Confessions of a Curve-less Girl

I’m joining up with Thinking Out Loud again this week to talk about something close to my heart: body image. 

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We’ve all heard the (completely untrue) phrase “real women have curves”. And we all know the backlash that phrase has created. Of course, I completely disagree with this statement and I think it can be really harmful.

See, I’m a curve(less) girl. Always have been. Not only am I petite, but I’m totally straight up-and-down. During middle school and high school when I noticed my fellow classmates developing boobs, butts and just curves in general, I wondered when mine would come. But after going through years of an eating disorder and emerging on the other side still curveless, I’ve come to embrace my natural body type. I’m a proud member of the A cup club (if only that were a real club!) and I literally have no hips. One reason why it took me so long to be okay with my body is just that. Having no hips means my thighs are naturally close together, and I’ve never had that coveted thigh gap (when my feet touch), even when I was severely underweight. For the longest time, I thought my thighs touching meant I was fat, but it’s really just because of how my body is built. Some women have thigh gaps, some don’t and that’s okay!

This is when I was near my skinniest (and unhealthiest) and my thighs only didn't touch when I was standing with my feet apart.

This is when I was near my skinniest (and unhealthiest) and my thighs only didn’t touch when I was standing with my feet apart (July 2009).

I’ve grown to love my body type. I’ve learned how to dress to enhance it — having a boyish shape means dresses with no structure absolutely drown me and I can’t really pull off the high-waisted shorts look. At the same time, I can wear strapless dresses and tops without looking too sexy (and honestly, I will probably never be considered ‘sexy’ and that’s okay) and I can get away with wearing shorter hemlines because they aren’t too revealing on my smaller frame. Sure, sometimes I feel like a twelve-year-old girl in a bikini because I don’t have that hourglass shape that most women do, but most of the time, I wouldn’t want to change my body type at all.

Also, this isn’t necessarily about being thin. Plenty of thinner women out there DO have curves and some like me don’t. The point is, there isn’t one body type that defines a woman!

No curves but I still rock a bikini (May 2013).

No curves but I still rock a bikini (May 2013).

So am I not a real woman because I’m shaped like a ruler? Of course not! I’m just as much of a woman as any other female out there and NO ONE should be made to feel less than just because of how they look. I also want to apply this to transgendered women, who probably feel even less like women in certain instances. I believe anyone who identifies as a female should be treated as such!

Moral of the story: don’t let societal standards or stupid phrases keep you from being who you are!

How do you feel about the phrase “real women have curves”? 

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New in Review: Fear Foods

I know some people don’t like the term ‘fear foods’. I know we shouldn’t be giving food so much power and control over our lives. But for me, fear foods are just that  — foods I’m still scared of in one way or another, but when I use them to challenge myself, I can take away some of that power.

The thing about my particular list of fear foods is that it’s changed a lot over the years. During the worst of my initial round of ED, I was scared to death of anything with fat in it. I subsisted on black beans, white rice and sugar-free Jell-O. At the beginning of my recovery, there were times that I feared almost any food my parents had me eat, since it took away my control. I remember throwing an apple across the room in anger. It shocks me now that I could be scared of an apple. Other foods have come and gone on my list. I still have fear foods to this day. Today, it’s mostly things I’ve deemed less than ‘clean’. Any added sugar, products with added oils other than coconut or olive oil, preservatives and the biggie for me, gluten and most grains. I eat gluten free not because I’ve been diagnosed with celiac or because I feel better without gluten (though generally I do) but because it’s become a fear of mine.

So for this edition of New in Review, I’m tackling a few fear foods. I can’t promise to take on the biggies but I did try some new-to-me things that still scare me to the point that it took me a few days after buying them to bite the bullet and just eat them.

  • Califia Farms Watermelon Ginger Lime Agua Fresca
Mmm, watermelon.

Mmm, watermelon.

After posting about this a few weeks ago, I honestly thought I’d never get the chance to try it out. But the Whole Foods here is pretty good about stocking new products. So when I spotted this, I knew I had to try it. Of course, I scanned the ingredient list and my heart sank a little when I saw cane sugar on the label. I guess I figured it was 100% fruit juice. Sadly, no, but luckily sugar is 4th on the short ingredient list.

Enough about my clean eating rant. I know you all want to know about the taste. It’s basically like eating a ripe, ice cold watermelon. There’s a little hint of ginger and lime, but the watermelon is the big star. And it’s definitely sweet, so I like to mix just a bit of it with water and shake it up with ice.

Pros: tasty, simple ingredients

Cons: added sugar

  • O’Dough’s Bagel Thins (sprouted whole grain flax)
Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein 'frosting' and berries.

Bagel thins topped with coconut butter and stevia chocolate chips. Side of Sunwarrior protein ‘frosting’ and berries.

Let me just start out by saying bagels are one of my biggest fear foods. I think the last time I ate a legit bagel was during my freshman year of college. I used to occasionally go to the bagel place in the student center and order a plain blueberry bagel, and eat half of it. I was still terrified of bagels then, but not nearly as much as I am now.

When I saw these at Sprouts, I knew I couldn’t pass them up. First of all, they’re gluten free AND vegan. It’s hard to find bread products that are both. Most have egg in them or other questionable ingredients. These are pretty standard, and healthy. And second of all, they’re bagel thins. I know I wouldn’t be able to get myself to eat a full-size bagel, but getting bagel thins means I can eat a whole bagel in one sitting. Disclaimer: it still took me three days from when I bought them to actually try them. So…the fear is still there.

As for the actual product, I’m on the fence. It toasted up well and is doughy without being overwhelming or too chewy. But the taste is off. For some reason, it has a slight fishy smell and taste, maybe from the flax, but I’m not really sensitive to the flavor of flax. It tastes fine when it’s topped with something, but I don’t think I’d buy these again because of that.

Pros: gluten free and vegan, 100 calories per whole bagel

Cons: weird flavor, they’re made with soy flour (I generally avoid soy) and have a little added sugar

  • The Gluten Free Bistro pizza crust
I love me some (gluten free, vegan) pizza.

I love me some (gluten free, vegan, homemade) pizza.

I already loved TGFB products before I tried this one. I’ve used their frozen dough to make pizza crust and cinnamon rolls, and it’s got a great texture and flavor. But I’d never seen their pre-made crust until a few weeks ago. This is yet another Whole Foods find, but if you check their website, they do sell them at other natural foods stores, and apparently some pizza places use their crust.

I’m a total pizza snob. You wouldn’t think a clean eating vegan would love pizza, right? Well, in my case, you’d be wrong. I skip the Daiya and other fake cheeses in favor of plenty of fresh veggie toppings. And when possible, I go for gluten free crust. TGFB’s crust is definitely the healthiest GF+vegan crust ever. It’s made of a mix of 4 GF flours (brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat and coconut) which adds a nice hearty flavor, tapioca starch, unsweetened applesauce, yeast, sugar (just to activate the yeast), xanthan gum, olive oil and garlic salt. No eggs or weird stabilizers needed!

The taste and texture are the best too. I much prefer thin crusts, and this one is thin while still being doughy and soft. It tastes a bit like sourdough, but it blends well with all toppings. And it reheats well the next day in the oven!

Pros: minimal ingredients, whole grain and gluten free, tastes incredible

Cons: a little expensive for just a crust

As for how I’m tackling these fear foods, the verdict is mixed. I used the pizza crust this weekend and got three solid dinners out of it. The juice I bought two weeks ago, and I’ve gotten about 1/4 of the way through it. And I’ve eaten one bagel thin so far…hopefully I can get myself to finish the rest. Luckily, they’re frozen so I don’t have to worry about them going bad before I can finish them. But I’d prefer not to toss them out  — I’ve already done that with far too many things in the past!

Do you have any ‘fear foods’? 

Getting Healthy: Part 2

The second in a series of posts about my health issues after eating disorder recovery. You can read the introductory post here

My doctor’s appointment and blood tests were over a month ago, and I finally received the results in the mail. I was anxiously awaiting them, hoping they’d be the key in helping me figure out why my body isn’t working the way it should.

I shouldn’t have put all my hope in the results, though. They came back completely clean, all within normal ranges. On the one hand, this made me happy, because who doesn’t want to have a healthy, functioning body? Everything I was tested for (which was a LOT, they took a lot of blood from me) checked out, including the thyroid test (TSH), which was one thing I was suspecting to be an issue.

Now I’m frustrated and confused. I got a voicemail a week or so ago from my doctor’s office saying I was referred to an endocrinologist. Of course, the timing isn’t great, since I’m moving out of state in two weeks. So if I want to figure this out (and of course I do), I have to find a new doctor once I move and possibly get tested again or get in to see an endocrinologist and have to explain my history. Also the fact that I may have to see an endocrinologist scares me, because that means it’s really a hormonal issue. It’s not something I can cover up anymore and pretend that it’s no big deal. This May will mark one full year without a period. I know some women recovering from an eating disorder go even longer without one, but the fact that I’ve never had one on my own is also a red flag.

I’m not sure where to go from here, and to be perfectly honest, figuring this out isn’t one of my top priorities at the moment. I’m a few weeks away from starting my first full time job, on top of moving to a new place and settling in there and finding a routine and figuring out everything on my own. I’m not planning on finding a doctor as soon as I get there, so this may be put on the back burner for a little while. I know that may not be the best thing for me, but it is what it is. Right now, I have to prioritize my new job and new life over my health.

Hopefully I can provide more updates in the next couple of months, but for now, I’m going to be focusing on moving and starting a job.

Have you ever prioritized something else over your health?

Growing Up

Awkward pre-interview face.

Awkward pre-interview face.

My life may be just a few weeks away from changing a lot. I had my first Skype interview late last week with a TV station in Tulsa, OK and then a phone interview with a weather app start-up company in the Bay Area the other day. I know I was complaining 2 months ago about how my job search was going nowhere but now I suddenly have interviews for two different jobs in just a few days. Crazy how life works sometimes!

I don’t want to talk too much about the jobs because nothing is close to finalized on either one yet but it got me thinking about how I’ve been growing up a lot lately. First, I graduated from college in December. I remember when college seemed so far away, let alone graduating college and going out into the real world.

The job search has been a whole other story. I’ve gone through times of excitement, finding jobs I’d hope I’d get. I went through frustration and disappointment when I didn’t hear back from any of the jobs I’d applied to. And now I’m kind of in a state of disbelief, as I consider that I could very well be moving to another state & another time zone very soon and starting my first job and really figuring out where to go with my life.

And then just other things in my life are changing, and helping me grow up. I’m apartment hunting, trying to figure out a budget for when I have a job, finding more confidence in myself, and maturing in my relationship with my parents & sister. I had some rough times last weekend, a few heart-to-hearts and I realized that my parents are still very worried about me with my thoughts towards food & my body. Remember my Fully Raw February challenge? That came to an end a little sooner than I’d thought due to getting sick and having my mom tell me that she thought I was being restrictive. I felt mostly really great eating raw but I realized I missed some things (namely peanut flour, lentils and sweet potatoes!) and having some digestive issues made me realize that I couldn’t sacrifice my health just to stick to a way of eating that I thought was ideal. I’m still eating somewhat raw, but being less restrictive and trying to figure out how to reincorporate foods I used to love while not feeling afraid of eating them. I made sweet potato+kale enchiladas with my dad the other night and I didn’t feel too guilty for eating corn tortillas or cooked food!

A [mostly] raw lunch that I felt good about eating.

A [mostly] raw lunch that I felt good about eating.

Things are changing over here, so there might be some changes coming to the blog too. I can’t promise any consistency in my posting, but I want to share updates a few times a week and keep up with my favorite blogs. I hope you’re all okay with that!

Any big changes going on in your life right now or soon?

Getting Healthy: Part 1

This is one of those awkward, girl-talk type posts so guy readers, feel free to skip this one!

I think making resolutions for myself this year was a good thing. I’ve actually been motivated to tackle most of them, and so far, I’ve been pretty successful. I’ve been applying to at least 3 jobs per week most weeks, I’ve been drinking plenty of water every day and been feeling better for it AND I’ve been eating mostly raw since the beginning of this month.

I’m finally getting around to addressing my fourth resolution on the list…taking control of my health. As I mentioned in this post from a few months ago, I went off hormonal BC in May of 2013. I was getting more headaches than usual and having some skin and digestive issues, so I decided to stop taking the pill after 3 years of being on it. My doctor was fine with me going off BC, and told me to come back in to see her if in 6 months I hadn’t had a period.

Now it’s been 9 months without a period. While it’s nice not to have to worry about all that not-so-fun girl stuff, it’s not healthy to go that long without a period. I was worried, so I made an appointment to check in with my doctor.

My appointment was this past Friday. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was in for, but I knew I needed to face this issue head-on. The nurse and my doctor both seemed very surprised that I hadn’t had a period in that long, or even any spotting. My doctor ran down some of the potential underlying issues with me, one of them being my weight. She knows a little bit of my ED history, but not all of it so I had to explain some of the background behind it. Basically, she said my weight’s been stable since she’s been my doctor for the past 2 years but she was a little concerned that it might be too low for me.

My BMI is currently just below the healthy range, and I’m basically at my highest weight ever. I explained this to her, and said that even before my ED issues, I was a good 10 pounds lighter than I am now. I understand that for a lot of people, being at a weight that’s too low for them could be a reason why they can’t get their period naturally, but I don’t think that’s the case for me. I’ve been slightly underweight my entire life, always petite and short for my age, and I just don’t think that’s my issue.

I’m going in sometime this week or next to get fasted blood work done and I’m pretty anxious for the results. I didn’t really leave the appointment with any conclusive answers, but I’m hoping something comes out of the blood work. My doctor mentioned that I may be referred to an endocrinologist depending on the results, so I’m really concerned and anxious and ready for some concrete answers.

This whole thing is really scary for me, but I know I needed to be more proactive and take control of my health. I don’t want my ED to dictate the rest of my life, so I need to figure out what’s going wrong in my body and do what it takes to fix it.

I know a lot of women blow off not getting their period because they don’t care about having children or whatever. Honestly, I don’t think I want to ever be pregnant or have biological children (I’m leaning towards adoption) but not getting your period ISN’T healthy. It can lead to cancer, among other health issues. That’s why I’m bringing light to this issue–because it’s so important for women and girls out there to realize that they need to take control of their health so they can lead happy, healthy lives. I know it’s hard to admit you need support and advice, but it’s so worth it to be healthy.

Has there ever been a health issue in your life that you needed to face?

What I Ate (and wore) Wednesday

I haven’t participated in WIAW in awhile! This week’s post is not all about the food, because let’s be real, I forgot to take a lot of food pics recently, but I also wanted to share some of my outfits as well.

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I usually make protein banana softserve for breakfast, but who doesn’t like to switch things up sometimes? Now that I have more time in the mornings, I made some almond flour-based pancakes the other morning. They were cookie-dough inspired, filled with stevia chocolate chips, and topped with warmed frozen cherries and a side of about a teaspoon of maple syrup. I’ve been subconsciously avoiding most added sugars lately and it’s changed my tastebuds. Now even a little maple syrup is too sweet!
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I like to play the part of a broadcast journalist, even if I’m not one quite yet! I’ve been really into blazers lately and I kinda want one in every color…
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I finally ordered some more peanut flour and I’ve missed it a ton! I’m glad I took a break though because I know you can develop allergic reactions to things you eat too ofen…and I definitely used to OD on peanut flour. It was good to have it back in my life, though, in this shirataki noodle stir fry topped with spinach, pineapple, homemade roasted chickpeas and the most addicting spicy raw sunflower seeds from the bulk section at Whole Foods.
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As much as I love some booty-hugging yoga shorts (especially these from VS Pink), I don’t wear them unless I’m working out. I actually was able to wear this outfit outside on Sunday to play tennis with my dad! It was a glorious 60 degrees, sunny and my definition of a perfect winter day 😉 And getting in almost an hour of tennis with my dad was even better.

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I posted about these on Instagram the other day, but you didn’t get to see the actual boots! I was in need of some black riding boots, and these sale-priced ones from ALDO fit the bill perfectly. Plus they were 50% off, what’s not to love? I’ve been doing some really smart shopping lately and I love that I’ve learned to be budget conscious, at least with clothes…
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Banana softserve is still consumed at least once per day. FYI, frozen bananas taste incredible blended with PlantFusion cookies ‘n cream protein powder, dark cocoa powder, spinach (gotta get those greens in!) and topped with PB+coconut oil and stevia chocolate chips. It’s like a decadent dessert, but healthy enough for breakfast!
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Sometimes, you gotta throw on the leggings and the chambray shirt. I like my girly clothes, so even my casual wear is cutened up a bit. I’m obsessed with this shirt…and the scarf! Love those infinity scarves.
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And then of course, the girly side of me wins out most of the time. I wore this outfit (from Christmas) out to see Frozen with my mom (a really good movie) and then some outlet shopping. I think I could probably live in tights/dresses+skirts!

As an aside, I weighed myself the other day. NEVER a good idea, and it certainly wasn’t this time. I just knew I had gained some weight, but I wasn’t expecting to be so close to 100 pounds. That number scares me so much, because I’ve never been in the triple digit club. I know something is off with my body, though–no period in almost 9 months, not-so-great skin and some digestive issues have been plaguing me for awhile and I’m anxious for my doctor’s appointment next month to (hopefully) clear things up. Honestly, though, if I hadn’t weighed myself, I wouldn’t have guessed I weighed that much. I still look about the same, I fit in all my clothes, so I’m hoping some of the weight is muscle (I think some of it is, because I can feel the hardness of my abs, arms and legs) and hopefully, if my body is out of whack, I can get back to the right weight for me. Right now, I’m just trying hard not to let this derail my progress…

What have you been eating/wearing this week?

Thanks But No Thanks

Before I get into my post, I want to wish Emily a very happy birthday! She’s one of the most inspiring bloggers out there and she always leaves the sweetest comments. She has given me so much support over the past couple of years and I really appreciate that. Go over to her blog and wish her a happy birthday!

It’s probably no secret, but I love researching various health topics. I think it’s good to be informed about these issues so you can be an advocate for yourself in times of health crises or even just to defend your healthy lifestyle if need be.

That being said, it bothers me when others are misinformed about health, food and exercise…especially when they try to pass along their ‘advice’ to me as if it’s at all helpful.

Take for instance a situation I had with my mom the other day. I will admit, I was in a negative headspace at the time–I was having some ED-driven thoughts about eating and my weight and I reached out to her for some advice. I wasn’t really seeking advice, just reassurance that I don’t need to lose weight or drastically change my eating and exercise habits just because I’m currently feeling uncomfortable in my body. Unfortunately, my mom isn’t the most well-versed in eating disorders or nutrition, so what she ended up telling me was way off the mark and a little triggering.

  • “Maybe you need to switch up your workouts more.” A good thought, but I actually do this anyway. One day, I’ll focus on legs, then I’ll focus on arms, then abs, then maybe a yoga/stretching day and repeat. I understand the idea behind switching up workouts, but the problem is, she doesn’t understand my exercise addiction. I feel guilty when I take rest days, unplanned or not. She told me that when it’s cold outside, I should just run up and down the stairs for cardio. Ummmm…no. I’m trying to work on making exercise more than just a tool for my eating disorder–it’s something I want to enjoy for its own sake. I don’t need someone telling me to do something I don’t want to do just to maybe get results.
Lifting is something I love to do, and I'm NOT giving it up.

Lifting is something I love to do, and I’m NOT giving it up.

  • “If you’re worried about your weight, maybe you shouldn’t eat so many bananas.” Uh, I eat 1, maybe 2 bananas per day, tops. Even if I was following the 80-10-10 lifestyle and eating 10+ bananas a day, I wouldn’t be gaining weight from the bananas. Sorry, but fruit is good for you. I refuse to cut bananas out of my life because they’re something I enjoy eating daily, in moderation, and they’re way healthier than the breakfasts my family eats. I’m sick of being stuck in a restrictive mindset…the last thing I need is more restrictions.
How is this banana and other fruit unhealthier than your processed cereal?

How is this banana and other fruit unhealthier than my family’s processed cereal?

  • “I think you look healthy.” Probably everyone who’s struggled with an eating disorder will cringe at this one. This is still the last thing I want to hear, especially from my own mom, who was there for me during the worst days of my ED. Yes, I expect honesty but I also expect her to understand that I’m still struggling with my body image. To make things even more confusing, she will sometimes say that I’m ‘so little’ and petite but other times tell me that I look healthy and if I wanted to, I could lose 5 pounds. Not in the least bit helpful, and extremely triggering.
I may not love my body, but I don't need someone else telling me that I could lose a few pounds.

I may not love my body, but I don’t need someone else telling me that I could lose a few pounds.

It’s frustrating to me that people like my mom, or the rest of my family, or friends want to spew all their own advice at me without realizing that I’ve probably spent a lot more time researching this stuff than they have. I just finished a college-level nutrition class, I’ve done a lot of research on the vegan diet and its various forms as well as other diets such as paleo. Maybe what I’m doing isn’t working for me, but I want a dietitian to tell me that, not just an average person I know who gets their nutrition knowledge from The Today Show. I’m not saying that I know all, because I don’t and I’m certainly no RD, but I don’t want to be lectured at by someone who knows even less than I do. It’s not at all helpful, it’s confusing and at the worst, it’s very triggering to someone who’s struggled with and still deals with an eating disorder.

Do you ever deal with bad nutrition/exercise/health advice from people around you?