diet

Kuduro cucumber

I’m PMSing, y’all. Because that is obviously a topic of general interest, I have detailed various symptoms about my PMSing here and here and here.

This past weekend was not a weekend of moderation. On Saturday, I worked out for the third time in 2017 (yay, traveling! So much fun, except so much jet lag, and bloating and delicious but unhealthy foods). Of course, one hour of intense exercise with Coach Dr. Booté warrants me eating ALL of the food ever, right? Recovery diet, and all that. Sunday: brunch with a friend, followed by supper at a resto with my Pops, and wine, and cider, and chocolate because TREAT YO’SELF ITS THE WEEKEND!

Yesterday, I woke up feeling bloated. I decided: New Monday, New Day, New Me. Imma go on a diet. All morning at work, this happened. Then, I had a business lunch with a key consultant, fancy stakehouse, and why not? Entrée, bigass meal, chocoholic dessert.

Y’all.

I was so bloated my nylons and underwear were cutting off circulation in my lower body. It was so uncomfortable, I considered going commando at the office, but I opted not to and suffer in almost-silence (I only updated my team about the status of my bloating every 15 minutes, including but not limited to such descriptions as “I’m as bloated as a cucumber!” “I’m never eating food again, I swear” “Being a woman suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks”), not because I felt it was scandalous, but because I felt that was the ultimate sign of defeat. I had to learn to live with my poor life choices.

I googled “death by water retention”.

Imagine my horror when, at dance class, I realized that of ALL the days… yesterday I had packed a crop top as my dance outfit.

I considered going home. #piorities

I didn’t bail on dance class. But I did sweat scary amounts, and turned the dance floor into a swimming pool. #sexy

Today, did I learn from my mistakes and eat healthily? HAHAHAHAHAHA no. I woke up craving a grilled cheese sandwich, and waited impatiently till noon to go and buy one for myself, which I scarfed down in approximately 34 seconds, and here I am sitting at my desk, debating if eating an entire chocolate bar counts as a serving of protein. I’m not sure, the science is out, but I’m thinking the answer to that legit question is “obviously”.

#olderandwiser

#diabetesandhighbloodpressureruninmyfamilycanyoutell?

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Holiday diet vs January diet 

After 10 days in Paris, and 2 weeks of holiday festivities where I drank on average 1 bottle of wine/day, consumed a scandalous amount of jellybeans, chocolate and happiness, I had put on 10 lbs.

TEN.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 TEN (!) pounds.

(As Teacher so kindly put it, when he saw me, “Damn, girl, I can see the weight in your cheeks! And your legs, but especially in your cheeks! You weren’t lying when you said you got chubbier.” Bro, stick to dancing, and shhhhh. Don’t speak. Like, ever.)

So, January 2nd, back at work. New year, new me, time to detox, and be productive. I decide to cut out alcohol (primarily because it is socially frowned upon to be drunk while closing out the books for the year) and eat a salad, because rumor has it that vegetables are not a bad thing.

I lasted 48 hours.

January 4th, I woke up and my kidneys hurt. Badly.


Its a well known mantra that you should listen to your body. So Jan 4th at night, I had pizza. Jan 5th, I woke up feeling better. So for supper I had wine and a burger and onion rings. And yesterday, Jan 6th, I was tip top shape. So I drank a bottle of wine at supper with my former roomie Kirsten.

Methinks losing the holiday poundage might be a very gradual process. I wouldn’t want to trigger kidney failure, for the sake of being slim. #priorities #wineisbae #pizzatoo

The struggle is real…

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This is how I handle stress

 

 

That is all. Except I happen to avoid suffocation approximately 5-15 times a day. #scurvy

All while listening to La Traviata as loud as possible. Because what are my struggles when compared to true love, social ostracism, tuberculosis, and terrible communication skills?

Lyrics of that excerpt:

Farewell, happy dreams of the past,
The rosiness in my cheeks has already gone pale;
The love of Alfredo I will miss,
Comfort, support my tired soul
Ah, the misguided desire to smile;
God pardon and accept me,
All is finished.

The joys, the sorrows soon will end,
The tomb confines all mortals!
Do not cry or place flowers at my grave,
Do not place a cross with my name to cover these bones!
Ah, the misguided desire to smile;
God pardon and accept me,
All is finished.

If that doesn’t give one perspective, what can?! “All is finished”… yup. Sounds ’bout right to me. If you want an even bigger punch to the gut, watch this. Woman is reunited with her lover, all is forgiven, they pledge to live happily ever after, and then after two 3 minute arias, she keels over and dies. #bleak #nowthatssomeheavydutyadulting

#nomorebangingbod #definitelynotaskinnybitch #pleasantlyplump #ineedavacationandabottleofwine #lovemyjobiswear #notadramaqueennoway

Learning to enjoy being a girl

Reared in a strict Christian household, I was taught that pride is THE biggest of all vices, and vanity was more trivial, obnoxious and easily spotted – a transparent window into person’s character, and indicative of poor judgment and priorities (I notice a certain irony, now, that it is by appealing to my vanity that I was dissuaded from ever exhibiting any). As an only child, with an invalid mother, I grew up without any role models of how to be a girly girl. Sure, my mother would talk of how in her youth she loved the theatre of clothes, and passed a lot of her knowledge on to me, but it remained something that was not deserving of time and effort. I internalized the message that caring about my appearance (other than to avoid appearing slovenly/underdressed/vulgar/sexy) was indicative of poor priorities and a lack of meaning and purpose in my life. Worse, given that I was a woman in a man’s world, it was imperative that I earn people’s respect for my intelligence and character, not for something as transient and superficial as my appearance.

Well.

Early on in my career, I learned the lesson that people respond better to someone who is well put together. Dressing for the part (of smart, competent, reliable, engaging career woman) was necessary to ease the social interactions that are so key in the business world. But that wasn’t  vanity, that was a practical recognition of behavioural norms. So I revamped my wardrobe transforming myself into a power accountant. Still, I avoided spending unnecessary time on my appearance, other than investing the time necessary to shop for well-cut flattering clothes and good haircuts. #couldntbebothered

In the past 24 months, I’ve undergone a bumpy journey to body acceptance. My (former) therapist prescribed me with the obligation of never going more than 48 hours without getting a minimum of 30mins of exercise. He stressed that it wasn’t a matter of breaking a sweat, but of moving enough to trigger the endorphins my brain so needed to counteract its corrosive tricks, like going for a walk outdoors. And so was born the notion that I should commit to doing things that make me feel better – that I must be an agent (to some extent) of my happiness and well-being. From that point on, I made sure to never do less than 3 intense workouts per week. The link between my emotional and mental equilibrium and the consistency of my workouts was apparent almost immediately. My dietary habits also improved: I applied the same notion that I should eat what I genuinely wanted to eat to make me feel good. Sometimes that could mean chocolate and wine for the soul, French fries and pizza for the fun of it, or salad and chicken because I hate the bloaty, gassy feeling that comes from eating unhealthily for more than 2-3 consecutive meals. Unsurprisingly, I lost a fair bit of weight and got in shape. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing:

Then, I had a second watershed moment: accepting the sexy. Through dance, I’ve started to enjoy my body as a source of appreciation to myself and others.

I can finally admit that I LIKE having a bangin’ bod – something I never believed was within my reach. I LIKE that people admire it: I enjoy it, I’ve worked hard for it, I’ve gone through so much with it, I’m proud of it. I LIKE feeling good about my appearance, and will continue to take the time and effort to help my body and my brain be the best versions possible. I LIKE putting together an outfit that is flattering and makes me feel like whatever version of myself I feel like portraying. Always? No. There are plenty of days every week where I roll out of bed, pull on wtv is easily accessible/clean and forget to put on mascara. But there are plenty of days where I enjoy taking an hour getting ready for work and spend the day feeling like a million bucks. Maybe because I am so confident in my intelligence and my character, I no longer feel that has to be the first thing people notice about me. Any person who deals with me for longer than 30 minutes and does not realize I am smart, pretty awesome and beyond competent at what I do is merely demonstrating their sub-par observation skills.

I tell myself this isn’t vanity, as my happiness is not dependent on others’ perception in myself: I delight in my body and mind. Is it pride, the mother of all sins? I sure hope not. It feels like joy and peace, which is such a blessing after years of anxiety, paranoid brain and depression. I have no intention of fighting these new-found gleeful feels.

Body image mind-fucks

I thought I’d overcome a lot of my body insecurities, that I’d learned to accept myself and my body for what it is and what it can do. More important still, that I’d learned to find my own particular brand of beauty. I wrote an entire manifesto about it.

Well, I was wrong. I suppose that just makes me a woman – what woman doesn’t go through phases of complete and utter body-hatred? Find me one woman who can love herself truly ALL THE TIME, even when PMSing, and I will prove to you that she is an alien or a robot. This recent bout of self-hatred might be because of the time of the month, but I think it is related to my recent emotional instability. Historically, one of the biggest red flags of my dark phases has been body self-shaming, even flirting with eating disorders. As I feel my life spiraling out of control, I seek out areas over which I can establish rigid dominance (and what better than my own body?!) and then to the extent I (inevitably) fail, I use my failures as proof that I am an undisciplined, worthless, lazy fuck-up in all areas of my life. Oh yeah, my paranoid brain has this cycle down pat.

I recognize the signs. I am aware that I cannot trust the internal dialogue that my brain is feeding me. I know that my perceptions have broken away from reality: putting on 3-4 lbs due to a month of eating wtv I want (I never fully stopped my nutritional splurge from France) does not make me a hideous blob. I know that I have to wait this out, repeating positive messages to myself, even if I don’t believe them, until such a moment as the negative voices in my head quieten. I know the drill. I am determined to do it.

Part of me finds this curious. I am a modern day Amazonian feminist -I am aware of the patriarchy and do my best to reject it. Yet the negative voices in my head successfully bring me down using messages that are the very ones I rationally reject.

Example 1: I need male validation

Back when Beaut and I were a thing, I pointed out to him that he rarely, if ever, complimented me on my appearance. Occasionally, he’d comment favorably on some of my facebook pictures, but not nearly as frequently as he would do to a lot of his girl friends, and never ever to my face when we were together. (Aside: do you know how lame it sounds to complain “you don’t like my pictures on facebook?” EW. I can’t believe I became THAT girl.) At first he rejected my accusation, but a quick scroll through my Facebook wall easily proved my point – thank goodness, at least I had some grip on reality! He explained to me a very male way of thinking: “Vanilla, if I put my penis into you, and do so on a regular basis, that means I want to put my penis in you. I only want to put my penis into girls I find attractive. What more concrete proof do you need? You have the action, and actions speak louder than words.” Yes, that is true, but I like hearing it. More importantly, I need to hear it, especially from the guy I’m sleeping with. I need it so badly that without it, I stop enjoying the sex.

You guys. Wtf is wrong with me that a lack of compliments eats away at me so much that I can’t then enjoy clitoral stimulation or penetration? That’s one deep insecurity. I don’t get how this happened?! And ugh. What a unattractive burden to place on the guy.

I’ve noticed also that I don’t place the same weight on compliments given to me by my guy and girl friends. I easily accept, and just as easily forget, compliments from my girlfriends. I savor, and preen myself, on the rare occasions my guy friends compliment me. I think compliments from my male friends help me believe that I am attractive to the opposite sex. That implies that I am still in doubt about my attractiveness. I need that validation. And the reason for that is a rather limited and unsuccessful dating history and…

Example 2: I fundamentally don’t believe that my physique appeals to most guys

I’m tall (5’9”). I’m heavy (160-165lbs). I weigh more than most guys at my boxing gym. I have an athletic build. I easily put on muscle. I’m a bit of a tomboy – while I wear mainly skirts and dresses, I can’t be bothered to put on anything other than mascara, and high heels are optional (except at work). I box. I’m aware that guys are wilting flowers and hate being emasculated. I’m also aware that I’m reaching a point where I can lift the same as some guys, and out perform them athletically. Aka, where I will emasculate them by my very existence.

Its weird. I don’t want a wimpy guy that would be intimidated by my appearance. Yet it wounds me that my physical appearance is such that a lot of guys just won’t be turned on by it. I’ve spent my whole life thinking that what I wanted was a guy who would appreciate my mind, and my personality. And that is true. But I’m finally admitting what I never wanted to acknowledge, because it seemed too superficial. I want to believe I am hot and desirable – two attributes that just have never come up in all of my dating history.

I ran the Spartan this weekend. A friend took this picture.

When I saw it, I was taken aback. Part of me was proud that all my hard work in the gym is clearly obvious. But most of me was dismayed – THAT is what I look like? I look like a freak. This picture has garnered a lot of attention on Facebook and Instagram. Lots of likes from guys and girls. And people commenting “warrior woman”, “Amazon”, “look at those guns”, “awesome Vanilla, so fit”. Those compliments serve to confirm my worry: no one said I was beautiful. No one called this sexy. Impressive, yes. But not sexy. My paranoid brain whispers, “Maybe the reason why none of the guys you’ve dated have ever told you how hot and desirable they find you is because they DON’T find you hot and desirable. Just settle for being the girl with the nice personality. Accept yourself as you truly are. Know your limits.”

I’m aware hotness is a state of mind. It has to come from within. But currently, I’m at a bit of an impass, because I really don’t find my body type attractive. I look at Serena Williams, and I find her impressive, a strong woman, an example to follow, and I hope I never get as big as her. THAT IS STUPID. I’ve clearly internalized the message that thin, slim, lady-like, girly girls are the Hollywood ideal.

It’s gonna be an uphill battle, battling my paranoid brain on this topic.

#exhausted

#mentalhealthsucks

#teamsinglebecauseIamtoobusyfightingwithmybrain

Naive + wishful thinking

Remember how I wasn’t worried about losing my vacation plump? “The food here won’t tempt me, no way, I am now a food snob, oui oui”.

Remember how I was going to eat a balanced diet because it is beneficial for my brain, especially now that I am struggling to keep the dark clouds from blocking out any sunshiny thoughts?

Behold, an exact representation of my behaviour at work the past few days:

My work is the best ever. There is ALWAYS free food, usually in the form of chocolate AND/OR candy AND/OR cookies AND/OR cake AND/OR pizza.

When I am stressed, I eat EVERYTHING.

EVERYTHING.

This is a bit of a problem.

C’est mon anniversaire, du coup!

So I was going to write this really long post about how this year, I’m filled with gratitude and joy on my birthday, instead of my usual dread/shame, or mere happiness. And that is true. I am. I don’t understand why I’m surrounded by so many good people, from acquaintances to blogging-friends to coworkers to close friends to family: my life is filled with funny, generous, smart individuals from all walks of life. No idea why these losers have had such a lapse in judgment as to like me, but hey! Nobody is perfect and it makes me SO happy. Toe-tappingly, goofy-grinningly happy.

OR that might be caused by all the champagne I drank today. Not sure.

Instead, let me brag about my amazing birthday so far.

Like Winnie-the-Pooh wisely advises , it is necessary to have a “little sometin'” to tide you over till supper


As I was walking down the street, happily enjoying my macarons snack, a French dude called out to me, “But watch out! You’ll get fat if you eat too many of those!”

Watch me, bro.

I then proceeded to have one of the most posh suppers ever:

Bougiest supper ever: kir royale, foie gras, boeuf tartare, biscuit rosé, strawberry gazpacho

Observe the happy tipsy bday smile #stillclassy


But was that enough? No! I wanted a 2nd dessert. I wandered about Reims at 11pm searching for the perfect sweet bite.

Macarons? Mille-feuille? Crème brûlée? Profiteroles? Any other French delicacy?

Nope. 

I had a Burger King chocolate sunday and it was AWESOME. #zeFrenchgaspedinhorreur

Tomorrow, imma finish the celebrations by going to a champagne winery (Taittinger), and doing an intense dégustation, bien sûr! I considered squeezing in two champagne tours, because I am not ashamed of being a lush on my 3rd 30th bday, but then I realized I’d miss out on seeing a famous palace, and I love indulging my princess side. So instead I’ll start off the day with a café crème and a fresh warm croissant, sitting on a cobblestone terrace.

Gratitude and joy are easier in France.

#socheesyyetsoblessed

#happy

#mypeepsaregoodpeople

#champagneismybae

#seriouslythoidontgetwhyihavesomanyawesomefriends #theyarethebest