Monday, February 29, 2016

Chocolate Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Happy post-Oscar Monday! Who watched the Oscars? I watched some of the red carpet because I love looking at all the gorgeous dresses, but I wasn't feeling good yesterday so I went to bed super early. But LEO FINALLY WON! Number six was the charm for him! He's a very talented actor and it's a well deserved win for him.

Now on to other news, the winner of the BeFit product bundle was announced this morning on my instagram so head on over to see if you won! The winner has been contacted and should check their direct messages. 

Want to know what else happened this morning? Chocolate strawberry baked oats. That's right chocolate for breakfast. Best of all it's completely guilt free, feel free to breakout in a happy dance because I sure did! I will never apologize for eating chocolate for breakfast, especially when it's this good!

Chocolate Strawberry Baked Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid egg whites or 1 egg (yolk+white)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2-1 Tablespoon dairy free chocolate chips
  • 4-5 strawberries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and spray a ramekin with nonstick cook spray or coconut oil.

In ramekin combine oats, baking powder, and cinnamon.

Once the dry ingredients are combined add in egg whites, vanilla extract, almond milk, and chocolate chips. Stir until completely mixed.

Top batter with sliced strawberries. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until batter is set and no liquid remains on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes before topping with Walden Farms zero calorie chocolate sauce and devouring!

If you make it take a picture, tag me on instagram, and use the hashtag #thesimplelife I'd love to see your creations! Don't forget to like my new Facebook page

Friday, February 26, 2016

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Allie's Story

February 21-27 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Raising awareness and educating others about eating disorders, recognizing signs/symptoms, and supporting those recovering is something that is a passion of mine. I have had far too many friends suffer from eating disorders and there is a certain stigma in our society that so and so should just eat a burger. It's not that simple. Eating disorders are incredibly complex and involve so much more than just food.

In honor of NEDA Week I asked my sweet friend Allie to share her story. I adore Allie for so many reasons, but one of my favorite things about her is she is incredibly raw and real. She's very open about her struggles with ED and her continuing journey to recovery. It's incredibly difficult to be so open and honest about something so incredibly personal, so I ask for you to be kind. Allie is an incredibly brave, strong, and beautiful young woman and I am honored to share her story. In her own words here is Allie.

In honor of this week being national eating disorder awareness week, I would like to share my story with you all.  For the past 4 years, I have struggled with an eating disorder (anorexia) that went undiagnosed for over 3 years.  It all started my freshman year of college after I went gluten and dairy free for medical reasons.  I have been lean/athletic my entire life, but after going gluten free I started to lose weight gradually.  I remember returning from a trip to the boundary water in August 2012 and weighing myself, and to my surprise I had lost 5 pounds in just a week.  This should have been alarming to me, but I was excited about it.  I became obsessed with the number on the scale, and I kept it a secret from friends and family.  I was on the ski team my freshman year, and I can remember sneaking down to the school’s training room before practice to weigh myself multiple times a week.  Not only was I weighing myself regularly, I was not eating nearly enough to fuel my body as a skier.  The gluten free cafeteria options were not very extensive, and I recall eating the same foods over and over again. I lived off of salads, stir fry, and gluten free peanut butter sandwiches.  I also had a bunch of snacks that I kept in my dorm and would make oatmeal or smoothies for breakfast.  I don’t remember exactly when this was, but sometime during my freshman year I started using the MyFitnessPal app to track my meals and calories.  I had a set weight in my mind, and clearly my goal weight was not healthy for my height.  When I came home from college for winter break, my parents were worried about me and my recent weight loss.  My mom’s goal was to “fatten me up” over the next month.   I was nervous to gain weight but I knew I needed it to keep up my strength for skiing.

My relationship with food didn’t really get much better over the break or during ski season.  I started binging on gluten free sweets because I had uncontrollable hunger and I thought it would help my gain weight.  After binging, I would restrict the next day or two, and it became a viscous cycle.  I gained a few pounds but it still wasn’t enough (keep in mind that I was not in treatment during this time).  That May I went on a study abroad trip to Spain for 5 weeks and I had the time of my life, but my ED was still there bothering me like a pesky fly.  I remember journaling during my trip and I would write things such as “you need to lose x amount of weight” or “stop binging you’re going to get so fat.”  Although I say I had a wonderful time in Spain, which I did, I was miserable on the inside because of my ED.  The meal times in Spain messed me up completely; most days I would be STARVING all morning and afternoon because we didn’t eat lunch until 3pm.  I remember binging on trail mix and popcorn because I was so hungry, yet I would wake up miserable and bloated the next day.  The night before our flight, I had a binge and it left my stomach SO messed up on the plane ride home. I was so sick and then it finally clicked with me that I needed to stop binging.  To be completely honest, I have not had a major binge since 2013, and I am proud of myself for breaking out of that nasty cycle.  I should probably mention that I lost about 10 pounds that I didn’t even have to lose while I was in Spain.  I remember my mom’s initial reaction when she first saw me in the airport. She was shocked and worried about my weight loss.  Also, another important thing to mention is that I lost my period the next year.  Throughout my entire sophomore year I never really gained any of the weight back and my period was MIA, which was really scary. 

The summer after my sophomore year, something finally clicked in me.  I was worried about my weight being so low and I was sick of being skinny and cold all the time.  I started following a lot of fitness accounts on Instagram, and had seen people’s transformation pictures, and I thought “wow I want to be strong like them.”  Because of a foot injury, I was no longer able to run, so I decided to give weight lifting a shot.  I fell in love with lifting weights, and I loved the curves I started to build.  Throughout the fall of my junior year, I continued to lift weights and I had gained about 15-20 pounds from my lowest weight.  I threw away the scale, and focused more on how I felt and how my clothes fit.  Gaining weight was not easy mentally.  It was hard to see my cheeks fill out and I had to buy new clothes.  At this time, I was not counting calories, and I was eating more than ever because my metabolism was on fire.  I would like to think that this was my best point in the past four years, but to be honest I don’t know if it was.  I was not engaging in disordered eating habits, and I was at a healthy weight, but I still wasn’t my happiest.  During the winter of 2015, I started to worry that I had gained too much weight, and I decided to start weighing myself more often, and the obsession started to creep back.  I remember losing about 5 pounds before my trip to Florida over spring break, and I liked the way I looked, but I thought, hey losing another 5 pounds wouldn’t hurt me.

During the month of May, a previous wrist injury started to flare up when I was lifting weights.  It gradually got worse and worse throughout the summer, and I was unable to lift arms.  The pain became so unbearable that I had to get surgery this past August.  The recovery from wrist surgery was very tedious and I was unable to touch weights for over 4 months.  This was devastating for me. I had to figure out new forms of exercise, so I started biking for about 30-60 minutes every day.  I was not obsessively exercising, but I was strictly doing cardio and no weight lifting.  I started to lose muscle gradually, and the number on the scale started to creep back down.  This past fall was when my eating issues/restricting started to return.  I started skipping breakfast most days and would often not eat my first meal till 12 or 1pm.  I was tired and cold all of the time, and my energy levels were very low.  I remember almost
passing out at the gym multiple times because I was so hungry and tired.  Low blood sugar attacks were also happening.   I remember having extreme anxiety and hypoglycemia during church once because I hadn’t eaten in over 5 hours.  It was not fun.  I also started to weigh myself nearly every day, and I got obsessed about losing weight.  During this time, I was also dealing with major stomach issues, (Irritable bowel syndrome) which caused me to restrict even more.  There were days were I wouldn’t eat dinner because I was so sick to my stomach (bloating, cramps, and nausea).  My parents, sister, friends, and therapist became extremely worried about me, and they didn’t know what to do.  Although I was never at a dangerously low weight, I was still struggling.  Many times, I thought “oh I am not sick or skinny enough to have an ED” but this was so not true.

I decided to start seeing the dietician on campus, who gave me a specific meal plan to follow, yet I still didn’t follow her advice because of my stomach issues.  It is so much easier said than done to tell someone with an eating disorder to just “eat more and eat more often.”  At my follow up appointment with the dietitian in January, she diagnosed me with anorexia and told me there was not a whole lot she could do; after this she said I would have to starting seeking treatment at an outpatient eating disorder clinic.  With the advice of my therapist, I was referred to an outpatient eating disorder clinic, where I started treatment this past January.  I am currently meeting with both an eating disorder therapist and dietitian once a week.  I am also prohibited from working out, and I haven’t been to the gym in over 5 weeks. Recovery is HARD.  Admitting that I have anorexia has been one of the hardest things.  Lately I have more bad days than good days.  There are days when I feel the urge to weigh myself, take progress pics, and restrict food.  In fact, I have given into some of those things, but my therapist has done a wonderful job with keeping me on track.  Increasing my intake has been difficult. I have to track my meals and symptoms on an app for people with eating disorders called Rise Up, and then I email my dietitian my meals on a weekly basis.  I currently do not know how much I weigh, which scares the hell out of me sometimes, but I know it is for the best.  I am taking recovery day by day, and I keep reminding myself that it WILL get better, and I just have to keep trucking along.  I am SO thankful for all the support from my family, friends, therapist, dietitian, and the Instagram community.  I have been blown away by the number of people who have reached out to me in this hard time.  I cannot wait to be healthy again so that I can workout and just live a normal life. Recovery is not linear.  It takes a lot of time, patience, and commitment.  I have faith that things will get better, no matter how much time it takes.  Thank you for letting me share my story.  I hope this speaks to some of you and just know that we are all in this together.  Stay strong, all of you ED warriors!! <3