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Magic Numbers, Loss and the Illusion of Choice

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I recently turned 27 and have been thinking a lot lately about how embodiment is a strange thing. When I think back on the life I have lived so far, I can't remember much of a time when I DIDN'T feel consumed by the desire to be skinny, to exist in a certain body and therefore do certain things. I can really see certain ways in which I put off living because I hadn't figured out how to get that skinny body yet -always thinking, "later, later, later I will be able to wear the clothes i really liked that they don't make in my always larger size, later I will be "eligible" for romantic relationships, later I will start living my life." In a lot of ways I have lived despite of my body and had eye opening experiences that contained an additional element of seeing myself do the things i always assumed were classified- I ran races and biked across the country and experienced what it was like to do it in a body (MY body!) that didn't look so much like the majority of others out there and to feel awed and proud of that, surprised, delighted even. i took risks, and I saw my body changing because of it. I did get into a romantic relationship at one point despite my body not having yet morphed into my ideal, and experienced the things I always thought was reserved or would be better for people who looked "better."

When I think back to who I was just a few years ago when I found SparkPeople and was motivated by its novelty and the community I was making, it became my primary source of joy as I negotiated life's challenges that I am learning will always be there alongside whatever else you are trying to build, create, imagine, and realize. I joined the site following my first big breakup and broken heart, and I was at the highest weight of my life: 285. At that time, something somehow clicked and I began to work on my running goals and commit to myself. I think in a way it had to do with the loss of my relationship- I didn't have a choice, so I turned inward and began to put my energy onto myself as I tried to heal my heart because I had no where else to put it. I needed the distraction, the feeling of being in control of something, the positivity that would come with success and on-scale and off-scale victories. I found that I really began to live life and it blew my mind and fed me spiritually - I remember taking this on a whim trip to New York City in nothing but my running clothes and just going for a run and then flying home, running a route in the shape of my name on my birthday, meeting new friends that filled me up with joy and belonging and challenged me to reach for my dreams.... I was present in my life through my pursuits of getting fit.

I can't understand why when things can be that good, fulfilling, happy-making why we ever let it go and slip back into old ways - binge eating, avoiding exercise, self-shaming, letting ourselves feel more and more hopeless as time goes on and we don't peel ourselves off our couches or beds to engage in our dreams or goals? what is it about my fat unengaged body that works for me? It makes no logical sense... why don't I stick with the stuff that I have proven to myself has made me really happy and brought me to life - the running, the consciousness, the reaching for goals, the optimism for the future as I want to define and create it?

I think in some ways things get in the way and my own poor coping skills have allowed me to prioritize the stuff that gives me anxiety in the past year (making a major move to chicago, searching for months for full time employment, worry about bills, etc) and then I don't have energy left to put into exercising because I am too busy convincing myself that I "don't have time" when i needed to apply for jobs (ridiculous), and i see myself spend way too much time on the internet which i think was a big distraction for me from my emotions and struggles.

Now I am in a similar experience as I was when I had my first break up, and strangely, I am at the same magic weight - 285. I have been desiring and desiring for months to get back on track, obsessively think about it, try to plan for it but have just been completely unmotivated, unwilling in some subconscious and conscious ways. The thought of "I'll do it later" was so strong in my every day mental dialogue. Then suddenly, my best friend passed away. I've been going through the grief process, and have arrived at that feeling again of facing something you have no choice in and I am floundering. I know I need to start putting energy back into my own wellbeing or I will not make it. What the hell does that even mean, "I'll do it later?"

The only choice we have every day we continue to wake up is to take risks. You don't have a choice about what the weather will be like, what the people around you in your morning commute will be like, what is going to appear on the evening news. You can choose your risks accordingly to the perceived level of consequence- what clothes you will wear to work, what to have for lunch, speeding, quitting your job to start a new business. I think maybe the risk of weight loss for someone who has never experienced the skinny body that possesses my fantasies, it is hard to take the risk all the way because i don't know what level of "consequence" it will have. will changing my body change who I am in essence, and how? what will my life be like in all the ways beyond what i physically look like? will people treat me differently than they have, and will I know how to manage or handle that?

I read an article on Forbes about risks and this part stood out to me:

"Ronald Heifetz, professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, likes to say that if you make one real decision in your life, that’s more than most people. Taking a real risk? Well, that’s just a rarity.

That’s because making real decisions and taking real risks requires freedom–freedom from the loyalties, expectations and fears that inevitably fog our risk-vs.-reward equation. “Peoples’ choices to take or refrain from risk are over-determined by their culture,” notes Heifetz."

The article also makes the point that all the people they interviewed (celebrities, powerful business people, athletes, etc) all said the same common thought: "The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all." And I wondered about that.

If I don't take this risk of losing weight and once and for all changing my life in terms of eating and fitness, I risk my health, my future, my livelihood. I risk not knowing what my life could be like, and I got a glimpse a few years ago on here when I managed to go from 285 to 220 after a lot of hard work, openmindedness, and patience/ diligence. If it was that bright and beautiful, then what could it be like if I accomplish my goals to get my weight in control once and for all and live the rest of my life maintaining? What would I fill my mind up with instead of the hours and hours a day I think about my "defective" body?

I joined a four week challenge thanks to MAMADELIGHT, and I am using it as a reset button. That is where I start. My only other commitment right now is that I will go to sleep earlier (by 9PM) in order to get up earlier and have time to use to pack lunch, prepare for working out either before or after work, to minimize the energy it will take to actually DO IT.) Planning ahead really works for me and I know that from my previous experiences. I want to blog every day, even if the posts are brief, to get myself back into the routine and build my rhythm. I am going to end this post here so I have some time to do some exercise and cleaning before going to work but there is a lot more I want to write - especially about "choice" and where I'm at and where I want to go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOODIGGETY 9/12/2013 9:17PM

    First of all, you are so beautiful. Really...you are! And how beautiful that you have decided to hit the reset button as it were and take a different kind of risk....a risk to LIVE and be a healthier you. Hope we can be Spark buddies cus' I'm on the same journey and...I have my very first 5k in October. I'm completely excited and freaked out about it all at the same time. I agree with Baddogg....it's going to be exciting hearing about the new adventures that lie ahead of you.

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SEAJESS 8/23/2013 2:00AM

    You are wise and amazing and deeply encouraging to me as I put the shovel down and stop digging myself further into a relapse to unhealthy living.

I'm so glad you had some of the experiences we can be tempted to put off until we're the "right" weight.

I'm kind of speechless after reading your blog.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_MAYBETHISTIME_ 8/12/2013 8:06PM

    I completely understand all of this in ways I'm sure you know.

Sometimes I feel like I don't have the energy to put into exercise and weight loss and then I'm wondering: is it BECAUSE I'm not doing it that I don't have the energy to do it?

You're amazing, my dear, and ya know I love ya. I think you're beautiful at any size but what's important is that you're healthy and happy. I don't have any doubt that you can do this ... I mean, look at what you've done already - the marathons and the bike riding and the brave flight just to run. I can't wait to see you make it all happen for yourself.

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FREES1 7/18/2013 1:03PM

    Dash - I am so sorry for your loss... i hope you are moving beyond the grief and are starting to feel the joy in the memories of your time with your friend...

Its so good to see you back on SP.. you've been missed. Change is hard and changing gets scary.. you are correct, I think, that once we begin to move into the unfamiliar we seek the comfort of the known... and you changed many things besides your weight when your situtation changed...

you lost 65 pounds - almost a quarter of the person you were when you started.. that's a lot! but you sampled it and you know you liked and were able to cope with the person you were at 220 so this time shouldn't be so scary!!!

hang in - you can do it... we're all here struggling right along with you.. welcome back!

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    I am so with you... I find myself approaching my "magic number"/highest weight again and it is so strange to think about why that has happened (especially considering how incrementally over the last 30 pounds or so I have kept telling myself, "this is enough"). But I am grateful that you thought of me for that challenge... now we just have to win our money back!

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BTVMADS 7/13/2013 6:48PM

    Welcome back, Ash! I'm sorry to see that you struggled while you were away from SP, but so happy that you have the same thoughtfulness, introspection, and eloquence that I've always so admired in you and your writing. I'm actually really excited to read more about your new life in Chicago and the adventures you're going to take in the future!

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SHEILA1505 7/13/2013 4:22PM

    Hi there, Ash - look forward to hearing all about your journey
Wishing you strength
Hugs xxx

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MOLLI15 7/13/2013 2:45PM


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5BADDOGS 7/13/2013 12:11PM

    You FLEW to NY to go for a run?!?! Now that's crazy fun!

I applaud your decision to get back to living the life you want. And I look forward to reading more about your adventures, because you sound like someone who really knows how to have a good time!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well, well, well. Look who the cat dragged in. and by cat, I mean Caterpillar Bulldozer because I have gained back all the pounds.

Ha. Who's ready for a big old Front Street update??? Better get comfortable for this one. :-)

To see where I'm at, I had to look back at where I left off and I literally laughed out loud for a while and then almost peed my pants. My last blog update is this laughable post about how I was trying to eliminate all kinds of refined sugars and crap and well, I can't say that really lasted long at all. It was about right after that, that I lost my job in April. It's a long story but basically what it comes down to is that they had originally hired me to do a specific position that had to do with a new program they wanted to start. As soon as I was hired, one of the directors left abruptly for a new opportunity so my new program got put on hold. In the meantime, I was doing an interim job that wasn't totally my cup of tea, but I was doing it with the hope of the future. After all, I had moved out to one of the most remote parts of Vermont for the original job which was going to further my experience and career. If I wanted an entry-level job, I could have done it with less degrees and in a place with more people my age, but I digress. Anyway, it was coming on the new fiscal year and everyone was hoping/planning that that would be the time to start the new program. Meanwhile, I was sinking and sinking fast into depression. It's mortifying to say but there were days (lots of them) that I would DRAG myself to work, scary close to being late because I just couldn't get myself to move and I would come home and immediately crawl into bed and cry until I'd fall asleep. That was it. And McDonalds. (Told you I was gonna bare it all. And if you want to know the gruesome, it was the time of 2 for $3.33 Filet-o-Fish deal, which I got very into.) Well, I came upon an opportunity to apply for a grant for $20,000 which, long story short, would have given us a brilliant segue into starting up the new program. I wrote the grant myself and applied with my director's blessing and review of my application. It wasn't until I got the entire $20,000 award that I saw it in my director's eyes upon telling her that she hadn't truly thought we would get it. It was a mix of "oh sh!t" and "omg.... what are we going to do now...." As you might guess, in the coming weeks, she kept putting off meetings or rescheduling, stalling really. Finally, we were scheduled to meet and she came in and told me my job was over. That the new program wasn't going to be starting up (infrastructure issues) and that we couldn't accept the grant after all, and they didn't know when or if they'd be able to do the new program so they were letting me go. As miserable as I already was, holy sh!!!!!t was I miserable, my first thought was literally, "this is it. I'm moving to Chicago!" my second thought was about my integrity and the fact that now I had to go back to the grant people and tell them "oops, my agency made a mistake, they aren't really as ready as I made us sound." awesome for a young professional who just got her first 20K grant. Here's a bulletpoint list of what happened next:

- Job gets terminated on a Wednesday in mid-April. Negotiated one more week of work so I could ethically wrap up with my clients.
- Flew to Chicago that Friday - Sunday which I had already been planning, to see a friend from college. Decide I'm definitely moving.
- Work one last week at my job, tie up every loose end, let all the clients know. Go to Boston to talk to grant people, they tell me they read my application, they know i have what it takes to do the project I proposed anywhere with some tweaks, that there's no time limit and the money is earmarked for me when I'm ready to use it. SCORE.
- Give month's notice at apartment.
- Fly back to Chicago on one way ticket and end up staying two weeks with friends - look for jobs, apartments, etc. Start the hellish process to obtaining unemployment benefits. Get em. Score an apartment. Interview for some jobs. Ask friend of a friend who owns coffeeshop for part time job but they don't need any help at the moment. Couple days later get an email that they do actually need help and could i at least commit to the summer? Yeeehaw!
- Go back to Vermont, get rid of furniture via Craigslist so I have some money to move. Federal tax refund (thank God) covers security deposit and first month's rent in Chicago and all the flying that took place between late April and May. Pack up apartment into car. Drive to CT. Fly to North Carolina to see Bike & Build friend's wedding. Fly back to CT.
-Drive to Chicago.
-Move into new apartment on May 31, start working at the coffee shop 6/1. Slowly (and still in the process of) acquiring furniture from alleys, recycled places (couch cost $40 for instance).
- Listen to a lot of Stevie Nicks. Ride bike on Lakefront Trail. Get advice from people. Go to networking events. Explore. See free movies in the parks. See Natalie Merchant and cry. Go to the beaches of Lake Michigan at night. The early days of getting here, everyone was so nice to me, friends helped me out big time, people paid for my dinners sometimes. Made me feel welcomed. Threw surprise going away party for a friend who was going to work in Chile for the next 8 months. Discover a fantastic mixed drink and big party pleaser with my juicer. (juice fresh apples and fresh ginger and then add jameson and ice. wowwwww!!!) Apply apply applyyyy for jobs. Start volunteering at a homeless shelter.

And we're at present moment. I'm still working on finding a full-time job (anxiety city, unemployment's gonna run out soon and despite being fully qualified for some of these jobs, no one responds anymore. In the beginning people were interviewing me, telling me it was a hard decision and giving weak excuses like, "you haven't lived in Chicago long enough." Now I can't even get an interview and I'm not sure why. It's hard, hard for everyone, but I'm still working at the coffeeshop, praying I can get a full time job soon, too. Student loans are hounding me, ugh.

Anyway. Chicago marathon's in like two weeks. So I thought I should give you all an update on where I am since GOGOSHIRE will be here in a mere few days and I figured you should hear it from me first before the onslaught of marathon pics in which i will actually look like a human meatball.

The funny thing is... well it's not really funny at all, but I haven't really done sh!t since last summer - since Bike & Build!!! That was a little over ONE YEAR AGO!!! I was at the lowest weight of my life, 220 - I can't believe now looking at those pictures what a difference 30-40 pounds really makes. And mostly, just in the athletic conditioning. I went from physical activity, strenuous physical activity of average 10-13 hours a day to ZERO. And part of that is that what could really compare to bike & build? physically or emotionally. In ways, I still feel like i am recovering deep inside from that. The experience changed my life so deeply and I know it all sounds like an excuse when it comes down to it, but I dont really know how to articulate it anyway. I want to get back to that joie de vivre in so many ways. So here I am. Coming back. The good thing is that I've seen 220. I've seen what it feels like to be able to fit into my sister's clothes for the first time in my life, what it feels like to be able to wear smaller sizes, what my body looked like then. Which means I know it's possible now. It doesn't feel all that daunting that I have to re-lose the 30-40 pounds I packed back on. (That's a lot in one year though! wow. just now thinking about that.) Mostly what is startling to me about it all is that my body looks goopy in ways. Athletic conditioning is a serious thing!!!! Even if the scale doesnt move or moves really slowly, your body still gets firmer, fits into smaller spaces.... THAT'S WHAT I CARE ABOUT, WHAT I MISS. I miss walking down the street feeling like an athlete. I'm getting that back now.

As for Chicago, I am kind of amused because when I signed up I hadn't planned at all that I'd be living here when I ran it. I didn't think I was ready to actually run a marathon in the very place I lived (all my marathons have been destinations) for weird, inarticulable reasons, but now it's like well, the future is now. I'm doing it now, ready or not. And in someways, I kind of like this. Moving to the midwest, moving to a major U.S. city... having the guts to just do it all, well, I think this is perfect timing. This will be a way to feel a connection to my new home - to run a marathon in MY city, it's like an official ceremonial type thing now, a commitment, a fusion, a promise, a ribbon-cutting in a way.

Well this blog doesnt say everything I wanted it to say, but there's always tomorrow. And even though it's disorganized and kind of all over the place, I just wanted to give an update, and say that I'm bringing myself back and bringing up my self-expectations. I don't want to turn 30 in four years and still be living in this buried body. I want to experience the rest of my twenties in ways I haven't yet before all I have left is regrets.

Here's some pictures over the last couple months.

Besides me and Muriel (the dog) in the front seats, we could only take what we could fit in the car to Chicago. So we prioritized, naturally.

Cutie friends from Bike & Build got married in North Carolina.

I looked fat, yet sparkly. ha!

Flying back from the wedding, I got a free upgrade to First Class (first and only time in my life!) because the guy at the gate counter said to me, "A smile like that ain't gonna fit in coach anyway." I was beside myself. Life was in bloom.

The dog got a summer shavedown.

lolzzzz we'll call the first month and a half or two months, "urban camping."

We got our first piece of furniture in the midwest.

Spent time exploring via bike.

Rode on the anniversary of Christina's death "with" others from around the country. Took picture at the cloud gate (bean).

Got a public library card.

me, at the public library haha.

got a bed, and got creative with cheap photo decorating ideas.

Started an urban indoor garden.

Learned how to make fancy espresso drinks and all the ins and outs of coffee. We got a new machine at the shop, too. We call those steam wands "God's frothy lasers."

Got my sixth pair of running shoes in life (3.5 years and running!) wow!

the good thing is that i've eaten a lot of salads since being here.

but see what i mean about goopy? i joined a gym within weeks of moving here, and i've even run lakefront trail, gotten new running shoes, new tights (old ones had super big holes, it was sad, but more on that later.) i need to get consistent, get serious.

i leave you with my most motivating personal pics i have of myself, my body. I'm going back for this. Now's the time. I'll post an update tomorrow or this weekend with my ideas and a plan. Thanks for reading!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Ok, so I know I'm about a THOUSAND years late but I'm so excited to see this update from you. And I completely understand what you mean about still trying to recover from an event that changed your life. It doesn't sound like an excuse to me at all, but I also know that there are a lot of people out there who won't get that. But I do!

Chicago looks beautiful and it took a lot of guts to pick up your life and move. I have faith that things will work out for you there. Do you feel like it's where you're supposed to be?

I miss your guts - let's chat soon!

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TIFFANIE150 10/5/2012 12:54PM

    I'm so glad to see an update from you. Can't wait to see where your adventures lead, girlfriend!

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RUSSELLORAMA 9/25/2012 6:00PM

    Yeah, just a *few* updates! :)

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CONFUSEDBIRD 9/24/2012 8:36AM

    Great to see you back. I am not running Chicago this yr. It just didn't work out as planned. Sometimes lives throws u a curve ball and it always seems like you make the best of it!

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WINTERWINGS 9/24/2012 1:32AM

    Wow, that's quite a year! Hard to believe it's been that long.

I have regained most/all of what I have lost as well. (sigh) Amazing what happens when life gets in the way, eh?

Here's to wishing us both luck as we try to wind it back up!

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FREE_TO_BE 9/22/2012 9:30AM

    Welcome back! It sounds like you had quite the year, but it is good to see you blogging again. :)

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MAGPIE17 9/21/2012 10:43AM

    Welcome back, Dash. I've been wondering what you've been up to!

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C4CHRISTINE 9/20/2012 9:24PM

    Welcome back. Sounds like the only way for things to go is UP! Your insane spring and summer made my bad day seem less so. Thanks for that :)

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-CORAL- 9/20/2012 2:20PM

    I'm so glad to see you back here. Sounds like a whirlwind summer!! Welcome back, you can do it!!!!

Oh, and I also wanted to say, my sister went through much the same experience as you with her hike along the PCT for 9 months.... she was quite depressed when it was over and didn't know what to do with herself as it was such an all-encompassing, life-changing experience, so I can relate in a small way to the way you feel about bike and build. Chin up, it sounds like you have found a great place to put your roots down.

Comment edited on: 9/20/2012 2:22:30 PM

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RUNNER12COM 9/20/2012 11:30AM

    What an adventure. Good luck to you as you continue this exciting part of your life!

(And I'm totally stealing that photo hanging idea. It's so cool!)

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4EVERADONEGIRL 9/20/2012 10:36AM

    Hey - welcome back! Sounds like life has been nothing short of an adventure!!

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MOLLI15 9/20/2012 10:22AM

    Oh Dash! I'm so glad you are back and blogging! What an amazing, gutsy move--way to go! Big risks are supposed to pay off big time, and it sounds like yours is doing that already in terms of mental/emotional health. I really look forward to hearing more about your adventures! Also, I stalk two Chicago blogs (KITHKINCAID is here on SP and running the Chicago marathon, and asmallloss.com is another one i stumbled on not on SP) in case you are interested. I guess that is kind of a random/weird thing to comment? Also, awesome on the grant! You are a rockstar and you WILL make it happen one way or another.


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HEIDI-25 9/20/2012 10:01AM

    Best of luck to you!! I hope that you find a permanent full time position that you like and that you can change around what you want to have happen...
I live 4 hours to the north of Chicago in the middle of Wisconsin. If in time things don't work out for you job wise - you could explore looking for a career in some of the smaller but really nice towns that are here. The cost of living is considerable less as well. There are lots of universities in our smaller cities that make things feel culturally like you are in a bigger place. There are lots of friendly people too :)
Have a great marathon! I will look for more updates and hope you continue to let us support you!

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FREES1 9/20/2012 9:58AM

    So aside from that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play? Wow! What a year you've had!
Welcome back.. keep that positiveNess going. Ending that venture was a loss to be grieved just as any major loss and now you're moving forward.

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DARKFAERY 9/20/2012 9:37AM

    Yay!!! Welcome back, Dash!! I missed your lovely face!

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SHEILA1505 9/20/2012 5:16AM

    I know you 2 are going to have a great pre and post Marathon time - going to be motivating each other right out of the park,etc.

Good to see that you are working it and hope that everything comes up roses for you!

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GOGOSHIRE 9/20/2012 4:31AM

    OMG - I am SO excited to see you and hang out. We are going to have so much fun. My brother said I can borrow his bike. I'm mostly going to be out in the northern burbs (Libertyville), but I'm housesitting for him for a week in mid-October, too, and I can come down whenever you have time to hang as well. Can't wait to re-explore Rogers Park and get reacquainted with this town that changed my life - and that I ran away from, to some degrees. More on that for the f2f convos...

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GOGOSHIRE 9/20/2012 4:31AM

    OMG - I am SO excited to see you and hang out. We are going to have so much fun. My brother said I can borrow his bike. I'm mostly going to be out in the northern burbs (Libertyville), but I'm housesitting for him for a week in mid-October, too, and I can come down whenever you have time to hang as well. Can't wait to re-explore Rogers Park and get reacquainted with this town that changed my life - and that I ran away from, to some degrees. More on that for the f2f convos...

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What have you been eating lately? Picture Update

Friday, April 06, 2012

Here's some food pictures of some of what I have been eating lately.

I have eliminated 90% of refined sugars and carbohydrates - I have been substituting gluten free tortillas and wraps for bread, rice pasta instead of whole grain and only eating whole foods. I've been using fresh homemade salsa and sauce in moderation. In the last two weeks I have felt good energy wise and definitely notice a difference.

Here's some pictures:

3 oz of thin sliced turkey cutlet stacked with tomato, spinach and mushrooms, minced garlic and a sprinkle of fresh shredded parmesan. 'noodleless lasagna'

mashed turnip with minced garlic and fresh chopped chives

egg white with fresh red bell pepper, spinach and mushroom. minced garlic and basil.

homemade ground chicken burger stuffed with chopped mushrooms, cut in half in a joseph's flax low carb tortilla stuffed with spinach, tomato, light canola vegan mayo along with watercress/white bean/ red pepper salad and half of a baked sweet potato.

been juicing this combination lately which makes a great juice that i sip on in the morning and feels so filling. another breakfast idea that i have had is batch cooking quinoa (totally plain, cooked in water) and taking portions to work to top with blueberries and a splash of almond milk. the other thing i have been doing is taking a josephs flax wrap (60 calories) spreading a tbsp of natural peanut butter on it, placing a banana in the middle and sprinkling a tbsp of mini soy, nut, dairy free chocolate chips and some times dried cranberries and rolling it up. it's DELICIOUS.

i have been finding a lot of ideas on tumblr for food. here's a link to my online vision board where i have collected a lot of food ideas, pictures of things that inspire me and just things that i identify strongly with and with my healthy, best life that i want.


does anyone have any good recipes or food staples they have been relying on lately?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEAN-N-LEXY 4/13/2012 11:03AM

    I moved to gluten free the easy way by eating paleo/primal earlier this year. My body loves me for it and started shedding weight easily. Along the way, I learned that I cannot tolerate beans (ack, there go treat black bean brownies!!).
Anyway, looks like great food.

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RUNNINGNP2B 4/11/2012 9:26PM

    Look delicious love!

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BTVMADS 4/8/2012 4:39PM

    Oh, and duh! Your menu looks so good!! Have you ever tried Chia? I had my first taste of chia seed porridge this morning while camping, and it was SO AMAZING. It's apparently quite the super food and just a couple tablespoons goes a very long way!

I'm curious though on your definition of "refined carbohydrates." Gluten-free wraps/ pastas/ etc. are still full of refined grains, so I'm just wondering why you chose to eliminate gluten from your diet but not rice, quinoa, oats, etc.

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BTVMADS 4/8/2012 4:34PM

    I've been living la vida primal as much as I can. I mean, I screw up a lot because I love ice cream, but I've been eating nothing but plants, meat, and occasional full-fat dairy at meals. I've been doing LOTS of experimenting with no-grain baking -- coconut flour breads, muffins, and pancakes (best pancakes I'll ever eat are grain-free!), almond flour cookies and souffles, and cauliflower pizza crusts. Bread is a rare, rare thing in my diet (usually only when I don't plan well enough and I'm about to crash on a long run day), and I love it this way.

My usual menu is something like a fruit smoothie and eggs for breakfast, a huge salad topped with tuna or left over chicken for lunch with a side of homemade pepper-cheddar poppers, and a portion of meat for dinner with cooked veggies and the occasional sweet potato or squash as sides. If i need a snack, I turn to almonds or Greek yogurt. Yummmmm!

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    Oooooh, those ALL look SO delish!! emoticon
And I'm totally following you on tumblr now emoticon

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FEB_SHOWERS16 4/8/2012 9:37AM

    Lovely pics! Great choices!

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WINTERWINGS 4/7/2012 1:20AM

    Avocado Salsa

2 tomatoes, chopped
half red onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (I used just one and thought it was enough)
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
1 tbsp (15 ml) coriander (cilantro) minced
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper (or a quick crank of the grinder)
1 avocado

I don't always use the 2 tbsp of oil. I cut back on that and generally use canola oil just because I can get to it easier in my pantry. Oh, and looking at this, I reduce the red onion and greatly increase the avocado and tomato. I do it with maybe four or five avocado, six tomatoes, one jalapeno, ballpark the cilantro and double the liquids. So really, just to taste. But you get the idea.

Oh, and this recipe comes with a lime marinade for chicken breasts too, if you want it. Let me know and I'll post it to my page.

Comment edited on: 4/7/2012 1:24:03 AM

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SHEILA1505 4/6/2012 2:17PM

    OMW Looks yummy - even if I leave out the gluten-free substitutes
I sometimes make noodleless lasagne - I use eggplant instead of the pasta and layer loads of veg :))

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LULULUCY 4/6/2012 12:48PM

    those look amazing! I am going to tumblr stalk you now. yummmm.

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GOGOSHIRE 4/6/2012 12:44PM

    Oh Chef Gallo, where have you been all my life?

Staples for me are quinoa and sweet potatoes, new go to dish is thai curried cod filet! I can send recipe if you like. Email me.

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    I've been enjoying vegan overnight oats for breakfast. At night I mash a banana and mix it with 1/3 cup each oats, vanilla soy milk and vanilla almond milk, along with 1 tbsp of chia seeds. Stir it up, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning you can top it with fresh fruits, toasted nuts or sweetener, or just eat it as-is.

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GOOSIEMOON 4/6/2012 9:52AM


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Saturday, March 03, 2012

sorry for my intermittent presence on my page here ... just trying to balance work, working out, and life. i also think i am on the verge of bringing myself back to counseling, but it's a big emotional investment and i am hesitating for whatever reason. i think in part it's depression ... i don't even have the energy to just go .. i sort of feel like i need to psyche myself up for it or something. some days it's very hard to even get out of bed in the morning, and although i love my job, i find that i spend a heavy majority of time disengaging in the time i have outside of work. i am wondering what's up with that.

moleskine came out with a really cool divided hardcover journal - called a "wellness journal" and i bought one, which i have started journaling in one part of it where there is space to make weekly goals. i just jot down the circling questions that are on my mind and leave them there, maybe to go back to later or maybe not, but just to have an ongoing stream of consciousness or whatever.

don't get me wrong ... i am being SEMI-productive. Mondays and Fridays I work up at the sledding hill after my real job, and while my energy for that has dragged in the "getting there" aspect, it has helped me a little bit to have something to do outdoors and physical that is helping me at least minimally be able to pay more bills. and the three other misfit coworkers i have there, i really like. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I have been going to this boot camp circuit training class at my gym ... which is KICKING my ass in a good way. I'm proud of myself because i have made it to every class so far and I plan to get all 18. I think I might reward myself with a small reward of some sort when I get through it for perfect attendance and working hard. but i also feel on some level, the class itself and getting to go should be the reward itself. i saw a thing on tumblr earlier - something about ... stop thinking exercising is punishment but rather a reward for how you want to treat your body. i think that is very true.

i saw a few funny things on tumblr that i copied so i could post it here. i thought people might enjoy a laugh.

this is something i liked that i saw too, motivational. promising.

the only other news i could really mention is that i got my Master's degree a couple weekends ago. there were five of us in my graduation class, and although none of my family or anyone came to see it or celebrate it with me, one of my original cohort classmates had taken an extra semester when i did so it was nice to graduate together. the weekend was special in its own way - good local food in the cafeteria and my classmate's husband who is from morocco arranged to be able to cook a traditional moroccan meal the first night of the residency, so we had that and it was something to remember. i made a twenty minute video for my thesis presentation, which i am trying to upload to vimeo or something because a few people said they had wanted to see it, so maybe i can link it here when i do that. it has to do with endurance running/ sport, existentialism, etc.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALLIKIA 3/21/2012 4:28PM

    Yay, Congrats! You always amaze me. Can't wait to see what else you take on in your life! :)

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 3/21/2012 3:49PM

    Congrat on the MASTERS! waht an awesome accomplishment.

Good luck on finding and keeping the balance.

Have a fabulous rest of your week!

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TIFFANIE150 3/21/2012 3:41PM

    Very cool and I think you are awesome.

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4EVERADONEGIRL 3/5/2012 12:31PM

    Whatever you're going through I know in the end you are going to be okay because you are, seriously, one of the bravest strongest people EVER! You may not always know it, but take a moment to look at all you have achieved in your very young life. Things that others who are 3x your age will NEVER do.

Congratulations on your MA! That is so fantastic!!! Good job!!!!

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MOLLI15 3/4/2012 6:45PM

    Always glad to hear what is going on in your life! Way to go on circuit training! and i love this:

"stop thinking exercising is punishment but rather a reward for how you want to treat your body"

Best of luck wrestling with going to counseling/dealing with depression--I think for counseling sometimes feels like it drags out in the open a lot of painful things from past/present but can't always bring closure or fix them so not only is it a big emotional investment but can need to be over a long time period...

and of course major congrats on the MA!


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HEIDI-25 3/4/2012 10:21AM

    I think that lots of us can relate~ we are doing really good on some things in our lives yet feel depressed about other things for seemingly no reason. When this happens to me, I seek out stories to read about others who have it much harder in life than I do and are overcoming the challenges that they have. It seems to give me the kick in the ass that I need to stop feeling so bummed out.
You are doing fantastic things health wise and on a personal/professional level with getting your masters degree. I have mine and know how much work it is in addition to working full time and balancing everything else in life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to reward yourself with something nice.
Chin up, lots of us are out here to vent to :)
Thanks for sharing. I hope your day/week is a good one.

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SHEILA1505 3/4/2012 1:07AM

    Congrats, (D)Ash Gallo, MA

Glad that you are still doing the sledding "work" and getting out and about. Sad that you feel so blehhhh :( Big hugs!

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FREES1 3/3/2012 11:25PM

    Congratulations Master Dash!
You've made a lot of changes and are coming from your bike adventure so be gentle with yourself... Do what is right for you and hang in there

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Ticking Things off for Chicago, Whitney Houston

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On the Chicago check-list:

officially registered ... check
Plane ticket bought .... round trip for $169.60!! Awesome! ... and check
Hotel booked for marathon eve and the night post-marathon ... check
Friends in the city to hang out with in the days before ... check

fitness/ cardio minutes done for this past week 1 of pre-training ... 365. I feel good about that! Especially since it's my first real week of consistent exercise since... July. (WOW...) Anyway, I have some time logged for working at the sledding hill after my regular job because it really is physical! there's a lot of running up and down the hill, moving heavy mats, unloading the heavy sledding tubes, dragging corrals to set up the area, pulling large heavy plastic covers off the conveyer belt ski lift thingy, holding onto tubes with kids in them, bending, squatting, sprinting, lunging and trying to catch and stop the occupied tubes after tubes as they reach the bottom of the hill so they dont go over the embankment, etc. I am sweating by the end of the night and am moving around about 75% of the time. The closest thing in the spark database was "officiating a sporting event" lol so that's what I chose. Exercise ... hey it's kind of a nice perk to getting paid!

In other news ... Whitney Houston has died. I don't think I have cried before at the news of a celebrity death but something about her passing strikes me tonight. One of my cherished running songs is "Your Love is My Love" all the way back from my first year of running. Strangely, I had been listening to it a lot on iTunes in the past week and actually just burned it on a cd for a friend last night. Very weird timing. I would listen to that song regularly during my runs in that first year, even remember the specific part of the run it would always come on my playlist, because it's so peaceful and fills me with so much inner strength. (That's the kind of music you need for endurance, not so much cardio and bpm count, lol) Well, I'm going to miss her.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONFUSEDBIRD 2/19/2012 11:50AM

    Wow what an awesome price for you plane ticket!

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MYOWNHERO 2/17/2012 11:58AM

    I've been listening to WH's gorgeous voice too. So sad!

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TIFFANIE150 2/15/2012 4:44PM

    It'll be cool to read about it once you've done it!

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FREES1 2/14/2012 3:08PM

    Chicago awaits you and you shall conquer Chicago

and Whitney's voice will never fade from you...

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    You're amazing, Dash. I know you'll rock Chicago - and I can't wait to cheer you on! I'm so sad about WH too ... so many talented lives we have lost over the past few years. I was so shocked to hear about her passing.

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    You sound so organized, way to go! And that is a great price for your plane fare!

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SHEILA1505 2/12/2012 2:48AM

    So sad :(
Well done with the sports event officiation :))

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MACILINN 2/11/2012 10:55PM

    Have a great time w/your friends! Sounds like a great time. wooohooo.

I saw Whitney Houston here on the military base yrs ago, she sounded so beautiful. What happened? How sad to hear she passed on, she was to young.

Have a fun, safe trip!

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GOGOSHIRE 2/11/2012 9:51PM

    omg - didn't know about Whitney until I read this. Whoa. I'm in shock.

The sledding job sounds awesome, and wtg on your streak. You're off to such a rock solid start. So happy for you!

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