I’m Not THERE Yet, But I’m on My Way!

Thanksgiving. A holiday where families get together around the table, eat, talk, laugh, gossip, and enjoy each other’s company. Holidays like this one with the main focus on food have obviously been a bit of struggle for me over the past 13 years… Eating at such random times and having a plethora of choices would usually give me quite a bit of anxiety. As part of my OCD I was also obsessed with the timing of my meals. So, eating at 2:00 pm as opposed to noon or 4 pm put my mind in a fluster, not to mention all the food choices and the calories, ohhhhhhhhhhh the calories… 

These past couple years I feel as though I’ve improved on these obsessions. Last year I had my FIRST piece of pumpkin pie in YEARS! What most people don’t understand is that eating an item of food is not as easy as it is for most people, especially sweets. I can’t recall my exact thought process while eating that first piece of pie, but I know it went something like this…

“I wonder how many calories are in this? I wonder how big of piece I should eat of this pie? Ahhh, this tastes so good, but do I really deserve it? Oh, god, I’m going to get so fat… No, one piece won’t make you fat, Colleen! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

This type of conversation would happen in my head on a regular basis. Now, I’ve learned to block most of it out. But, sweets such as pie and cupcakes are still a struggle. For example, I just had my SECOND piece of pumpkin pie tonight as a snack, the thought process it took in order to head into the kitchen and cut a slice for me would seem crazy to most people… I’m not even sure how long I debated with myself that I wanted a slice. Oh, I knew I wanted  it, I wanted it bad… But, it was a matter of whether my brain would allow me to want it.

I have become quite the adventuress over the past year though! I had a Ruby Tuesday’s cupcake on the Birthday and on other occasions, cheese cake Blake’s mom made for his Birthday after my marathon, and hazelnut cocoa spread! WOOO!  🙂

This Thanksgiving I also I had mini-breakdown… We always go over to my dad’s side of the family in the early afternoon. My Aunt Kelly took over the cooking this year and as she was making the mashed potatoes (YAY for the REAL stuff and not the flakes!) I saw that she was using whole milk. To most it’s no big deal, but for some reason it bothered me… I felt it was “too fattening…” I really didn’t mean to make a big deal out of it, but I made a comment about the milk and I think it came out pretty rude… My aunt responded by saying there’s only a little bit. Our Grandma’s neighbor even volunteered to go over and grab her 2% milk. But, I couldn’t talk, something took over me… I could feel it coming… The tears began to build up… Breakdown… I walked out of the kitchen, grabbed my sister’s shoes instead of my own, went outside and just sobbed, not 100% as to why. I probably looked like a little brat leaving that kitchen, all over MILK. But, I didn’t want to make a scene in the middle of the kitchen. I don’t think it was just the milk  tough… As I said Thanksgiving is still a struggle for me, food is still a struggle for me. I think the fact that I wasn’t in control of what I was about to consume and that something so simple bothered me really just pointed out the obvious to me; I am not FULLY recovered. I knew this, but the way that darn milk affected me just proved it even more.

I also thought back to the the years that I’ve put my family through hell and back with me. The fights, tears, constant counseling visits, and always worrying about what Colleen would and would not eat… I was embarrassed walking back into that kitchen, eyes all puffy and red… My Aunt apologized and we hugged. It was not her fault, she really did nothing wrong – I have a feeling that breakdown was just bound to happen… Everything was fine afterwards, I ate turkey, my aunt’s mashed potatoes, veggies, and even a little bit of stuffing. Then we played some games and had fun. 🙂

Tomorrow is round two! I will be having Thanksgiving with my mom’s side at my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Theresa’s house. I hope I got all of that breakdown out of my system! 😉

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Men Have Body Image Issues Too!

So, it’s not breaking news to many, but men and boys have body image issues too! Some of these issues may not be the same as women, but they are issues none the less. A recent article in the New York Times, titled “Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, And Obsession” describes the more recent phenomenon of teenage boys’ obsession with muscle mass.

“In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.”

Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times
David Abusheikh at a gym in Brooklyn. He goes six days a week and says he uses protein supplements to help build muscle

It’s well known that majority of adolescent girls want to lose weight… They do this by counting and cutting calories and engaging in more aerobic activities such as running, cycling, and aerobic classes to shed the pounds. On the other end, adolescent boys are turning to supplements, steroids, and hitting the weights multiple times a week or day to increase their muscle mass and even gain weight.

“The problem with supplements is they’re not regulated like drugs, so it’s very hard to know what’s in them,” said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Some contain anabolic steroids, and even high-quality protein supplements might be dangerous in large amounts, or if taken to replace meals, he said. “These things just haven’t been studied very well,” he said.

While this does not mean all adolescent boys are going to the gym in unhealthy amount, there is an increase in this types of behavior over the past 30 years. Just as the media and social pressures are partially to blame for the craze for thinness in women, so too is the urge to have high muscle mass for men.

I would like to reiterate my stance on this type of issue. It is crucial to live an active lifestyle and eat healthy, but we must do so in moderation. There’s a BIG difference between having a regime of going to the gym every week and being obsessed with going to the gym. If missing one session at the gym ruins your day and you constantly obsess over it, then you may have an issue.

The main reason why I wanted to post about the New York Times’ article is to show that this is not just a female problem, men/boys have just as many body image issues!

Building Tomorrow’s Women: Girl’s on the Run

I had such an amazing opportunity these past couple months to volunteer with an AMAZING non-profit called Girls on the Run!

Girls on the Run Mission: 

“We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

Girls on the RunHere’s a little but about the program: This after- school, 10-12 week program is for girls in the 3rd through 5th grade. It is Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their inner confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique. The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.  Participants also train for a 5K towards the end of the program, hence the name Girls on the Run.

I found out about this program through my professor of my grant writing course this semester. As soon as I heard the name, GIRLS ON THE RUN, my eyes lit up. Then hearing that it incorporates running and positive body image/self-esteem curriculum, I fell in LOVE. I filled out an application on the website to become a volunteer coach. Within two days I was contacted about becoming an assistant volunteer coach at Franklin Elementary in Kent! My fellow coaches, Julie and Trina, are wonderful and I really enjoy working with them to building our 12 girls’ self-esteem, confidence, etc!!

After 10 weeks, ALL 12 girls finished the 5K at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. HUNDREDS of 8-11 year old girls and their sibling, parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends ran/walked the 5K. I ran with two of the faster girls on the Franklin team, Abbey and Aubrey. They did AWESOME, running a little over 30 minutes! Pretty impressive for such young girls. All of the girls did something quite impressive, something that more than half of the country has not! I was so proud of every single one of them!

I cannot rave about this program enough!! Starting to teach the girls to be proud of themselves and encourage positive body image and self-esteem as young as eight is just WONDERFUL! It truly gives me hope for our future women, our future leaders. Every one of the 12 girls I’ve worked with have truly inspired me to stick with my passion of promoting body acceptance. I plan to volunteer as an assistant coach again in the spring. I can actually see myself working for this amazing non-profit. 🙂