Happy Easter

I just want to start off this post by giving a huge “thank you” too all those who took the time to comment on my last few posts. I have been struggling, but reading your sweet comments and advice seriously warms my heart. Recovery is a long and hard process, but it feels nice to know that I have all of you to turn to for support and advice, and I could not be more thankful for that.

I also want to wish those who celebrate a happy Easter! My family doesn’t have too many plans for today. We were supposed to have dinner at my grandparents’ house, but unfortunately, my grandpa is in the hospital. He was having severe pain in his chest and we thought something might be wrong with his heart, but the doctors said it was gallstones. Thankfully, those are a lot less serious than a heart problem (though I’m sure still very painful). So I think my grandma is coming up to our house for church and then an early dinner (grilled salmon), and then we are all going to the hospital to visit my grandpa.

Besides having Easter dinner, my family has a few other Easter traditions. My sisters and I always color Easter eggs, even now that we are older. We never do anything fancy, but it’s still fun. We also used to have Easter egg hunts when we were little, though we usually used plastic eggs and the “Easter Bunny” would put little prizes inside.

Eggs

My grandma also makes her Italian Easter bread every year. She hasn’t been in the best health the past year, and hasn’t felt like cooking much, so this year I tried making it myself for the first time. I must say, it came out pretty good! Here’s the recipe if you want to try making it:

Italian Easter Bread

Ingredients

– 3 eggs

-1 cup sugar

-1/4 cup Crisco (shortening)

-1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

-1 small bottle of anise extract

-1 cup milk

-4 cups flour

-3 Tablespoons baking powder

-2 egg yolks

-colored sprinkles

Directions

1. Beat the three eggs in a bowl. Add 1 cup of sugar and combine well. Add Crisco and butter to the egg mixture and beat well. Add the anise extract and milk.

2. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Work the liquid into the flour until well mixed.

3. Place dough on a floured cookie sheet and work well. I found that the dough was super sticky, so I needed to add quite a bit of flour to make it more workable.

4. Divide the dough into 2 parts (or 4 if you want to make 2 separate rings). Roll out each section of dough into a long rope. Braid and twist the ropes together on the floured cookie sheet to create a ring.

Easter bread before baking 1

5. Beat the 2 egg yolks together and spread all over the tops/sides of the bread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle the colored candies on top.

6. Bake about 30-40 min at 350, or until lightly browned (keep an eye on it because it tends to dry out if overcooked).

Easter bread

There you have it! I actually baked this yesterday, and it was a lot of fun playing around with the dough ūüôā I find baking so therapeutic (even the cleaning up part after isn’t too bad). I hope you all have a lovely and blessed Easter, if you celebrate. If not, have a great Sunday!

Does your family have any Easter traditions? Have you ever had Easter bread?

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The Three-Letter “F” Word

I say that I “feel” fat, but I know that fat is not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. When I say that I feel fat, I really mean that I feel sad, anxious, guilty, depressed, worried and ashamed. When I say I feel fat, I really feel afraid, lonely, inadequate, hopeless, and self-conscious.

Why I cannot express these emotions in a straightforward fashion, I do not know. Somehow, in my head, all of these feelings become translated into one three -letter word: FAT.

And when I am feeling all of these emotions that I’ve somehow translated into the three-letter “F” word, I believe that the solution, the escape, is to focus on my body. I¬† believe that fixating my attention on weight, body measurments, and calories will somehow make this bad feeling go away. Surely, placing the focus on my body will solve the whole problem because afterall, the whole issue is that I feel fat.

But it doesn’t solve my problems. Focusing on weight and food and calories eaten vs. calories burned has not solved a single thing. It hasn’t solved anything because the problem has never been with my body. The whole issue lies deeper within myself. I have all of these emotions locked inside of me, and I cannot seem to express them any other way than with the word “fat”. And because I cannot express what I am really feeling, I cannot deal with the emotions properly. Nothing can be resolved until I can come to terms with how I am really feeling inside. Nothing will be fixed until I can stop taking out my sadness, frustration, lonliness, and anxiety on my body.

And that is where I am stuck.

A Bad Role Model

I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I am very close to my two younger sisters, Emily and Allie. We have always been close ever since we were little, and I seriously cannot imagine my life without them.

As the oldest sister, I think I’ve always felt the pressure to be a good role model. I think it’s only natural to want your younger siblings to look up to you. Although I am FAR from perfect, I’ve always tried to set a good example for Emily and Allie in everything I do.

But lately, I haven’t felt like such a good role model. I have always been concerned that my unhealthy¬† attitude towards eating and my body would somehow rub off on my sisters. My youngest sister, Allie, has me really, really¬†worried. Over the past 6 months or so, I’ve had concerns that she might possibly be developing an eating disorder, but until recently, I haven’t mentioned anything to my parents or anybody. In the past, my mom has told me that Allie says that she feels ashamed of her body, like she is bigger than my other sister and me. She told my mom that she hates standing next to me in photos because she feels like she looks so much bigger than me. She’s also said that she feels guilty because she feels like she eats more “junk” food than I do. Last weekend, when we went out for ice cream, she told me that she felt guilty for having ice cream two days in a row. This was coming from a girl who used to eat ice cream almost every single night before bed.

Since I’ve been home at my dad’s, I’ve also noticed that¬† her eating habits have changed drastically. She is eating, but is eating much less and much healthier than she did before. I don’t think that her wanting to eat healthy foods is a bad thing at all, but it’s her portion sizes that worry me, and the fact that she feels guilt for eating unhealthy foods. I watch her pack her lunch, and it’s not nearly enough. And while she hasn’t lost much weight and is still technically at a healthy weight, she’s lost about 5 pounds over the past year.

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Allie is 17 years old and is gorgeous. She is tall and built thin, but athletic. She was a gymnast, in cheerleading, and is good at almost everything she tries. Her body looks amazing in any outfit she wears. Even though I am her older sister, I have actually always admired her. Secretly, I have always wished that my body looked like hers.

It pains me to think that such a beautiful girl feels so self-conscious and ashamed of her body. I am sad that she feels any sort of guilt after she eats. I know that many women and girls have these feelings, and they never develop into full-fledged eating disorders, but I am worried for Allie. I want so badly to sit down and have a talk with her. I want to tell her how beautiful she is, and how much I’ve always admired her body. I want to tell her that she’s perfect how she is. I want to warn her how much damage undereating can do to the body. I want to tell her how food is fuel and she should never feel guilty for eating. I want to protect her from going through the same thing I have gone through.

But I am not sure how to approach her about this. I don’t want her to get angry and upset with me, and I definitely don’t want to make this into a bigger deal than it is. I just don’t know what to do. Any advice on the best way to talk to her?

Sorry for such a negative post on a Saturday morning, but this has really been eating me up inside. Hopefully I will think of some way to talk to her this weekend.

Practicing Gratitude

Most of the time, I try to be a positive person, but this hasn’t always been the case. In the past, especially when I was deep into my eating disorder, I had a very pessimistic attitude about a lot of things. I actually never realized how negative some of my thought patterns were until my mom pointed it out to me one day. From that day forward, I decided that I was going to try to be more optimistic. After all, looking at all of the negatives in life was certainly not making me happy. And most people don’t really enjoy spending time with someone who is always negative.

My optimist attitude has been challenged a lot lately. My family has been under a lot of stress recently, between my dad losing his job a couple weeks ago, my grandpa having health problems, financial struggles, and the uncertainty of college and living situations for my sisters and me for next year. I’ve also been having some rough times in recovery, mainly with feeling hopeless. Sometimes I feel like maybe I will always deal with eating disordered and OCD¬†thoughts and other anxieties, and I will never truly live my life to its fullest potential.

While I think it is completely normal and natural to feel negative and pessimistic sometimes, I’ve been trying my best to remain positive. In life, we are all thrown our fair share of difficulties,¬†most of which we did not choose. However, I do believe that we can make a conscious decision to choose to find the POSITIVES in these situations.

Positive thinking

I’m not going to lie; sometimes, I look at a situation and struggle to find any good in it. I start thinking, “Why me? Why did this have to happen?” I start feeling sorry for myself and start wishing that things could be different. But then I have to stop myself and think about whether wallowing in self-pity and wishing thay my life¬†could be different¬†is serving me any good. And nearly 100% of the time, the answer is no.

So I have to switch my mindset into a more positive mode, and start thinking of all of the things in my life I am thankful for. In fact, I’ve started keeping a sort of gratitude journal. Each evening, I sit down and think of at least one thing I am thankful for from that day. Even if it’s something small, like a phone conversation with my mom, a meal shared with my family, snuggling with my kitty,¬†a good book, or the chance to go outside and enjoy a stretch of spring-like weather (which we had this weekend!). Most days, I can think of several things that I am thankful for. Writing in my gratitude journal has opened my eyes to all the wonderful things I have¬†in my life.

Feels like spring

Trying to think more positively about life has really been helping me get through some rough times. It is helping my mood immensely, and allowing me to remain hopeful about the future in a time of stress and uncertainty. When I take time out to really think about all of the positive things I have in my life, I feel like one lucky girl.

So, I challenge you to think of at least one thing that you are thankful for today. It doesn’t have to be big or significant. Just one thing that brought a smile to your face or made you happy. I am willing to bet that no matter how terrible you think your day has been, you can find at least one positive thing in it. If you choose to focus on that positive thing, instead of all of the negatives, I can guarantee that you will be a much happier person. ūüôā

Tell me: What is one positive thing about your day today?

Snowy Days and Soup

First off, I just wanted to say thank you to all who commented on my last post about my therapist. Fortunately, she was very open to me wanting to focus a bit more on my OCD and anxiety, so we did just that. I know I shouldn’t have been afraid to tell her how I felt, but I am glad that she’s more aware of what’s been bothering me. Hopefully, I will slowly be able to break free of some of my obsessive worries and anxious thoughts, and just be able to live life.

Anyways, look what I woke up to this morning…

Snow!

Snow!

We got dumped with a couple inches of snow last night. My sister even had school cancelled today. Hopefully, this will be the last snow of the season because I cannot wait for spring to be here!

One thing I WILL miss about winter is soup. I know you can have soup in the spring and summer (and I totally do), but there’s just something special about having a nice warm bowl of soup when it’s freezing cold outside…am I right? The other day, I tried a new recipe for chicken tortilla soup, and it was a hit! If you’re looking for something warm and comforting, but with a spicy kick, I would definitely recommend trying this recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4c diced onion
  • 1/3c diced green bell pepper
  • 1/3c diced red bell pepper
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
  • 32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal or Masa

Toppings: diced avocado, shredded cheddar, crushed tortilla chips, squirt lime juice, and/or sour cream (the toppings make the soup!)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375. Mix the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle chicken breasts in a little olive oil and sprinkle a bit of the spice mixture over the chicken. Bake in the oven until cooked (mine took about 45 minutes). Once done, shred the chicken with a fork and knife and set aside.

Spices

shredded chicken

2. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, pepper and garlic and begin cooking. Add the remainder of the spice mixture. Stir to combine. Add the shredded chicken breast and stir.

pepper and onion

3. Pour in the Rotel, chicken broth, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes, uncovered.

4. Mix the cornmeal with a bit of water. Pour into the soup, and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check the seasonings, and add more if needed. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for about 15-20 minutes before serving.

5. Ladle into bowls and add toppings. We had ours with some French bread, but I think I am going to try making cornbread with it next time.

Please ignore the fancy Kellogg's cereal bowls, haha!

Please ignore the fancy Kellogg’s cereal bowls, haha!

That’s all I have for today! I really hope you like this soup if you try it. ¬†It was super delicious and easy too, so I’ll definitely be making it again in the near future!

Have a great Wednesday!