The RWTL Diet

Today’s Happy Note: Rediscovering the best hair conditioner ever!  I used to use this stuff in high school and then it disappeared — it used to be the Dove light blue bottle (NOT the dark blue bottle) and now it’s just called Dove Daily Moisture.  It makes me hair softer and smoother and less frizzy than ANY other hair product.  And I am not easy to please when it comes to hair products!

Marathon Training: I cannot believe it is 6 days away!  It feels like I just started training yesterday and now we’re in the final stages of taper.  I am definitely nervous.  I think that this week is primarily going to be about anxiety control. As long as I can get my mental game under control, I have a feeling the physical side of things will take care of themselves.

I did the 30 Day Shred Level 2 and lots of walking yesterday and my last “long” run today — 6 miles. The rest of this week I’ll do a few 3-4 milers.  Hopefully I will feel nice and rested and relaxed on Sunday.  I am thrilled that my first marathon is going to be the NYC Marathon.  I have wanted to do it since I moved to the city in fall 2007.  I have watched every race since then.  There is something mystical and intriguing about fall in the city, especially in Central Park.  It’s my home.  I couldn’t be more excited.

The RWTL Diet

I wanted to do a post about the way I eat.  It is an endless source of fascination for me to learn about the different ways people feed their minds and bodies.  I think there is both a physical and mental/emotional component to eating/fueling — and in fact, I think that duality is part of what makes eating lovely and fun.

Most bloggers (and people I know in real life too) eat in a very nuanced way.  What works for one person doesn’t work for another.  Everyone likes and needs slightly different things.  This post is about finding the overlap between what I like and what I need.

Through much experimentation, I have figured out that my body needs the following:

  • Lots of protein from a variety of sources
  • Lots of fats (both saturated and unsaturated), again, from a variety of sources
  • Moderate carbohydrates — some grains and some fruits, maybe 2-3 servings a day
  • Tons of veggies; basically, an unlimited amount
  • Occasional desserts — if I don’t have some sweets, I feel deprived, which results in overeating
What my body wants:
  • Flavor!  Spices, fat, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.
  • Variety — I like consistency, but I also get bored easily, so I need a good mix of foods.
  • Breakfast!  Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day.  I crave breakfast foods all the time.
  • Plant and animal sources of protein and fat.  I think this goes with variety, but I have also found that I thrive when I include both types.
  • Pastries.  I wouldn’t really call myself a junk food person — I have no interest in pizza, fries, wings, or candy.  But I love good scones, muffins, or cookies.
So how do I balance the needs and the wants and get good things into my body?
The short answer: with frequent meals and snacks that are built around plants, protein, and fat.  I never build a meal or a snack around a carb.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I am somewhat insulin resistance, and more carbs just don’t do anything for me — I feel sluggish and tired and they seem to make me gain weight.  People have different body types and metabolic systems, so this is NOT something that will hold true for everyone.  I follow some pretty simple guidelines:
Breakfast: build around a whole grain in tandem with protein and fat, sometimes with fruit.
On the left we have 1/3 C of oats cooked with 2/3 cup of low-fat chocolate milk, 2/3 cup of water, cinnamon, a little less than a quarter cup of peanut flour, and a tablespoon of peanut butter.  On the right we have a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel (a little more carby than normal) with peanut butter and bacon.  It was a delectable combination.
I used to eat tiny breakfasts (100-200 calories; usually an instant oatmeal packet) and would feel SO guilty whenever I had a more substantial breakfast.  But I was always starving by 11 AM and miserably forced myself to wait for lunch. Satisfying breakfast=happy Caronae.
Lunch: Veggies with, surprise, more protein and fat.  I usually either build lunch around a salad, stir fry, egg scramble, smoothie, or, occasionally, a sandwich.  Has to be simple and quick: think things like pre chopped veggies, steamed/sauteed veggies, deli turkey, sliced tofu, avocado, whole eggs, or cottage cheese/greek yogurt.
On the left we have half a can of Amy’s spicy chili mixed with a boatload of broccoli and topped with TJ’s hummus/guacamole mixture.  On the right we have today’s lunch of two eggs scrambled in EVOO mixed with chopped brussel sprouts, broccoli, and mozzarella.
Both were quite tasty and filling.  I often add a piece of carb-y fruit, like grapes or an apple, with lunch, depending on how much I’ll be running that day.
Dinner: I usually do more actual “cooking” here, often with fish, chicken, tofu, beans, ground beef, or steak, paired with roasted veggies, squash, and/or salad.
On the left is tonight’s dinner of heated pumpkin topped with steamed carrots and a divine stir-fry of ground beef, EVOO, salt, basil, garlic, and portabella mushrooms.  On the right we have baked salmon with a peanut/ginger sauce, roasted cauliflower, and steamed squash with cinnamon and avocado.
Snacks: usually a mix of fats and proteins, eaten in the late afternoon.  I like nuts, protein bars, fruit with nut butter, yogurt with various add-ins, low fat milk or soy milk, eggs, etc.
Dessert: almost always involves chocolate. 🙂  I like hot cocoa with dark chocolate melted in, oats with protein powder, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, pumpkin with cinnamon and yogurt, frozen berries, plain dark chocolate, and weird combinations of the above.
I make sure to eat enough to get me through lots of studying and running and yoga and life.  I would estimate about 2500 calories a day, although less when I am running less.
So there you have it.  The RWTL “diet.”  How would you characterize your “diet”?
Oh, and some Halloween pics for fun.  Guess what I am!
How was your Halloween weekend?  Anything fun?  What’s on the table for this week?

I Like Hitting Things.

Today’s Happy Note: Not hating my body at the gym! For some reason I felt strong and confident and I appreciated my height and my small waist.  There was no body-hating going on at all.  Score!

I took the afternoon off from the office job.  I had a boatload of important errands to do (such as going on a quest in search of the new Larabar flavors), computer work to do for the other job, a conference call, and a kick boxing class to get  to!  You can read about how the first  class basically changed my life here.  I missed last week since I had just gotten out of the hospital, but I was determined to make it today (although I was quite close to taking a nap instead).  So glad I did.

Apparently I just really love punching things?  It’s a good mix of cardio and strength and plyometrics and abs and just all kinds of different moves.  I did about a half an hour of weights beforehand.  I’m starting to feel like myself again!

Bad news though: my stupid stupid INR is still nowhere near high enough.  Sad face.  This means I have to keep doing the Lovenox injections.  Fun.  And increasing the Coumadin very very slowly (so that I don’t bleed to death).  This probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to most of you, but that’s okay.  My point here is not intellectual clarity.  It’s more that I’m rambling-venting.  To myself.  On my public blog.

I make so much sense.

Food I ate today:

Breakfast: TJ’s flax oatmeal made with half vanilla soymilk and half water, a precious farmer’s market peach, and a tablespoon of Justin’s (amazing) maple almond butter.

Birds’ eye view of lunch.

Giant salad with mixed lettuces, yellow squash with EVOO, avocado, and coconut maple tofu.  With a side of pear.

Afternoon snack involved a new protein powder find!  Designer whey chocolate carmel peanut.  I know there are artificial flavors involved, but it’s so good I don’t care.  I blended it with chocolate milk and ice and topped it with chocolate almond butter.  Mmmmmmmmm.

This kept me full for like five hours, which never happens!

Dinner was pretty swell.

A giant pile of baked plain eggplant, microwave steamed zucchini, meatballs, topped with smooth marinara, cheese, and dried basil.  All heated up so it was nice and hot and the cheese was melty, just how I like it.

Followed that up with avocado chocolate pudding!  Topped with coconut snow and two squares of Godiva raspberry dark chocolate.  This dessert was heaven.  On a baby spoon.


I have three doctors appointments tomorrow morning.  I have to leave at 8:30 or so and probably won’t get back until 9:00 PM.  Yikes!  Time to pack everything and prep lunch and snacks. 🙂

Goodnight my friends, sleep tight.

Anti-Anxiety Plan of Attack!

Today’s Happy Note: Reading in the park.

Mental Health Note: I was so wound up when I left work today that I could barely walk in a straight line.  I have no idea where this came from.  I guess part of depression is feeling inexplicably sad, lonely, or confused.  That might be it.  It was a pretty straightforward day at the office.  Very routine.  Normally the routine soothes me, but today it just unsettled me.  Maybe because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the other things I had to do.  On my way home, I devised an anti-anxiety plan of attack!

  • Take a few moments to myself to walk through the park, look at the trees, breathe, and read.  I rarely leave the house without a book, and today was no exception.   I had “The Gift of Therapy” by Irvin Yalom with me.  Yet another book borrowed from L.  I am devouring it.  It is most wonderful and calming.  Not in a creepy way, but it reminds me of L, which reminds me to stay calm; that someone nearby loves and appreciates me unconditionally is an instantly comforting thought.
  • Make a list of specific things bothering me and plan out howto deal with each thing (i.e., just do it, shelve it for later, ignore it, etc.).
  • Don’t worry about a workout.  I like to take one weekday rest day each week and I purposely don’t plan it ahead of time precisely because of days like this.  The idea of traveling to the gym or the gymnastics center or the yoga studio or dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat was unappealing.  I work out enough that responding to a day of stress by not working out actually makes sense.  I did do about three miles of walking.
  • Take extra time to write in my journal.
  • Don’t stuff my face, but do have exactly what I want for dinner…

Which leads me to these masterpieces:

I was craving frozen fruit all afternoon/evening!  The first bowl has frozen cherries with one spoonful AB and one spoonful PB.  The second one is Talenti coconut gelato topped with dark chocolate, frozen berries, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a few mixed nuts.

Coconut, berries, nuts: I could have done way worse.  Definitely plenty of sugar.  But oh so tasty.  Sometimes food needs to serve both a physical, nourishing purpose and an emotional, satisfying purpose.  I think I successfully accomplished both here! 🙂

Don’t worry, other eats of the day involved veggies and protein!  Like lunch:

Giant tuna mess with hummus, herbs, snap peas (nom nom nom!) and peppers.

Off to do work and clean my room!  Neither of which I especially want to do.  Sigh…

What do you do when you are inexplicable feeling down?

Favorite frozen fruit?

Adventure Saturday: Tips For a Long Healthful Life

Today’s Happy Note: Spending time with family!  I normally only see my mom’s extended family at Christmas so it was nice to get to see a few of them in the summer, even if only for a day.

Good evening dearies!  I hope it’s been a wonderful Saturday.  I had an Adventure, of course!  I went a bit upstate on the train to see an aunt, two cousins, and my grandfather.  They were here for a wedding (I didn’t go to that; we just had lunch and spent the afternoon together).  We wandered around town, munched on the most amazing pita (so pillowy!), and admired the beautiful grounds and history of the hotel-manor they stayed at.  It’s funny; as much as I despised growing up in the suburbs, I enjoyed myself very much this afternoon.  The small-ish towns along the Hudson are wonderfully endearing and a nice break from the city. I absolutely feel in love with the city, but at times it can be overwhelmingly busy and distant.

I probably walked about two miles today and might go for another walk in a little while, or do some dancing/yoga.  I used to take dance classes at school and I am really missing it. I wonder if there are any local, inexpensive community classes near me? Dancing and yoga remind me of one another.  While I love running, I think they might be more soothing forms of movement for my spirit.

Photos from the Adventure:

Who might this be?  That’s my grandfather!  He’s 95 and a half! Doesn’t look it!  He is an amazing man who has exemplified healthy ways of living since his boyhood in rural Iran.  He has a very powerful internal drive that I have yet to find in another person.  At 95, he still writes papers, read, communicates with friends and family members scattered around the world, attends conferences, and participates in tremendous charitable activities.  He has truly been heroic.  I wanted to take a few minutes during our visit today to ask him how he has maintained vibrancy and health for almost a century.  I’m sure random genetics play a role, but so do our habits and choices.

Without further ado, I present “Baba’s tips for 95 years of healthy living”:

  • Don’t overstress!  In fact, understress if possible.
  • Always keep your mind working in different subjects; for example Baba has been both a mathematician/engineer and a literary/poetic scholar.
  • Stay away from too much alcohol.
  • His super-foods: walnuts, raisins, plain yogurt, lentils, pomegranate juice.
  • It is important to eat these things — and other healthy things — as a child.  Childhood health affects the rest of your life!
  • Always stay active.  Baba has done many activities, games, and sports his entire life.  As an eight year old boy, he found a tennis ball.  This was his only toy.  He kept himself active and entertained by bouncing it around.  Favorite childhood activities: broad jump, high jump, pole vault, and volleyball.  He actually played on the volleyball team at Tehran University as a setter.  Throughout his adult life he has loved racket games — tennis, squash, and racquetball.  He still plays tennis and walks (we probably did about a mile together today).  In fact, he beat me at racquetball two years ago (I was trying)!
  • He has had a lot of sadness and unhappy events in his life.  Overcoming these and persevering anyways has been a very powerful force in shaping his mental capacities.
  • A multicultural lifestyle with diverse interests and connections keeps you healthy because you are constantly learning.  He speaks five languages and is still quite proficient in three of them.
  • Creativity is a “secret” to old age.
  • You have to learn to be satisfied with very little.  Western materiality is destructive to our health.  Being satisfied with little nurtures our spiritual selves.
  • Tea can be “as delicious as a special meat dish.”
  • His vice: sweets!  A little dessert makes us happy and nurtures our souls.
  • He has always rewarded himself with little things.  For example, when he was a teenager, raisins were a special treat.  If someone gave him a handful, he would parcel them out over several days.  Each time he completed a long paper or complex math problem, he would reward himself with a single raisin.  Other rewards: pencils or paper.
  • He is critical of extravagance.  Instead, he believes powerfully in charitability.  He has established a school for 440 poor girls in Iran who otherwise would not receive an education.  He endows the entire establishment (teachers, classrooms, uniforms, sports and games, etc.)  He has a powerful belief in the ability of education to extend and enrich our lives.
  • The entire world can take a hint from more simpler ways of living — that would prevent a lot of bloodshed.
  • His favorite meal: yogurt with jam and walnuts, good bread with chevre.

So there you have it!  Living to 95 years from the expert.  He has an older brother who is either 97 or 98.

I didn’t take any interesting food pictures while I was out because I didn’t want to have to explain the blog.  I did, however take pictures of a major dinner fail:

My blender failed in the middle of smoothie-making!  Grrr.  I can’t get it to work now at all.  Perhaps it overheated?  I didn’t eat all of the above mess, but did eat out the frozen berries and some of the liquid.  It was actually quite tasty!  Better flavor than most of my smoothies for some reason.  I remedied this little failure with some comforting OIAJ…

Nature’s Path hemp oats in a Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter jar with a handful of trail mix and a serving of TJ’s chocolate covered pretzels!  I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a serious statement: NN Vanilla Almond butter is the best nut butter I’ve ever had. It truly is amazing.  It does have some sugar, but only 5g.  The flavors just work wonderfully together.  It tastes like a really premium vanilla almond frosting.

Not sure why, but I was feeling guilty about everything I ate today.  I didn’t have anything “bad” for me at all, but I do think I wasn’t eating mindfully.  Need to work on that; not because I’m trying to be obsessive but because my mind and body feel best when I have a clear, conscious relationship with food.

Any fun Adventures from today?  Adventures tomorrow? I have plans for a long run, yoga, and possibly a movie!

See you tomorrow!

PS — Go enter the most awesome giveaway ever here!  Evan is giving away an ice cream maker!

Twitter, Calming Yoga, UNWFP Blogger Against Hunger!

Today’s Happy Note: Afternoon nap.  I might have to make this a regular Friday afternoon activity. 🙂

Before beginning, I just need to say that, apparently, someone used the term “asparagus therapy” to find my blog yesterday.  I’m totally curious.  Not sure how the two go together; if you’re the “asparagus therapy” searcher feel free to leave a comment and let me know what “asparagus therapy” might mean!

No post yesterday because WordPress was down!  It was kind of scary.  For a while you couldn’t access any wordpress hosted sites.  Fortunately, my new tweeps assured me that all was okay; everyone was experiencing problems.  Unfortunately, WordPress relaunched right as I was about to go to bed.

That’s right friends: I’m on twitter.  To be honest, there was no special reason.  I am not trying to market the blog, I just like writing out my thoughts (as you probably know by now) and I like the challenge of making it short!  It’s fun to feel like you can be in immediate communication with friends as well.  My twitter name is Caronaeh.  Are you on twitter?  What was your reason for joining?

Two great workouts!  Yesterday I took the bootcamp class at my gym again (hard!) followed by an easy three mile run.  Today I did an hour yoga flow class at Yoga Vida, which is by far my favorite NYC studio.  I do not just do yoga for the physical workout; it is also very emotional and spiritual for me.  Despite being physically difficult, it is also deeply relaxing.  Today towards the end of class while in a lovely hanging forward fold, I had the most intense calm, happy, peaceful moment.  I simultaneously felt elated and grounded — it was splendid.  I can’t remember the last name I felt like this.  It felt like a release from my earthly problems.  It reminded me how silly it is to turn to unhealthy methods to “solve” my problems (i.e., restricting or emotional eating, isolating myself, getting angry/sad) when I have something so simple and so lovely to soothe me.  Next time I’m feeling overwhelmed, confused, hurt, or just depressed, I know exactly what I’ll do: take a nice long forward fold.

Do you have a favorite relaxation technique?

Eats hodgepodge: things have been pretty simple the last few days because I was low on groceries.  Trader Joe’s solved that problem this evening. 🙂

As you can see, I’ve been having fun throwing things in the blender.  I feel like blender possibilities are endless.  Tonight’s dessert: loads of ice, chocolate whey protein powder, low-fat chocolate milk, scoop of peanut butter.  Topped with a crumbled cookie.  Noms.

Your favorite blender combo?

You can probably see a new widget on the side of my blog!  I have joined the Unites Nations World Food Porgram (WFP) Bloggers Against Hunger group!  I may be a student on a budget, so I don’t have a lot of money to give to the many worthy organizations I would love to support, but I can at least spread awareness.  Growing up, my parents made sure to impress upon my sister and me the many injustices in this world.  While I grew up in my comfortable suburban home in the 90s, children in, say Rwanda or Bosnia, were dying of hunger or genocide or preventable disease.

If you click on the photo on the side it will take you to my “homepage” at UNWFP.  I am not asking for donations or anything, rather, please just click around and learn more about the program.  I am a huge supporter of the United Nations and the invaluable work they do in supporting global cooperation.

Some important information about hunger:

I’ll be back with an adventure tomorrow!  And an interview post, hopefully.

Have a spectacular Adventure Saturday everybody!

Blast From The Past: The Good, The Bad, The Familiar

Today’s Happy Note: I just scored myself an entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica encyclopedias.  All A-Z of them.  1957 Edition.  For free.

Let me explain.  The apartment I live in is sort of a relative’s.  Sort of.  This relative has had the apartment in her family for over 60 years.  Her father died last year at 90-something.  He saved everything.  Everything.  This place is a veritable museum.  War rations from WWII?  Check.  1950’s GI Joe toys?  Check.   Yearbooks from various high school’s in Manhattan that no longer exist?  Check.

Entire set of unused encyclopedias?  Check and check.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware of this thing they call the Internets.  And I like the Internets a lot.  I really do.  But books have a certain irreplaceable value. I find them soft and cuddly and fun and enlightening.  Especially old books.  I like all historical artifacts, but books are my favorite. I enjoy physically holding a tiny — but important — piece of history.  Important words.  Good thing I work in a library full of old books.

I have no idea where I am storing this set of encyclopedias when I move out but I do know that they are mine.  All mine.  I don’t care if not a single other person born after 1970 has a set of encyclopedias.  Old books are comforting.  Old books cannot hurt me.

What can hurt me?  The present.

Namely, this morning’s spin class.  I met up with Missy at a gym downtown (who knew the express trains ran so fast early in the morning???).  I have only done spin once or twice before and found it incredibly hard.  Today was the same way.  I always think my legs are strong from running, but I find biking especially exhausting.  Maybe it’s a different muscle group.  The funny thing is, it doesn’t make a difference how many times I ride a bike — it’s exhausting every time!  My thighs, quads, and hamstrings just feel drained.  Does spin just take a really long time to get used to, even for someone who is really fit?

Sometimes I do feel seriously hurt by living in the present.  I know it’s good for me, but at the end of the day, if I can escape with a good book or a historical artifact, I will be a very happy girl.  The important thing for me is not to live in the past.  And for the most part, I have a pretty good balance going on.

For example, with food: I try new things sometimes, but the base of my diet follows a clear and distinct pattern based off of what has worked in the past.  This is one of those things that “ain’t broke.”  I don’t rely on familiar foods in a disordered way, I rely on them because I enjoy them and they make me feel good.  What’s not to love?

Lunch: Mixed greens tossed in lemon pepper and EVOO topped with asparagus, broccoli, and salmon burger.

Other things I actively work to change, too.  While I see nothing wrong with my adoration of, say, nineteenth century newspapers, I do actively have to work to change my social life.  There have been periods in the last few years where I have isolated myself from others because I thought that was what “worked” — what made me happy, healthy, and functional.  But you know what?  Being alone all the time does none of those things.  It lowers my self-esteem and makes me think no one wants to play with me.  Over the last few days I’ve spent a lot of time with friends.  Which means I spent a lot of time smiling, laughing, having fun, and chatting about, well, everything.

SIABs work.  Running works.  Dark chocolate works.  Running around in the pouring rain wearing paper-thin flip-flops and sans umbrella?  Doesn’t work.  Writing as an emotional outlet?  Excellent.  Other artistic endeavors?  Not so much.

It’s hard to know when we are limiting ourselves by restricting our pursuits and passions and relationships based on the past.  I think it’s important to continually integrate and try new things.  Like spinning.  Or chocolate coconut topped peanut butter brownies.

New things I want to try this summer: knitting, real outdoor rock climbing, momofuku, getting a mani-pedi, and dating.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tackle that list.  Right after I prepare the exact same lunch I had today for tomorrow. 🙂

The Farmer’s Market And A Brief Rant

Today’s Positive Note: I think I’m a good leader.  Sometimes it’s because I’m bossy, but I think I do have a natural tendency to guide others within a group setting, and I try to do without being domineering.  I like to think this is a good character trait!

Run: 5 miles (1 warm up, ~2 tempo, ~2 cool down).  the tempo was more like 2.3 and the cool down 1.7 to make it an even five.  I did it all on a treadmill again.  What’s up with my little indoor-runnin streak?  Weird.  I also did 15 minutes of arm weights, and got in a solid number of moves and reps.  I should have taken a picture of my lunch because it was so delicious, but I forgot.  It involved pumpkin butter, almond butter, and chocolate chips.  All between two slices of bread.  Can you guess what it was?  I get serious chocolate cravings the week of my period.  I’m sure there’s no scientifically proven connection here, but I eat more chocolate that week than the rest of the month combined, easily.  I have learned that trying to deny the chocolate beast will only make things worse, so I try to incorporate little bits into my day here and there.  It’s a pretty good strategy.

Today was Farmer’s Market Thursday on my street!  This always makes me happy.  I acquired salad greens, a delicata squash (since I always see them on Stef’s blog), a sweet potato, and my usual ten billion pounds of apples.  Still no sign of Ronnybrook farms for my milk though.  Sad. 

I have seriously been so spoiled by the CENYC Farmer’s market system.  I’m an addict.  I would go get fresh produce and bread every day if it were right outside my door.

Mmmmm, squash.

And now for some slightly less happy talk.  At least, not food-related or running-related talk.

I was inspired to write about one of my perceived “flaws” after reading this post from HangryPants.  If you don’t want to listen to me talk about my weight, my body-image issues, or some minor medical things, I recommend that you skip this section.

I have always been very strong, and I was never “thin”.  I was always very fit and never fat, but I was not a skinny kid (unlike my sister; boo genetics).  I had very early symptoms of puberty, probably from the time of eight or nine.  My mom kept me in swimming and gymnastics, hoping to delay the onset of my period.  I was typically intensely active 15-20 hours a week as a kid/adolescent.  This was actually quite a good strategy on her part, and it prevented me from getting my period too early (both of my parents are doctors).  This may all sound very random, but she had a suspicion from my very early onset puberty that I might have PCOS.  Lo and behold, my astute mother was right.  She did me a huge favor by making sure I didn’t begin my period too young; I suspect that if this were the case, the PCOS symptoms would have become much worse and I would probably have ended up overweight (I don’t really understand the science behind this, but whatever).  I was officially diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17 and I saw a gynecologist for the first time.  There is no treatment, per se, other than taking birth control pills to maintain a regular, strong cycle.   

A majority of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese.  The reasons for this are complicated, and involve various hormones and insulin.  I myself am a bit insulin resistant (I have had fasting blood sugars of 130-150 multiple times.  This is not good.) and must be careful about how I eat.  Some women with PCOS become infertile, but because I started taking birth control pills from a relatively young age, this is unlikely.  There are many other symptoms, most of which are typically things you would associate with an excess of testerone, i.e., lots of hair growth, acne, and an increased risk for a wide variety of other diseases.  Anyways, my point here is not to give you a lesson in PCOS.

I have had “body image issues”, to put it delicately, for the last several years of my life.  I have always felt fat (even though that really hasn’t been the case).  But today, as I settle fully into my adult body, I realize that truth betold, while I am not bigger than most women, I am at the very upper range of what is considered an acceptable BMI.  To put the numbers concretely, I am 5’7 and weigh 155 pounds (my weight fluctuates between 148-158, ideally I’d like to stay at the low end of this range).  I am not trying to justify my body-hatred (I’m really working on getting over this), but I am trying to explain where it comes from.  There are weeks where I run 40-50 miles.  I cross train.  I lift weights.  I eat what I onsider to be a wonderful diet (although I am by no means perfect) full of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and grains.  It is not unusual for me to eat 7-10 servings of fruits and veggies a day.

So basically, I follow all the rules.  I exercise (sometimes too much, even).  I eat wonderfully.  I even try to take care of my spirit.  But because of the PCOS, I doubt that I will ever weigh 130 or even 140 pounds.  I will never have a BMI in the low or middle range of acceptable.  And slowly, I am coming to terms with that.  I can’t even begin to describe to you how hard it is for me to lose weight.  The only time I remember actually losing weight like a normal person was when I was eating 1200 calories a day of basically fruits, veggies, and cottage cheese.  I was not a happy person then!  Have you ever heard of marathoners and ultramarthoners losing a few pounds (sometimes even 10+ pounds) after a long run?  Well I have done many a long run (15+ miles) and this would never happen to me.  In fact, I once weighed myself before and after a long run as an experiment, and I believe I gained three pounds.  To put it politely, this is how screwed up my metabolism is.  But this is also the way my body works, and I am not going to get another one. 

Additionally, I take an anti-depressant which most liekly also makes me gain weight easily.  Not being on this medication is not an option right now, and I’m okay with that.  I also don’t have the greatest genetics when it comes to weight and body shape.  My mother, if I recall correctly, was unable to eat for a large portion of her pregnancies.  Despite not taking in any food, constantly throwing up, and surviving on IV fluids for weeks on end, she still piled on the pounds.

So there are a variety of circumstances in my life that seem to have determined my body shape and size.  I can either tell myself that I am healthy and beautiful, which are both true, or I can wallow in the fact that I’m not thin.  I am making a conscious choice to see my body in a positive light from now on.  I do what I can do.  I don’t need to weigh 130 pounds to be healthy, happy, or glowing.  In fact, I think I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life right now.  And I weigh 155 pounds.  I think I’ll survive 🙂

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