On body positivity and personal accountability

gym

I can’t believe I’m posting this pic, but I need to — for myself. So shit’s about to get real.

I’ve had some happy-yet-stressful life changes within the past few weeks and have been funneling my anxiety and frustration into eating everything in sight. That’s my go-to stress-reliever/celebration/punishment and always has been since childhood, which has given me quite the fucked-up relationship with food, something I’ve written about here before.

Because of this, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, as I’ve also written about many times before. The last few years I have really let myself go, and I hate myself for it because me — and only me — can prevent forest fires in myself.

I would NEVER allow anyone to treat me in such a manner, so why the hell do I allow it from myself? But I do, and the results are:

  • I stuff my face with the most unhealthy food I can find instead of what is best to fuel myself and my body.
  • Since I work from home now, I exclusively wear yoga pants day. in. and. day. out.
  • I don’t take care of myself, at all. That includes getting hair cuts and the eyebrow wax that is, embarrassingly, MONTHS past due (thankfully I wear big glasses that (mostly) hide the caterpillars) and getting no exercise beyond multiple daily walks with my rescue pit bull, Kona.
  • I avoid looking at myself in the mirror at all costs because I absofuckinlutely hate myself that much, which means that I very rarely feel as confident inside as I may appear or pretend to be outside.
  • I have terrible insomnia, clocking just a few hours a night.

As someone who supports and is so inspired by the Eff Your Beauty Standards movement, I’m not very good at supporting or inspiring myself, obviously.

And that needs to change — right fucking now. For real. For good. I owe it to myself and my body. It’s put up with a lot from me the past 42 years, and I sure as hell am not getting any younger. In fact, if my grandmother and mother are any indication, I’m in for a really rough road as I continue to age, one that can (hopefully) be avoided if I start taking care of myself.

My first step toward body positivity: The gym.

After coming home a sweaty mess after Kona’s first walk this morning, I decided there was no time like the present to make my way from hating myself less to becoming body positive. That my old standby, “I’ll start Monday after having one last weekend hurrah,” was not good enough. Because we know all too well what’ll happen Monday.

So I put my sneakers back on and headed down to our building’s gym for the first time in who knows how long. I stepped onto the treadmill and for the next 30 minutes, booked it in a way I haven’t done in quite some time since there’s not a lot of fast walking with Kona Sniffs-A-Lot.

The entire time, I stared at myself in the darkened TV monitor attached to the treadmill. I stare at myself, no matter how upset it makes me, to entice myself to do better than the person staring back at me. To be the change I want to see in myself because I’m the only one who can do it.

As unhealthy as it may be, I hate her, that me in the reflection, I really, really do. Every time my foot hits the treadmill, I imagine I’m striking her for being stronger than me all this time. And I kind of get off that we’re facing each other. That she’s going to see me coming and stampeding her one day, hopefully soon.

When I stepped off the treadmill after my cool down, my very confused legs legit wobbled, and I thought I was going to face plant a la Bridget Jones, but luckily I stayed upright.

And then I took the above photo of myself. I felt disgusting when I snapped it, knowing I’d never be one of those athletic, fit women who post post-workout photos of themselves looking like they’ve hardly broken a sweat with nary a hair out of place and showing off their thigh gaps the size of Utah.

Nope, in it I’m sweating so profusely I had to take my glasses off because they kept slipping down. My double chin is on full display. My forehead is glistening, I’m trying to catch my breath, and my hair is frizzy and sticking up every which way.

I’m posting it because I hate it. Because I want to remind myself that I can’t let that version of me in the TV monitor win anymore. I’m too unhealthy and unhappy with myself to let her.

To put her to pasture once and for all, I’m going to have to push myself harder, further and more often than I’ve ever pushed myself before.

I know that eating right is going to be just as important as establishing an exercise regime. I need to once and for all end my co-dependent relationship with food, and I think it’s going to be even tougher than forcing my ass to the gym. Food has been a key relationship in my life since I was a little kid, and it ain’t going to be easy to switch from salty, shitty, bad-for-me snacks and food to healthier fare. But, it must be done, and it’s something I’ll cover in subsequent post(s) I’m sure.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you’ve got any advice or personal stories you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

~ Nikki

Resigning from the clean-plate club

I have a pretty effed-up relationship with food. I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m stressed, I eat when I’m sad — I just … eat.

I’d eat all the live long day if I could, if I’m being completely honest, and, for more years than I should even admit, I pretty much did. No matter how full or sick I felt from eating beyond what I healthily should, I still kept going (and going) and should have been the poster girl for the Clean-Plate Club.

While I’m not exactly sure when this food addiction started, I think the fact that my parents owned a restaurant until I was in my late teens might have played a role because, as you could imagine, food was ever-present at all times.

There was always so much to eat, especially at holidays, when we’d have to have a whole second table for just the food — even though we were a pretty small family.
(And of course I know I was very lucky to have had more than enough food at all times when so many do not.)

Unlike my brother, who adopted a very fit and active lifestyle at a fairly young age that he still subscribes to today, I never ate in moderation or exercised off my excess eating. Thus, I’ve battled my weight my entire life, except for the few rare times I worked out on the regular and ate a lot better by following a mostly vegetarian lifestyle.

Sticking a fork in my excessive eating

Eating, diet, exercise, #C25K, clean plate club, excessive eating, binge eating, food addiction

What was left on my plate when my stomach reached its limit today. A month ago, I would’ve kept going until it was all gone.

I knew when I started this newest journey of mine to get healthier and eat better that I had to stop my eating insanity once and for all.

I cannot tell a lie: It’s not been easy, in fact, I think it’s safe to say that for me, it might even be way more difficult than doing #C25K and going hitting the gym a few times a week.

While I am pretty happy with where my life is at right now, that doesn’t mean said life is without stress. In fact, there are a shit-ton of stressors I, like many people, deal with on a daily basis, but for the first time in my life, I am focusing on learning how to manage them without making food a factor.

It’s been a bit easy to add more fruit and veggies into my life as I’ve been mad-craving them, and I’ve adopted a weeknight “no eating after 9” rule, which has been preventing the late-night binges I’ve always fallen prey to. I’ve also become addicted to Special K blueberry with lemon clusters, which feeds my sweet and crunchy cravings with protein to keep me full, so that’s been helping a lot.

One of the biggest changes I’ve really made a priority is giving up my gold-plated lifetime membership card for the Clean-Plate Club. For the first time in my life, I’ve been listening to my body/stomach when it tells me “no mas” by putting my fork down and pushing my plate away.

It hit me today just how far I’ve come as I was eating some delicious coconut pancakes we ordered from our new favorite neighborhood diner. They were light, fluffy and super-coconutty, and I got about halfway through my share of one-and-a-half when my limit hit me like a ton of bricks.

I put the bite I was about to shove in my mouth hole down and put my plate in the kitchen. Just one month ago, I would’ve kept plowing through the entire plate until it was practically licked clean.

I’m not asking for a trophy, because I don’t think I deserve one and I know how far I still have to go, but I’ve always had a thing for those gold foil star stickers elementary school teachers are so fond of …

Taking the NutriBullet for a spin

After spending the past week battling a stomach bug (such a great way to ring in a new year!), I finally hauled myself to Whole Foods to stock up on fixings for the NutriBullet. $70 and a four-block rainy walk with three bags heavy with produce and frozen fruits later, I gave the Bullet its first spin with spinach, pineapple and strawberries.


It was very spinachy and most definitely needed a banana to tone down that hearty flavor, but it was still very good, very clean-tasting. I’m going to try to recreate “P22,” my go-to smoothie truck order of spinach, pineapple, banana and mango as soon as the bananas sitting the counter ripen.

I always get a bit nervous using any sort of kitchen gadget, thanks to standing dripping in strawberry daiquiri because my mom didn’t put the lid on the food processor down right not once but three times in the span of five minutes and the countless messes I made and calamities I’ve had when trying something in the kitchen for the first time, but the NutriBullet was so easy even I could do it. It takes up absolutely no room on the counter, and it pulverized all my ingredients in about 20 seconds with not an explosion or leak in sight.

Welcome to the family, NutriBullet. I feel like I should give you a name because I think we’re going to be besties from here on out.

Nikki

Day two vegetarian

I had this tasty little number for dinner tonight.

So after the weekend’s incredible and, seriously, unregrettable eating extravaganza, I decided that I needed to think long and hard about detoxing myself.  Especially considering the fact that today was the first day I exercised in 10 days.

I decided to finally make good on my Try to Go Vegetarian As Often As I Can resolution, and today marks the second day in a row I’ve not eaten anything with meat in it. In fact, until I started looking into it, I thought that, aside from a tiny bit of cheese on yesterday’s salad, two cheesesticks and a small amount of ranch dressing, I came thisclose to being vegan both days. Turns out Special K is not vegan, who knew?
Maybe this isn’t thisclose for real vegans, but for someone who is doing the best she can to start out, methinks that’s pretty darn close indeed.

What I ate, Monday:
– Special K with red berries and vanilla almond Silk
– Two bananas
– A salad with cheese and ranch dressing
– Tofu and mushroom stir fry and rice
– A cheesestick

What I ate, Tuesday:
– Special K with red berries and vanilla almond Silk
– A banana
– Leftover tofu and mushroom stir fry with rice
– A cheesestick
– Roasted cauliflower with green olives, chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, crushed red pepper and a smattering of fresh parsley from a recipe I saw here on one of my favorite foodie sites, Serious Eats.

Even though I got home late and was starving, just as I was last night, instead of reaching for one of my standby Lean Cuisine pizzas, I took the extra time to make this dish, and I am so glad I did. It was seriously yummy, and I feel full, but not that I-gorged-on-all-sorts-of-bad-processed-foods-like-I-often-do-on-my-late-nights full.

Notes: I didn’t use but a smidge of the garlic the recipe called for (and used minced in a jar instead of actual cloves). Next time I will definitely add more olives because they were incredible.
In fact, as much as I liked the cauliflower, I think making the dish with just the olives and chickpeas would be stellar.

What did you have for dinner?

Nikki

(photo taken on my iPhone using Instagram)