Ready

I’m going to blow past the fact that I haven’t posted here for over two months and just jump right into what’s been happening, okay? Okay.

I haven’t felt particularly inspired to post lately, and I haven’t really had the time. I’ve been too busy working, worrying, dating (!!), and more importantly, living. My weight has stayed steady. I’ve made healthful food choices, but I’ve also indulged. Probably more than I should. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. Like, a lot. And getting back into running. I’ve been taking more time for myself and clocking more hours at work. Basically, what I’ve been doing, is working to find balance.
IMG_20140515_193007 IMG_20140518_190529 IMG_20140518_191626 IMG_20140520_175521 IMG_20140519_190456IMG_20140502_225241 IMG_20140523_085827IMG_20140530_205124 IMG_20140602_191342Earlier this week, I started services at The Emily Program. In my initial conversation with one of the therapists, we talked a lot about my preoccupation with losing weight, body image, exercise and food. She asked me, “How much of your day do you think you spend thinking about this stuff? Honestly?” I gave it some thought and, if I’m being completely honest, a good 90% of my thoughts revolve around:

  • How my hair/makeup/outfit/fat rolls look at any given moment.
  • What my next meal will be and when I will eat it.
  • When my next chance to workout is.
  • How to schedule unexpected social and work obligations around my meal/workout schedule.
  • If I’m having a particularly weak day, how soon I can leave work and binge and what foods that binge will consist of.

After re-reading my last post, I think this is borderline obsession is something I’ve sub-consciously been aware of, and frustrated by, for awhile. And it’s probably why I’ve been shying away from blogging. I don’t want a life all consumed by being A Person Trying To Lose Weight. It’s frustrating and it’s unsatisfying. I fully understand that it needs to be a major piece of my life, but there can, and absolutely needs to be, a measure of balance and flexibility as well.

Speaking of The Emily Program, at my appointment this week I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder. I mean, obviously it’s not a surprise, but still. I can’t help but feel that it’s yet another huge obstacle I have to overcome on this freaking never ending journey. But, on the flip side, I’m incredibly proud and grateful that I chose to formally address this issue and take steps to fix it.
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They  say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

That thought flooded my mind earlier this week at my intake assessment, as I filled out form after form, test after test, and shared very personal information during  an incredibly, horribly uncomfortable conversation with the intake therapist.

We were having a pleasant, happy conversation, going through my background (how’s your relationship with your family, what are your hobbies, what do you do for a living) and suddenly she comes at me with this gem:

What does a typical binge look like for you?

An eating disorder, like any other substance abuse problem, is something typically done in secret. I’ve become an expert at hiding my eating from friends and family. I’ve never shared my dirty little tricks, habits, or menus with anyone.

To sit down with someone and walk them through my eating rituals, step-by-step, bite-by-bite…well, it felt like I was confessing to heinous murder. I was waiting for the Law & Order detectives to walk through the door and arrest me.

My anxiety soared. But, like with most difficult things, the more I talked about the problem, the better I started to feel. The more in control I started to feel.

I have an appointment next week to discuss my treatment plan going forward. And I can’t wait to dig into all this new uncomfortable stuff 🙂
IMG_20140531_191120And finally, speaking of uncomfortable, I picked up my bridesmaid’s dress for the wedding I’m in this fall. Let’s just say, I’m not entirely comfortable in it. So, Operation Bridesmaid is now in full force. I’m going to do my damnedest to get back on a consistent workout schedule and mostly Whole 30-type eating plan. I have set some great balanced goals for the summer (which I’ll share in an upcoming post), so it’s time to get going.

I am ready.

Whole30 Update 6: The End Is Near…Or Is It?

Well, that’s that. My first Whole30 is technically in the books. Why technically?

Because as I’ve been trying to figure out how to navigate the recommended reintroduction phase, I’ve become more and more apprehensive about going back to old habits–habits or foods, really, that I know were not conducive to my health and, (at this point) more importantly, my weight loss.

I have had some huge Whole30 milestones. For example, in the past 30 days: 

  • I’ve lost 23 pounds. Day 1 I weighed 335, this morning I clocked in at 312.
  • The inches have been melting off and I’m seeing new muscle definition (I’m kicking myself for not taking measurements on Day 1!)
  • I usually have crazy high energy
  • Workouts are much stronger
  • My mood feels much more stable
  • My skin is clearing up (for the most part)
  • Best of all, I don’t feel the urge to binge. Like, at all. I had a frustrating day at work on Monday and it didn’t even occur to me that I should soothe my soul with a stop at the drive-through. My brain instinctively knew it needed to workout.

So, why would I give all that up now just to enjoy a few bites of non-compliant food? 

I did decide that I would follow a revised reintroduction plan, testing a handful of foods that I “miss” or that would make life more convenient/delicious. I posted about this a bit in a previous update, but here’s my official test list:
IMG_20140318_201406The way reintroduction works is you pick one of the four groupings (for me they are sugar, dairy, gluten-free grains, and legumes), and test each for a day, eating something from that group with each meal. Then you go back to strict Whole30 for two days to see how it affects you. I’m going to be testing each group, but if I don’t notice any odd reactions, I may only wait a day or not at all before testing the next group. I’m also not even entertaining the idea of bringing gluten back. That’s gone for good.

Day 31, today, I’m testing sugar and artificial sugars. My new version of junk food. I had sugar-free creamer in my coffee this morning, sugar-free syrup on my two-ingredient pancake (two eggs, a mashed banana, SO delicious!), and I’ll be eating sugar-free balsamic vinaigrette on my salad at lunch and turkey bacon with supper.
IMG_20140318_201309I tried the creamer in my coffee this morning–the recommended serving size of 1 tablespoon…and had to dump it out after maybe half a cup. It was so incredibly and artificially sweet. The taste is still in my mouth now, a few hours after the fact. Yuck. So, no, coffee creamer will not be going back in my diet.
IMG_20140319_102211The syrup on my pancake was also sweeter than I expected, so I think I’m going to ditch the fake stuff and “invest” in some genuine maple syrup. And I’m expecting similar results from the two remaining foods. I don’t know if any of these items will be going back into regular rotation. In fact, at this point, I highly doubt they will. Sugar is in everything, but I’m going to do my damnedest to avoid it.

Tomorrow or Friday I will be testing dairy: goat cheese and Greek yogurt, maybe some froyo. Probably not, but maybe. But again, if it doesn’t work for me, it won’t be coming back. I’m not about to sacrifice this progress, not when I’m seeing such amazing outcomes.

Everything finally feels like it’s clicking again. I feel in control, I feel strong. I feel like I’m once again Manda Kay, making it. 

Whole30 Update 5: Home Stretch

Today, day 22, marks my full last week of my very first Whole30. And I can’t decide how to feel about that…

I’ve been doing, looking, and, most importantly, feeling great. Tired, but great (I blame daylight savings). I cheated and weighed myself this weekend (20 pounds in 20 days!), clothes that were tight are lose, and while my workouts have been somewhat lacking, my food has been spot on. I went back to some familiar meals this week simply because of my busy schedule. I’ll be eating fish with homemade tartar sauce, eggs and smoothies for breakfast, sweet potato fries, vegetable soup, and the world’s most delicious pot roast.
20140309_11511520140309_144429All positive aspects aside, though, the anxiety of “what happens after the 30 days?” has slowly but surely begun creeping in. What does happen after day 30? What am I going to reintroduce to my diet? What will I test first? Will I gain weight back? What if I start to plateau again? These are the questions that have been clouding the sense of accomplishment I should be feeling for making it most of the way through this battle.

Anxieties aside, I do need to be smart about day 31, 32, 33, and on and on. I obviously want to continue this amazing success, so I need to figure out what it is about the Whole 30 that has been so helpful and positive, and build on that.

So! Starting Day 31, I will:

1. Remain gluten-free. As I’ve mentioned here before, a lot of popular opinion points to a connection between PCOS, consumption of gluten, and stalled weight loss. So, gluten-free I will be. Though, for my sanity, I will be occasionally incorporating gluten-free bread (slathered in peanut butter, obviously) and gluten-free flours into my life. Expensive, sure, but if it helps my weight loss…

2. Test dairy. I miss my Greek yogurt. And goat cheese. And freaking ice cream. So, I’m going to slowly test/reintroduce dairy to my diet. I’m giving up flavored yogurt for good (too much sugar), and I’m going to test plain Greek yogurt—mostly because I need breakfast options. More eggs = death. Also, while not technically dairy (or anything else, really) I will be bringing back my fakey fake coffee creamer on a trial basis.

3. Eat legumes! Legumes are, apparently, inflammatory. You know the saying, beans, beans, the musical fruit…legumes can cause bloating, gas, etc. but I love ‘em. So, in moderation, I’ll begin eating beans (only black beans) and peanut butter (natural, no sugar). If I notice any sort of adverse reaction after eating them…well, then…I don’t know what I’ll do. I just love peanut butter, you guys.

4. Drink in moderation. Being sober and being social are, frankly, the worst. On special occasions (Tuesdays? Arbor Day?), I will imbibe with a delicious gluten-free vodka soda with lime. Maybe a glass of red wine here and there. It’s going to happen and I’m 100% okay with it. Especially since I’m going to try and start dating very, very soon.

5. Explore new ideas. I recently discovered I love roasted carrots—who knew?! I want to continue to play with new recipes and foods, while continuing to eat as few processed goods as possible. Especially now that I’m going gluten and (mostly) dairy free, things could get real interesting in my little kitchen…
IMG_20140309_173224As of right now, that’s my plan of attack for my post-Whole 30 life. I’ve also got a doctor’s appointment scheduled to check-in and update some test results. All in all, I think I’m making progress. Let’s just keep fingers crossed that it continues!

Reboot

The first few weeks of 2014 have been…bumpy? Nothing’s really gone according to plan, but surprisingly, I haven’t been sucked into the usually funk I experience when things don’t go accordingly to masterfully designed plan. So that’s something, I guess. Workouts, proper eating, water intake, sleep—all have been sporadic at best. I blame moving, a busy schedule, increased expectations at work…and my own laziness, of course.

I was originally supposed to be out of town this weekend to engage in some bachelorette shenanigans, but I’ve made a conscious decision to tap the brakes a bit here and—for lack of a better way of phrasing this—get my shit together. I need to be the good kind of selfish and practice a little self-love this Valentine’s weekend. So here is my full-proof, two-day plan to Get Your Shit Back Together:

1. Sleep, Hydrate, Move
This seems pretty self-explanatory, but I’m going to spend some serious time sleeping in my oh-so-cozy, newly furnished bedroom, drinking my weight in water instead of alcohol, and finally enjoying this awful winter we’ve been having—I’ve got plans to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! And then, let’s be real, I’ll probably spend the rest of the weekend immobile, since I’ll be so sore from the wintery workouts.

2. Eat All The (Good) Food
A few days (or maybe weeks?) ago, I mentioned on my Instagram that I was going to attempt Whole30: 30 days of eating “whole” foods—veggies, certain fruits, lean proteins…and that’s really it. I’ll be sharing more about my experiences with the program, obviously, but this means none of my beloved peanut butter, no bread, no creamer in my coffee for a whole month. Sounds awful, right? I was originally putting it off until March, since I had the aforementioned bachelorette party this weekend and a wedding in early March. But it has become increasingly obvious that I need to reign in my eating ASAP—it’s becoming somewhat of a problem again (oh, hello eating disorder! Nice to see your ugly face again! Not! Hahaha). 

So Whole 30. Starting this weekend. Send spinach and pray for me. Or, rather, pray for my family, friends, and co-workers having to deal with me in this state for a whole month.

3. Loving Love
Earlier this week, my roommate and I stayed up way past our bed times (read: past 9:00pm!) discussing what we’re going to put in our online dating profiles when we join up. Boys like Disney movie marathons, discussions about the Universe, and dissecting Beyonce’s Instagram feed, right?

This is the weekend I bite the so-called bullet, though. I’m going to do it: I’m going to actively put myself out there and try to wipe the perma-bitch look from my face, and I’m signing up for online dating. Again, send spinach (what?!) and pray for me.

It’s time to settle in and get serious again. So, let’s regroup and hit restart on this year. It’s going to be a big one: earth-shattering, core-shaking, life-changing. I can feel it!

Big Bully

I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post for awhile now, and while I’m still not entirely sure I want to/should push publish, I have to just say my peace and be done with it…

There’s a person I know who has a nasty cyber bullying habit of poking fun at people who are different than they are. This person’s favorite targets are frequently, but not always, overweight women (in addition to homosexuals, people of color, women in general, nonathletic men, etc). I know they are not the only, nor the first person to do so, and that their pathetic insults are symptomatic of a much, much larger cultural problem, but…enough is enough.
4efcf949530ddf844ecb86d42c71997fIf I’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s that no one is allowed to criticize me for simply being me. I am 100% allowed to look, think, feel, speak, and do as I please (within the realm of law and reason, of course). If I want to take a few dozen selfies of myself and post them to my Instagram, I can do that. You don’t like it? Don’t look. I can wear yoga pants in public even if I don’t have a thigh gap or if they aren’t a size small. You don’t like it? Don’t look.

You are always allowed to be exactly who you are. Always.

I could sit here and go on about how our personal confidence is what matters, that our differentness should be celebrated and not judged, and preach love for ourselves and others (ahem), but instead, I want to ask a seemingly simple question:

Why?

Why do you do what you do? What do you gain by tearing someone else down? And if who I am, what I stand for, or what I look like bothers you that much, then why bring attention to it passive-aggressively on a public platform via social media and not say it to my face? Who are you to make any one person feel less than? My dear Bully, you are not perfect—not in any sense of the word. You’ve screwed up, made mistakes and bad choices. But that’s okay. We all have. We’re all flawed. So, really, not one of us has any right to point out another’s misstep.

Finally, I have a request for this person and all other bullies out there: if you’re going to make fun of me at least be clever about it. Recycling the same fat jokes over and over doesn’t just make you mean. It makes you lazy, boring, unintelligent, and mean.

But forgive me, I’m not here to judge…and neither are you.

Living Life

Hi! Remember me? Long time no blog, huh? I’ve been busy–get this–living my life. Whoa. Between weddings, concerts, funerals, moving, busy season at work (and yes, a few workouts, too), there hasn’t been much down time to talk to y’all. I will be back later this week (hopefully) with a new post I’m working on, but for now, here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

If you’re easily offended by selfies, I would suggest you come back another day…

My beautiful cousin, Katie, got married. And our family knows how to party. I mean, we group sang/screamed Miley’s Wrecking Ball 🙂
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I had a huge work event for which I finally sorta learned how to curl my hair
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I got to see my two favorite singers three times in one weekend and my face was sufficiently rocked off
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My gorgeous Mama Ruthie came down for her annual visit
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I drank lots of coffee to stay awake and keep upIMG_20131116_121847

And most importantly, this is how all of that makes me feel:
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So Good

I’m frightened to admit this. I don’t want to jinx anything or be a Negative Nancy. But…

Life is really good right now.

I seem to be striking a rare balance in all aspects of my life—career, personal, wellness, financial, etc—and that rarely, if ever, happens. I just eel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, as history as shown always happens whenever I’m feeling this great. But for now, let’s focus on the positive in the hopes that putting good energy out will bring good energy back in. Shall we?

Home: Next month, I’ll be moving to a new home. I’m staying in my same city and literally moving about 500 feet from my current place, but I’m moving nonetheless! I’m picking out paint colors, brainstorming design ideas, and purging my useless stuff. My last day in my current place is December 31–which, if you think about it, is a neat sort of coincidence: starting a brand new year in a brand new home, closing the door on this five-year long chapter of my life that was full of destructive, unhealthy behavior…this move is going to be so, so good.

Work: My job is going super well—a huge accomplishment for me. While I still loathe the idea of actually having a 9 to 5 (I just want to be a stay at home mom, shop, cook, clean, and workout…or be Ina Garten), I love what I’m doing right now: I get to write, be creative, spend time thinking and planning, maintain a flexible schedule, and, best of all, once I leave work, it’s done. I don’t carry any of it home with me, physically or emotionally. It’s a beautiful existence.

Health: I’m fully recovered from my late summer slide. Mentally, I feel strong. Physically, I’m getting there. I’m back into my group classes at the gym, and in an effort to run more, I’ve started running a mile or so before each class as a warm-up. Not only does it help me get loose and ready for class, but, hey, guess what? Running is getting easier! I’m also back into my yoga practice, which makes my soul super happy. I’m going twice a week and looking at visiting a new studio for even more goodness.

Social: My social calendar is packed through the end of the year with tons of fun stuff (Weddings! Family time! Concerts! Holiday parties!), so basically, you guys, I’m firing on all cylinders. And it feels amazing. And I don’t want it to end. I’m just going to continue working hard, expressing gratitude to the Universe and any other forces at work in my life right now, and smiling.

Always smiling. Lots of smiles 🙂

A Bunch of Big Losers

Lately I’ve become a big fan of silver linings. Trying to find the good to cling to in any bad situation is so, so important–you have to remain positive no matter what is thrown at you. You just have to. Look for lessons in the negative, appreciate the sun shining on your face when saying goodbye to a loved one, savor the motion of putting one foot literally in front of the other when running a 5K. Seek out what you can gain when you lose.
SpecialK
As I mentioned earlier, some of my family members and I traveled over to Wisconsin this weekend to run the Biggest Loser Run Walk. My aunts, my mom, and a couple of my cousins and I met up for a little fun on Saturday before the race on Sunday. We popped over for packet pick-up…and we are nothing if not classy ladylike ladies while out in public…20131020_10501420131019_14510820131019_150209While there, we also got the chance to meet a few of the Biggest Loser alums. I don’t really know much about them, but one of them called me beautiful. And that’s always nice to hear 🙂
2013-10-19_14.59.31Naturally, the next stop on our whirlwind Wisconsin tour was the mall. There, we proceeded to continue our ladylike ladies streak by indulging in much needed massages. Well, kind of…
20131019_17551720131019_175246Chair massages for everyone!

After a scrumptious steak dinner, we said goodbye to my mom (who, sadly, couldn’t join us for the race) and headed back to the hotel for a few more laughs before turning in early. Seriously, I so enjoy spending time with these girls. It’s been pretty amazing to see how close we’ve all become since my grandpa passed away earlier this fall.

Race day dawned with gray skies, freezing cold temps (literally), and an on and off drizzle. Brrr…We had a half-mile uphill hike to the starting line and then, solely to stay warm (haha) we proceeded to have a dance party (amidst the crowd of almost 4,000!) while waiting for our chance to run. Like you do.

20131020_083621And then run we did! As always, I was neurotic and anxious. I’ve thrown up after my two previous races, I haven’t been running consistently, I was running the race in mostly new shoes, I haven’t done a cold weather run in awhile…on and on. You know, my typical neuroses. Oh, and side note: I really have to work on stopping that negative self- talk, too. I’m not sure why that’s started up again, but enough is enough.
IMG_1625I felt okay during my run. I was all stuffed-up-runny-nose-coughing-up-a-lung throughout, and my hips were sore, but overall I felt okay. Then the hills started. Nothing too outrageous, though, at least not until we reached the last half-mile or so. We had to run up the hill we’d walked up on our way to the starting line. It was rough, I tell you!
IMG_1626But as I rounded the last little bit and saw my aunt cheering me on–I smiled. And when I saw my cousins yelling at me to get going–I smiled. And then I finally crossed the damn finish line and saw my other aunt–and I smiled even bigger and teared up a bit. I finished, I didn’t throw up and I PR’ed. So proud.

By the way–this is amazing–I initially thought I had cut 30 seconds from my time, but I just checked Sunday’s official results against the results from the WRTC run last month, and I actually cut one minute twenty seconds. YOU GUYS! I’m blown away by that! My cousins and aunts also did amazing, all of them placing in the top 10 of their age groups. So, basically Team Manda Kay rocked it big time 🙂
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This weekend felt like exactly what I needed to get my lazy, mopey butt back on track. I feel rejuvenated and re-motivated. Focused.

In life, when you lose–weight, your loved ones, emotional baggage–look for the upside and realize how much you gain.

Push Through

Happy Monday, friends! I posted something over on Instagram today that I wanted to share with you all. When we experience especially rough patches in life, it’s easy to give in, give up, and forget your ‘why’–why am I on this journey? Why am I trying to lose weight and live a healthy life? Why do I wake up every morning? But as I’ve been reminded over and over (and over and over) lately, you only truly fail in life when you stop trying. The struggle is, ultimately, part of your success.

Remember your ‘why’. Smile through the struggle. Keep your head up and your heart strong. You got this. We got this.

Capture

Crazy Person

This summer has been one of the best of my life. I’ve been conquering fears left and right and, for the first time since I can remember, I’ve actually been able to enjoy all this fleetingly short time of year brings: sleeveless tops and dresses, swimsuits and beach time, running, biking, swimming, moving (and being comfortable doing so) outdoors.
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IMG_2824Now that all this amazingness is slowly coming to a close, I want to go out with a bit of a bang, and bite off something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. There’s a high-end chain boutique-type yoga studio around here called CorePower Yoga that offers a free week of classes to new students. I’ve wanted to try this place for years, especially once they built a studio literally two blocks from my house.
IMG_20130804_160359So since I’ve fallen in love with yoga this summer (see above), and I feel more comfortable exposing my body in that way, I’m finally going to give it a go.

Enter The Yoga Challenge.

I somehow convinced my good friend to attempt this feat with me, so at the very least I’ll have someone to giggle with as we attempt to turn out bodies into pretzels.  Starting next week, we’ll be trying a new class every day. There’s a spin-yoga combo class, sculpting weight-based classes…and for our final class, we’ll be attempting the infamous hot yoga, where studio temps are 105°. Side note: I may very well be crazy. And in case you need further proof of that, I’m also planning to continue my 5K training for my upcoming race on September 7.

Nutso.

As always, I urge you to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for what will inevitably be a good chuckle at my expense (you’re welcome, dear readers). I’m MandaKayMakesIt on both. I will be posting (hopefully daily) on here, but there will undoubtedly be some extra goodies popping up on social media.

I’m really excited to see how I handle this. I’ve really been digging yoga lately, but I feel like this is a whole other ballgame. Should be an interesting week, to say the least…

Hooray for new challenges!