How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break

The title totally sounds like a middle school English class essay you had to write after coming back from Thanksgiving break, doesn’t it? Haha guess I just love reliving my younger years 😉

My break isn’t quite over which I am very thankful for–the last three weeks in the semester are always the hardest because you just got a taste of freedom but then you have to go back and get ready for finals and write papers. Not fun. But this is how I’ve been spending the past few days, with a mix of the successes and struggles I’ve had along the way.

Struggles

Still dealing with ‘disordered’ thoughts. 

Thanksgiving is a tough holiday for a recovering anorexic. And as a vegan, I’m not that thrilled by the usual selection of holiday foods. So I did struggle a bit on Thanksgiving Day. For one, I didn’t have breakfast. Yep, I wasn’t exactly planning on it (I love breakfast and never miss it!) but I wanted to have a pumpkin waffle with plenty of real maple syrup but my mom ended up using my waffle maker to make waffles for the rest of my family, and I freaked out about the ingredients she used in the waffles and decided not to make a waffle. But I didn’t end up making breakfast at all because I just got stuck in my disordered eating thought patterns and was getting anxious about Thanksgiving. I also didn’t eat lunch, because our family just does a lot of snacks in the afternoon. So I did enjoy some snackage (homemade guac I made myself, rice cake with pumpkin butter/chocolate chips, raw carrots and cauliflower, amazing spicy salsa). I also had a few adult beverages but we’ll save that for the successes part! I think I did an okay job eating once the big meal went around and I even tried some of the vegan stuffing my mom made. But I definitely struggled with feeling okay with being a little full. The feeling of fullness still scares me to death so that was hard to deal with. I also had some issues with exercising. I told myself I’d take a day or two off from working out this week but that hasn’t happened. It’s still too scary for me to take full-blown rest days.

The cute plate I had my snacks on.

Never being able to make a really delicious dessert from scratch.

Lately, I haven’t been able to make a dessert from a recipe that I actually like enough to eat. For some reason, I like it when I’m tasting it in the cooking process but then once it’s made, it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. And then it goes in the trash. I can’t keep wasting food, but I can’t figure out why I can’t make an amazing dessert. I guess I should just stick with my simple, throw-it-together desserts like coconut milk ice cream or ‘banana bread’ protein bowls. Those are always satisfying.

A delicious lunch at my favorite restaurant. Falafel, tabbouleh, fresh red cabbage, lettuce and hummus.

Body image issues.

This kinda goes along with the first one, but lately I’ve been really having a hard time accepting what I see in the mirror. I always go through phases where I either like what I see or I’m totally disgusted by it, and right now I’m dealing with the latter. Anyone who’s ever dealt with this knows how much this sucks, but I’m hoping I start moving out of this phase soon.

Going back to classes after break.

Not gonna lie, I’m already burned out by school. The hardest time for me is always the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, especially this year when I’m buried with a million assignments. I’m simultaneously freaking out and feeling passive about finishing up the semester.

These almost look like stars, don’t they?

Successes

Enjoying alcohol without worrying about the calories. 

I’m not quite 21 yet (just 8 months to go!) and I’ve never been one of those people who partied hard in college but lately I’ve been more interested in drinking, at least on special occasions. On Thanksgiving, I tried some cake vodka mixed with a little vanilla almond milk (to die for!) and I also had some green apple liqueur at dinner and I enjoyed them both. I did NOT get drunk or anything but it was nice to be able to sip my drinks and not freak out about drinking OMGsomanycalories.

This was soooooo good!

Getting a lot of assignments done.

I was kind of dreading Thanksgiving break, because I had a lot of schoolwork to do during it. But I’ve been splitting it into manageable chunks and working on a little each day and I’ve definitely been making progress.  I’m still stressing out about some of them, but I’ve got a few more days to finish them up.

I love fall sunsets.

Mixing in fun with the work.

My break hasn’t been all work and no play though. Yesterday we went up to Denver for the day for some window shopping, a cheap lunch at Garbanzo (they were offering a buy one get one deal all day) and checking out a cool German Christmas festival. We also played tourist with my grandparents and went to Garden of the Gods and Old Colorado City the other day. It’s kinda fun to explore the sites in your own city even if you’ve seen them a hundred times.

The weather was gorgeous and so were the views.

What have you been enjoying over the past few days? Do you like to be a tourist in your own city?

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17 thoughts on “How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break

  1. caloricandcrazy says:

    I totally know how you feel about the body image issues! I too have my good days and bad days. It can be so frustrating, I know!

    I let thanksgiving be one of my “no count” days, but I agree, for those of us who have been through disordered eating and are trying to navigate away from it, having that “full” feeling can still be a struggle to comprehend and be okay with.

  2. I am sorry to hear about all your struggles, but I think it’s great that you are brave and honest enough to share them on your blog. I know that recovering from an eating disorder can be a long and difficult process, and I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! As for the “dessert problem,” have you tried making any desserts from the Oh She Glows blog or any of Dreena Burton’s books? Both of them have simple and delicious desserts that you may want to try out. If you need any specific recommendations, I would be more than glad to suggest some:) I know that body image issues are also difficult to deal with–as cliche as it sounds, try to remember that you ARE truly beautiful!! I wish you the best of luck with the last few weeks of college:)

  3. I understand your struggles & body image issues,but trust me: Facing your fears is the only way. If I didn’t face my awful sugar-fear,I’d still be eating nothing but veggies and unsweetened soy milk right now,and – surprise,surprise – be terribly unhappy with my situation. Also,if I wouldn’t gain weight,I’d probably never get better – ohysically as well as mentally,cause since I’ve gained some more weight,my ED thoughts are getting a lot better,like I am able to think rationally again… Seriously,it’s amazing!
    Therefore,keep pushing,Ashley,you can do it! And even though I don’t like drinking alcohol actually,I totally agree on that once in a while,a cool cocktail truly hits the spot. 🙂

  4. Sorry to hear that you’re going through some struggles, hun 😦 I know the holidays can be a rough time for people who have recovered from any kind of eating disorder, which is sad because they should be a time of love, laughter, and enjoying good food. I definitely agree with Kat though, that the only way to really get better is to face your fears and see that nothing bad happens. As long as you keep giving in to them, the disordered thoughts will keep pestering you. Try pushing yourself to do things outside your comfort zone – it’ll be uncomfortable, but over time you’ll see that the freedom of not being controlled by disordered thoughts is completely intoxicating, and so much better than living in fear.

    • It makes me really sad to think about how many holidays have gone by that I haven’t truly enjoyed–I want to make this Christmas the best in awhile, so I think I’ll start by stopping the calorie counting obsession and go from there. Hopefully I can enjoy the holiday season for the food and the fun!

  5. jess says:

    For me, when I finally gave into getting better, I had to get more people involved. Because by myself, there was no way I was going to just magically start enjoying food without guilt, eating when I was hungry, etc. But I also got to the point of SUCH physical and mental exhaustion (I literally felt like I was going to have a heart attack every time I worked out, and thought I would be better off dead because I hated my life so much) that honestly, giving into recovery was kind of a no-brainer for me — I had made up my mind that I had nothing left to lose because essentially, I had lost everything anyway (weight, social life, happiness, freedom, time, energy….) and STILL wasn’t happy! But still, I needed my parents to kind of hover over me the first month or so to coax me into eating more, telling me it’s okay, that the weight I”m putting on looks good and that I need it, and that I don’t deserve to punish myself anymore with exercise, etc…. alone, yeah, you may *think* that to yourself, but it’s a lot harder to put those thoughts into action because you’re just scared.

    So I don’t know, maybe you need to open up more to your family about your struggles. And for pete’s sake, girl, stop being vegan! I hope you realize how limited your choices are with being a vegan, and if I had to guess, I’d say you’re vegan because it’s part of your ED decision.

    Once you step outside of that dark circle, it’s a lot easier to keep on the right track because you’ll finally have the living proof that it’s really not as scary as you thought to let go of your ED….

    • I think you’re right, I haven’t been totally open with my parents lately about my struggles and it’s really hard to go it alone. They’ve been so supportive in the past so I know they would be now. I just need to take that first step and talk to them!

  6. Thanksgiving and the body image issues were pretty much the same for me this break, too. and I can’t say that i’m looking forward to going back to college. I’m ready to just chill at home until the New Year, honestly. The holidays are always hard with eating disorders and body image. I love this time of year but also can’t wait for it to be over. Sad. I hope these next few weeks fly by for the both of us.

  7. Ashley, I SO get you on the holidays being a tough time when in recovery. While wanting to join the others in all the fun and relish in spending time with your loved ones it can be awfully hard to let go. I keep telling myself to be less rigid, have at least one day of intuitive eating. Even when I happen to fail I don’t give up but count every little success and try again later.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself for not succeeding in every point. Sure, it’s sad you gave up your great breakfast plans and even skipped it altogether. But being able to revise the situation and see what made you struggle is a great step towards recovery. At least for me, my old ED self would have found excuses and not admitted to the problem.

    Also, see how successful you were on the other hand. Having fun cocktails, getting work for your assignments done but not stressing too much. Congrats on doing so! Let us both try to kick ED’s butt on Christmas then, huh :D?!

    • I like the way you think–looking at the successes rather than the failures! Being positive always helps me feel better so thanks for this reminder. And by being positive, I think we can both be ED butt-kickers 😉

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