Category Archives: Below The Surface

Fear Foods- Fats

Good morning! Well it seems like the weather predictions are going to come true and we are going to get at least six inches of SNOW! But I’m sure it will melt quite quickly 🙂

I feel like this post about fats is long overdue and something I have been wanting to write about for a long time. I wrote about my fear of cereal a few weeks ago, but fats are in a category all on their own. This is long but it’s something I want to express and is very important to me.

Even if you are not an expert in nutrition, I am sure you have heard that fats are necessary in the diet, ones from fried foods and processed items should be limited and fat grams from nuts, olive/canola oils, avocados, etc are much better for your body. There are several different kinds, mono and polyunsaturated, and the more “scary kinds” saturated and trans.

As a Public Health major with a focus in community nutrition, I have taken several nutrition classes and have learned about the three necessary macronutrients for our bodies, carbohydrates, proteins and FATS. These are the sources that we as living creatures need to consume in large quantities for proper organ function and are necessary sources of energy. These macronutrients are found in every food we eat, but the trick is balancing the amounts you consume for optimum function of your body.

These are the healthy ranges that a person should be getting from foods along with sufficient amount of other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The recommendations are:

  • 45% to 65% of calories eaten should come from carbohydrates.
  • 20% to 35% of calories eaten should come from fat.
  • 10% to 35% of calories eaten should come from protein

Why do we need fat in our diet?

  • Fat provides needed energy.  It is difficult to eat the large amounts of food in a very low fat diet to get all the energy you need.
  • Fat is needed to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency.
  • Fat is needed so your body can absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, S, E, K, and prevent deficiencies of these vitamins.
  • Fat provides flavor and texture to help prevent food from being bland and dry.
  • Fat helps food to stay in the stomach longer, giving a greater sense of satisfaction and preventing hunger soon after meals.
  • Fat may help your body produce endorphins (natural substances in the brain that produce pleasurable feelings).

What does fat do for our body?

  • Provides insulation under the skin from the cold and the heat.
  • Protects organs and bones from shock and provides support for organs.
  • Fat surrounds and insulates nerve fibers to help transmit nerve impulses.
  • Fat is part of every cell membrane in the body.  It helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.
  • Your body uses fat to make a variety of other building blocks needed for everything from hormones to immune function.

Source of the above information.

So it seems like fat is pretty necessary right? You wold think after knowing this sort of information that I would have no problem eating foods with fat in it….WRONG!

When my disordered eating took a turn for the worst, I began to restrict pretty much everything, but especially FATS. In my mind anything with fat= instant weight gain. Anything with fats in it was off-limits; cakes, cookies, pastries of course, but also anything that had been cooked in oil, meats, vegetables, ANYTHING. If I saw a food had that “sheen” of oil on it, I would absolutely not eat it. Eating out at restaurants was the most terrifying thing ever because I would never know how much oil or butter the chef had used to cook the meal, and I usually would not eat it, or would order a salad, because it was “safe.”

It so bad last summer that any food that had more than 2 grams of fat in it, i would simply not eat. When I first began reading Healthy Living Blogs and saw the amazing foods bloggers were eating such as almond/peanut butter, Lara Bars (12 grams of fat per bar! scary at that time), kale chips/sweet potato fries drizzled with (gasp!) olive oil, a piece of salmon?! I was so jealous they were able to and comfortable eating all of these great sources of fat and not gaining weight- must be nice for them. *I truly believed everyone else could eat things and not gain weight but there was no way I could, because I was different in some way.

As someone who has a pretty good understanding of basic nutrition, it’s scary that I was able to convince myself that I didn’t need fats. I knew it was necessary, for everyone else, I didn’t need it and by cutting it out I would lose weight= the goal!

I didn’t like the idea of “wasting” calories that were high in fat and (I believed) wouldn’t fill me up. For example, a piece of pizza was simply not worth all of the fat and calories I would get from it and then be hungry about 10 minutes later which would lead me to eating more, which would lead to weight gain! What a lovely cycle I believed in. I liked the idea of eating an entire salad, plenty of low cal veggies, watery fruits to fill me up for much less calories.

And let me tell you something else, it worked. I did lose weight last summer, but so many other health affects came right along with me cutting out this vital nutrient. A few unpleasant examples:

  • My skin became dry even with lathering with lotion everyday and it was summer!
  • I used to have very thick hair. I lost a lot of hair last summer and now it’s very thin 😦
  • Low body weight= duh.
  • My nails were brittle and would not grow
  • Loss of my period- this has been an on-going issue since starting Weight Watchers in 2008- a very personal post which I will soon be discussing!

There was a point before being really making an effort to change my eating habits that was evidence of how irrational I had become. During Thanksgiving I had made a “safe” side-dish of Ratatouille for myself so I would at least have something to eat with my family. It was made WITHOUT OIL and actually is quite tasty for the record. There was a point I was not in the room and my mom drizzled olive oil over the vegetables as a way to “sneak in” fat for me. Although this was not the best tactic (as doing this in secret wasn’t nice) I understand why she did it; my mom was so concerned for my health and didn’t exactly know how to approach the situation. When the dish was being served, I noticed that familiar look of oil over the vegetables, realized what happened and refused to eat it. Yeah, think I need an intervention much?

During this past winter break, I really made the effort to change my diet. It was uncomfortable and scary but I ate a whole lot more when I was home. Something that prompted me to do this was how thin my hair had become, it used to be “thick as a horse’s tail” not so much anymore. Anyway, one of the first things I ate as a fat source was almond butter. That first state was pure heaven in my mouth. I took a big ole spoonful, and savored the thick, creamy, sweet taste. Every day now I have some kind of almond butter on apples, carrots, oatmeal or just on its own!

Ever since then I have been incorporating fats into my diet slowly but surely. For example, I always put walnuts, almonds, or sesame seeds on a salad, I cook with olive oil, and nut butter= true love. Foods with fat in it, such as granola bars, other prepared foods are finally “allowed” in my mind. I finally tried a Lara Bar after practically hyperventilating before eating it! 🙂

Not going to lie though, I am still struggling with eating foods with sources of fat I consider bad–> baked goods, ice cream, pizza, and so many others. It is my next step to try some of these things, in moderation of course! These still to me= instant weight gain.

I realized I wanted to write this post when I noticed all of the fat sources I had in my room:

Now that I have proper amounts of fat in it, I have noticed changes in my body! I am not losing hair at the same terrifying rate I was, my nails are growing and thick, my skin is less dry and clearer and overall I feel less “brittle” if that makes any sense. Also, I have gained weight, and you know what, it’s okay. Besides fat being great for your body, it also tastes really freakin good 🙂

It may seem like I have perfectly comfortable eating fats now, and I am to a certain extent. However, I am still very aware of how much fat I am getting from foods and I am limiting the number of nuts I eat a day, tablespoons of almond butter and if I deem a food has too much oil on it, I still am not comfortable eating it. That’s why I don’t eat several of the prepared meats and veggies in the dining hall, they are always shining with the scary oily substance.

Phew that was long, and I feel like I am going to think of more things to add as the day goes on. I might add something later if it seems important for me to mention.

If you read all of this, thank you, if not that’s okay too haha. It was long and wordy and kind of all over the place= word vomit :p

*Has anyone fear or feared fat? Any other irrationalities surrounding food? -> I have so many more but I think this is enough for today 🙂

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Filed under Below The Surface, Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Fear Foods, Nut Butter, Weight

Influenced Once Again- Oats in a Jar

Ahh, it is such a gorgeous day out! 54 degrees and sunny in Amherst, which feels balmy after this brutal winter we have all experienced 🙂 Spring is surely in the air. But HOLD UP… there will be a Winter Storm Warming in effect starting tomorrow night…. There are 2-4 inches of snow expected, not too much but winter just does not want to let go!

A little less of this...

How about a little less of this…^

AND MORE OF THIS!

This morning I went to the gym here at school and did 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical. I set the incline at 15 and did a simple HIIT routine of going 35 seconds fast, and 25 seconds recovery for 5 minutes at level 12. Then I would recover for 2 minutes at level 10 and then repeat the sequence until the 20 minutes was up. This was pretty random but I wanted to get in some cardio before Kickboxing!

I have talked about this class before but want to mention it again because it’s one of my favorite group fitness classes. I am seriously the most uncoordinated person alive, so I was a bit apprehensive about trying this class at the beginning of the year in fear of looking like a GOON. Although I do punch right or kick left (when I am supposed to be doing the opposite! haha) I still get a great workout in and am always sore the next day! Especially in my back and arms, I’m not used to working them that way. Besides, everyone else is worried about if they’re doing the routine correctly and not lookin at you!

*Below the surface- I am constantly feeling self-conscious and that people are looking/staring at me, of course in a negative way. I feel like I am being judged all of the time, on my clothes, how my hair looks, makeup, acne, my height, and of course, my body. Although i am finally understanding this is not the case, I still can’t help feeling, “somebody’s watchin me!” (anyone know the song?!) I am working through this and I also have realized how much I look at other people. And I admit, I do my share of judging as well. Not necessarily something mean, but I make conclusions about people I see or talk to. I really need to get the heck over this, it’s rude and just not necessary. Of course I feel that people are looking at me, I’m lookin right back! Can anyone relate/have advice? I am not a mean person, actually quite nice 🙂 so I think I do this because I sometimes feel bad about myself.

Phew, sorry about that tangent! On to the title of this post….after my butt was kicked at Cardio KICK, I returned to my room where a fabulous breakfast awaited me! Overnight Oats in a Jar the blog world strikes again!!

Looks so nasty, tastes so good! Into almost empty jar of one of my favorite nut butters, Barney Butter’s Crunch Almond Butter, went:

  • 1/3 cup dry (not instant!) oats
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 sliced medium banana
  • 1.5 tbs Chia seeds
  • Several dashes of cinnamon= i am addicted to cinnamon

Stir that baby up, put it in the fridge overnight (or for a few hours) so the liquid can be absorbed by the oats. Unscrew the cap the next day and try not to inhale it’s ugly wonderfulnous <– that’s a word, I swear.

Demolished! So good. There was probably about two tablespoons of almond butter left in the jar when I put the mixture, it was my best oatmeal concoction yet!

I have an appointment this afternoon, then a dinner date with the lovely Danielle!

Have a good day everyone, enjoy the weather if it’s nice where you are 😀

*Has anyone tried overnight oats in a jar? I’ll admit when I first heard of this in the blog world, I thought it sounded gross. How wrong I was.

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Filed under Awesome Bloggers, Below The Surface, Breakfast, Exercise, Favorite Products, Nut Butter, Product Review, Recipe

Noticing the Changes

Ahh, it’s almost 11:00 pm and I haven’t gone to bed yet! Confession: I am an old lady, I go to bed before 10:00 pm almost every night and am a failure without at least 8 hours! I love those zzzzz’s 🙂

I am up later than usual finishing a paper due, and studying for two exams that are tomorrow. Professors who make exams occur on Friday= pure evil. It’s my own fault I have put off studying until now, and I am clearly still procrastinating as I am choosing to blog instead! Muahaha.

On that note, I had such a refreshing afternoon! The sun was shining bright, the temperatures were above (gasp!) 40 degrees and I went to free sample night at Whole Foods with my best friend Danielle!

This particular store has one free sample night per month each time with a different theme, and you better believe we ALWAYS go to them. She is the only other person I know that gets as excited as I do about grocery shopping. Tis the joy of the month for us (perhaps that’s a bit sad… :P) Today’s theme was “Local Night” where farmers and other store owners around the area brought in some products to try.

As we walked through the store, I sampled gluten-free pizza, gelato, soy milk, bread, candy, and fruit. Overall, the foods were tasty! Yet there was something even better going on, I was actually eating the food I wanted to try.

Before getting a hold on my disordered eating, I would go to events like this and walk around and kind of just look at the food that could be sampled. I picked out groceries as I walked around, but I would not touch the samples that were out. I watched others eat them and I was somewhat envious, yet that feeling of enpowerment was rearing its ugly head, making me feel eletated– that I had the control over myself from eating anything I deemed “unsafe.”

You are probably wondering on earth I would even go to an event with free food I was not going to eat. You know what?! I wonder that too. It was almost like a test for myself, going into a store and seeing what I could resist. I believe this goes along with why I watch Food Network and other food shows constantly. I genuinely enjoy them, but at the same time it’s FOOD PORN from Wikipedia, (provocative term variously applied to a spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating in infomercials,  cooking shows or other visual media, foods boasting a high fat and calorie content, exotic dishes that arouse a desire to eat). I am looking at the wonderful recipes being created and thinking how great it looks, yet something I would never eat.

It’s a step in the right direction toward recovery and I am glad I am overcoming these seriously effed up thoughts. 🙂 I even splurged a bit and bought some items from the hot and cold food bar, I can’t resist that dang thing!

 

Mmm Pretty Fruit!

 

Danielle!

Before going back to campus I needed requested a coffee.

 

Need coffee now!

We made a stop at my personal favorite place for coffee, Dunkin Donuts! Starbucks is good and all, but I just can’t go wrong with a coffee less than 2 bucks and I savor its perfect light flavor 🙂

Uh oh, it’s pushin 11:30 pm and I still have some studying to do! Time to get PUMPED for that

Fake it till you make it right? 😉

Is anyone else as obsessed with Food Network/other cuisine shows, as me?!Can any readers relate to this kind of scenario, almost torturing yourself with food? Does anyone else LOVE TO STUDY?! Because I do! (Errrr…not.)

Have a lovely night!

 

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Filed under Below The Surface, Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Disordered Eating, Friends, Product Review, Serious Stuff, Whole Foods

Dear Bathroom Scale,

I am just going to come out and say it, we need to break up.

Because we have been together for so long, this may come as a shock to you. However, our relationship has gone on for far too long at this point, and I really don’t see this going anywhere.

You have always been a presence in my house, but we did not make a true connection until I joined Weight Watchers, and you and I had our weekly Tuesday dates. There was another person there though, the woman who would moderate our relationship, praise me if your numbers showed a decrease of weight, and a “you’ll do better next week” if you showed a gain. However, no matter what the number said, I was never happy, determined to lose even more weight the next week.

Eventually, I stopped going to Weight Watchers, but you, my precious scale, stayed with me. You came with me to college, where you stayed hidden under my bed, because I feared what my roommate would think if she knew of you and how much our relationship had grown. I could no longer wait a whole week to see you, so weighing myself on you became a daily expectation, a routine that has continued to this day.

Last summer was when I felt my strongest need for you. As soon as you showed a number I approved of, relief would flood through my body. The rest of the day I would be in a great mood, yet would cling even more to my rigid food and exercise schedule so I could see this number again. And yet in the back of mind, I sought to lessen the number even more, something that you helped me to accomplish by being readily available.

Unfortunately, what results you presented to me were not always what I wanted. When these days occurred, my mood would deteriorate, restriction of food would occur, exercise would intensify, and I would be anxious until the next morning, when the number said “normal” again. I would get so frustrated sometimes, “why do you fluctuate so often?!”

You may have noticed, but since the beginning of this year, our relationship has begun to deteriorate. Yes, it is true that at this point I still see you on a daily basis, but I am finally taking the number I see with a grain of salt. Not going to lie though, when I first saw the numbers increasing, it was terrifying and almost led me to become further obsessed with you. But there have been outside sources of rationality that are helping me to understand how little the number that shows my “weight” actually means.

You do not properly weigh muscle, healthy fat, water retention; things I am working so hard at building up again because we both broke these down to an unhealthy level. I am understanding that what appears on your screen does not define me, it is a freakin number that means nothing.

Scale, we are done. It is time I met new people, tried new things, ate some food, and these things won’t happen if we stay together. There is so much more to life than you, and fortunetely I am discovering this now and finding the real joys that life has to offer.

Perhaps I will see you once in awhile after this point. Honestly though, I doubt it. It has certainly been a long journey with you, but one that has ended.

Best wishes from a formerly obsessed woman,

Tessa

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Filed under Below The Surface, Confession, Disorded Thoughts, Recovery, Scale, Weight, Weight Watchers

Product Reviews and Below The Surface- Fear Food: Cereal

Good morning readers!

I got in a nice run this morning, it was about 6.3 miles at a 7:45 pace, which seems to be my usual pace for runs these days. It used to be around 8:30 so diligence towards the sport really shows how much it is possible to improve. I ended the run at the Rec Center where I took a core class for 35 minutes. I am definitely feeling the effects of the routine now, I really need to work on my core strength, which has been proven to make you faster and more efficient while running. Fit Sugar explains this idea really well, check it out!

After I got back I showered and had a quick breakfast before my first class at 11:15. I had a big bowl of cereal:

  • 1/2 cup Blueberry Muffin Mini Wheats= one of my all time favorite cereals. This is a new-ish discovery and it tastes like a delicious blueberry muffin in a crunchy, wheaty, sweet form…yum 🙂
  • 1/2 cup Quaker Oat Squares (Cinnamon)= also amazing! I first saw these from Allie’s Blog, and have seen them appear more and more across the Blog world. Another example of its crazy influence!
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  • Trader Joe’s Berry Greek Yogurt= this was really tasty! I have tried several different types of Greek Yogurt and this has been deemed one of my new favorites. It was pretty think, not too sweet, with a subtle fruit taste, and not too much $$, always something to consider, as I am a bit poor at the moment.
  • A sprinkle of slivered almonds
  • Apple

After finishing this breakfast, it made me realize how much my eating and refueling has improved on my road to recovery, but also reminds me of foods I once truly feared and am working to incorporate them on daily basis.

There are several I can think of, today I will talk about cereal.

I used to be a cereal FANATIC. I literally loved every kind of sugary, fake kinds you could think of; Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Golden Grahams, Cap’n Crunch, Crunch Berries, oh my I could go on. I would have 2-3 bowls (not measured) every morning before school and then 1-2 when I got home and perhaps one for dinner 🙂

When I started Weight Watchers however, the point system helped to teach portion sizes and made me realize I was using about half of my daily points on cereal in the morning. Although portions are good to learn, WW once again made me obsessed with this and led to habit changes. I found healthier cereals, such as Fiber One, Kashi, and other Organic cereals, that I could have for much less points and were more satisfying. I eventually cut down to one, pre-measured bowl of cereal in the morning and none for the rest of the day.

As my obsession around WW, food and weight became more intense, I took a look at my breakfast and irrationality reared its ugly head. This small bowl of cereal was not satisfying me at all, leaving me hungry almost immediately after I had finished it. Instead of adding more cereal, healthy fats, or protein, I thought this food was just going to make me fat because it made me hungry. I then started to consume fruit for breakfast instead, as a way to fill me up for the lower calories (in my mind). Eventually I stopped having breakfast all together, but that’s for another post 🙂

I had this idea that the Carbs from cereal were the ones that caused people to gain weight, and fruit would prevent this. What I didn’t understand at the time that I was simply not eating enough and a balance of nutrients in the morning to sustain me.

Cereal is not the enemy and never has been, and it’s now once again, it is among my favorite foods! Any kind still: though I try to pick the ones with ingredients I can actually pronounce and that have a good amount of fiber and protein. Also, coupling cereal with fruit and a healthy fat, such as a bowl with a sliced banana, skim milk, and nuts sprinkled on top, will really help to keep me full.

I have so many other fear foods I am overcoming, including pasta, FATS, pizza, sweet treats, pastries, cakes, okay so alot. I will discuss these soon as well!

Has anyone experienced fears around certain foods? What have you done to overcome this?

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Filed under Below The Surface, Breakfast, Disorded Thoughts, Favorite Foods, Fitness, Fuel, Product Review, Running, Trader Joes, Weight Watchers