Disgust, Body Shame, and Fitspiration: Why We Care About Maria Kang

you-are-beautiful

TL;DR: Fitspiration sucks. Stop fat-shaming/fit-shaming yourself and others, kthx.  Strong is the New…? I just want to take a brief interlude and ask a question, because it’s something that’s been weighing on me pretty heavily. How many of you out … Continue reading

Trigger HAPPY Thursday: Get the Body You’ve Always Wanted

imperfect-I'm-perfect-quote

I do have to warn you: today’s Trigger HAPPY Thursday may contain some triggers. If you aren’t ready for this, that’s okay. Just come back when you’re ready to have it out with the ED in your head.  Today’s happiness … Continue reading

Losing Control: Acne, Bad Hair Days, and Paleo F(X)

kaila_prins_acne

It’s funny how the harder you try to control something, the more out of control it becomes. It was true of my eating disorder, and I apparently haven’t completely learned my lesson, even in recovery. As you know from my … Continue reading

Links for a Saturday Morning

So, in the coming weeks, I’m going to be posting about strategies for getting outside of the fitness/nutrition insanity, but until then, read this awesome and sane post by Nia Shanks: Rid Your Life of Fitness and Nutrition Insanity.

Also, Stefani Ruper has another wonderful Food & Love Hack at Paleo for Women: Be Your Own Buddy. (If you’re an isolater, like me, don’t take this as permission to hide though! Spend some time with friends or loved ones this weekend and practice being in the moment and enjoying every second as it comes instead of worrying about when it will be over. I’m going on the record promising to practice that today myself–and you can hold me accountable if I don’t!)

Happy weekend, y’all!

– K.

Acne and ED, Part III: Un-Becoming Vegan

Update: If you want to read the whole series in order, start here: 

Acne and ED, Part I: How Vegan Began

Acne and ED, Part II: The Never Ending Detox

As I became more and more invested in my mostly-raw vegan diet, my face become more and more pockmarked and scarred. Despite my pristine diet, the promised detox never came–or else it just kept coming and coming.*

While the PD cleared up around my mouth, the hormonal, cystic acne intensified, and I developed worse regular acne. I had to start wearing bandaids on my face nearly every day, just so that I could go to work without scaring my customers away with my broken, bleeding face. It was horrific, and I was embarrassed to no end.

My acne at its worst

I honestly didn’t know what to do. I hated myself even more than ever–and, mind you, this is the recent history I’m talking about.

Worse yet, the “vegan glow”  had already begun to fade. While my first few months of veganism made me lose weight and feel like I was filled with light and hope, the glow quickly wore off.  I started putting on weight again, feeling leaden, bloated, and constantly hungry. I would have mini-anxiety attacks when I couldn’t take my scheduled 15 minute breaks on time at work, because all I wanted to do was just get to my next meal.

And in case you’re wondering my diet looked something like this:

Breakfast:

  • Green Juice (made with 1/2 pear, 2 stalks celery, kale, swiss chard, and broccoli) and a piece of Ezekiel Low-Sodium Sprouted Grain Bread, or
  • Green Smoothie (made with broccoli, kale, frozen berries, vegan raw protein or hemp powder, and a tiny bit of coconut oil)

Mid Morning Snack:

  • Apple & 2 brown rice cakes

Lunch:

  • Homemade raw hummus (chickpeas, a minuscule amount of tahini, lemon juice and serrano chili peppers) with carrots and broccoli or on a pita with sprouts and bell peppers
  • Raw vegan meal replacement mixed with just enough water to make a pudding

Mid Afternoon Snack:

  • Apple & 2 brown rice cakes

Dinner:

  • Tempeh and stir-fried peppers, broccoli, and kale, with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Quinoa

Dessert:

  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter with vegan chocolate chips and cinnamon (and if I was still hungry–which I usually was, several servings of dry Publix cereal or two pieces of toasted Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread)

Low calorie? Check. Low fat? Check. Animal-free? Check. Besides my nut-butter-and-chocolate-chip addiction (I couldn’t go to bed without having that snack) and the constant need to pad my days with extra bread and cereal, my diet seemed pretty impeccable.

Why wasn’t veganism curing my acne? Why wasn’t I able to fit into my work pants anymore? I started to question my investment in the whole thing.

The camel’s back broke** in May, when I went back to Florida for my little sister’s college graduation. The thought of being featured in a single family photo made me sick–and the impossibility of finding a single meal to eat during that trip made my heart (and stomach) ache.

Rollercoaster Hair

Me and my brother on graduation weekend. Wearing no makeup and a bandaid on the cheek turned away from the camera.

I subsisted on apples and meal replacement powders nearly the entire time (and I dipped liberally into the container of raw almond butter I had packed in my suitcase). When we went out to restaurants, I bothered the waitresses with requests for substitutions until there wasn’t anything but a few limp pieces of salad left on the plate anyway. (And, of course, I asked for the salad dry, leaving even olive oil and vinegar untouched despite the fact that olive oil is definitely vegan. My fear of fat was stronger than my hunger and sense of taste.)

On the last night, we went out to dinner at a chain restaurant, where the only vegan option on the menu was an appetizer: white bean hummus with pita bread. I had eaten nothing but meal replacements and apples all day, so by the time the meal came, I was starving. I ate the whole thing, sopping up every last bit of hummus with my family-sized order of pita. When the waitress came to take my plate, she actually looked me in the eye and said, in a most condescending tone, “Well, looks like somebody was hungry…”

I went back to the hotel and looked at my bleeding, scarred face in the mirror, ashamed for reasons I couldn’t even name anymore. That was it. I was done.

My mom, a scary-ripped crossfitter and lifelong health nut, had been pushing me to stop being a vegan and try this “paleo” thing she’d been doing since she started crossfit the year before. I had been actively ignoring her for months–I was already exhausted following one diet; I didn’t need another set of rules and restrictions to learn. Moreover,  by this point the idea of eating meat made me ill–I knew it was unhealthy, I felt I was above that, I didn’t want to admit defeat…but when I returned to California, exhausted, hungry, and pimply as a schoolgirl–with no other isolate-able reason for my problems but my diet–, I told her I’d at least give it chance.

And thank god I did, because I wouldn’t be blogging here today if I hadn’t.

Acne Breakout While Vegan

– K.

*When writing of detoxes, medical professionals and their ilk often forewarn of a few weeks of side effects like acne, as the body rids itself of the toxins through the skin. However, I was either so full of toxins that my skin just never healed or else I was just deluding myself and permanently damaging my skin for nine months.

**Metaphorical animal cruelty signaling the end of my vegan experiment?

A Spiritual Bucket List

I’m going in for a minor surgical procedure in a few hours (and let’s hope this is the last one), and I’m feeling reflective.

I’m scared to go back to the doctor, but I know that this is the last time I will have to deal with this. I’m looking at this whole year-plus long ankle debacle as a message from the universe:

I’ve spent the last 10 years fighting for control over my body, and I’m finally coming to realize that it’s not mine to control. I assumed that I had the right to do whatever I wanted to it, but it turns out that I’m lucky to have been given permission to use it as I have. And, like a rowdy, disrespectful hotel guest, I’m responsible for any damages that I leave behind.

Looking down at my mottled and swollen skin (by-products of the past week’s allergic reaction), my atrophied calf, my bruised and scarred ankle…I’m realizing that I have no choice but to accept the body that I’m living in and to use it only to make a better life for myself. I read an amazing quote in Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin, one that I’m making my mantra: “I will meet my body where it is.”

In order to do that, though, I have to grow. I have to come to terms with the “me” who is not my body. It’s scary, uncharted grown up territory, but it’s time: I’m approaching 26, which always seemed like such a foreign, grown up land to the younger and more naive me, but here it is–and I’ve made it here without a map or stars to guide me. But I think it’s time to stop feeling my way through the dark and hoping I’ll end up somewhere comfortable.

I’ve realized that a lot of my “growing up”–my spiritual growth and my ability to relate to my mental and emotional needs–got stalled and stunted when I began my relationship with ED at the ripe old age of 13. But I’m ready to stop making excuses for myself and to double my spiritual age (from 13 to 26) in a much shorter amount of time than it took to keep it from growing.

So I’ve decided to make a “Spiritual Bucket List”. And I’m posting it here because I want to be accountable. I’m ready to take responsibility for myself. So, here goes:

– I will be honest–to myself and others–about my needs.

– I will articulate my needs.

– I will learn how to communicate without complaining.

– I will stop apologizing for my life.

– I will stand up for myself.

– I will set boundaries and communicate them effectively.

– I will establish a relationship with my higher power.

– I will stop making my higher power food and ritual.

– I will keep in touch with the people who enrich my life and let go of those who don’t.

– I will learn how to ask for help.

– I will seek friendship and fellowship–because the disease thrives on isolation.

– I will stop waiting for tomorrow and start living one day at a time.

– I will stop sweating the petty things (and I will never pet the sweaty things!–thanks Grammy :D)

– I will accept that I’m allowed to be happy.

– I will not engage in negative self-talk.

– I will not play the victim because I have the power to be a hero.

– I will actively work on figuring out what I want from life–and I will go out and get it.

– I will take responsibility for my life.

– I will stop blaming and living in the past.

– I will stop being afraid of success.

– I will take risks and stop being afraid of mistakes–they’re meant to be learned from.

– I will use my talents to help others whenever possible.

– I will stop being afraid to love and be loved.

– I will meet my body where it is, every day.

That’s all for now, although I’m sure the list will grow as I do.

-K.

Friday Inspiration

Not feeling particularly inspired to write this morning, but I did want to share a little Friday inspiration with you anyway:

Bravery, Courage, Life

I found this over at Happy is the New Healthy, along with a really great post about why “strong is the new skinny” may not be the best way to shift the paradigm (in other words: it’s thinspo in disguise).

So, head bravely into the weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side!

– K.