Adventures of the charmingly odd

Jan 2018

Why Whole 30 Wasn’t For Me

I started 2018 strong. I was ALL ABOUT THAT WHOLE 30 LIFESTYLE. I bought all the books, I meal planned, I joined the Facebook communities, I followed FitSpo people on Instagram, and I had a great support system in my boyfriend. I was kicking ass for the first week laughed at the cravings and became a Julia Child in the kitchen.

Then Day 8 hit and it was a disaster. Today would have been Day 15. Instead on Day 8, I started having tons of eating disorder flashbacks and anxieties. Today I finally felt like myself again for the first time in weeks honestly.

In short: The pro is that Whole 30 taught a lot about shopping for food that doesn’t have added sugar and weird preservatives. Plus soy is in EVERYTHING. The con is that it was extremely unhealthy for me mentally as someone who had a raging eating disorder in college.

Verdict: Good for some people, not for me.

Let’s get in the nitty gritty details: During high school and college I had bulimia. I didn’t think it was so bad at the time, just the “average” eating disorder women of a certain age experience. I was never stick thin, I ran 5ks and was going to the gym every single goddamn day. However, I also couldn’t go an entire day without throwing up everything I ate.

This is a photo from the highlight of my eating disorder days- also the “peak” of my comic book faux fame.

I had just finished hosting the Midtown Comics book club with creators Scott Snyder, Trevor McCarthy, & Kyle Higgins for ‘Batman Gates of Gotham’. My dear friend and coworker Ron Gejon took this photo, as he did all of the photos of me during this time. I remember briefly glancing at the photo and turning in disgusting, pleading with him that I was just getting over the flu and that’s why I looked so horrible. I remember my head being foggy, I was sweating, couldn’t breathe out of my nose, my face was swollen, and I felt generally awful.

It wasn’t until one day in college that I remember standing on the side of the Raritan River on my lunch break in the middle of winter and saying to myself, “I’m going to kill myself if I keep this shit up.” I called the Rutgers University psychiatry center right then and explained my situation. I remember saying to the woman on the phone that I didn’t think I had a “real” eating disorder and her sounding appalled in return.

I joined an outpatient one on one program where I had to meet with a therapist twice a week for two months, going over my homework. I had to log down everything I ate, not the calories, but the food and how I was feeling before/during/after I had eaten. After that program, I’ve still struggled heavily with my body image, but I never went back to throwing up after I’ve eaten again.

I detail all of this because for the first time in over 6 years- being on Whole 30 made me want to sneak the foods that weren’t allowed and I tried to justify it by saying I would throw it all up afterwards. All of the thoughts that plauged me when I was younger suddenly came out of the wood work.

I was at Trader Joes doing my third trip to the grocery store that week (eating healthy is expensive) where I grabbed a bag of chips at the last moment and then wolfed down as many as I could in my car. I wanted to run home and throw up as soon as I could but I ended up just crawling in bed and feeling physically and mentally horrible.

I then went back and realized how this didn’t actually happen all at once, but had slowly built up over the last month as I had prepared for Whole 30.

First let me say – this program works WONDERFULLY for countless people. It just wasn’t the right fit for me. It’s very strict to protect people from “cheating” or “slipping”. But some of the rules were just outrageous for my lifestyle.

One of them being – if you weighed yourself at all in the 30 day period, you had to fucking start over from scratch. *scowl* That makes zero sense to me. I understand that the program wants you to break the dependency on weighing oneself, but this all or nothing mindset was very harmful to me.

The Facebook communities were a NIGHTMARE. One of the main words in Whole 30 is if a food is “compliant” or not. the message boards were full of people posting tea or tomato sauce asking if it was “compliant”. God forbid if the food wasn’t, and the poor poster had already eaten it- they had to START OVER AT DAY 1. Even if they were at day 28! If your tea had vanilla extract in it, BOOM KICKED OFF THE ISLAND, START OVER DO NOT COLLECT MONEY YOU FAILED.

*shudder* It was too much for me. For weeks before starting on January 2nd, I researched and prepped and made shopping lists and was so cautious over consuming just once teaspoon of something that wasn’t compliant. I was terrified of failing.

But screw that. Over self reflection the last week, I have let myself have Splenda in my coffee (black coffee is disgusting go fuck yourself). I decided to take a moderation approach. Just to be aware of what I was putting into my body while at the same time being nice to myself mentally.

“Oh, this poor snowflake, she couldn’t handle some tough love.” Whatever, I’m turning 28 this year 

and I’ll be damned if I let some middle age moms on Facebook dictate how much I beat myself up.

 

Also, that cheeseburger I had for dinner was delicious.

Goals for 2018

The first week of 2018 is coming to a close and everyone is still thinking about their new year’s resolutions – if you are guilty for not keeping them or sticking to them stubbornly. I’m of the latter and succeeding in the ones I have attempted.

  1. Continue to eat healthy!

    • On January 2nd I started the Whole 30 program, as I mentioned previously, and I’m on day 5. Up until today I had no cravings and didn’t think it was a big deal. But the “bomb cyclone” blizzard that hit the Northeast this week has turned the Jersey Shore fucking freezing and today all I wanted was a hot chocolate and apple pie. I didn’t give in though, and begrudgingly ate the sugar free bacon (there’s sugar in literally everything) and chicken stir fry. Which leads me to…
  2. Learn to cook

    • It’s been 6 months since Steve and I moved in together! For three years I packed an overnight bag and stayed with him on the weekends, which made meal planning too big of a job to me. That was my excuse but then for 6 months we didn’t cook either in the new house. Lots and lots of enjoying the local eats in Asbury Park. But between that and all the delicious food at the cafe I run, it was taking a toll on me. Hence Goal 1. Anyway, we have cooked at least one meal together everyday this week from scratch. Only whole foods, nothing processed with sugar or dairy or soy etc. I’ve done more cooking in the last 5 days than I have in the last 5 years. I’m learning. I’ve learned that I can plan meals for the week ahead and go buy all the ingredients – and fucking cook them. What a novel idea. I would kill for some bread though.
  3. Keep track of all the movies and television shows I watch

    • So far I’ve only watched 2 movies and no shows – listened to a few more podcasts while shoveling snow though! I kept track of all the books I read in 2017 and I loved seeing all that I accomplished and absorbed. So now I want that for all the media I experience in 2018.
  4. Learn how to properly apply eyeshadow

    • I’m turning 28 in a few months (what the fuck?!) and I still think I apply eye shadow with just a lot of product all over my eye lids. Super Hot Topic circa 2003. Not good. I will learn this year though.
  5. Read 50 books

    • I read 36 books in 2017. I hope to crush that and read 50 this year! In order to help keep me on track with that, I offered to review books for a friend’s website and requested a bunch of ARCs (advance reader copies) on NetGalley.com. I hope you see a bunch of book reviews from me in the near future!
  6. Get my motorcycle license

    • This is the big one! Until shortly before I turned 25, I swore I would never get my driver’s license. I had lived in New York City after college, I never needed to learn how to drive. But then I met a guy off of Tinder and stayed in NJ and *shrug* I figured if I wanted to keep getting laid I would have to drive to him once in a while. So Steve taught me how to drive stick and I bought a liquid yellow Mini Cooper and now my car is my favorite thing in the whole world. I would whole heartedly become a stunt car driver if I could afford the insurance. I went from being terrified of driving to loving the thrill of maneuvering corners and respect for my adorable little car. Steve has several motorcycles and he loves it. I figured what scares me that I would actually love to know how to do? Ride a motorcycle to the beach. Why the fuck not. All it takes in NJ is to get your permit and take a three day course with your test at the end. I’m going to wait until April or May when its a bit warmer out. But I’m determined to get my license by the end of 2018.

These are my goals. Tweet me or comment or smoke signal to let me know what yours are- I genuinely want to know.

 

“And so, life in the Shire goes on, very much as it has this past Age…

There’s currently a snowstorm bustling outside here in Asbury Park, NJ. My cafe is closed and Steve is working from home so we are bundled up by the fireplace with our dog Barney. Four days into 2018 and already things are perking up from last year! I’m cuddled on the couch with some tea and will finally get around to taking down our Christmas decorations today. Here are a few things going on in my part of the world:

Wellness

I’m currently doing the Whole 30 challenge after starting on 1/2/18. Here’s a link to the official website but in short I’m not eating any processed food or bread/dairy/legumes/sugar for 30 days. I did this for 3 weeks back in July before my brother’s wedding and so many people complimented how healthy I looked. But since taking over the cafe in August, I’ve had unlimited access to bread, gourmet cheese, gelato, and lattes everyday and while I enjoyed every second of it – it really caught up with me.

This time around, I prepared like mad. I bought every single Whole 30 book, including the daily journal, and for Christmas we asked our families to give us cooking supplies. Cookbooks, a spice rack subscription, a KitchenAid mixer, and KitchenAid utensils – Steve and I have been cooking WAY more than we ever did before. One of our goals for 2018 was to cook and Whole 30 has motivated us to conquer that one. Steve isn’t doing the program with me because it would be cruel to subject him to a month without bourbon, where as I don’t drink alcohol at all. (Not because I’m against it – I run a cafe with a full liquor license! – but booze mixed with my anxiety meds makes me puke hardcore.) Steve is being VERY supportive. He used to be a CrossFit junkie and I’m grateful for his experience on living a healthier lifestyle.

Whole 30 isn’t hard if you prepare and give yourself the right tools. Am I having fun? No. I would kill to be able to put Splenda and milk in my coffee right now or have pizza delivered. But cravings are fleeting.

Mental Health

I’ve mentioned it briefly on Instagram & Twitter that depression has been keeping me feeling “bummed out” as I have been known to describe it. There are different kinds of clinical depression of various levels but I’m still hesitant to call it that. The first time I was diagnosed with depression was because I was living with an abusive ex boyfriend. All I did was go to work and sleep. My life right now is worlds away from that time in my life but somehow that nagging, heavy weight on my chest won’t go away. I can’t seem to get out of bed until the very last minute before I have to leave for work, and when I get home I just want to stay on the couch and read. At work I’m unmotivated and I’m becoming a pro at fake enthusiasm.

It’s probably a mixture of my anxiety, seasonal depression, and nerve pain flaring up because the temperature is so low. Whatever it is, I’m acknowledging it and doing everything I can to push through it – like Whole 30.

Watching

The best house rule we have in our home is no TV. Theres a television in the guest room that has hardly been used (except for random football games and a Stranger Things binge) and I love it! Steve and I come home after work and want to spend time with each other that doesn’t involve mindless shows. He is on his guitar for hours every night. I’m reading or watching Netflix on my phone, which I don’t count as television because it’s a conscious choice to watch a specific thing.

Currently I’m almost done with “The Last Post” on Amazon Prime. It’s about a British post in 1965 in Aden, Yemen and the families that live there. It has the same aesthetic as ‘The Crown’, which I loved, but ‘The Last Post’ is more gritty and intense. It’s one of the better historical fiction type shows on a streaming service and if that’s your thing, check it out for sure.

Reading

I want to scream it off my roof top: YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK ASAP. “The Enchanting Life of Adam Hope” by Rhonda Riley set the bar pretty fucking high for 2018. It’s a historical fiction novel set during WWII about a young woman, Evelyn, who falls in love with someone quite different from us. It might be considered science fiction, but only in the way “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is scifi. “Adam Hope” has beautiful prose that pulled me into the story immediately and left me in a fog thinking about the characters when I wasn’t reading.

The passionate love story between the asexual character A and Evelyn had my heart aching to be near the person I  love most. Everything was well written, from the character development to the scenic landscapes, to the sex scenes. I bought the Kindle edition after reading the description in my daily BookBub newsletter (seriously, if you own a Kindle and on the hunt for a good deal, BookBub changed my life. 90% of the books I read last year were recommended by them). Right now it’s only $10 for the paperback and $7 for the eBook on Amazon.

I finished it last night and I’m still in a haze over it. I’ve tried picking up half a dozen books to read today but none of them fulfill the void “Adam Hope” has left me in so I should wait another day or so.

That’s all for now. I really want to blog again this year. The last two years I haven’t had the motivation to do so because I felt like my life wasn’t as exciting to other people as it once was. But I 

still have words & ideas dying to pour out of me. Plus I now live in the best little city by the sea and I can’t wait to tell you all more about Asbury Park.

Happy New Year and stay warm!

 

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