Tag Archives: self-improvement

Changes

Here I am again, all! I don’t really know where to start with this post. The last time you heard from me I was in quite a bad place. While I can’t say that my life has magically turned into sunshine and cupcakes since then, I can say that I have spent the last few weeks sitting myself down, so to speak, to try and figure my life out. If nothing else, I have decided one thing for certain: I am not happy, and it’s about time that I change that. I used to think it was me, that I was totally in charge of my own happiness and that if I wasn’t happy, it didn’t have anything to do with my surroundings or what I was doing and that it was all my mindset. To a degree, I totally believe that to be true. However, I have realized that where I am and what I’m doing aren’t exactly the things I imagine myself doing in my dreams.

I have gone through four years of college, one of them in the perfect city of Thessaloniki, pursuing a Banking and Finance major only to realize that I have absolutely no desire to enter the banking industry.

I lived in Oxford for two years, absolutely miserable, then left for a year in hopes that the time away would allow me to gain a new perspective and appreciate the city, or at the very least push through my last two years here, only to end up in tears almost every night. This place brings me no joy, and the life I am living here is so out of sync with everything I want to be.

All this is to say, I am making a change. I don’t know exactly what my life’s purpose is, but I know that it isn’t banking and I know that it isn’t in Oxford, Mississippi.

I do know that I want to pursue my journey with Ashtanga yoga and I know that I want to help people. I have lived so long doing the things other people want me to do. My college choice, my major choice, how I look, how I act… almost everything I do or am is decided by anyone and everyone but me. This has caused me nothing but unhappiness and severe anxiety, and I don’t wish this on anyone in the world. I want to help people realize that all they have to do is what they want to do.

Everything you do should be in pursuit of your dreams. As long as you pursue your life’s purpose, everything will fall into place.

I have a strong feeling I’m about to make a very, very large leap of faith into something completely unknown and completely terrifying. But I know that I will come out on top.

Namaste, beautiful people.

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Saturday Special: My first homemade baked good!

Today is a great day, everyone, for more reasons than one. The first one being that I successfully made banana nut muffins from scratch… and they are so damn delicious.

 

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This is my happy face.

 

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I used this recipe, but subbed sugar substitute and half the butter for fresh greek yogurt and added walnuts. They’re still pretty calorie heavy, and having them in my room is going to be a serious challenge (because they are SO GOOD), but I’m so proud of myself for having these turn out edible, much less something I actually ENJOY. The baking gods were smiling down upon me today. I really had no idea what I was doing. Prior to this, I had only ever made cakes with cake mix, and even then I’d only done that a few times. This is an exciting thing, because I do love baked goods, and making them at home with healthier ingredients will make eating them much less of a pain for me. 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! My celebration does not stop there! This morning I got an email from a regional bank in my area saying I was accepted for a two-summer internship that comes with a scholarship! This summer, I will be working at a branch close to my home, and next summer I will be working in their headquarters. Plus, it’s PAID. And 40 hours/week. I feel like I can FINALLY relax and stop stressing out about my money situation. I am always able to work at my high school job during my breaks because the manager there absolutely adores me, but I would work at most 30 hours per week and a typical week would be more like 20-24 hours. At minimum wage. So, internship and massive amounts of major-related experience aside, I’m going to be making a ton more money with this internship than I would at that job. I am on top of the world today.

All things considered (my run yesterday and the subsequent death of my poor legs, the fact that I am basically done with all the schoolwork I have for the next week and a half, and the fact that I might have been slightly hungover), I took the day off. No workout, no tracking calories, no passing glance at ANYTHING school related. I’m even ordering delivery for dinner for the first time in over a month. Luckily, Sundays are my typical rest day so I’m just switching these two days this week, meaning I’m not actually “skipping” a workout. The food situation is a completely different story, but I really do not care. I know rewarding yourself with food is not the best thing to do, but, again, I do not care. I’m going to hop back on the wagon tomorrow and continue pushing ahead. I’ve earned it, and I’m not going to feel guilty at all about enjoying being absolutely useless for one day.

The Picture that Changed a Life

I am about to share a photo that I never wanted any one else to see. It is the picture that inspired me to gain control of my life and finally not be the “bigger girl” I have been since I can remember. This picture was taken a little over a year ago, on my 20th birthday, making this the longest and most successful weight-loss attempt I have ever undertaken. I have been “dieting” and “trying to lose weight” on and off since high school, but I am now well under my 9th grade weight at this point. If you recall from my last post, this picture also inspired a lot of self-hatred and body image issues, a lot of which I’m still struggling with today, but I am so much happier and healthier than I was when I took this photo and started my journey to be the best me I can be. 🙂 So, no more stalling.

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It’s not a very good picture in terms of being able to tell how much I actually weigh, so I don’t know why this particular photo caused me so much pain. I have several other photos of me around the same time that make my weight much more obvious, and while they obviously suck to see, none of them affect me as badly as this one does. I think my face is what really bothered me the most. Here I am over 175 pounds. I’m 5’7″, so this is a considerable amount over the “healthy” weight range for BMI. This picture is still really hard for me to look at, considering all the emotions it caused in the following months.

Anyway, this was meant to be a happy post, not a depressing one. I’m looking forward now, not back. Here is what I look like today (excuse the terrible bed-head and messy room):

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Today was actually a surprisingly good “body” day for me. My measurements are finally creeping downward again after quitting keto. This picture honestly took me back for a second because it’s one of only a few that I can look at and say “damn, girl, you go.” The last time I checked, I weighed 135, but I imagine that went up a little bit from water weight. I’m trying not to care, especially since my measurements continue to go down. Plus, let’s be real here, I look damn good.

I also had another accomplishment today- my first outside run! I’ve been scouring through youtube for exercise videos for the past few weeks because I don’t want to get bored of doing the same ones over and over, but today I decided to take it outside. I’ve always been nervous to do any sort of exercise around other people. Here it is especially hard because so many people like to run along the boardwalk and I am in no way as in shape as most of the people I see out there. Today I just had to remind myself that I would probably never see any of those people ever again and that it didn’t matter if I looked like an idiot. I was actually surprised at how much running I could actually do (although there was also a fair amount of walking). I ran almost five miles (since I don’t have 3G on my phone I had to rely on google maps to tell me the distance) and afterwards I stopped on the boardwalk to do a little yoga before heading back.

So, there’s a little bit of my weight loss story. Fitness is something I am hoping to make a serious, permanent part of my life, so hopefully this won’t be the last of what I have to say on the matter.

Bad Blogger

Okay, this is my blog. I can do what I want. But I did miss posting a meal last Saturday and being gone for so long as made me feel pretty guilty. So here I am with a short update.

I quit keto. I did it for about a month. I wasn’t necessarily sick of it or bored of the food (although I was certainly getting to that point), but I was developing some seriously obsessive behaviors with tracking my calories. I found myself pushing to eat below my calorie limit and feeling the need to go for long walks if I got close or went over slightly. I said no to hanging out with my friends because I was afraid of eating something I shouldn’t. In general, I was afraid of messing it up. When I first started losing weight over a year ago, I wasn’t exactly doing it in the best or safest way. I’ve come a LONG way since then and to see myself start to fear food and attach guilt to eating again was very, very scary. So I stopped. And I felt guilty at first for “quitting,” but I know if I’m going to be happy with my weight, it’s not going to be with fear of food or an obsession with tracking every calorie I consume. 

Keto did make me very aware of everything I was eating before I started it. The few times I did go out, the amount of times I had to say no to something I wouldn’t have prior to starting was amazing. Cappuccinos, donuts, the snacks that come with the coffee and beer… It was a lot. So I am thankful that I have this new awareness of all the little things that really do add up after a while. I’ve added in carbs again but I’m staying away from pasta and potatoes and limiting refined sugar. I know it’s going to be hard for me to find a sustainable, healthy relationship with food, but I know that relationship isn’t going to include a complete ban on unhealthy food. Knowing me, it would lead to me eating every chocolate bar and cake in sight. I’m just learning how to say “no” when I need to while realizing that one midnight bougatsa isn’t going to instantly make me gain 20 pounds overnight. And truthfully, I’m not a large girl. I need to learn how to not-gain weight more than I learn to lose it. I’ve still been exercising 6x/week and I definitely plan to maintain that, well, indefinitely. This isn’t going to be something I figure out over night, but I will figure it out.

Anyway, that’s where I am right now. I’m about to be VERY busy and VERY boring, and that will probably lead to a lack of blog posts, but I will be back this weekend, hopefully with something as delicious as ever. I’m thinking I’m going to try my hand at baking. 

Saturday Special: Living Low-Carb

Trying to cook with-in Keto has brought its own slew of challenges for me on top of being in the process of actually learning to cook in general. This past week got a bit a lot a little repetitive, so today, as per the norm on Saturdays, I broke out of my keto-confort zone and tried some new things. For breakfast, I used this recipe for cream cheese pancakes. I also bought an Atkins chocolate bar, which I melted and added to heavy cream to make chocolate whipped cream. Unfortunately, as with my other pancake endeavor, they ended up more like pancake mash and the whipped cream wasn’t very whipped at all, but that was because I got bored and my pancakes were getting cold. Again, I can’t complain because they tasted great, but the actually pancake-creation is going to take some intense practice.

Dinner turned out a bit better. I am sorry to say I am partially a recipe repeater. I made the same salmon from a few weeks ago. But I did use this recipe for zucchini pizza bites, and I can safely say that dinner was overall a huge success. This meal was around 5.50 euros. I already had everything except for the salmon. Let me just say it tasted just as good as it looked.

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Right now, the only aspect of my life in which I am actually feeling keto is my budget. I spent almost double what I normally spend on groceries this week. A lot of that has to do with the pancakes I made, since I didn’t have hardly any of those ingredients on hand, but it was still a little off-putting. Those will definitely be a “once in a  while” treat. The only reason I made them today was as an in-diet reward for resisting pizza, calzones and everything in my favorite bakery in Thessaloniki (Terkenlis!) yesterday. I can’t remember a time that I was more proud of myself. I am not one to turn down cookies when they are sitting right in front of me. It wasn’t easy, but I’m hoping that each time I face temptation it will get easier. We’ll see. 

This semester has been, at times, terrifyingly lonely. With my inability to connect with this group of study abroads and my complete determination to stick to a pretty strict budget, I don’t get out much. Sometimes it bothers me, but I know that it’s a choice I have made (I in no way think my lack of interacting with my group has anything to do with them. They’re great people. It’s really all on me.). I don’t normally have a problem being alone, but it has been hitting me pretty hard this last month or so. There is a silver lining, however. I have started doing a lot of “self-improvement.” It started with cooking, but I spend most of my day doing things that make me better. I play my ukulele a lot during the day, I workout nearly 6 days a week and in general I am just taking care of myself more. Sometimes I think I’d rather be home, but being here this semester has really helped me work on myself, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The independence that comes from having nearly all my time to myself allows me to make me the person I want to be. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity back home. And I’m hoping that I will get into a routine here that I will be able to carry with me back to the United States. 

That’s about it in my life. I am very seriously considering octopus sometime next week with one of my friends (I know I just spent a paragraph talking about how I never see anyone, but that’s not ENTIRELY true ALL of the time. I do have a teensy, tiny bit of a life.). Hopefully that happens. Octopus has been my ultimate goal for this entire semester.