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live from BlogHer Food ’09

September 26, 2009

I woke up this morning promptly at 5:30 AM ready and rarin’ to go and by 7:00 I was packed, and headed out the door en route to San Francisco. I felt like a kiddie on my first day of school :)

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Coach graciously drove me the 40 minutes up to the city and I was immediately greeted at the St. Regis by this gorgeous scene …

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I wasn’t able to enjoy a mimosa but I quickly headed upstairs and sampled this amazing spread …

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I munched on some fresh berries, and sipped on some delicious tea during the welcome and then headed to my first session “Developing your Visual Voice” with Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks and Matt Armendariz from Matt Bites

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… stay tuned for the SWAG update which may or may not involve this gem … :)

Training Camp!

September 25, 2009

Yesterday I received a very special package from MOO

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… and not a moment too soon because tomorrow I am headed up to the city for …

BlogHer Food ’09 !!!!!!!!!

I will be meeting up with Jenna, Kath and Tina at breakfast and spending my entire Saturday meeting and greeting other bloggers and learning all that I possibly can from women much more talented then myself!

I will be blogging while I am there and taking TONS of pictures so stay tuned for all the fun! :)

The Perfect Storm

September 25, 2009

Wowza! – what wild week this has been!

September has been somewhat of a “perfect storm” in regards to my acknowledgment and proactive approach to Ed.

A little over a month ago I was reading an article in the San Jose Mercury News

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about Shelia Himmel, a local food critic turned author whose daughter Lisa ironically suffered for years with anorexia/bulimia. Together they had composed a unique memior titled “Hungry”

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… which chronicles Lisa (as well as her families) fight with her disorder and it was set to release late summer. On the first available date a trekked to my local bookstore and picked up my very own copy.

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As I read and re-read each word and chapter I couldn’t help but feel as though I had penned the memoir myself. Each detail of the Himmel’s story mirrored my very own.

Passing up dinner invitations to escape the agony of eating around others.

The voices, the anger, the exhaustion.

I placed broken heart shaped post-it’s on dozens of pages as cute reminders of our life similarities.

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AND THEN … I happened upon this little excerpt …

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The National Eating Disorder Resource Center in San Jose … it sounded eerily familiar. And it hit me! The EDRC is located in my office building!

What are the odds!

I spent the next week or so analyzing each word in Hungry. Comparing my symptoms to those listed in the book, convincing myself that the fact that I matched each and every symptom was simply a coincidence. Then one especially stressful afternoon in the office I decided to take a breather walk around the building and found myself sitting in the conference room of the EDRC with the Executive Director, Janice Bremis.

I explained to Janice how my sitting in her office came to fruition (the mention in Hungry) and she handed me a flyer for an upcoming reading with Sheila and Lisa 5 minutes away!

I knew I had to attend.

So on Monday evening I packed up my things, slid out of work a few minutes early, and headed to the Cambrian Library to meet the two women who I already considered comrades.

It. was. life. changing.

I won’t go in to details but those two women are inspiring. I was also lucky enough to meet a wonderful doctor who offered me invaluable advice in regards to my lack of health insurance. She even provided me with her cell phone number and has called to follow up with me twice!

A few days later as I sat stuck in a meeting I hear the front office door open and see Janice peeking in. Turns out, the doctor I had met had called Janice and voiced her concerns. Before I left the office on Tuesday I made a pit stop upstairs. Janice and I talked about her struggles, her onset osteoperosis, my exhaustion, etc.

Talking to someone who lives my life is the most comforting feeling in the World.

As I got up to leave Janice reached for my frail wrist, sat me down and handed me two more very special things:

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… they have already begun to train my fighting spirit … only time will tell

Risk = Reward

September 16, 2009

If I have learned anything in the past 365 days of my tumultuous and complicated life it is that …

Today I can take a small risk in the interest of enriching my life.

… because exactly 1 year ago today Coach and I did just that. We threw caution, prior sense and responsibility to the wind, packed up the Charger to the brim with all of our prized life possesions, braved the remenants of Hurricane Ike and a National Disaster Flood Zone south of Chicago and embarked on our great cross-country move along Interstate 80 from our small hometown in Michigan to wild west of California. :)

I’d show you the pictures from the journey but the first 20 or so hours consisted mainly of this:

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with a little bit of this …

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Our second night was spent in Park City, Utah where we happened upon this little gem:

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the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!

On our final morning we rose before then sun and drove across the Great Salt Flats …

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before arriving to our new home in California!

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I won’t pretend like the past 365 days have been a cake walk, or that I have grown to be a more insightful woman because realistically I haven’t.

I have struggled.

But I’ve also spent my days in some AMAZING places in my own “backyard” …

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and met some wonderful people …

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( like my favorite blogger Jenna – who I will be seeing again at BlogHer Food in San Francisco in a few weeks)

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and I have to remind myself that my struggles are a part of me.

The risks I have taken have enriched my life.

and they are worth the rewards I will reap.

Practice makes “perfect”

September 16, 2009

One of the things which has fed my dysfunctional relationship with Ed has been my extreme determination on maintaining a strict daily regimen. Day after day I perform certain “rituals” which occur like clockwork at a specific time. One of my greatest struggles thus far has been my desire to strictly adhere to that regimen. In order for me to truly begin recognition of my fight it is pertinent that I acknowledge the regimen which rules each minute and thought of my day.

without further ado … a day in my fight …

6:35 am – It’s early and I am exhausted. I wake up every morning feeling as though my mind has been running overtime for 72 hours straight. I manage 8 full hours of shut eye a night but it never feels like enough. I press snooze but lay awake anticipating the alarm 5 minutes later.

6:40 am – Duke is half awake now too. He heard the alarm the first time and knows that his morning walk is near. I drag myself out of the comfort of my warm bed, change into my lounge clothes, grab Duke’s leash off the hook by the front door and take one final longing look at Coach wishing I could sleep snuggled up next to him for an extra 30 minutes. I don’t want to go for a long walk right now. I make the excuse that

“Duke would be miserable without this morning walk. How could I take that away from him”

And besides … who can resist a look like that!

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… but in all actuality I only rise with the sun to burn off those extra 95 calories.

7:15 am – We return from our brisk walk and I feel like I just ran a marathon. I used to be able to lace up my shoes and jog a simple 6 miles. Although that time was  only 1 year ago the fatigue I feel from my daily routine makes my “running days” feel like a   distant   memory.

8:00 am – Showered and ready to go I gather up the last of my clothes for work and stuff them into my backpack. I’ve been up for an hour and a half, walked 2 miles, showered and gotten ready and still haven’t had a thing to eat or drink. Coach grabs his keys off the counter, kisses me goodbye and hops in the car for work. “I’d KILL to drive to work” I say out loud to myself … my mode of transportation however?? …

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8:13 am – It’s windy, and I am cold. And when I say cold, I mean FREEZING.

In the past year a strange phenomenon has occurred and my skin is essentially tissue paper thin. I am ALWAYS freezing. I probably look like a fool in my sweatpants, long sleeve t-shirt, fleece zipped up to my ears and mittens on my hands biking down the street in the blazing California sun in August. Yet, when I stop at a traffic light I notice my fingers are in their first stages of hypothermia. No matter what the temperature is outside this happens on a daily basis.

First my fingers and toes loose all sensation and turn a stark white. After a few minutes of white they turn a deep blue/purple before becoming fire engine red as they re-heat.

Each rotation of my pedals is strenuous but as I chain my bike up in the office parking structure and I think about the 140 calories I burned en route I smile to myself.

8:45 am – I am finally changed into office appropriate attire, have brewed my extra large mug of coffee (with FIVE packets of Splenda), emptied my portion controlled Ziploc of dry Cheerios (100 calories) on to my plate and have settled at my desk for breakfast.

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12:00 pm – I’ve been thinking about food each minute since I finished my Cheerios this morning. The thought of food is constantly on my mind. I have over 150 food blogs in my Google Reader and hundreds of starred recipes waiting to be cooked and baked.

Doughnuts. Baked Penne. Red Velvet Cake.

My mouth waters all day, dreaming of the taste of things which I would never allow myself to enjoy.

12:30 pm – I finally give in and have my second Ziploc portion of Cheerios and a bottle of h20 for lunch.

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5:49 pm – I rush out of the office to bike to my counseling session. It is now almost 6 o’clock and I have eaten a grand total of 200 calories.

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Most people would be starving and ready to gnaw their arm off, but my body rarely feels true hunger. Although my mind knows it should be hungry, the feeling rarely translates and communicates that thought to my stomach. I have learned to manage hunger to a point where it simply no longer exists.

7:40 pm – I’m home and dinner is served.

Every night I eat the exact. same. thing.

My “appetizer” is a can of Progresso Light Vegetable & Noodle Soup.

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It’s 60 calories per serving and each can has 2 servings. I always add a ½ cup of water to the soup so that it appears to be more food. I also add red pepper flakes for a little extra uumph. It’s pretty bland (especially after being watered down) so I do my best to jazz it up.

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My “entrée” consists of a La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber tortilla

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with spinach, lettuce, red onion, tomato and mustard. The wraps are 80 calories a pop and with the minimal amount of veggies I add I’d say this baby clocks in at about 120 calories. It is actually really deeeeelicous and the thing I look forward to most in my day.

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Coach and I eat together every single night. We share stories from our day, talk about the latest news and just enjoy one another’s company. He doesn’t criticize what I am eating, or force his opinions on me.

We are finally working together on acknowledging my poor choices and his positive reinforcement is life-saving.

Coach always whips up some fantastic concoction with chicken, roasted red potatoes, green beans and carrots. Some nights I make him his favorite homemade garlic bread … tonight it was cheesy breadsticks.

One of my favorite pastimes is indeed cooking and baking for Coach. In fact I enjoy cooking and baking for everyone but myself.

I am obsessed with food and have begun collecting cookbooks. My DVR is fully recorded episodes of Barefoot Contessa, Diners Drive In’s and Dives, Man vs. Food and Everyday Italian. I LOVE food. Just not the consumption of it.

9:00 pm – It is finally time for DESSERT J

My Cheerio fest continues … I am pretty sure I keep General Mills in business with my 3 servings a day.

Coach and I always joke about how fabulous my cholesterol must be … too bad my blood pressure is terrible and my hair is falling out

Since it is dessert, I indulge and sprinkle my cheerios with 2 packets of Splenda and a dash or two of cinnamon.

Life’s little pleasures right!?

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(A few weeks ago I began “indulging” in 1 sugar free 15 calorie Popsicle right before bed, but have since omitted them from my diet. It makes me happy to know that I managed to cut the extra 15 calories out.)

10:00 pm – Coach is responsible for Duke’s evening bathroom trip, and as he heads out the door I scurry in to the bedroom to crank out 100 crunches. We used to spend an hour at the gym together each day and for some reason now, I hate to have him catch me mid crunch session.

10:20 pm – I finally crawl in to bed, tallying up my caloric total for the day (around 800-900 calories consumed, and 300 calories burned from my walk/bike rides).

My mind calms races with negative thoughts as I try to fall asleep …

… I fade into dreamland in hopes of escaping the jail my mind and body is locked in …

Introducing: Coach

September 14, 2009

Coach - The man who I now share a home, vehicle, cell phone plan, life’s dreams and my heart with.

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Our World’s collided outside of our 3/4th hour Language Arts classroom circa 1995. We were assigned lockers next to one another and I was immediately smitten. His oversized glasses, mouth full of metallic braces, pre-pubescent acne and his shy and reserved mannerisms had me hooked J He was a part of my life when I hadn’t yet graduated from my training bra stage. He took me to my first formal dance and posed for awkward pictures outside our friend’s home.

Together, in college we scarfed down endless foam containers of deep fried Chinese take-out food into our mouths after a long night of Long Island Iced Teas and Jager Bombs at the bar. He loved me when I didn’t think twice about the number of calories I consumed or the pounds on the scale and he loved me enough to put in endless hours at the gym and miles on the pavement last summer as we trained together for our first 10K race. He loved me enough to ask me to move across the country with him last September from Michigan to California and he even loved me enough to spend 3 days on a cross-country road trip in a stuffed to the ceiling car with me to get here.

And somehow, through it all … He still loves me now.

He has been the most amazing life coach. He has always been my biggest supporter.

Encouraging me. Loving me. Believing me.

Even when I couldn’t do those things for myself.

Down but not out

September 14, 2009

I don’t remember the first time I turned down a dinner date with Matt because I couldn’t find nutritional information for the restaurant online and I can’t remember when I began measuring portion sizes for my “breakfast” and “lunch” (which consists of 1 cup of Cheerios ). I don’t remember the last time I ate a thick slice of deep dish pizza from Pizza Hut or licked my neon orange fingers clean after munching on my favorite snack food – Cheetos puffs. I don’t remember when my hair began to fall out in clumps or when my skin became so dry that no amount of Bath & Body Works Body Butter would soothe my cracked hands.

But I DO remember the last time I had my menstrual cycle (almost 2 years ago – January 7th, 2008) and I can still recall the first time I wandered in to Gap Kids to purchase a new pair of jeans (kids size 10) because the smallest pants in the adult store dropped straight to the floor once I zipped them up. I know the exact day I stepped on the scale and saw the lowest weight of my adult life (94lbs. on my 5’3” frame) and I remember sitting on the oversized couch in my counselors office, surrounded by self-help books and a poster that read in bright bubbly type – “You are worth it!” – as she told me that I was suffering from Anorexia Nervosa and ordered me to immediately see a doctor.

I never woke up one morning, decided I was fat and said to myself – “Hey, maybe I should become anorexic”. I wasn’t abused mentally or physically as a child. I was never overweight or bullied. I came from a loving family who always supported and encouraged me. I was in a wonderfully fulfilling relationship with a man who held me close when I cried, laughed at my jokes even when they weren’t funny, and loved me unconditionally and without question.

I did not fit a single stereotype associated with Anorexia Nervosa and yet I was its victim.

Only recently have I been willing and able to recognize the abusive relationship I am in with ED.

And although I am not yet emotionally prepared to increase the number of calories I consume a day, or drive to work rather than forcing myself to ride my bike to burn off a few more extra calories … I am ready to acknowledge the behaviors.

I don’t know if I will win. I imagine that I will be knocked down and out, stand up and then drop again. But I’m a fighter. And I want to be an example. This is my story of my struggles and successes.

Welcome to the good life.

Welcome to the good fight.

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