This is a life in progress

I am linking up with Sloan’s freEDom from perfection campaign this week. The past weeks posts from amazing bloggers have touched me and cause me to reevaluate.

Strength in Freedom

Warning: I don’t know where I am going with this.

I began this blog not really knowing what I wanted it to be. I just wanted a blog, and figured I must have something to offer the world. I love foodie blogs and I love food, but I don’t know how to make delicious recipes or have the photography skills to make the meal creations I do come up with look very pretty.

My first baked pumpkin stuffed with kale, ricotta, and honey. with roasted veggies, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts on the side
Photography by Kailey Proctor (case in point- I can’t take pretty meal pics)

I exercise, but have to cut back sometime soon now. And I don’t have any cool fat burning routines for myself or anyone else. I am a gym rat and most of the time I am OK with that. I am jealous of you runners that go outside and run for the love of it. Actually I am jealous of anyone that works out for pure pleasure everyday because while yes there are days like this past Friday when I just crave some gym time, most of the time I exercise because it’s habit, I feel like I have to, or I really need to study/read for school and that is how I accomplish such a task.

But I was a dancer. Never a runner or a cycler. I started riding the stationary bike in 9th grade when the world around me started saying I should at least 3 times a week. Weight came off and my turns and balance improved. The benefits of the exercise were numerous. So were the new diet restrictions. I always hate admitting that there is a control factor in eating disorders/disordered eating, but looking back my life was pretty damn controlled.

I wouldn’t say exercise ever became a problem though until after my recovery. Sometime between freshman and sophomore year of college my views of exercise and what was enough became warped.  First it was 60 minutes one day and 30 minutes the next with 2 days off on the weekend. Pretty sane and healthy, too bad I had begun restricting again in that time. But then as exercise machines became more available, and my mornings more free I never did less than 60 and every other day I did 90 minutes on that damn arc trainer. Who was I becoming? The good thing was I stopped restricting food by then and ate food I loved and some I didn’t but told myself I should (Read: large amounts of candy and sweets). But those long workout sessions also caused my eating patterns to become quite off. (Read: Breakfast at 11am, Lunch at 3:30 and sometimes 5pm, and Dinner at 9pm or 10pm). Then came the breakdown, and the realization of weight gain despite all of the hours working out, and that my food/meal patterns were really bothering me. Good thing it was summer and I could go home and get in to see my therapist. Conclusion? I was using exercise and food as an escape or excuse not to have fun or live life. So I was assigned to take breaks, have fun, and make a real effort to break out of the shell I had build around myself. O and I was supposed to reduce my exercise and eat every 4-5 hours no matter what.

Confession: I didn’t do any of it. Summer was good to me in a lot of ways. I no longer felt like I had to workout everyday, I finally came to the realization that dance wasn’t for me anymore, and I was making time for other things besides exercise, meal planning, cooking, and cleaning. But every time I got on the bike I just couldn’t make myself get off until at least 93 minutes had past. Or as I started going to the gym again I couldn’t make myself just do 30 minutes on one machine or the other. Once I had rode the elliptical for 30 and ran for another 30 one day it became my routine and I couldn’t bring myself to change it. And I succumbed to my biggest fear food yet again. Not totally, but it appeared less and less in my daily food intake as weeks past by.

Fast forward to now. My days are jammed pack, I have overloaded my schedule, and my perfectionist nature is stronger than ever. I didn’t overload myself on purpose and all of what I am doing is good for my resume/future career and the things I choose to do I really love (Read: tutoring, anatomy TA, bible study, and spending extra time studying metabolic). I still feel the need to spend a specific time exercising and still find myself on the bike for 70-90 minutes. The fear food is still not a daily choice, and sometimes I restrict it purposefully. Honestly it has become more of a special occasion food, like when I go out to dinner, or it is a holiday, or I realize my stomach hasn’t encountered it in quite sometime. I am not proud of this and I know it needs to change. I know logically and factually from classes that the key to health and metabolic function is a balanced, well-rounded diet. I will be the first person to tell you these fad, clean diets are a load of bologna.

This is all really hard for me to admit. I am recovered right? RIGHT. Because I made the decision to live 4 years ago and committed myself to recovery. I am still committed. But I think along the way I got stuck and never realized it because my weight was stable, I was succeeding in school, and I have what most (me included) would consider a pretty fantastic life.

Just as I am still learning in school, I am still learning in life. I am only 21 years old, and it would be weird if I had it all figured out.  My life includes my recovery. Right now that means I have some days when that dang ED doesn’t have a chance to put its two sense in. But I still have quite a few days where the voice is present and I hear it. But does that mean I listen? The answer should be no. But sometimes I do. But do I act? Again sometimes yes. It is hard not to all of the time, I am not perfect after all.

But none of that means I am not recovered. Because I know who the ED Shannon is and who the recovered, totally awesome smart Shannon is. I see the latter a lot and the former not so much. And when the ED Shannon busts into my life you best bet I kick her to the curb. I am recovered and it is my life. I still have pieces I need to work on and I need to stop ignoring that and actually get to work. I am not a procrastinator so why do I procrastinate with this? That’s a topic for another time.

I’ll end with this. I am committed to my recovery and the healthy life I have been given in the 4 years since my eating disorder. I am forever grateful for what  was a learning experience I don’t wish upon anyone else, but for me it has taught me to never take life for granted, showed me that I am worth it, and has given me the opportunity to live for what makes me happy, not for what I think people expect me to be.

Recovery = Life and Life just isn’t perfect. In other words my recovery won’t be either. The important thing is I have realizations like this that get me back on track.


Let the Holidays Begin

I really don’t believe Christmas begins until Thanksgiving has been played out- AKA Turkey is making me tired (for the first time in 4 years!!!) and my mom and I have hit the stores dark and early (get it because the sun hasn’t risen yet!) on Black Friday.

But in my Hokie home I have a roommate who absolutely loves all things Christmas. She eats, breathes, and lives it every day of the year. So of course she doesn’t abide by my rule of no Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

This is sooooo Kailey. She has the best heart. She really does embody the true spirit of Christmas.

So we had Thanksgiving early. Twin way. Which is way more epic than the traditional way. Plus we didn’t have to cook or do dishes. Win win!- that was our language I don’t expect anyone to really understand that except Twin.

Carrot Cake Pancakes- Oh Why are you limited edition!

AKA we went to IHOP! Now before you dis this glorious place you have to understand that IHOP will forever hold a special place in my heart. This is the first place I can remember ordering a meal, ordering it wrong (AKA I forgot to ask for my omelet with egg beaters!), not caring, and not second guessing myself a few hours after. It is also where I can say for a fact I committed myself to recovery. Before that fateful night I was only eating to please everyone around me. After that night I was in it for me. The food wasn’t the problem, it was something else and I became determined to figure it out so that I could enjoy the simple things in life (like food) as simple things again.

The process of eating pancakes- the Shannon way

I peel my pancakes. You have to be there and see it to fully understand, but I hope this picture sort of explains… Amanda did a great post about how we all have quirky habits, well mine is that I have to peel pancakes, if they aren’t peelable you can best bet I will be ordering something else and sending the non-peelable sad excuse of pancakes back to the kitchen or giving them to my dad. P.s these pancakes are amazing and I about died and went to heaven while enjoying their dense peelable goodness. (good thing I lived or Kailey would have been stranded at IHOP- wait maybe that’s not a bad thing!)

I love this girl!

There is our sweet waiter in the background too bringing Kailey’s ketchup, because seriously ketchup and eggs were meant to be.  I just love how happy she looks. That’s what good food and more importantly a good time will do to a person!

That was Thursday night (because Thanksgiving happens on Thursdays duh!) and our last night together in our little home for a little over a week. I made the 5 1/2 hour drive home Friday and roomie is headed home with her dad today. I miss her, and our quiet life. But I am EXTREMELY grateful for this week that I will have at home with my parents. I have a lot of work to get done for school, but I am going to try to break up my day between work and play. I need this time with my parents and I need to give myself some breaks because the last few weeks after this will be rough (exams, projects, finals… dun dun dun). OK sorry for rambling on. I just really wanted to share those pancakes and express my extreme gratitude and love of my epic roomie.

Hooray for Thanksgiving Break!


Sometimes a Song Speaks for Itself

I love Sundays.

Because on Sundays I go to church, on Sundays I don’t workout and I have never felt like I should want to, on Sundays I relax and contemplate about the past week and the week ahead of me. This Sunday was better than most however because today I not only got to go to church and relax and contemplate, I also got to lay out, finish a book, listen to my body, brain, and heart all in one day, and I got to see God at work in the lives of the children at my church! Needless to say it was such a beautiful day!

I want to write about the sermon for today (are we seeing a trend???) but I honestly cannot at this moment. I need more time with it myself to fully grasp what I was meant to hear this morning. I am sorry to admit that I had too much going on in my mind this morning, and I think I was too focused on those things than on how God was trying to work in my life. But I will keep trying to hear him and that begins with listening to the sermon again online.

I also cannot wait to write about my experience as a Crew Leader at my church’s vacation bible school, but I think that I will have more of a message and a lesson learned when the week is complete! But I will preface it with this: Children make the world and the day so much brighter!

So why I’m I even bothering to blog at all? Because a song hit me today on the way to church for VBS. And I think it says a lot. So have a listen! I hope you enjoy 🙂


I spend way too much time worrying about the time, my schedule, how to do things just right, how to make the best life possible… But am I missing everything?

I am going to try to stop and smell the roses of my life everyday. I want to take it all in, and I want to remember and be a part of my life and the lives of everyone around me!

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.