What Not to Wear

By Katie, 4:59 am

Here’s a strange phenomenon: when I’m feeling low, I have a tendency to treat myself with less kindness instead of more. I actually take steps to increase my discomfort rather than alleviate it. What’s the deal with that? 8-O

For example, back in the day when my weight was constantly going up and down due to the persistent restricting/bingeing cycles, I had a tendency to break one of Stacy and Clinton’s most important rules: wear clothes that fit and flatter your body as it is right now.

Indeed, when I would gain weight I would purposefully stuff myself into clothes that were too small for me – it was part self-punishment for gaining weight, and part “motivation” to lose it. My theory was that I would be unable to overeat with the constant reminder of how “fat” I was (so cruel, right? :-( ). But in the end, nothing positive ever came out of it: I felt miserable all day long, and would often still overeat as a way of distracting from the discomfort I had brought on myself. Not to mention I looked like a sausage. :-?

But there was also the other extreme. Sometimes I felt so ashamed of myself that I would only wear clothing that was way too big. This allowed me to hide my body – and my shame – underneath layers of loose cotton. Who could call me “fat” when I was drowning in baggy sweats? I didn’t want to admit that walking around in nothing but oversized workout attire made me appear bigger than I was.

Fortunately these days I don’t waffle between the extremes. I don’t purposefully punish myself with clothing that’s too right, or purposefully hide my body under clothing that’s too loose. Instead, I make it a point to wear outfits that fit my body as it is right now…outfits that flatter the body I live in today. :-)

Reaching this place has required me to embrace two ideas:

1. I deserve to feel comfortable and confident.

Looking back, it seems utterly ridiculous that when I felt bad about my weight, I thought the best solution was to make myself feel worse by wearing ill-fitting clothing. Why, oh why, are we so cruel to ourselves??? :-( Gaining ten pounds was not a moral failure – I hadn’t done anything wrong that necessitated punishment. It dosen’t matter what someone weighs; that person deserves to look and feel her best.

2. The present means more than the past or the future.

When I wore clothes that didn’t fit properly, it was a way of mourning the way my body used to be or dreaming about what it could become down the road. It was an outright denial of my present size and shape. But now I realize that even though it’s great to work toward positive changes, it’s also important to embrace my body as is – because it’s not changing overnight. Reaching those goals will come much more easily if I’m treating myself and my body with kindness here in the present.

So while I may not be a fashionista who dons all of the latest trends, I have learned one important lesson about what not to wear: anything that doesn’t fit and flatter my body TODAY.

Can you relate to my clothing struggles? Have you ever purposefully worn clothes that didn’t fit as a way of punishing yourself, “motivating” yourself, or hiding yourself? Did that experience make you feel better…or worse? Please tell me I’m not alone here!

Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms and Asparagus

By Katie, 5:01 am

As I’ve mentioned before, I usually opt for sweet breakfasts over savory ones. Truth be told, I usually opt for sweet anything over savory anything. ;-) But I’ve discovered that sometimes a savory breakfast is better because it often involves more protein, and hence keeps me feeling full longer. It also helps me get in a serving or two of veggies, which is rare in my standard, sweet morning meals.

While this breakfast casserole is very simple to make, it’s not the fastest meal to whip up…probably more of a lazy-weekend-morning breakfast than an out-the-door-workday kind of thing. But it does keep well in the refrigerator – not to mention it makes six hearty servings – so you could always make it on the weekend and then just give it a quick spin in the microwave throughout the week.

To make this breakfast casserole, I simply sauteed some asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach in a little bit of olive oil. Then I layered the veggies in a prepared cassrole dish and topped them with mozzarella cheese. On top of that I poured a mixture of beaten eggs, egg whites, and milk, then popped it in the oven until the eggs were set and the top was beginning to brown – about 45 minutes.

Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is that it’s basically an (almost) blank canvas; it’s the foundation upon which you can build all sorts of delicious variations. Don’t like mushrooms? (GASP! 8-O ) You can easily sub in another veggie. Want something more fancy? Swap the mozzarella for goat cheese. Love bacon as much as this lady? Cook some up and throw it in! (Next time I’ll add a few chopped Morningstar Farms breakfast sausage patties, which I’m currently loving.)

Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms and Asparagus
Adapted from In Good Taste
Makes 6 hearty portions

Ingredients
1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
6 eggs
6 egg whites (I used the equivalent of liquid whites from a carton)
2 tbsp milk
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Spray a 9 x 13 glass casserole dish with nonstick spray.

2. Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high, then add the asparagus and saute about 5 minutes. Spread the asparagus pieces into a single layer in the casserole dish.

3. Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil to the pan. Saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes or so, then add the spinach and cook until wilted, about a minute more.

4. Layer mushrooms and spinach on top of asparagus in the casserole dish, then top with shredded mozzarella.

5. In a medium bowl, beat 6 eggs, then add egg whites and milk and whisk until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour over vegetables and cheese.

6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until eggs are set and the top of the casserole is beginning to brown.

What’s your favorite savory breakfast?

AND

Do you ever prepare your upcoming breakfasts over the weekend, so during the week it’s just grab-and-go? I’ve heard of people making a whole batch of oatmeal or muffins, which sounds like a good idea to me!

Your Body and Your Bank Account

By Katie, 5:45 am

A few years ago phrases like “FICO score,” “debt ratio,” and “403(b)(7)” sounded to me like a language other than my native English.  But these days I’m spending a lot of time teaching myself the ins and outs of personal finance – not surprising, considering that Dave and I are attempting to pay off our student loans and save for a house down-payment simultaneously.

So my interest was immediately perked when I came across this short article on the Link Between Fiscal and Physical Fitness. Since exercise is something I understand and embrace, the idea of applying those same familiar principles to the foreign territory of my bank account was particularly appealing.

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So if – like me – you’re looking to pump up your wallet as efficiently and effectively as you pump iron, consider these four ways that the two are rather similar.

Four Connections Between Your Body and Your Bank Account

1. Both require discipline.

We all have days when we’d rather veg out on the couch with a bag of chips than hit the gym for a sweat session – even though we know the latter is better for us in the long run. While of course there are days when it’s fun and appropriate to throw caution to the wind with some Doritos and a Real Housewives marathon, much of the time we’re better off restraining ourselves from those urges.

Similarly, the temptation to blow our money on unworthy purchases surrounds us every day. Resisting unnecessary spending and instead sending as much money as possible to its rightful home (be that savings or paying down debt) requires the same kind of discipline that sticking to an exercise routine does.

2. Success comes from within.

Remember back in Psychology 101, where we learned about “locus of control”? No? Let me remind you: the term “locus of control” refers to the extent to which people believe they are in control of the course of their lives. Someone with an internal locus of control believes that her situation is mainly caused by her own actions and behaviors, while someone with an external locus of control chalks life up to fate, chance, or the actions and behaviors of others.

Having an internal locus of control can help you find success both in the gym and in your savings account. If you believe that your life is determined primarily by the choices you make, then you’re more likely to take your health and physical fitness into your own hands (as opposed to blaming your genetic make-up, or something like that). Similarly, you probably believe that your financial status has less to do with factors that are outside of your control – your paycheck, your taxes, etc. – and more to do with how you personally manage your money.

3. Organization is key.

We hear a lot about the importance of planning and tracking in the realm of healthy living, and it’s no coincidence: most people find that when they create an organized exercise plan and record their results, they’re much more likely to stick with it. That’s because when we develop a plan and track our progress, the whole process feels more intentional and deliberate, instead of random and haphazard. We set a goal, outline the steps needed to reach it, and then get moving.

The same holds true for reaching financial goals. Simply saying “I’m going to save more money” will probably not be as effective as outlining your expenses, finding specific areas where changes could be made, and then tracking the success of those changes.

4. Make it a habit.

When you first start an exercise routine, it can be difficult to stick with it because it’s new – it’s not actually a routine yet. But many people find that eventually it becomes such a regular part of their day-to-day regimen that they can’t really imagine life without it. Exercise becomes a habit – you don’t think about it too much, you just do it.

The same can happen with our finances. For example, our goal right now is simply to save as much as we can by cutting out unnecessary expenses while still living comfortably. While I used to have to remind myself to price-check and cut corners, now taking the time to shop for the best deal feels like second nature; I simply wouldn’t make a purchase without taking that step!

Getting your finances in order can be a scary and intimidating process. One way to make it more manageable is to draw connections between what you need to learn and what you already know. Turns out there really are some logical links between your fiscal and physical fitness! :-)

Do you consider yourself to be finance-savvy? Or is this an area where you could stand to improve?

AND

How did you learn about personal finances? Your parents? Your school? I basically taught myself through books and credible Internet sites (and Suze Orman!). I actually wish that all high schools mandated an Introduction to Personal Finances class.

For more reading on this topic, check out Lisa’s Total Money Makeover posts!

No Mid-Morning Snack Required

By Katie, 5:47 am

Folks, this is big: I have found a breakfast that actually keeps me full until lunch time! But before I get to that, let me share with you some other fun tidbits from the weekend. 8-)

Artscape

Saturday afternoon Dave and I braved the heat and humidity to attend Artscape, which is America’s largest free arts festival. Before the major sweating occurred:

The festival was even more awesome than I expected it to be! Way to go, Baltimore! A major portion of the city was blocked off for the event, which draws over 350,000 people each year.

There was so much to see and do: visual exhibits, live music, outdoor sculptures, dance performances, short film showings, street theater, fashion shows, hands-on craft projects, and of course lots of food! Of particular note was this amazing portabello pita with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, tzatziki sauce, and feta.

My favorite part of the whole festival may have been the booth run by the Center for Eating Disorders, which featured an awesome body-positive activity. Participants were encouraged to fill out a “leaf” with one reason they love their bodies, which was then added to a “Love Your Tree” exhibit. Very cool. 8-)

There were also hundreds of booths featuring local artisans of all types: you could buy anything from locally-crafted jewelry to clothing to house furnishings – paintings, photographs, pottery, hand-blown glass, etc. I decided to save my moola this time around, but since next year at this time I’m hoping to be a new homeowner, I’ll plan on choosing a one-of-a-kind item for my casa. :-)

Fortunately my penny-pinching ways were balanced by all of the free swag! 8-)

After being in the hot sun all day, I was not in the mood for a hot dinner, so Dave suggested we clean out the fridge by making mega-salads. Mine came out easy on the eyes. ;-) It was a mix of greens, tempeh, tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, and avocado – all dressed with a drizzle of EVOO and agave. The lettuce, tomato, and cucumber all came from Dave’s backyard garden, which was very cool. There’s something so refreshing about eating food you your husband grew. :-D

Even though I knew that Sunday was National Ice Cream Day, I just couldn’t wait for a cold, creamy dessert. So after dinner I whipped up a quick batch of peanut butter-banana soft serve, which I ate on top of a Banana Fudge VitaTop. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

That, my friends, is a great way to end the day. 8-)

Keep-Your-Tummy-Full Breakfast

Ok, now it’s time to get serious. As I’ve shared before, I’m a natural grazer in that I feel full quickly but get hungry often. I ate that way as a child, lost touch with it when I developed eating issues, and have returned to it naturally through practicing intuitive eating. But the truth is that eating small, frequent meals isn’t always convenient. For example, on Sundays I absolute need to eat a breakfast that keeps me full until lunch time, since I wouldn’t feel comfortable whipping out a snack in the middle of church! 8-O Yesterday I think I found it.

I’d seen this idea floating around for some time and had been meaning to try it. Obviously it’s not very pretty, but that isn’t the point. And it’s a far cry from the sweet, carb-heavy breakfasts I’m used to; all of the protein definitely made a difference.

First I placed two Morningstar Farms veggie breakfast “sausages” in a mug and microwaved them for 45 seconds. I broke them up with a fork and then added a drizzle of pure maple syrup – so I still had my morning sweetness.  :-) Then I poured 1/2 cup liquid egg whites into the mug and nuked it for 60 more seconds.  Finally, I topped the whole thing with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and microwaved it for a few seconds more until it melted.

My hunger had nothing on this mixture!

I also had a juicy orange, which I was very much craving after my morning outdoor workout. The heat has been rough on my exercise routine – the humidity really wipes me out!

Before heading to church I had Dave snap a quick photo of me, just so I could show you the necklace I was wearing! :lol:

It was a present from Dave’s parents; they bought it from the fair-trade store through The Hunger Site, where you can purchase all kinds of items to help eradicate world hunger. The necklace was hand-crafted in Nepal.

Pretty neat, right?

National Ice Cream Day

After church it was time to celebrate National Ice Cream Day for real. Nothing against my delicious banana soft serve or anything. ;-) We went to a local working dairy farm called Broom’s Bloom, which features its own old-fashioned ice cream. I usually go for candy-type ice creams – mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, etc. – but today this peach ice cream was calling my name. It was very creamy and contained chunks of fresh peaches. Oh, yes. :-)

Based on the responses I got to my post-ice-cream Tweet, it sounds like many of you celebrated in style as well! 8-)

Back to the grind!

Have you ever attended an arts festival like the one above? If you live nearby (or even if you don’t!), you should plan on coming to Artscape here in Baltimore next summer!

AND

What’s your go-to breakfast when you absolutely need to stay full until lunch time?

p.s. Check out the comments on my last post for some great tips for new bloggers!

The Dreaded Brain Freeze! And Other Hot Links

By Katie, 5:28 am

Looking for some lazy-Sunday-morning reading? Check out these interesting links, ranging from ice cream to sneak-eating to blogging tips. Enjoy! :-)

Brain Freeze: The Science Behind Ice Cream Headaches

Perhaps you are not yet aware that today is National Ice Cream Day. (In which case you must either live under a rock or you’re not nearly as obsessed with the cold treat as I am! ;-) )  Check out this informative article from Divine Caroline to avoid ruining this precious holiday with an ice cream headache.

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New Heart Rate Formula for Women

If you use a heart rate monitor to gauge your intensity level during exercise, you need to read this blog post from the New York Times. Basically, the formula we’ve been using to calculate target heart rate up to this point is only accurate for men, not women; the previous formula gives women a number that is too high. Check out the new, re-calibrated formula for women!

Don’t Be a Workaholic

I know, I know, easier said than done, right? But these tips from Zen Habits are not the standard ones you’re expecting; they’re a bit more creative! My favorites? Unplug from the Internet (ironic, considering I write a blog, no?) and listen to your body.

Do You Sneak Eat?

Back when I posted about eating what you want without judgment, a lot of you shared that you struggle with eating in secret. Whether it’s a full-out private binge or a couple of hidden bites here and there, sneak-eating is a personal phenomenon that is worth exploring. This post from the awesome blog Healthy Girl sheds some light on why it’s so important to eat the same in public and in private.

100 Things To Do with a Banana

Well that sounds a tad dirty, now doesn’t it? :roll: I promise you don’t have to be afraid to click the link – it’s 100% clean! Creative kitchen-dwellers will love the banana whoopie pies, roasted banana coconut ice cream, mini banana souffles, and crepe rolls with caramelized bananas. There’s even banana meat loaf! 8-O

Tips for Making Great Skewer Kebabs

If the comments everyone left on my Grilled Buttermilk Chicken post mean anything at all, you all love to GRILL! Check out SparkPeople‘s easy tips for making simple and delicious kabobs.

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The Religion of Thinness

This blog post from Weightless features an interview with Michelle Lelwica, author of The Religion of Thinness. Lelwica argues that “our obsessions with eating and weight mask the deeper needs of our spirits.” This resonates with me because I personally have found that my struggles with food and body image are greatly diminished when I am not ignoring my spiritual wellness. It’s a thought-provoking interview!

Cooking Without an Oven

It’s summer. It’s hot, humid, and sticky. The last place you want to be standing is in front of a hot oven, right? Here Cheap Healthy Good outlines 13 easy ways to cook sans heat wave.

Everything I Need to Know About Blogging I Learned in Kindergarten

This fun post from Performancing outlines ten lessons from kindergarten that are equally applicable to blogging. It’s a light, creative post that still includes a lot of wisdom! My favorites: You need to share, and it’s not nice to take other people’s stuff.

Will you be celebrating National Ice Cream Day today? What flavor do you plan on enjoying? I’m leaning toward Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but we’ll see!

AND

If you write a blog, what’s your number one piece of advice about blogging? What wisdom would you share with someone just starting a blog?

Refusing to Ruminate

By Katie, 5:43 am

I have a very active thought life.

My brain is constantly “on,” if you will, in the sense that thoughts are usually racing through it a mile a minute. Most of the time my mind quickly bounces from topic to topic, and it’s not uncommon for Dave to ask me to slow down or back up because he has no idea how we’ve moved on to the next subject already when we never even finished discussing the last. :roll:

But for as much bouncing as my brain does, I also have a serious problem with rumination. I get something stuck in my head – some worry, some self-criticism, some negativity – and I just dwell on it.

That is, unless I choose not to.

A few days ago I had a rough morning, and I found myself struggling to concentrate because my brain’s revolving door couldn’t get away from the thought that my pants felt a tad too tight. I found myself ruminating on my weight, “feeling fat,” and engaging in negative self-talk. :-(

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After a good 30 minutes of brooding, I decided to take action. Two years ago this wouldn’t have even occurred to me because I didn’t realize that I am not my thoughts, and my thoughts are not me. I didn’t realize that it was within my power to buckle down and control my mind, or at least control my response to it. I didn’t know – as Christie has so wisely pointed out – that I am not defined by the tapes that play in my head; rather, I am defined by my reaction to them.

So here is how I reacted.

Refusing to Ruminate: Three Steps

Step 1. Stepping Outside

For me, the first step in combating my tendency to dwell on negativity is not to try to squash the thoughts immediately; rather, it’s simply to observe them. I step back and watch my thoughts – becoming aware of them as merely a part of the present moment. And I allow the thoughts to steadily run through me instead of getting hung up on one in particular.

Some people do this by imagining their thoughts as clouds passing through the sky of their mind, or as boxes on a conveyor belt that’s constantly moving. The image that works best for me is that of a movie theater: I visualize my thoughts passing across the large screen, while I’m simply watching them from a seat in the fifth row. Perhaps this little exercise seems silly, but it really does help me detach myself from my thoughts; it allows me to observe rather than obsess.

2. Question What’s Beneath

My next step is to acknowledge that something else just might be going on with me. The example above was not the first time in my life that I thought my pants felt too tight, so why do some days I dwell on it while other days I let the thought pass without a worry? When I discussed the situation with Dave, he pointed out that I had had a rather stressful morning – little things just kept going wrong, like my oatmeal exploding, running late, leaving the house in a state of utter chaos and clutter. My anxiety level was already elevated, so it shouldn’t be surprising that my tense mind would latch onto the familiar landscape of “feeling fat.”

When I look back, I realize that most of my ruminations have served as a cover-up for something deeper. Stressing over what to wear to a party stemmed from the fact that I felt self-conscious in social situations. Freaking out over the state of my house arose from a place of perfectionism. And dwelling on the state of my body was a means of ignoring pretty much everything else.

3. Stop Entertaining

So I’ve observed my thoughts and I’ve acknowledged that they might be hiding something deeper. Now it’s time to make them go away. I use two strategies here. The first is another visualization technique: when a negative thought about my pants or my body popped up, I imagined it encased inside a balloon, which I then mentally popped with a needle. **Poof!** Gone! :-)

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The second is choosing a positive thought with which to replace the negative one. In this particular case I chose to focus on the phrase “God loves me no matter what.” So when a negative thought emerged, I put all of my energy into focusing on that phrase, and kept it there until there was simply no more space left to dwell on my body.

I should point out that these strategies didn’t stop the thoughts in an instant; rather, I had to employ them over and over and over again. But each time I did the thoughts grew a little less loud, a little less distracting, a little more tolerable…until they were gone. :-)

Ruminating is certainly still an issue for me. If I’m not hyper-aware of my thought life, my mind can easily run away with itself, dragging me along with it. But when I dedicate myself to applying these three steps, I find that I am not controlled or defined by my thoughts. What happens in my brain is an ever-changing part of me, but that doesn’t mean that it is me.

Are you a ruminator like me or not? Do you tend to dwell on negative thoughts rather than combating them or allowing them to pass by? Any other suggestions for how NOT to dwell?

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

By Katie, 5:51 am

I was on the verge of scrapping this post entirely because this chicken is so simple it might not even qualify as a “recipe.”

But then I thought, wait a minute: it’s the middle of July. What do people want from their recipes in the middle of July? Most likely something easy. Something that doesn’t include standing in front of a hot oven. Something that requires almost no cooking talent whatsoever. And something from the GRILL! 8-)

Enter Grilled Buttermilk Chicken!

Maybe you’re thinking that buttermilk + chicken sounds odd, but trust me on this one. You basically just marinate the chicken in a mixture of buttermilk, garlic, and paprika. The end result is incredibly moist and delicious!

We used a combination of chicken legs and thighs, but next time we’ll go with all legs – they’re just so much easier to eat! :-)

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken
Original Source: Real Simple Magazine
Serves 8 (but can easily be cut in half)

Ingredients
1.5 cups buttermilk
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp paprika
1.5 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
6 lbs bone-in chicken pieces

1. In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.

2. Place buttermilk mixture and chicken in a large plastic bag (you might need 2), and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or overnight. Turn bag occasionally.

3. Heat grill to medium-low. Remove chicken from plastic bag and grill – covered and turning occasionally – for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

AND THAT’S IT! :-)

For non-vegetarians/vegans, what’s your favorite way to grill chicken? Do you have a go-to marinade?

AND

Do you find yourself turning to easier recipes in the summertime? That’s definitely been the trend in my household!

Ditching Diet Soda

By Katie, 5:44 am

I absolutely LOVED reading your comments on The Great Scale Debate - everyone seems to have a slightly different opinion, which makes for interesting conversation! I appreciate all of your feedback!

Today’s post is courtesy of my good friend Beth – runner, confidant, comedian, and all-around savvy gal. Enjoy! :-)

Hi everyone! I’m Beth, and you may already know me from some of Katie’s past posts, including the Broad Street Run. I am absolutely thrilled to be featured on Katie’s blog, so I hope you enjoy! In the spirit of Health for the Whole Self, I wanted to share with you my recent victory with kicking an addiction that I had for years…drinking diet soda.

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First, you should know that this isn’t the first time I’ve had a horrible habit. As children, my sister and I were both thumb-suckers. When I was 2 years old and she was 4, she started to develop dental problems as a result of this habit. One day I asked my mom – if I continued to suck my thumb would I, too, develop such problems? A simple “yes” was all it took for me to quit cold turkey. Even at a young age, I was incredibly stubborn when I wanted to be. :-)

22 years later, I found myself in a similar situation. For years, I drank diet soda. My thought was…zero calories??? The more the merrier!!! I knew the potential harm of drinking diet soda, but to me, the benefit of having a delicious, calorie-free way to get some caffeine outweighed any potential negative side effects. Year after year I made feeble attempts to quit drinking diet soda, since it seemed like what I “should” do. However, as soon as I experienced my first signs of withdraw (yes, I am ashamed to say I drank so much that I felt the headaches, irritability, and nausea of withdraw :-( ), I sought immediate relief from my next glass and was sucked back in.

My wakeup call came from the dentist, where I learned that I had a cavity on the verge of needing a root canal and that I displayed warning signs of weakening enamel as well. The dentist noted that my dental hygiene was impeccable so the problem had to lie elsewhere, and he asked if I drank diet soda. After I confessed, the dentist told me that the phosphoric acid in soda is one of the worst things for your teeth.

Something finally clicked. With the same stubborn resolve that I displayed at 2 years old, I vowed to quit diet soda immediately…and for good.

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It has been over a month since my last diet soda, and it is AMAZING what a difference it has made. 8-)

Four Effects of Ditching Diet Soda

1. I drink so much more water.

Without diet soda to tempt or distract me, I am constantly refilling my water bottle. I discovered that being so hydrated makes working out – even in the Philadelphia heat waves this summer – easier and more enjoyable. It has also done wonders for my complexion.

2. I don’t crave sweets.

For years I blamed my constant sugar cravings on having a sweet tooth. But since I quit drinking diet soda, I haven’t craved one sugary treat. I think my body is no longer confused about what it wants or needs now that I am not pumping it full of chemicals and artifical sweeteners.

3. I learned that I am not a night owl.

I used to stay up late, unable to stop my mind from racing long enough to fall asleep. My typical bedtime was well past midnight, and I would struggle to wake up to the 5 (yes, 5! Gasp!) different alarms that I positioned around my room. I felt groggy until I had my first sip of diet soda.

Now, without a constant stream of caffeine pumping through my veins, I actually get to bed early – 10:45 is late to me now! 8-O I’ve gone from hating the mornings to looking forward to them. I get up at 5:45 to run before work, and some days I wake up before my alarm even goes off.

4. My clothes fit better.

I didn’t realize just how bloated I was from all the soda that I was drinking, but as soon as I quit, I noticed that my clothes fit better, and I felt better too. Losing the bloat that I didn’t even realize existed has made me feel more confident and has encouraged me to rev up my workout efforts and healthy eating – a snowball effect that I was not expecting…but definitely am loving! ;-)

I continue to be absolutely amazed at how many positive impacts changing one negative habit can have!

How about you? Have you kicked any bad habits lately that you are particularly proud of? I can’t wait to share in your successes! :-)

 

The Great Scale Debate

By Katie, 5:24 am

I’ve decided to weigh in (bad pun intended :roll: ) on the Great Debate over this little-yet-powerful bathroom accessory.

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To weigh or not to weigh? That is the (extremely loaded!) question.

Most of the people with whom I’ve discussed this come down heavily on one side or the other; the scale is either their best friend or their arch nemesis. They either step on it every day or never go anywhere near it…and advocate everyone else doing the same. But that’s a little too much black-and-white thinking for my taste. If someone were to ask me if I think stepping on the scale is good or bad – healthy or unhealthy – my answer would be, “It depends.”

But on what? Well, on your goals. On your relationship with your body. On the history of your relationship with your body. On your definition of success. On whether or not you relate to this cartoon. ;-)

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In other words, it’s a very personal thing. In my particular situation, I can step on the scale every now and then (say, at the doctor’s office) without being too affected. But I choose not to do so on a regular basis. And here’s why.

The Three Reasons I Don’t Weigh Myself Regularly

1. My Unhealthy History with the Scale

I can admit that I used to be number-on-the-scale-obsessed, and nothing can change the past. There was a time when I was hopping on the scale at least once a day, and the number I saw there had the power to make or break my day, my mood, my confidence, you name it. :-( Talk about losing sight of what really matters in life!

2. Alienation from my Body

As you know from my constant jabbering about Intuitive Eating, I think it’s really important to listen to my body. But judging my health based on the scale’s reading is pretty much the opposite of that, don’t you think? If I feel strong and healthy and balanced, who is the scale to tell me otherwise?

3. I Don’t NEED It

It’s true that, when used in a balanced and healthy manner, the scale can be a great tool for measuring progress and success. (See Stephanie’s great post on why she continues to use the scale as a monitor, even as she takes a more intuitive approach to her health.) But the scale is not the only tool. I’ve found that there are plenty of other indicators that work just as well: how I’m performing in my exercise routine, how soundly I’m sleeping, how well my clothes are fitting me, and just how my body feels on a day-to-day basis. When I’ve gained or lost a few pounds, I don’t ned a scale to tell me; I already feel it, you know?

Granted, those tools can’t necessarily measure small changes in weight – a pound here or a pound there – but that’s fine by me; I don’t need or want to know every little fluctuation.

Overall my point is this: I do not think there is anything inherently evil about the scale or anything inherently unhealthy about stepping on one. In my mind the key to maintaining a healthy relationship with the gadget is to “know thyself.” Only you can know if you’re too obsessed with the number and need to step away, just like only you can know how comfortable your body is at any given weight.

How do you “weigh in” on this debate? Do you use a scale to monitor your progress, or do you avoid it? Why have you made that decision?

10-Layer Cake Love

By Katie, 5:20 am

Attention Brides-To-Be: You absolutely must check out the Comments section from my last post on being a healthy bride. Some people shared some really wonderful tips; they are definitely worth reading before walking down the aisle!

Everything in moderation, right??? ;-)

THAT would be the official dessert of my lovely home state of Maryland – Smith Island Cake. It’s named after a remote island in the Chesapeake Bay which is home to fewer than 300 residents. The dessert has anywhere from 8-15 thin layers of yellow cake separated by chocolate icing.

I’m sharing this with you because it’s been brought to my attention that Health magazine listed Smith Island Cake as the fattiest food in Maryland, and one of the 50 fattiest foods in America. With a whopping 26 grams of fat per serving, it’s not a total surprise. :roll:

You may think I would be horrified, but my reaction to that news was one of utter joy and excitement because exactly one year ago I was enjoying a Smith Island Cake of my very own! Obviously I’m not one to shy away from a little indulgence every now and then. Go big or go home, right? ;-)

You see, when Dave and I decided we wanted to “get away” for our one-year anniversary last summer, we meant it. We traveled to the remote Smith Island, stayed in a tiny bed and breakfast, went for walks and bike rides and boat trips, and, of course, ate layers and layers of cake. 8-)

So while of course I don’t advocate eating a 10-layer cake each and every day, when it comes to desserts I do believe in eating a reasonable portion of the “real thing” instead of a huge, unsatisfying serving of a fake-y substitute. And I do take a certain degree of pride in the fact that I have indeed partaken in my state’s fattiest food. :-) Have you?

Here’s the Health article, which lists the fattiest foods from each state. To my American readers, please satisfy my curiosity: What state are you from, what’s the fattiest food there, and have you eaten it??? Would you even want to?

AND

Which do you prefer – a small serving of a “real” dessert (fat and all!) or a larger portion of a substitute? I think there’s a case for both, depending on your personal preferences, but I’m all about the real thing!

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