Last night, I had dinner with Carol Danko and about 20 students who are interested in politics here in Washington D.C. The conversation was engaging and passionate and curious, and it was so great to be in a room full of Republicans, Democrats and the decidedly in-between to talk about everything from CNN to interning for no money to Bernie Sanders to Trump's campaign.
That was pretty awesome but there was something else about the dinner that was almost as awesome--the fact that I resisted such an array of delicious foods! There was a freshly made pesto pasta that seemed to be calling my name. There were like ten different kinds of cheesecake and layered cakes. There were hot rolls and fresh butter. I had a garden salad, some mushrooms and some sliced eggplant during our conversation! Earlier in the day, I had had some tuna on the bus ride out here to D.C.
The only thing troubling about yesterday is that I didn't eat all 5 Medifast meals. It was already 1am when I stared to my right and saw my last bag of cinnamon sticks. I told myself I'd eat them after I finished texting my boyfriend, but just look at this bed? It was so comfortable, I fell asleep before I got a chance to eat.
This morning, we head to the hill to talk to legislative assistants about the need for financial aid. There are a few things we are urging Congress to do- increase the Pell Grant maximum, extend the Perkins Loan beyond its expiration date of 2017, and a few others. We're taking really personal approaches to these meetings and trying to make them about personal stories and the human beings on both ends. Carol Danko, who is a moderate republican, told us that she can't imagine any of our meetings going poorly--people generally believe education is important, regardless of what party they identify or don't identify with.
I have meetings all day with legislative assistants and I'm really nervous about eating properly today. I have my meals in my bag, next to all my talking points and my notebook.
Then, we get on a bus and we head back to New York city. We should get home by around 9pm, and I plan on heading back to my basement apartment, drinking a cup or two of honey chamomile tea and passing out. It's been an exhausting few days between traveling down here, keeping up with the work of the book I'm publishing, and well, school stuff. I can't wait to get home and take a super long bath-so long, my fingers are all prune-y, and fall asleep dazed and confused.
Tomorrow, I will get up and write a new blog as I get ready to leave for work with my 6th graders. I'll spend the afternoon catching up on trying to turn my organization, Invisible Storybook, into a non-profit. Then, I'll find myself in my Art Research course, discussing my thesis. Hopefully tomorrow and today are both good eating days.
Have an on plan, happy day!
This is what two days of Medifast food looks like when the order that gives you variety is on the way in the mail.
Yesterday went quite well. I talked on the phone with my TSFL coach for about 45 minutes about recent struggles and resolved to not cheat at all. Cheating really ruins this diet for me! I also talked to my mom who resolved to not cheat at all either. We are both on the Medifast diet! It's good to know we are in this together even though we live across the country from one another. Those two conversations made dinner with old college roommates Trevor and Dominique pretty easy! I had a "chik'n" nugget salad from Coco Lin in Queens (http://www.cocolins.com/).
Today, I leave for Washington D.C. to speak at Democracy Day. We're trying to get Congress to renew the Perkins Loan which is supposed to expire in 2017 and increase the funding for Pell Grants. I won't be back in New York until tomorrow evening, hence the big pile of Medifast food on my kitchen counter.
Gotta head to class and then head to DC straight from there! I hope you have a happy, on-plan day just like the one I plan on having!
Good morning from my basement apartment where I'm about to eat the cereal in the light blue cup and drink the tea in the Princess themed cup.
I've had a really tricky relationship with food throughout my life. When I was a child, I ate a lot of Spam and Vienna sausage and noodles in a cup. I grew up with a lot of people and I think it was part of my very large family's way of saving money but feeding everyone who lived in that house. On top of my nuclear family, my two uncles and their families as well as my grandparents on my mother's side all lived with us. However, when I was young, we were all really active too. My dad coached the volleyball team I played on. I played basketball too. We were always on the move.
By the time I got to college, I had stopped eating meat. There were about 8 months there where I lived an entirely vegan lifestyle but then got called back to the animal world because of a really nice brie that got put in front of me one night. At my core, I really think that I should be vegan. I've got to hand it to the cognitive dissonance that allows me to consume animal products even though I've read things like Skinny Bitch, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Fast Food Nation and watched things like Fed Up, Cowspiracy and Cooked.
Speaking of Cooked, I binge watched all 4 episodes last night. Michael Pollan is a really interesting thinker and a really clean and clear writer which I admire and appreciate. He said something in an episode that really stuck with me- something to the effect of: I don't want to eat processed foods all the time because that makes me a passive consumer and I don't know about you but that's my least favorite identity. I prefer to be a maker, a creator.
Part of what I think has gotten me to where I am is this lack of time to make my own food. I know that cooking for myself is much healthier, but I've never been short of hobbies. Right now, I'm headed to my 6th grade classroom where I work part time. I'm working on a children's storybook. Tomorrow, I leave for Washington D.C. where I am speaking for Democracy Day. I'm also endlessly working on photo projects and other art projects and I'm finishing up my Masters in Art at NYU. My mom sometimes talks about eating out of boredom. For me, I don't think that's the case. I think I eat unhealthily out of sheer hunger and the lack of time and energy to make a better choice.
This is me, this morning. When I tell people I'm on a diet, a couple responses are possible. 1) "What?! Why! You don't need to be on a diet!" 2) "Oh, good for you! What diet is it?" 3) "What made you decide that!?"
My goal is to lose about 20 pounds. I acknowledge this is not the large sum that many people are trying to lose but it is tricky in its own way. I often feel "close" to my goal and then end up cheating, somehow convincing myself it's okay. That's part of why I started this blog. If my self-talk can convince me to eat unhealthily, surely I can harness that power to use it for the opposite effect!
Here is a photo of me just 4 years ago when I was 124 pounds, in my prime acting and modeling life. I'm on the right. I was booking jobs constantly. I was confident enough to wear a top without sleeves because I wasn't insanely self conscious about my arm fat.
Speaking of arm fat, this weekend I went swing dancing with my sister. A cousin of ours took a video and I saw my back for the first time in a while. I'm not sure I knew that I could be self conscious about my back until I saw that video played back to me!
Another thing that I find myself self-talking about is confidence and what "matters". I don't like to feel like I'm vain or self-centered and sometimes the desire to be "skinny" makes me feel like I'm just being superficial. It's not about being "skinny" even though that's a nice byproduct. I feel so much healthier when I eat well. I can do more. I can think more clearly. I can enjoy the taste of my tea more. I don't huff and puff when I climb the 3 flights of stairs to my classroom.
To a day of being 100% on plan! I hope you will be too.
The plan is to write in this blog every morning before I start the day, even if it is only just a line or two. I want to hold myself accountable to the goals that I have set for myself:
1. Get healthy
2. Get to goal weight of 120-125 pounds
3. Balance mind, body and spirit
This is where I'm coming from:
In January, I began the Take Shape for Life Program at 152 pounds. Today, I'm at 142 pounds which means I've had a really, really slow rate of losing. This is not because of the TSFL program but because of "breaks" that I've taken from the program. I was actually at 139 a couple weeks ago, but thanks to a vacation visiting home in San Diego, I gained quite a few pounds back. These "breaks" are part of why I got to be so unhealthy in the first place. It's not that I don't know how to eat. It's not that I haven't read The Omnivore's Dilemma or studied nutrition. It's that I always somehow convince myself that it's okay "just this time" or "just for this birthday" or "just while I'm on vacation". I am so tired of talking myself into believing unhealthy habits are okay and then feeling the effects of these habits so immediately after indulging in whatever unhealthy thing it is.
Last spring, my boyfriend took me to Sedona, Arizona where I met a Hopi Indian who told me that we must balance or minds, body and souls.
I'm a 26 year old teacher and graduate student and I've admittedly had a strong bias to keeping my mind healthy, curious and busy. While this has led me to feeding my spirit in many ways--I love to read and recently I've been reading a lot of Buddhist texts and mindfulness texts, it has also led to quite a neglect of my physical body.
In Uganda this past January, I was immersed in a culture of dance and music, one where I was constantly moving all the time and that movement was important to daily life. I want to align my mind, body and spirit much more than I have in my adult life. I want to eat healthily. I want to drink water. I want to do yoga and I want to get back into swing dancing, which I once loved. I want to move and treat my body kindly.
Eating healthy and moving a little more are the best ways for me to live up to my goal of aligning my mind, body and spirit. I'm no longer taking any "breaks" from the healthy life I want to live.
I will reach my goal weight by June 2016, if not earlier, no excuses.
Hope you can support my journey.