November. November was the last time I actually shared what was going on in my life. Technically that was more than nine months ago, and it’s really crazy how much life can change in that time.
Let’s make this a bullet point post, shall we?
-First Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, AND Valentine’s day with my boyfriend.
-Celebrated one year with the boy. We had big plans but his body said otherwise–so instead we stayed in, I drank vino and he drank Pedialyte. #romance
-I moved out of my parents house and into an apartment with my boyfriend.
-I decided that I didn’t like being a case manager anymore and became the office manager for the same company (now I don’t want to be office manager any more..whoops! Still looking to stay with the company though!)
-I visited my sister in Virginia and after some girl time my parents joined.
-We adopted a kitten and named him Tucker.
-I turned 25!
-My yoga practice continued to teach me about myself and I learned how to incorporate what I learned on the mat to every day life.
-My eating disorder is quiet. My weight is close to what the old me thought would be my “happy weight”. It looks like that’s not going to be case. I eat to my hunger and then some, at times. By doing so my weight continues to increase but I’m okay with that seeing as I am taking care of my body.
-We adopted a second kitten because Tucker was showing signs of play aggression (AKA attacking us always). New cat (Duncan) is still a secret in my social circle as we don’t know how friendly they will ultimately become. Wish us luck.
It’s weird, because in the past year I feel as though I have grown up more than ever. My outlook on life has changed. I accept my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I don’t force myself to do things I don’t want to, or be someone I’m not. I’m welcoming routine but also allowing myself to break it. My focus on life has changed from food and my body to a deeper, more abstract outlook. I like who I am. And I will like who I become.
Okay, so that is a purposefully misleading title. “How yoga helped me to get healthy” isn’t quite as attention grabbing as the prior so let’s just stick to that one, shall we?
I began practicing regularly a little more than a year ago, taking one vinyasa class a week with a friend of mine who worked at a local studio. I began as a way to exercise without having it appear as though I was doing so. “Yoga” and “going to the gym” give quite different impressions, don’t they? Initially I loved how I felt after each practice. I felt tired and sweaty and accomplished. However, the entire practice I was anxiously waiting for the best challenging pose, thinking they burned the most calories than the”easier” poses which focused on breathing and flexibility. At the same time I was fixated on whatever I would be eating for dinner afterwards. Every tiny morsel of food, how the meal would look, taste, smell, and how I would eat it. I was anything but a mindful yogi.
As time went on I began to notice myself getting stuck in class, both in my head and with my physical progress. It was as if I hit a wall that seemed impossible to surpass. I could do the poses, and do them well, but not to my fullest expression and definitely not with the healthiest mindset.
I don’t remember a specific moment that I decided to focus more on feeling good and energized, although I do remember going to an arm balance workshop after eating more than usual and getting myself into an inversion that I never thought I would be capable of. When I came out of the pose I felt strong and confident–two things that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was at this point that I began focusing on fueling my body for each class which, over time, meant fueling my body always. There’s a quote in a book titled “Meditations from the Mat” in which Rolph Gates speaks about how yoga poses never end. He states “The reality is that the posture never ends, it just shifts from one form to the next, one lesson to the next, one opportunity to the next. We remain life’s student whether we are inhaling or exhaling, in a relationship or out of one, saving the world or looking for a temp job. The posture never ends.”
For me, this meant that any challenges I faced while standing in Warrior II never went away, and that the way I took care of my body was not isolated to yoga class itself but to all areas of my life. I began to focus on my breathing in class, and out. I began to focus on how each pose felt instead of how I thought I looked, which in turn allowed me to begin focusing on this in my daily life. I began choosing water, milk, and juice over diet soda because, despite there being more calories, the latter made my body feel better. I began eating bigger meals that filled me up and didn’t leave me longing for more. If I was tired I allowed myself to sit and relax instead of forcing myself to be active. I began to truly listen to my body, and treat it well.
As I began to fuel my body, give it rest, and allow it to tell me what it needed I also began to see my yoga practice improve. I was gaining muscle, flexibility, and courage. If I wanted to do a pose I became determined to do so. However, if I was unable to accomplish it due to whatever reason, I allowed myself to feel frustrated and then I simply took a deep breath and let it go.
So how does this all tie in with the title?
For the past 8 years I have found myself stuck at not only a low weight but an unhealthy state of mind. I was controlling, rigid, and extremely hard on myself. Yet, after a year and a half of practicing yoga regularly I have come to realize that I have learned how to care for myself both physically and emotionally. I am now in a healthy weight range for the first time since I was 15 and I am kind to myself when I go against the rules that my eating disorder has set up for me. I can’t say that I am recovered, or that yoga was the sole reason for my big step towards recovery, but I can say that it contributed immensely to how I viewed myself, my body, and the world around me. Each pose may look like a normal pose to others, but to me it is more than that. It is proof that with proper care and nurturing, my body is capable of doing more than I ever dreamed possible.
“You look healthy” she said to me, making sure I knew that she was just stating a fact. “Your arms look strong”.
This sounds like a compliment, but to me it was a slap in the face. “She’s not saying you look healthy, she’s saying you look bigger, fuller, LARGER. You have no control over yourself, your arms are huge and your stomach is puffy and there is nothing you can do about it”. This is what by mind told me.
But the difference, and let me be clear here by pointing out that this is a GOOD difference, is that my thoughts ended with “there’s nothing you can do about it”. How very strange it is to think that. How very strange it is to not be planning on ways to restrict, or over exercise, or mentally deprive myself of things I enjoy. How wonderfully freeing it is to know that I will, and I did, leave that office knowing that lunch was waiting for me to eat, and dinner would be had with a man I love and a man that I allow to love me in return. How wonderfully freeing that truly is.
I tried THREE times to photograph things throughout the day. The first time I didn’t even make it to breakfast.The second time I made it to lunch. And the third time (today) I made it up until dinner and then forgot. So you get all I have…my day up until about 6pm. It may not be the most thrilling of days but I love hearing what you guys do in a day, so I’m just going to assume this is of some interest so SOMEONE out there! :-)
6:10 Alarm goes off. Laura goes “no”. Snooze.
6:15 Alarm goes off again. I get up for one reason and one reason only- coffee. I sip coffee and catch up on blogs for about 45 minutes and then decide to make some breakfast.
7:00 Breakfast time. I have been on an oatmeal streak lately. I don’t necessarily think I crave oatmeal in the winter, I just think that I see more of it on blogs and in stores and then I find myself making it one day and it just sticks!
7:20 Another cup of coffee because I need to be a human being today.
7:50 Drive to work. Listen to David Gray and zone out the whole time.
8:30 Arrive at work and do paperwork until…
9:00 Morning meeting time. I came up with the idea to take Morning Meeting Minutes since we have a staff meeting every morning. I’ve gotten a ton of good feedback about it so I’m pretty proud! Although, when I’m gone no one does them for me…
10:00 Snack timeeeee. Followed by phone calls, documentation of meetings and collateral work.
11:00 Still hungry. Apple time. Type Type Munch Munch.
12:00 Time for lunch! I have way too much fun with my sugar snap peas.
12:30 Head out to get work done at Starbucks because I’m tired of being in my office. #ILoveMyJob
2:00 Meet with a client at a local ClubHouse. I request a tour because I haven’t seen this one yet. It’s really nice and I talk to her for an hour and twenty minutes. It was a good meeting!
3:20 Speed to my next appointment at 3:30 because it’s 20 minutes away! Also, snacks.
3:37 Make it to my next appointment (at a Dunkin Donuts….two coffee shops in one day!). It’s a short meeting because my client is doing really well!
4:15 Head home
4:30 Look at my desk and realize that it’s time to organize and clip some coupons. Organizing comes first.
5:00 Watch tv and clip coupons. New Girl is my life.
5:30 Get dinner because I’m hungry and can’t wait any longer. Leftover chicken, couscous, salad, and grapes went unpictured. (I told you I forgot to take pictures!)
6:00 Do my laundry, continue cleaning my room, begin typing this post. Share this picture with you because I was finally able to do a headstand without solely relying on a wall!
7:00-bedtime I will be reading, watching tv, eating a snack, chatting with my boyfriend, and basically being lazy. My day is boring and now you get to share it with me. You win the blog lottery!
What’s the most interesting thing you did today??
I tagged myself in Amanda’s “4 Things” survey because I’m lame and just really felt like doing a survey. The number of times I have wanted to write a post yet couldn’t think of anything to write is sort of embarrassing. How do people write posts every day??
This post is going to be word-heavy with lots of really random, unrelated pictures thrown in. My apologies.
Four names that people call me, other than my real name:
- Laur. I think this began mainly as laziness but my best friend and my nutritionist both call me this and I sort of like it.
- Lauren. Because people get confused.
Four jobs I’ve had:
- Panera Bread cashier/barista trainer
- UConn Cafe supervisor
- Restaurant Server (I was SO bad at this job.)
- Mental Health Counselor/Case Manager (my current job)
Four movies I’ve watched more than once (AND can quote):
- I can’t even answer this one. I don’t think my brain has the ability to remember lines of movies. I can watch a movie with my full attention and interest, turn it off, and not be able to repeat any lines back.
Four books I’d recommend:
- A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
- A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
- The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Four places I’ve lived:
- With my parents (Rhode Island)
- At School (Connecticut)
- Studying Abroad (London)
- That’s it. Although at school I lived in 4 different places so I guess that counts sort of?
Four places I’ve been:
- California (San Diego, Orange County, LA)
- London (Study Abroad)
- Multiple countries around Europe (Wales, Scotland, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland)
- Florida (Disney World woooo!)
Four places I’d rather be right now:
- On a beach. A warm beach.
- At Starbucks.
- In London.
- Snuggling with a pile of puppies.
Four things I don’t eat:
- Spicy Food…my stomach does NOT tolerate it.
- Raw onions…I have a weird sensitivity to it.
- Cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli. Again…stomach woes.
- Any exotic meat. I’ll stick to the basics but any organs or whatever are NOT okay with me.
Four of my favorite foods:
- Peanut Butter
- Corn Muffins
Four TV shows that I watch:
Since I don’t really watch TV, I’ll just list off some of the older shows I love…
- New Girl
- How to Get Away with Murder
- Big Bang Theory
Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
<2 months left sooo….
- Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday, and I get to celebrate twice in one day today. One of the many benefits of having a boyfriend ;-)
- Christmas. Because…Christmas.
- Continuing my yoga practice.
- Hot chocolate, warm blankets, fires in the fire place, snuggling.
Four things I’m always saying:
I can’t believe that July was the last time I posted. JULY! I’m still not sure where I stand on blogging. I enjoy writing about my life and my thoughts because it helps me to put things into perspective, dig deeper into who I am and who I am becoming, as well as allow me to keep documentation of my life. A lot has changed recently (ironically, since my “changes” post in July). I got a new job, my sister moved away to Virginia, my boyfriend and I celebrated our 7 months together, I fired my therapist (long story), I’ve gained some much needed weight, and I have delved deeper into my passion for yoga. That’s a lot in 3 months, wouldn’t you agree?
I don’t want to talk about all those things, mainly because that would take way too long to write and a lot of it wouldn’t be worth reading anyways. I do, however, want to focus on 3 of those things- my boyfriend, my weight gain, and my yoga practice.
1. The Boy
Where do I even begin? After getting out of a not-so-healthy, two-year-long relationship I was scared–scared to be vulnerable, scared that I wasn’t good enough for any man, and scared to commit myself again to someone who wouldn’t understand the struggles I go through, and instead of picking me up and pushing me forward, would instead put me down. However, when I met Matt I knew things were different. Throughout the past seven months he has proven to me that I can be with someone else and still find myself, BE myself, and challenge myself all at the same time. I love with my whole heart now, and feel that love being reciprocated. He pushes me…gently, and reminds me every day how amazing I am. I definitely contribute some of my progress regarding my weight, confidence, and anxiety to him and our relationship. I couldn’t be happier with him if I tried.
2. The Weight
Up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea what I weighed. I knew I wasn’t losing weight and that I was slowly gaining, but I didn’t know the number because I didn’t want to know. I even refused to get on the scale at my yearly physical, stating that my nutritionist was keeping track of it and there was no need for me to see it. That all changed, however, when I went to the gastroenterologist and thought that if I were to step on a scale at any doctor, this would be the one, as it is important for them to monitor my weight if they are going to make changes to help my long-going digestive issues. So I stepped on the scale and immediately regretted it. The scale showed at LEAST 5 pounds more than I thought, which in the grand scheme of things sounds silly and like “no big deal” but those five pounds signified a lot more to me. To me, those five pounds meant I was heavier than I had been in 8 years. Those five pounds meant that my inclinations that my pants were getting a lot tighter were correct. Those five pounds put me in the “normal” weight range (albeit, the very low end of normal). Those five pounds said, to me, that I no longer had an eating disorder.
It took a lot of processing, and another step on the scale just yesterday (it was even one pound more) for me to put those thoughts into perspective:
1. “I am heavier now than I have been in 8 years”–8 years ago I was 16 years old and very, very sick. Ever since then I have struggled day in and day out with my body image, the food I ate, my exercise, and everything in between. Those 8 years have been hell, and I am happier now. Plus, I SHOULD weigh more at 24 than at 16, or 17, or 18…etc.
2. “My pants are getting tighter”–I donated 4 pairs of pants yesterday, because they are not worth holding on to. Recovery means buying new clothes, and until I know that my weight gain train is over I will wear leggings, dresses, and comfortable jeans. It’s okay to get rid of jeans that I wore when I was sick because this is part of the process.
3. “I am in the “normal” weight range”–BMI wise. I have been practicing yoga and occasionally rock climbing. I have long legs and a short torso. I don’t even LIKE BMI. Plus…I want to be healthy, so this is GOOD.
4. “I no longer have an eating disorder”–false. I am in recovery from an Eating Disorder and still have a long way to go. Just because I don’t look like it any more doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled what I’ve struggled through. I am closer now to being recovered and being able to help those who are battling the same struggle I have and still do battle every day.
Since then, I have been holding on to this thought, which is a nice merge into my next topic of yoga–
3. The Yoga
I’ve always practiced yoga on and off but never had an opportunity to stick with it and reap it’s full benefits. Since being a full-time employee for over two years now, I knew it was time to start doing something for myself. I began practicing yoga again about a year ago but did it on and off. A few months ago I took the financial leap and became a member of a local studio where I now go 1-2x per week. The other days I practice at home, and complete Instagram Yoga Challenges. They are fun and allow me to try poses I otherwise never would have heard of.
A few weeks ago one of the yoga instructors asked us to use the practice to ask ourselves “why do I do yoga”? I spent the remainder of the hour and fifteen minutes trying to figure out the true meaning, and have continued to ask myself ever since. Here is what I have come up with.
1. Yoga let’s me relax and unwind after a long day.
2. Yoga forces me to listen to my body, and go easier when I need to go easier and push myself when I feel like I can.
3. Yoga has allowed me to be more forgiving with my body, and myself. “Wherever you are is exactly where you need to be” 4. I feel confident on my yoga mat. I feel strong both emotionally and physically. I feel untouchable. I don’t care about what my body looks like–I focus on what it can do, and I set achievable goals for myself but don’t get upset if I don’t reach them. I treat myself well.
And most importantly….Yoga is FUN!!!
So there you have it….an update on some parts of my life. I’m actually currently sick with strep so I’m off to go binge watch Gilmore Girls and eat soup. I’ll leave you with this picture of a tree in my front yard, because it’s Fall and who doesn’t appreciate a good tree pic??
“Changes”. That word always reminds me of this song.
But that’s a sadder version of the changes I’m experiencing, let me assure you.
I haven’t posted since April which is crazy to me seeing as it’s already half-way through July and so so much has happened. I’m a happier version of myself; I’m actually the happiest version of myself that I’ve been in a very, very, very long time. Here’s why:
I let go of people who brought me down, and began finding myself drawn towards those who picked me up.
I learned to just “let go”.
I began practicing yoga regularly and proving to myself that “I am stronger than I think” (my mantra of choice).
I went on adventures, challenged myself, and tried new things.
I met someone who, without a doubt, makes me the happiest I have ever felt. Who challenges me and loves me, makes me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed before, and who I trust with my heart.
That’s a good question. TWO MONTHS of no posts and very-little-to-no blog comments? It appears to me that I have fallen off the blog world planet, and to be honest I’m not sure how I feel coming back. Actually I’m not sure if I AM coming back. Despite this, I am here today to update anyone who reads/cares as to what has been happening in my life the past two months.
February was a trying month for me. My boyfriend and I began arguing more than usual and be both began to realize that perhaps we weren’t the healthiest partner for one another. I had a week off of work where I spent most of that time laying in bed in tears, not knowing what was going to happen and trying to avoid the blame game. By the end of the month we had both decided it was time for a break. It was in both of our best interests and although extremely painful, I think we both realize that this decision was for the best.
March came and went and I’m still scratching my head as to how that happened so quickly. I spent a lot of time recuperating from the breakup but also spending time with my friends and family. I seriously have the best support network anyone could ever ask for. I also began practicing yoga on a regular basis (weekly), took up a photography class, and spent time finding the old Laura.
I’m happy now, though. I am becoming more at peace with who I am and I’m reconnecting with people whom I lost touch with along the way. It’s April now, and spring is here. Time to embrace new changes, both good and bad, and fight for what I deserve.
It turns out that this weeks Spill it, Sundays theme can be meshed with my Boston recap. Or at least..I’m going to try my best to make it happen!
The last 5 people you spoke to on the phone
1. My boyfriend
2. My boss
3. My mom
4. My client(s)
5. My boyfriend
The last 5 meals you ate (I’m going with the last five GOOD ones :-) )
1. Lunch at Firehouse subs on Boylston street in Boston. Both Mike and I were freezing so finding one of our favorite lunch spots and eating hot, grilled subs was heavenly. This also helped the whole “warming up” thing:
2. Dinner at Anthem Kitchen and Bar in Faneuil Hall (Boston).
It was too dark to manage pictures of our meals, but I ended up ordering the Pan Roasted Salmon which came with snap peas, crispy rice cake, edamame puree + chili-orange mustard glaze. Mike ordered the Scallops + Bacon which was seared sea scallops, crispy pork belly, quinoa fried rice, house made hoisin, and crushed cashews. Both meals were delicious and wine was obviously a necessity.
3. BREAKFAST IN BED! I really, REALLY wish I had taken a picture of the cart that was wheeled up to our hotel room because it had everything you could possible imagine on it. Mike and I both ordered poached eggs, bacon (he ate mine), toast, hash browns, and Starbucks coffee. There were little packets of butter, jars of ketchup and preserves, glasses of ice water, and little canisters of milk for our coffee. It was incredible. We sat in this bed and watched the news.
4. Lunch at Au Bon Pain with one of my best friends! I didn’t get anything extraordinary- just a tuna salad with italian dressing and a ciabatta roll. Plus an apple for good measure.
5. Dinner last night which was quite pathetic due to my laziness. Avocado and black bean wrap with carrots + honey mustard, and chocolate milk. No pictures…because it was an avocado and black bean wrap. Not exactly the most photogenic meal.
The last 5 places you travelled
1. Boylston Strees in Boston (where the Boston Bombing took place).
3. The Body Worlds Vital exhibit. Mike and I have been wanting to see this since we were in high school but we never had the opportunity. While we were walking through Faneuil Hall we notices that this exhibition was still taking place–right upstairs! For those of you who haven’t heard of this, here’s a quick description from the website-
“Featuring authentic human bodies, the exhibition shows the body through cautionary displays about distress and disease, and inspirational insights about the virtuosity and resilience of the human body.”
That’s right…REAL human bodies-
4. Harvard Square, Boston. Mike and I met my friend for lunch.
5. Home. To lay in bed for hours. What a weekend!
The next 5 places you will go
1. Work (x5)
2. Trivia night on Wednesday
(Clearly I don’t have much planned in the near future. Meh!)
The last 5 workouts you did
1. I don’t really workout….ever. But I walked a lot.
2. And I do yoga.
3. And I walked.
4. And walked.
5. And walked….
Five things making you happy right now
1. My boyfriend and the bond we share.
2. Knowing that warm weather is getting closer and closer to being here.
3. Also knowing that I have the entire week off next week to do absolutely nothing. Well, except binge-watch Netflix of course.
4. Updating my “about me” page. Well, actually, it’s called “The Girl” because I tried to be cute.
5. The fact that this weekend I ate what I wanted, and didn’t feel that all-encompassing guilt that I am all too familiar with. There were a few “should I have eaten that?” moments, but otherwise I ate…I moved on..and I enjoyed the weekend with my boyfriend. It was amazing.
Have you ever been to the Body Worlds exhibit? If so…what did you think?
What did you do this weekend? Anything fun?
Answer one of these “5 things” survey questions!
…and I’m Thinking out Loud.
I know…I’m the worst. But listen…in my defense I have a snow day from work (which never happens) and tomorrow I probably will be more interested in napping than blogging, so I’m just thinking out loud today. Is that cool? Cool.
1. I’m going to Boston this weekend!
I mean…I go to Boston fairly frequently, however, this time is different. Why? Because my boyfriend and I are staying at a fancy, shmancy hotel and livin’ the high life. No…not that kind of high life.
Anyways…details to come. :-)
2. I really wish there was a good book/article/SOMETHING that explains what someone with an Eating Disorder thinks throughout the day.
Like…I try to write it down because I want to be able to explain it to my boyfriend and honestly…to myself. I want to read my thoughts and really see how crazy it is, but I haven’t been able to articulate my thoughts correctly. Then, when I go looking for an article or any piece of writing that is able to accurately express the thoughts and mind of an eating disorder sufferer I end up empty handed. Any recommendations? Or should I just start journaling?
3. It’s been almost two years since I got rid of my scale.
Okay…it’s been 1.5 years but humble me. In all honesty it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve known my weight here and there along the way, but nothing is as obsessive as me weighing myself, and controlling as the number on that scale. I have my boyfriend to thank for pushing me to get rid of it. Granted the first time I gave it to him I took it back…but eventually I came to my senses and told him to get rid of it for good.
4. On a smaller scale, I haven’t measured ANY of my food in a month.
This is something that I didn’t even realize was a behavior until I tried explaining it to my boyfriend and nutritionist casually and it wasn’t exactly casual in their eyes. Lots of “what do you MEAN you measure your food?” ensued.
Beano’s (well that’s a weird brand name) Submarine Dressing.
I’ve been trying to add more fat into my diet so I went out and bought salad dressing, mayo, avocados, and this. I know it’s technically supposed to just be for sandwiches but I’ve been putting it on carrots, green beans, salads, roasted potatoes, etc. I mean it is just oil and herbs/spices…right?
5. I guess I didn’t really have much to say.
But tell me something interesting! What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite sandwich condiment? What would you recommend that I watch on Netflix during this snowy day?