Fat Free

As a teenager and young adult I was pretty typical in the sense that I thought I was fat and tried a million different unhealthy strategies to stay skinny. I exercised non-stop, tried a million yo-yo diets, stopped eating altogether at one point and of course, survived on a myriad of “fat-free”, “low-fat” and “sugar-free” products. From what I remember, many teens at that time dieted on these supposedly healthy options. If we only knew what we know now we could have saved ourselves a lot of health problems, money and wasted time.

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In high school, I remember my physics teacher getting really upset about someone eating a fat-free yogurt. She said something to the extent of “None of you should be eating these fat-free foods! They’re terrible for you!” I remember thinking she must be concerned with eating disorders or something. I don’t know why she didn’t take the time to explain herself. In college, I became more and more involved with my health and began actually researching ways to remain thin and healthy. I was shocked when I discovered that things like fake-sugar can not only cause terrible diseases like cancer, but that they have proven to have no effect on weight loss!

I was shocked and appalled that all these food companies had been lying to me for so many years. This just inspired me to dig deeper and learn a lot more about what I’m putting into my body. Thanks to the Internet and the ability to gather and share critical information so easily, I have learned much more about the various disgusting things that most of us eat: fake sugar, fake food colors, preservatives and a ridiculous amount of chemicals. These chemicals are wreaking havoc to our bodies, but it’s so hard, like really hard, to cut them out.

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I’m a mostly healthy eater, but even I have to admit that I love some pretty crappy foods… hot fries, reese’s cups, taco bell, fast food fries and sour gummy worms are all some of my favorite treats. Over the last year, especially since having Luna, I have put in an extra effort to cut out processed fake foods, but damn, it’s hard! Honestly, cutting out fake sugar has been mostly easy. I’d much rather a real sugar product over a fake sugar, or diet, one. The only problem is, fake sugar sneaks into so much stuff.

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I learned the hard way that basically anything that claims to be “sugar-free”, “lite”, “diet”, “fat-free”, “low-fat”, “less sugar” or “zero calories” actually means “full of fake sugar and chemicals to make the product taste better”. I hate that I have to read virtually every food label now, but it’s often the only way to be sure that I’m eating real food and not a bunch of chemically engineered crap. What’s worse is that many food companies do not even have to put all of their ingredients on their labels. They are actually allowed to sneak that shit into their products and not tell us.vodka

Anyways, I’ll step off my soap box for a minute to get to my point. As of lately, I am eating way less processed and frozen foods. I haven’t managed to cut them completely out because come on? Who seriously has the time and money to always eat fresh food? Not me. Since eating more fresh, real, organic food and drinking tons more water I am feeling unbelievably better! I look better, my skin is clearer, my hair is healthier and I am rarely bloated.

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I don’t deprive myself of stuff I crave either. Instead, if cutting carbs, snacks and desserts out of my diet completely, I just find healthier versions. I still eat carbs and chocolate and other things I crave (moderately, of course) and I am not gaining weight….at all. However, weight is not a priority anymore either. I want to be fit and healthy and I want to create healthy habits for my daughter. I think I’m on the right track and I hope to stay on this path for the rest of my very long life!

Cheers!

New Friend Friday: Meet Sia!

I’m starting a new series today called “New Friend Friday”. I have a few friends who write their own great blogs, and feel like I’ve made a few virtual friends through other blogs I follow. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging… getting a look into others’ lives, learning from them and sharing stories and ideas. I love these blogs so much that I have decided to start sharing them with you. Every Friday, for the time being, I will be asking one of my blogger friends to write a special post for Positively Panicked. That way you can get a look into their blogs and maybe find a new blogger friend of your own.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Sia Cooper from Diary of a Fit Mommy. I found Sia through Pinterest when I first became pregnant. She was also pregnant and our due dates were about a week apart. Over the last 9 months I have loved reading about her workout tips, healthy eating ideas, baby product reviews and now seeing her adorable son. She is real and honest with her readers, works her butt off  in the gym (and it shows!) and is a motivation to fit Mommies everywhere. For us, she wants to share her tips for fighting off Morning Sickness.

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Here she is at 6 weeks postpartum…told she works hard!

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is 5 Foods to Fight Morning Sickness By: Diary of a Fit Mommy

At one month postpartum, morning sickness seems like something in the distant past. Fortunately, I never suffered from a strong case of morning sickness, but I did experience frequent cases of nausea at times throughout the day. These are five foods that have helped me to fight my nausea and that may help alleviate your morning sickness as well.

Pretzels

Pretzels help ease morning sickness in the same way that crackers do. The dry & salty flavor soothes your taste buds and your belly. The high content of starch also binds with the excess stomach acid to bring some relief from your morning sickness. You can keep a zip-lock bag filled with pretzels on your nightstand and have a few before you get out of bed or during the night. They also make a great snack, are easy to digest, and are portable to carry around with you to relieve any bouts of nausea during the day.

Multigrain Toast

Toast is a great breakfast option for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. You can lightly spread one tablespoon of peanut butter for added protein, as peanut butter is said to help relieve nausea as well. Avoid putting any butter on your toast as greasy foods and extra oils will exacerbate your morning sickness. Cold cut sandwiches using multigrain toast makes a great lunch for women who are nauseous around the afternoon hours.

Dairy

Dairy helps ease morning sickness because it neutralizes your stomach acids! A small cup of Greek yogurt, a glass of milk, low fat cottage cheese, or a piece of string cheese makes the perfect snack for when you are feeling queasy. My favorite snack in particular were a few wholegrain crackers with cheese slices to help curb my nausea. However, dairy products may not be suitable for every woman.

Ginger

Ginger is the most popular and widely known remedy for morning sickness and digestive issues in general. You can drink it in the form of a tea or soda, you can suck on it as a hard candy, and you can even eat ginger as a gingersnap cookie or in gingerbread. If you cannot stomach the taste of ginger, it also comes in the form of a capsule that can be purchased at your local drug store. Ginger is thought to be a powerful herb and the go-to option for women suffering from morning sickness. I personally loved pure ginger tea which can be purchased from any local drug store or GNC.

Lemon

Lemons are said to help alleviate morning sickness because they have a natural calming effect that eases nausea. My favorite way to use lemons is in my water first thing in the morning. Also, lemon flavored hard candies, such as Lemon Heads, are also a great way to soothe nausea because of the sour taste. Most hard candies or lollipops should help, no matter the flavor.

Thanks for the tips Sia! Be sure to check her and her story out over at Diary of a Fit Mommy!

Cheers!

My Postnatal Eating Plan

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I spent way too much time in high school dieting (i.e. starving myself) to “diet” as an adult. Truth is, I grew up and learned how unhealthy I was as a teenager (skinny does not equal healthy) and learned that eating real and healthy food is much better than no food at all. I began eating less fried food and adding way more fruits and veggies to my diet. Then, around 6 years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. Although, a year ago I started eating seafood again. The technical term for that is “pescatarian”, but I feel very douchey anytime I say that word. Basically, I’ve been a mostly healthy eater for a while now.

anti-anxiety

My diet is healthy, but I do not diet…that makes sense, right? Typically, I do not cut foods out of my diet either. I think the phrase, “everything in moderation” is tried and true. So, if I want fries or a dark chocolate bar, I have some. However, I share my fries and I eat the chocolate bar over a few days. I stuck to my regular diet during pregnancy, worked out regularly and gained about 28 pounds. After having Luna, I was sick, did not eat for 5 days, lost 30 pounds WAY too quickly and therefore ate whatever the hell I wanted once I felt better. NOW, I’m back to the regular diet again, but I’m about to do some tweaking.

chocolate

I stopped counting calories and weighing myself after my high school obsession. Instead, I focus on how I feel, look and how my clothes fit. Since, I am breastfeeding I need more calories than the average bear, but I also need to eat healthy because what I eat, she eats. My stomach is much softer than it used to be so I’d like to tighten that up. AND, I want to keep my anxiety at bay. Diet and exercise have a huge effect on stress and anxiety. I need a plan that will help me eat healthy, tone up and ease anxiety.

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Here’s what I’m doing for the next few months (simultaneously with my “prenatal workout plan“.

-First, I am cutting out chips. Why? Because I have no self-control when it comes to chips. I cannot just eat a few. I always eat the entire bag, no matter the size, in one sitting. No good comes from chips, so while I get back into shape, chips are forbidden. (I almost deleted this one.)

-I am eating protein every morning. Studies show that eating protein in the AM can ward off anxiety throughout the day. It gives you more energy and keeps your blood sugar stable. Bring on the eggs!

-I am limiting caffeine. I know caffeine makes you jittery and heightens anxiety, but I am stubborn and do not want to cut it out, like ever. I am a passionate coffee drinker. Coffee is what I think about as I lie my head down at night because I cannot wait to wake up and drink a large hot mug of coffee on the couch. It’s a lovely tradition and one cup in the morning will not put me in a panic.

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– I am drinking a butt-load of water. Dehydration, even the tiniest bit makes you feel awful and definitely affects your mood. The more water I drink the better I feel, physically and mentally.

-I will start eating more vitamin B. Apparently, this vitamin affects your brains  neurotransmitters which fights anxiety. So, I’ll be adding more cauliflower, salmon, eggs, nuts and leafy greens. BTW, I tried making the trendy Mashed Cauliflower everyone keeps raving about and I failed miserably. I’ll stick to mashed potatoes for now.

-I am going to eat foods with more tryptophan. This is the stuff helps you sleep better…nuts, soy products, eggs, tofu, and fish all have tryptophan and are all a part of my healthy eating plan.

-Sadly, I must eat less dairy. I am lactose-intolerant and this can cause irritability and moodiness. During the pregnancy, I ate way more dairy than I ever do because I craved it like crazy. Now, I am trying really hard to cut it out again, but it is so not easy. How can I eat Mexican food and not eat cheese??? It just isn’t right.

-I am eating more healthy fats and fatty acids. Fatty acids actually have a huge impact on your brain and mood. I will be eating a lot of avocados, fish and raw nuts.

-I am also trying to cut out the majority of processed foods. That crap is just crap that can’t be good for our bodies or our minds. I know I won’t cut them out completely, but I’m making an effort to eat way more real and fresh foods.

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That’s the plan. I’ll still snack on popcorn, get dessert when we go out and share fries with Husband..definitely not depriving myself. After the next few months I think I’ll not only be ready to hit the beach, but I’m also hoping to be in a calmer state of mind. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to cut out the anxiety meds altogether, but that’s not my main concern. I just want to be healthy, happy and a good role model for Luna.

Cheers!

Tales of a Skinny Girl

Happy in my own skin.

Skinny. Fat. Healthy. Strong. Obese. Chubby. Thin. Fit. Plump. Scrawny. Anorexic.

Strong words. Fighting words. Dangerous even.

I’ve thought about writing on this topic for a while now, but every time I begin to brainstorm something scares me away. Mostly, it’s the fear of being judged. Also, it’s the fear of offending. Weight and health is such a sensitive issue, and it’s frightening to share my opinions with the world, but after last night I finally feel motivated enough to jump in and cast fear to the side.

I am not a doctor, psychologist, nutritionist, or personal trainer so obviously nothing I say here is a FACT, so please do not get upset if say something wrong, I do not intend to offend.

I am very fortunate in that I come from a family of thin people. I am naturally thin, and growing up I could eat whatever the hell I wanted and still get called “a beanpole”, “skinny as rail”, “anorexic”, and constantly heard “that girl needs to eat something”, “put some meat on those bones”, and “just wait until you hit puberty, you won’t always be able to eat like that!”.

As a child, I became really insecure about being too skinny. All my friends constantly pointed out my boney frame, and boys certainly paid no attention to my flat chest and tiny body. In middle school I decided to gain weight. I ate like a beast. Bacon, cheeseburgers, nachos, hotdogs, fries, and chips were all a big part of my diet. I would even eat a large snack after school, dinner at my best friend’s house, dinner at my own house, and dessert.

I never gained an ounce.

In high school, I completely did a 180. I began obsessing over models, celebrities, and fitness magazines. I thought if I couldn’t be curvy, I’d be toned. This became an obsession, and not a healthy one.

I was young and stupid, but this was a typical day and diet for me during my junior year in high school:

Breakfast: a half cup of Special K (measured out) no milk, 16oz of water, coffee

10am: half of a granola bar, 16oz of water

Lunch: an orange, a few nuts, and maybe a whole-wheat roll. If I was feeling extra heavy, or an event was coming up (like prom), I would just eat an orange, 16oz of water

2pm: other half of granola bar, 16 oz of water

3pm: dance team practice, water

4-6pm: dance classes at studio, more water

6-9pm: work at grocery store, REALLY have to pee

Dinner: 1 cup of salad with less than a tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing…force feed self another bottle of water

9pm: homework and study, hate water

11pm: 100 crunches, and 50 push-ups, one more glass of water and one more bathroom break

By the time spring came, I was VERY thin, and people began to notice. Mostly I received lots of compliments on how skinny I looked, and how I’m so lucky. I liked the way I looked, and I loved the jealousy over my skinny frame.

But, I hated how I felt. Everything I put in my mouth made me feel guilty. I weighed myself constantly. I was exhausted and unhappy, yet thrilled when a size zero was too big. Gaining half a pound was the end of the world. Worst of all, I became very judgmental of people heavier than me. (Although, secretly jealous of the curvier girls who were happy…why can’t I be happy with how I look???) Typing this now makes me sick…

Miraculously, I was able to wise up in college. I had become so obsessed with being fit that eventually all the fitness books and magazines I was reading made me realize that starving myself was really unhealthy and stupid…two things I refused to be.

My family may be “thin” but they are not healthy. Heart disease runs very high in my family, and soon my obsession to be skinny, became an obsession with working out and eating healthy. No need to go into detail here, except to say that after getting rid of a boyfriend who was really bad for myself self-esteem, confiding in my best friends and a doctor, and being honest with myself (admitting anxiety and obsessive problems…blah blah blah), I found happiness.

Being happy makes it really easy to eat without feeling guilty. I still eat healthy and work out almost daily, but I am no longer obsessive, and allow myself french fries and tacos without worrying about the scale. In fact, I NEVER weight myself anymore.

My story is not so dramatic or life changing, which is why I have always debated sharing it, but I need you to understand my history before reading this next part.

Last night I came across this article. Yahoo news posted a story about a popular young blogger who is pro-anorexic and spends her time writing tips about staying skinny; how to be the skinniest out of all your co-workers and friends, measuring your thighs daily, and pointing out all the celebs who have gained weight….any amount of weight.  Her most recent and debatable post is over Kate Upton, who she finds repulsive

I found this so odd…Kate Upton is beautiful, sure she’s not super skinny, but who has the nerve to call her a “fatty” and a “piggie”?! I was intrigued…and spent the next two hours reading her blog:  “Skinny Gossip”.  I HAD to find out what this website was all about…

Well, turns out that “Skinny Girl” has decided to make some changes to her blog, due to the fury she faced after her Kate Upton post went viral. She explained that she has always felt pressure being naturally thin, that she is really upset and disgusted at our nation’s obesity epidemic, and that her blog is “intentionally outrageous” and meant to “provoke controversy”.

K. I get that. As previously stated, I, too, was affected when being called “too skinny”. I, too, take a little offense when people say things like “guys prefer curves”…a) I’ll likely never have curves, and b) I want to be considered sexy and voluptuous too!

Yet, still…something did not feel right. I continued to read her posts and forums to get a better idea of what this blog was all about. I have to say; I found it uncomfortable and very negative.

There were SO many articles about “fat” people who are called lots of cruel and hurtful names.

It’s bullying. It’s not nice. It’s hurtful. It’s a dangerous place for my 16-year old self. Thank God, this didn’t exist when I was younger. I am positive I would have spent hours studying the pages and dwelling over the fact that no matter how much I starved myself I would still never be as tall or clear-faced as these models!

The absolute worst part to me is that plus-size models/people are considered fat or ugly, and unhealthy on this blog.

Being a fitness, nutrition, health freak, and a former aerobics teacher I can tell you that we are not all made to be stick-skinny. NOTHING is wrong with being naturally thin or skinny. But, I know some plus-size women who workout like fiends, eat healthy, run marathons, and are basically kick-ass people but are NOT skinny. That’s just how God made their beautiful bodies, and that is OKAY, in fact it’s BEAUTIFUL.

Beauty looks different to everyone, thank God. There are people who find curves sexy, people who find bony sexy, and people who find anything with boobs sexy.

I, too, am concerned with the obesity epidemic. I get incensed when I see parents giving their toddler chocolate bars and cookies all day, and fail to introduce fruits and veggies. However, bullying is not the answer. Bullying is never the answer. Calling people names, posting their pics online, and announcing how much weight they’ve gained is going to cause hurt feelings, pain, and self-esteem issues.

I do not intend to call out this blogger, or for anyone to send her any hate mail. (Hopefully the harsh comments will stop with her new changes.) I just felt compelled to share my opinions on this very touchy topic. Really, I should thank her for giving me the courage to finally share my own story.

Now, a little older, more mature, wiser, I strive to be healthy, toned, positive, less-judgmental of others, and be MORE supportive, compassionate, understanding, and helpful.

Now, go for a jog, eat a healthy meal, take a look in the mirror at your body, curves, bones, bumps, scars, zits, big noses, and stretch marks and say, “Damn, I’m hot!” Then, remind yourself to be kind to others, even if they do not look like you.

Cheers!