Pho With Friends!

Yesterday, I saw my outpatient nutritionist for this first time since April.

(Insert annoyed/angry/scolding remarks here)

I was working with someone else while I was in program but that doesn’t give me an excuse for why I had not returned to my regular dietician once I was let go.

Anyway, all that aside she sat back in her chair and looked at me in astonishment after our encounter.

“Where is the girl I used to know?  This is either too good to be true or you are completely bull-s*itting me.”

I can assure you none of what I told her was malarkey, but she caught me at a good time.

ED apparently wasn’t feeling horrible about the decisions I made that day and I have a really fun weekend at Soundgarden Hall coming up, so my mind was more focused on seeing my friends and some seriously amazing trance acts, that the ED thoughts were relatively quiet.

Anyway, we got to talking about changes that have occurred in my life that could have potentially flipped the switch to me actually wanting to get better for ME, rather than only seeing her because my family basically forced it.

Off the top of my head I could think of a couple of things that have pretty much opened up my world; pho, music, dance and God. <—In no particular order, of course.

You might laugh at the first three, but let me explain…

There is one common denominator in those things that my very insightful nutritionist pointed out; FRIENDS…PEOPLE…being social and interactive with other human-beings.

Holy shmoly, you mean isolating alone with my treadmill is not fun?!

I can tell you for a fact, NO it is not fun, regardless of how much my distorted mind told me it was.

Anyway, she asked me about my experiences with Pho, since that is a very new food to me…

“It’s delicious…I eat it probably twice a week…it is the perfect food before going out…my friends and I really like to go together…you know, four number 70’s all around….”

Let’s analyze my statement…

I like Pho because it tastes good.  It makes my body feel great and is awesome fuel before going to do an activity I love for the pure enjoyment of the beat, who I am with, and the passion of the DJ’s, not the caloric burn.  I ALWAYS go with friends.  We typically all order the same thing.  No menu alterations, no weird-ass requests to not cook things in butter or oil, or to leave the noodles out…

That is a pretty good list of WHY Pho is quite possibly my new favorite food, but as my wonderful clinician pointed out, the key element to my words, was that it included my FRIENDS…people I trust and genuinely care about…people I do not feel judged by at all…

She made a suggestion:

Let’s make food fun!

Let’s make food fun by eating with my new-found friends, perhaps before one of our many epic evenings out.  What a perfect scenario to challenge the last few things on my fear food list!

Obviously the point here is not about Pho, or any other specific food item, but more about the minute changes that can be made to make this process SOMEWHAT easier.

Friends, music, dance and prayer make it more tolerable for me.

I would love to explore these other elements in future posts, but for now, remember life is better when not spent completely alone.

Isolation is like a breeding ground for eating disorders, and so perhaps when I am struggling the most; when I really do not want to be around another person AT ALL, is when I need to reach out the most.

It sounds like my nutritionist is more like a therapist…and actually, kind of like a friend 🙂 which I would not have any other way.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!! It is snowing here in the northeast so definitely a perfect day for Pho 😉

Advertisements

Updates and Music Therapy

Obviously my posting schedule has been a little irregular this week.

As I told you Tuesday Ryan and I were in Philadelphia most of that night and came home Wednesday for me to return to work the following day.

I am again heading to the city of brotherly love in just a few hours. Lots of driving, and lots to do, but to be honest, I am enjoying being busy because the main reason my posts have been less frequent is because I am incredibly tense and pre-occupied.

Tense, pre-occupied and mentally exhausted…

**************************************************

I have apologized several times over the last few weeks, for my cryptic entries and lack of information, but today I feel it is necessary for me to disclose one of my stressors because in the next few months there will be a lot of familial change, and my family is a very important aspect of my life.

You see, my sister is pregnant.

This is probably not the most appropriate venue to discuss this, considering it isn’t my body that is producing a child, but since Linds, Ryan and I all live under one roof, an infant is definitely going to change ALL our lives in multiple ways.

Because she is only twenty, with no career or serious boyfriend, I worry about how much responsibility that places on her shoulders and how incredibly difficult it will be financially.

I worry how much I have already put Ryan through these last few years, and how unfair it is for him to add a baby to the mix when we don’t even want children of our own.

Even though it isn’t OUR baby, per se, we will still hear the crying, want to help, and do not want to see a person we love struggle.

****************************************************

We have been spending many weekends away lately, enjoying time mostly in Philadelphia, and it has really made me think.

As much as I once dreaded my mom selling her house (Ry and I rent out our townhouse and take care of my childhood home since my mom moved to New Jersey) a big part of me is thinking it just might be time for my husband and I to establish a life by ourselves, out of the town we both grew up in and never really left.

We have been fortunate enough to travel and see a lot of amazing places in the world, but a fresh start could be just what we need.

It would certainly push me to have some ME-sponsibility (you know, ME taking more responsibility for ME…sorry I saw that somewhere the other day and really liked it ;-)) And up to this point, I have to admit I really do look to others for approval, confirmation, guidance, and don’t often make the right decisions for ME…and ultimately me and Ryan.

The whole point to this post is to sort of apologize; let you know my absence is mostly because my head is in so many places right now that I have trouble focusing on writing a blog.

…or really anything, for that matter.

BUT tomorrow is Friday, and I am taking this weekend to relax.

To kick things off, I will be hitting up my favorite spot, Rumor in Philadelphia, to see Sander Van Doorn perform for the club’s one year anniversary! (Congratulations!!!)

And Saturday I will be enjoying the grand opening of a new venue in the city called Sound Garden Hall.

Obviously EDM is my therapy right now.

If you want any additional information on either of these places or events, let me know. They are open to any who get tickets, and music truly has saved my life.

Maybe see some of you there 🙂

Happy Thursday!

Cookie Monster

Why is it that weekends pass in the blink of an eye??

Is anyone else dragging a bit this monday morning?

Well if you are, I have a recipe for you that might just help put a little pep in your step…

Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

I actually have one packed for my morning snack…and maybe even one in my lunch bag…who’s counting?!

But before we get to the recipe, let me tell you a little story about cookies.

A few years ago when I was in Princeton Hospital; my first inpatient program, they required me have multiple supplements a day.

This could be in the form of Ensure, Clif Bars or some other equivalent the dieticians deemed appropriate on the menus.

I opted for Clif Bars pretty much everytime, until my trays started to suspiciously change with lovely little notes like, “variety is the spice of life.”

Since this was going to be the new norm, some of my friends and I decided to just circle the damn desserts ourselves. At least then we would have companionship during the mealtime struggle, and we could pick something that did sound pretty good.

During this time I became obsessed with cookies.

I think it is the texture and fabulous flavor combinations, but they easily became my favorite sweet treat.

When I got home, and my rigidity around food again increased, cookies were no longer a part of my world, but the memories of their fantasticness taunted me on several occassions.

Saturday I paid a paid a visit to a new friend, and local vendor called Sandi’s Breads (look for a more in-depth spotlight on this awesome lady and her products later this week!) and in a wave of bravery decided to purchase two varieties of her fabulous looking cookies; chocolate chip and peanut butter…best duo ever!

Um, where had these delectable creations been all my life?

I have absolutely been missing out because if this is what non-hospital-cafeteria cookies…what real, honest to goodness, non-diet cookies taste like.. holy s*it, I have not been living.

Sadly her stand does not open again until Friday, but I did a little browsing and decided to make cookies on my own.

Not necessarily the same, but they are still super moist, amazingly yummy and perfect for dunking!

Ok, now to the recipe.

(And for those who are going to criticize WHERE this recipe came from since the website is about health/calorie concious eating….rest assured, I made the LARGER variety, and fully intend on eating Sandi’s asap…and perhaps a cupcake or two since I will be in Philadelphia where they have legit DC Cupcake style bakeries 😉 )

Dashing Dish Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

What You Will Need:

Do It:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet pan with foil, and spray with non-stick spray, (or line with parchment paper).
  • Microwave peanut butter in for 30 seconds, or until softened.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the first four ingredients until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
  • Roll the cookie dough into 12 rounds and bake in oven for 8-10 minutes.

And most important…

ENJOY 🙂
If these don’t make you smile on a Monday, I really don’t know what will!

F*ck Fear Friday

I recently got a comment from someone who could relate to my prior lack of socialization and concluded some of her reclusiveness stemmed from past situations that made her distrust or uncomfortable in groups.

Honestly, I could have written her words myself because when it comes to making new friends, especially female friends, I proceed with caution.

I have been hurt, like, A LOT, in the past.

And some of the people I felt were closest to me turned out to disappoint the most; either by talking behind my back, a lack of inclusion, or just by being blatantly and directly mean.

I harbored resentment for these people, and instances, for a really long time and allowed the emotional impact it had deter me from opening up and finding new people to connect with.

I believed that just because a few people hurt my feelings, everyone was out to do the same thing and would eventually just let me down so it was best to shut down and be a hermit.

Well, let me tell you; that didn’t work so well either, because I ended up finding a very self-destructive replacement that tried to kill me….

Anyway, a huge aspect of my recovery that involves not only food but a ton of emotions is being open to take some risks; try new things, and put myself out there for the world to see.

One of the scariest components of this challenge is associating with and becoming close with other women.

I have mentioned Brielle on here several times and she has been a HUGE asset/wonderful addition to my life.

Not only has she helped me conquer a few items on my list of getting-healthy “must-do’s,” but she is also one of the most fun people I have ever met.

It has been nearly a week since I have seen her and as weird as this may sound I really missed enjoying dinner across the table and a little fro-yo dessert with my friend these past few days. As Chobani would tweet, “People watching and sharing yogurt with a friend…#nothingbutgood.”

Similarly, I met another fabulous companion on one of Ryan and my visits to Rumor in Philadelphia, and over the last month we have formed a friendship that I cherish whole-heartedly.

Both of these women make me want to be better and push me to do so.

And they also help me realize how much I was missing by living in fear, alone, on my couch….or treadmill ( 😦 ), and it breaks my heart that I was responsible for the misery in which I lived.

Don’t let being scared prevent you from being happy. You really have nothing to lose by taking a risk so today, make it your motto and proclaim this “F*ck Fear Friday.”

What do you think?

What holds you back from living the life YOU want?

The City Of Love

I think I might be going through withdrawal.

I didn’t realize how much I used my computer until it was gone! Not just for blog purposes, obviously, but e-mails, work catch-up for school, finding information, etc. I really miss the normal size screen of my laptop compared to the tininess of the i-phone.

I mean, thank gosh I am not completely out of touch due to my handy-dandy mobile device but my eyesight absolutely cannot wait to have the good old Dell back.

I have also really missed reading about the lives of others, and writing about my own.

Sounds weird, but I find this community very therapeutic and as I have said before, I appreciate the support and inclusion of this wonderful group.

Fortunately my momma is home for a few days and she was gracious enough to let me use her computer to get my journaling “fix,” as well as sneak a peak at some of my regular sites. It appears like everyone had some pretty fabulous weekends!

And actually, aside from having a sinus infection and sleeping a large majority of the day Saturday, I was blessed with a spectacular few days too.

I had Thursday and Friday off due to some personal matters I needed to take care of on the medical front; nothing you probably wouldn’t expect considering my “pre-existing condition” but they required attention nonetheless, and that actually took my husband and I on a little trip to Philadelphia.

Not such a bad place to be considering we had all of Thursday night free and could take advantage of two amazing deals Living Social was offering; a discounted night including parking or breakfast at our very favorite spot, The Radisson Warwick, and half price admission to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at The Franklin Institute.

This particular city is very special to me, and hopefully my husband, because it is there where we first told one another our feelings and spent a tremendous weekend with my family exploring the King Tut expose at the very same museum we visited Thursday afternoon.

We had an interesting early start to our relationship because Ryan wasn’t at all looking for a girlfriend, and to be honest, I wasn’t ready for a relationship myself.

We had been friends for a long time and nothing ever emerged before, so why all of a sudden the stars a0ligned I am not really sure, but one weekend my Mom had planned for my immediate and some extended family to visit Philly, have a mini-getaway and expand our knowledge base on Egyptian history, and something compelled me to invite him along.

Everything was pretty much perfect.

He fit in super well with my relatives, survived the jokes of my sinister Uncle, and he and I connected on so many levels I knew I wanted in the person I would spend the rest of my life with.

H e loved education, valued quality time with family, and we laughed like I never had before.

Plus, he could dance. Dancing is a major part of my life and my favorite social activity so he scored MAJOR bonus points for this!

We have visited Philadelphia a few times throughout our marriage, and always had a good time, but ED was often lurking in the corner ruining the fun.

(Doesn’t he always?)

As much as I was excited for a few days alone with Ry, I have to admit I am always nervous how things will pan out because I am still not where he wants me to be and sometimes my malnourished brain will completely impact my ability to be rational.

We wrapped up our night Thursday with a few hours of dancing at a club neither one of us had ever been, and even though 0 I loved every second of the day earlier, the absolute BEST BEST BEST moment of those 48 hours came as we were hailing a cab back to our hotel…

“This reminded me of our first time here together. It was just like the old us.”

My heart melted when those words left his lips, and any part of ED that may have been around, walked away head hanging low because there was no way I was letting that jerk infiltrate our time.

I knew I was a blessed but if that was an indication of our lives to come, the difficulties of recovery are worth all the struggle.

Budget-Friendly Travel

I love to travel. I love to take road trips, I love to go away for weekends, and I absolutely love to go away for full-blown vacations, but unfortunately, my husband and I do not make millions of dollars a year meaning travel, while being something we are blessed to do fairly often, is not something we can just do without a little planning.

For this reason, any time I know we are going to go away I consider our situation and resources; evaluate our budget, and what we value as vacationers, and get to work. Here are some of the things I consider for a Weaber family trip.

Now obviously there are things you don’t have MUCH control over; the price of gas, hotel cost, etc. But there are some things you can do to either, alleviate the monetary damages, or get some upgrades. I cant tell you much about gas, that is certainly up to this volatile economy, but as far as lodging goes, there a few tricks I have up my sleeve that either can get me a better rate, earn more points, or score a sweet room for the price of a not-so sweet room.

1. Shop around.

In Philadelphia’s case (I will use this for example since I just left!), there are 598345983753 hotels. There are chains, boutique, 5-star, small, bed and breakfast, a ton of options. If I hadn’t been attending a conference held in a hotel I probably would have gone to a travel search engine (I like Kayak because it compares all the major travel sites rates) and put in my specifications to find what hotel I liked that fit my budget. Often there are packages that include breakfast, free internet, parking, vouchers for meals or tourist sites…all these things get factored in when picking a place to stay. Don’t just select a hotel that gives you a free tray of chocolate covered strawberries because there is the word FREE in the deal. Honestly think about it….do you even really like chocolate covered strawberries? That room may be $50 more than one without a gift, but has the same exact features.

2. Determine what is important.

If you don’t care that you are within walking distance of center city, don’t pay the extra money. Get a hotel on the outskirts and drive in. But I will warn you, that may add up even more when you consider parking fees. This may seem like a lot of work but you have to think about other expenses that may incur because you chose to stay in a cheapo motel 25 miles away…gas, parking, public transportation, a potential ticket….these things cost too, sometimes way more than an actual room fee.

3. Ask about a fridge!

A lot of hotels have refrigerators on hand that they will happily put in your room. I will touch on this more later but seriously, take advantage of this perk!

4. UPGRADE YA!

When you arrive, or when it is very close to your arrival, ask if there are any upgrades. This works anywhere…hotels, cruise ships, rental cars…a lot of times places are not fully booked so there are plenty of vacant rooms. Which category room do you think is most often not used? THE EXPENSIVE ONES! The worst they are going to say is no, so get the courage to ask. You may have a nice big beg, or Jacuzzi tub for the weekend!

5. Join rewards programs!

A lot of the major chains, like Marriot, Radisson, Sheraton, etc. all have free rewards programs, or credit cards that offer incentives. We are Radisson Gold Points members, which is a free service that earns points every time we stay in one of their hotels or affiliates. It did not cost us anything to enroll, just about 5 minutes to fill out the paper, and we have gotten upgraded for free, earned discounted nights, and were offered non-public specials, simply for being a part of their community. Neither of us have a special credit card for a specific hotel chain, but we do have one that earns us Disney points…For every hundred dollars we spend we get 1 dollar to spend at Disney, in their stores or online. This doesn’t seem like a lot but they do have 5X point opportunities, bigger point values for certain items, and special discounts just because we have the card. I don’t know how all credit card services work for their incentive programs, but Ryan and I both have been with Disney for about 5 years and we DEFINITELY use every dollar we earn. So maybe if you are looking to get a new credit card or switch, consider what rewards mean to the most to you.

6. Go at the off season.

We looked into going to Avalon NJ this year for a weekend. It was more than double to go on a weekend in between Memorial and Labor Day. If we wanted to go in late September, when it is still pretty warm, it was less than $100 dollars a night. If you do not have restrictions on when you can travel, consider what times of year are best for your particular destination.

What can you control?

1. FOOD and DRINK!

This one is a no-brainer for me. I probably look pretty silly but I always have a major cooler on car trips. It is filled with soda, seltzer, snacks, sometimes wine and beer, and then an accompanying bag of more snacks and a re-usable water bottle.

This weekend I enjoyed many of the treats in my swag bag, but I also brought a few cans of diet soda, some seltzer water, a few pieces of fruit, and Clif bars.

This is a pretty taboo subject in the healthy living world but I totally drink a diet soda a day. The caffeine, the carbonation, I don’t know, it is just a bad habit (ha, one of the many) I cannot seem to break. Instead of spending $2 every day I am gone, I pick up cases (only when they are 4 for $11) at the grocery store, and throw a few in my bag. Easy money saved.

The same thing with water! You can almost always find purified water on a trip. Most hotel gyms have those nice little water coolers that are perfect for refills any time. Double bonus, saving the environment as well! How can you NOT bring your own bottle?!

Snacks are essential! We are a total snack family and I especially need something before I work out in the AM or my workout would be tremendously weak. I also have a nighttime snack. Do you think I was going to run down to Starbucks and get a pack of nuts that cost $3? Nope. I was going to bring my bag of granola bars, packets of Barney Butter, or fruit that I already had at my house! We also bring items like bagels, English muffins, baggies of cereal, etc. to supplement breakfast. There is no sense spending money on breakfast that consists of some of the most marked up food products in the world, when you can easily pack some bagels and a jar of peanut butter without thinking twice. Nutritious and delicious! And if you bring the cooler I sneak a few greek yogurts in, as well. Hello, there is always an ice machine at the end of the hall.

2. The REAL drinks…

Seek out a BYOB or bring a bottle of ________ (insert favorite here). Again, the ice buckets work fabulously for chilling spirits, and BYOBS are always just as great of restaurants, and way less money on the check (if you drink, of course)

3. Look for deals.

I am not super familiar with Living Social or Groupon since I live in a pretty small town and we are almost never featured on those sites. But if I were traveling to a big city, I would definitely look to see if there was anything of interest. Similarly, if you check a restaurants web site, it will often list if they have any specials going on. Many have happy hour deals, price fixe menus, or special night savings that could fit your plans. It never hurts to look.

4. Travel on foot!

What a way to get exercise and save some dough! See if an attraction is within walking distance of the hotel. If so, put on some comfy shoes and head on out. Often this will allow you to see and appreciate more of your destination and save a few dollars in transportation fees.

5. Think lunch. 

Many restaurants offer similar menus for lunch and dinner, but with smaller portions and smaller prices. If you are staying in a place without a refrigerator, you cant take leftovers with you anyway. Consider going to a fancy lunch and choosing an alternative activity for the dinner hour, then pick up something quick, or at a less swanky place. This way you aren’t missing out on some of the great, more expensive restaurants, but you certainly are saving a few dollars.

This may seem like a lot of work, and maybe you don’t want to put this much effort into thinking about your finances when you are supposed to be de-stressing in your time away, but I look at it like this…the more I save on this occasion, means I might get to have another trip even sooner. So please, share with me anything I may have missed because as you know, I LOVE a good vacation, and although I was just away this weekend…Ryan and I are definitely in need of some spring ideas!

Recovery 101

If there is one thing I definitively know is true about recovery, it is that no program, no diet, no meal plan, nothing can make you recover unless YOU want to. That is why I never came close…no matter what hospital they sent me to, how great the treatment team was, how much they fed me or prevented me from exercising, I was not ready to admit fully, or comply with what it took to stay on the path necessary to free myself from ED.

Looking back on the weekend, although I learned so much valuable information, probably the most important thing I took away was a renewed desire to get healthy. I feel like up until HLS I was doing well…it had been 12 days since I counted calories (ha, I now switched to counting days!) I wasn’t over-exercising, I was listening to my body and nourishing it when it was hungry, but last week was a hard one. I had a frustrating nutrition appointment, was so nervous about meeting 230 new people, had major feelings of inadequacy, many unexpected food challenges occurred, and overall on Thursday I was just feeling less than inspired about putting in the work required to heal.

So Friday begins…The Frito-Lays presentation was first thing, followed by a luncheon at El Vez, hosted by a company I really respect and enjoy being a part of…I am having a bit of an anxiety attack in my mind, thinking; “Oh my gosh, I am going to have to taste everything at the test kitchen, then go directly to a MEXICAN lunch at a restaurant where I don’t even know the menu, and they are probably loading the dishes up with butter and oil and….”

And what? Who cares?! It is one day, one weekend, with people that are awesome, amazing food, and a sense of community that you have not felt in a very long time. Sit back, relax and enjoy the moment! People would kill to have these opportunities and I was essentially ruining them prematurely.

I was still very anxious throughout the morning, but lightened up as Krissie J and I finally met, acted like our goofy-selves, chit-chatted and totally rocked the chef hats!

Once I arrived at El Vez, and started conversing with the rest of the group, honestly, I was so consumed by the present (WOW this was something new) that I was only thinking, “oh my gosh I love these people, this is so much fun!” and “holy shmoly this is the best guacamole ever!” By the time fro-yo rolled around I was just so happy to be included, any negative thought that came my way I tried to squash before it could even really effect me.

Finally I found something I was enjoying that was a real hobby other than exercise! And it had helped me surround myself with people I felt a connection with! It had not had those feelings in so long.

You see eating disorders are so secretive, so deceptive and lonely that you don’t have time for relationships other than you, and ED. It was such a blessing to feel warmth again that I did not want to let irrational anxiety take it away.

It was the same thing at the cocktail party, and the next day at breakfast, the lectures, lunch, breaks in between and finally dinner and just sitting around hanging out. I loved hearing from other women about their health aspirations, journey’s toward balanced living, home lives, everything! I appreciated the feeling of togetherness, and laughter! Something, like I said, that does not happen often when you are in the depth of an addiction.

Just conversing with my fellow bloggers (and readers!!!) made me realize how much I have been missing being isolated and consumed by such darkness. I was actually jealous of the running group that did 14 miles before the summit! What an accomplishment, and how awesome to unite with a common goal even though you may have never met in person! I loved seeing everyone smile and have fun, and how beautiful they all looked in their cocktail dresses and yoga pants! Everyone was strong, athletic, put together…and I felt like an awkward, thin haired, mess.

Being around all the attendees helped renew my spirit; provided another 458738956734986 reasons why I need to stick to it! Push beyond what is comfortable, defy all the stupid rules my mind has made up for me, and reframe the unrealistic lifestyle I have been living for so long!

What a fantastic weekend on so many levels! Of course I will recap more of the events, food and seminars, but tonight I am just happy. Happy, hungry and hopeful 🙂

What is one positive thing about your weekend???