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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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?

Ditch the Diet Debates

Note: In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I created a page on my blog dedicated to my own struggles with an eating disorder and some of my most helpful posts on the topic. Check it out here and visit nedawareness.org for even more information. 

You know me…never afraid to take on a touchy subject 😉 I’ve discussed Instagram disordered behavior, figure competitions, rest days and intuitive eating and orthorexia in my personal life.

But what I haven’t talked much about is the crazy debates out there about the ‘perfect’ diet. There have been a lot of posts lately touching on the pros and cons of paleo, the Whole 30 and the primal-based lifestyles that are gaining in popularity. And of course, Instagram is full of #IIFYM hashtagged photos of ‘proyo’ and Quest bars and Walden Farms condiments. And if you’ve spent any time on my blog or Instagram, you’ll see all the raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds that make up my newly adopted raw vegan lifestyle. With all these conflicting dietary views out there, which one is best?

Honestly…none of them are! Let me explain. The ‘best’ diet for all humans doesn’t exist–we’re all so unique in our needs that eating a egg salad sandwich on Ezekiel bread for lunch may work for you, but it will make your gluten-free vegetarian friend feel like crap. The ‘best’ diet is the one that works for YOU and your body, period. It doesn’t matter what’s trendy, or what everyone at your gym is eating or what the latest episode of Dr. Oz tells you not to eat. If something works for you, eat it. If not, don’t…and don’t feel guilty for not eating a certain way.

This approach doesn't exactly work for everyone.

This approach doesn’t exactly work for everyone.

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The thing that gets me the most about these diet debates is how people trash each other’s eating style. The paleo people cut down vegans for not eating enough protein, high carb low fat vegans are militant about shunning fats and omnivores criticize many diets for being too restrictive. Where’s the appreciation for the benefits of each diet? Other than the Standard American Diet, there are benefits to every eating style, which is why people choose to follow them. Each diet gets some things right–veganism emphasizes the benefits of consuming mostly plants, primal eating promotes real food over processed crap and healthy diets that don’t exclude any food groups show the benefits of moderation.

We ALL need to be eating more real food.

We ALL need to be eating more real food.

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I wish people would be more respectful of everyone’s chosen eating style. I came across a blog post the other day where the blogger shared her experiences as being a vegetarian for a week and how she couldn’t do it because she’s an athlete. Nothing wrong with not being a vegetarian, but don’t claim you couldn’t cut out meat because you’re an athlete. If that were true, then Brendan Brazier, Venus Williams and Scott Jurek (all plant-based athletes) wouldn’t be among the best in their sports. Sure, you may have to be better at planning your meals as a plant-based athlete but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid animal products and still be athletic. I know I’m guilty of questioning the paleo diet from time to time but I recognize that it works for some people and that’s great. Just because something is restrictive for you personally doesn’t mean it’s restrictive to someone else and we need to respect that.

Who says vegans can't be strong and fit?

Who says vegans can’t be strong and fit?

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Personally, I advocate for a plant-based diet because it’s healthier to fill up your plate with plenty of fruits and veggies and of course it’s cruelty-free, but I understand that everyone has their own beliefs and needs that determine what they eat. I try to come from a place of understanding and respect and I wish there was more of that in the blog world and life in general!

What’s your take on the ‘diet debates’?

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?

Adventures In Raw: How Anyone Can Eat More Raw

As I’ve been mentioning in my posts all week, I’ve been wanting to talk about how easy eating raw is and how anyone can do it. Now, eating high raw or 100% raw is quite an undertaking and involves a lot of planning and dietary changes for the average person, but you don’t have to eat fully raw to reap the benefits of raw food!

  • Add in more fresh fruits and veggies

I know some people can’t handle certain veggies raw, and that’s okay. But many veggies are more nutritious when eaten in their raw state, and personally, I think most taste better raw. I’m obsessed with raw cauliflower and I prefer eating my greens and carrots fresh. Even things like sweet potatoes can be eaten raw (if dehydrated) and you’ll definitely be getting more nutrients out of them when they’re fresh. As for fruits, it’s even easier to go raw! And while you’re at it, why not try some new fruits and veggies when you’re making a grocery list? You’ll never know what you may love if you don’t try it.

This should be the basis of everyone's diet--fresh produce!

This should be the basis of everyone’s diet–fresh produce!

  • Sprout and soak your grains and legumes

Beans and grains can be hard for some people to digest, and for good reason. They contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause lots of problems in your body. No wonder the paleo people are so against grains and legumes! But you don’t need to give them up…just follow in the footsteps of traditional cultures who always soak and sprout their grains and beans. Soaking and fermenting not only eliminate the issues with these foods, but they also unlock the nutritional properties of them, so you get more bang for your buck. Take some time to prepare these foods properly, and your body will thank you…and so will your wallet, because buying dried beans and grains is cheaper than buying them canned or pre-packaged.

If you eat wheat, and love bread, make the switch to sprouted grain products like Ezekiel. Their breads are different than most, since they’re made from whole sprouted grains instead of nutrient-poor flour. I don’t eat this anymore since it’s not raw, but it’s a good transitional product!

I miss these sprouted sunflower seeds...so good!

I miss these sprouted sunflower seeds…so good!

  • Buy from the bulk section.

I love getting my dried fruit and nuts from the bulk section at Whole Foods because then I can buy only what I need. Whole Foods in particular has a great selection of raw nuts, sun-dried fruits and even things like raw granola so it’s perfect for the raw foodie. Some of my favorites from this section include Medjool dates, hemp hearts, Living Intentions sprouted sunflower seeds and greens, raw mixed nuts, rawpumpkin seeds and Turkish figs.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you’re striving to be high raw, like I am, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be ‘perfect’. The thing is, it’s okay to eat cooked foods if that’s what your body (or mind) wants. If you stick to plant-based meals, there’s no reason to feel guilty. Just remind yourself that you chose this lifestyle for a reason, because it’s so nourishing and healthful, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat ‘perfectly’ all the time. In fact, I’m going out to eat with my parents tonight for Valentine’s Day (hot date, right 😉 ), and while I would rather stay in and make one of my delicious raw meals, I’m going to enjoy a cooked meal tonight and then get back on track with my regular lifestyle!

I might be eating a cheeseless vegan pizza like this and even though I'd rather eat a raw dinner, I'll still enjoy myself.

I might be eating an artisan, organic cheeseless vegan pizza like this and even though I’d rather eat a raw dinner, I’ll still enjoy myself.

What’s something you prefer to eat raw instead of cooked?

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?

My First Resolutions

Happy New Year! It feels so weird that the holidays are already over, and even weirder that I won’t be heading back to school in a couple of weeks, so I’m not really getting back into any sort of routine. I really want to enjoy the time I have off though, because even though I’m beyond excited to get my first real job, I know I won’t have much free time once I start. So I’m excited to have some down time at home…but I’m hoping it doesn’t last more than a few months!

I’m not one to make resolutions. I do like to set goals for myself, but they’re rarely something I put into words. I really want to set some goals for myself this year, because my life will be changing a LOT, and I want to set some clear resolutions for myself. I’m not saying I’ll be perfect at all of these goals, but having them written down keeps me accountable to them, and I think choosing more realistic goals will help me achieve them.

1. Apply to at least 3 jobs per week. Ideally, I’d like to apply to one (on average) each week day, so 5 per week. But if I get at least 3 applications done, I’ll be happy.

2. Drink more water! Having a reusable water bottle handy in the fridge has helped me drink more water over the past 6 months, but I would like to go through at least 2 full water bottles each day. That’s 2 pints of water, and I think that’s a doable goal.

3. Eat more raw foods. This is a little harder to do in the winter months, when fresh produce isn’t as good and I want warming foods more often. But I know I feel my best when my diet is at least 50% raw, so I’m planning on incorporating at least one big salad per day (I usually do this anyway), fresh fruit at every meal and trying my hand at sprouting beans/grains.

I will definitely keep eating banana softserve for breakfast as often as possible.

I will definitely keep eating banana softserve for breakfast as often as possible.

4. Take control of my health. I mentioned in this post that I haven’t had my period in now (almost) 8 months. Obviously, that isn’t healthy and I know I need to see my doctor about this issue. I think there are some other underlying issues, since I’m dealing with acne and I’m not as lean as I think I should be for how clean I eat and how much I exercise. On that last topic, I really think I need to change my routine drastically–I don’t incorporate rest days as much as I should (I take one once or twice a month on average, and they’re very hard for me to take mentally), I have some digestive problems (even after cutting out most gluten) and I’m not sure I’m eating enough for my workouts. I will definitely discuss these issues with my doctor and hopefully I can get an answer as to why my body isn’t functioning the way it should.

5. Do something out of my comfort zone. I tend to be kinda cautious and not totally adventurous, but I’m really considering doing something that scares me, like cutting my hair shorter or telling somebody I love them or going skydiving or something. Okay, probably not that last one, but I need to challenge myself in some way. I think that maybe if I end up moving out of state for my first job, it’ll be a big step out of my comfort zone since I’ve never lived farther than 2 hours away from my family. We’ll see what happens with this one!

6. Stop comparing myself to other people. This is one of my biggest bad habits. I constantly compare my body, my workouts, my lifestyle choices, my success to other people’s and all it does is make me miserable. I need to take more pride in myself, and realize that there’s no point in comparing myself to other people because I’m unique and I need to respect that.

I can see more selfies in my future as a way to reassure myself that I'm awesome just the way I am!

I can see more selfies in my future as a way to reassure myself that I’m awesome just the way I am!

Do you make resolutions or goals? What are some of yours for 2014?