Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

I’ve abandoned the Whole30 program. Not because it was too hard but because I  literally ran out of compliant foods and didn’t want to go grocery shopping and cooking right before my vacation. So I finished at Whole25. Womp womp. No worries, I will definitely be doing a full one in the future and fully intend to eat a strictly paleo diet for at least a week upon my return from vacation just to detox a little. I love that I can be excited about a “detox”-I didn’t ever feel deprived on the Whole30 program and that’s how a healthy diet should be. I did however lose a full 6 lbs in 3 weeks (on top of the other 5 I had already lost from calorie counting and portion control the past couple of months). But mostly, I gained a lot of confidence. I love the feeling of looking into my closet and being able to say “I’m going to wear this today” without having to worry about whether it will zip shut or not. I’ve also had a lot of practice in loving my body for where she is, enjoying the moment and the whole process. Which leads me to this amazing day I’ve had.

I took off work so I could have a full day to get ready for California. I also had to take an exam for my class so it just worked out perfectly that I was able to knock that out and then have the rest of the day to myself. I picked up my friend Abby and we went to Target to browse and get some things. It’s been so long since we’ve had a girl’s day together and it was nice to just wander the store for a while checking everything out. I got a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks because I’ve been dying for that fall flavor. I have to say, it was just alright. I didn’t drink the whole thing, but the taste was enough to satisfy that fall craving I’ve had.

We ended up getting some pumpkin spice M&M’s and Oreos as well (it’s about balance ok?!?!) and I must say they were both AMAZING. I had a few and then happily put the bag away (another win, a month ago the whole bag would be gone by now). I’m really surprised at how delicious the Oreos were (and very happy with my self control after a month of 0 added sugar). They’re in the back of my cabinet now and I’m very confident in the fact that they won’t come out every 5 minutes until they’re gone. As someone who has had a serious addiction to sugar in the past that’s a HUGE milestone for me and I want to be able to enjoy sweets every now and then. And taking the time to re-sensitize myself to sugar really had an impact. I enjoyed the dessert and then my body told me when it was done.

After our Target rendezvous, we headed to Kohl’s because Abby was looking for a UVa jersey and we thought we may be able to find one there.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any luck but we did find some have time to check out the new Lauren Conrad Runway line. While her clothes are adorable, they were a little too feminine and light for me-especially as we roll into fall but I do love this jacket which they didn’t have in my size at the store. I did leave pretty happy though as I bought some beautiful jewelry that I cannot wait to rock.

We also spent a little bit of time playing with makeup at BlueMercury  and I’ve found a few new products to add to my wish list. I’ve been trying to save money and use up the makeup I have so I didn’t purchase anything here but the NARS Illuminator in Orgasm is on my list. I swatched a bit on my hand and am obsessed with this shimmer. I also found a few high end serums/moisturizers that I might splurge on for the winter months. My skin gets so dehydrated in the winter so it might be worth the investment. I’ve found that those products tend to last me ages since I take care of them and use sparingly when I really shell out. Sometimes its worth a little extra to pamper myself.

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Technology Triumphs

I am a genius! Well, not really but I am really proud of myself right now. I have never been a computer person and generally feel like if I try to fix anything technology related I end up making the situation worse. Usually I end up giving up and either paying someone to fix the issue or just throw the electronic product away. NOT TODAY! I’ve been avoiding using my computer for a while because it had become SO. SLOW. I mean like glacial pace slow. To the point where I couldn’t even type a word document without stopping every three words to load. I was pretty frustrated because I’ve only had this computer for about 3 years, definitely not long enough to consider purchasing a new one. So I’d just resorted to using my iPad for everything (not good for typing blog posts, sorry if the last few have been a little convoluted).

Today however I finally took the time to look into what I could do to make my computer run a little faster and I completely fixed the problem! My computer is running as fast as it ever has. Applications open. I’m really just beyond proud of myself right now and I promise that the next few blog posts will be a little more interesting (maybe even involving some pictures!). I’ve been too busy lately to take any photos of interest which is why my posts have been rather wordy. But, since I now at least have the power to upload pictures, I’ll leave you with a photo that always makes me smile.

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My cat Reggie just posing for the camera.

P.S. the technology-gods must really be on my side today because I almost deleted this whole post on accident and then wordpress restored it for me.

Rainy Reflections on Whole30

Today was such a typical fall day. It’s rainy and pretty chilly here. Not too cold by any means, but just cold enough for me to put on leggings and warm fuzzy socks as soon as I got home. I should be studying for a test I have tomorrow but instead I have opted for snuggling on my couch with Reggie and watching YouTube videos. At least I’ve studied for the exam all last week…

This weather absolutely makes me want to just nap and cozy up on the couch. I may attempt to make a chai tea with whole30 compliant almond milk later on but we’ll see if I have any in my pantry… If not, only a few days left until my vacation and the end of this diet revamp. I love that with this whole program I can make adjustments for my life and it will still work for me. Sure, I can’t say I’ve done a whole30 but I look and feel great enough to reap the benefits of doing one. I also know now how I want to live all the time. I’m excited to keep experimenting with recipes and prepping meals for the week that are compliant even if I will allow myself a treat here and there. I’ll probably add legumes back into my diet as I’ve never had issues with them in the past. The grains I’ll keep to a minimum just because they will help me keep my weight down (although I do love some crunchy breads on occasion). But the real change is my sugar intake. Eating this way is definitely going to help me limit my intake of sugar and over time I’m sure I’ll want sweet treats less and less. Not consuming dairy is a big change as well and although I have missed cheese, I’ve learned that I can definitely live without and still enjoy my food.

The best thing about this lifestyle is that it’s so adjustable. If I find that I’m getting out of control with my eating habits, I don’t need to do a full whole30 every time I want to check myself. I can just do it for a week or two or whatever until I reach my goals and reset my mindset. I’m sure I will want to complete a full whole30 in the future but for now three and a half weeks was good. My pants are so much looser and just yesterday I wore a top that was tight across my chest when I first bought it, now I have room to spare! I love not worrying if my clothes are going to fit or not. It’s such a confidence booster and something I’ve never had the luxury of not worrying about before (more on that in a post to come).

I’m not out of the woods yet though so that chai tea may have to wait if my pantry isn’t stocked. I guess regular tea will have to suffice.

Do I Have a Sign on My Back?

Do I have a sign on my back that says FEMINIST: PROVOKE ME? The last few days at work have made me think that I do. I generally try to be quiet and keep my head down when it comes to any sort of political or hot button issue at work, mainly because I know that my opinions are different than many of my coworkers and unless someone wants to engage in an intellectual conversation where both parties have a chance to speak, it really isn’t worth my time. However, the following is an actual conversation that took place today:

Someone came into my office and told me that, although he had learned from his past that it is inappropriate to comment on a women’s appearance, he could however comment on her clothes. I’m not quite sure how that was rationalized but he ended his thought by telling me my nail polish looked nice. In the past, I’d have shrugged a comment like this off my shoulders but I feel like I’ve finally gained enough confidence in myself to respond (and this isn’t the first time he’s said this exact same thing with some other random “compliment” about my attire).

I looked up at him (from the work document I was typing) and told him that I was pretty sure that not commenting on a women’s appearance meant just that. Don’t comment on the way a woman looks. He rolled his eyes and immediately began ranting about how women can’t have it both ways. We can’t be able to file sexual harassment suits at the drop of a hat because someone looks at us weird but then want men to compliment them. He then stated he was going to start filing suits for people he thinks are ugly because “from his perspective” they’re offending him.

I, again, interrupted from my work, looked up to tell him that he clearly did not understand the female experience in the workplace (or just in life in general). Before I had a chance to go in depth into why exactly he was wrong, (i.e. I’ve never asked him for a compliment nor even hinted that I wanted to engage with him on a more personal level) he turned to another male coworker and started ranting about much of a double standard there is in society.

No sir, there is not a double standard here. I want, like most women I know, to be able to go to work and do my job without someone commenting on my appearance. Be it my face (whether I am smiling or not is none of your damn business), my skirt, or the color of my nail polish- it is NONE OF YOUR CONCERN. This may come as a surprise, but I don’t care if you think I look hot or happy or grumpy or tired. I am here to do my job.

The thing that really bothers me about this experience is that it isn’t just one person. So rolling my eyes and ignoring him doesn’t solve anything for me (all of the above examples are real life encounters that have occurred to me). There is no double standard here. The thing that men using this “double standard” argument fail to understand is that there is a time and a place to tell a woman how you feel about her looks (hint, its not at work). Furthermore, if a woman isn’t flattered by your comments that’s not her problem. There’s no need to berate her with all of your insecurities because she turned down your advances (whether or not they’re “just a compliment”). That’s not a double standard or “having it both ways” that’s asking for you to be a mature human who respects other humans and their boundaries.

I really just want to live in a world where men don’t believe they’re being attacked because a woman isn’t interested. It’s almost comical how these same men who talk about a double standard in society are so thrown aback when a woman stands up and actually articulates her opinion to them. In my case, my coworker didn’t even bother to respond and he didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day (not that I was especially upset about it). What’s even more shocking to me is that I did not start this conversation. This was someone who came into my office, interrupted my work space and started a conversation that, I’m assuming, was meant to make him feel good about himself. When he realized that I wasn’t going to agree with him, nor was I going to sit silently and let him say something that made me feel uncomfortable, he just walked off mid-sentence. The one positive thing I can say from this experience is that at least I finally spoke up.

Whole30 Week 2

It’s Monday night and I just can’t tolerate watching this Eagles football game anymore. Our offense is off and I’m just hoping that they figure out how to get themselves together before the season really gets moving. Good thing its only week one of football season.

Anywho, I figured that since I’m now two weeks in I should update again on how I’m feeling during my Whole30. I started this journey 2 weeks ago and after reading the timeline, I’ve noticed I’ve had a slightly different experience. I’ve been feeling energized since day one with a few days of excessive sleepiness last week (they also correlated with my menstrual cycle so I’m not quite sure which to blame there).

I will say that I have been craving cupcakes lately. Specifically, Sweethaus cupcakes but I digress. According to the timeline, I’ve reached the part of the program where I start dreaming about foods I don’t like (for the record, I like cupcakes). I’m hoping that doesn’t happen to me but we’ll see. It’s the turn of the weather which means pumpkin baked goods are everywhere I turn and . I’ve done a good job of avoiding sweets so far which gives me confidence that I’ll be able to stay strong. Someone came into work today with a delicious Albemarle Baking Company cake and I didn’t even bat an eye when I said no thank you. Normally I’d have eaten a huge piece regardless of whether I wanted it or not.

I think I’ve gotten far enough into the program that I’ve stopped planning out my meals for the whole week and I need to be careful with that. I have a pretty stocked pantry at the moment so my on-the-go snacks won’t get me in trouble but I find that when I don’t have something tasty to look forward too I’m more prone to eating unhealthy. I have enough homemade chicken curry and roasted vegetables to get me through the next three days so I should be find until I have time to cook again on Friday.

As far as weight loss, I don’t think I’ve lost any more weight but my clothes fit better and I think I look slimmer. My skin, however, is where I really see a change. It is completely glowing. I’ve just been using my tinted moisturizer and tapping some powder over my face to set it every morning.

It Gets Better

Last week I got a Primary Care Provider. As a nurse, I know the importance of having a PCP. Also as a nurse, I’ve had the tendency of ignoring symptoms and my yearly care because I just ask my friends who work in healthcare for advice. However, I’ve been recently dealing with some symptoms that I couldn’t just ignore or explain away so I bit the bullet and found a new provider. While at my appointment, I had a very in depth discussion with the Nurse Practitioner (a rare and yet invaluable experience). She spent a lot of time going through my previous history and talking me. The results of that conversation are still on my mind.

We first started out talking about our mutual nursing backgrounds and my career goals (I told her I was considering NP schools and we talked about that for a while). Slowly the topic turned slightly feminist (we discussed my birth control and then started talking about women’s issues in general) but then we got back to my more serious history. At this point in the conversation, she looked at me and said something along the lines of “I see you have a history of Depression. It’s listed in here as Major Depressive Disorder. That can’t possibly be true.” I told her that yes, while in college I suffered a Major Depressive episode. She then pressed again and said something along the lines of “yes, but MDD is much more severe than depression.” I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, I had suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and chronic dysthymia (a chronic, low mood disorder). She just stared at me for a moment. “Are you on meds?”

Nope.

I have never been on medication for my illness (although I fully support the use of antidepressants when appropriate). In fact, I actually tried to get on medication at one point but went to a provider who couldn’t prescribe them and just ended up working with her. I spent about 2 years in and out of various psychiatrists offices with the end result being a Nurse Practitioner who was shocked that had ever been a part of my history.
As I went to bed last night, I was thinking about this conversation with my new NP (who finished our visit by telling me how proud of me she was for overcoming a terrible disease) and I realized how I never would have believed that this day was even possible. Looking back on how low I had sunk during my college years is shocking. Remembering all of the terrible things that I felt or believed during my childhood is hard. Yes, I still remember the long nights of self-loathing and everything else that was dark about that time. But more importantly, those experiences have made me even stronger. I wish there had been someone to tell me that I didn’t have to live life hating myself or life in general but there wasn’t. Not until I got to my second year of college and made a friend who I trusted enough to open up to about it. And who actually made the idea of going to therapy a positive thing rather than a punishment for my perceived failures.

I still struggle with self-deprecating thoughts sometimes and still email with one of my psychologists every now and then just to keep myself in check but for the most part, I’m healed. I cannot stress enough that I never believed that would happen. It’s strange to me now that I have experiences every now and then that actually stress me out because I’m responding differently to them. It’s hard to explain but I’ve struggled with managing new experiences because my mind has always had a negative reaction to certain things and now it doesn’t. And its stressful to have to learn new emotions in your twenties. I thought I learned all my feelings as a child. But I got help and now I see things in a much more positive light. For a while, I wondered if it was easier, safer even, to keep things the same. But having come out of the other end of therapy, years later I can say it was worth it. Over and over again it was worth it. I’m so thankful I never gave up on fighting for a happy life. Sure, there are always tough times but they get better. I can survive anything.

 

Whole 30 Check In

Its been one week since I’ve started with the Whole30 lifestyle and I have to say, I’m loving it! I haven’t had any major headaches or mood swings but I think part of that was because I’ve been trying to decrease my sugar intake for a while now, both for my health and because I knew I wanted to try this lifestyle out. I did have some trouble sleeping last week but I’m not sure I can relate that to the program, I get insomnia sometimes. The past few nights however, I’ve been sleeping like a baby so maybe my healthier diet has been helping with that. 

I kind of cheated last week and weighed myself-I couldn’t help it. I felt like I was lighter and my clothes felt looser and I just wanted to see. In the first 5 days, I had dropped 4 pounds! I’m sure a lot of that was water related and just because it has been such a change from my normal diet but I don’t hate it. On another note, my skin so SO clear right now. I had three very large, very red acne scars on my face when I started and now one of them is completely gone and the other two have shrunk quite a bit. I’m hoping with another week of this they’ll be gone completely.

I’m happy to say that after week 1 I haven’t had any major cravings except while I was in the dollar store on Saturday. I walked by the candy/soda aisle and had this weird impulse to buy everything. Odd because I wouldn’t normally buy massive amounts of junk food anyway but maybe I’m still in the whole impulse/learning to say no phase. Either way, I obviously endured.

Speaking of saying no. I’m getting really good at it. This week  at Wineworks, we had lunch catered from C&O (it’s part of the perks of working during harvest). I had packed my lunch knowing that I most likely couldn’t eat anything and I was right. Even the salad had candied pecans in it. Normally, I would’ve given in with some excuse about how lunch from an expensive restaraunt is hard to pass up but I endured and it was much easier than I expected. I think the biggest struggle is going to be later on when my brother gets in town for Labor Day. He wants to visit wineries/breweries all day and when I told him about the Whole 30 he thought I was insane. I’m still working on persuading him to go to Blue Hole for the afternoon instead. And, since I’ll be the one driving, he won’t really have a choice.