Protein+Fat=Happy Caronae

Today’s Happy Note: Crossing things off my to do list. ¬†I still have a lot to get done before this insane weekend, but I’m getting there. ūüôā

PS — Does anyone else add things to their to-do list that you have already done, just so you can experience the joy of crossing it out?

Marathon Training: Yesterday I did four and a half miles, with an easy mile and a half warm-up, 4x (400 fast/400 easy), and a mile cool down. ¬†It wasn’t terrible, but I just felt weak. ¬†Today, even more so. I feel lightheaded,blurry vision, etc. No idea what is going on, but I’ll be sure to monitor things and be careful.

I had my super easy yoga class today. We literally sat on chairs half the time and stretched. ¬†I’m taking it very easy this week, so this was perfectly acceptable.

I never told you about my endocrine visit on Monday! The doctor was extremely nice and extremely knowledgeable. ¬†She also seemed obscenely young (early thirties?) for a faculty practitioner (meaning she is a professor) which made me a bit nervous. ¬†She was very thorough. ¬†We talked about everything — diet, exercise, hormones, habits, genetics, blood sugar, endocrine/metabolic systems. ¬†She is running a really broad panel of tests to see if there is something significantly wrong. ¬†If nothing is found, then the “answer” is simply going to be that I have a little bit of a weird metabolic/hormonal system.

I am not freaking out as much as I was before though because of two things:

1. She basically told me that my weight “problem” actually isn’t a problem. ¬†Because of my healthy diet and exercise choices, being a few pounds over the recommended weight for my height isn’t a big deal. ¬†She was actually really soothing/comforting in this regard.

2. I have been making a conscious effort to eat more fat and protein lately and have lost seven pounds.  My period just ended, so some of this might be hormonal/water weight.  But still, seven pounds is a good chunk of my overall body weight.  I am hoping that continuing this eating pattern will help me lose a few more pounds.  But if not, I am not going to freak out.

I promise. ūüôā

So what have I been eating of late?

One carb I REFUSE to get rid of is oats (above: 1/4 C with 1/2 serving vanilla protein powder, 1 C vanilla soymilk, chopped apple, and walnuts). ¬†Other than that, I am not eating too many grains. ¬†And I am not giving up carbs entirely either. ¬†I kind of love them. ūüėČ ¬†I’m just making sure to reduce them and then pair them with more fat and protein.

One trap I have fallen into in the past is eating more protein without reducing carbs. ¬†That just results in more overall calories, which isn’t going to help anybody. ¬†Unless you are trying to gain weight, obviously.

Other eats:

Squash “pizza.” ¬†In reality this was actually a squash bowl stuffed with veggies, ground beef, and cheese. ¬†I cut it into little slices and ate it like a pizza though, which made it 10x more fun.

Really random lunch with two mini corn tortillas (which aren’t that good; I wanted wraps and thought these would be good since they were smaller, but they are dry), almond butter, carrots, and a protein cake (a la April) made with peanut flour and cocoa powder with PB.

Dinner was full of fat, veggies, and protein.   Exactly how I like it!  I used a base of pumpkin puree, topped that with ground beef/mushrooms/carrots and brussel sprouts/broccoli cooked in EVOO.  Enough to feed one small army OR one hungry Caronae.

I have heard a lot of different research about diets higher in proteins/fats. ¬†Some of what I have seen has indicated that a diet high in protein/fat, even of the saturated variety (think whole milk, meat, butter) is not harmful. ¬†I tend to agree with this with the caveat that people have very different metabolic/digestive systems with very different needs (I talked about my wants and needs with ¬†my diet in Monday’s post). ¬†I think that it isn’t animal fat or protein that’s killing us/making us obese, but processed crap full of chemicals, like candy bars and pop and snack foods.

I think that there is evidence on both sides of the spectrum, at the moment.  In my opinion, this just furthers my conclusion that different people are suited to different diets.

On the horizon the next few days: CRAZY INSANELY BUSY Caronae.  I promise to post before the marathon though.  Is anyone interested in tracking me/coming out to cheer and wants to know my number?

If so, email me!  I know a few bloggies have already mentioned that they would like to know, but I have lost track.  So please leave a comment/email me and I will let you know.

T-4 days!  Ahhhhhh!!!!!

Revelation: Balance

Today’s Happy Note: Discovering wood sculptures along the river during my morning run! ¬†There were quite a lot of them, made from tree stumps and driftwood; they were really artistic. ¬†I wonder who did them?

I was proud of myself for getting ¬†up to run this morning. ¬†The humidity was practically deadly and my legs were tired from yesterday’s workout (hello squats and lunges!) but I made it through 4.5 miles. ¬†I also walked about 4.5 miles throughout the day. ¬†So I ended up getting in 9 miles without even trying to! Weird.

Work was productive at both jobs. ¬†Busy busy busy day (although I did get a break from 3-5). ¬†I’m now watching Bethenny Getting Married (aka the best reality TV show ever).

I had a revelation on the way home from work this evening. ¬†I have been feeling a lot of anxiety about the weight loss; I have gained and lost the same 10 or 15 pounds several times in the last three or four years, each time ending up weighing a little more than when I started. ¬† ¬†Every time I would weigh myself and see a number close to the overweight range, I would freak out and go into “extreme thinking” mode for a few days — I would not eat anything at all, then eat a big meal, then starve myself the next day.

On my walk home, there was a beautiful cool breeze blowing into my face. ¬†I relaxed and loosened up for a moment. And I said to myself: this time it is not about starving myself or having rules. ¬†It’s about finding the balance. ¬†For the first time in my life, I am approaching weight loss (however minimal) in a balanced way. It’s about finding real, healthful, satisfying foods that nurture my body and my soul. ¬† I have never thought of weight loss like this before. ¬†Certainly I have had a good grasp of healthy eating, but I have always reverted back to restrictive habits and destructive rules. ¬†And you know what? ¬†It has never worked.

So here I am.  Twenty years old.  Having a little breakthrough.

Enough of that.  Onto my balanced eats from today!

Banana-berry smoothie made with vanilla hemp/whey protein, soy milk/kefir, and topped with flax AB.

Salad the size of my head with greens, sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, and leftover meatballs.  Diet peach iced tea snapple.

Farmer’s market bounty!

Kinda random afternoon snack, but it was exactly what I wanted.  Half of a cream cheese chocolate chip bread with PB and chocolate AB.  Hey, at least there were some serious healthy fats going on.  I also had a few tiny handfuls of trail mix.

Evening snack (I don’t get home from second job until almost nine so I always pack two or three snacks):

Best. ¬†Flavor. ¬†Ever. ¬†I’m not a huge Larabar lover but these new flavors are awesome. ¬†Peanut butter+chocolate is obviously the best flavor combo ever, as we all know.

I was hangry for dinner! ¬†Good thing I knew exactly what I wanted. ūüôā

Greens, cukes, eggs, salt, iced tea.

Can’t forget dessert!

Chocolate-peanut-caramel protein powder blender with a cup of vanilla soy milk, xantham gum, and an entire tray of ice cubes.  Topped with Lindt dark chocolate.  This was really good.  I love the volume factor!

Another day of delicious, clean eating. ¬†I know that I don’t need to deprive myself or get so anxious over the weight. ¬†I am doing just fine. ¬†Not to mention the fact that who I am on the inside hasn’t changed at all. ¬†I’m still my same self: writer, believer, dreamer, dancer, runner, yogini, lover, friend, woman. ¬†Thanks so much to all of you who have pointed this out over the last few weeks while I have struggled over my body image. ¬†You are all such wonderful friends!

Goodnight and happy Friday to you all!

Edited to add: just had some more chocolate and a glass of soy milk. ¬†I think it was actual hunger and my 9 miles just caught up to me. ¬†I feel more satisfied now and I know I don’t want anything else! ¬†Time to close the kitchen. ūüôā

In A Day’s Eats

Today’s Happy Note: I was feeling a lot of anxiety last night and sent my therapist a rant email and she sent me back a very soothing message. ¬†She really is a major comfort. ¬†It’s pretty sweet that she is there for me even on the weekend.

Thank you everyone for your kind, insightful comments yesterday. One thing that a lot of people pointed out was that I am still me, regardless of my size.  Additionally, most people on the beach are not looking at me at all!  They have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body. And in fact I have better things to do than pay attention to the minutiae of my body!

I feel like I have been lazy today. ¬†The weird thing is that I can’t decide if this is actually true. ¬†I mean, I did stuff, I just feel like it wasn’t enough stuff. I feel like Sundays should be devoted to getting-things-done. ¬†I didn’t even workout (although I did walk maybe two or so miles). ¬†Meh. ¬†I guess maybe some Sundays are meant for total relaxation, perhaps? ¬†What do you prefer — crazy busy Sundays that prepare you for the week ahead or lazy Sundays?

I did manage to pick myself up off the couch for a quick Adventure to the farmer’s market and the Cathedral. Fresh local peaches from the farmer’s market in summer are truly heavenly. ¬†They might be my favorite food, ever. ¬†I can’t even eat store bought ones anymore. ¬†Other finds: crunchy cucumbers, rainbow chard, pea shoots, and mixed lettuces.

Started the day with a giant, real NY bagel (seven grain) with walnut raisin cream cheese (which, by the way, is cream cheese perfection). ¬† I feel like bagels are a traditional NY Sunday brunch, so how could I say no? ¬†I went with the family. ¬†I am not a big bread person, but I really like a good bagel once a week or so. ¬†And the cream cheese is wonderful because it’s so full of fat and keeps me full for hours. ¬†I had this around eleven and didn’t even begin to think about eating again until after four.

My late afternoon snack was a SIAB made with vanilla soy milk, a splash of kefir, vanilla hemp/whey protein powder, lots of ice, frozen blueberries and frozen cherries. ¬†Toppings: kashi heart to ¬†heart cereal and Justin’s maple almond butter.

I also had a tiny bowl of cereal afterwards to satisfy my  giant cereal craving.

At some point between this and dinner I had a tiny handful of nuts and a piece of chocolate.

Dinner=meat. Dear meat, I love you.  I will never, ever leave you.

This is a multigrain wrap stuffed with home made meatballs (from farmer’s market ground beef), jarlsberg cheese, and baked yellow squash. ¬†I made my meatballs with EVOO, salt, lemon pepper, garlic, and dried basil. ¬†I had lots of cukes and carrots on the side.

At this point in my life, I know that eating meat (of all varieties — red, poultry, seafood) is the right choice for me. ¬†I physically feel so much better with it in my life. ¬†I have more energy, stay fuller longer, and I feel healthier on the inside too. ¬†I try to eat red meat once or twice a week, along with a few servings of fish/chicken/turkey/shrimp, etc. ¬†I know that some people may have trouble digesting meat or they just don’t like it or it does not work for them in some way, and I¬†absolutely respect that. ¬†But I crave and need protein. ¬†And not just any protein: meat protein. And if I have learned anything about my relationship with food in the last few years, it’s that denying what my body wants is asking for trouble.

Phew, glad I got that out.  After dinner I had two spoonfuls of Maranatha dark chocolate peanut spread before making my real dessert.

Coconut peanut butter protein ice cream!  Topped with dark chocolate.

So pillowy.  I also had a Godiva dark chocolate truffle.

I won’t continue posting all my meals for long. It’s just something that I think I need to do for myself for a few days. I am getting used to “closing the kitchen” after a small-ish dessert, and not mindlessly munching my way through the evening. ¬†I am hoping this will become a habit! ¬†There are so many other things I like to do in the evening instead, especially reading. ¬†There is never enough time for all the books I want to read, sadly.

I am a little nervous about working again full time this week.  I have lots to do, but hopefully I will give myself a break if need be.  I also need to make sure I get enough sleep.  Goodnight friends!

Breakfast for Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner

Today’s Happy Note: Had some quality social time with friends, but it didn’t feel overwhelming! ¬†Yay!

I have literally spent the entire day studying, writing papers, preparing projects, and reading articles, minus the two hours I was in class and the three hours I was at work. ¬†I studied while I ate, while I watched TV, while I hung out with friends. ¬†Yuck. ¬†I hate the end of the semester when everything gets all overwhelming. ¬†It’s funny because everyone I know thinks I am like a really perfect student, but I’m actually the biggest procrastinator ever! ¬†For example, I probably did a total of three hours of schoolwork this weekend. ¬†I could probably save myself quite a bit of stress and anxiety if I learned to do things ahead of time. ¬†Hmmmm…

Are you a procrastinator or do you get everything done in advance?

I apologize ahead of time if I am a bit crazy and frazzled for the next two weeks. ūüė¶

I was too busy to exercise today!!! ¬†For someone like me who can get a little bit obsessive, I think this is a really good thing. ¬†And it wasn’t like I was sedentary either.

Eats:

I had one of my most favorite breakfast combos ever this morning but I forgot to take a picture!

It was one packet of Three Sister’s brown sugar and maple oatmeal heated with half a banana and topped with half a serving of Greek yogurt (Chobani vanilla) and a big scoop of MaraNatha almond butter. ¬†Yum.

While I like plenty of other breakfast foods, this breakfast, and similar versions, makes me feel “safe.” ¬†It’s a part of my morning routine. ¬†I can’t decide if this is controlling or a comforting mechanism? I like to set up my mornings similarly every day; it just feels good to know that, at the very least, this one thing can go right.

Lunch was special because I finally got my blender to produce delectable smoothies!  I just realized that I have to include a wee bit more liquid, and that I have to push the ingredients down a few times and then be patient.  It takes a while for it to build up to that serious blender whirling motion, but when it does get there, it blends quite nicely!

This SIAB contained about a cup of frozen mixed berries, a half-ish cup of chobani vanilla yogurt, a half-ish cup of water, 1 scoop Whole Foods vanilla whey protein powder and spinach. ¬†It was quite perfect. ¬†I topped it with Trader Joe’s AB and J trail mix (almonds, berried, and peanuts — muy addictive). ¬†I do wish I had room for ice cubes in my freezer to make it a little thicker/icier, but it still had a pretty good texture as is. Look for many more smoothies in my future. ¬†I’m actually craving one right now. ¬†The power of suggestion is strong!

Some days, I absolutely have to have breakfast foods for dinner. ¬†Ironically, I don’t like cereal for breakfast — it doesn’t seem to keep me full as long as oatmeal — but I love having it for dinner.

This is Three Sister’s Honey Oaties cereal (I am loving this brand) with a bit of milk, some cherry vanilla yogurt, chocolate chips (buried — makes for fun hidden treasure!) and Justin’s honey peanut butter. ¬†Wow, I just realized I had yogurt at all three meals today. ¬†Not the best for someone who is trying to get only one to two servings of dairy a day. ¬†Oh well, I’ll survive.

It looks like I’m on a major breakfast kick! ¬†I can’t help it. ¬†I think it’s by far the best meal of the day. ¬†I like all kinds of breakfast (although as stated above I usually stick to oats on weekday mornings). ¬†Here are a few favorite combos:

~whole grain waffle with fruit and maple syrup

~oats with nut butter

~apple, cinnamon, yogurt, trail mix

~omelette with sweet fillings

~chocolate chip pancakes topped with peanut butter and banana

~yogurt with grapes and nuts

~smoothie with frozen berried, soy milk, protein powder, and nut butter

~pumpkin baked goods of any sort!

What are your favorite breakfasts?

I have a lot of college friends who skip breakfast and this just seems so wrong to me.  Why would you skip such a delicious meal and deprive your body of important fuel?

Sorry for the lame-o post.  I still have more work to do.  Ick ick ick.  Major ick.

I hope you all,on the other hand, do not have massive amounts of work and are enjoying spring.  And lots of yummy breakfasts too!

Sweet And Savory/Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: I had the most delicious breakfast with the juiciest blackberries I have ever consumed in my entire life!

Exercise: Shred Level 2 (does anyone else think this one is harder than Level 3? ¬†It’s those damn v-raise shoulder thingies at the end…) and somewhere between one and two miles of walking. ¬†Would have done a bit more but it was raining. ¬†A lot.

Eats: I have been loving sweet and savory stuff together lately! ¬†This is weird for me because normally I like them on their own, but I’ve found that combining them can be super fun. ¬†I have lots of ideas in my head for future combinations! ¬†Meat with berries, shrimp and brown sugar, carrots and maple syrup, sweet potato and banana, vanilla yogurt with quinoa…

Sometimes I don’t really know how my brain works. ¬†But it has gotten me this far in life so I’ll take it, I suppose.

So that breakfast I told you about in my Happy Note? ¬†I have pictures. ¬†Lots of them. ¬†It won’t be quite as good as if I could give you all samples, but they shall have to do. ¬†Oh the pitfalls of food blogging!

This is Three Sister’s Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal cooked up with water and blackberries then poured into a near-empty AB jar. ¬†Topped with a French Vanilla yogurt hat.

Look at that purple blackberry deliciousness.  Sigh.  I might have this for breakfast everyday.  For the rest of my life.

Bowl.  Of.  Morning.  Bliss.

This is one of the best oatmeal combinations I’ve ever heard. ¬†I love trying new fruits in my oats! ¬†What’s your favorite fruit or other oatmeal add-in?

Other culinary highlight of the day:

Introducing almond butter and jam eggs.

It might look a little funky, but I assure you, this is beyond good. ¬†One of my rare moments of kitchen genius. ¬†And it’s so easy, your three year old could probably make it.

Simply crack an egg in a microwaveable safe bowl and whisk until scrambled.  Top with a half-tablespoon (ish) of your favorite jam (I used mango butter) and a tablespoon of nut butter (I used maple almond).  DO NOT stir in the AB and jam yet.  Microwave on high thirty seconds.  Take it out and NOW stir everything together. Microwave for another thirty seconds.  Consume in about five seconds flat.

I’ve been wanting to try sweet eggs for a while and am so glad I did. ¬†I think that maybe you can add PB and ¬†J (or some variation thereof) to anything and it will taste good. ¬†I might have to try a PB and J salad next…

Therapy Monday:

I actually don’t have a lot to say today, believe it or not. ¬†How very un-Caronaeish. ¬†I started out talking about running — last weekend’s half-marathon and my upcoming ultramarathon — and then somehow we started talking about professional athletes and endurance in general. ¬†It was really nice having a semi-normal conversation with my psychologist actually. ¬†I mean we still made insights and I definitely talked about me, but it was nice not having this intense analyzing thing going on for the whole hour. ¬†She told me, firmly, that I am an athlete. ¬†Sometimes I doubt myself in regards to my athleticism: I don’t win awards or break records, but I do spend hours training every week and pushing myself. ¬†So it was nice to hear her tell me that a) I am an athlete and b) I have athletic talents: namely, my endurance.

Then we talked a little bit about my family and I shared my scariest childhood memory (already wrote about it so I won’t share again). ¬†I definitely experienced inconsistencies in my childhood and hated it; at school/home/family/friends. ¬†Whatever it was, I hated change. ¬†There were two bad things that my teachers always wrote on my report cards: Caronae does not like change and Caronae does not work well in groups. ¬†I think both of them make sense, looking back. ¬†And I have gotten soooooo much better at both: I am proud of this. ¬†I think my group-work hatred has shifted towards effective leadership and trust, and my hatred of change has morphed into a good thing: today, when there is a major shift or transition, I approach it with caution, but I also let myself simmer in the new joys and feelings that change can bring. ¬†Normally when I travel back and forth between MI and NYC, I take days, weeks, or months to adjust to one environment over the other. ¬†I noticed that I din’t experience that during spring break, for the first time ever. ¬†Maybe I have grown. ¬†Or maybe I’ve gotten better at taking care of myself — physically and mentally — and of observing the world around me and making minor adjustments. ¬†I think this is it.

Today my therapist said something along the lines of “happy people are kind people. ¬†I’ve never met a happy mean person.” ¬†So true. ¬†And guess what? ¬†As I become happier I am becoming nicer, and vice versa. ¬†I like this. ¬†It’s calming to feel like I can finally begin reaching out towards others who may be unhappy or struggling; this in turn helps me feel stronger and just more in-tune with myself. ¬†In-tune is a good thing.

Off to go spend some time with my main man Marx! ¬†Kidding. ¬†He’s sort of a weirdo. ¬†But a thoughtful, interesting weirdo.

Happy (almost) Tuesday!

Good Old Sunday Exercise and Eats

Today’s Happy Note:

This is a black cherry steaz bottle cap. ¬†My last one said “I am powerful.” ¬†I think they’re kind of great, and they make me feel happy and strong and unique. ¬†What more could I ask of a bottle cap? ¬†Thank you, steaz!

Workout:

I listened to my body today and she said she did not want to run. ¬†So I didn’t! ¬†I headed to the gym and did 25 minutes of serious weight lifting followed by 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training on the elliptical. ¬†I first heard about HIIT a few years ago and then was inspired to try it by Janetha. ¬†Basically, HIIT involves a brief warm-up followed by 15-20 minutes of intervals that alternate from easy to, well, high intensity. ¬†Pretty self-explanatory. ¬†You can vary the ratio of hard to easy depending on how you feel; wikipedia suggests 2:1, I have seen 4:1, and currently, I’m at 1:1. ¬†I would do a minute relatively easy (think “jogging” pace) followed by a minute of everything I’ve got. ¬†I kept this up for 20 minutes, followed by a five minute cool-down.

This sounds easy, and the concept certainly is, but let me tell you it is KILLER.  The sprints make it feel like a great workout (and it is) in a small amount of time.  It is, I believe, supposed to burn more fat and be good for anaerobic capacity.

I like to do supersets when I strength train.  This means I pick a group of four to five exercises, and I rotate through them.  So round one consists of, for example:

Superset 1:

12 captain’s chair crunches

6 pull-ups (I can only do 6, even with plenty of assistance)

12 V-ups

12 real-delt rows

I then rotate through the set three times.  I like to alternate arms, abs, and legs so that each muscle group gets a little rest but then has to work again.  I am not sure how scientific this is, but it works for me.  I usually do 3-5 supersets like the one above.

After my power hour at the gym I went to a yoga class at The Shala. ¬†I wasn’t trying to be exercise-obsessive; this is the only time of week for the donation-based (read: inexpensive) class and I like to take advantage of my weekends to do actual yoga classes. ¬†By the end of class, I was exhausted. ¬†After lunch ¬†I took a nice long nap instead of being productive. ūüôā

I saw this wonderfully concise and truthful quote in Oprah magazine today and wanted to share with you guys:

“Exercise should be a habit, like brushing your teeth. ¬†It wouldn’t cross your mind not to brush your teeth, and physical activity should be viewed the same way.” – Bob Greene (Oprah’s trainer)

For me, and probably for many of you guys, this is obvious. ¬†Whether it’s twenty minutes on the yoga mat, playing in the ocean with friends, or a marathon; we get it. ¬†But not everyone approaches physical activity this way. ¬†I like to think of my exercise time — my 30-120 minutes a day, typically — as primal: the urge to move feels incredibly natural and human to me. ¬†I think that deep down, this is true for most people, it’s just that many Americans have gotten out of touch with this. ¬†Sometimes my friends question my dedication to running or yoga or laugh when they see me doing a half hour workout dvd. ¬†But my body and mind need this time. ¬†When I exercise, I actually end up having more energy, I’m happier, and, I think, kinder. ¬†It really is like brushing my teeth. ¬†Outside of the occasional rest day, I couldn’t not do it.

How do you guys feel about this?  Is this approach obsessive or just natural?  Do you feel better when movement is a part of your daily routine?

Eats:

I have been consciously trying to eat every three to four hours, and to include plenty of protein and fats. ¬†And I’ve been feeling more satisfied! ¬†Go me!

This is Three Sister’s Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with a half a serving of Tera’s Whey vanilla protein powder (which was not gritty and tasted nice and creamy! ¬†Yay!). ¬†I can’t wait to try the rest of their oatmeal varieties. ¬†I am really liking this company so far, go check them out!

This was one of the best weekend brunches ever. ¬†Well okay, it was three o’clock so I don’t know if that’s really brunching hour. ¬†But whatever. ¬†Two eggs, white cheddar, and spinach on whole grain bread, broiled for five minutes (I have no toaster and the broiler is a decent substitute). ¬†Three large carrots sliced up with two tablespoons Justin’s maple almond butter. ¬†This meal was mountains of delicious.

Dinner: veggie stir fry (swiss chard, peppers, baby bella mushrooms cooked in coconut oil), steak, and hummus. ¬†With steaz on the side, of course. ¬†I marinated this steak overnight in maple syrup, soy sauce, and ginger. ¬†Um, YUM! ¬†This was a bottom round cut from the farmer’s market. ¬†It is a tougher cut so the texture was a bit chewy (I also overcooked it a bit), but the flavor was wonderful. ¬†I won’t lie: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love red meat. ¬†This is not something that I would ever skip out on. ¬†I also believe that meat can be a healthy part of a plant-rich diet, for many people. ¬†That’s my meat philosophy in a nutshell! ¬†Agree or disagree? ¬†Or do you just not like meat? Regardless, I respect everyone’s individual dietary choices; I promise I’m not judging you. ūüôā

Triple chocolate hot cocoa.  Dessert is my favorite part of the day!

Minus three ginger cat cookies (tiny) and a similarly small square of cherry dark chocolate, I think that’s everything I’ve eaten for the day! ¬†I’ll probably do full day eats once or twice a week, since I like to have a visual record, but don’t want to bore you.

The end!

Have an excellent week!  Make sure to smile and think positive; this will improve everything, I promise.

Therapy Monday

Daily Creativity: Writing; it’s so refreshing to have some time on Monday’s to just free write about therapy and thoughts/reflections/ideas. ¬†It can turn into an essay or an idea for a poem or just a channel for some really necessary expression. ¬†I really need time immediately after therapy to write; unfortunately I have to grab lunch and then rush off to class. ¬†I find time later in the day usually though. ¬†This weekly writing session is so important to me; it spawns off new ideas and takes my thoughts, and therefore my creative work, in a new direction. ¬†Love it!

Random breakfast food pics to entertain you:

As you can see, I’ve received my galaxy granola samples! ¬†I’ve tried the vanilla almond and raspberry flavors so far and am loving them. ¬†They taste very clean, earthy, natural, and lightly sweetened/fruity. ¬†I’ll do a full review later on. ¬†This is my first ever product sample and review and I’m very excited!

I’m not going to elaborate on the breakfast photos because they’re going into my guest post for Sophia, which is coming along slowly but surely.

Did some gentle walking today, probably three to four miles and nice easy yoga for my legs. ¬†My quads are surprisingly sore from yesterday. ¬†Might do the elliptical tomorrow…

Therapy Monday:

Lots of thoughts today. ¬†Lot lots lots. ¬†I think I sort of had a process breakthrough today, which was wonderful but exhausting. ¬†A lot of my therapy process involves telling stories. This is what I do best, and it’s actually something I sort of want to base my life and career around. ¬†But anyways, I tell my therapist stories about past events, memories, ideas, interactions, whatever. ¬†Just stories. ¬†And usually as I go through my story we look at what’s going on, what’s upsetting me, what this might mean for my present circumstances. ¬†One part of the story leads into another part of my life and this is how we talk. ¬†We go back and forth, me telling, her interjecting thoughts or advice, etc. ¬†Today, for the first time ever, I felt like I could provide my own analysis and reflections. ¬†I have definitely done this in bits and pieces in the past, but I felt like I went a bit further today. ¬†I felt insightful, I suppose. ¬†It felt like we were working together to come up with conclusions; like she was a friend or a confidant as opposed to someone who just listens to me talk about my problems every week. ¬†And I was proud of myself for coming up with insights. ¬†It made me feel more ownership over them; I certainly trust what she says most of the time and usually believe her thoughts and think they are relevant, but it just felt refreshing to provide more of my own thoughts. ¬†I think that, one year plus some after my breakdown, I have moved away from the pain of the immediate situation/crisis enough to examine things. ¬†Not just tell them and think about them lightly, but really dig into them. ¬†Oftentimes this is painful, confusing/anxiety-inducing, or just plain scary. ¬†But it’s necessary. ¬†And ultimately, I find that looking closely at parts of myself — the good, the bad, the terrified, the hysterical, the sad, the anxious, the joyful — is rewarding. ¬†It makes me understand things and makes my life easier to live. ¬†It makes me more happy with myself and more able to relate to others. ¬†It helps me heal. ¬†I guess this is why I enjoy therapy. ¬†There, I said it. ¬†I actually like to go every week. ¬†It can be frustrating, tearful, or just plain depressing. ¬†But I like it. ¬†I get something out of it. ¬†At the very least, I have an hour to verbalize my problems to someone who never judges me. ¬†And that in itself can even be helpful.

Okay, I know this is getting long, but bear with me.

Another really big thing that came out of today was the idea that I can be non-judgmental towards myself: I can be an observer and a learner without hating myself for whatever perceived faults I am observing. ¬†How novel! ¬†I was mostly thinking about this in relation to my little man problem. ¬†Okay, big problem, but whatever. ¬†Over break I was telling a friend how not dating or interacting much with guys makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me as a woman. ¬†And as I expressed this to said friend, for a brief moment, I realized, this is okay. ¬†I can learn and grow by examining the situation, but I need not hate myself for it or feel guilty about it. Surely this is not useful. ¬†My tendency towards self-loathing has typically extended into many facets of my life. ¬†But it doesn’t need to. ¬†It’s something I can begin to break down starting with this: I am a 20 year old woman. ¬†I do not have the most relationship experience, but in the past few months I have begun to practice; I have met a lot of new men, gone on a few dates, and even had a nice kiss or two. ¬†I am figuring things out and this is okay. ¬†This is where I am right now, and I trust that I will learn more things as they come. ¬†That said, I also intend to take an active role in this area of my life. ¬†If I want to go on dates once in a while, I have to interact with men! ¬†And I know I can do this because I am not so full of fear over men anymore. ¬†I was chatting with a guy in the massage line after the race yesterday and noticed how comfortable I felt just talking about college, work, the city, etc. ¬†So I’ve made progress. ¬†And I know that I’m going to keep making progress.

I think that little examination of my life as a woman was sort of a microcosm or metaphor for my life in general right now: I am learning to accept things as they are, learn from them, and take steps forward.  I can make progress.

Whoa, that was long. ¬†I actually write pages and pages in my journal after therapy every week (see Daily Creativity) and then sort of suck the most importan parts out of that and expand on here. ¬†I can’t believe I used to dread going to therapy and thinking about it, when I was seeing my last therapist. ¬†She always used to tell me that I should journal about it, but I never wanted to because she didn’t really help me figure all that much out. ¬†Just goes to show you how important having the right therapist is.

Alright, how were your Mondays bloggies? ¬†Mine was a bit icky, but tomorrow’s a new day, I suppose!

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