I Hope to Bust a Myth

If you are embarking on a new adventure called college for the first time I have some wisdom for you. Are you ready?

The Freshman 15 is…

Yes a lot of folks do gain weight when they head off to college, but is it college that causes the weight gain?


The food at your college is the same (or in my case better) nutritionally that you have been eating your whole life. What is different is that you have control of when, what, and how much you eat and sometimes people let that get the best of them. A lot of people grow up with their parents preparing their meals for them all of their lives until college and then they begin eating in dining halls or making microwave dinners in the middle of the night or eating big waffle cones of ice cream every night with friends or consuming hundreds of calories in alcohol (wait alcohol has calories! yup 7kcal per gram!)

My Freshman Year…

I was in no way a believer in the Freshman 15 going in. I had had an eating disorder and knew the likelihood of me allowing weight gain was well very unlikely. I didn’t gain weight and I still ate in the dining halls every night in the beginning before I got sick of the food. I still enjoyed ice cream in waffle cones on occasion. And I chose not to drink, not because of calories but because it was illegal and I wanted to wait until I was 21 (less than a month!). But that doesn’t mean I had total and complete food success my first year. I was exposed to new foods I would have never dared to try before. Enter big bread bowls, bakery bagels, waffle cones, real ice cream, cinnamon rolls, poptarts… The list goes on. And I began to lose control around food. Thankfully I came home for Thanksgiving just as this was happening and my mom had already planned to take me to a conference called intuitive eating at Sheppard Pratt before she even knew something was up. My mom was thankful she was led to sign me up for this when she saw me devour my entire quesadilla + hers my first night back home… The conference allowed me to see that after years of depriving myself and then another few in a rigid recovery, my mind was telling me I had to eat everything on my plate and that if I didn’t I was depriving myself. Crazy right? Well not for me. My parents had never had the rule that I had to finish everything on my plate (except during recovery) but I had that rule for some reason. After this conference and reading the book Intuitive Eating I slowly transformed my mindset into “everything in moderation.” Now, I still have “fear foods” but that doesn’t stop me from challenging my mind and eating them anyways. I also know now that there is no reason for me to explain my eating to anyone around me. So my friends are going out for ice cream and I don’t want it, but still want to hang out… I go, have fun, and don’t feel the need to explain my ice creamlessness. Point of this? My freshman year was the complete opposite of the Freshman 15. I became healthier in my relationship with food.

My Advice to Incoming Freshman

  • Enjoy this experience for everything it is! This is a time to meet new friends, learn new information, and grow into the adult you will one day be.
  • Don’t stress about food and weight gain. Did you stress about this when your mom was still preparing your meals? It is no different when the dining hall sets the table. Eat what you want of what you order. If you don’t finish it all put it in your fridge. I promise that as long as you label it, it should still be there when you get hungry again.
  • Also, do you eat ice cream and late night snacks every night now? If not, chances are you shouldn’t want to in college. So don’t feel like you have to. Some people actually do eat like that and that is what their body is used to. Your body isn’t, and that means for you it is extra calories that your body doesn’t know how to use.
  • Don’t indulge. But do enjoy. The ice cream in a waffle cone or that delicious bread bowl from the dining hall won’t hurt you. It takes a lot more than that to gain 15 pounds.
  • Finally, I know most college students are not me and are planning to go to parties and drink when they are there. Be smart about it! Don’t set your drink down. Do drink water. Don’t over do it, pace yourself with that red solo cup. Remember alcohol not only has calories, but it has more per gram than CARBS and Protein. Plus alcohol has the potential to do huge damage to your body. Binge drinking can really overwork your liver long term as well as your mind. You want to remember these years when you are 70 years old and sending your grandchildren off to college.

The college years beat high school by so many points it is not even funny! Have fun, make memories, and learn something both inside and outside of the classroom!

One more thing…

Let’s Go Hokies!


Practicing with a Success

I have always had a silent loud hatred for practicing. It is not that I do not believe that practice makes perfect, I really do… I just never wanted to practice. You can ask my mother… the only time I practiced was at rehearsals and sometimes (very rarely) in my “dance room” downstairs. (quotes because it was a dance room and then my mom realized I would never practice even with my own ballet barre so she bought a couch for the room). Anyway I never felt the need to practice because honestly I basically lived at my dance studio and spent more time dancing than anything else anyways.

And dance has always come pretty naturally to me, so I never had to practice. But when things that don’t come naturally to me pop up I will admit I am in deep water… I have no idea how to handle something I have never done so I naturally run away.

Well portion control does not come naturally to me. I will be the first to admit that I have a case of America’s jumbo size everything fever. I have had this problem since I began eating real food again and liking it. I suddenly looked down on any food that looked puny on my plate. Example? I always pick out the biggest sweet potatoes, apples the size of your face, and a salad for me must pile so high on one of my giant plates that when I eat it things fall off onto the place mat…

So while I do not have the issue of overeating burgers or other fast food, when it comes to my veggies and fruit I have adopted the motto go big or go home. But the thing is my meals always fill me up to the point of uncomfortable, bloated fiber belly! So while I love these giant meals, I think I need to practice portion control with them or I will never be able to listen to my hunger because I am just always full of veggies and fruit! I also need to realize that even though these things are good for me, even too much fruit can be going overboard (as I recently read about in this article) and it can stop me from absorbing nutrients my body needs.

So I have always had this problem at home because I, like many people, eat what I put on my plate even if I am uncomfortably full before it is all gone… But at restaurants I have become really good of judging if I am full or not (part of the reason I love eating out more than a lot of people). So I have decided that I will start to try and recreate some of my successful hunger gauged meals from restaurants at home and try to remember how much I actually ate at the restaurant so I don’t over do it.

Begin practice (a once unheard of word in my vocabulary!)

This weekend my mom took me out for a wonderful time and during that time I got hungry so she took me to Bakers Crust where I ordered this AMAZING tomato, mozzarella, and avocado salad. It was love at first bite and I have been craving it ever since! Plus I was amazed that even with the deep conversation my mom and I had at the table while I ate I stopped when I was satisfied not full. Normally it takes me a lot of concentration to do that so I was very proud of myself to say the least! So today for lunch I wanted a salad and I wanted to be hungry again for dinner (an almost unheard of idea for me lately-frustrating too) so I decided to scale down the salad and have a little fruit too!

My Very Own Tomato Mozzarella Salad w/ sliced Peaches 🙂

Now the restaurant’s had avocado but I had none. It also had pesto and again I had none. But I added my own touches (mushrooms, carrots, and celery) and I made my own balsamic dressing with spinach herb spices in it!

Was this meal as big as I am used too? No. Was I still hungry when I was done? NOPE! Was I overly, uncomfortably, fiber bellied full? NOOOOOO!!!!! I like the feeling of satisfaction and I like being comfortable. I need to remind myself of that the next time I think about eating enough roughage for 2-3 people in the same meal…

I hope everyone is having a great day!

Good Luck!


It is Friday the 13th. Yes, I am a very superstitious person. Maybe it has to do with the fact that in 8th grade every 13th of the month (it didn’t even matter if it was a Friday!) something weird (not necessarily bad) would occur. To prove that my concerns are warranted: Rebekah (my best friend since I was in 3rd grade) texts me on most Friday the 13ths to say good luck! OK I might be ridiculous but hey we all have our silly beliefs.  My grandmother actually loves this day, especially when it falls on her birthday! But it’s 5 o’clock and, well, nothing bad has happened. Then again I play it careful these days. I did forget my license today in another bag and drove to the hospital and back so some might even say I had good luck because no cop stopped me. It had to happen sometime!

Anyway I have some creations for y’all! Really easy meals I have made that were not only delicious but great for the body! They don’t require a recipe and can be altered for a person’s own taste preferences (these were just mine on that day and that moment)

Salmon, Provolone Cheese, and Mushroom Omelet w/ Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli (broccoli fresh from the backyard garden i might add!)

I got home late (ish… 9pm is late for me most nights) because I was hanging out with a friend from way back when. I wasn’t actually hungry but thought I should probably eat something. (more on this later). This was so easy and delicious! I roasted the Brussel Sprouts after shaking them up with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and I steamed the broccoli. I absolutely love omelets honestly. They are so easy to make, come with endless possibilities of creations, and they really can pound some nutrition into the body! So even though I felt no hunger before this meal I also didn’t feel stuffed afterwards… win win!!!

Deli Meat and Cheese Asparagus Roll Ups!w/ a roasted pepper

This was lunch today. I used to make these great pretzel rolls with “fake meat” and cheese and hummus or laughing cow cheese on a daily basis in high school. I would be looked at SO strangely, but did I care? well actually yes I did but it didn’t stop me from enjoying them. We don’t have the necessary pretzel rods in the house at the moment but we did have Asparagus! So I altered my creation (which I first got from the Today Show).

How To Make “Roll Ups”

  • Take some kind of  food that is like a stick (I can vouch for pretzel rods and asparagus spears)
  • Pick a deli meat and cheese (these are turkey and provolone)
  • And pick a spread (these are ricotta, but I also love laughing cow, hummus, or guacamole)
  • Spread the spread onto your lunch meat and cheese and place your rod food of choice in the center and…
  • ROLL! I then preceded to heat these up but I wouldn’t suggest it with pretzels (might get soggy)

So, other than a brief scare of o man I don’t have my driver’s license This Friday the 13th is turning out pretty good. Although I am getting very frustrated with this feeling hunger thing. What do I do on the the days I don’t feel hungry? If anyone has some advice I would love it. I know what to do if I am not feeling good, but on normal days with my normal exercise I know I need at least 3 good sized meals a day to get my body the nutrients it needs. I just run into the issue of when??? Today for instance I had breakfast around 8:30am (I was sort of hungry for it but not really), but wasn’t hungry when I got home from the hospital like I sometimes am so I worked out first. Well 4 o’clock hit and I still felt nothing so I decided to make that awesome lunch up there. I wasn’t stuffed afterwards either, just feeling a tad confused by my body. So I normally eat pretty late for dinner, but I normally have a rule of if I am not hungry by 9:15pm then I need to get downstairs and make something (especially if I plan on exercise in the morning). Am I wrong should I wait longer for hunger? I don’t think i should because meals take time to not only prepare but also to eat and I like my sleep as much as the next person! I am going to keep trying to feel this hunger out and hope for a break through soon. I am very determined!

O and my friend posted this on her boyfriend’s wall the other day and I found it hilarious 😉

A Whole Lot Of Whole Fruits!

Title Explained: A lot of the food I ate was complete. AKA I had the WHOLE melon, banana, eggplant… And it just so happens they were all technically fruit!

So I had such an amazing and busy day yesterday, and I think my food really does justice to describing just how much I loved yesterday! So I am doing my first ever WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) post. (But really I enjoyed this cuisine on Tuesday yet still reliving it today! I love all of the fabulous bloggers that have followed Jenn’s lead so I want to jump on the bandwagon!

Peas and Crayons

Currently on Tuesdays I do not volunteer so i have the luxury of waking up when I want. Normally I wake up by 7:30am, but yesterday my body must have wanted some extra zzz’s because I woke up @ 8:11am! So my first thought was OMG how am I going to fit my workout in before I need to eat! but then I realized it’s OK, listen to yourself Are you hungry now? If not get on that bike and if you get hungry get off early, shower, and get some grub. So that is exactly what I did! and the ride was GREAT and I had that wonderful feeling of a fit and hungry body afterwards that seriously wanted some fresh food!

Breakfast: A small Galia Melon filled with frozen blueberries, fresh raspberries, chocolate yogurt, and flaxseeds!

I just discovered this melon and it is delicious! Worth the 2.50 dad paid for me to get it!

Confession: I am really bad at feeling and listening to my body. I have always been a clock person and therefore tend to do everything by the minute- including eating. So when I get hungry earlier do I normally just eat? No. I wait until my planned time. And if I don’t get hungry at the time I have made do I normally eat? Yes, even when I am not feeling good and my stomach is uncomfortable. I think I do this because I think if say I am not hungry then people will think I am not eating and that my eating disorder is back. This is such a ridiculous idea! Yet I believe it pretty strongly. Yet, do I really believe other people are thinking this or really is it just me that thinks this? I think it’s me… I need to change my way of thinking because I am smarter than that idea right there

Anyway I had a hair appointment yesterday afternoon. I love going to get my hair done! It takes a little over 2 hours and for those two hours everything else always goes away. Maybe its the smell of the color? But when I got home I was indeed hungry and could feel it. But let’s not praise the listening to the hunger just yet because it was after my normal lunch time (or as mom calls it Meal #2) and if there is one thing I am OK with it is passing by the time AND feeling hungry before that time. i have no clue why I enjoy the feeling of hunger so much but I have a few ideas. I think though it centers around that when my stomach feels ready to eat and tells me, then I KNOW it’s actually OK and my body is telling me how much the food means to it. But do you know what made this 2nd meal even better? I got to skype with my twin! We skype about once a week in the summers and being an only child sometimes it is the only time I get face-to-face interaction with someone my own age! And well she is awesome and I adore our talks! Honestly yesterday we had so many topics to talk about we had to continue after the skype by BMMing all most all night.

Lunch: Two bananas with almond butter (like a sandwich!) and an assortment of veggies

O and some grapes 😉

After skype time I needed to get to work on a dinner I was planning. Now as I have said before my family doesn’t really eat together anymore because we are all just too busy, but sometimes I will make something that will fit into all of our evening meals at sometime or another. Tonight I made these great Meatless Meatballs from Lindsay’s blog. We all loved them! and I will be making them again really soon!

Dinner: A whole eggplant (yes the whole big mama) broiled and topped with tomatoes (yes the whole tomato too) and Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. And of course the Meatballs!

I didn’t have the pesto the recipe calls for but they came out great regardless!

So as for listening to my hunger yesterday? I think I did a great job. And I am keeping up with the new hunger log I am keeping. (dietitians and therapists galore have been trying to get me to start one since forever but I had to realize I needed it on my own) I will keep yall updated on the progress!

How do you know when you are hungry? Is it always hunger pains? For me a lot of the time I never get the grumbles but if it’s been awhile with out substantial food a headache sets in and I get very controversial with people…

Does anyone else keep (or have kept) a hunger log? I could really use some guidance!

What have you been up to that has been fun? Any good eats?

Friends Forever

People come into our lives for a reason. That is what Glinda the Good sings in Wicked. I feel very blessed to have 2 best friends that have changed me for the better in more ways than I will ever know most likely. They have helped shape me into the person I am becoming.

Meet Rebekah and Kailey!

Rebekah: Best friend through it ALL

Kailey: My twin and again friend through it ALL

I do not deserve the friendship these girls have gifted me with. They have stuck with me through a lot. And they both deserve their own separate post. I am going to start with Kailey. It was really hard to decide who to post about today and who to post about tomorrow. I actually let my food decide for me.As you will see Kailey inspired both dinner last night and breakfast this morning.

But I am not leaving out a preview of my friendship with Rebekah first: We have been through ups, downs, flips, turns, and so much more since the 3rd grade. She brought me to find God, stuck with me when I was fading fast, and now we have an amazing friendship that continues to astonish me. OK so you are crazy if you don’t want to read tomorrow’s post on this girl.

Now Kailey. I met Kailey halfway through our freshman year at Virginia Tech and it was not an instant attraction. She was nice, I was nice and I think we both sensed that we had similar likes and dislikes. But I was always dancing and missing out on the hall’s goings on. We connected though in an instant when she caught me reading Intuitive Eating. We had dinner for a few hours (mostly talking not eating) and became very inseparable by the time we were a month into second semester. She is my twin. And yes we call each other that more than we call each other by our proper names.

We bonded over our mutual love for bagels and nut butter. Actually we had a meal of bagels, nut butter, and yogurt and bananas for almost the entirety of sophomore year.

Kailey actually planted the seed in me to become creative with food. I have loved food since recovery, but she made me see how exciting it could be and has since introduced me to some pretty awesome creations.

Broiled Salmon with Kailey’s zucchini fries she told me about while we had the BEST skype session and turned things around for good!

Hence dinner last night. Kailey and I had a bit of a rough end of the year.  I had no idea, but my eating disorder was ruining our friendship. I have a real competition problem when it comes to all things in life and suddenly I was competing with my roommate, best friend, and twin. I was unknowingly attacking everything she did, not listening to her, and worst of all making our friendship slip away. We were losing the greatness of our communication because I was becoming somewhat of an evil queen. And I didn’t know it!

Europe awakened me to what I was doing. I suddenly came to the realization that my eating disorder had been around for awhile and I hadn’t noticed it. I also then realized that instead of killing me this time it was going to first kill my friendship. A friendship that had saved me, turned me onto the path I am academics wise, and given me a sister. Needless to say I was sad and feeling lost. I told Kailey I needed to talk to her, and she instantly knew what it was about (we are twins!) and I noticed how distant she had become. Cue almost crying while doing one of my favorite things- grocery shopping (which is one of the things I love doing with her because of her passion for all food)

The skype session was not easy for either of us and there were a few minutes that I thought I had lost my best friend because of everything I had done this past year. But Kailey is AMAZINGLY forgiving and understanding. I cannot believe I have a friend as great as her. I am making a promise to work on my condescending, competitive nature. I will be calling myself out on it, and it will not come between me and my best friend ever again. Kailey has my permission to not only call me out when I mess up, but I fully expect her to never allow me to treat her the way I did this past year.

Kailey and I connected because of food, but it became our whole friendship. And we have so much more in common. AKA we both love Gilmore girls, Pretty Little Liars, boys ;), our classes, The Swan Princess…. need I go on? We were obviously meant to be friends for a lifetime.

Cantaloupe filled with chocolate yogurt, frozen blueberries, and flaxseeds

Kailey inspires me to be a better person. A unique person who has big dreams that are totally worth dreaming. That is because she is so unique and beautiful. She dreams big with her whole heart. I highlighted too meals she inspired me to try. I loved them, but really the food is just the beginning… Kailey is the reason I am indeed changing for the better.

Europe: Words Can’t Describe (Part One!)

I’m back everyone! And with very little jet lag! (although I did wake up after only 5 hours of sleep for the past 2 nights). I want to do a couple posts about everything I saw and learned in Europe.  Because I went to three different countries, and each country had something new to offer one post just isn’t enough (because it would be so long and you might get bored).

Let’s start with the trip over to Germany (and what I learned)

Getting there took a LONG time!

We left @ 6am sharp to drive to Newark Airport where we could park the truck for the time we were away. Notice Dad has the much needed coffee (my chocolate tea and breakfast of champs is waiting in the truck don’t you worry)

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare (NOTE: this is good because security could have been horrific) so we grabbed food and relaxed while waiting for the plane. Airport people watching (and listening) provides great entertainment especially when you are not that into the book you are currently reading!

I have never seen a plane this big! It had two isle rows and a set of rows in the center AND 2 stories! wow. When we got on the plane we had to sleep but dad watched a movie and so did I because well i wasn’t quite tired yet. I actually just watched an episode of Desperate Housewives. I used to LOVE that show in the beginning but then it got really hard to follow

Anyway I fell asleep and was awakened by “dinner” I put this in quotes because I have know idea what time it was, but was a little hungry so I took the meal with a smile

It wasn’t bad! The pasta was sort of watery (apparently that is how Germans like pasta though) I really wasn’t that hungry (and I am now practicing my intuitive eating again but more on that in another post) but I knew I had to eat because it would be awhile until we got to my cousin Sherri’s house. The chocolate pudding in the left corner was the best pudding I have ever had. It had a rich chocolate taste and real dark chocolate shavings on the top 🙂

After I took a couple more hours of sleep I found this map that tracked our flight! SO cool. Do you see the Irish city I am named after?

Anyway the plane ride was surprisingly fast for being over 7 hours. And I did take a lot away from it. Here is the main point of this post coming up

***I realized halfway through my plane meal that I had brought a lot of worry about food on this trip. AKA the whole time I was eating I was only thinking of my eating disorder and how it could control my trip. Glad I caught this because this could have potentially ruined one of the best trips of my life***

  • It was OK for me to be nervous and a little timid, but it was not OK to let those nerves rule the vacation. from the moment I realized what was going on I made a promise to myself that I would enjoy every second of this vacation and allow food to be only a small fraction of the experience. Best idea and I did it too as you will see in my next few posts.
  • One more thing about this issue. Although I decided food would not be the focal point of this vacation I also realized that in order to enjoy myself I would have to be comfortable with the food I did experience and have no regrets. I read Intuitive Eating last year, but still have to remind myself of its principles and how I follow them. This was my opportunity to get back to that.

So everything I chose and everything I did on this trip was with joy and excitement. I have no regrets and only wonderful memories and lessons that I will never forget! I hope in the next couple posts on Europe I can at least give you a glimpse of everything I experienced as well as some tips that helped me to overcome fear and embrace what was to become the best experience of my life (So far)