Intuitive Eating, Uncategorized

food freedom

Happy Labor Day weekend! I am excited for this weekend, because my whole immediate family will be all together for the first time in years, and because my little niece is here! Wether you are laying low this weekend, or off on a grand adventure, I wish you well!img_1482

I finally started reading a book that’s been on my list for ages, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, and it is life-changing! I am only a couple chapters into it, but I can tell it will change my relationship with food. If you struggle with eating or body image, I highly recommend it.

 I am not an expert and am still learning how to implement intuitive eating into my life (hence reading the book), but I absolutely love the concept! Essentially, intuitive eating is listening to your body around food – eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, eating what sounds good, etc. Intuitive eating isn’t a perfect science or diet, it differs for every person and situation. I plan to write another post specifically about intuitive eating because there is so much to share.

My relationship with food has been all over the place for over 14 years. In my eating disorder, food was my enemy. I thought about every morsel I put in my mouth, planned all my meals, and compensated for “richer” foods. My life revolved around food, especially what I could and couldn’t eat. Consequently, I lost touch with my hunger and fullness cues and developed distrust with my body.

When I entered treatment 8 years ago, my dietician developed a structured meal plan including meals and snacks and a wide variety of food. Looking back, I remember how terribly afraid I was to eat “all that food” and to reintroduce certain foods into my diet. It seems silly that something so basic as food could be fear-inducing, but the reality is that food has that power over so many people’s lives in our society. img_1504

It took years, but slowly I began recognizing hunger and fullness cues, and I became comfortable with eating a variety of foods. It was not an overnight process, by any means. I used to have a very long list of “fear foods” which I tackled one-by-one. Now, many of those foods are regularly a part of my normal eating. I remember when my dietician suggested I have dessert every day. At the time, it sounded impossible, but now I have it every day and love it!

In today’s world, we are bombarded with messages about what to eat and what not to eat. Certain foods are deemed bad, while others are glorified. How have we given food so much power? Yes, food is a necessity and a wonderful thing, but it will not make you a better or worse person. I believe there are no good or bad foods – all foods are good.

Over the years, I have slowly started trusting my body to the point I know that if I listen to it, I will eat a balanced diet. Since tuning into my body, I’ve been amazed to find what it craves. My body craves fresh foods and carbohydrates and protein, but it also feels great with a little something sweet at the end of the day. For me, when all foods are allowed, I think about food less, I don’t feel guilty for eating certain foods, and I am much more flexible in social situations. img_1505

I want to shout out to the world that we can trust our bodies and that food has no power over us! It breaks my heart to hear people degrade themselves for eating certain foods. When I hear a woman scold herself over the scone she had with her morning coffee, and how she “should” skip lunch, I want to say, “No, you can eat a scone and lunch, and actually you should eat lunch because your body needs the nourishment.”

Don’t let food control your worth or happiness. Food is an amazing thing (I love eating good food), but it has no power over you. I know the terrible bondage food can have over people, and a life of food freedom is infinitely better.

Especially as you go into this weekend, give yourself grace and permission to trust your body’s cravings. Eat that cupcake and savor every bite!

Intuitive Eating Resources

 

 

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weekend happenings

I am a deep-thinker and always love a thought-provoking conversation, especially surrounding eating disorder recovery, intuitive eating, safer living, health at every size, and living a balanced life, which is why I started this blog. However, I also love sharing the little things about life, like a new recipes, fun coffee shop, travels and adventures, and other things I am loving! So, you will also see some of these topics on the blog as well!

This weekend was a busy one for me, but that was good since I am still not feeling 100% myself emotionally. After work, Blake and I headed to a local wine shop, Solo Vino, for their weekly wine tasting. It was our first time there, and loved the shop’s vibe and wine selection. They had so many different wines that I’d never heard of and all the staff were very knowledgeable! The tasting was also amazing – they had a great selection and knew their wines. In addition to good coffee, Blake and I love good wine. Now we are far from experts, and our usual wine purchase is a Bota Box, but we love the opportunity to taste wines and learn all about them. The night ended with take-out pizza and Downton Abbey…I know, super exciting.

Saturday mornings have become are favorite time of the week. Recently, we’ll either go to a coffee shop for coffee, pastries, and catching up/reading/studying, or we’ll make a fun breakfast at home. This Saturday, I totally slept in (8:30, woohoo!) and then ran out for fresh bagels. I wish I would’ve taken a picture, but we made the most epic bagel breakfast sandwiches!

After brunch, I headed out for work at my part-time retail job. It was a beautiful day, and was so thankful for all the windows in our shop.

 

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We had fun evening plans with my parents! We met up at a local park for a picnic dinner that my mom prepared – love her cooking! She made quite the spread of italian beef sandwiches on homemade buns, corn on the cob, coleslaw, garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! A little voice in the back of my head told me it was too much food, but I didn’t want to miss out on all the good, homemade foods. I told myself that I don’t have to eat it all – if I get full, then I can stop eating. Also, I had a reality check that it wasn’t too much food. I would be ok.

After dinner and a little “photo-shoot,” we attended a free concert by the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute. I love good, classical music and this concert filled really blessed my soul.

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Sunday morning, we dashed out the door to church so we could get a parking spot! Side note – we love going to the early service, but we never give ourselves enough time to have a real morning before church. Blake and I have been attending Hope Community Church in downtown Minneapolis for almost 2 years, and absolutely love it. This Sunday I was reflecting how much I love this church as a whole and how much of a blessing it is to me. I especially love the gospel-centered teaching and worship. If you are looking for some good worship music, check out Hope Hymns on Spotify. It’s amazing!

Following church, Blake and I visited his 7 month-old nephew (our nephew?), Jasper, who recently had heart surgery. It was heartbreaking to see him connected to all these tubes and wires, but he is a trooper and is recovering well.

The afternoon flew by. I really wanted to just sit and be with Blake, but there were things to do. Over the last 5 months, Blake has dedicated so much time to studying for the LSAT. I am so proud of all the work he is doing and how dedicated he is, but we will both be thankful for the time when we have free weekends and evenings together to cook and explore together. Less than a month till he takes his exam!

Later that afternoon, I met with a friend for coffee at one of my favorite spots – Quixotic Coffee. It was so good to talk about life, marriage, dreams, and more. Again, if I could make a career out of meeting women for coffee, I totally would do that.

I came home to a surprise! Blake had tidied up the apartment and set the stage for a date night at home complete with candles and Josh Turner music. We rarely cook together, but it’s something we hope to do more of this year. Last night we made sushi for the first time, and it turned out pretty well! It was no speciality sushi, but it was much cheeper than going out for sushi. The only thing I missed was seaweed salad – I guess I’m going to have to learn how to make that too. The night was just what we needed – fun memories, wine, sushi, and Downton Abbey.

Hope you all had a restful weekend!

What was the favorite part of your weekend?

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self-care

I’ve struggled to get a post out because I haven’t felt on top of my game the past several days, but I want this to be an open space because perhaps it can be an encouragement to some of you.

Blake and I have a big transition coming up, and while it is good, it is challenging for me. I love new things, but I’m also a creature of comfort and familiarity. This weekend was filled with big decisions and future conversations, and my emotions and anxiety were all over the place.

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Normally, when I’m feeling off emotionally or physically, I push through and just do what I need to do. However, in the past year I’ve started honoring my need to slow down and take care of myself. Self-care is a buzzword now, but for good reason. Our culture tells us we need to push ourselves farther, constantly be busy, and always say ‘yes’. I felt that pressure for years –  and I finally hit a breaking point. I was constantly tired and unhappy, and I didn’t have the time or energy to do life-giving things like spend time with my husband, read books, bake, or go on walks.

Perhaps I won’t get as ‘far’ as others, get as much done, make as much money, or know as many people, but I don’t care. I’d rather be present for the moments and people I have right now.

Practicing self-care and slowing down is not easy. Sometimes I worry I’m missing out, or that I’m not doing ‘enough.’ However, what is the measure of ‘enough’? I believe this comes from knowing and trusting ourselves. I know, that is hard, but you are the only judge of your capacity.

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If you are feeling burnt out and exhausted, or like you never have a spare moment in your calendar, then maybe you need to make room for slowing down and practicing self-care. One way I have done this is by taking a Sunday sabbath. After church and lunch, I spend the day doing life-giving things – no work or big plans. Recently I’ve spent that time reading, baking, watching a show, getting coffee with Blake or a friend, or spending time with family. During an emotionally or physically challenging time, perhaps self-care involves taking a break from exercise, taking a nap, or making sure you get a good night’s rest.

What keeps you from slowing down?

How do you practice self-care?

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embracing my body in pictures

This past weekend, Blake and I attended the wedding of one of his dear high school friends. The setting couldn’t have been more picturesque – a bright, open church, surrounded by trees in the middle of the Wisconsin countryside. After the ceremony, I wanted to take some pictures. I am terrible about documenting life events and people, and am trying to be better at it. However, I knew the personal struggle that would ensue…

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I don’t like having picture taken of me. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Even in a group photo, my eye immediately hones in on myself, and I base the “quality” of the picture off of how I feel about my body in the photo. In individual and group photos, I pick apart my body, criticize my “trouble spots”, and completely degrade myself. Sadly, this one photo can affect my mood the rest of the day – bringing me down, isolating me from people, being afraid to eat too much, blaming my habits for why I look “so bad,” etc.

Despite knowing this would happen as we took pictures, I tried to be confident in my body and my individual beauty. I took pictures of Blake first – such a stud – but then he wanted to take pictures of me. I was awkward. I didn’t know how to pose in a way that hid my “flaws” and made me look natural and elegant. I looked off to the side because I hate my face straight on. I told him to make me laugh because I think my smile looks funny. I tried to have fun, but nothing felt natural.

After our photo shoot, we piled into the car and I proceeded to look at all the photos he took. I cringed. Not because he’s a terrible photographer, but because my insecurities about my body were confirmed and my confidence in my beauty dissipated. However, there was one photo that made me feel beautiful. He had caught the right moment and added depth, which elevated the whole look.

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I was deflated and insecure after seeing the photos, but what struck me was how I felt so different about my body from photo to photo. It was the same hour, and I was wearing the same dress, my hair and make-up were all the same, and it was me the whole time.

Photography is able to capture the beauty all around us. Like make-up or a cute outfit, it can enhance the beautiful aspects of a person, place, or object. And I’m not just talking about appearance, but also personality, emotions, and relationships. However, a photo can skew an image. Lighting, angle, camera quality, editing, and composition all play a role how “good” a photo is. I love my wedding pictures, but that’s because they were done by a professional photographer who edited them beautifully.

When I was in eating disorder treatment, I participated in a body image group. I remember talking about how we see ourselves in photos. We do exactly what I just described – pick ourselves apart. I know many women who do this, even those without an eating disorder. We do the same thing with mirrors. How many times do you look in the mirror and actually feel better about yourself? How often do you hone in on that one part you don’t like? I never feel better about myself when I look in the mirror, and I still focus on my arms and tummy – they will never be good enough.

As I build my presence on social media and the blog, I don’t want to just be the photographer. I want you all to know who I am. I want to be able to look back 50 years from now and have pictures of my 20s. As I ponder all this, I realize that I fear pictures, because I worry they will confirm how awful I already feel about myself.

I firmly believe that every woman is beautiful…so why should I think differently of myself? Every woman (and man) is beautiful! We all have unique talents, personalities, strengths, passions, abilities, experiences, and bodies. The world tells women they can only feel beautiful if they have the “idealized” body at the time (which, by the way, is constantly changing).

The root of my struggle is not whether the picture is good or bad, but how I already view myself and how much I base my worth on my appearance. What would happen if I accepted my body and was confident in its beauty? Would I view a picture of myself differently?

I make it sound like an easy equation, but it’s not. Accepting your body for all it is and all that it can do for you takes time. I am still a work in progress.

As women, let’s encourage each other to cherish the bodies we have and celebrate the woman we see in the photo.

 

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introductions

I am passionate about people, and one of my favorite things to do is hear peoples’ stories. I joke that if I could make a living meeting people for coffee, I would totally do that! I believe building a true relationship with someone requires getting to know them on the inside – their upbringing, their passions and dreams, and what brought them to where they are now. So, before I go into the depths of my thoughts and experiences, I feel it is only fitting to introduce myself to you!

I had quite an exciting upbringing! Both my parents are Americans, but worked oversees when I was growing up. I was born in Germany, and when I was 1 1/2, we moved to Moscow, Russia, where I lived for 17 years. Many people ask me what it was like to live in Moscow, and honestly that’s hard to answer because it was all I knew. Looking back on it now, I loved living in a big, bustling city! I love history and culture, and there was never a lack of either. I remember going to ballets and museums regularly, listening to classical music, and being surrounded by so many cultures. I loved the food (especially the bread), taking the Metro, and being able to travel to other countries easily.

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After graduating from high school in Moscow, I moved to the US with my parents (my 3 older siblings were already there for college). While adjusting to living in the US was a challenge, there was a bigger beast I was dealing with at this time. I will go into much more detail in a later post, however after 5th grade I developed an eating disordered which largely went unaddressed until my senior year of high school. I finally agreed to get help after graduation, so moving back to the U.S. was also combined with finding a treatment program. At this time, I also deferred my acceptance to college so I could focus on treatment.

Fast forward a year, and I started at St. Olaf College. I had no idea what I was going to major in, and was still incredibly shy. I can’t say those 4 years of college were the best years of my life, but I can say I grew immensely and am so thankful for the experiences I had and people I met. I graduated in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Social Work, with no intention of practicing social work or going back to school. After a summer of working at a coffee shop and searching for my first “real job,” I moved to the Twin Cities for a job as an admission counselor at private university. I loved my team, but was completely burnt out with the job. After 1 1/2 years in admissions, I had a short stint at corporate job, but hated the corporate environment, and I found myself back at the university, but this time I was a data manager. After a year as a data manager, I was ready for a change of pace. I was not happy with my job and felt burnt out. I had little time or energy to do what I was really passionate about, which is to invest in people, my home and family, and beautiful things. All this led to me joining Beautycounter, and I can honestly say I could not be happier with my decision. Much more on that later 🙂

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During all of this, I met my now husband, Blake. We were set up by a mutual friend during my first year after college. He was studying abroad, so our first interactions were on Facebook and Skype! We met for the first time in December of 2014 and started dating a couple weeks later. A year and a half after that, we got married! Blake was my first real boyfriend, and the first man I ever loved. We have learned so much together and grown a lot in the 2 1/2 years we have known each other. He has brought the little girl out in me, and has been my biggest support through these years.

Currently, we live in St. Paul with our little kitty, Rosie. Blake and I are both cat-lovers to the core! Blake is an aspiring lawyer and plans to take the LSAT in September! We both LOVE exploring coffee shops – thank goodness the Twin Cities has a lot to choose from – watching documentaries and Grey’s Anatomy, going for walks, hosting people in our home, and spending time with family.

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If you ever want to grab coffee sometime, I’d love to hear your story!

 

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welcome!

Hi there! Thanks for stopping over at my blog. As an avid blog-reader, I have toyed around with the idea of starting a blog for years, but didn’t know what exactly to write about. But I’ve decided to bite the bullet and give it a try because I have things on my heart that I want to share with others. My dream is that through my sharing, you will be encouraged and inspired.

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What brings me here is my passion finding balance in life. For years I struggled with anxiety, worry, and perfectionism, and trying to fit into a “perfect” body, be the perfect student/daughter/sister/friend, and do everything the right way. I was so worried about being myself, because I didn’t trust myself and I worried so much what people thought. Over the past couple years, I have come to know myself better, and the true Katherine has started coming out. I am by no means perfect at embracing who I am or finding the right balance in life, but I am learning. I see so many people, especially women, striving to fit a perfect image of appearance, success, abilities, and personality, and it only leads to burn out and missing out on life’s true beauty.

So, here on this blog, I want to share my journey to embrace my true self, find balance in all its forms, and present a holistic approach to health. I am by no means a professional writer or an expert in life, mental health, or nutrition, so bear with me as I fumble through thoughts and putting those on paper. I am beyond excited to share with you all. Here’s to something new!

~Katherine