The Fear of 130.

Think of typical fears: heights. the dark. spiders. These are all common phobias that most people can understand. 130. Why was I afraid of a number? It wasn’t going to jump out at me in a shadowy alley, or push me over a ledge. But in my mind, it was worse than all of those things combined.

130. My starting line. My beginning point of weight loss. And at first. I didnt think much of it. But as the number on the scale dropped lower and lower each week, and the further I distanced myself from my previous weight, the more terrified I grew. Any amount of gain, to me, would be like taking a huge step back towards square one. And I REFUSED to let that happen to me. After all: I was the girl who was good at being skinny. If I didnt have that, what did I have?

This fear (along with a HOST of other factors, don’t get me wrong) is why I ended up in Shadyside once a week sitting across from my counselor, trying to get better. I remember one particular conversation with her where I expressed that, while I did want to gain some of my weight back so I could be healthier, I absolutely did NOT want to climb back up to my original point. I was so adamant as that statement came out of my mouth. And she just looked back at me, and with such ease said “So what? What would be wrong if you got back up to 130?” And I couldn’t fathom the words that had just been spoken. I thought she was crazy. Gaining back 30 pounds  meant losing all my  hard work. My pain, misery, and new found identity had all been for nothing. So I just shook my head and bluntly told her that that just wasn’t happening.

5 years later, I can tell you that Im back to my starting point. Actually, I can confidently say that I’ve passed it. I have no idea what I weigh, but I can sure as hell tell you its more than 130. Time has given me perspective. I now understand what my counselor was talking about. What was the big deal of getting back to 130? I’ll tell you: There wasn’t one. I was scared for nothing. 130 pounds had such a hold on me that I wasn’t thinking rationally. My eating disorder didnt let me.  And that is one of the biggest reasons I refuse to weigh myself today. Not because I’m scared. But because I quite frankly do not care what that number says.

I might still have my fears but I can say with with certainty that 130 is not one of them.

 

 

This post is in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  This years theme, Come as You Are, highlights NEDA’s movement towards inclusivity in the greater eating disorder community and the  goal of unifying the field of eating disorders. In particular, Come as You Are sends a message to individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery that their stories are valid.

Dietetic Internship: Semester 1, Week 8

Today might be the most fun I have had the entire semester.

Lindsay had me and Shannon report to McIntire Elementary at 7:30am. This school was SO NICE.  I know that I say that about all the sites we go to but wow. Everything was just so new and colorful, I cant get over it.

We were going to be making no-blender smoothies for the kids in before school care to try. The recipe was super simple: Strawberry yogurt and grape juice. Whisk it together, DONE. I tried it, they honestly tasted like one of those  Danimals (I’m showing my age, aren’t I?) that I used to drink when I was little.  We put them in 2oz cups and let them chill in the freezer until it was time to serve them.

At 8:30, we took the tray out of the freezer and let everything up on the table. We got swarmed by kids trying to get their chance at free food. We had surveys that they could turn in for a chance to win a tshirt. A lot of the kids needed help reading or filling out their surveys, and this was probably the best part of the whole morning. We were asking them if they liked the smoothie, if they would want to see smoothies served at breakfast more often, and just for fun, we wanted them to come up with a creative name for it. We got some really great ones, I expected nothing less.

 

If you know me, you know that I much rather prefer working with the older population than young kids, but today may have changed my mind a bit. I had such a good time talking to the kids, helping them out, and hearing the cute stories they were telling me.

 

Shannon and I will be going back to McIntire at the end of the semester to do a Zumba class with them and we cannot wait for it!

We got back over to the high school around 9:30. We had a pretty chill rest of the day. Lindsay came in to talk to us about the upcoming weeks. We won’t be going in next Tuesday since its election day. We will do an online assignment from home instead. Finally, Lindsay informed us that she was leaving at 12:30 so we were getting out earlier than usual. I really should have kept count of the amount of times Shannon and I said “This is the best day ever”.

Don’t Fuel the Fire.

This picture presented itself on my Timehop not too long ago.

Its been 5 years since I posted this before and after on my Instagram. 5 years since I proudly proclaimed my 30lb weight loss. 5 years since I faced one of my  biggest challenges.

This time when I looked at this side-by-side comparison, not only did I reflect on the picture itself, but  something else hit me.

This post got 89 likes (I remember being so excited bc that was the most I had ever gotten). The comments praised how amazing and pretty and gorgeous I looked. And while these remarks were certainly nice,  they only  added fuel to my already raging  eating disorder.

One person told me they were inspired by this. They asked what types of workouts I was doing. This person even commented on how I lost all this weight “super fast”, and they were trying to go for the same results.  Another person wanted me to “clue them in to healthy eating habits“. I responded that I cut out most processed foods. Little did they know that my example was not one to be followed.

I bring this up because I think it sparks an important conversation. People didn’t recognize my dramatic weight loss as problematic. They didn’t see it as unnatural for my body or completely unnecessary. This is mostly due to our culture. We automatically associate  “good” with “weight loss” and “bad” with “weight gain”.  I know those who complimented my new figure obviously didn’t mean to throw gasoline on my anorexia fire. They didn’t  know what I was going though. But here’s the thing: There needs to be a push to recognize the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. Not praise them.

Maybe you think I’m being ridiculous. Whats wrong with complimenting someone? Inherently, nothing. But it’s all about context.

Or maybe you’re thinking I look great in the photo on the right;  that  the staggering decrease in my weight wasn’t enough to tip anyone off. Initially, maybe you’re right. But combine that with my ritualistic eating habits, irritability, and complete withdrawal from all social interaction, there were definitely red flags. This is what I mean by context.

If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, I urge you to speak up. Don’t think that it isn’t your place. If it is someone that you know, love, or care about, it is your place. If you pick up these glaring, tell tale signs, have the conversation. Dont immediately applaud weight loss as a grand accomplishment, when that person had no reason to alter their bodies appearance so drastically in the first place. Begin to ask questions.  Ive mentioned this so many times, but I can’t stress it enough: Skinny does not equate to healthy. In that picture, I was close to the thinnest I have ever been, and the farthest thing from healthy.

As we  move away from complimenting individuals on weight loss and body size, we slowly  cut off the oxygen supply to what can become an uncontrollable fire.

Dietetic Internship: Semester 1, Week 7

Ive been looking forward to this post for weeks.

I have mentioned in a few of my recaps about the recipe sampling I was going to be doing and today was finally the day. These kids were going to get to try Caramelized Carrot Quinoa Salad with Roasted Grapes and Goat Cheese 

Shannon and I got there at 7, Lindsay came in and gave me a bag of my ingredients, and we got right to work. I was a little intimidated by the kitchen at first, since we didn’t really know where any of the utensils were, and we weren’t totally familiar with the heavy duty equipment. Luckily, the staff in the kitchen were all SUPER friendly and helpful and got us all set up.

We started by chopping up the carrots, and then laying them on a baking sheet. We put the grapes on a separate sheet and seasoned them both. We roasted them in the combi oven, which is honestly the best oven I have used in my entire life, and didn’t take nearly as long as when I do this at home. (I was told that it costs more than your average car.. DANG.) After we took the carrots and the grapes out, we switched the setting to “steam” on the combi and put in our quinoa

When everything was finished, we combined everything in a bowl (plus the goat cheese), and then portioned them out into our little sample cups. The last thing to do was to set up our table in the cafeteria. We laid out the forks, some extra recipes, the samples, and the surveys. At the end of the day, we were going to pick a random sheet and that person would win a $10 iTunes gift card (a little incentive never hurt!) And with that, we were ready to roll!

I had such a good time handing out my samples and answering kids questions (i.e “what is quinoa?”) Me and Shannon read the survey responses after every lunch, and im happy to say that there was more positive than negative! A good majority looked like this:

However, I did get this one…. Im still cracking up.

Im honestly just happy that these kids tried something new. I know my 16 year old self wouldnt have touched any of this. It also reminded me that not everyone loves food as much as I do (or the standard Nutrition Student) so people aren’t as willing to try new recipes. Overall, I had such a great experience, and I cant wait for next weeks smoothie naming competition!

 

Dietetic Internship: Semester 1, Weeks 4-6

Hello and good morning! My days the past couple weeks were a little monotonous, and weren’t interesting enough to warrant their own post. So for the sake of your sanity and mine, Ill be combining the next couple weeks.

Week 4

Starting off with week 4, it was a little different of a day. My site supervisor wanted me and Shannon to observe how the breakfast program works at the elementary schools. So she split the two of us up, and that morning we reported directly to our respective campuses. Lindsay had me at Ross Elementary. Its definitely one of the bigger elementary schools in the district. The staff there were all super friendly and I enjoyed my time there. All the little kids were so cute as they came through the line and picked what they wanted to eat. Im no expert on the National School Breakfast and Lunch program, but I started getting the hang of what exactly the kids were required to choose etc.

At 9am, when breakfast was over, I headed over to the high school. We were just about ready to start our next project. We were going to develop a daily menu special to market to students (I have high school, Shannon has elementary). So this basically means that we are picking a recipe that could possibly be implemented into the lunch menu. Ill be handing out samples and having the students giving me feedback regarding how much they like the dish. Lindsay gave us basically the rest of the day to figure this out.

Week 5

This week, Shannon and I finalized our recipes. Since I was going to be doing my taste testing on Oct 23rd, I wanted to get everything together. I typed up my recipe, along with my survey and sent them over to Lindsay to get the OK. Me and Shannon then started working on our 15 min professional development presentation that were giving to the food service staff at the end of the semester. After searching for topics ( this was a lot harder to find than I thought), we decided on food allergies and food sensitivities. Im actually excited because I’m learning so much new information.

 

Week 6

This week, When I woke up at 5am it was a miserable 38 degrees outside… and guess who didnt  have her winter coat (or any jacket for that matter) with her? Luckily, instead of that dog I’ve  been asking for, my parents gifted me an automatic car starter for Christmas last year, which I admit has come in handy. I warmed up my car and headed for North Hills.

Shannon and I walked in and were greeted with a huge bag of free snack samples from different companies. My supervisors secretary told us that we could take whatever we wanted before she handed it off to the cafeteria. I ended up snagging a few packs of cherry craisins, a veggie-fruit juice box, and some whole grain animal crackers (my secret favorite).

Around 11:30, we got to sit in on a wellness meeting. Different individuals, from principals, to parents, to teachers and even a couple students, attended and the whole meeting was led by Lindsay. The majority of the meeting was used to discuss what to do concerning “birthday treats” and what kids should be allowed to bring in, if they should just consolidate birthdays into one day, etc. But they were really trying to shift away from food, and move toward non-food recognition. Some opinions were a bit extreme, but interesting none the less. We also got lunch that wasn’t left overs from the cafeteria, not that im complaining about the cafeteria food, I do look forward to my french fries/bread stick every week.

To wrap up the day, Lindsay started me and Shannon on our financial analysis project. Basically my nightmares brought to life: calculating total cost for an entire week of a lunch menu. At first I was overwhelmed, but I eventually got the hang of it and started moving faster.

Im excited for my recipe tasting next week, stay tuned for the post on that!

Deconstructed Turkey and Black Bean Hash

So I know this sounds super dramatic… but the idea for this recipe came to me in a dream. True story. (I dream about food, that tells you all you need to know about me).

Since this semester of school has started, Ive made a few big adjustments: New city, public transportation, and classes that last way longer than im used to. I know that the last thing I want to do when I get home from a 3 hour lecture at 7 o’clock at night is to cook myself dinner. I either a) wouldnt eat or b) picked up chipotle on the way home. So to remedy this, I’ve been meal prepping on Monday mornings, so when I get home at night, all I have to do is throw my tupperware in the microwave and BAM. Im aware that meal prepping isnt anything new or ground breaking, but I’ve been so thankful for it the last several weeks, and if you haven’t tried it out yet, you really should.

This is what I cooked up this week! Its basically a hash. The “deconstructed” comes from the fact that I serve the sweet potatoes on the side, but you could just as easily mix them in! (thanks mom for the name!)

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • ~1/4  cup salsa (add more or less if you prefer)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • Salt and peper, to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • cheddar cheese (I add this on top after I reheat it)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. On stove heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bell pepper and onion and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile,  line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add sweet potatoes, salt and paprika and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Add in turkey, break up with spoon and heat until fully cooked and browned.
  5. Stir in black beans, salsa, and spices and mix until combined. Let cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Divide into 5 portions. Keep for up to 1 week.

 

I really like this recipe because not only does it taste amazing, its full of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Its also super quick and easy to throw together and it holds up very well in the microwave. What else could you ask for?

Dietetic Internship: Semester 1, Week 3

Lets jump right into it shall we?

I excited to head over to North Hills… not nearly as excited for the torrential down pour that was ensuing outside of my window. Im already not that great of a driver, so add in the dark, the rain, and the fog, and ill just say I white knuckled it the whole drive there. So I park my car, and the rain has only gotten worse. My umbrella CLEARLY was not enough. By the time I made my trek into the building, everything from my ankles down was completely soaked. Luckily my pants and shoes dried out fairly quickly.

On the agenda today was definitely finishing my bulletin board. But beyond that I had no idea. I printed out the information for both of my displays and hung those up. I  added some little final touches to my Bones board, and lastly, I hung up the recipes I printed out for my Healthy Habits board, and now I just pray that at least 1 student takes one!

Now that Shannon and I were both finally finished, Lindsay came in and gave us our next assignment. We have to each develop a recipe that can be incorporated into the school lunch menu, and then we will be handing out samples, and collecting data via surveys from the students as to how much they liked the food they tried, etc. I spent maybe an hour looking at pinterest to get some ideas. The strict criteria that i’m under makes it a little more challenging: has to be something healthy, something that high schoolers will want to try, has to fall mostly in line with what the kitchen has on hand… additionally, I have to think about serving and holding temps, i.e do I want to make something that is eaten at room temp, or something that is eaten warm? If it is warm then I need someone in the back batch cooking all day. All of this plus the fact that ill be serving 100+ kids on the day i present! Ill keep you posted as to what I come up with.

The last major activity we had today was Lindsay taking us over to one of the elementary schools just so we could observe what lunch time looks like. Next week, we were be reporting directly there and working in the kitchen all day!