The Next Chapter

Hey there everyone! Since I started this blog almost five years ago now (dear God…) I figured a brief recap would be in order. You know, on the off chance that anyone could possibly have started following the ‘Gurts more recently than April of 2012.

So here’s the deal:

As a little nugget, I was a pretty big nugget. I didn’t love being over-weight and I didn’t know how to eat healthy. My Freshman year of high school, I looked like this:

(This may have been a spirit week…it also may have just been any given Tuesday)

I decided it was time for a change, and talked to my parents about going on Jenny Craig the summer before Sophomore year. They agreed, and did it with me for that year. I didn’t mind the frozen food and I liked the structure. When the weight-loss stopped, I added exercise into the mix.

Flash-forward to the summer after Sophomore year, my first time being off Jenny Craig since I had started losing weight. I was a little paranoid since I was going to England for a month and a half and would have all new foods and restaurants to contend with. I was careful, and it worked out; I came home having dropped another ten pounds and having found a comfortable weight. I spent junior year eating healthy (a bit…super over-obsessively, I’ll admit) and learning about nutrition until one night during spring break I woke up in the middle of the night and started writing My ‘Gurts.* I wanted to tell people about nutrition info that I found interesting in a way that (hopefully) wouldn’t bore them to tears. And that was good for a while, while this Dana was still running things:

Things started getting rocky Senior year. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, depression was creeping up on me and I was starting to binge eat again. For anyone who doesn’t know, binge eating is not the same as overeating. Feeling like you ate too much happens to the best of us now and then. Binge eating is different. It has nothing to do with what you’re eating (which generally starts as one thing and expands throughout the kitchen). It is a compulsion to eat (and be sneaky about it) that doesn’t go away when you are full. It also doesn’t go away once you start to feel nauseous, or once your body is physically hurting. I have been through it and I still can’t understand it. But it’s awful. When senior year ended it got worse than ever. I struggled to leave my house, never wanted to go to bed (even though I wished I could just sleep until the bingeing passed), and spent everyday hoping that this was it, this was the last time and tomorrow would be better. I was in pretty rough shape by the time I was packing up for college, but I was optimistic that things would be different. A change, that was what I needed. Below are two pictures. The first is me on Christmas Eve of my Senior year of high school. The second is me getting ready to leave for college. The third is me in my Freshman dorm.^

I liked college. I liked my classes…but nothing really changed. I seldom left my room and, despite my best efforts to be healthy, I was still binge eating, and frequently. It wasn’t until then, when I was in college (which I had been looking forward to for AGES) that I recognized that I was depressed. Though I hated it, I realized that it might be smart to keep writing the blog. Instead of nutrition info, it would be a blog about binge eating and weight-loss. It would be a weight-loss story that a person could follow along with, so that it didn’t seem like someone just got skinny one day and made the rest up. I included the challenges and slip ups, because all of the blogs I had read always made it sound so damn easy. Like, “I decided to get into shape and now I run ten miles a day!” Umm…I feel like some steps were skipped there…

Meanwhile, I was putting in a frustrating amount of work on my end to get connected to someone who could help me with everything I was going through. I finally found a (thoroughly careless and mediocre) doctor and started taking medicine. Once I got to a high enough dosage, the binge eating went away completely. The depression, on the other hand, did not. Still, just being able to control my eating again was such a relief, it wasn’t until winter of my second year of college that I realized things were starting to spiral beyond my control. It was getting harder and harder to go to my classes, or really make myself do much of anything. I took a quarter off (easily the hardest decision I’ve made in college – I was so scared and embarrassed**), and frequently met with my new (not-mediocre) doctor to find the right dosages of various medicines to treat my depression. Meanwhile, I was losing weight, largely just by not binge eating. I finally got to the right dose of medicine, and genuinely started to feel like myself again.

I went to Florida with my parents, feeling better than ever since I felt like me, and I had lost a fair amount of weight. (About thirty pounds just sort of fell off once I stopped binge eating. I was depressed and honestly don’t remember it terribly well, but it really just speaks to how much extra weight I forced on myself by the perpetual bingeing. That, and it may have been a sign that there was something physically off.)

I’m the not-green one. Like, 97% sure

I wasn’t terribly concerned with eating healthy during my week in Florida, so it was a bit of a shock to come home to discover I had lost another five pounds. Don’t get me wrong, I was pleased, but I also knew enough about nutrition to know that that would have been fast even if I had been eating healthy all week…and I hadn’t been. I went to see a doctor, who explained that my recent, rapid weight loss was due in part to the fact that my body wasn’t absorbing nutrients. (Don’t get me wrong, I was working at losing weight, but it was happening faster than it ever had before.) A couple of blood tests revealed that I had Celiac’s and was allergic to gluten. Within a week of quitting all things delicious, my body was back to functioning correctly, and my mood was better than ever.***

Even with the quarter off, I managed to get caught up with my classes, and decided to finish college early. Believe it or not, it had been pretty exhausting thus far and I was ready for the next chapter. I officially finished school on Thursday. 🙂

Which brings us to now. I have lost 75 pounds since things were at their worst, and now I have a holiday break to look forward to, followed by…we’ll see when we get there I guess. But I’ll be here too. If you ever want advice, or the ear of someone who has been there, or just want to read about someone else’s life for kicks.

Me now:

Me and my Freshman roommate, Lindsey, the day we moved in, and the week I finished college.

*Like give us this day our daily bread…but with yogurt…well I thought it was funny. Still do.

^You can probably tell I have cropped a LOT of people out of these photos. That is largely because I don’t like using other people’s photos without permission, and I am lazy.

**It may sound stupid or crazy, but having depression was humiliating for me. It was debilitating and changed my entire personality, but there was nothing visibly wrong with me. I had always known about mental illnesses and was perfectly willing to accept them…in other people. Having to take time off of school felt like a huge failure on my part. I was sure that I would fall behind, wouldn’t graduate with my friends, etc. And a part of me worried that, if I left, I wouldn’t be able to make myself go back.

***Now let me be clear, quitting gluten improves your health and mood if you are allergic to it. If you don’t have an allergy there is no health benefit to cutting out gluten. Many people who see improvement are seeing the results of cutting down on processed foods. So if you just buy all the same junk food, gluten-free, the only benefit is the extra cost and inconvenience to others.

Bonus Image: Me as Jack Black, because it is a classic. Growing out a pixie is hard, okay!?

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Done and Done

Hey there ‘Gurts Fans! Last I left you I was jonesing for pie. Don’t worry, I have had lots of pie since, so we are good. More importantly, I JUST FINISHED COLLEGE! Seriously, just now. About an hour ago to be precise (ish). I know I have to get you all caught up on Thanksgiving and all that good stuff, but for now I am curling up in a blanket with a bunch of french fries and doing absolutely nothing. WOOO! Just wanted to let you all know that the ‘gurts was resting while I finished up school, but I’m done now and we are moving onto the next step…once I figure out what that is. Love you all!

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Pie

I really need pie. And I’m allergic to gluten. This is becoming a problem for me because no I am not going to make my own damn pie. I have neither the time, nor the inclination. This problem had better resolve itself, and quick…

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Summer (School) Lovin’

Hey there ‘Gurts fans! Only like a month. I’m doing better. This was my first week of summer classes. I am taking a full course load (four classes) and the quarter is six weeks instead of ten. If you don’t feel like doing the math on that, allow me to. It’s a bunch of work. The good news comes in three parts:

  1. I love my classes
  2. I recently obtained a large TV, which makes my viewings for class that much more pleasant
  3. I bought a small Foreman grill off of the Northwestern Facebook page Free & For Sale, so I have been eating well despite having limited time and brain energy

As is my custom, I have been moving like crazy because summer is here. Last week I worked just under forty hours, and most of it was spent doing physical labor. This week I have mostly been walking to and from classes, which is still a minimum of two miles a day, plus going to get books and work. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I know as well as anyone how difficult being healthy can be. I also know that it is even HARDER when you are busy. When you are in the middle of doing homework, or just got off a long shift, ordering a pizza sounds so quick and easy. Best tips I can give you to avoid that trap: frozen stuff and a Foreman. I stumble into my house laden with books, drop my backpack, throw a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave and plug in the foreman. Mixed vegetables take eight minutes to microwave, a thawed salmon filet takes five minutes on the foreman, and a little applesauce cup takes 1.2 seconds to open. By the time you have put on some comfortable clothes and set out your books, you have a hot and healthy meal ready and waiting.

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Need something with a bit more to it? They also make microwavable rice. It may not be the traditional home-cooked meal, but it is a great option when you are pressed for time (takes 90 seconds, unlike normal brown rice which takes forty minutes on the stovetop. So that’s…faster). The above salmon has lemon pepper on it which is SO good. The below picture was cooked before I had located the lemon pepper in my cupboard. (Still good!)

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Don’t worry, I ate my veggies. I just didn’t have them in the picture. I could hear you worrying. I could smell the silent judgment. 

OH YEAH! I found a fantastic candy store at the San Francisco airport! I LOVE candy stores, and this one had a black and white photo of a candy production line with changing colored lights! Candy stores are cute, pretty, and FULL OF CANDY! I spent…more than I care to mention on chocolate covered gummy bears, which disappeared far too quickly. All good things…

Also found in San Francisco: BREAD ANIMALS! The baby turtles are my favorite! So CUTE!

You all have been lovely as always, I am off to do a bit more homework before class (I was using this time during work as a little brain-break). BYE!

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Bass Gotta Swim

Hello my ‘gurts. No I didn’t abandon you. I just forgot about you for 3.5 months. Totally different. Things have been going well. I am still pretty lazy in general, but I am already walking MUCH more as the weather gets better. In my opinion, (the only opinion) walking is the greatest exercise EVER! You don’t have to change into any special clothes, it doesn’t make your lungs feel like they are full of daggers, and you can squeeze little walks anywhere in your schedule. It’s just so convenient!

Speaking of walking, I have not been doing that much this week in particular. As a woman, I have accepted that there are going to be days/weeks that can only be cured with hugs and chocolate. Honestly, I am more relieved than anything that I have finally accepted that sometimes you are just going to eat bad, and that is no big deal (bass gotta swim^). I was feeling particularly fussy the other day, so my amazing boyfriend brought me chocolate covered gummy bears (my favorite candy since I was little). After he was gone, I felt worse than ever, with no boyfriend or gummies to turn to. When I texted him to be whiny, he sent me to a drawer in my room where he had hidden MORE gummy bears. NO the point of this story is not that I ate a pound of chocolate gummy bears* It’s that my boyfriend is cute and…um, you can eat bad sometimes if you need to, but I expect my cut.

Speaking of cuts, look at this yummy meat!**

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Steak, mashed tatoes, and asparagus (courtesy of my connection in the meat department)

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Lamb, roasted tatoes, and broccoli (I somehow didn’t have the picture of this on a plate.) Again, purchased and prepped by Mike — I do side dishes.

Speaking of dishes…nope, didn’t have one this time. This weekend is Dillo, so if I remember to take pretty drink/concert pics I will share them.*** I’m off to go see Civil War! Adios!

^Shoutout to Luke…and Lance Bass

*I did though. Worth it.

**Amazing segue Dana.

***But I probably won’t, so don’t get too excited.

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So Much Celebrating

Hey everyone! So, I have been gone for a bit since the last post that had pictures (of me) in it. That post got WAY more views than my normal ones, so I can only assume that one of you spread the word to EVERYONE. Thank you, that guy.

Things have been crazy the past few weeks so, as is my custom, I’m going to give you all a quick recap of the fun foods (and other things) that have gone down.

So, when I last left you I was on the verge of my 21st birthday. My roommates threw me a themed party that probably would come off a little strange, but suited my sense of humor very well. Long story short, Luke makes a stunning doorman and Britt an ideal Scottish priest. I also received some presents from my parents and my dreams have been haunted since.

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SERIOUSLY? What were the odds that I would open that from that corner first!? It was Dexter seasons 1-4 (a great gift) but man…that is just terrifying.

One of my birthday gifts also came with a gift certificate for $100 off $170 worth of nice wine, plus three extra because deals entice suckers like myself. Needless to say, I took advantage and received fifteen bottles of wine that have been very good so far. It’s particularly nice to have a sip of $3 wine first, just to give yourself a reference point.

Two weeks after my birthday (a.k.a. yesterday) was Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, I got all excited, bought too much candy, and made pot roast and (gf) bread pudding! Unfortunately, none of those things are snacks. Between the two of us though, my boyfriend and I navigated that problem using Brie (not pictured), goat cheese, honey and red pepper jelly for toppings, pink lady apples, and grapes.

As many of you know, the heart-shaped pan was just serendipity because it is the only cake pan I have. Everything turned out SO WELL!

On Sunday morning we went to see Deadpool. It was a very good film AS LONG AS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WALKING INTO. This is not your average hero movie. It is rated R for a very good reason, and is NOT a movie to bring your children to. I know that it isn’t my place to tell other people how to parent, but if you bring your three 8-year old boys to see this wildly inappropriate film, you deserve everything that comes of it. You don’t get to be shocked to find your kids swearing or making horrible references, and you are personally contributing to the decay of modern society. Just saying.

After Deadpool, we went out to Found for their Valentine’s Day dinner. It was delicious and I remembered that I should take pictures for you guys, but then I still didn’t because I didn’t feel like it. The meal consisted of the following courses*:

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I got a drink that was blood orange and ginger (which I cannot remember the name of), and Mike got a “Sidecar Named Desire” which was, in fact, a sidecar.

Long story short, this weekend was entirely planned around food, and the food was DOPE so the weekend was a success! Potentially themed-food events are the greatest, and if there is a theme to be utilized I. Am. ON IT!

*I was going to write them down, then decided to just show you guys the menu and save myself a lot of effort. This menu was found on the website for Found Kitchen and Social House.

 

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Looking Forward

Hey everybody. I’m having a very un-motivated morning and struggling to try to get myself to work. I figured that this might be a good opportunity to finally let you all see how I’ve progressed. (Hopefully, this will have the secondary effect of helping do my work this morning. Looking at the hurdles I’ve overcome so far, all that great stuff.)

Now, anyone who has been with my ‘gurts for a while knows that I have never posted a picture of myself on here. I have seen too many blogs that do that, and it always rubbed me the wrong way. That being said, after five years of talking about weight-loss, being healthy, and struggling to overcome disorders, it only seems fair that I prove it. So here we are. The blog that shows the changes to the few of you who don’t know me through Facebook.

Before the blog (and before being healthy at all):

When I started my ‘gurts:

When the binge eating and depression struck:

Now that I have gotten better:

So that’s me. From 180lbs to 125lbs to 210lbs to 145lbs. If you are interested in more pictures, let’s hope you are already friends with me, because after this post we are back to pictures of food and shoes or whatever I normally put on here. If I can do it (twice) than I swear to you it is possible. It is hard, (believe me, I know) but it can be done. You are all great, thank you for the almost five years of support. I’ll update you all real soon.

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