Posts tagged ‘weight loss’

Body image and self-confidence, through the eyes of Facebook

Just out of curiosity, do you other bloggers come up with post titles before, or after you write the post? I always seem to write them before — maybe that’s why so many of them suck.

Are you guys enjoying these ridiculous pictures of me yet? Cause really I’m just looking for any excuse to flaunt my feminine, delicate beauty all over the internet.

I’m feeling like with the better food and portion choices I’ve been making lately, my mindset is finally starting to change, little by little. Instead of dreaming about the fifteen portions of pizza I can’t wait to gobble up later, my mind is more quickly turning to the more practical option — what can I eat that will make more sense? It doesn’t mean I don’t want these things — hah, I don’t think I will ever stop wanting pizza — it’s just that I’m so supremely tired of disliking myself simply as a direct result of what I have just put in my mouth. (TWSS).

But my thoughts still constantly center around food — What am I going to have to breakfast? What should I make for lunch? Ohhh, pizza for dinner sounds so good. But where? I’ll look at the menu for twenty minutes, drooling over the endless options.

That makes me sound like a total nutjob, yikes. On a sidenote, I’m reading The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler. I’m not huge on diet or hoaky self-help books, but I feel like this book is helping me understand why my mind is always buzzing about food. It suprised me to read the book’s introduction, which interviewed several people who explained that their minds work in a very similar way to mine — always wondering, what’s next? What can I have? I feel like reading this is helping me to become much more aware of this disordered way of thinking about food, as if pizza were suddenly going to vanish from the earth tomorrow, never leaving me with another taste again.

Oh god, wouldn’t that be a nightmare?

Also, I need to stop referring to pizza. What is that, like five times in the last three paragraphs? Get ahold of yourself, Laura!

Really though, I do think about food a lot. One of the interesting quirks about the healthy living blog community is that sometimes it can feel borderline obsessive about food. Many bloggers seem to be straying a little more from the, “Here’s what I ate x3” posts, which I think is a good thing, but for someone unfamiliar with the idea of food/fitness blogging, talking in such excess detail about what you eat, how and why can seem really disordered. I struggle with this a lot, sometimes asking myself why I’m hovering over my dinner, snapping one blurry picture after another for twenty minutes before realizing that my food has already gotten cold.

This, friends, is why I sometimes grace you with beautiful pictures like these, instead.

Uh, at least I think my eyes are pretty?

This brings me to another interesting point though. While on my lunch break, I was reading some of Gretchen’s posts about body image and hiding her intense self-consciousness behind a loud and boisterous personality. I’m definitely guilty of this, and as you can see above, I tend to hide my lack of confidence behind goofy faces and That’s What She Said jokes. I think, Hey! No one will notice that double chin if I’m contorting my face enough to look supremely constipated.

Okay, that may not be my exact thought process, but you get what I mean…

Anyway, as Gretchen has said, looking through Facebook pictures of yourself at different points in your weight is a really interesting process. I’ll find pictures where I’m at a point I distinctly remember feeling fat and horrific-looking, but now I think that I looked slim and great. At many points throughout college, I was eating normal portions, walking everywhere and hitting the rec center to work out most days after class. I did drink a lot of beer and hit up late night pizza joints every once and while, but I also wasn’t sitting at a computer for 8 hours per day. It makes me sad to think that I wasted all that time and energy feeling bad about myself when I should have admired the fun, wonderful person into whom I was evolving.

Conversely, it’s also quite interesting to look at pictures where I was at higher points in my weight. I can notice distinct quirks about how I hold myself, such as covering my stomach with a pillow or awkwardly tilting my head down to disguise my chubby face. I also recall running to the camera in the hands of whoever had taken the photo, checking to see — Did I look fat in that one? — or not wanting to look at all. Unfortunately, I often feel this way now, and realize that there are very few current pictures of me, on Facebook or even from photos taken by friends, because I avoid letting people take pictures of me.

It’s a strange feeling, gaining small but important strides in my confidence as a result of things like training for, and subsequently completing my first 5k. My mother has remarked on several occasional that she notices that I look slimmer — Must be a result of all that running, she says — but when I look in the mirror, all I see is something that needs to be fixed. A work in progress.

I know I have a long way to go before I start feeling comfortable and confident with myself, and I also know that the steps I’m taking now, however incremental they may be, are an important part of getting to that point. All I can hope for now is the motivation and determination to stick to the goals I’ve set for myself, and for the wisdom and strength to keep pushing when life’s inevitable surprises and bumps in the road get in the way.

This post was meant to be about the iced tea I made last night…but I think it turned out a lot more interesting. Good thing I waited until after writing it to add the title ;)

July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm 11 comments

Grocery woes + Greek quinoa salad

Hi friends — happy Thursday!

pretty, huh?

I had another impossible time waking up this morning. I stayed up late talking to the guy I just ended things with for a couple grueling hours. He informed me yesterday afternoon that he may be moving to Portland in a month and I was completely flabbergasted. He is still intent on becoming friends, and while I really do care about him, I’m just not sure I can do it. We’ve been doing this awkward back and forth for awhile now, and it’s getting exhausting, so I’m really not sure what to do. I think I still see him as someone I dated, and don’t know if I could maintain the distance to be okay with being just friends. You know, not kissing or holding hands…etc. :(

Have you ever decided to become friends with someone you dated longer than a quick fling, but not long enough for a full-fledged relationship?

Anywho, I’m totally exhausted. We finally got off the phone at 1:30 in the morning, and after that I proceeded to tackle the horrific mound of (stinky) dishes in my sink. I don’t like this living alone thing — I’m turning into a freaking slob! I’m rarely home these days because who wants to sit home by themselves in the summertime when you could be out having fun? But that means I’m dashing in and out, and never spend any time cleaning up. Who wants to come over and help? :)

After getting the news about the guy’s potential move, I was totally bummed out, so naturally, I went grocery shopping.

You guys, I am a food hoarder. Some people stockpile shoes (although I do tend to do this too…) — I stockpile groceries. I have enough food to feed 50 people for a week. It doesn’t help that it’s nearly impossible to leave Trader Joe’s without spending at least $50. I left with lots of tasty produce, some quinoa (theirs is always cheaper), some frozen fruit for smoothies (ditto — you won’t find cheaper pineapple and mango anywhere else), their amazing chicken meatballs, some Kona coffee (!!) and a few other random things that I can’t remember. I think the bill was something like $83….ugh. But I can’t help myself!!!!!

I also picked up this nifty reusable insulated bag, even though I already have like 38492340239450 reusable grocery bags. Again, friends — hoarder, I tells ya. HELP ME STOP.

After feeling crappy about everything all day (despite being able to work from home – aka Starbucks), I headed home, noshed on a small banana, cleaned up a bit, and tossed on my gym gear after winning an internal battle of whether to go or not. It was absolutely insanely gorgeous out last night, so it would have been the perfect time for a run, but I’m starting to think that I overtrained and gave myself shin splits.

I’m not exactly sure how one can overtrain for a freaking 5K, but I guess these legs are not ideally suited for running on hard surfaces. This totally bums me out, because for the first time in my life, I’m actually enjoying running outside. I’m considering asking my GP to refer me to a physical therapist so we can take a look at what is causing my knee pain, as well as this shin-splint-y feeling. Have any of you guys ever had shin splints?

I got on the scale this morning for the first time in ages. I’d been avoiding it because, due to my total (okay, not total, but certainly not up to par) lack of exercise commitment, I was almost certain that I had gained some weight. I’ve also been feeling pretty down on myself, self-image-wise, and my clothes have been feeling a little snug, so I really haven’t wanted to stare those numbers in the face. But I think it’s important that I know so I can get myself back on track.

Bad news: I had gained some weight, as I thought.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Good news: It wasn’t that much. If I can hop back on the exercise train and get my freaking act together, I think I should be okay. Right now, I just want my goals to be about eating and feeling better (e.g. getting more protein so my hair stops clogging up the drain in the tub — ugh, gross) and fitting comfortably (and feeling fabulous) in my clothes. Eventually I think I do need to set a general poundage goal, but I’m still unsure of how I feel about that. We’ll have to wait and see.

So, um, I’m kind of thinking I need to get myself out on some dates again. But I’m tired of meeting morons and jerkface buttheads (I’m so mature). Chicago ladies — where should I go to find some eligible bachelors that aren’t of the John Barleycorn persuasion? I live in the ultimate no-man’s-land, straddling Wrigleyville and Boystown. To the east, there are gay — albeit gorgeous — men as far as the eye can see. To the west, it’s the land of the Bro-skis, a class of men so undesirable that I’d rather spoon my cats for the rest of my life. Waaaaah.

I’m crazily excited for my lunch today. I packed a salad consisting of butter lettuce + radicchio, a Greek quinoa salad I threw together, tomatoes, leftover avocado and some organic pea shoots. I grabbed a banana to have on the side. Here’s how you make the Greek quinoa salad (makes about 4 servings):

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked
  • a bunch of full-fat feta (as much or little as you want)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced/diced
  • 1/2 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Mix everything together in a large bowl and keep in the fridge, covered. It should stay good about 4-5 days. This stuff is great because it makes packing a lunch SO easy. I topped my salad with it today and can’t wait to try it out with some olive oil vinaigrette as a dressing. Lots of fiber and protein, too — yum! Feel free to tweak the recipe as desired — you can add onions, olives, whatever floats your boat. I recommend using the full-fat feta for two reasons: 1) I think low-fat cheese is disgusting, and 2) low-fat cheese doesn’t have enough flavor, so you end up using more anyway. If you really like the low-fat stuff though, go for it.

I’m off to finish the day. Have a good one!

June 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm 5 comments

A bit premature?

I hate to jump the gun, especially because I have a tendency to hop back on the bad habits bandwagon every time I see a hint of progress, but I jumped on the scale Saturday after having ignored it for weeks, and voila! I appear to be about ten pounds lighter.

I’m not sure if this may be partially due to my lack of gym time recently (aka muscle turning to mush), my crazy-busy schedule, my tiny (and therefore barely usable) kitchen or just the fact that I am eating less (both intentionally and accidentally), but I find it interesting nonetheless. A huge change has been my conscious effort to watch portion sizes. In a truly un-Laura-like fashion, I’ve been cutting my beloved hamburgers in half and taking the rest home to enjoy as another meal the next day. This is in direct conflict with the little voice in my head screaming, “Eat this entire plate of foooood!! It’s so tasty!! It will make you feel GREAT!”


Does anyone else grapple with this little voice?

(I swear I don’t have beef-induced schizophrenia.)

Great, now I really want a burger. Shouldn’t have looked up that picture…*facepalm*

Anyway, I titled this post “a bit premature” because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. This new “journey,” if you will, is all about creating small, attainable yet challenging goals for myself and achieving them one at a time. Next on my list is to get back into my exercise routine — no easy feat, considering I’ve been out of commission and permitting my extreme laziness in an effort to get over this cold. I know without a doubt that I could have been back at it several days ago, if not far earlier. I am human, however, and let it get away from me. This doesn’t mean I’ve been “bad” or that I’m an awful person…it simply means my mind and body wanted a break for awhile, took advantage of the livin’ made easy, and will need a little extra push to get back into the habits and routine that I know makes me look and feel the best.

The question is — what will this “push” be?

Still too broke to buy some cute new Lulu gear…although I’ve been eyeing this bad boy for quite some time…Not sure how I feel about calling the color “toothpaste” though :/

A few random thoughts and images to occupy your brains on this loverly Monday afternoon…

  • There is a rather interesting debate/comment thread going on over at The Frisky right now. I’ve been a reader for quite some time, and, as many other regular readers may have noticed, their content appears to be going through a transition right now. The site was bought and has been shifting writers, strategy, tone, etc., and their readers have been letting them know in the comments. The site editor, Amelia, wrote a letter from the editor to address some of these issues, and the conversation going down in the comments is really heated. If you’re a regular reader, or even if you’re not, you might want to check it out! The conversation is centering on the expectations of writers/bloggers in regards to nasty comments, criticism, constructive vs nasty, and feminism. Interesting stuff!
  • I like to make silly faces:
  • I spent a good 15 minutes last night packing my breakfast and lunch for the day. This morning, I forgot the best part — the salad! :( Sadz.
  • Tina over at Carrots ‘n Cake is doing a blogger bake sale. Even if you, like me, are not a big sweets person, I’m sure you’ll still find something to drool over — I’m eyeing the soft pretzels!
  • Before moving the other week, I caught Molly snuggling with my teddy bear. Too funny!! (insert crazy cat lady joke here)image
  • I’ve spent a day back “home” at my parents’ house the last two weekends — one for Mother’s Day, one for an ill family member (happy times, sad times). While I was waiting at the train station to head back into the city, I had a lovely view of the adjacent park and the river. Excuse the poor photo quality, but it was still lovely!
  • imageI bought some cute organic mini peppers the other day. And lots of cucumbers. That is all.

    image

Have a great rest of your day, lovelies!!

May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm 7 comments

My workout story + the importance of *FUN* in your health/fitness routine

well, hi there!

Naomi from OneFitFoodie had a great post today about doing what you love to achieve your fitness goals. (She says she’s “preaching,” but I’d hardly call it that!). This is something I truly believe in, and will also be the first to admit that it is something I need to be reminded of regularly.

When I first started exercising in high school, I had every ounce of motivation I needed just in going to the gym. I had never exercised (consciously) before, so the results (even with just 30 min of easy cardio a few days per week) were noticeable pretty quickly. I found the new activities fun and challenging, and loved how great I felt for the first time in quite awhile.

But as anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight knows, a plateau eventually came and my body wanted to stay at its “set point.” From what I understand, your set point can change and be budged with some hard work, but after losing a certain amount of weight, your body starts to say, “Nope, I’m done.”

This is why motivation is HUGELY important, because when that plateau hits, the looser jeans or slimmer face aren’t enough because that’s where it (albeit temporarily) stops. You’ve got to find a way to keep moving, new ways to change up your routine, and new reasons to focus on why making your health a priority is so important to you. And one of the easiest, and longest-lasting ways to keep up that motivation is by making achieving your goals fun. You have to love what you’re eating and thoroughly enjoy (or at least somewhat enjoy!) your workouts. Plain and simple, you will not stick with anything if you can’t find a way to enjoy it.

My workout routine, while still challenging, is beginning to feel somewhat repetitive. There could be a few reasons for this: I do the same thing on every gym day (work, gym, dinner, shower, bed – repeat) and it gets boring at times; the sun still sets before I leave work, so heading home in the dark can be kind of a drag; or perhaps I’m just afraid to shake things up and see where I can push my mind and body to next.

While I’m sure all of these things contribute to my little fitness rut, I’m pretty sure the last one has a lot to do with it.

I’ve never been thin. Save a few childhood years when just about everybody is a beanpole, I spent most of my adolescence as a chubby, albeit sassy kid. The weight loss in high school was hugely motivating, and while it ultimately sparked my interest in food (okay, that interest was always there), fitness and healthy living, I still had a lot to learn. I thought that my newly-slim figure was permission to begin eating whatever I wanted again. Obviously, this didn’t work, and I began slowly gaining weight though my freshman year of college. While I didn’t gain the “freshman 15,” I did arrive back home that summer plumper than when I had left.

The “cycle” began again when I was home for the summer, where a boring summer office job and few friends in town meant I quelled my boredom by hitting the gym every day on my way home from work. I wasn’t aware of any weight loss this time around, but many of my friends commented that I looked thinner when I went back to college in the fall. Again, though, I eased up on both exercise and healthy eating habits, and slowly filled out again.

My biggest battle, therefore, is consistency. Taking care of yourself by eating proper portions of healthy food and exercising regularly is rewarding, but sometimes…well, you just want to throw your hands up in the air and shout, “ENOUGH ALREADY!” I love healthy food, but I sometimes feel I can become obsessive and hyper-focused on what I eat when I’m trying to maintain a healthy diet. And that’s just no way to live.

A hard lesson I’ve had to learn is that you need to treat yourself regularly, but you must build those treats into your overall health and fitness plan. A glass of wine means a little less pasta at dinner, or 3 days at the gym instead of 4 one week means squeezing in a little extra time at the end of each of those 3 workouts. That extra skip day, of course, would be for a manicure or massage :)

I’m still trying to figure out how I can have a big, juicy burger once in awhile though! Alas, a work in progress…

One of the reasons I love blogs like Carrot’s ‘n’ Cake, EatLiveRun, Peanut Butter Fingers and food.fitness.fashion. is because they all focus on living a life with balance and moderation. Julie from PBF has admitted regularly that she is a maniac about sweets and carb-y cereals, Tina and Ali (CNC and FFF, respectively) are both regular beer drinkers (women after my own heart) and Jenna from ELR quite possibly posts the most delicious recipes I have ever come across. These ladies know how to do it right, and I love them for that.

My workday is finally starting to wind down, and I plan to hit the gym with a new goal in mind: try a machine, exercise or routine I have never tried before. I haven’t decided what it will be yet, but I’m hoping a little butt-kicking is exactly what I need :)

Cheers!

February 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Guilty Pleasures: Shun, Shag, Or Marry: Reality TV Weight Loss Shows | The Frisky

For those of you who totally watch the Biggest Loser in your jammies with a glass of wine (coughcough ME), this will give you a laugh:

Shun, Shag, Or Marry: Reality TV Weight Loss Shows | The Frisky.

Anyone else addicted to those A&E shows too? I have to admit, every time I watch “Hoarders,” I get about 15 minutes in, turn it off, and anxiously start cleaning my apartment on autopilot. It just makes me nervous…

January 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment


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