WIAW #10: Then and Now

Good morning! Happy Wednesday :)

Things have been a little crazy on my end lately (what else is new) and I owe you guys an update for sure. I’ll get to it! I also need to thank everyone for their sweet comments on Friday’s post. I passed them on to my sister, she thanks you too :) The wedding was such a beautiful day!

But anyway, I’m gonna switch gears and talk about something else that’s been on my mind recently. It’s been a little over a month since I first shared my struggles with food/binge eating, and I think it’s time for an update. I’ve been in the process of gathering and organizing my thoughts for awhile now. I think the best way to go about this is with the “then and now” approach, like Ashley has done before, and Chelsie did recently.

I’m calling it a What I Ate Wednesday, Then and Now. Thanks to Jen over at Peas and Crayons for hosting!

wiawphotobutton

Breakfast then: Pretty similar to breakfast today, but with a few major differences.

Breakfast 5-11-12

1. Egg whites only. The protein/calorie ratio of a whole egg was simply not good enough for me. I was trying to eat at least 80g of protein per day, and only 1300-1350 calories. There was no room for egg yolks in a diet like that.
2. The cheddar cheese was an exact 0.5 oz serving. God forbid some extra cheese sneak its way into my daily calorie allowance. The horror.

Breakfast now: How did I live without egg yolks? They’re so delicious!

Breakfast2

My sandwiches always include a large egg, with some egg whites added just for an extra boost. Cheese on top is whatever looks like a good amount, depending on how much I’m craving cheese. Sometimes I add jelly, sometimes I have a waffle-wich instead of bread, etc. No restrictions here, and nothing calculated!

Lunch then: I always needed a good source of protein at lunch.

cran-apple-chicken-salad3-5-23-12

A good source in my book was either chicken or ground turkey because the grams of protein to calorie ratio was high, with very little fat. Lunch meat was unacceptable, not enough protein.

Lunch now: If I find time to cook some chicken or turkey burgers, I’ll still go with it because it’s a nice hot lunch that I enjoy. If there’s no time, some deli turkey meat with salad and string cheese is my go-to. I’m all out of produce? A PB&J sandwich maybe.

lunch collage

Or I’ll go out with co-workers and grab sushi. The point is, I’m flexible here. I don’t get all anxious when I’m out of my prepared lunch for the week. It’s not the end of the world. It’s lunch.

Exercise then: I absolutely had to exercise 5-6 days a week. If not, I would feel extremely anxious and stressed out about gaining weight.

Exercise now: I still love to go for a run, hit the gym, or get a good Jillian Michaels workout in. Ideally, I would workout 5 days a week because I enjoy it. But when time simply doesn’t allow for it, or I’m away for the weekend enjoying time with the boyfriend, or I’m sick with a bad cold/flu, I don’t exercise. And I don’t have those anxious feelings anymore. Heck, I even went three weeks without exercising and lived to tell the tale (ha).

Dinner then: After putting in my Herculean effort at the gym and working out for at least an hour, I would maybe whip up a protein smoothie for dinner. Or if I cooked, I’d have salmon with rice.

Salmon Dinner

Everything was portioned exactly using a food scale, then entered into a calorie counting website with extreme accuracy. I’m talking 3.788 ounces of salmon instead of estimating 4. God I wish I were kidding. But when you’re trying to live off too few calories and too much exercise, every calorie had to be accurate. I couldn’t eat too few, and I definitely couldn’t eat too much.

Dinner now: Totally up in the air. I’m still a fan of cooking a large meal and eating it throughout the week to save time, but I can’t remember the last time I perfectly portioned it into 5 dinners using a food scale and calculating every calorie. I don’t have time, and I’m not that crazy anymore :)

IMG_2544

Sometimes, I really need pancakes for dinner. They don’t have to be “protein pancakes”. They can be whatever-the-heck-I-feel-like pancakes.

Bedtime Snack Then: Absolutely not. Eating at night was a big-time no-no. Maybe a half cup of strawberries or applesauce. Maybe.

Bedtime Snack Now: I’m usually not that hungry at bedtime anymore (since I eat enough throughout the day, who knew?) but if I am hungry or feel like a snack, I’ll have what I’m craving. Sometimes it’s a little ice cream, more often it’s a spoonful of peanut butter, maybe a bowl of cereal. Whatever’s floatin’ my boat.

PB

Holidays/eating out then: I can’t even explain the anxiety I felt over getting together with family for holidays or any event that served food. I honestly thought they were trying to sabotage my weight loss goals. What now?

I cringe reading this excerpt from an archived post, “I swear, the day I decided to try and lose weight for real was the day my family decided that every single holiday should be celebrated with lots and lots of food and overeating.”

Past Meghan: No one is trying to sabotage you. Appreciate the food that was lovingly prepared for the holiday. No one is making you eat that much. You’re doing it because you don’t eat enough on a daily basis.

Holidays/eating out now: I literally cannot wait for Thanksgiving. I LOVE Thanksgiving food! And my mom said she’ll make the stuffing this year with gluten free breadcrumbs! :)

Holidays are not sabotage. Birthday get-togethers with pizza are not evil. And who knew, if you let yourself eat what you crave when you crave it, you won’t fall apart when confronted with a birthday cake. You might not even want it.

General Thoughts

I used to think that given any day, my body needed a certain (small) amount of food, a certain (large)  amount of protein, however much healthy fats, etc etc. If I didn’t get the perfect amount of all these things, I considered it a bad day and was fairly certain I would see the effects.

Newsflash Meghan! When you listen to your body, it all balances out! It doesn’t need to balance perfectly on a 24-hour basis. That’s not how our bodies work.

There are days when I don’t have much appetite (they’re rare) and there are days when I seem to be exceptionally ravenous. There are days when all I want is peanut butter all.day.long., and then there are days when honestly, all I want is a big salad with tons of veggies. It’s amazing how smart your body is, if you just listen to it.

Phew. I think that’s all I have to say for now :)

I’ll just add that eating intuitively and not thinking about food ALL DAY LONG has made me a much happier person.

Me and Matt wedding1
:)

Can you guys relate to this? Did you ever go overboard trying to eat “perfectly?”

49 thoughts on “WIAW #10: Then and Now

  1. Kalie

    I hate to admit it, but my NOW meals are alot smaller than your THEN meals! Yes, I currently have an major eating disorder!!!!

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      I’m so sorry to hear that Kalie :( Please email me if you need any advice on how to get back to a more normal eating habit! I would love to help if I could in any way. My then meals weren’t necessarily bad, and I still eat similarly (egg sandwiches, chicken, protein smoothies, nothing wrong with these things!). My problem was the way I was tracking every.last.calorie. It’s no way to live!

      Reply
  2. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale

    Yeaaahhh girl!! Way to be introspective and confront past behaviours! It’s never easy, but you know what — I can tell you that you have FOR SURE comforted at LEAST one person. And that would be moi!!! My meals used to look uncannily similar to yours. To the point where we probably could have switched kitchens and been perfectly content. And now — they’re similar, but in the way that we just don’t give a freaking flip!! (Well, we care a bit, but MUCH less obsessively so. Never said we were perfect ;) ). I’m finding that my body is happiest eating what I NEVER thought I would eat again (more carbs, moderate protein — yes, moderate! gasp!!). But you know what — do what makes your belly and brain happy and get the love back from your body. Enjoy the freshness of a robust salad, but also have your pancakes and eat your birthday cake, too!!
    Way to rock the inspiration! Love it!!! <3

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Yayy! I love hearing that I’m not the only one who used to live like this! Exactly, I still care about eating healthy, I’m not eating crap all the time (sometimes of course, but only when I want it which is surprisingly not very often!). But I’m not totally compulsive about making sure every single thing I eat on a daily basis is perfect. Haha moderate protein? The horror!! JUST KIDDING of course, it’s all about what works for you specifically, everyone is different! Thanks so much for the sweet comment Chelsie :)

      Reply
  3. Carrie

    Great idea for a post, Meghan. Reflecting on the past truly shows how far you’ve come. Monday was one of those days for me when I was *ravenous* all day, so I just went with it, aka ate lots of almond butter. ;) And yes, it’s amazing when you listen to your body; it always knows what’s up.

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Haha, I usually do the same on an extra hungry day, lots of nut butter! Definitely sticks to my ribs and keeps me full. The body definitely knows what it needs, it just takes practice to translate it and I think I’m finally getting there!

      Reply
  4. jessielovestorun

    You’ve clearly come so far Meghan, and I couldn’t be more proud of you. I can tell you’ve taken full control of your eating habits & nourish your body with the proper nutrients it needs day in & day out. <3

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Aw thanks Jessie! I definitely have come far, to think where I used to be and the thoughts that used to cross my mind every single day, I’m so glad I’m not in that place anymore. I’m doing my best to keep things balanced naturally! Although I probably need to eat more veggies, that’s what my mom would say :) haha

      Reply
  5. runningonjava

    Great post! I think I definitely still do get caught up in the whole “eating clean” thing all the time. It helps to step back and just remember how important it is to just enjoy life and let things be. I’m a totally stressed out/Type A person to begin with, so it’s obviously a work in progress. Your meals look great! Im obsessed with egg sandwiches in the morning but ALWAYS over cook them…so no runny yolk for me! As for the whole peanut butter addiction, I have 5 jars in my pantry….all different kinds. My roommates always make fun of me for venturing into the pantry with a spoon! :) No shame!

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      I am such a Type A person too! That’s why it was so easy/natural for me to go totally overboard with the tracking everything I ate and making sure I got X amount of this and X amount of this. It definitely appealed to the control freak in me. It took me months to finally be back to a more “normal” approach to eating, and not worrying about every detail. And yes, egg sandwiches and peanut butter are in my daily diet for sure! I often dig in with a spoon now, but back then, I never would’ve done something like that. Very happy I’m not in that place anymore!

      Reply
  6. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    Woop! Love to see how much progress you’ve made, love! I can definitely relate to this. When I think back to how my meals used to look… eeee… let’s just say it’s not something that I like to do, and I can’t believe I used to do. Thankfully, my ‘now’ meals are finally (as far as I can tell) what my body needs, and I can’t imagine going back to the times where I was obsessed with food and afraid to have any fun. You’re definitely right that eating intuitively and letting go of all of the clean eating obsessions make it so much easier to have a good time – and that’s what life is about, right? I can still remember the most exciting part of my days being eating breakfast/lunch/dinner. Ugh. What a fulfilling life? Yeah, no.

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Thanks Amanda! Yea, it’s not pretty to remember back to the days of measuring every last teaspoon of peanut butter, ummm? Crazy much? It’s so great to read about other girls out there, eating what they need and not becoming too obsessed over what’s “healthy” and what’s “not”. So inspiring! I was totally there too with meals being the most exciting part of my day. I would literally look forward to eating a tablespoon of peanut butter that I planned for. Eek, hurts just to type those words! Now I eat peanut butter whenever I want it, no obsessive measuring needed!

      Reply
  7. Jorie

    Fantastic post, Meghan! I loved seeing the change from then to now. You are so right that listening to our bodies is the best way to feed it! It will tell you what it needs.

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Your welcome Natalie! Let me know if I can share any advice, I’m sort of working on a post of tips and things that worked for me to kick the habit. It’s in the works, I want to make sure I include everything!

      Reply
  8. pickyrunner

    That’s so great that you can eat intuitively. It’s something I’m still struggling with and working on. My diet change was very similar to yours where I didn’t necessarily cut things out, I just cut them down significantly. This was a great post- I might have to do this for next week’s WIAW :)

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Exactly, nothing was technically, completely off limits for me, but it basically was because I was trying to keep the portions so small. It wasn’t easy, but I had to let myself start eating normally again without going overboard! If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat, it’s very simple!

      Reply
  9. Tara

    So glad you’re feeling better about food, but ummm….can we just talk about that delicious man situation you threw down there at the bottom?!??? HELLO beard!! You guys are adorable!

    And (since I guuuuuuess since the main topic is food heheh) very well done :)

    Reply
      1. Tara

        Have you found out a way to tell him about the blog yet?? He is supa cute. So excited for you – you seem to be in a totally better place all around (I’ve read your blog for awhile now, even though its new-ish! Was totally bummed when you took a break, glad you’re back) :)

        Reply
        1. aftertheivyleague

          I sort of found a way to tell him, as in I offhand mentioned it one day but I definitely downplayed it a bit! He didn’t really ask too many questions so I think I’m in the clear until it comes up again haha. And thanks!! That’s so awesome that you’ve been reading for awhile, even back in the “dark” days haha. Taking a break was a tough decision but I definitely needed to then, so glad I came back though!

          Reply
  10. Courtney

    I can attest to getting too caught up in meal planning, calorie counting, measuring, etc. It used to cause major anxiety, but I’m learning (slowly but surely) to just live and enjoy things. I am on a 1200 calorie a day diet. I was eating 1400-1500 calories a day and not loosing anything, so the dietitian I was working with recommended 1200 calories. Some days I do go over- but I try to stick around there.

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Sounds very similar to the reason I started counting calories. It was innocent enough, I wanted to lose some extra weight I put on. And it definitely worked! I lost the weight and have maintained the loss. The problem for me was the calorie counting/measuring appealed to my Type A control freak personality wayyyy too much, so I took it farther than I should have. I also became too worried about losing the weight quickly for some reason. I’m not sure what my hurry was? The way I see things now, if I eat healthy for the most part and stay fit, I’ll naturally reach whatever weight I’m supposed to be. And it might be where I am today, which I’m ok with!

      Reply
      1. Courtney

        That’s a great attitude! Good for you, girl :) I definitely have to keep myself in check and try not to become too obsessed about it. I have gotten a lot better!

        Reply
  11. Megan

    This is amazing! I used to be on sparkpeople all the time entering all my food! I will randomly go on to see what a meal is but its more out of curiousity than truly caring! Glad to see you are doing better!

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Haha, yep! Sparkpeople was what I used too! I still do the same thing sometimes, enter in a recipe just to be mildly aware of what I’m eating. But there’s definitely no need to accurately count each and every thing, no one can keep that up forever!

      Reply
  12. Kailey

    This was a really interesting way to do WIAW – I like seeing the differences/improvements in your mentality! Not going to lie – when people tell me they don’t like the egg yolk I don’t believe them. That is the best part/most of the flavor!

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      Thanks Kailey! I have definitely improved with my mentality, it’s okay to try to eat healthy, but I was definitely taking it too far. Egg yolks are delicious, one of the best sources of protein you can eat!

      Reply
      1. Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily

        I hit send way too soon…sorry! For the past 10 years, I was like your “then” and I was sick and tired of living like that. Since May, I’m your “now” and not only have I dropped 40 lbs, but I’m SOOO much happier and the obessessive, OMG how many calories are in that?! Feelings are long gone!

        Reply
        1. aftertheivyleague

          That’s absolutely amazing to hear!! Isn’t it crazy how once you stop worrying about it and stressing about it, and just try to live an average healthy lifestyle, it’s like BAM happiness, bonus that you even lost weight thanks to it! Great story, thanks for sharing :)

          Reply
  13. Kylie

    I was always far unhealthier when I tried to eat perfectly. I used to think there were unhealthy foods and healthy food…I had to be extremely restrictive with my diet or I told myself I was being completely unhealthy. Peanut butter was unhealthy and packets of tuna/not eating were healthy. It was a really distorted view of the truth. But somewhere in the midst of all these misconceptions I realized how enjoyable healthy eating can be and how there are so many healthy foods that still taste decadent…avocados, nut butters, cookies with applesauce/bananas substituted in. Anyways, life is much more enjoyable (and healthy) now.

    That last picture of you is so gorgeous! You look beyond happy:) Made me smile:)
    And you’ve got me craving an egg sandwich…with some avocado and hummus piled high:)

    Reply
    1. aftertheivyleague

      So true, back then nut butters were scary to me because of the amount of fat in them. Now I appreciate them for how delicious AND healthy they are! The body needs healthy fats, just like it needs protein and carbs, etc.

      And thanks! I’m definitely a lot happier now that I’m not restricting myself so much. This is a much better place. And avocado on an egg sandwich is the best thing ever, I’m already missing avocado season :-/

      Reply
  14. Devon

    I can totally relate. I’m working on getting over an 8-year struggle with anorexia and binge-eating disorder. Micromanaging my caloric intake is my biggest issue right now and probably one of the reasons I have trouble with bingeing. I’m curious, what changes did you see in your body after you increased your intake? More energy? Weight gain? Muscle increase? Thanks, love your blog!

    Reply
  15. aftertheivyleague

    I am positive that the source of my binge-eating was being so restrictive with my diet, calorie-wise and food-wise. I wouldn’t let myself buy cereal or peanut butter for fear of binging on them.

    When I was being very restrictive, exercising obsessively, and binging only once in awhile, I would say weight-wise I was relatively steady, maybe lost a couple pounds in a month. But mentally I was a wreck. I knew the first step to curing my binge-eating habit was to allow myself my favorite foods again and stop restricting my diet. Things got worse before they got better. I would binge almost daily, sometimes multiple times a day. I would beat myself up about it and feel extremely ashamed and disgusted. This is where I gained weight, I’m not sure how much, maybe 5 lbs from my lowest weight. At this point I realized I needed to change my view of food. Eventually, I stopped making rules and started enjoying food again for what it was. I stopped binging entirely once I started letting myself eat what I wanted, when I wanted it, and when I was hungry. I was exercising normally also. I lost all the weight I’d gained from binging so much. I don’t weigh myself anymore, but I know I was back to my lower weight since I was able to fit into my bridesmaid dress.

    So I guess in general, now that I’ve increased my intake to a more “normal” diet, I’m maintaining my weight when I’m unable to exercise, and when I exercise regularly, I’m losing weight slowly and becoming more toned and defined with strength training. And since I’m eating enough, I crave unhealthy food WAY less often, and I very rarely “overdo” it and eat too much. It’s a lifestyle I can maintain because I’m eating what I want and exercising when I want. Sounds so simple, but it works!

    Reply
    1. Devon @ Health in Equilibrium

      Thanks so much for this comment! Reading your posts, it gives me a lot of hope for myself, so I think you’re a great role model :) I currently have never bought my own peanut butter or cereal either, and trust me, they’re probably 2 of my favourite foods. However, now that I have started my recovery, started incorporating foods that were once forbidden and have been making a conscious effort to LISTEN to my body, I think I am ready to take that step.

      I’m also trying to make peace with my body so that if I do gain some weight, I can accept it and realize that being strong and nourished is WAY better than being skinny and frail. Thanks again for being so open and honest in your blog. Binge-eating is something I struggle with and it is extremely hard to admit, but the fact that you have had the same issues helps me to not be so ashamed of myself and allows me to move forward just like you did!

      Also, I JUST started my very own blog (eek!) and I would love to know what you think of it!

      Reply
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