See You In December

Today’s Happy Note: All your wonderful comments on the marathon! ¬†Each one has been like a little gift in my inbox. ūüôā

This post is ALL over the place. ¬†I have a lot of random thoughts floating around, some blog-related, some not, ¬†and I just need to get them out! ¬†So here goes…

I am feeling pretty good by this point! ¬†For the first 48 or so hours after the marathon my quads were super sore — I could hardly walk! ¬†But today they feel fine, almost back to normal. My left knee is really bothering me though and something feels not quite right, so I am going to see my doctor about it tomorrow. ¬†I have to talk about blood work and lab results and stuff too so I’ll be there anyways. ¬†The Health Services offices are kind of my second home anyways.

My iron levels are still low and my INR is completely off so boo on that. ¬†It seriously makes no sense: two weeks ago my level was in the normal range, now, on the same exact dosage, it’s way too high. ¬†I thought science was supposed to be predictable. ¬†Grrrrrr.

So: iron. I actually am not taking any supplements or eating iron-rich foods right now, while they do various tests to determine the exact source of the problem (although I think it’s pretty obvious: I am a woman of reproductive age who takes blood thinners. ¬†Duh).

My appetite has been raging since the marathon. ¬†I have been trying not to overeat and to just be mindful of my hunger levels and intake. I haven’t been explicitly “exercising” so much, although I did run 2.5 miles yesterday to try and loosen up my legs (it didn’t work, sadly) and today I had my easy yoga class then lifted weights for 30 minutes. ¬†I’ll increase things slowly. I get really antsy if I don’t move around a bit anyways.

Some Thoughts on Marathoning!

I absolutely loved training for and running the New York City Marathon.  I worked hard and it payed off on a tough course.  I trained a lotРprobably more than someone needs to for a first marathon in order to finish, but I am not a beginning runner and I also had a time goal.  I trained five days a week, and typically did yoga and strength once or twice a week as well.  It was, admittedly, exhausting.  In the future, I might do less speedwork and more yoga.  But overall, I think my plan worked relatively well.  I had peak weeks of 68 and 57 miles (although the 68 was sort of an accident, because I had two long runs in one week).  In the end, it feels so good to know that my hard work was all worth it.

My official time was 4:19.42, which is a 9:55 pace. ¬†I am still sort of in shock that I ran 26.2 miles at a pace under 10 minutes per mile! A marathon is exhausting and¬†exhilarating¬†at the same time. ¬†At the end I felt like I was going to collapse, but I also felt the happiest I have felt in a long time. ¬†It’s sort of a strange duality!

At first, when I finished, I thought “that was really fun but also really crazy; I’m never doing another marathon again!” But I think I might have already changed my mind. ¬†Four hours of intense pain isn’t really that bad, when you think about the benefits. ¬†Even better is the feeling of accomplishment. ¬†I want that feeling again. ¬†I am already looking up marathons in spring!

I loved doing the marathon, but training for it was a complete and total time-suck. ¬†I did not have as much time to focus on my studies as I wanted, and quite frankly, if I wasn’t running, I was usually eating or mentally exhausted — not studying. ¬†I have some studying to catch up on and a veritable mountain of LSAT studying to get through before December 11th. ¬†I took the October test and did well above average, but not exceptional. ¬†In order to get into the law schools I am interested in, I need to significantly raise my scores. ¬†I have a (very expensive) tutor, a mountain of practice tests, and books about strategies up the wazoo. ¬†I have been trying really hard to blog every other day or so; I love it, it is a good outlet, and I love having so many wonderful blogging friends. ¬†But with that said, it does take up time too. ¬†I am going to take an extended break until the December 11th test. [Edited to Add: The test is¬† indeed December 11th.¬† I made a mistake the first time I posted this!]

Hopefully this will help me to reset some priorities, figure out my goals, have time for studying and LSAT review, and give me a break from some of the craziness that is happening in my life right now.  And I will come back a better, more dedicated, fun blogger!

By no means am I stopping blogging!  I just need to take some time off while I get through the bulk of the rest of the semester and this LSAT test.  I have big dreams for the next year (or three, wink wink) of my life, and a little work now will pay off a lot later.

I might have some guest posts between now and then —¬†if anyone wants to do a guest post about anything related to mental health, physical health, running, eating, or whatever, let me know (email me at caronaeh [at] gmail.com)! I am also trying to talk my parents into writing a guest post. ¬†I know it sounds boring, but they are medical professionals, and I think that the world of health blogs is, ironically, sorely lacking in perspectives from actual health professionals. ¬†My dad might be writing about coconut oil (he thinks it’s bad; I think it’s good).

I warned you that this post was all over the place. ¬†Hopefully I’ll be more organized when I come back from my break! ¬†I don’t think I will be reading blogs, but we’ll see. ¬†I am going to miss you all so much! ¬†Feel free to email me — I’ll definitely still be checking my email!

Happy Thanksgiving!  See you in December!

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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!!!!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Walnut Bread

Today’s Happy Note: Baking. ¬†I love baking. ¬†Never fails to make me feel better.

Marathon Training: I did my yoga class and 4.5 miles with strides on Wednesday. ¬†Yesterday I started the 30 Day Shred and then USB got here so I didn’t finish. ¬†Today I did 20 minutes of hip-opening yoga before work, and 6.5miles after work.

For the first time in a long time my legs felt great! ¬†It felt like I was gliding along. ¬†I felt light but also strong. ¬†Win. ¬†I did 6×400, two per mile for miles two, three, and four. ¬†It was spectacular!

I am starting to think that all of my hard training may have paid off!  Hopefully the rest of taper keeps going this smoothly.

And now, a recipe! ¬†It’s been a while since I have come up with anything. ¬†And to be honest, I didn’t exactly create this myself. ¬†It comes from my Uncle John! ¬†So, thank you, Uncle John! ¬†It’s in our family cookbook. ¬†It’s really cool! ¬†It has pictures of my grandparents, an extended family tree, and recipes from everyone!

Caronae’s Pumpkin Walnut Chocolate Chip Bread

Adapted from John’s Banana Nut Bread

  • 1.25 C Wheat Flour
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C pureed Pumpkin
  • 1/3 C melted Butter/Earth Balance
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 C Milk/Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C chopped Walnuts
Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add in wet ingredients.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake it all at 350 for about 50 minutes.  Let cool before removing from pan.
It’s pretty! ¬†Look!
I shall be back with deeper thoughts tomorrow!
Any exciting weekend plans? I plan on a trip to the farmer’s market, some pumpkin carving, and lots of friend time!

Middle of The Week Blues

Today’s Happy Note: Free food. ¬†Seriously, what is better in this world than free food? ¬†Okay, I will admit that I am kind of a free food snob — I won’t eat anything that looks suspicious, greasy, etc. ¬† But still. ¬†There are a lot of options. ¬†Today alone I garnered a piece of pineapple cake, hors¬†d’oeuvres, and a fudgy brownie. ¬†I am a free food expert.

Ooof. ¬†I am suffering from those middle-of-the-week blues. ¬†I can’t seem to get in gear. ¬†My brain feels foggy. ¬†My body feels tired. ¬†For some odd reason (warning: sarcasm ahead), I have no interest in wading through 800+ pages of Ibn Khaldun…

But enough of my complaining!  When I am feeling down or overwhelmed, I remember how many good things I have going for me. Here are a few:

  • I have a pantry and a fridge stocked with delicious, wholesome foods. ¬† Right now I am loving TJs sesame honey cashews, frozen blueberries, and fresh mozzarella (not all together though!).
  • I got an A on the first paper of the semester that I have gotten back. ¬†I never get A’s on papers, so I was super thrilled about this.
  • My laundry is clean.
  • Lovely fall weather.
  • I am going to be running a very exciting marathon in less than two weeks. ¬†I have two legs that do amazing things!
  • I have kind, sweet friends and a loving, thoughtful boyfriend.
  • I have an awesome, if a little bit crazy, family. ¬†My mama might be coming to visit me for my birthday/marathon weekend (I turn 21 on Saturday November 6th and run the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday November 7th)!
  • I’m resilient!
  • I write well. ¬†I’m working on an essay right now about the color red. ¬†The entire thing consists of different ways of saying “red”.
  • I have a lovely long weekend to look forward to, full of baking and friends and USB and five whole days of no school.
Much better. ūüôā
Marathon Training: Yesterday as a rest/cross training day, as Mondays always are.  I was too antsy to rest, so I did Level 1 of the 30 Day shred in the evening followed by 10 minutes of kettlebell swings and yoga.  Easy peasy 30 minute workout.  I love reminding myself that sometimes, it is so not necessary to spend hours working out.  Today I did 7.5 miles: 2 warm-up, 4 Tempo, 1.5 cool-down. The Tempo part went really well, and I felt like I was flying.  Afterwards I felt dead though.  The cool-down was pretty much a joke.  I looked like a dying animal staggering home.  Meh.
It’s taper, and weird things happen during tapers, so I’m not going to worry about it.
Food time!
I have been craving a ton of snacky food lately — I’d rather have a handful of nuts or yogurt with pumpkin and blueberries than real meals. ¬†Sometimes I wonder if I should try eating less frequent, bigger meals, instead of constantly being snacky all day. ¬†But at the same time, I like being snacky: it means I get to eat a wider variety of delicious things more frequently!
Hmmm,  decisions, decisions.
I don’t really plan on doing any fooling around with my diet until after the marathon, so I have a week or two to think things over. ¬†I’m seeing endocrine soon (FINALLY) and can’t wait. I don’t like being poked and having tests done and whatnot, but it will be worth it to figure out what’s going on!
I know I promised a post about the way I eat last week. ¬†Stay tuned, I promise it’s coming this week!
Oh, and the jeans I mentioned the other day.  I figured I should share (by the way, I am morally opposed to mirror pictures and would never take one outside of the context of trying to show you guys what something looks like when no one else is around to take the picture.  I hope you will forgive me):
They’re super comfy and make me feel confident. ¬†A winning purchase, in my book.
Anything you want to complain about?  Middle of the week got you down? Let me hear it!
What do you have going for you? ¬†How do you make yourself feel better when you’re feeling blah?

Something Is Not Right

Today’s Happy Note: Catching up on most of my schoolwork. ¬†Okay, so the actual act of doing the work isn’t “happy”, but having it done makes me happy. ¬†So there. ¬†I deem it worthy of a happy note. ūüôā

Sorry to have disappeared on you friends!  I truly wish I could blog every night and it makes me sad that sometimes I have to hit the books instead. I have quite a lot of reading this semester, but not a lot of assignments.  This means that it is quite tempting to put off the reading, but then when the assignments come around, I would be screwed.

I know I have talked about priorities before (blah, can’t find the post), but I have been reorienting myself the past few days. ¬†School already was a priority, but it needs to be even more of one. ¬†I just kind of need to grit my teeth and get it done. ¬†Meh.

Anyone else out there feeling mid-semester blues/overwhelmed?

I saw something fun on Angela’s Blog today! ¬†Apparently, it is National Love Your Body day today. ¬†I’ll get to that in a minute…

First, I have some training notes to catch you all up on!

1. Monday: I did an easy 25 minutes of weight lifting followed by my easy yoga class (it’s for school). ¬†The instructor wears sweatpant booty shorts. ¬†He is a man. ¬†That is all. ¬†My body was grateful for the easy day.

2. Tuesday: Was supposed to be nine miles of speedwork. ¬†I really didn’t want to do it during the day and¬†finally¬†set out around six, planning to stay on the streets. ¬†But it just didn’t feel right. ¬†My body was moving in all the wrong ways — my lower legs seemed to be doing something completely different from my knees, which were doing something completely different from my quads. ¬†You get the picture. ¬†I listened to my body! ¬†This is something that I have really struggled with in terms of exercising, so I was proud of myself. ¬†I cut the run short and did four miles, with 5×100 strides in the last mile.

3. Wednesday: I figured I would just get in my nine miles today. ¬†But. ¬†Again, something wasn’t quite right. ¬†Mostly, I was terribly tired. ¬†I couldn’t seem to get out of bed in the morning or after my afternoon nap. ¬†So I just did my easy yoga class. That was it. ¬†Taking it this easy is hard for me! ¬†I feel a lot of guilt. ¬†But I know that taking the rest is a good idea.

I think there are three reasons why I struggle with guilt when I don’t workout hard everyday:

1. I tend to have an all-or-nothing mindset. ¬†I feel like I’m either completely sedentary all day (in reality, this isn’t true) or insanely active. ¬†I struggle to find an appropriate balance.

2. I overexercised at an unsustainable level for years — I think this is tied to the ways in which I was active as a child and adolescent. ¬†From when I was four until I was fourteen, I was a gymnast. ¬†The last few years of that, I would practice about 20 hours a week. ¬†Then in high school, I did diving, track, and swimming (sometimes at the same time). ¬†I would often be working out for hours a day — senior year, I swam for 3-5 hours a day during the fall season. ¬†Thus, my expectations for physical activity were shaped unrealistically at a formative age, and thus it is truly difficult for me to understand that not working out that much is okay — normal people in the real world do not typically work out for more than two hours a day. ¬†Even an hour is more than enough. ¬†I think that, for me, mentally, moderate exercise is actually best.

3. I still feel the need to “make up for” everything I eat. ¬†I probably eat slightly more than the average 20 year old female college student (although really I have no way of knowing this). ¬†But I really am running a lot, and I also have a significant amount of muscle mass. ¬†Regardless, I feel like if I don’t run 6+ miles a day, I am just another slovenly, greedy American who overeats and doesn’t move.

A few weeks ago, L pointed out to me that I would never say the things I say to myself (in my head) to another person. I would never, ever be that cruel to someone else. ¬†So why do I do it to myself, over and over again? I don’t know.

I think this post is going in a slightly different direction that what I intended. ¬†That’s okay though, since these are the things I need to talk about. ¬†FYI: the rest of this post is about weight and related health concerns/body image issues. Please feel free to skip this part.

I typically weigh myself every 1-2 weeks. ¬†Sometimes I go even longer, maybe every 3-4 weeks. ¬†I am not obsessive about it and don’t record it or anything.

But.

I did weigh myself this Monday and a pattern clearly emerged. Or maybe the pattern has been there for a while but I just noticed it. ¬†Whatever. ¬†Thee point is simple: I have been gaining weight at a rate of almost exactly 1 pound per week since leaving the hospital. ¬†It’s been just over three months, so approximately twelve weeks. ¬†I have gained 12-14 pounds. ¬†I was already a few pounds over my “happy weight”; I would estimate that I have about 17 pounds to lose at the moment. ¬†This is very scary for me. ¬†Very scary for me.

The reason it is so terrifying is that, as far as I can tell, it is something that is either largely or entirely out of my control. Something is wrong in my body. ¬†I know my body and I know when something isn’t right.

Well, something isn’t right. ¬†This weight doesn’t make sense. ¬†I should not have gained 14 pounds since I left the hospital. ¬†Not only have I been training for a marathon, but I have also been fairly careful to keep my eating in check. ¬†I stopped taking birth control as soon as I was diagnosed with my pulmonary emboli. I am not a doctor (in fact, I pretty much suck at science in general), but to me, it seems like the birth control was doing something in my body that was good, and now that it has been taken away, something is going unchecked and rampant in me.

I saw the women’s health Nurse Practitioner at my school a few weeks ago (is it weird that there are a grand total of zero gynecologists for a college student/grad student population of like 30,000 students????). ¬†I basically told her the same things I am telling you guys. ¬†Something doesn’t make sense. ¬†I want to know what is going on. ¬†And, unlike many health conscious young people, I have no aversion whatsoever to medications. ¬†I would happily take several medications, daily, if it would fix this. ¬†I already take about four medications a day — I have several more types too. ¬†I joke to people that I have my own pharmacy. ¬†Taking pills really doesn’t bother me, nor do I feel like I’m somehow polluting my body. They’re pills. Scientists made them to help us, for the most part. It actually kind of bothers me when people get all purist and shit and say “oh, I don’t take pills, I don’t put chemicals in my body, I treat things naturally.” ¬†Great — it’s really nice to know that you have never been burdened with serious medical conditions that require drugs. ¬†I am so happy for you.

Okay, so that was completely tangential. ¬†I’m a writer. ¬†What can I say. ¬†I like talking.

Getting back to the main storyline here. ¬†The NP I saw referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist. ¬†I called her office a week or two ago and she isn’t taking new patients until January. ¬†I am not trying to wait that long, so I got a referral to someone else. ¬†I will schedule the appointment tomorrow. ¬†Hopefully, it will be in the next few weeks. ¬†This is causing me a lot of anxiety, as you can tell. ¬†I want to get to the bottom of it. ¬†Fast.

Unfortunately, medicine doesn’t always work that way. ¬†Our bodies don’t always work that way. ¬†Sometimes they do not want to reveal their secrets, even when their secrets are hurting us. ¬†I hate how medicine is simultaneously so scientific and so unpredictable. ¬†Anyone else find this duality unsettling?

My guess is that, starting after the marathon, we are going to have to do some serious screwing around with my diet and medications.  Probably accompanied by some serious blood tests.  I may have a weird adrenal disorder.  I may have PCOS.  I may not have it.  I may have pre-diabetes.  I may have some bizarre hormonal problem.

So, things are complicated. ¬†I know that’s a really lame conclusion, but it’s all I have for now. ¬†And I need desperately to share my struggles. ¬†Thank you for listening! ūüôā

One other note: Any inquiry into/treatment of my hormonal/adrenal/endocrine problems is severely constrained by my history of PE and accompanying clotting disorder.  I cannot take any hormones.  I cannot take anything that might interfere with my Warfarin.  I cannot take anything that  might predispose me to further clotting.

I truly am sorry for unloading all of this on you guys. ¬†But I just need to get it out there. ¬†USB has been amazing about it all — I never would have thought a love interest would be interested in my bizarre medical problems. ¬†Especially not when they make me fat. ¬†But he listens to me and soothes me and tries to help me in whatever way he can.

So.  The Love Your Body post shall be saved for tomorrow, I think.

I’ll leave you with my latest purchase! ¬†I’m going to be wearing these on marathon day!

Katie is giving away a massive amount of Artisana. I want it.  Bad.

Anyone out there, by any chance, happen to have a simultaneous history of PE and PCOS/unidentified endocrine disorder? I know it’s a long shot — I haven’t met anyone else with this combination of problems. ¬†But if you have had similar experiences, I would be thrilled if you would let me know your story!

For everyone else, what is the most frustrating health experience you have had?

What are you grateful for about your health?

I’m grateful for my body’s tremendous ability to untangle its clots. ¬†Seriously. ¬†The clots are long gone by this point.

Therapy Thursday: On Love

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

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

Therapy Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The future is a scary thing.

A Critique of Certain Responses to the Marie Claire Article

Today’s Happy Note: For the first time ever, this afternoon, a reader recognized me — in public! ¬†It was so strange. ¬†It made me happy — not because I care about how many people read my blog but because I like meeting new friends! ¬†Hi Jen!

Marathon Training: I basically had back-to-back rest days yesterday and today, although both were active rest days.  Well, sort of.  I did not leave my floor until 10:00 PM last night.  I literally stayed on my bed or in the kitchen the entire day. Then I walked three miles because I was getting antsy.

Today I had yoga class and 20 minutes of weights. I would have done a bit more (I enjoy strength training) but had to rush off to the doctor’s. ¬†I finally got referred to an endocrinologist so let’s keep our fingers crossed that my health issues get sorted out soon!

I’m sure you’re all up to speed on the big controversy that hit blogland this morning — there was a libelous article in Marie Claire magazine about “The Big 6” healthy living bloggers (no one uses that term — I’m pretty sure the author made it up).

If you, by chance, have not read the article, read it: The Hunger Diaries.

Here are each of the “Big 6” blogger’s responses:

Kath

Heather (part II here)

Meghann

Caitlin

Tina

Jenna — I have not seen a response from Jenna and, FYI, I do not (and never have) read her blog, so I won’t comment on her blog or her posts.

I know that many people have already responded to the article, primarily in two ways: first, there have been the “Big 6” themselves and their supporters (of whom I definitely count myself as one) and second, there have been those who support the “Big 6” but tenuously, acknowledging that the article raises some legitimate points. ¬†If you want a good synopsis of this perspective, read the post entitled “Please Blog Responsibly” from Hollaback Health.

I would like to respond to the responders; in other words, I am taking a third path. In so doing, I intend to engage with the article in a new way. ¬†I like to think that, given my blog’s unique combination of honest musings on physical and mental health, I am situated to talk about some of the issues raised by the article in a new and, hopefully interesting and relevant way.

I would like, however, to make two points, before beginning:

1. I am not an expert on anything besides my own life. I do what works for me. I eat what works for me, move the way that works for me, and most importantly, take care of my emotional health in a way that works for me.  I am not a dietitian, a doctor (although my parents are!), a psychologist, or any sort of professional.  I am, however, applying to law school!  Note: This has nothing whatsoever to do with my credentials as a healthy living blogger, I just wanted to say it.

2. I think that we can all agree that the article was downright mean, poor journalism (if we can call it that), and should never, ever have been written. It was cruel and wrenched my heart; I can’t imagine how those who were mentioned are feeling. ¬†Not to mention the fact that it was just plain old wrong about 99% of the things mentioned; the degree to which quotes and posts were taken out of context astounds me.

Okay.  Onto my thoughts.

My main problem with both the article and the second group of responders (those who say that the article makes valid points) is that both of them presume some degree of stupidity among readers.  They assume that healthy living bloggers (with the ladies mentioned above being the paradigmatic examples) are some sort of breed of obsessive, blind, health addicts who have an inherent inability to be introspective.

This is wrong and an insult to my intelligence. ¬†Here is the thing about blogging: I can guarantee that no one has ever held a gun to your head and said “you must read this blog or I will kill you”. ¬†I guarantee it. ¬†Yes, there have been moments in my own journey where I thought “wow, she is so much thinner than me and eats less — I must suck”. ¬†But guess what: I got over it. ¬†Real fast. And this is coming from someone who clearly has had a lot of mental health struggles, disordered eating patterns, and severe body image/self-acceptance issues.

If you are unconvinced, you can read about my mental health struggles on my Mental Health page and in this recent post about therapy.

I consider myself a painfully honest blogger.  It is simply the way that my blog has always operated.  If something is happening in my life, you all know about it, usually not too long after my family and my therapist (L).  That is the premise of this blog and it always will be.  With that said, I understand that not every blogger can (or wants to) share as many details as I do.

Let’s say a blogger posts pictures of all of his or her meals from a day, with interesting commentary and recipes, and talks about their morning run, in a post. ¬†Does the fact that this is the contentpresented in the post make me think that that blogger has no issues with eating or body image or perfection?

No no no! Why?  Because I am an intelligent, cultured, educated, powerful young woman who makes her own damn decisions. While I recognize that not every reader is 3/4 of the way through an Ivy League degree and in the process of applying to elite law schools, I also understand that it would be naive and insulting to assume that a majority of bloggers and readers in this community cannot make their own decisions.  We are adults (if a 12 year old girl in the throes of anorexia is reading these blogs, I think that is a different issue; one that I will not get into).  We know our bodies and ourselves and our limits.

Guess what?  On Saturday I had at least five servings of peanut butter pretzels and three or four servings of chocolate covered ginger for dinner.  Followed by some cereal.

Do I hate myself for it or think I am a lesser blogger?  Absolutely not.  I think that Caitlin makes it especially clear on her blog that we each need to do what works for us.  She candidly eats salads for dinner sometimes and entire boxes of macaroni and cheese for dinner at other times.

Whether or not certain bloggers exhibit tendencies of disordered eating or “pseudo-anorexia” is simply not relevant: in a niche of the blogosphere where everyone goes out of their way to celebrate differences in lifestyle (including eating and workout patterns) , it’s time for us to recognize the fact that some women (and men — hey Evan!) need to eat differently than others. ¬†As someone who has struggled with her weight being too high, I can sympathize with bloggers who eat less: it is my genuine belief that many of us need to eat more or less than others. ¬†It is also my genuine belief ¬†that, the vast majority of the time, the “Big 6” bloggers — and others — do not cross into disordered eating territory. ¬†And if they do, I simply don’t read that blogger’s blog. ¬†It’s that simple. ¬†It’s painfully obvious.

Furthermore, the precise intricacies of a blogger’s body weight and menstrual cycle are nobody’s business but the blogger’s, her close friend’s/family’s, and her doctor’s. ¬†If she chooses to share some of this information with readers, that does not give them free license to criticize. I can guarantee that she is doing it for one of two reasons: either to help or inform her readers in some way or to help herself in some way.

I am responding to the article and the responses to it because I believe, with all my heart, that the blogging community I consider myself a part of is about the little guys as much as it is about people like the “Big 6”. It’s about all of us — everyone from the celebrity bloggers to those getting 10 page views a day. Moment of honesty: I typically average 100-200 readers a day. ¬†Not a lot. ¬†By anyone’s standards. ¬†I don’t have any ads. ¬†I make no money through blogging. ¬†I have, a few times, gotten free samples. ¬†Probably totaling less than $20 worth in the last nine months of blogging.

I say all of this to illustrate the following point: blogging is meaningful to me — healthy living blogs are meaningful to me. ¬†They have illustrated to me that I can eat normal, whole foods in normal portions and still eat healthfully — I can even eat dessert, every. ¬†Single. ¬†Day. (And I do). ¬†They have given me the confidence to train for my first half-marathon and a marathon. ¬†More importantly, I have become so much more accepting of my body exactly as it is, since starting to read healthy living blogs (and eventually starting my own).

That said, I recognize that this is not the case for every single reader. ¬†And my response to that is simple: do the adult, mature thing and don’t read blogs that are upsetting or triggering for you. ¬†Like Heather, I do believe that bloggers are responsible for their content, but I also believe that readers need to be more responsible. ¬†I would never to tell you that your diet should consist of celery sticks and plain grilled chicken breasts. ¬†I don’t know any bloggers who would. ¬†BUT even if they did, I expect that it would be your responsibility to recognize that that was disordered and wrongheaded.

There, I said it: I expect educated readers. We are a smart, vibrant group of young people. ¬†We are not stupid. ¬†None of us is. ¬†Those readers who are going through serious eating disorders and are seeking “thinspiration” on the web are going to find it somewhere, regardless of whether or not the “Big 6” blogs exist (or any other healthy living blogs that share daily eats).

I think it is careless to say that the article raised issues that needed to be raised — to say that it was “The Elephant in the Room”, as I have heard some bloggers refer to it. By no means do I think that we are perfect: but that is the entire point of healthy living blogging! ¬†Acknowledging that we are not perfect — that every single one of us will eat differently, wokrout (or not workout) differently, and just generally take care of ourselves in different ways — is central to the healthy living blogosphere. I see bloggers who eat more than me and those who eat less than me. ¬†Run more or run less. Some don’t run at all. ¬†Some are way more in touch with the aspects of their spiritual health, and I really admire that. ¬†

I would argue that non-perfection is the premise of the community, and saying that the article made a valid point by reminding us that we shouldn’t all be perfect and certain bloggers try to influence us to be perfect like them is like saying “(y=(x+10)/0)”. ¬†Okay, so maybe all of us aren’t geeks like me. ¬†If you didn’t know, that is an equation that does not exist. ¬†It is impossible. ¬†You cannot divide anything by zero.

It just doesn’t make sense.

The End.

Obviously, I would be thrilled if you shared your thoughts with me! ¬†Agree or disagree, I don’t care — if you articulate yourself well and aren’t mean about it, I would be happy to listen to you!

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