Cancun: An ED Free Vacation

Hello! I have so much to tell you, where do I start?!

Well for starters, Chris and I were in Cancun last week and it was AH-mazing. For those of you that do not follow me on Instagram (you should, by the way), here are some brag-stagrams for your viewing pleasure:

Yes, I am aware that these photos are just the same selfie/beachshot/sunset over and over again, but we literally did nothing besides lay on the beach, drink mojitos, and eat. This vacation was freaking awesome and the number 1 reason it was so good was because ED was NOT invited. Last year over February vacation, Chris and I went to Jamaica. That trip was a real turning point in my recovery as it was the first time I truly felt that I was able to be on vacation without ED. It is so interesting to look at your life in a series of vacations and snapshots and realize how far you’ve come. After re-reading that blog post, I realize that my recovery has continued to evolve to the point where now I don’t even think about ED when planning a trip. Or while ordering sugary drinks. Or eating what looks good. Or while digging through the 50 (that’s correct, 5-0) pounds of clothing I brought to Mexico, only to wear 3 different bikinis and 2 dresses for dinner. THIS is recovery.

This photo is what truly opened my eyes to what a year of recovery looks like:

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The left side is last year in Jamaica. I was SO nervous about having Chris take it. I made him take like 30 or 40 versions with various levels of tummy sucking in and flexing, and hemmed and hawed over posting it. I nit picked every inch of my body after posting my blog and felt really weird about the whole thing. The right side is this year in Cancun. This year, I thought it would be funny to post the same picture. Chris took a couple versions because the sun was behind a cloud. This is not flexed or sucked in. This is a spray tan and a sun burn. That’s a real smile. So while I really felt recovered in Jamaica, I still had some serious body image things going on. Am I completely comfortable in my body 100% of the time? No. But what this photo comparison really shows is that a year of loosening up my diet and exercise plan and being nicer to myself yielded a billion times more confidence, and some visible abs! Hey, I’ll take that over sucking and flexing every day.

Sunday night we got stranded in Florida (which was actually a lot worse than it sounds), and the only open restaurant in a 20 mile radius was a 24 hr diner. Chris and I ate omelets, french toast, onion rings, tater tots, etc etc etc. No, I didn’t feel tip top the next day, but I was also way too exhausted to work out or care about making sure my diet was perfect. It’s all about balance, people.

Anyway–This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. To celebrate, I’m reveling in bikini pics and happy vacation memories. Also, if you’re in the area, I’m speaking at the MEDA hosted panel of recovered speakers. Come by and hear from some really amazing people about their journeys.

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xoR

A Blog About Nothing

Hi! Long time no talk!

Here’s the deal: I really have nothing to blog about and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve been searching for some blog motivation for 2 weeks and couldn’t seem to think of anything worthy of a post. My Fitness Blender Challenge is going well. I’m feeling positive about my body right now (flaws and perfections alike!). My reduced grain (REDUCED!) diet feels great and everything is awesome.

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February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month . This is a great time to reflect on the past year’s challenges and victories on my recovery journey. I’ve had so many experiences (both positive and negative) this past year and my recovery is at a point where it feels better to just focus on the future instead of the past. I think I put too much emphasis on how I used to respond to challenging situations as opposed to moving on. So…I’m moving on. Recovery is something that I hold very sacred and it inundates every aspect of my life, as my eating disorder previously did. If you’re feeling like you want to see how I got here, here’s my recovery story that I wrote last year. My story is ever evolving, so it might feel a little outdated. Otherwise, let’s move forward together!

Anyway, today is my 4th snow day in 3 weeks. I’m binge watching my DVR, snuggling with Gloria, Charlie and Oliver, eating coconut pancakes, wearing the same pajamas that I’ve been in since Saturday night (no judgement) and feeling grateful that we’re going to Mexico next week. Life is feeling really nice right now. I don’t want to brag and I don’t want to complain. This is recovery. This is normalcy.

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No makeup. Dirty Hair. Kissing Dog. Life is good.

Have a fab day!

xoR

It’s a 29 Year Old Thing…

Hello!

It is a balmy 16 degrees here in MA and there’s about 18 inches (and counting!) of snow on the ground. Not exactly my ideal day, but according to my countdown app we’re headed to Cancun in 20 days. I think I can make it!

This past Friday was my 29th birthday. I decided not to blog about it for a few reasons. 1. I don’t think anyone really cared that I was turning 29 as much as I did. 2. I was thoroughly enjoying the weekend with my friends and family. 3. I’m telling you about it now.

29 is a weird age. I’m not 30 yet, but don’t really feel like I’m in my 20s anymore. The difference between 20 and 29 is pretty staggering and my life is 180Β° different. At 20, I was a Sophomore at UMass. My interests included: drinking disgustingly cheap vodka by the gallon, working out for hours at a time, eating baby carrots, denying my eating disorder, and skipping class.

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This is the first photo ever taken of Chris and me (NYE 2005).

Now at 29, my interests are a bit different. Yeah, sure, I still like to eat healthy and keep fit, but now it’s well rounded and balanced. I drink a few glasses of wine a week (except for Saturday where I decided to pretend to be 20 again…I paid for it all day on Sunday). I look forward to a night in at home. I buy clothes that fit, not just with the size I think I should be. Yep, Chris and I have been together nearly 10 years (holy crap!), but we’ve grown up together from wild college kids, to responsible, bill paying adults with health insurance and a retirement fund. I love my 29 year old life. I hated my 20 year old life. I can honestly say that I’m happy now…what else do I actually need?

IMG_7542Most recent picture of us from Saturday. Still adorable, obviously

Anyway, blah blah blah. I’m currently on day 19 of the Fitness Blender 8 Week Challenge that I purchased and I. Am. Loving. It. I’m feeling strong, lean, and energized. Here’s what in store for me today:

Have a fab snow day!

xoR

1 Year Flex and Shout Blog-iversary!

Hello! Today is Flex and Shout’s 1 year blog-iversary! I’m so proud of how Flex and Shout has evolved over the year (which of course means how I have evolved over the year), so I wanted to revisit some of my favorite posts from our inaugural year!

mod-1yearMy Favorite Workout Post:

Tabata remains one of my favorite HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. This post was also published on the HuffPost Blog (which was another fab perk of blogging this year!)

Favorite Educational Post:

GO LIFT NOW! I’m looking at you females that are still afraid of getting big (you won’t).

Favorite Recovery Centric Post:

Chalk full of .jif’s and real talk. Listen: recovery is a long and winding road. But once you’re there…it’s so worth it.

Favorite Group Fitness Post:

I still get barfy when I think about that humid workout. Woof!

Favorite Nutrition Post:

Carbs = good

Favorite Real Talk Post:

WHAT. A. YEAR. I am feeling awesome about the direction Flex and Shout is headed this year and I hope you’ll stick around to see where we land in a year!

Thank you all SO much for reading my little blog and for all the amazing feedback I’ve received this year. You all mean so much to me and if I was able to inspire even one person this year…then I’ve done my job.

xoR

Grain Free Lifestyle: the new me

Hello! Happy Monday to you :)

I have made a bit of a diet change, and I want to share my thoughts with all of you. I’m going grain free. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder, cutting a whole food group can be problematic…as in, disordered. For example, before Chris and I got married, my trainer that suggested trying a Paleo/grain-free diet (Hi John!) . To me, that meant “NO MORE CARBS!” so I cut all resemblance of carbohydrates from my diet. No grains, no starch, no fruit. Just protein and veggies. I was miserable, weak and mean. I was very much NOT in recovery at that point in my life, so this lifestyle change did not go over well. However, at this point in my recovery, I am able to see that reducing one food group (not cutting entirely) can be beneficial for my overall well-being, and also means I can add more of another food group (like fat or protein).

Grain free diets are certainly controversial and there is a TON of misinformation going around out there. First of all, the word “grain” refers to wheat and wheat products. It does not refer to “gluten”, which is a protein, or “carbohydrate”, which is a macronutrient. Reducing grain, for me, means cutting down on bread, cereal, baked goods, etc. It does not mean reducing starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and corn. I am also not referring to this diet as “paleo” because I am still eating legumes and dairy.

That being said, you might be wondering why I’ve made this decision. Well…a couple of reasons.

1. I’m at a fitness stalemate. Abs are made in the kitchen, and while I’m not on a quest for the proverbial 6 pack, I am on a quest to increase strength, muscle tone and general feeling of goodness. A diet change can be pivotal to change physique.

2. I’m having some (ahem) skin issues. OK, I realize I’m probably have a standard “I’M ABOUT TO TURN 29 AND I HAVE ZITS and WRINKLES!” meltdown, but something needs to change. According to a few different sites, acne can be aggravated by inflammation, which apparently can result from consuming grains. Listen, I know it’s probably wacky science, but I’m really ready to do anything.

3. Grains may be inflammatory. Some studies show that consumption can increase inflammation in the body. Some say they don’t. There’s lots of back and forth, but I’ll tell you this: my belly feels better when I don’t eat a ton of grains. Maybe it’s placebo, but I’ll take it while it works.

SOOOO. Here I am. Grain free. I will say, another huge benefit of a diet change is that I’ve been cooking every day! I love cooking and had sort of lost all motivation. So, here’s a sampling of some new, grain free, delicious recipes I’ve made so far:

So that’s it for me! Check out my Food and Recipes page on Pinterest for more delish ideas!

xoR

2015: New Year, New Attitude

Hi! Welcome to post #1 of 2015! Yay! I hope everyone had a fabulous, fun, safe and memorable New Years :)

We spent NYE in Chicago with some of our best friends, then spent 3 days hungover. Guess we’re not 21 anymore…Oh well! We still had a blast drinking champagne, dancing and prancing around in fancy outfits. Here are a few pics from our epic NYE celebration at Highline in Chicago. Professional pics are c/o Glitter Guts Photo booth:

Yes, I’m wearing a jumpsuit. Also, I had a little meltdown about how big my arms look in those pictures. The only way I was able to chill myself out was by looking at pictures of fellow fitchicks and realizing that those of us that lift weights have a little more meat on our arms. Oh, and also, no one else cares. Seriously. No one else is spending their evening staring at my arms and wishing they were smaller. I certainly didn’t do that to anyone else present that evening, or ever in my life for that matter. So…I’m making a deal with myself to be more realistic in 2015. I constantly strive to better myself toward a more balanced lifestyle, and that includes being nicer to myself. 2015 is the year of body kindness and acceptance. Who’s with me?!

Anyway, yesterday I had my first workout of 2015. It was following a 4 day bender of champagne, pizza, and shopping, so it wasn’t exactly my best sweat-sesh. Here’s the workout from Fitness Blender (my current obsession):

I don’t think I burned 1000 calories, nor did I intend to, but it was time for a good detox. Speaking of Fitness Blender, Daniel and Kelli (the founders, trainers and stars of the videos) are debuting a new 8 week challenge today! Chris and I have decided to give it a try, as we are going to Cancun in 6 weeks! We need a little extra motivation this time of year, and these workouts never let us down. It’s $10 and you can order it here! Join us and keep us updated on your progress!

In addition to our workout challenge, we are REALLY trying to be better about cooking our meals at home. So this weekend I collected up tons of pinterest recipes and last night began our homecooked challenge with this Skinnytaste recipe:

SO MUCH YUM!

Ok, that’s enough from me. Have a super fabulous week!

xoR

Holiday Cheer Without Any Fear

Good morning! Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday :)

Chris and I are on vacation until January 5, which is pretty awesome. As you probably know, sometimes too much free time can be pretty stressful for me. 12 days off is really nice, but also a bit daunting for someone like me. So…what to do? Make a really strict vacation schedule and compulsively stick to it? Throw all structure to the wind and say “F it”? Maybe not…maybe find some middle ground…there in lies the difficult part.

This winter break, I’m taking time to reevaluate my “healthy life plan” and figure out how it fits into this busy life of mine. I’ve been thinking about healthy flexibility and how I can stay fit and healthy and still enjoy being a human being. So that being said, did I over-indulge on latkes on Chanukah and cookies on Christmas? Maybe. Did I force myself to workout for 3 hours the next day? Nope. I’ve been talking about my new plan to fit in good workouts in less time, and I recently found this 5 day workout plan on FitnessBlender which I LOVE. The workouts are all less than an hour and provide all kinds of modifications for increased and decreased intensity. Here’s day 1, which I completed on Friday:

Instead of completing day 2 on Saturday, Chris and I took Gloria for a long hike. She absolutely loved it and was a zombie the rest of the day, which is really hard to achieve.

photo(1)Otherwise, we’re just hangin’ around with family and will travel to Chicago on Wednesday for New Years with some of our bests! I bought a jumpsuit for New Years Eve, which is definitely a fashion risk for me, and instead of freaking out about how my body will look in it (which is my go-to), I’m getting a spray tan, wearing some HUGE hair, and moving on. I am all done with body shame and putting myself down. 2015 is the year of body pride and happy living for me. I will not say that that’s a resolution, per say, but rather an agreement to be nicer to myself. Check out this Buzzfeed article for more about body shaming in 2014. How are you going to fight back in 2015?

Have a fab week!

xoR