout but it turned out fine!  Silly Caronae.

Therapy Thursday

FYI: It might be helpful to read last week’s thoughts first, since a lot of thoughts from today are sort of continuations from last week.

USB was in my room last Sunday and we were talking, cuddling, etc.  My computer was open and I wanted to show him what the blog looked like (he is very curious about the blog; I have told him all about it but he doesn’t actually read it, at this point — I am not trying to keep it from him at all, I just am not sure if I am ready to completely share it.  I think maybe I am).  Anyways I was showing him the title and the layout and a post where I talked about him a bit was up.  He asked if he could read it and I said, “no, read my therapy post instead”.  He knows about my mental issues/general craziness and a bit about my therapy, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal.  I thought that I spent most of the post talking about my relationship with L and how she cried and it moved me and I feel fat and lalala — the usual therapy stuff.  I completely and totally forgot that I said I told L I think I might love him.  So I said “sure, go ahead, read that post” and left him to it while I went to cook some squash.

I came back about ten minutes later and immediately realized what I had done.  I had just told USB, the first man I have ever loved (it’s only been two months, but I am quite certain of what I’m feeling — I feel things very intensely, in general) that I loved him through a blog post about therapy.

I was mortified.  Not just mortified but I also felt bad.  That was never, in my mind, how I planned on saying I Love You.

He laughed and held me and was very sweet about it all.  It’s a funny story, I guess.  Bizarre.  Maybe I should be tighter-lipped on the blog.  I don’t want to be, though.

I just realized that has nothing to do with my thoughts about therapy this week but whatever.  I wanted to share.

This week was all about relationships, of the romantic love variety.  I especially talked about my parents and what seeing their relationship has been like for me. It has changed a lot over the years and has in some ways been a big source of confusion for me.  They are divorced, but still seem to love each other.  This actually isn’t where we started — we began by talking about her crying last week and what that was like for both of us.  I expressed to L that it was tremendously moving, for me.  It made me see her as more human.  It also made me reflect back on myself — how can I be kinder to me?  Anyways, she said that she had been embarrassed, but also seemed to express that it was a genuine moment of emotion for her.  It was serious — I feel like there are meaningful tears and not meaningful tears.  Her tears were meaningful.

I asked her about how it made her feel and what she was thinking about the subject that made her cry in the first place (which I won’t get into).  She was very honest with me, and very tender.  She told me that she cried even more after I left.  I felt bad.  I know that I don’t have to take care of her — indeed, that is one reason why, in therapy, the therapist is not supposed to reveal much about him or herself or show many of his or her emotions, so that the patient can be completely vulnerable and cared for and loved.  But I sort of want to.  I think I see a lot of similarities between us.  There are obvious differences as well, though.

Love relationships are all different.  It’s funny because I always imagined it would be a certain way, but it isn’t that way.  It’s its own way.  And if and when I love another man, that will happen in its own way as well.  And the way my grandparents love each other is different, and the way my best friend from MI loves her boyfriend is different.  I like that love is an adaptable thing.  It doesn’t always have to be the same; that’s part of the reason it’s so fun.  With USB I feel like everyday is something new but I also feel like there is a consistency to it.

I thought some more about my parents and their love.  I kept coming back to that today.

I arrive at 12:10 to therapy.  I usually come upstairs and settle in around 12:15 and then L checks her messages and we start around 12:20.  Then we finish around 1:10-1:15 when the next person is ready to come up.  Pretty straightforward pattern.

At the end of the hour today, that pattern was completely disrupted when the next person rang the bell at 1:00.  I practically had a panic attack.  I could not handle it.  I want to say that I have no idea why it upset me so much, but I do know.  I like consistency in general, but with L, that consistency is pretty much sacred. It’s not that I was feeling jealous that my hour would end early or peeved that I would still be paying the full ten dollars.  I didn’t care about those things.  What I couldn’t handle was the fact that something about therapy was going to change. The content may seem infinitely more important than the structure for therapy, but that isn’t always true.  I was literally shaking.

L, bless her, knows me quite well at this point.  I also feel comfortable being open with her.  I told her that it was upsetting me greatly, and I think she could tell. She told the other person to wait or come back in ten minutes.

That sounded really selfish and mean.  I probably would have been annoyed if I were that other person.  But at the same time, it was tremendously graceful and thoughtful of her and it meant a lot to me.  It meant that I could breathe again, for one thing.  It meant that I could talk for ten more minutes.  But more importantly, it meant that she values me and cares about me.  I already know this, of course, but have not necessarily felt it through her actions before.

I definitely have a love for L.  I have not talked to her about this yet, but will say that I am very nervous about the prospect of law school, not because the idea of law school scares me, but because the idea of leaving L, in 8 months or so, scares me.  My dream is to get into a law school in NYC so I can still have her.  I don’t know if I am being overly dependent.  I don’t think so.  L isn’t the only reason I want to stay in NYC by any means — I love the city, I love my friends here, I love the life I have set up here.  And she is an important part of that life, at this moment in time.  I think she is genuinely helpful to me on an ongoing basis.  She has a kindness and a consistency and a compassion that I need in my life.  She helped lead me out of a very scary place.

The future is a scary thing.

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Medical Stuff, Part II, Or “A Slightly Happier Post”

Today’s Happy Note: Perfect fall temperatures!  I’m in love.  The air is warm but also crisp, snappy but gentle.

Marathon Training: We had our first actual “class” of yoga today (I am taking Iyengar Yoga as a P.E. class).  We did not do much at all — it is very, very basic.  We spent the whole hour practicing standing with our feet spread apart and then doing Warrior II, Triangle, and Extended Side Angle.  We finished with some easy bridges.  I wouldn’t call it a workout, but it was a decent stretch that got my hips opening up.  I did about 15 more minutes of stretching and abs afterwards, followed by an easy four mile run.

I didn’t feel awful on the run, but my left hip and hamstring were hurting.  Again.  I really don’t know what to do since it is so inconsistent.  I think that stretching it out a lot helps a bit.  I am praying that it is not present tomorrow for my hill run — running up hills with a hip/hamstring issue is especially hard.  I was supposed to do 6×100 strides at the end of today’s run but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.  I made a lame attempt at doing two of them before realizing that my body just was not having any sort of speediness.  It was probably the slowest run I have done in a long time; maybe 12-ish minute miles?  The funny thing about this is that I didn’t judge myself for it.  I just acknowledged that I was tired, my body/mind were a little off-kilter, and I was slowly but steadily ambling along.  Just like that, I didn’t care.  I’m proud of myself for that!

In other running-related news: I am ravenous. I am trying really hard to photograph everything because it is VERY useful for me to mentally keep track.  I did well today minus several handfuls (about two servings) of TJs cat cookies, aka animal crackers for grown-ups.

I made an awesome fall feast for dinner!

We have half of a steamed delicata squash smothered in cinnamon, a pile of baked tofu (coated in TJ’s peanut vinaigrette, maple syrup, and ginger) and roasted carrots and okra (coated in EVOO, salt, and pepper).  This is pretty much fall seasonal eating perfection. It was a pretty tasty (and easy!) meal.  Yum.

Medical Stuff, Part II

So.  Yesterday I talked about science and medicine and my body and how the intersections thereof can be a little bit inexplicable.  Read that here. Thank you for all of your kind comments/emails!  It is heartening to know I am not the only person in the world who has these subtle-but-also-overwhelming problems.

Today I kind of want to look at the issue(s) from a psychological/mental health standpoint.

I have always equated being overweight with moral failure.  I never accepted the fact that, for some individuals, there might be other factors at play.  Until it happened to me.

Here I am, 10-15 pounds too heavy.  For me, losing a pound is an uphill battle.  Fought with medieval instruments.  While blindfolded.  And standing on my head.  Okay, you get the picture — it is harder than it should be.  Once my body acquires a pound, that pound is not going to leave without a serious fight. Usually, I just end up psychically wounded and the pound(s) stay(s).

I am so tremendously tired of this.  But here’s the thing: I accept that there are processes happening in my body right now that are beyond my control. Even if there were factors totally within my control (for example, if I were doing serious emotional eating — I’m not, but you get the point), it doesn’t matter: the point is that this emotional battle with my body, at this moment in time, needs to end.

I think that within a few months, possibly after I get things sorted out with endocrinology and gynecology, or after the marathon, my body just might settle back into its natural happy weight on its own (for me this happens to be between 145-155 pounds; I have a medium-sized frame and a fair amount of muscle).

The most important thing for me, in this moment, has nothing to do with science or medicine or numbers of pounds or calories.  It has to do with stopping the judgement and the self-hatred.  Being overweight (ever so slightly) is not a moral failure for me, or for anyone else.  I believe that different people actually have different sizes at which they are healthy.  For me, this size happens to be at the upper end of “normal.”  For some, this might be a bit above “normal.” L was telling me last week how the BMI scale isn’t necessarily considered perfectly accurate or all-encompasing anymore anyways.  I would venture to guess that I am more healthy than a woman who eats mostly processed foods and sits on the couch all day but is at a “normal” weight.  I run ultramarathons, for Christ’s sake.

Kate wrote a lovely post today that really resonated with me, about disordered eating and body-consciousness.  Unfortunately, for many women, these are all-consuming things.  That has certainly been the case for me.  I am not sure I understand why.  Do I think that I will be a more perfect woman if I weigh 145 pounds versus 165 pounds?  Will I become more caring, compassionate, creative, prolific, loving?  I would hazard to guess that the answer is an emphatic “no.”  I am Caronae, no matter what I weigh.  I have an essence beyond my body.  Kate said the following, in describing the hatred, the disordered eating, the obsession that happens to so many women in our society:

“If you don’t understand, it can’t be explained to you.”

So perfect.  So true.  It’s like a club — a club that, sadly, most women are members of.

That was so hard for me to say.  That there is something about me that has nothing to do with my body.  Think about all the things I could be accomplishing if all my physical concerns went away.  I’m going to say it again.

There is something about me, something uniquely Caronae-ish, that has nothing to do with my body, whatever my weight may be. I accept the chaos that is happening inside and outside of me right now.  I accept the stress, the confusing medication regimen, the grueling running schedule, my way of eating, my fucked-up homrones.  I accept all of that.  I accept it because I know that I am something more than that. I might not be exactly sure what this “essence of Caronae” is, but I know, in my heart that it exists.  That she exists.

Hot, Sweaty, Heavy

Today’s Happy Note: Sometimes a silly little kitchen failure, like the one pictured below, makes me smile!  Needless to say, this batch of oatmeal was ruined.  That is indeed a sea of oatmeal soup.  I smiled!

What was hot, sweaty, and heavy today?  My run, unfortunately!  I woke up at 9 this morning and felt like a sack of bricks.  I took the day off work in the name of packing — yeah, that didn’t happen.  I’m moving tomorrow and have not packed one. single. thing. I haven’t even started my laundry.  For some reason I operate best at night though — I do my best writing, my best cleaning, sometimes even my best yoga, after midnight.  Weird.

So.  I got distracted (happens easily).  Back to the run.  I accomplished nothing all day; my body literally felt like a sloth.  Minus the hairiness part.  But I was damn determined to get out the door.  And you know what? Sometimes getting out the door is an accomplishment in and of itself. I had to bribe myself with the promise of a massage — sometimes I am so lazy it scares me. 😉  But admit it, you have days when you have to bribe yourself to leave the house too.  I know I can’t be the only one.

The run was muy sluggish, but I finished my 8 hilly miles in a little under 90 minutes. I hit up the gym for some much-needed strength training afterwards — I actually crave lifting weights sometimes.  I did almost an hour of arms and abs. It felt great.  And at the end of my epic little workout, you know what?  I felt amazing!  It is so true that you almost never regret a workout, but you almost always regret not doing a workout.

After reading this post on Runner’s Trials, I was inspired to make my own nutrition goals for marathon training!  But first, I want to show you my excellent eats from today — I think this is a pretty good example of what a day like today (8 miles) should look like, ideally, for ME (every body and every runner is different).

Brunch was another avocado-cinnamon-vanilla SIAB, topped with some flax PB, some honey roasted nuts, and a half a TJ’s PB granola bar, crumbled.

I officially declare that I like rice — I used to hate it passionately, probably because my mom always made brown rice when I was little and all the other kids had white rice.  I refused to eat brown rice because I didn’t want to seem any weirder than I already was (I was reallllllyyyy weird).  So, for the last 20 years, I have mostly eschewed rice.  But I really like a nice grainy brown rice.  I ate it with cinnamon, stevia, sunflower seed butter, and TJ’s dark chocolate covered ginger for an amazing afternoon snack.

More snackage.  I had about twice that much chocolate.

Romaine, carrots, peppers, broccoli, avocado, two apple chicken sausages, and TJ’s spicy peanut vinaigrette.  I love giant salads for dinner, but I can never have one and then be satisfied for the rest of the evening.  An hour or two later, I need a substantial dessert.  Enter….

This was a bowl of 2% Greek yogurt, the other half of the granola bar from this morning, a small spoonful (teaspoon?) of sunflower seed butter, and chocolate trail mix, which I had a few too many handfuls of while preparing this.  In my defense, I was frustrated because of the microwave oatmeal disaster, which had just occurred. 🙂

That’s everything, minus two werther’s candies and the unpictured handfuls of trail mix.  I sometimes eat an extra spoonful or two of nut butter when preparing anything that involves nut butter (okay, so that’s pretty much everything I eat…) but I honestly can’t remember if I had any extra today.

Marathon Training Nutrition Goals

1. Four to six smaller meals per day. Time and time again I come back to this way of eating because it works for me.  I would much rather eat every three or four hours than six or seven, thank you very much.

2. Do not be afraid of the whole grains! I can’t tell you how satisfied I felt after that bowl of brown rice this afternoon.  I also love oats and quinoa.

3. Less processed food, more “clean” food. My diet is pretty clean as is, but there are a few things that could stand to be eliminated.  I am going to focus on whole foods, like fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, greens, some plain greek yogurt, nuts, nut butters, tofu, avocado, healthy fats, and grains, of course.  I don’t intend to eliminate protein powder (especially the simpler ones), but I do want to use it less.  My staples are as follows: spinach, frozen berries, carrots, apples, salmon, tofu, peanut butter, oats.  So simple, so nutritious.

4. Sugar in moderation. I feel better, think better, and run better when my diet is mostly free of processed sugar (i.e., granola bars, flavored yogurts/nut butters, non-homemade baked goods).  I fully intend to continue consuming honey, maple syrup, stevia, baked goods that I have made, good dark chocolate, and farmer’s market pastries (because they’re too damn good to give up).  Once I have a little bit of sugar, I tend to want a lot more, so Iam really going to try to be careful and moderate here.

5. Say no sometimes and recognize hunger vs. not-hunger.  I do not have to eat anything, ever, if I do not want it.  Training for a marathon does not mean that I can (or even should) eat when I’m not hungry.  I can say no to food at parties, extra food on my plate at restaurants, late-night snacks, etc.

6. Above all, listen to my body.  If my body is saying “feed me a giant pile of veggies!” I shall listen.

I should probably start this whole packing monstrosity now.  Blogging is so much more fun though!

My nutrition goals are really just guidelines.  I think that one of the most important things is not to get mad at myself if I have an off-day.  It won’t kill me.

Do you have general nutrition goals/guidelines/thoughts that you live by?  And does anyone out there happen to be an expert on losing ten nagging pounds while training for a marathon? If so, please share. 🙂

Weekend Update

Today’s Happy Note:

Hello hello hello!  I have to blog and run because I have more work to do before tomorrow’s (procrastinator much?) early morning long run.  Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I reaallllllyyyyy suck at time management.

Marathon Training:

Yesterday I had five easy miles on the schedule.  I did that along with about 40 minutes of arms and abs.  My leg strength training falls by the wayside whenever I am training for a race.  My legs are tired enough from running so many miles, I can’t bear the thought of putting them through sets of lunges and hamstring curls and calf raises.  I have decided that I officially love lifting weights.  It is almost as fun as running and yoga for me.  Makes me feel strong, powerful, confident, and sexy, in a weird way.  I ended my run at the Union Square Farmer’s market.  That is the absolute best way to do a Saturday morning run — then you can have a little snack when you get there and sit in the sunshine in the park and think about sunflowers and sunshine and other sunny Saturday morning things.

There was a chocolate chip coconut scone (yes, you heard that correctly) with my name on it at the FM!  With a side of honey-vanilla yogurt.

This was the best scone I have ever had.  I am normally totally a muffin person, but I think I am becoming a scone convert.

So.  Something really good and awesome and happy happened at the farmer’s market after I ate my scone but I don’t want to tell you all about it because I don’t want to jinx it.  So I kind of just told you, without really telling you.  So there.

If you’re a blogger, are you ever afraid of jinxing something by “saying it aloud” on the blog?

Today was supposed to be a Sunday long run day, but I didn’t want to wake up super early, then it ended up raining the whole day anyway.  I moved around my scheduled runs for the week so that I can do it tomorrow (hello 6 AM).  I love Google calendar because it lets you drag and drop events from one day to another.  I ended up doing a 30 minute abs class at the gym today followed by a six mile run that included 4 fast 800s (half-miles).  The 800s were hard but not killer hard.  I used to flat-out hate speedwork but now I think I have more of a love-hate relationship with it.  It feels so goooooood afterwards but during it I just wanna die (usually).  Regular running never gets my heart rate up or makes my face red or anything.  Today’s speedy 800s sure did though!

It ended up pouring for the whole second half of my run.  Somehow I don’t have a problem running less than an hour in the rain.  I just couldn’t face two hours.  Not sure why.

Enough running!

Eats hodgepodge:

Yogurt with a warmed peach and honey and granola.  Afternoon snackage perfection.

I’m pretty sure I ate an entire half of a big cantaloupe over the last two days.

Dates, carrots, PB, and more PB plate.  I am loving dates lately!

Pasta, lots of veggies, and tofu.  With a side of more veggies with guac.  One of the smartest things my mother ever taught me: you can never have too many vegetables.

Good eats (although maybe a little too much last night?  It’s so hard to tell with marathon training!).  Good running.  Good friends.  Good adventures.

Good weekend.

Update me on your lives my friends!  What’s going on where you are?

Grainy Day

Today’s Happy Note: Sleeping in!  I don’t work until 10 some mornings.  I passed out at eleven last night and woke up at nine this morning.  I felt wonderful!

Today was just one of those days where I wasn’t happy, wasn’t sad, wasn’t angry or excited or anxious.  It’s not that I didn’t feel anything, it was all just sort of murky.  Hard to describe.  Not really like I was in a funk but just sort of…cloudy?  Not gloomy though.   I am generally a very emotionally sensitive person and I feel things very deeply; this was almost a welcome break.  I wasn’t depressed or moody at all.  I guess the day just sort of glided by and now that it’s over I can’t quite characterize it — like it was a grainy photograph.

I spent two hours with friends this evening doing stuff for work.  I had a really wonderful moment somewhere in there where I forgot about all my problems.  I love how friends can do that.  I realized that I wasn’t thinking about food or money or sadness.  I wasn’t berating myself over my size.  I was just me.  I love how being with people I care about sometimes solves all my problems.

Friends and loved ones, of course, cannot fix everything.  Sometimes there is a deeper sadness.  But, as L has helped me figure out, it is possible to survive the sadder times.  I will survive.

A few weeks ago I was having a particularly anxious day at therapy and L asked me what helps me calm down.  Running, reading quietly, taking a nap, and just sitting with someone I love who cares about me.  That last one really is a big thing, and I am coming to see more and more lately how healthy relationships affect me.  When I told her my list, she said simply, “I care about you.”

It was one of the nicest things someone has said to me in a long while. Reason number 14224 why I love her.

Do I add nut butter to everything I eat?  No.  Just most things.

Confession: I just realized that part of the reason my dinners never fill me up is that I am afraid to have it in more than one plate or bowl.  Which means there is usually only one thing involved, and that is never enough!  Tonight I had a big bowl of oats with peaches and dark chocolate and a small bowl of yogurt with coconut and a sprinkling of trail mix.  It did the trick.

I have been loving me some grains lately — literally craving them, which is pretty unusual for me.  I tend to fear excess carbs, but let’s face it: no one ever died because they were eating too much oats and brown rice and millet.

Today was a rest day.  Normally I do weights and kickboxing on Mondays, but between a long run yesterday and speed work tomorrow, I wanted something a bit calmer.  I did a little over three miles walking and 20 minutes of yoga and abs.  I don’t like waking up super early to run and would prefer to do it around three or four, ideally, but it is going to be hot hot hot tomorrow so I know I have to get out by seven.  Uh-oh, that means it’s past my bedtime now!

Goodnight, sleep tight.

Oh, and hello new readers!  Don’ be afraid to say hello. 🙂

Life Lessons: All In A Day’s Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Wearing my new professional pants to work today!  Made me feel nice and grown up.

Exercise: ~5 miles run and 10 minutes abs.  I also walk about a mile each way to work most days.  I hat hate hate humidity but am bad at getting up with enough time to run 5-6 miles before work.  I waited and ran at 7 this evening and it wasn’t too terrible, but I know at 7 am it would be cooler.  Also, I like coming home from work (between the two jobs, this is anywhere from 6-9) and relaxing and working on my “projects.”  If you’re a busy worker bee, when do you fit in workouts?

Things I learned today!  Seriously, food teaches important lessons…

I will never tire of frozen berries.  Nor will I ever tire of Maranatha almond butter (or any nut butter for that matter).  Other things I will never tire of: fresh flowers, lime green and turquoise, dancing around like a crazy person.

Life lesson numero uno: sometimes you absolutely need a crunchy peanut butter sandwich with a side of carrots for lunch.  It makes everything better, I promise.  Seriously though.  Sometimes it’s okay to stick with what you know.  There are some things in life that never fail!  Other things that never fail: my parents (at being weird), my eyebrows (at growing rabidly), and my ability to spend money at Whole Foods.

Dried hibiscus and Pb&A.  I like snacktime.  Snacktime is a happy time.  It breaks up the afternoon, especially when I’m doing data entry.  Other ways of breaking up a little afternoon work monotony: drinking lots of water, singing songs to yourself in your head while typing away, lots of stretch breaks (my shoulders get so tight while sitting for long stretches), munching on dried hibiscus!

Life lesson numero dos: yogurt does NOT sit well in the tummy before a run.  Makes me feel sluggish, bloated and a little nauseous.  Won’t be making that mistake again.  Other mistakes not to make again: saying yes to dates with weirdos out of desperation, buying chunky tomato sauce (uber disgusting), and failing to water my herbs (to the point of death).

If having smoothies for dinner every night and dipping cucumber slices in said smoothies is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.  Things I would like to be right about: my choice in major, the fact that Toddlers and Tiaras is whack, brownies being good for you.

I want to eat a brownie every night.  For the rest of my life.

Caronae’s Shelf!

On the top: Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth (continued from last week),  Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, Erica Jong Seducing The Demon: Writing For My Life, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and Alice Walker In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens.

I’ve already started the last two. I like being in the middle of a lot of books at once.  That way I can always find something I’m in the mood for.  On your shelf this week?  Do tell!

Goodnight dearies!  Weekend plans coming up?  Also do tell.

Therapy Thoughts, Sluggish Running, BYOV

Today’s Happy Note: Blogging from the NYPL.  How did I not know this place was beautiful.  In general, I adore libraries.  I have always been drawn to their calm, quiet, but also quirky and smart nature.

That said, the fact that I’m blogging from here means no internet at the apartment yet…but I do have a very nice new colleague who is coming to help me tomorrow!  If that doesn’t work, I might cry. 😦

Onto healthier things!

I have always considered hobbies and passions a major part of a healthy lifestyle.  For many people, hobbies keep them active (dancing, walking, swimming, playing with friends).  My favorite active hobbies are climbing trees (although I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble if I do that in city parks), swimming, walking with friends, and exploring new places in any way possible.  I think yoga, strength, and running are more passions for me.  Whatever.  What I wanted to say is that I have other hobbies too!  Writing, drawing, taking pictures, blogging, planting things, baking, collecting bird pins, studying birds and trees, and READING.  Seeing as I’m in a library right now, I’m going to talk about that last one.

Hobbies keep me healthy because they keep me sane.  No amount of running or working out or eating delicious healthy things can be perfect.  They help keep me sane, calm, and focused, but I need other things that aren’t as explicitly related to my health.  Things that are pure fun.  I think words and pages and lyricism is fun.  So I’m going to do a little feature for the summer called “Caronae’s Shelf.” Every week, I’ll tell you what’s on my metaphorical shelf!  I would love to hear what you guys are reading too.  We can have a mini virtual book club!  Sometimes I might share thoughts, sometimes not.  If you don’t like books, I’d love to ehar about anything else you like to do that keeps you happy, healthy, and sane!

Week of 05/23:

1. Women, Food, and God (by Geneen Roth): Interesting.  I recommend it.  It isn’t necessarily the most straightforward book (there is no precise plan of action), but that’s kind of the point.  I feel like I absorbed a lot of things that made me question my relationship with food and God, and that’s definitely a good thing.  I believe in questioning ourselves and our beliefs.  It helps us grow.

Source

2. 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food (by Susan Albers)

My response to this just turned into my Therapy Thoughts for the week…

So far this has been really wonderful.  It is geared toward emotional and stress eaters, which I sometimes am, but the tips and discussions are helpful to anyone who is often anxious and unsettled.  I had no idea, but as I was reading,  I realized I have virtually no ways of soothing myself .  I didn’t realize that other people did!  I want to talk to my therapist about this.  I think part of the problem yesterday (I ended up sobbing and feeling unresolved and angry) was that I felt overwhelmed going into the session, and as I began feeling and talking about (reluctantly) some painful things, I had no way of soothing myself.  Isn’t that a beautiful word?  Just the sound “soothing” makes me feel calmer.  I think that going forward, therapy will be easier if I actively work to soother myself when I start feeling or talking about difficult things.  I actually am glad that yesterday seemed to go so badly and that I borrowed this book from my therapist because it led me to this realization.  My therapist has always told me to “be” with my feelings and I always felt like “well, I am!”  But it was never comfortable.  Then she would tell me not to judge myself and to just relax, but it never clicked.  Now it’s clicked and it feels so liberating.  I was always wildly upset when feeling painful things, which, since that was most of the time (both in therapy and in my life), meant that I was often deeply uncomfortable and unsettled.  Sometimes just focusing on my breathing or holding my baby duck Leland or naming different things that I sense around me (“I see pollen on those yellow flowers”, “I feel how soft my sheets are on the bare skin of my back”) makes me feel soothed and calmer.  When I feel calmer, I can deal with things and, eventually, be okay talking about them.  This sounds so simple but it has, apparently, taken me over a year of therapy (eight months with my current therapist) to figure it out!

The biggest thing I got out of yesterday was how upset I feel when I feel lonely.  That’s the place where the upset-ness was coming from.  It brings me back to feeling like no one wants to play with me, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world.  People do want to play with me though!  My friends, my sister, my new co-workers at the non-profit (who I really like, by the way), blog friends.  There are plenty of people to play with.  I know this, and when I do find myself alone, I need not worry so much.  People do like me.

3. Unaccustomed Earth (by Jhumpa Lahiri): excited about this; haven’t read any good short stories or fiction in a while.

That’s this week’s edition of  “Caronae’s Shelf”.  What’s on your shelf?

I did another simple five miler this morning.  This time with ten minutes of abs thrown into the middle (done in some very itchy grass in CP that was in need of some serious mowing).  I felt sluggish again.  It wasn’t painful, but it was slow and groggy.  I don’t know why I feel this way on my runs lately.  I’ll probably run again tomorrow and then do something else on Friday.  I need the running blues to go away.  I like running!

Eats hodgepodge:

I have been craving ice and frozen fruit so badly this week.  I cannot stop.  I had sorbet and frozen mango for dinner last night and about two more servings of frozen fruit (berries and mango) with breakfast today.  I seriously crave it.  Like, when I think about ice, I begin to salivate like other people would over cookies.  I want to chew the ice and the frozen fruit.  And yes, I know it’s bad for my teeth.  I asked my dad what this might mean (I suspected it represents some sort of nutrient deficiency) and he said that a lot of women with iron-deficient based pica crave ice to chew on.  I think maybe I should get my blood tested.  Has this happened to any of you? I have not had a lot of red meat at all lately.  Usually I have it once a week.  I told my dad that I eat my weight in spinach and other iron-rich dark green leafy veggies daily and he told me something interesting: many times, plant-based iron is barely absorbed by our bodies or not absorbed at all.  This is very scary and I did not know that at all!  He is an extremely good doctor who is not biased against vegetarians or vegans at all.  Have you guys ever heard this?  Do you get your iron levels checked?

I had a seven hour meeting this afternoon/evening.  No joke.  Seven hours of presentations and materials and dialogue.  It was important stuff though!

I wasn’t sure what food would be served so I BYOV — brought my own veggies!  This was a good idea as there wasn’t much produce.  I feel better when I eat plenty of fresh produce and I don’t feel weird bringing my own at this point.  That giant container of carrot and asparagus lasted me through lunch and dinner!

Snack was this bar and half a small chocolate chip cookie.

They actually had really high quality pizza for dinner with fresh, yummy sauce.  Yes, I hate tomatoes.  And yes, I like pizza sauce (and ketchup).  Do not ask me why.  I was hangry and had another slice.

I might have more frozen fruit and/or a brownie for dessert.

Because I don’t have Internet at the apartment and, well, I mostly have to do work at work, I haven’t been reading or commenting very much.  I promise I still love you all and will catch up as soon as the Internet is fixed!

I miss you all already!  What’s happening in your life?


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