Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Two-Hour Rule

I am a fan of rules, as you may have already figured out.
(Ok, yes, sometimes I prefer to break the rules, but generally....)

The other day, I learned a new rule that is already impacting my choices.  It's called the "two hour rule."  My dietitian pulled it out from where ever she keeps her gold nuggets, and I have to admit, it landed quite nicely.  I'm going to explain it in regards to food and eating, but really, you can use this rule for anything, any time you have to make a choice.

Am I going to be happy I ate this in two hours?
Am I going to be pleased with this choice in two hours?
Am I going to agree with this decision in two hours?

I think you get the gist of the rule.

And let me tell you, using it for less than a week has already made me stop and think, and actually change my original decision, more times than I care to admit.

Cause really, if I eat the handful of m&ms now, in two hours, will I still feel satisfied?  Chances are pretty darn good that I won't.  As a matter of fact, if I eat a handful of m&ms now, there's a really good chance that within two hours, I'll have eaten several more handfuls, and still not feel satisfied.

However, if I make the decision to have some veggies and hummus, two hours later chances are very good that I'll still feel satisfied.

I know it seems silly, but this rule reminded me of the NutraGrain commercial.... guess that really was positive marketing, for once!


P.S.  I have no opinion on the quality of NutriGrain bars.  I just like the commercial's "one good choice leads to another" message.

NEDA Week 2015 - Possibilities

Wrapping up the week with a bit of reflection...

Everybody Knows Somebody

NEDA 2013





Size vs Style

Anatomy of an ED


I Had No Idea

What Matters

30 Day Recovery Challenge

Friday, February 27, 2015

NEDA Week 2015 - Bullying

This fact from NEDA made me stop and think.

Back in high school, I had very few friends.  Ok, I had like 4 friends at school, the rest of my friends were through unrelated extra-curriculars.

That made for a rather lonely lunch time.  One that often found me eating in the corner of a stairwell I knew wasn't that busy during lunch.  Or hiding in the back corner of the library, cause I knew I wouldn't be found.  If I was lucky, I was able to eat in a classroom.  But after freshman year, nearly all of my lunches were eaten solo.

And really, when I think about it, after freshman year, all of my lunches sucked, too.  They were about as good for you as eating a case of Hershey bars.

I ate french fries, hostess cupcakes, and Hawaiian punch nearly every single day from sophomore year through graduation. 

As isolated and lonely as I was, I never really saw myself as bullied.  I avoided the people who were unkind to me.  I avoided people in general, really.  Today, that might be seen as being bullied, but back then?  Eh.  It was what it was.

I do know that those who isolate often are hiding or covering something up.  I wished many times during those days that someone would come up to me and befriend me, or offer to help me get support.  I mean, in my mind, everyone else was living this awesome, family-friendly life, while I was hiding in my own skin.

Speak up.  Reach out.  You never know the impact you'll make.....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 100 - Thursday 2/26/25 - My past is not going to poison my future anymore.  I hope.

Day 99 - Wednesday 2/25/15 - Took a risk.  Reached out during what would previously had made for a poor behavior choice.  Risk paid off.  Damn, she's good.

Day 98 - Tuesday 2/24/15 - Bonus visit with the peanut!  Score!

Day 97 - Monday 2/23/15 - Happy to be back at work today.  Love me those snow days, but I also love the routine of school, and of course, the kids!

Day 96 - Sunday 2/22/15 - Grateful for soap and water.  Like, really grateful.  Otherwise I'd be walking into school with purple fingers tomorrow.

Day 95 - Saturday 2/21/15 - Extremely thankful for the past three and a half years with my dietitian.  During our journey together, her care warmed me as much as it scared me.  I am grateful for her hugs, her comfort, and her ability to morph between mom and dietitian.  I'm also grateful that I have her blessing as I head into the next chapter of my nutritional work with my new dietitian.

Day 94 - Friday 2/20/15 - Happy to finally have a day where I had to be no where until dinner.  Those days seem rather rare lately.

NEDA Week 2015 - Barbie Who?

Read full page HERE.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NEDA Week 2015 - No Blame

Not just not a phase,
but also not a blame game.

You did NOT cause your child's eating disorder.

And for those of you (us) that have eating disorders,
you can NOT blame it on your parents.

I don't know that I ever "blamed" my parents, per say, for my eating disorder.  I do, though, wish they would have been a little more involved in my world, because maybe then they would have noticed something was up. 

Or at least, if they were more involved, maybe I'd have been better able to talk to them.  At any rate, the past is the past, and the best is yet to come.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NEDA Week 2015 - Media Matters

My favorite show growing up was a Disney piece called Kids, Incorporated.  I wanted to be like one of the characters, Renee, as she had hair similar to mine. 

Even as an eight year old, I knew I wasn't pretty.  I wanted to be pretty like Renee.  As the show continued, and Renee grew, I watched her get heavier, and decided I no longer wanted to be like her.  I was probably ten when I recognized that her weight gain was not a good thing.  Didn't matter that in "real life" she was probably hitting puberty, and her body was naturally doing what bodies do.  But to me, she was getting fat.  And I was not going to let my body do that.

Now days, kids are exposed to SO much more media than I was.  I mean, I pretty much watched Kids, Inc, and maybe a few shows on Nickelodeon, but that was it.  I never read teen magazine, I preferred Disney magazine.  I just wasn't exposed to what kids are today.  For that, I consider myself lucky.

As an older teen, I was (and truthfully, continue to be) easily influenced by media.  I remember spending many Friday nights walking around the mall with my BFF at the time.  She loved looking at all the clothes in the store windows.  I loved looking at all the people and deciding if I wanted to be like them or not.  I was twelve.

I had already spent years as a chameleon - I could like whatever the person I was with at the time liked.  This was one more step into the distorted body image challenge that continues to follow me around as an adult.

While I still struggle with food and eating and body image in general, as a teacher, I make certain that my words remain neutral, positive, and encouraging to my students in all areas.  They need to know that who they are right this second is just right.  It doesn't matter what their favorite actor or singer looks like or does.  Their little bodies are exactly as they should be, and just like their job right now is school, their other job is to feed their body healthy stuff, and stay active.  I just hope they remember this when the media becomes their main teacher.

Monday, February 23, 2015

NEDA Week 2015 - I Had No Idea

When I was 13, my friends and I decided to become vegetarians.  That was 24 years ago.  And it was a huge clue that my eating had become disordered.  I just didn't know it at the time.

My parents were rather clueless, too.  You'd think that if your 13 year old announces that she's becoming a vegetarian, you'd look for alternative protein sources for her, so her body gets the nutrients it needs.


Instead, my meals consisted of the "typical" meal stuff, minus the meat.  Which meant that my dinner often consisted of salad and a vegetable.  Or, sometimes it was just cereal.  And I was fine with that.

Truth be told, my disordered eating began much younger.  I slowly refused to eat certain foods, I think I was eight when spaghetti became the enemy, and by ten pizza was out too.  People found it funny that in going out to eat with friends after lessons, I'd often have a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of croutons with ranch dressing.  That was it.

My parents continued to be clueless. 
And I had no idea I was hiding an eating disorder.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kicking off NEDA Week 2015

It's that time of year again. 
No, not spring cleaning or holiday shopping. 
It's NEDA week.
That's - National Eating Disorder Awareness - week.

Every year since I started this blog, I've taken this week to shine some light on what the The American Journal of Psychiatry says that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Yup.  You read that right.  Highest mortality rate.

And these "disordered eating habits" can start early.

According to NEDA, approximately 80% of all 10 year old girls have dieted.  80%.  I teach 10 year olds.  I've seen it first hand.  It makes my heart hurt and my stomach turn.

The same study shows that 70% of girls ages six to 12 would like to lose weight.  

While there are many, many reasons eating disorders take hold of their victim, blaming helps no one.  Instead of placing blame, educate yourself.  Become aware.  Speak up.  You can make a difference.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sources of my Smiles

Every day when I walk through the door at home, I am greeted with the biggest (or smallest, technically) source of my smiles.  The Pup.  He is always there, waiting, full of kisses and wiggles and cuddles.  I love coming home to him and the smiles he brings me.

Since the peanut arrived last July, wow.  Smiles galore!  Whether I'm experiencing the giggles, the grins, the raspberries, the shrieks, the claps, whatever it is that peanut is doing, my heart smiles.  Big, warm, smiles.

My students make me smile, too.  I love watching them grow and learn and overcome challenges they thought to be impossible.  I love going to conferences and sharing my students experiences with my peers.  That makes me smile from the inside out.  (Now, if only politics would get the h#$% out of schools, there would be even more smiles there.)

My........ well........ I guess she's now my former dietitian. She made me smile too. She gave great hugs.  Great hugs.  And knowing how grounding they are for me, she greeted me with one and said farewell with one.  I'm really going to miss her.  I hope, that even though she no longer works with me, our old emails will wrap me up in a hug and bring forth smiles.

My therapist makes me smile at least once a session.  Sometimes I'm smiling through tears.  Sometimes I'm smiling cause I've made her laugh.  Sometimes it's cause I've annoyed her.  Sometimes I'm smiling because she's right, and I don't want to admit it.  Mostly, though, I smile because I know she cares.  I don't always feel like people care about me, but knowing she does.... on those really bad days, just hearing her voice makes my heart smile a little, no matter what's going on.

The reason for this post, though, is one that took me quite by surprise.

I've been working with my new dietitian for less than a month.  One of the hardest tasks that she's "encouraged" is daily communication of my food log.  Which means that I send her an email each evening with the day's food log and the tentative menu for the next day.  Doesn't sound hard, I know.  But for me?  It's been a kind of torturous tasks.  It feels selfish to be emailing someone daily, especially knowing they'll respond to each and every email.

This past week, though, I realized how much I look forward to her replies.  Like, really look forward to them.  Don't get me wrong, we're not talking therapy via email, just a few sentences that acknowledge what I sent her, encourage whatever needs encouraging and question whatever needs questioning.  I didn't realize it, and I doubt she has either, but it has become one of the highlights of my day.  As hard as it has been to click send, it's the exact opposite when it comes to clicking read.  Maybe one day, it will just be a smile, and not a smile riddled with guilt for taking up her time outside of the office.  Right?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 93 - Thursday 2/19/15 - Bonus day!  The only time I appreciate sub-zero temps is when it shuts down school.  Like today.

Day 92 - Wednesday 2/18/15 - Glad that today went faster than anticipated.  Even gladder that my dietitian gets me.

Day 91 - Tuesday 2/17/15 - Two good things today - it was good to be back at group after a few weeks of chaos, and it was great to be back in my therapist's office after her week-long vacay!

Day 90 - Monday 2/16/15 - Feeling accomplished after a bonus day at work, even though I'm technically on break.  Got a lot done and that feels good!

Day 89 - Sunday 2/15/15 - Thankful for uninterrupted nights of sleep.  Parents, I give you lots of credit for functioning without them.

Day 88 - Saturday 2/14/15 - Finally spending this stupid love-filled day with someone I love - the peanut - best snuggles ever!

Day 87 - Friday 2/13/15 - Glad it's Friday.  Glad it's a Friday that leads to a three day weekend. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


We can change our hair color thanks to hair dyes.
We can change our eye color thanks to contacts.
We can change our clothing style thanks to shopping.
Three big changes people do on a regular basis.
They're great, but at the same time, they're all surface changes.

We can't change our shoe size.
We can't change our height.
We can't change the size of our schnoz.
They'd all be surgical changes that would be rather painful, I think.
I don't know how many people would wish for these changes.

So why do people, myself included, spend so much time thinking about how to make the number on the scale get smaller?  I'm not worried about changing my shoe size, so why does this number matter so much?

I can see that if you're dangerously overweight or unhealthy, but, technically, I'm not either.

So why does it seem that a (sizable) part of my brain still wishes to change the size of my body?  It would be a heck of a lot simpler to change the color of my hair (purple, please!) or my style (hello, Nordstrom!) or get a new pair of glasses (thank you, SEE!) than to continue to torture myself with numbers that really mean very little in the grand scheme of things.

Health.  That's the goal.
Good health.

Who cares what the stupid box of springs says.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Value & Change

Yesterday wasn't the greatest day.

It started way too early with fits of nightmares interrupting my sleep from about 2am on.  
It continued with the Pup and some bladder issues.  From there, a full on melt-down resulted in a two hour nap with my fingers wrapped around my security trinket that I 
have when my therapist is away.  Insert some hyperventilating, waterworks, and a bit 
of self-destruction, and that wraps up the pathetic (and sizable) portion of my day.

Thankfully, my day ended much better than it started.  Sort of.

The upside is that the peanut spent the night so that my brother and sister-in-law could enjoy a night out and sleep past 7:00am.  I love the time we spend together.  Between dinner (I think the Pup at the most!) and snuggles before bed?  Serious yum.  I don't know 
if there is anything better than having a baby snuggling into you, one fist full of blanket, 
one fist wrapped around your hair, as they drift off to sleep.... melts even the coldest moments inside me.

It was a bit tougher when peanut went to bed, though.  Cause once again, my mind crept in.  This time, bringing a fairly familiar ponderance.  Everyone else's time, especially the time of those that support me, is much more valuable than my time.  So when someone says that they were thinking about me when they saw whatever it was that reminded them of me, I worry.  I worry that they're spending time on me when it could be spent on better things.  And when my dietitian responds to my daily check-in email, my first thought is always "doesn't matter how much this helps me, she's got better things to do with her time outside the office than spend it replying to me."  Or when my therapist says "I was thinking about what you said the other day and...." in my head, I'm thinking, "crap, she was wasting time outside of the office on me again."

Pathetic.  Pretty darn unkind if you ask me.

Some how, that everyone-elses-time-is-more-important-than-mine 
thought led to the following question:

Is it really possible for me to get over this huge wall I've built to trap myself in the small, silly world of ever-lasting childish tendencies and become the person that my team knows I am?

Not sure how one thing led to another, but, there it is.  
A huge, huge question.  
A massive realization. 
And a heck of a lot of work behind what appears to be a rather simple, 
yes or no question....

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 86 - Thursday 2/12/15 - I think it's safe to say that this new dietitian is going to work out.  Tonight's session made this rather trying day end with a bit more of a smile.

Day 85 - Wednesday 2/11/15 - Grateful that I no longer pass out at the sight of my own blood.  Comes in handy when I cut my finger in the kitchen.  Used to be quite the disastrous event......

Day 84 - Tuesday 2/10/15 - It is quite amazing how a small, round, metal disc can provide such comfort....

Day 83 - Monday 2/9/15 - Happy that a before-school meeting that was potentially slated to be disastrous, actually ended on a peaceful, positive note.

Day 82 - Sunday 2/8/15 - Glad to have a sweat-pants-and-hoodie kinda day.  Bonus visit with the peanut was just the icing on the cake.

Day 81 - Saturday 2/7/15 - Lots of gratitude today!  Great day spent at a workshop with colleagues that "get" me, followed by an adventurous dinner with my BFF!

Day 80 - Friday 2/6/15 - Seriously, the best part of my week is getting to put the peanut to bed on Friday nights.  The cuteness overload when placing that sleeping, cherubic face into the crib?  Melts me!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


You know that feeling when someone says "we need to talk?"  
The stomach drop, pulse racing, heart pounding feeling that makes you think, or at least makes me think
"What did I do this time?"

I've actually said that many, many times.  It's my standard response, especially at work.  Whenever the principal needs to speak to me, my instant response is "what did I do this time?" even though I very well did nothing wrong whatsoever, and it's a simple question or brief conversation about some professional thing.  I didn't realize how often I use the "what did I do this time?" response each day.  At least once, maybe twice.  Even if I don't speak it, I think it.

Well, today I came up with a new response.
Instead of "what did I do this time?"
I'm going to give
"What did I win?" 
a chance.

If anything, it will likely elicit a brief giggle and smile, and even if it is an uh-oh conversation, at least it will start with a smile.  And considering the grant funds I've "won" over the past ten months?  Who knows? Maybe I will have won something else!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thankful Thursdays - Year 3

Day 79 - Thursday 2/5/15 - SO glad that my first visit with the new dietitian went well..... super sad that mine is leaving, but at least I like the new one, and can see myself working with her!

Day 78 - Wednesday 2/4/15 - Having a tough time finding something to be thankful for today. I guess I can say that I'm thankful my friend stocked me up with her homemade yummies, pulled one out of the freezer and had a delicious dinner!

Day 77 - Tuesday 2/3/15 - Counting my lucky stars today - a rare cancellation brought a much needed visit to my therapist.

Day 76 - Monday 2/2/15 - Snow storm day - good news is there was no school.  Bad news is there was also no therapy.  Good news is that my world didn't end when therapy cancelled.

Day 75 - Sunday 2/1/15 -  Wow.  Shockingly surprised, but super happy that school was called for tomorrow early enough to make Sunday evening more enjoyable!

Day 74 - Saturday 1/31/15 - Happy to finally see my dietitian.  It's only been 3 weeks but it felt like forever......

Day 73 - Friday 1/30/15 -  Family Dinners have taken on a whole new meaning since the peanut arrived...... never thought I'd look forward to family time.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I've been seeing my dietitian for three and a half years, and it's safe to say that I've become rather attached to her.  She's seen me in the lowest lows of anorexia, and has slowly guided me back to what she says is a healthy weight (I still think I'm overweight.)  She's been patient while I threw tantrums (yes, tantrums at age 30ish) because I wouldn't eat another bite and helped me broaden my food choices.

My therapist and I have been discussing the progress I've made over the past three and a half years.  I went from someone on the verge of hospitalization to fully weight restored (I think it has been restored a little too much!)  It's been a drama filled, sinkhole riddled path, complicated by surgery, food limitations at school, and more allergies.  Progress, though, is progress, and I am grateful for the growth thus far.

This week, I will meet a new dietitian.  When I started with my dietitian, the goal was to learn how to eat healthy while handling food allergies.  Little did my consciousness know that I was hiding an eating disorder.  I was terrified that first visit, thanks to a previous dietitian I saw once, who scared me away from any and all dietitians.  Needless to say, our focus became weight restoration and maintenance.

This time, I'm nervous, but in a different way.  My dietitian said that sometimes people take you as far as they can, then it's time to move on.  I don't want to believe her.  I don't want to start over.  Even though...... I know she's sort of right.  I have to keep going without her.

I want to make sure to keep moving.  To keep growing.  To keep learning.  All the same principles I live by in my classroom.  And while my therapist and I have been working on this for a while - expanding the safety of my classroom to the rest of the world - I am afraid to put it into play everywhere else.

Most importantly, I want to give this new dietitian a chance.  I know she's not going to be the same at all, and that's ok.  She's going to come with her own perspective and ideas, and that's ok too.  And while my dietitian played quite the parental role for me, I know my new one won't.  Because I don't need that anymore.  Which, when I think about it, is a good thing.

What I do need is to learn how to eat balanced, how to manage my food intolerances while eating healthy...... and how to not let the anorexia return.  Ever. And maybe, just maybe, she'll help me learn how to like food? 

I hope she's up for the challenge...........