Failure Is Not Fatal

This past week has been rough in terms of recovery. My head has been filled with thoughts that I know are irrational and unhelpful, yet I cannot seem to shake them off. I haven’t been giving my 100% to recovery. I feel as if I am stuck, and am afraid to move forward. But as scared as I am to keep pushing forward, I am more afraid to stay this way forever.

Tomorrow is the start of a brand new week. Yes, the past week may not have been the best, but that doesn’t mean I have to continue this way. I can pick myself up and get back on the horse. I can try harder this week. I will try harder this week. I will meet my meal plan, take care of myself, and do my best to let go of any negative thoughts. I don’t have to be perfect, but I do need to try my best.

I am going to make tomorrow a better day. I cannot – no, I won’t – give up now. I am way too stubborn to give up this easily.

success-is-not-final-failure-is-not-fatal_-it-is-the-courage-to-continue-that-counts1

 

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Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you for all of the get -well wishes for my grandfather! Luckily, his issue wasn’t a heart problem like the doctors originally thought. It turned out to be his gallbladder (which he unfortunately had to have removed). He is at home now and recovering from his surgery, and is thankfully doing a lot better! He’s had a really rough year health-wise, so hopefully he continues to get stronger and healthier every day.

I was planning to write a post about some struggles and thoughts I’ve been having lately, but decided to save that for another day. Monday is too early in the week to cover such deep topics, don’t you think? Plus, I remembered that this beautiful girl nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award about a month ago (thanks, Liz!). I’m a sucker for these types of surveys and think they’re a lot of fun, plus I need a distraction from my anxiety. Hopefully this isn’t too boring to read, and helps you get to know me a little better!

versatileblogger11

The rules:

#1 – Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.

#2 – Copy and paste the award to your blog.

#3 – Share 7 random facts about yourself.

#4 – Nominate 5 bloggers and include links to their sites as well.

#5 – Let the other bloggers know that you have nominated them.

Fact #1: I cannot leave the house without my hand sanitizer.

Ok, while this is probably partly due to my OCD, I am a self-confessed germaphobe. I always carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer around with me in my purse. Even when I was little, I always had some in my backpack or desk at school.  In fact, I once cried in kindergarten when I realized that I had forgotten my hand sanitizer at home. Thankfully, I don’t do that anymore (haha), but I still do like to have some with me. You just never know when you’re going to run into a germy situation!

hand sanitizerSpeaking of germy situations…

Fact #2: I once fell into a muddy creek in front of my entire class.

This was hands down the most embarassing thing that ever happened to me. My ninth grade biology class went down to the creek by my school to collect water samples or something. I decided that it would be a good idea to use a tree branch that was situated over the creek to get to the other side (the creek was not wide or deep at all…it was more like a little stream). Anyway, I slipped off the log, and well, you can figure out the rest. I literally had mud ALL over me, and the worst part was that the entire class saw me fall in. Luckily, my mom was kind enough to bring me a change of clothes, and I had to go wash up in the nurse’s office. You better believe I was wishing for my hand sanitizer then!

Fact #3: I always toast my bread.

I honestly don’t like the doughy texture of untoasted bread, so I always toast it first!

Fact #4: I can do a split.

I’m not super flexible or anything, but I can do a full split on my right side. I’ve been able to do this since my dancing days, but I practice almost every day to make sure I don’t lose it. I’ve also been practicing my left-side and center splits, so hopefully I’ll be able to do those one day as well.

Fact #5: I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Well, I do have some idea, but I’m not entirely sure. I am majoring in psychology because I find it so fascinating and feel like there is so much to learn. I plan to go to graduate school, but I’m not sure what I want to go for. I’ve thought of being a guidance counselor, teacher, therapist, or even going into research. It really bothers me that I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life, but I am hoping that I will figure it out!
When I grow up

Fact #6: I do not like to drive.

I actually have a fear of it. I am usually okay with driving somewhere if I’ve driven there many times before (like to school), but otherwise, I get really anxious. I actually didn’t get my license until a week before I turned twenty. I didn’t even want to get it then, but my mom kind of forced me into it, haha.

Fact #7: I absolutely love being in the woods.

I’ve decided that I want my house to be in a wooded area.  While it would be nice to have a house near the beach or something, I would defintiely prefer to have a house in the woods. I just love taking long, peaceful walks alone in the woods. It gives me time to clear my head.

Woods and sun

There you have it! Seven facts about me. Hopefully you didn’t find that too boring. I’m supposed to nominate other bloggers to do the survey, but this has been around for awhile and I’m not sure who all has done it and who hasn’t. So if you see this and you want to do the survey, I am nominating you!

Now tell me a little about you…What is your dream job? What’s one thing you can never leave the house without?

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 🙂 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?

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. 🙂

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!