Therapy Thursday

Today’s Happy Note: Herbert: Herbert George is my big, soft yellow stuffed duck that I got for Easter when I was 14 or 15. I fell in love with him at the store; I don’t know why.  He is just special to me and makes me very calm.  He has been to Michigan, New York, California, Canada, and Paris.

Marathon Training: I got over my weird running anxiety that I’ve had for the whole week!  Well, it took me about 45 minutes of running to get into it, but once I got into the zone, it was all good.  I think I just needed to take the speedwork pressure off myself.  I did 8.5 miles in about 90 minutes.

Last night I ended up doing 35 minutes of strength and gymnastics moves (like back walkovers and such — I was a gymnast until I was almost 14).

Today was an intense day – and not in the normally intense way, either.  It wasn’t about me opening up about something that has been locked inside me for a while, although I did tell her that I think I am starting to love USB, which might just be the most terrifying feeling I’ve ever felt.  The intensity and fieriness came from what was happening between L and me.  I meant for today to be about my body and my weight and my anxieties surrounding the dissonance between the shape of my body and my lifestyle and blah blah blah but sometimes, therapy just goes in a whole other direction entirely than what you had planned.  And when that happens, I accept it, and go with it – usually my random thoughts end up turning into deeper musings and then we have a lovely, revealing dialogue.  I think that a big part of my journey through therapy had been about recognizing that sometimes things want to go in a different direction than what I had planned, and that accepting this (rather than fighting it) might be a little bit fun and adventuresome.  I like to be adventuresome.

So I began today by talking about pillows.  I told her that I love the four main pillows she has on the couch (which I always rearrange to my liking when I come in – is that weird?) but that she has these two little ones that just don’t fit in.  One of them matches the coverings on the couch but doesn’t logically fit anywhere (it’s a small couch) and the other one has no actual pillow fluff content and clashes with everything else.  It was obvious that it was there for some sort of sentimental purpose, which L readily confessed.  I wasn’t mean about my pillow-criticism at all; I was pointing it out unintentionally at first just because it was something I wanted to say, but then I realized how much my frantic pillow rearranging (and the degree to which I get upset about their mismatched-ness) is a reflection of anxiety.  I tend to go through anxiety phases every few weeks or few months.  They are periods, lasting from a few hours to a few days, and usually not much longer, where I feel very anxious, tense, nervous, and uptight.  I am easily rattled and shaken.  Last night, I dropped my water bottle as I was getting into the elevator.  There were a few people already in the elevator who had obviously seen me.  I felt humiliated – like I couldn’t be in the elevator for another second longer.  The feeling went away relatively quickly, thankfully, but it’s an illustrative example.  I guess I would say that I go through brief periods of heightened self-consciousness.

During these moments, I find that controlling my external environment – for example, the pillows on L’s couch – can be a huge source of comfort and relief.  I am famous for rearranging scrabble or rummikub tiles such that they are all perfectly straight.  I hate when books on a shelf are not properly arranged.  There are a few big sources of anxiety in my life right now, and as I talked through all this with L, I noticed more and more where the anxiety is coming from and where I reroute it.  This might sound pointless, but it is actually very useful and calming for me to be able to sort through the tensions in my life in a quiet, non-judgmental, comforting environment with someone who cares about me deeply.  Big sources of anxiety: body image issues, LSAT, and USB.  USB isn’t making me anxious in a negative way at all; it’s just that the intensity of my feelings for him (and the fact that I have never felt these things before) is scary and wonderful and confusing all at the same time.  The word ‘love’ entered my head for the first time this week.  I’ll leave it at that.

A lot of today was about what therapy means.  That probably sounds vague, and if you have never been in an intense therapeutic relationship, I don’t know that I can explain it to you.  But there is a lot that goes on in the relationship between therapist and client – far more than you would ever think.  There is a lot of complicated material and tensions and meaningful things in what happens between the two of us.  We spent the rest of the hour talking about this.  In an email L sent me a few days ago, she expressed that many people in this world – herself included – would be sad if I were to leave it.  I don’t know what exactly her wording was, but it was the simplest, most powerful expression of caring that I have ever felt from her.  I told her this today.  Then we got into this whole thing about why she cares about me.  I know that many people don’t want to know anything about how their therapist feels or his or life, but as someone who has struggled tremendously with a pretty solidly formed identity based around non-lovability, it is very important for me to hear how and why she might care about me, as my therapist.  Wow, that was a long sentence.  So we went back and forth on that for a while, her telling me the ways in which she cares about me and why, and explaining that she can care about people in different ways (I hadn’t thought about this before).  This might sounds really self-centered, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s actually true: I think she might direct slightly more caring-energy to me than some other patients.  In other words, I think she just plain old likes me a lot and feels close with me in certain (appropriate) ways.  She said one of the biggest reasons for the intense mutual caring we have for one another is simple: that I’m genuine.  And this is true.  I have been looking for that word for a while, actually.  I am intensely genuine both in my life and in therapy.  In her words, if I don’t want to fucking talk about something, I don’t.

We spent a long while after that talking about me revealing things versus her revealing things.  It’s a fascinating subject, for me.  Both because I am curious and I like to know things about her (I also think it’s useful in many cases, which I’ll get to in a minute) and because the idea behind therapy – this relationship where one person is sort of the caretaker and receptacle and the other has the entire burden of identity – is of genuine interest to me.  L has told me in the past that some patients really ask very little of her, or nothing.  Some people just talk.  Some people don’t know that she has two sons or anything about her basic life facts, let alone what she is thinking.  For me, it’s important to know both of these things.  It helps me contextualize her.  Otherwise, she is just an empty figure sitting a few feet away from me.  My guess would be that I probably know more about her than 90% of other patients.  Mostly just because I ask.  Only once has she not wanted to talk about something.

Today, something happened that has never ever happened before.  I was trying to think about love and relationships – I have a rough idea of how this has worked in her life.  I probed a little deeper, intentionally but gently.  I can’t stand the idea of never taking care of her, in a weird way.  I sometimes genuinely just want to listen to her.  If other people don’t want that in a therapy relationship, fine.  But that’s not me.  I obviously won’t talk about what it is that I asked her or what her response were because that is her business.  But she cried.  She cried. I pointed out that she had never cried in front of me before and she said that she has cried in front of a patient very, very few times.

I wanted to hold her.  I think I did provide some verbal comfort.  It was a fascinating, humanizing experience for me.  It was both heart-wrenching and touching. The saddest thing was when she first started to cry and I realized that she was going to cry and she said “you’re going to make me cry now.”  It was like suddenly a shade had parted between us and our relationship was in color and I understood something very tender and painful in her life.  And this made me connect with her in a different, deeper way than I have before.  A good way, for me, although I certainly don’t enjoy seeing her in pain.  I wanted to make her pain go away.  My heart ached for her.

I don’t think that it was a waste of my energy or time to feel so intensely towards her, because in a way, that caring was redirected back at me.  Listening to the outline of her experience (she obviously doesn’t go into nearly as much detail as I do), the pain and reality of it was so stark; it made me realize that sometimes my own experiences are exactly like this and I need to be kinder to myself.

So in sum: L cried in front of me, for the first time ever (and not because she was emotionally moved by something I said – it was entirely about her) today and it was immensely moving and helpful for me.

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Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Borrowing a new book from L that I think might be soothing for me during a rough week.

Today was a 9-9 day.  Fun.  Wanted to wake up early for a workout but couldn’t sleep last night.  Didn’t work out yesterday either.  Blah.  I did walk about three miles today with a heavy backpack and (part of the time) heavy groceries.  I knew I would be too tired to cook once I got home (or run, even though I wanted to) so I got dinner at WF.  Came home, made protein ice cream, caught up on emails.  Now I’m here.

Other eats included the traditional post-therapy fro yo:

And some pretty rockin’ oats-in-a-jar:

I added about 3/4 frozen berries to the bottom of an almost empty honey AB jar and then poured the hot oats over them!  Topped with a few scoops vanilla Greek yogurt.  This was amazing!   The cold berries and hot oats worked so well together and made a giant cool mess.  Love.

Yogurt fact: My 95 year old grandfather strains his own plain yogurt to make it “Greek.”  He was telling me how he does it today with a pillow case!  I’ll have to try it sometime. 🙂

Caution: The rest of this post is kind of a downer.  If you aren’t in the mood to read something a bit depressing, I’d say skip it.  Don’t worry, I won’t hate you, I just don’t want to bring you down!

Therapy Tuesday

Today was sort of different.  I basically just told L about my whole “not caring” thing — how whenever she suggests something or wants to take a deeper look at something, lately, I just don’t care — I don’t want to think about things.  At all.  Maybe this is a subconscious defense mechanism; looking really deeply at my my life and my self and the scary inner-workings of my world can be quite painful.  But I don’t think that’s the full explanation.  In general, I am a very curious, open being.  I love learning about myself.  But somehow, when I am actually in the moment of therapy, I keep snapping shut– it feels like I couldn’t tell her my most personal, secretive thoughts even if I desperately wanted to.  Why don’t I want to?  It’s frustrating for both of us for me to not let her be useful.  I am pushing her away and I despise myself for that.

She drew a picture of a box (well, more of a window) for me.  It is a special box called the Johari box.  I really liked the idea of the box.  It looks like this:

I am stuck in the “private self” corner.  I can’t get into any of the other areas with L.  I am fine with myself, at least on the surface, but I experience tremendous difficulty thinking about or talking about the other areas: the public self (what both myself and others know about me), the blind self (what others know about me but I don’t know about myself) and the hidden self (what neither myself nor others knows about me).  Those three boxes scare me and I don’t know why.

It is not fun to continue doing something that I feel so terrible at — therapy.  And it’s not even that I’m just bad at it, it’s actively painful.  Frustrating, confusing.  I should not come home week after week feeling tense and stuck.  I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I have thought about quitting therapy.  But there are two things wrong with this: first of all, I am very stubborn and hate quitting anything, and second, I really do feel a small —  but very powerful — connection to L and I do not wish to abandon that — I want to make it grow.  I want to be able to tell her something other than “I feel sad all the time” or “I hate everything about myself” (and sadly, those have been the bulk of my feelings lately).  I want to be able to talk about my day to day life and to figure out strategies to employ in my relationships.  But as soon as she offers me any kind of serious strategy, I revert to the not caring mode.

I talked a lot today about how uncontrollably, inexplicably sad I have felt lately.  Normally, I feel this way a few days a month.  In the last 1-2 months it has been more than half the time.  I am tired of being depressed.  I’ve been depressed for a good seven or eight years now.  Am I such a failure at all things that I can’t even manage my depression?  L asked me how I physically feel this and I became angry at her.  Who cares where I feel it in my body?  Who cares it it feels like a giant bubble of anxiety in my chest and stomach?  I don’t care what it feels like.  In fact I think looking at what it feels like it borderline idiotic.  I asked L to explain why she wanted to know how I was physically feeling my frustration: she said that sometimes we let our brains get so carried away in memories of the past or thoughts about the future or anxiety about the present moment that we forget what the actual feeling is.

That’s nice.  But I don’t care.  I honestly, right now, am feeling the deepest not-caring I have ever felt in my entire life.  It’s almost a hateful not caring — like I don’t care so much that I hate L.  And of course then I hate myself for hating such a kind being.

In a way, I actually enjoy the self-inflicted punishment that comes with constantly feeling everything in my body and my heart and my head.  It makes me write.  It makes me different.  I don’t want to not feel things the way I do.

But what if that’s the source of all my agony?  I think maybe it is, and maybe that’s what L has been getting it for the last 10 months, whether I have realized it or not.  But I don’t want it to be.  And I certainly don’t want to change.  I am feeling a lot of anger toward myself, L, and the process of therapy right now.  Why, dear God, after close to a year, has she not been able to help me?  Why have I not been able to let her help me?  Why haven’t I let her in.  That’s what I want, more than anything, is to let her in.  There haver been moments when I have felt totally connected to her, and those moments have been beautiful and sometimes pivotal.  So why am I resisting so much now?  I feel like there is no other explanation besides the fact that I am a hopeless loser who doesn’t deserve therapy who is destined to be alone forever.

As I have said before, I truly adore L: I think she is not just an excellent psychologist, but a wonderful, kind human being (most of the time — we all have our moments).  Not only that, but I think she is the right therapist for me.  So what am I doing wrong?  Will I ever feel close to another human being again or have I lost that ability?  When will going “home” ever mean anything besides returning to an empty apartment, making myself a lonely dinner, and crying myself to sleep?

I actually do have a plan for next week.  At some point today I mentioned how I always write about therapy afterwards.  She asked why I haven’t shown her.  I have always considered it somehow too personal; like my writing about therapy is the one thing I have to claim as my own.  But I kind of want to show her now.  I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know if this might help things along.  But it can’t hurt to try.  I am basically going to compile every Therapy Monday/Therapy Tuesday rant and paste them into one document and give it to her next week.

Goodnight friends!  See you all tomorrow!

Important Discoveries: Food Edition

Today’s Happy Note: I try to avoid making food my happy note, but today was a very grumpy day and not much else seemed joyful.  So I’m gonna go ahead and say that my frozen yogurt (cookies and cream/vanilla) with chocolate chips made me happy.  TLC is better though.

Gak!  I wanted to post last night, but discovered that the internet at my new apartment is not yet functional.  I’m going to get a new router tonight so hopefully that will solve things (by the way — I discovered that this is what I needed after talking, for free, with an agent at geeksquad online — it was incredibly helpful!).

I flew back to NY yesterday.  I can’t decide to say whether I “flew home” or “left home”.  Weird.

Plane lunch and snacks!

Shrimp/garlic hummus/spinach sammy on seedy whole grain bread.  This combo was a wise choice indeed.  I am in love with garlic hummus but am afraid to bring it in lunches for fear that my breath would smell.  But seeing as I was on a plane where I knew no one, I went for it. 🙂

Other snacks: orange pepper strips, apple, peanuts, cinnamon roll larabar, cashews in the evening.

Always, always, always plan ahead for travel! You can save money, eat healthfully, and enjoy your food when you do this.  For most flights, I recommend packing a variety of snacks and a sandwich.  Portable and convenient.  I wrapped my sammy in cling wrap and then put it in a plastic bag.  Travel is the one time when I am not nice to the environment with my lunch — tupperware just doesn’t cut it.  Ideal travel snacks: cut up fruits and veggies, granola bars, trail mix, plain cereal, sandwiches, etc.  FYI: don’t bring yogurt.  It is, apparently, a gel — I’ve had it taken away before.  Another thing I like to do is bring my own water bottle (EMPTY) and then fill it from a drinking fountain when I get through security.  No overpriced plastic bottles for me!

What are your favorite travel snacks?

When I got to the new apartment, I did some unpacking and then faced the grocery store monster (I was tired).  Thankfully, WF was not crowded (the one on the UWS almost never is) and it wasn’t so bad.  I got a tasty, easy dinner there as well:

Delish.  Serious question: has anyone ever spent less than $10 at the WF hot/cold/salad bars?  Is it possible? I figured I needed a treat after all that travelling (which, by the way, I totally count as exercise.  Especially when getting lost on the E train and having to walk everywhere with my heavy suitcase.  Dear JFK airport, YOU ARE THE WORST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD.  And this girl has done her fair share of travelling).

This morning I got up bright and early.  Okay, well it was actually seven.  I know some bloggers get up at 5 or 6 to exercise.  I have no idea how they make it through the work day.

I ran a decent five miles along the river.  It’s fun planning out new routes and paths from my new place — it’s less than a mile from my dorm, but the perspective and mileage is totally different!  I like switching things up like that once in a while 🙂

Today’s eating discoveries:

I made a major discovery at breakfast: you CAN cook instant oats (from a packet) on the stovetop!  And they get thick like regular oats.  Why would I do this?  Well, normally I am rushed in the morning and hate cooking oats on the stove, but the apartment seems to lack a microwave and I have no intentions of buying one.  Grumph.

Other extremely significant discoveries (seriously, I should become, like, a food reporter or something.  How fun would that be?)…

~Crack wraps taste good un-melted too!

~Frozen yogurt makes me feel better after a terrible day at therapy, everytime!

~Kashi dark mocha almond granola bars are yummy.  I was always afraid to try them because I thought, “a coffee-flavored granola bar, really?  Gross!”  But good thing this is so not the case.  It had that palatable, sweet, chocolaty coffee taste.  Like coffee ice cream.  I like this better than I like their cherry dark chocolate (my former favorite).

~Cooking dinner for yourself, by yourself, day after day, gets a little lonely and boring. 😦  I need a dinner companion!

I had therapy today (instead of Monday since I was travelling).  I think I’ll share my reflections tomorrow because I don’t want this post to be a massive text-monster and I need more time to think.  I just have not had a good month or so with therapy.  It’s frustrating for every session not to go the way I want it.  What’s even more frustrating is that it’s kind of my fault — I basically refuse to talk to my (sweet, kind, understanding) therapist about everything.  It’s very strange.  As soon as I arrive and sit down, I feel angry and sad and stubborn and like I would rather die than tell her anything about my life.  I have no clue why this might be happening but I hope I will get over it very soon.  Anyone have any ideas?

I hope you are all having the most lovely of weeks.  Summer is coming!

(A Very Cranky) Therapy Monday

Today’s Happy Note: Pretty much the only bright spot in my day was seeing my friend Asia this evening.  We only chatted for a few minutes but sometimes friends just make everything better.

Outside of that, today was pretty miserable.  The worst part is that there was no reason to feel miserable.  Little tiny things kept building up and making me more and more upset.  At the gym this evening, my hair was really tangled when I got out of the shower, which never happens, and I almost had a panic attack because it was not cooperating with the hair brush.  I literally started tearing up.  Ridiculous, no?  I had to restrain myself from screaming at a few people on the phone at work (in my defense, they were asking stupid questions).  Normally I am fairly patient, but today was more of a please-get-out-of-my-way-stop-bothering-me-and-never-come-back day.  While I pretty much felt cranky from the get-go this morning, therapy did NOT help things, as you will see later.

I have gotten really annoyed lately with blogs that portray the blogger as constantly happy, healthy, smiling, and perfect.  You know those blogs (and bloggers) exist.  After reading about a day of perfect eats and perfect workouts and a perfect family and a perfect trip to the beach or picnic with the boyfriend, sometimes I just want to scream, “really”?  Is that really what happened?  You never felt sad or angry or annoyed or plain old grumpy? Blogs have different “categories”, I suppose, but I think that I have difficulty connecting to any blogger who doesn’t let his or her personalities seep through.  We’re all different and that’s a good thing.  Additionally, I feel like this is especially relevant to health blogs: if we don’t take care of our feelings and our mental health, I think it’s too easy to get caught up in the physical side of things, and this can lead to obsession, burnout, or a sense of unfulfillment.  So, if you were wondering why I talk about my feelings so often, that’s why.

Exercise: I felt really stressed after work and thought about going home, but I knew that a little bit of sweat might, at the very least, relieve some of my anxiety.  I did ten minutes of abs followed by an hour on the elliptical.  I did a sort of fartlek workout, varying the resistance, incline, and speed pretty frequently.  It was nice to switch things up a bit and kept me interested!

Eats: I feel too upset and disoriented to post any pictures of food right now; it just seems sort of irrelevant, plus everything was boring (except I did try April’s protein cake and it was fun!).  I am currently snacking on some kashi oatmeal with brown sugar, maple syrup, and almond butter and it’s a great dessert-y combination.  Mmmmm.

Therapy Monday:

Before I begin ranting, I definitely want to point out that there were some good things about today.  In describing what I’m looking forward to finally having time to do this summer (planting seeds in a window sill potter, baking muffins, etc.) I suddenly realized how anxious and tense the school year makes me.  I hate that feeling that there’s constantly something to do; I feel like a fresh, new person right now.  Even when I do take time to myself during the school year, I often don’t enjoy myself.  If I’m reading blogs, I’m also thinking about how many pages need to be read in the next week; if I’m watching TV, I’m thinking about how I am going to fit everything into the next day.  She helped me see that sometimes it is really, truly okay to just let go and be free from yourself for a little while.  This is one of those things that I “know” but I also don’t really know.  I want to learn how to put it into practice.

The sense of anxiety and tension that I feel during the school year slowly abated over the weekend and then came flooding out during the session today (I only realized this afterwards).  It was like all my sadness and confusion and stress from this semester entered my conscious brain in the space of an hour.  I think this is probably one of the reason’s that (a) I was all over the place today in terms of my thoughts, emotions, and reactions, and (b) I was so terribly sensitive.

I decided that I wanted to talk a little bit about my date and my experiences with men in general.  Somehow this seemingly innocent topic turned into a semi-hysterical sob session in which I felt deeply offended by my therapists perception of the situation. Did that sentence even make any sense?  Probably not but I think it reflects how I felt interacting with my therapist today: like something was just not quite right.  At one point I mentioned something about how I feel so unsuccessful with men, and I was sobbing and really feeling what I was saying pretty intensely.  Then she said, “why don’t you just let yourself feel it?”  I just stared at her in confusion.  What more could she possibly want me to feel?  Maybe there is something missing.  Maybe I do not know how to “feel” properly, but if so, I don’t really know what to think: I have built most of my life — my experiences, relationships, and interests — around the concept of deeply feeling and connecting. I take this very seriously.

So on one level I felt offended. On another level I felt angry.  She just kept saying over and over “we need to look at this” and “we need to figure out how you got here”.  While that may be true, I think it’s kind of counterproductive to just repeat that  over and over again.  Furthermore, I know that that approach is not necessarily an effective framework for me.  I wasn’t totally clear with her about this because, like I said, I was a little bit hysterical.  I just do not want to have to feel like I am mapping out my history and my life, locating the textbook problems and then making corrections.  I don’t think this is actually what she meant, but this was how she came across.

I left the session today in far more pain than I was in when I came in.  This is not okay.  I sent my therapist a long e-mail letter telling her that something about today didn’t quite work for me and that I really do want to find a way that does work.  I feel like I am doing something wrong.  I have had sessions with my therapist that have blown my mind and left me feeling comforted, relieved, joyful, or prepared.  Right now I feel sad, lonely, and confused.  It’s frustrating to feel like this has happened twice in a row now.  I take therapy very seriously.  I think about therapy, my emotions, my inner life A LOT.  Not just in therapy.  This is no walk in the park for me.  It’s more like a climb up a mountain.  But damn it, if it’s going to be a climb up a mountain, I want it to be a rewarding and satisfying one.  Not an arduous, constantly painful one.

Alright friends.  Tell me some happy things!  I need this mood to go away!  What is making you happy right now?

I’ll start: the fact that I am going to see my beautiful sister this weekend and seeing peony buds in the park!

Goodnight!  Sleep tight!

Chocolate And An Unhealthy World

Today’s Mini Goal: Get more sleep.  I normally get 7-8 hours, but I’ve been exhausted lately.  I usually doze off during at least one class, and am just physically so very tired all day.  Maybe I just need more sleep because of all the running I do?  Maybe I’m just weird?

I had planned on doing 7-8 miles today with a 5-6 mile fartlek thrown in there, but my alarm failed to go off at seven and it was eight by the time I woke up.  I had class at nine, so I pushed the run back to my lunch hour.  Then I was too tired to do anything at lunch besides stare at my computer screen in a semi-creepy stupor.  So then I told myself I would go in the evening after work/more classes.  This did not happen.  I’m not mad at myself because I still plan on getting in my five training runs this week, but I don’t really understand why I’m so tired.  I hardly ever take a day where I don’t do anything at all, so maybe my body’s just telling me that today’s the day for that…

Also, randomly, I did not want to take pictures today.  Like at all.  Like, I was mad at the idea of taking pictures for some reason.  I blame hormones.

I tried Jay Robb chocolate whey protein powder in my oats today and have a few comments:

1. I tasted no chocolate whatsoever.

2. The powder gave them a thicker, but also grittier, texture.  I did not appreciate this.

3. The bowl was no more or less satisfying than usual.

So, in conclusion, I see no point to it whatsoever.  For me, at least.  Are you a protein powder person?  If so, what kinds are good?

I’d love to try it in a smoothie and see if that’s any different.  But I have no blender.  This is a blatant request for one.  If you have an extra blender lying around, you can send it my way 🙂  Oh, and mom, if you’re reading this, Easter is coming up and I have been a very good girl!

I wanted ridiculous amounts of chocolate today.  My hand may have found it’s way into the DCD jar many, many times.  That stuff is dangerous.  I love keeping dark chocolate bars around because usually just a few squares will satisfy my sweet tooth.  I had slightly more than usual today, but not an insane amount.  I know that there is no scientifically proven relationship between chocolate cravings and my period, but I firmly believe that such a relationship exists.

Dark chocolate topped with dark chocolate dreams pb:

If you were thinking of adding more chocolate and/or more calories into your diet, this just might be the way to do it.

My only other picture:

Dinner: tasty pasta/veggie/meatball/cheesy mess.  I hardly ever get take out or even eat out for that matter, but I walked by the student center on the way home and suddenly I absolutely had to have pasta for dinner.  When I was little spaghetti was hands down my favorite food.  It’s funny, because I hate tomatoes.  I just pick them out of the sauce.  We already established that I’m super weird though, so you shouldn’t find this too surprising.

Mini rant:

My school does a lot of things to try and help students be healthier; it has all kinds of fitness programs and nutrition information available, in addition to psychological resources, sexual health resources, etc.  So they really do try.  Why, then, do you have to ask for whole wheat pasta at the pasta station?  Seriously, when you ask for whole wheat, they frown at you and slowly amble back to the fridge where they store the whole wheat version.  I understand that this is an extra step for the tired cooks, but seriously, people, 95% of Americans know that whole wheat and whole grains are better options.  Why can’t they just make the whole wheat version the standard option?  It can’t be that much more expensive.  I go to an Ivy League school.  Neither my fellow students nor the administration is stupid.  While I was in line today they actually ran out of the white pasta and people started groaning.  No joke.  They were legitimately angry.  I am not trying to sound all high and mighty here, but I think that at this point in America’s health crisis, most people are well aware that grains are good and white is bad.

Another thing that annoys me: inappropriately massive portions.  These are portions that might work for student-athletes training four or five hours a day, but they’re way too big for me, and I’m not exactly sedentary (I run 40+ miles most week…)  The container pictured above is a size small, and I was starving and only ate aout two thirds of it, which was probably about two servings.

Sorry. Rant over.  Sometime I forget how privileged I am when it comes to health; growing up, my parents splurged on lots of fresh produce, farmer’s market veggies, and other wholesome foods like fish, nuts, and grains.  I grew up knowing that things from a package were alright on occasion, but that they weren’t what food was meant to be.  I could eat Skittles if I wanted, but I knew full well that it was a treat and it wasn’t good for me.  Do people actually believe processed foods are good for them?  I’m genuinely curious here, because I just don’t understand people who don’t get it.  My parents are doctors, so I was never really exposed to lots of things that are standard to many Americans.  For example, until coming to college, I did not know that canned cranberry sauce existed!  I also didn’t realize that people voluntarily ate white bread.  What was your health like as a kid?  Did you grow up with lots of processed foods or were you practically a food snob as a toddler?

I remember going on a trip with my poetry team (yes, I was geeky) to NYC when I was about 16 and being shocked that a fried chicken restaurant existed.  All my friends wanted to eat there, but I just couldn’t.  I had been raised to think that fried foods were never acceptable, and to be honest, I was afraid of stuff like that.  I try to be a bit more open and less snippity now, but I still have my standards and there are definitely things my friends will eat that I won’t.

Thoughts?

This is the last paragraph, I swear!  So Lent starts tomorrow, and while I am not Christian, I will be giving something up — baked goods (including cookies, pastries, muffins, etc.)  The only exception is if it’s something I already have (I hate wasting food).  I like to do Lent simply because I find the idea of sacrifice to be very compelling, especially in a world where our lives are cluttered by so many unnecessary things.  There are many things in my life that  I do not need, and I like having this time to eliminate something.  I find it cleansing.

Alright, I’m off to watch Lost.  Have an awesome Wednesday!