North Carolina Trip Recap

On July 30th, I touched down in Charleston at 1:00 A.M. after spending the past four days in North Carolina visiting the Carolina House and beginning my training for my pilates mat certification through balanced body. I had a blast, but Monday definitely required lots of coffee.

On Wednesday evening before I left, I stayed the night with my friend Rachel. My fiancé Matt got up at 4:00 A.M. to pick me up and take me to the airport. My flight left at 5:30 A.M. so I had to be at the airport at 4:30 A.M.

Rachel was super sweet and left me boiled eggs in the fridge for a pre-breakfast snack. I was glad because I woke up hungry. Snap saw it first.

I flew out of Charleston and landed in Charlotte, NC. I had another snack then- granola bar.

I then got on my next flight to Cary, NC. The past year or so I have been working towards my certification in eating disorders – CEDRD through The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP).  This requires me to have so many hours of supervision on my caseload. The dietitian I get supervision from, Jen,  is the head of outreach for the Carolina House. She was so kind to invite me to for a site visit and their annual symposium. Jen picked me up from the airport. We have been doing supervision over the phone for about a year/year and a half and it was so surreal to actually meet her in person. She has taught me so much and I am forever grateful for her guidance and support.

We stopped for breakfast at First Watch, one of my favorite breakfast spots ever! Jen got their avocado toast and eggs. I have heard from a lot of people that their avocado toast is super good, but I have never tried it myself. I love making avocado toast at home and use the trader joe’s bagel seasoning on top. YUM. I got the A.M. superfoods bowl. I had never gotten this from there before. I typically get the bacado omelet with potatoes and fruit. I’m glad I tried this because it was so refreshing and delicious. It was coconut chia seed pudding with fresh fruit, fruit preserves, and house made granola. It also came with toast with almond butter and sea salt.

Every time I have ever made chia seed pudding at home it is always SO runny. This was SO thick and dreamy. I am still trying to recreate it. I have heard the key is to use full fat coconut milk and adding no other milk products. If you know, please tell me!

We then headed back to the airport to pick up some of the other guests. After that we headed to check out some of the Carolina House grounds. Carolina House is an eating disorder treatment center that specializes in treatment for those seventeen years and older. If you read my post about Veritas, then you know a little bit about treatment centers. The individuals who started the Carolina House, left and started Veritas for treatment for adolescents. That being said, treatment is VERY similar between the two. Their meal system is almost identical, but I’ll get into that later. For me, Veritas is almost like a nice resort time of feel, while Carolina House is more like in nature and has a home-like feel. Both are beautiful!

We first visited the outpatient treatment center.

We then picked up another guest and headed to the homestead to have lunch. The lunch was created by some of the patients at Carolina House. They took a trip to the local farmers market to get the ingredients. They try to have as much food exposure as possible with food prep, grocery store outings, restaurant outings, etc. I loved that they were involved in the cooking and they took a trip to the local farmers market. They really try to help the patients understand where food comes from, cooking, and why you should not be scared not only cook, but eat what you are cooking.

The lunch was held at their homestead. Itwas delicious if you were wondering. They had different types of protein salads, breads, fruit, salads, and desserts. I loved the tomato and mozzarella salad. We had skewers like these for my shower (Thanks Rachel for making them!) and I have been obsessed ever since. I just love the flavors together.

Carolina House really made me feel at home as a guest. They had accommodated gluten-free options for me as far as bread, crackers, and dessert. I was thoroughly impressed. As we were finishing up lunch, the food service director and one of the registered dietitians spoke on their meal program.

After lunch, we toured the homestead and their program there was discussed as well.

We went to the estate and their program there was discussed as well. We then checked into the hotel and headed to dinner. We had dinner at a Greek restaurant. I did not take a picture of the food. It was great to meet a lot of the staff there and talk to them with no electronics involved. The food was great including rice, different types of meat (lamb, chicken, beef), marinated vegetables, hummus, etc.

By the end of the night my eyes were glazing over because I had been up since 3:30 A.M. that morning. I slept very well that night.

The next morning  I got up at 7:00. The symposium began at 8:30 A.M.

Breakfast was an egg white omelet with bacon, cheese, and veggies, fruit, and potatoes (not pictured).

In a nutshell, this is how their treatment options work.

Treatment options:

Partial hospitalization program: This program is designed for individuals in residential to transition back to a normal life. Their goal is for individuals to transition into a life free of an eating disorder and any co-occurring mental illness. The way the program works is that individuals meet with their therapist 1-2 times per week for a full session and quick check ins throughout the week. They also meet with a psychiatrist 1-2 times per week. They also have group therapy as well as family therapy. If there family isn’t local they use FaceTime to do therapy.

Groups may include yoga, art therapy, culinary group, and restaurant outings.

Intensive outpatient:

Carolina House’s IOP is three days a week. It is for both males and females men who are almost ready to live on their own and are in the process of transitioning back into normal life. IOP is very similar to their PHP. It still consists of individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and experiential therapies. Individuals in IOP engage in three and a half hours per day of programming. They can choose either a morning or evening track, whatever works for their school or work schedule which I thought was really cool!

They also have a free eating disorder support group. They have plenty of meal outings including an espresso outing!

These are decaffeinated drinks typically and patients can journal and have a coffee drink. I thought this was super cool

That brought up another topic. How is caffeine managed in residential? Patients are able to have 1 caffeinted beverage per day. Often caffeine is used to restrict intake with individuals with eating disorders. Therapeutic passes are given by the patient’s therapist based upon their therapeutic readiness. They can use these for meal and movie outings in residential.

Residential:

The Homestead is housed in a beautiful, 16-bed craftman-style farmhouse. It is for women 17 and older.

The Estate is housed in a 6-bed brick colonial home. It is for all genders 18 and older.

Residential includes a staff psychiatrist, an internal medicine physician, registered nurses, licensed therapists, registered dietitians, a professional culinary team, an art therapist, a yoga/mindfulness instructor, a body movement therapist, and residential client assistants.

How does movement work?

Patient’s have to have a BMI of at least 16 to participate in movement. A lot of restorative yoga is done. Obviously someone with a BMI of 16 is not allowed to do much. Body movement is done 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes.

The treehouse was built this past year to do movement in. It was such a special space. They hold what is called a body wisdom group there, as well as restorative yoga.

I love what the body movement therapist said. She said “Here we believe in nourishing your body and nourishing your soul.” In residential, patients experience a lot of the same things they would in outpatient programming, but of course it’s more structured.

PHP and IOP more flexible as far as meal plating. In residential, one of the meals are plated, and the other two are plated by the patient with supervision from staff. Patients are given a meal card based upon the exchange system which tells them how much of each food group they need in a meal (IE one starch, one dairy, etc.). Super similar to Veritas!

I think one of my favorite things about their residential program was the goodbye snack and goodbye book. When a patient discharges, a goodbye snack is had which is typically something challenging such as dessert, to celebrate. The goodbye book is signed when someone leaves- when someone arrives they can read the book. So cool!

Day 2

My second day was spent attending the Carolina House’s annual symposium. It started at 8:30.

Breakfast was an egg white omelet with bacon, cheese, and veggies, fruit, and potatoes (not pictured).

My favorite presentation was on yoga and eating disorders. The speaker was awesome. She discussed how to choose a good studio for patients and why yoga is helpful for patients who have mood siroders and eating disorders. For example: if a studio advertises yoga for weight loss it might not be a good fit. We even broke out and did some yoga during her talk. So fun!

The talk by Raegan Chaisten on Health At Every Size was another favorite. She was amazing! My favorite thing she talked about was how as clinicians in eating disorders we should realize how tough it is for our patients to recover in a society that is obsessed with weight loss. However, full recovery is possible.

I thought about how important it is as non-diet providers to understand that people are new to the health at every size perspective. If you’ve never heard of it, I encourage you to read about it. For me, it’s taking the focus of weight off the table, and focusing on healthful behavior change. I consider myself new and I have been practicing this way for a year or so now. We have to show compassion to those who are new instead of degrading them. I am sad to say I heard some of this from someone at the symposium. Show grace. Show compassion. Haley Goodrich said something on a podcast before about how we should always consider ourselves students continuing to learn. I love that.

This was snack.

This was lunch.

I had to duck out of the conference a little early because I had to be at Evolve Movement at 4:00 to start my training.

The studio was really pretty at night because they had lights hanging up in the trees but I’m sad to say I didn’t get a picture of it at night. I had a cliff bar before heading to Evolve movement that night to begin my Mat Pilates training. I was introduced to Pilates for the first time only a couple months ago and fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to get my certification in it. I never knew that there were so many types of Pilates. Right now, I am starting with Mat and going to test out in Mat. Mat really helped me transition from physical therapy to exercising again, along with my good friend personal trainer Matt Carte at IFITT24. 🙂

The first night of Pilates was spent going over movement principals. Movement principals are basically things you can add to give your Mat class more of a flow in between pilates exercises. Some examples are childs pose, down dog, etc.

It went until 9:00. My hotel was about 15 minutes away from the studio. I was extremely hungry by the end of the class. I tried to order Mellow Mushroom and they didn’t do delivery after 9:00 which I thought was strange. Oh well. I ended up finding Hungry Howies and it was so tasty. It was easily one of the best gluten-free pizza crusts I had ever had. Nothing fancy, but so good.

It was then time for bed.

Training started at 9:00 the next morning.

I went down and got continental breakfast. Because I ate dinner so late last night, I was not really hungry so I had a hard time picking what sounded good for breakfast, but I knew I needed to eat. I ended up going with yogurt and granola, fruit, and bacon. I know. It was a weird combination.

We started Saturday with a Mat class.

We had a brunch/lunch break from 10:30-12:00.

I got a vanilla iced latte with a girl from class but then decided to explore some while she was looking over the material.

Right across the street from the studio was Cameron Village which was a cute (but expensive) place with shops and eateries. I walked around and ended up stumbling upon some more girls from class at Chopped, a salad place. So I stopped and got a salad with them. This was the Palm Beach salad with chicken, avocado, hearts of palm, and some type of vinaigrette. Really good! Some sweet potato chips for some carbs.

We finished up the movement principles then started the exercises. Each time we would go over a group of exercises, we would then break off into pairs and teach someone the exercises. Not knowing anyone, this of course was out of my comfort zone, especially since the instructor, Melissa, had you practice on someone different each time. I’m glad she did though because it was SO helpful. Life begins when you get out of your comfort zone, right?

We got finished at 5:00, and then I went back to Cameron Village and walked around some more. I was pretty hungry. I ended up going to Cantina 18, a taco place- go figure?!

I got one taco with goat cheese, chicken, apples, and dried cranberries, and a second taco with beef, white cheddar, slaw, and some type of chipotle sauce.

Matt would have liked this place since they double wrapped the corn tortillas. That is his only complaint with Black Sheep. Corn tortillas are supposed to be double wrapped. Come on Black Sheep. Spoken like a true Guatamalan.

I went back to the hotel and after talking to my parents and Matt, I went to sleep. All that movement wore me out.

Day 4

Breakfast was a egg white omelet with cheese and veggies, potatoes, and fruit. I learned my lesson that bacon before a Mat class was not a good idea.. We will just leave it at that LOL. Channeling my inner sports nutrition mindset- I knew I needed protein, carbs, fiber, and healthy fat.

We started Sunday with a more advanced Mat class.

Seal and open leg rocker are HARD- both something I am going to have to continue to work on.

We finished covering the exercises. Then it was time for break again from 10:30-12:00. The instructor, Melissa, was going out to eat with her two sons and husband for her sons birthday, so she walked over with is to Cameron Village. She was such a down-to-earth person and such a sweet soul. She gave us suggestions on what to get from the restaurant we were going to, Tazzo. She was like “The pizza is really good, if you eat carbs…a lot of people don’t these days..” I could tell she thought it was absurd to not eat carbs. I chimed in with “yes I still eat carbs!”

I was not super hungry since I had just ate breakfast a little while ago, but I knew I needed to eat. They were serving brunch and lunch at the time. They had breakfast tacos which sounded really good, but I had just had tacos the night before. I ended up going with their arugala and goat cheese salad and adding salmon to it. I have recently had a new found love for goat cheese. For the longest time, I did not think I liked it. But after having the taco with goat cheese and this salad with goat cheese, I changed my mind.

After lunch, it was back to work. We finished going over the exercises and practiced them on each other. On Friday, we were given a test to finish by the end of the weekend. We broke up in groups and discussed our answers with each other. went over our test. The hardest question on there for me was a question asking you to make up an entire Pilates mat class. Melissa was so kind to take what I had and teach me what would be helpful in adding to it to make a great class.

To end the training we all taught one Pilates exercise to the whole class. Melissa said that this is one of the biggest mat training classes she has had in a long time. There were about 25 of us. Mat 1 completed. The next step is observation hours and teaching hours! So far the only person I have taught is Matt. That has gone well when he doesn’t make me giggle lol.

Next I headed to the airport to have some dinner and catch my flight.

Grilled chicken with Gouda and bacon on a lettuce wrap with Parmesan fries

After landing, my flight to Charleston was delayed and I got some PB m&m’s.

Finally made it back to Charleston at 1 A.M.

A couple days later after getting home, I received my certification of mat 1 completion.

I’m so excited to be able to share Pilates with those I love and those I have not met yet. I used to be terrified of going out on my own and doing my own thing, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve overcome that. I realize that God made me me for a reason and there is such peace in that. He called me to do work for His glory. And I’m really never alone. He is with me. I believe that it was Dr. Seuss that said “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those that matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.” That being said, I was still ready to be home and see some familiar faces. This trip filled my cup.

Whitney

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You’re not doing intuitive eating wrong by eating fruits and vegetables.

As the only eating disorder dietitian in the state of WV, a lot of times people come to me asking questions about eating disorder recovery, as well as intuitive eating. Recently, I’ve had a couple people who promote intuitive eating reach out to me and ask me if they were doing something  wrong because they were promoting nutrition on their social media account.

My answer? Heck no.

In fact, there is a whole principle in the ten principles of intuitive eating devoted to nutrition. Honor your health through gentle nutrition.

“Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.”

However, that principle is #10 out of 10 principles of intuitive eating. Why is that? Because a lot of work has to be done on the journey of intuitive eating. If someone is focused on nutrition throughout their journey they can’t possibly make peace with food.  That’s not to underplay the importance of nutrition.

Fruits and vegetables are good for us- they are full of antioxidants, fiber, and full of vitamins and minerals. They are also very tasty. However, it’s when we get super focused on eating fruits and vegetables ALL the time that there becomes a problem. Ex: You must eat 2,000 servings of vegetables in a week. That’s just not the truth. Your body knows what you need when you need it. Our bodies are just that smart and it’s pretty fascinating how they were made (Hello God! 🙂 )

As you journey your way through intuitive eating you may eat the same things for a while because you never were allowed to have them before. One of my clients for example was on a low carb diet and she could not eat bananas on her low carb diet. One of her first steps on her intuitive eating journey was to introduce bananas back in her diet. She did and there for a while she wanted bananas every day. However, there came a time that she no longer wanted bananas because she knew she could have them all the time. That’s a really simple example that I often use with patients/clients. Now that she is farther along on her journey, we have approached the gentle approach to nutrition and focused more on adding other fruits/veggies. However, you cannot skip all of the other steps and go to this step. That would be super harmful.

So what am I getting at? Fruits and vegetables are important, but so is your mental health. Don’t fill up your brain space with how many fruits and vegetables and eating the “purest” food possible. There is so much more to life than that.

I’ve recently seen a lot on social media accounts promoting “monochromatic” meals. There is nothing wrong with that. I, too, lately have made some monochromatic meals because life gets crazy but you still need to eat. I see you chicken, rice, and squash meal from Thursday evening.

However, I did not to point out that there is nothing wrong with adding some color to that plate. In fact, I encourage eating a wide variety of foods.  I love a colorful looking plate. However, if you are eating that plain bland colored meal, kudos to you too because that is fine. Your body knows what do do with it.

As a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Therapist, I respect other providers and respect that we are all on our own journey. No path is the same. However, I believe that we should still all be friends. I would be lying if I said some days I log onto social media and want to sing the song “Why Can’t We Be Friends” because sometimes I feel that intuitive eating can be discriminating against others who aren’t there yet.

Show grace. Show compassion. Do good. Always believe that we are all on our own journey and trying to do the best we can.

Whitney

Recap of Oklahoma trip

Andy’s ice creamI’ve been missing my fiancé a little much lately which made me realize I never wrote a blog post on my last trip to Oklahoma which was about a month ago. Better late than never!

Right before I left to go to Oklahoma I quit my contract job that was not filling my cup. It was my first professional job that I have ever quit and it was difficult to quit. However, I had been praying about it for about a month and God gave me confirmation that it’s what I needed to do. I wanted to make sure that it was what God wanted me to do and not just what I wanted to do. Needless to say I was ready for a trip out of town.

So I just wanted to highlight a couple of my favorite eats and activities Matt and I enjoyed!

You are basically going to think we are two people in their mid-twenties that are heading to their eighties, but it’s cool. I wouldn’t change a thing. If your new to the blog then I wanted to fill you in that my fiance and I have been in a long distance relationship the past almost two years. Matt plans my trip to see him to OK and everything we do and I do vice versa when he comes to visit me in WV.  It’s so much fun! However, I can’t wait until we are in the same state. #itwontbesoonbeforeLong

Let’s cover some of the eats first!

oklahoma trip

I think this was the first time in my life where I actually didn’t want another taco! LOL We literally had so many tacos. However, my favorite meal was on our first night there and Matt’s moms cooking is the best. She had made enchiladas, beans, rice, guacamole. Definitely a perk of marrying into a Guatemalan family. Plus they are the kindest people ever. God has truly blessed me to marry into their family.

Leftovers in a bowl. Looks strange but so good!

Overnight oats with almond butter for breakfast

Holey rollers

Our fav donut truck now has its own coffee shop! It’s equally as cute and the donuts are equally delicious. Pictured here is a thin mint donut and sopapilla flavors. If you don’t know what a sopapilla is it is a Hispanic dessert. It’s basically fried dough with honey and cinnamon.

Andy’s ice cream

We love Andy’s frozen custard. We always go and I always get the same thing. I get Reese cups and fudge in the middle.

Torchy’s tacos

We has both heard great things about Torchy’s. I didn’t include it in the taco section above because it’s not authentic at all but so good! We will be back. That queso though!

Tom + Chee

Matt and I both love watching shark tank. Tom + Chee was on shark tank a couple years ago. They are known for making grilled cheese sandwiches and grilled cheese donuts. Interesting, right? Well I got the pesto turkey which had turkey, pesto, Roma tomatoes, and mozzarella. Matt got the Flying Cow which had turkey, bacon, and Gouda cheese. We split sandwiches so we could both try each other’s. We both thought the sandwiches were great, but it was a little pricy. The sandwich was like 8.00 with no side. At least include some chips!

Neighborhood Jam

This is a new breakfast spot that just opened up in Oklahoma City. I loved the decorations of this place. It was super cute! I got an omelet, GF toast, and bacon. Matt got pancakes and he said that they were super fluffy which is his favorite kind of pancake.

Activities

Zoo

oklahoma trip 2

We went to the zoo with Matt’s friend Tyler and his son. I had never met Tyler and he is going to be Matt’s best man so it was cool finally getting to meet him. While we were at the zoo we ended up running into Matt’s parents, sister and brother-in-law and their kids.

okahoma trip 4

Wedding expo

Matt thought it would be fun if we attended a wedding expo. Poor guy he was one of the only males there. It was fun and we did get a lot of ideas for our wedding. It was really disturbing how many “diety” companies there were at the expo though and I’m sure it’s like that at all of them. Ladies, your worth is not in a number on the scale. Matt was like “maybe you should keep this in mind and attend the next one in WV with your business cards and talk about intuitive eating.” Hey not a bad idea!

Home and garden expo

We tried out some mattresses lol (Matt has a bad back) and got ideas for our future home. My favorite part of this expo was the seedtospoon herb workshop. You should download their app because it tells you everything you need to know about planting herbs. I planted basil for the first time last year and it survived lol. I would like to plant more in the future and now I know how!

Pilates

I tried pilates for the first time when I visited Matt and I now love it. I’ve been going to FlyFitness since coming back to WV. My mom’s cousin is actually a pilates teacher there so it’s fun to see her as well.

Post-Pilates w/ my love

Wedding registry

Matt and I are already learning how to compromise. He has very “clean” taste I would say where I like more funky things. We ended up registering for while plates with a funky shape. However, I think if it was up to me I would have picked a colored plate. That’s just one example. 🙂 We literally spent probably three hours at Target lol. We had to leave once and come back because Matt was getting hangry. I’m thankful for his patience though and love how we work things out. I’m excited to do life with this guy!

Some of my favorite things that we registered for were…these pineapple bookends, egg oven mitts, and pineapple pillows. Can you tell we are dietitians? 🙂

oklahoma trip 6

And that was my trip! Hope you all have an awesome week!

Whitney

Movement lately: my breakup with running

First off, I wanted to thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support I received from my last post. It filled my heart with so much joy. Thank you guys for reading my blog. There are days the devil tries to tell me that no one reads this but I know that God has called me to write in this space.

I was inspired to write this post by a recent post from The Real Life RD on movement. I had been thinking a lot about movement before reading this post. Movement has changed so much for me in the past couple of years. From under fueling for half marathons to running joyfully to not running at all. A couple of years ago there wasn’t a weekend I was not running a race. Flash forward to my dietetic internship where I learned about juggling a 9-5 job and completing my masters degree, running races took a backseat with everything else I had going on. I ran the Marshall half marathon that fall when I still had time to train before the internship got very busy. After that instead of being enjoyable, running became stressful and felt like it was something I had to get done to mark off my check list for the day. Thankfully during my internship I found yoga and barre which were both truly enjoyable for me. Yoga really helped me to connect to my breathe. Breathing is so powerful to combat stress. There’s been a ton of research to prove that. Being connected to God and remembering to breathe because God’s got this has truly helped me to combat so much stress and anxiety in my life.

After less than a year of working in the “real world” as a dietitian juggling three jobs, I thought I had a handle on things and could manage training for another race. I had ran the Charleston distance run twice before. The race was in September. One day I was training in August and felt a pop in my left knee. I took a break for two weeks icing and elevating it and tried to get back out there when the same thing happened again. I remember being so upset and frustrated. I remember praying “God I’ve been running for the past six years why am I having an injury right before  race now?” I truly felt like my body was failing me. Running had been my identity for so long. Was I going to have to give that up? I opted out of the race because I knew I would just hurt myself even more. My friend who is an athletic trainer thought it was issues with my IT band but because of insurance issues I ended up not getting an orthopedic doctor for a couple months. I ended up being diagnosed with petallofemoral syndrome and started physical therapy at Dynamic Physical Therapy in December. During those couple of months I tried to still do yoga but sometimes the pain was just so bad that I ended up opting out of exercise for about two months. It was hard. I talk a little bit about this in this blog. While it was hard at the time, now reflecting on it I am so grateful for the break with exercise. It’s helped me to become a better provider for my patients with eating disorders/disordered eating. For someone with am eating disorder they may have to go on a break with exercise too so that there body can become properly nourished before they start moving again. Also we want to make sure they are enjoying the movement and not the eating disorder. Is this movement being done to change their body shape?

It also helped me realize that running was no longer enjoyable for me at this point in my life. I found myself again stressing to get runs in before I went into work. It helped me realize the way we move our bodies should be changing throughout our  lives. It’s normal. The way we eat changes throughout our lives too. During college I lived 10 minutes away from a park to run at. I would also run from my apartment to downtown Huntington. After college moving back in with my family to save money on rent, the closest park for me is now 40 minutes from my house. I also lived 10 minutes from the Marshall rec center. I now live 40 minutes from IFITT24, the gym I work at. Life is different and that’s okay. Movement and nutrition are going to be vastly different throughout your whole life. Movement doesn’t have to be going to a gym. Movement can be doing some stretches at home. It can be cleaning the house. It can be walking your dog. It can be doing yoga. It can be doing yard work with your dad. I think sometimes we become preoccupied with what health actually means. As a society we are so stressed out about reaching our fitness and nutrition goals.  Should health be at the expense of your health? Definitely not. Often times less is actually more. There has been a ton of research to show that reducing stress responses that are unnecessary and unhelpful can lead to reduced cortisol. Increased cortisol can lead to increased inflammation, high blood pressure, and many other health problems. A friend of mine just recently took a yoga workshop on this as well and it’s so interesting. Definitely aligns with intuitive eating and HAES research.

A lot of the time my patients and clients are shocked to find out that the American Heart Association only recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. An easy way to remember it is 30 minutes five days per week. Am I an expert in exercise? Nope, I’m not. As dietitians we are trained to give only general exercise recommendations. Movement should be enjoyable though and not feel like it is a chore. Everyone is different. Not everyone is going to enjoy the same type of movement.

I still remember my physical therapist at Dynamic asking me if I was going to start running again. I said no. I don’t know that I will ever run long distances again and that’s okay. Physical therapy really helped me connect to my body and realize what actually felt good to it and what didn’t. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my team at Dynamic. I wake up every day with no pain in my knee. God healed my knee but God also gave me an amazing team to work with. I felt like I lived there for three months but it was so worth it.

Lately I’ve been enjoying a variety of different types of movement.

Yoga

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I love yoga and all forms of it! Aerial is so much fun. I also love yin yoga and getting into those deep stretches!

Strength training

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Ever since being discharged my physical therapy, my coworker and friend Matt Carte who is a trainer at the gym I work at has been helping me transition from PT to working out again. Not to say that PT didn’t have me sweating and was not challenging for me. They had me do sled pushes there! I was kind of intimidated to get back into the gym again because I was afraid I would hurt my knee again. Matt has really helped me face that fear and transition into movement that feels good to my body and is making me feel stronger.

Pilates

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Have you ever tried pilates before? I took my first class when I visited my fiance Matt in Oklahoma at his university’s rec center. I loved how it was similar to yoga but had more of a strengthening aspect to it as well. I am looking forward to taking more pilates classes now that I am back in West Virginia.

We both really enjoyed it!

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What movement have you been enjoying lately? I would love to hear about it.

 

Whitney

 

 

I’m not losing weight for my wedding & here’s why.

I was never the girl who had a wedding board on her Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong, I always wanted to get married. I am such a loving person and love hearing every couple’s love story of how they met and love watching romantic movies. I know many girls know from a young age of what kind of wedding they want. That was never me. However, as Matt and I got more serious and the discussion of marriage came up I could not help but get excited and begin pinning. I was getting to marry the guy of my dreams and my best friend. The guy who really gets who I am and loves me for that.

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Fast forward to engagement..

26992048_1954678744545468_1093288240429305427_n.jpgThen onto wedding planning. The first solid step of wedding planning for us was me finding my weddings dress. Now I know to some people that seems a little backwards. We didn’t even know what state we were going to have the wedding in at this time. My mom and I went to The Boutique by B. Belle Events in Downtown Charleston, WV and truly had the best experience! Belle and her staff were wonderful and I am so glad we went there. I did say yes to the dress my first time trying on dresses. It was truly an experience e I will never forget.IMG_2652.JPG

Right after Jillian got us something to drink, she asked about the theme of my wedding, my fiancé, and really got to know me and what I pictured my wedding day to be like. I remember her asking what I wanted to feel like. I told her I wanted to feel comfortable and feel like the best version of me. Now to some brides and people in general, the best version of themselves they seem to think is them being smaller but I would STRONGLY question that. When I was trying to be smaller and not in a good place with my body, I was a hangry, unhappy person and not the best version of myself. I was not in a good place. It was in that moment that I felt most thankful to be in a good place with my body, myself, The Lord, and my fiancé. I realized that on this day the most important day of my life I wanted to be focused on the love I have for Matt and the fact that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. This day is our beginning. I realized all the things I did not want to be focusing on. I did not want to be focused on something that was not me. I did not want to be focused on how thin I did or did not look in my dress. I did not want to be chasing a thin body.

I remember Jillian warning me that dresses run smaller than jeans and to not freak out if I was a larger size than I normally can. I can tell you right now that I do not even know the size of the dress I got because that was not even important to me. I remember telling her the size I thought I might be. I am not going to put that number on here as it may be triggering to someone.

I can tell you what I do remember. I remember how I felt in my dress. I remember I felt beautiful. I felt like my true self. My best self. Isn’t that how we all want to feel? It has been a long road on this way to be where I am today with my body and it was not easy. If you are struggling with body image or disordered eating please seek help. It is not like there are days that I wake up that I still don’t have negative thoughts every now and again. It’s hard not to in a society that is constantly telling us we need to change something about ourselves. Hello billion dollar diet industry. However, what gives me joy is that God says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The God who created the whole universe thought that the world needed a Whitney Carney.. or a Whitney Long.

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#Itwon’tbesoonbeforeLong

Whitney

Day in the life [2/20/18]

I haven’t wrote a day in the life post for a while but wedding planning is in full swing so I am excited to share some of it with you all!

My mom and I had a venue tour for the wedding venue Tuesday morning at 9:00. I got up around 6:30 and started getting ready.

Ate breakfast – 2 pieces of Canyon Bakehouse whole grain bread with almond butter, chia seeds, and cinnamon, and some raspberries. Coffee on the side of course!

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I threw some chicken in the crockpot for chicken fajitas for dinner that night. This recipe is super easy and tasty! Disregard the paleo, clean eating mambo jumbo on the recipe. I just like this recipe because it is really easy and tasty. I knew I was not going to be home until late that night so I wanted something to be ready ahead of time.

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We left around 8:00 and got to the venue early. For all of you wondering you now know that we are having the wedding in West Virginia.

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My mom and I met with Paige who walked us around the grounds and told us the history behind JQ Dickinson Saltworks. The property has been in her husbands family for over 200 years and they have been making salt ever since. She went over the process of how it is made and everything. It was super neat.

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I love that we will be supporting a local business. The place will be beautiful. I am so excited to see it fully in bloom! I first heard of their business because my best friend from high school Sierra  had her wedding there. Mom and I later tasted their caramel sauce with their sea salt at the Etsy fair in Charleston, WV. We tried it again because it’s so yummy.

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They also make chocolate so of course I got some of that.

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After that it was off to IFITT24, the gym that I work at.

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My work schedule changes from day to day but most Tuesdays are my catch up day from a full day at DECC on Mondays, the eating disorder clinic I work at. Monday I saw eight patients back to back so I had a lot of charting to do. My intern Erika met me there to do some charting. Before she got there I did my physical therapy stretches for my knee and some cardio on the elliptical. This is my first time doing the elliptical since my injury. It felt good and no pain. So thankful for God healing my knee and for my team at Dynamic Physical Therapy.  Injuries are no fun! I am thankful for the injury because it has helped me be able to relate more to my patients who are having to take a break from exercise. And while it was hard at first I won’t lie, it has helped me become so much more at home in my body. Our bodies are amazing and carry us through this crazy, beautiful life. I think I am now more appreciative of mine and all that it is able to do.

IMG_2834.JPGPost-workout was a Chobani greek yogurt drink.

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Lunch was leftovers from dinner the night before- Roasted chicken, fingerling potatoes and steamed broccoli. Have you all tried fingerling potatoes? So creamy and delicious, especially roasted in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

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I do IFITT24’s health program and they are so gracious to let me see private clients there as well. I had a private client at 3:15-4:15. Then my intern Erika and I headed to Kroger’s so she could prepare for her grocery store tour. She is doing a distance internship and one of her assignments was to do a grocery store tour. She chose the topic of fiber rich foods since February is heart month.

I snacked on an apple and some cashews as we headed over. Took a pic halfway through my snack.

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The tour went well and we had so much fun. Erika did a great job!

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After that I headed home and dad shredded the chicken for me in the crockpot. We sautéed peppers together and then ate together as a family. I love that we still eat together as a family because I think that is so important. We always did that growing up. We also made some nachos because my brother is not keen on tacos themselves. I had some of those too!

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Mom and I then watched Married at First Sight and I had some of the chocolate I got earlier.

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I facetimed Matt for about an hour and then went to bed. We discussed some wedding planning, our days, and did a devotion.

That was my day!

 

Whitney

Exciting days in Oklahoma

Faded Fall (1).jpgLast Thursday I flew out to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend a professional site visit at Laureate to tour their eating disorder treatment facility. This is not a sponsored post. I just think there is A LOT of stigma around eating disorder treatment centers (Thanks so much Netflix!) so I thought I would let you in on what a treatment center is like. I also wrote a post a while back when I visited Veritas in Raleigh, North Carolina if you want another view of a treatment center.

I arrived to the hotel, unpacked, and watched Chopped until it was time for dinner. We all met downstairs while we waited for Laureate staff to arrive to take us to dinner. I immediately hit it off with a girl who is a mental health counselor at an Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Clinic in New York. Hi Becky! I am always wanting to go to different conferences and things so it is cool to have someone to meet up with at future events. There has been this body image workshop by Marci Evans and Fiona Sutherland that I have been dying to go to. I also want to go to International Association of Eating Disorder Professional’s (IADEP) symposium one day.

We ate dinner at McGill’s where I had filet, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and failed to take a picture.  After dinner we went back to the hotel room and Matt came by and we watched some TV until I went to sleep.

The next morning I had breakfast at the hotel. Laureate staff had told us they would be having breakfast from Panera such as bagels, yogurt, and fruit, but I was really hungry when I woke up that morning so I decided to go ahead and eat at the hotel. I had oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar. I also had two boiled eggs. Matt came and ate breakfast with me before I left for the morning. He has some scrambled eggs and cheesy potatoes with peppers and onions, and an orange.

 

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I later had a yogurt parfait, orange juice, and of course some coffee! We had a couple presentations before we headed out for a tour of the facility. The first presentation was from their medical director of the program and it was on Modern Understanding of Eating Disorders. He is doing a ton of research about neural circuits and eating disorders. He is even doing a flotation study to body image. Super interesting stuff. We learned how Laureate got started. Laureate is actually owned by the owners of Saint Frances, one of the best hospitals in Tulsa.  The owner’s daughter had schitzophrenia and there were no mental treatment centers for her to be treated at.  They built Laureate since there was no mental health treatment in Oklahoma at the time.

IMG_2489There is SO much research about obesity. However, there is little research on eating disorders. However, but when we take a health at every size approach, we know that the BMI does not amount to much when we are focused on individual health. It was meant to be used for classifying populations, not individuals. One of the things that I like about Laureate is that they use a health at every size/intuitive eating approach and this carries on into their nutrition department as well.

The main thing that I took away from this lecture is the importance of a TEAM approach in the treatment of eating disorders. My boss and the clinical director of DECC always says “it takes a team,” and that it truly does! Without the patient being at 90% of their ideal body weight, medications won’t work properly and therapy will not work as well either. Therapy may be going well, but without proper nutrition, the patient could still lose X number of pounds because cognitively they are not all there. He talked a lot about the neuropathways and reward systems in the different eating disorders which I found fascinating, but I won’t bore you all with that LOL.

I really enjoyed the dietitian’s lecture. Unlike Veritas, they do not have a levels system in which patients move up as they progress and have more privileges.  However, they do have different tables for beginners, intermediate and advance and these range from less structured to more structured. As far as the menu goes, they progress from non-select to menu select to self-select/serve.  In the non-select the RD picks what the patient is eating. In the menu select, they are literally choosing off a menu. I wish I could have taken a picture of it because it was so neat. It had a list of exchanges for proteins they could choose as well for starch and fat. The menu is a thirty day cycle of lunches and dinners.  The self-select is literally what it sounds like. They are plating their food themselves. However, there is the head chef and a RD there observing to make sure that they are getting what they are supposed to. They do utilize the exchange list for their meal plans like the majority of treatment centers do. They DO NOT use measuring cups, label reading, or calorie counting.

Another thing that I already knew, but that she really stressed and I think is important to share is that a lot of the times eating disorders go unnoticed. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. You never know who might be struggling. Health is optimized through behavior change and they also utilize blind weights like Veritas and DECC.  She talked a lot about the importance of MNT (Medical Nutrition Therapy) and labs. I won’t bore you all but one thing I did not know and found super interesting is that lipid panel can be elevated when the refeeding process begins.  This is because the liver is not processing well. Which then leads to a lot of PCP’s taking certain foods high in cholesterol out of patient’s diets that does not need to be taken out. This person has an eating disorder! However, through continual eating/proper nutrition labs will level out.

They utilize a non-diet approach which is optimal for eating disorder recovery, as well as overall health since there has been SO MUCH research to show that how dieting can be horrible for our health and does not work.

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We got to tour the facility as well as their dining hall and meet their head chef. He talked about how before working at Laureate he had never worked in healthcare. He used to be a chef at a country club and serve 27 ounce steaks LOL. He had heard about how hospital food is not the best and had told Laureate that he would take the job as long as he got to cook the way he wanted to. They agreed, but he said that he had to learn A LOT about eating disorders and nutrition including proper portion sizes of proteins!

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As he was talking about his job, he teared up. You could truly tell how much he cares about the patients and how much he loves his job. Made me cry too! He talked about how he will mix things up to challenge the patients, but also make the holidays/seasons fun by decorating and having themed meals. He also showed us how they create an example meal of how each patient should have their meal. Like veritas, they have a paper that says the menu item and what exchanges it meets. Depending on their meal plan, a patient may need to add another item to their meal.

IMG_2495.JPGThey also had these examples that the patients can look at to help them make sure they are getting what they need. I thought these were neat. We had Panera for lunch and then went to tour the Magnolia House.IMG_2497.JPG

The Magnolia House is a transition living “halfway house” for eating disorders. This is for patients transitioning to outpatient care and in earlier stages of recovery. Thirty days of care are scholarshipped. This is just for 18+ older. They have to either work/volunteer/go to school for 20 hours each week. Laureate provides breakfast, snack, and dinner each day. They are responsible for lunch groceries and making their outpatient appointments. There are weekly staff meal outings as well as staff led cooking group and peer led cooking groups. One staff supervises meals and process groups. 50-60% patients utilize this and they have even had patients move to Tulsa to access the Magnolia House. Personally, the Magnolia House was one of my favorite parts of the Laureate treatment site visit as I think it is just amazing and would be so beneficial for someone leaving treatment. Because as we know, treatment is SO much different than being on your own back in a diet-focused society. It was also super pretty!

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After finishing the tour, we said our goodbyes. Matt and I went to eat dinner. We were going to go to the new Torchy’s tacos in Tulsa but the line was out the door and we were both too hungry for that nonsense. Instead, we went to Café Ole in Brookside. Matt and I went here before for brunch when I lived in Tulsa, and also my dad, myself, and Matt ate here the day I moved back to WV. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Such a weird feeling. Not knowing what was to come with this relationship with this guy I had been dating a month that I was so crazy about, and moving 15 hours away from. BUT THE LORD has been so faithful and we are SO thankful for that.

IMG_2505.JPGIMG_2507.JPGWe both got enchiladas. Matt got chicken and I got cheese. So good! They made for great leftovers for Matt the next day because we didn’t finish them. After we ate, we went to Trader Joes and visited with his parents.

Trader Joes finds:

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So far I’ve used the bagel seasoning on avocado toast. What else do you all put it on?! I am obsessed with it. It is so tasty! They had those cookies as a sample and I had to buy some. They are so delicious.

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The next day we ate breakfast and I packed all my stuff to head back to WV. Matt’s sis-inlaw Melissa has been wanting to take our pictures. She is trying to get experience and wanting to eventually open up her own photography business. We were all for it. We met her at a park in Tulsa and got started. Taking pictures was SO fun. Matt and I are so goofy so we had a blast with Melissa.

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Towards the end of our photo session, Melissa had said she wanted to take pictures of just me and I was like sure! Matt was sitting behind me on a rock somewhere out of view. At one point, Melissa had told me to face Matt and I turned around and he was down on one knee. I was so shocked and so giggly. Today it has been a week since it has happened and we are just so so so excited! Thank you to everyone on social media & in real life for showing us so much love!!! We truly cannot wait to be living in the same state together. 🙂IMG_2527.JPG

What else would we celebrate with?!

Love,

The Taco Eating Dietitian

Food Finds in OKC

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile now. I’ve been trying to be more consistent with blogging instead of just once a month or so, but life has been a little crazy lately, and that’s okay. Because stressing over trying to get a blog post out would not make blogging enjoyable for me. Really love this post by Sara, a Marshall intern who shadowed me last week. In this post she talks about tips to not fall into the comparison trap and I totally related!

A month ago I visited Matt in his new town for his dietetic internship and grad school. Matt went to Oklahoma State for his undergrad degree (GO POKES) and it was really fun visiting the town of Stillwater and making our own traditions there. However, I was really excited to visit his new town in the Edmond/Oklahoma City area of Oklahoma where he is attending University of Central Oklahoma. We tried out a lot of cool restaurants and food trucks that I am excited to share with you all!

Green Goodies

IMG_1791IMG_1792This is a bakery that caters to those who have different dietary needs – hello, me! – They have vegan, gluten-free, and traditional options. They are so tasty. They have the best gluten-free cookies I have ever had. We got a frosted cookie and a salted caramel cupcake to split.. Both were awesome. You have to stop here if you are ever in OKC.IMG_1793

Andy’s Frozen Custard

Going to Andy’s has become a tradition for me and Matt every time I fly into Oklahoma. We went once for a date when we first started dating and almost a year and a half later it is still one of our favorite places. It is a chain, but their custard is off the chain. It is super creamy. They are outside of Oklahoma, but sadly we don’t have any in WV yet.

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Matt and I had a Goodwill date and then wore our outfits to Andy’s. It was a lot of fun. I loved the awful Christmas sweater he got me to wear. He did not really like his tight shirt and 80’s sweats but that’s okay lol.

 

Café Kacao

IMG_1845IMG_1846IMG_1852IMG_1847This place is supposed to be known to be traditional Guatemalan food. It had awesome reviews and we were super excited to try it out. Matt’s mom had been there before and said that it was not traditional, and she was disappointed. However, we still wanted to give it a shot.

I got a horchatta latte and it was delicious. Probably some of the best espresso I have ever had. They were doing all kinds of cool things with the coffee drinks. I saw them torching a marshmallow that must have been for their marshmallow latte.

I really liked mine. My favorite part was the plantains. I love plantains. They were cooked perfectly. I enjoyed my dish, but I guess it was not what I was expecting. Matt got a burrito and was super disappointed. His burrito was not very traditional at all in his opinion, but he said it still tasted okay.

Overall, the place had a super cool vibe, but if it is up to Matt I doubt we will go there again. Maybe he just ordered the wrong thing, but in his opinion the menu was not very traditional it was more hipsterish LOL. We were both pretty full and only ate half which made for great leftovers later. We are all about that leftover life.

Pho Cuong

IMG_1839IMG_1840OKC is a really cool city because it has different districts. They have an Asian district which was where Pho Cuong was, but the Asian district has other restaurants as well as Asian grocery markets. Super cool! Pho Cuong really looks like nothing on the outside or the inside for that matter, but their pho was super good.. and cheap! I love how pho is so warm and comforting but at the same time super fresh with all the veggies. They also have different types of Bubble Tea. Do you like Bubble Tea? I love how sweet, ice cold it is and how it is dotted with chewy boba tapioca pearls. Matt and I both ate there for less than 20.00.

Holey Roller’s Donuts

IMG_1875IMG_1876OKC also has a more Spaniard/Artsy district called The Paseo Arts District. It has a lot of cool different Spaniard looking buildings and various places to eat and check out some cool art! Holey Roller’s Donuts is a donut truck Matt and I found online and we followed them to a farmer’s market. They have also recently opened up their own shop at The Paseo. Holey Roller’s specializes in having vegan donuts, but also offers gluten-free donut options daily.

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Their food truck is adorable, and the owner was super nice and helpful when deciding on donuts. This was one of my first gluten-free donuts that was not from the frozen aisle at a Health Food Store. It was so cool to be able to have a donut again, but even more cool that they were delicious and super moist. Matt and I would be regulars if I lived in OKC. I got a gluten-free chocolate sprinkle donut and he got a regular pumpkin one. They were so good that he insisted on tracking Holey Rollers down the next day at The Day of The Dead Festival. We got a gluten-free chai donut to split. The icing was super yummy. I’ve never been a chai person before but this donut may have changed my mind.

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The Mule

IMG_1889IMG_1888The Mule is a sandwich place and brewery. It doesn’t sound like much. In fact, when we were talking about trying it out Matt was worried that a sandwich would not fill him up. We decided to give it a shot anyway since they had gluten-free bread on their menu. All of their ingredients are locally sourced and they had some unique sandwiches on the menu including a sandwich called the macaroni poney- that’s right-macaroni on a sandwich. Neither one of us got that one but we sure thought it sounded interesting. I got a turkey sandwich that had turkey, gruyere, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and spicy aioli. Matt got the big mule grilled cheese with three different cheeses on them. He got gluten-free bread too and we split them.  Both sandwiches came with either fries, salad, or soup and we both got fries. I was full and did not finish my fries. They made for a nice side with our salmon and asparagus for dinner the next evening. We both loved this place.

I think a HUGE misconception with intuitive eating is that when you eat “whatever you want” that health goes out the door. However, I believe that when you are intuitively eating- listening to your body and tuning into your hunger/fullness cues – you are more in tune to what your body needs. To me, that aligns right with overall health and healthy eating. We made some blueberry baked oatmeal to have for breakfasts during this week which I know my body was needing. We also had salmon two nights with asparagus and fries/potatoes. With intuitive eating some days your body may want the grilled cheese and other days your body may want the asparagus and salmon. Your body knows what to do with ALL the different nutrients you give it and I think it is amazing God made us that way.

 

Oh and here’s a picture of Matt with a random bird that found him. It was too funny. He just looked down and it was on his leg chilling there. It was such a sweet bird. 🙂

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Self-care is more than just face masks.

I have blogged about what self-care looks like to me here and talked about a time I was not practicing self-care here. I feel like self-care is a new trend word. However, what does it really mean? I really love Kylie Mitchell’s explanation here and this Ted Talk. I love Ted Talks!

To me, self-care is basically checking yourself before you wreck yourself. Self-care allows you to be more present in life and to better take care of others. When you take care of yourself, you are able to take care of others better. From practicing self-care more regularly, I can now tell when I am in need of it.

I think a misconception with self-care is that movement or exercise is ALWAYS self-care. That’s not always the case. When introducing exercise to a patient at DECC, I always make sure to assess the context of the exercise. Is this joyful movement, or movement that you are doing to control the size/shape of your body? I talk more about healthy movement in this blog. I would say the same thing to someone who does not struggle with an eating disorder. Find movement that you enjoy. Going to the gym 7 days a week is not self-care in my opinion.

What brings you joy? Because if you are running and you hate it that is not going to get you anywhere. Exercise is a stresser. It releases cortisol. It can be a positive stresser or a negative stresser. If you are miserable when you are working out that is a negative stresser. That is not helping your overall stress.

What brings me joy is always changing. I think in different seasons of our lives it will change. Most of my self-care has stayed the same including doing devotionals with Matt, our weekly FaceTime date, and coffee dates with friends. However, movement is different for me lately. I’ve been having knee issues lately which is a really long story that I will not make you read. I’ve had to stop exercising except for doing yoga and foam rolling when I am having a good day. Sometimes that is once a week and I have learned through this process to be okay with that.
I’ve had to learn to give myself grace if my body does change. Truly thankful for Matt and Dr. Luzier at DECC who have talked me through this. I love doing star pose in yoga and something I have heard from a few different instructors is  “What are you serving by being small?” I love that.

Matt and I have talked about that maybe God’s plan was me to have this injury so I can better serve my patients that have to abstain from exercise for treatment. ❤

Another form of self care I have started lately is trying new things. Saturday I attended an Intro to Inversions workshop at Yoga Power. I had never practiced inversions before and it was truly so much fun. I would love to do something like this again.

22222016_1838455116167832_2875119116782040332_nI have talked about using essential oils and soaps in my skin routine before on this blog. I have recently started using Witch Hazel as a toner and it smells so nice. It’s also all natural (I hate saying that term lol) and inexpensive compared to the other ones I have seen. I picked it up at Target. The same day I picked it up, I picked up a knee brace. I felt like I had a little basket of self care. ❤ A knee brace is something Matt has been on me to get while I am in the process of getting approved for a MRI. He was right. It has helped my knee feel a little bit better so far.

I’ve also been loving following along with The Halloween Baking Championship on Food Network. I always watch this with my mom Monday nights. However, this past Monday must have been a long day at work because I fell asleep before it went off. Whoops!

What are your favorite forms of self care?

Have a blessed day!

Whitney

 

 

A weekend full of eats in Cincinnati

Last weekend Matt and I met up in Cincinnati, Ohio. We were both really excited for this trip because we had originally thought that we were not going to see each other until late October. While the late October trip is still in place, we decided that we really did not want to wait almost three months to see each other again. Matt is currently doing his dietetic internship at The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) and  his DI had approved him missing one Friday if he made it up. Being in a long distance couple for a year and two months, this is surprisingly the first time that we decided to meet up in a different state than one of our own. It was a lot of fun exploring a new city together. Although I had been to Cincinnati several times for Red’s games, Matt had never been. We always take turns planning trips so I planned the majority of this one. Matt planned Saturday night. Planning is always fun because it gets me excited to think about doing fun stuff together as a couple. It also gets me thinking about seeing him next, and that it is not so far away after all.

Matt flew out of Dallas and I drove from my house to meet him. It was an easy drive and I had some awesome podcasts to listen to. The podcasts I listened to were:

  • Don’t Salt My Game With Laura Thomas, PhD “From Anxious Perfectionist to Non-Diet Nutrition Boss with Haley Goodrich of INSPIRD Nutrition” – Really enjoyed this podcast! HUGE fan of Haley Goodrich and recommend doing Wellseek’s webinars if you are a dietitian interested working in eating disorders/having a non-diet approach. That is how I first (virtually) met Haley. I learned so much and you gotta love CEU’s!
  • Love That Lasts with Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke “New Year Goals, Dating, & God’s Will – I started listening to this one and continued to listen to more recent episodes. This one was recorded in December 23, 2014 – Whoops! LOL

I am a huge fan of the Bethke’s. They are just so hilarious and so relatable as Jesus followers. Fun fact: They were also in a long distance relationship! Matt and I have done their books and plan to do them again later on down the road. I just recently found out they had a podcast.

I picked Matt up from the airport and we headed to get second breakfast. I ate some cheerios and banana before I left my house 4 hours ago that morning. I made Matt some cookies because he loves cookies & so do I. We ate a cookie or two and headed to B&A Street Kitchen. 

We thought this place was a really cool concept. They had a window on the street where you could get food to go – hense the name I suppose. The food was great.

I got two breakfast tacos with eggs, bacon, and queso. Matt said he could tell the tortillas were house made. I described them as “doughy” but he said that did not make sense since they were corn lol. They were the best tortillas I’ve ever had. Matt got a breakfast taco and a biscuit and gravy that looked like a cloud.

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We could not check in to our AirB&B yet so we walked around Cincinnati. We went to Washington Park for a while and sat and talked. We really liked this part plus they had a dog park. We then went to Findlay Market. We loved this place. If you are from WV it is kind of like the Capital Market but about 3X the size. There were also little shops and local vendors outside.

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Pretty soon it was time to check into our AirB&B. So this was my first AirB&B experience, but Matt had stayed in one before for a grad school class before he moved into his new apartment last summer. I was not sure how it was going to be but it was a lot cheaper so we decided to go this route after searching many AirB&B’s in Cincinnati. We stopped at Kroger to get some food for breakfast the next two mornings. I had already brought some Luna Bars for snacks. We took a nap and watched some New Girl. Later we headed out to Nada Taco. This was in downtown. The thing about Cincinnati we discovered is that you can be in a part you think is a nice part of town and literally go a few blocks over and be in a very not nice part of town. However, downtown was really nice. Traffic was really bad as we were leaving to go to the AirB&B and driving in huge cities is not my favorite thing. Plus parking is really expensive! So we decided to take a Lift. Matt had a discount anyway where he drives for Lift & Uber on weekends. This was also a first experience for me. It was super nice though and not awkward like I thought it would be lol. I am really glad we went this route. We got to Nada Taco and got seated outside. This was our favorite place we ate at the whole weekend. We both got tacos- shocker. I got salmon tacos and he got pork belly. The salmon tacos had a crema on them that was delicious. We both switched one taco so we could try each others.

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Out waiter looked like Nick Miller from New Girl so that was fun. Can you tell we love New Girl? If you haven’t watched it, you need to! He had never watched the show until some other customers told him he looked like him too. We then went to an arcade bar called 16-Bit Bar + Arcade. Matt and I’s first date we ate tacos and played video games at an arcade where I beat him so it is always fun to play video games against each other. 🙂 I found out I am pretty horrible at Pac Man. It was a lot of fun though. We then took a Lift/Uber back and watched some New Girl and went to sleep.

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The next morning we made breakfast that I did not take a picture of. It was eggs, an Udi’s blueberry muffin, and strawberries. We tried to save money by cooking in for breakfast. #Balleronabudget! Plus the host of our AirB&B did not mind at all. She was great and had the cutest little boy. Everything was clean too. I will say that it looked bigger in the pictures, but that was not a huge deal. It was only like ten minutes from downtown. We would definitely stay there again.

We then headed out to Findlay Market again. I told you we loved that place! We took more time to go into some of the shops. We stopped by a tea shop and got some tea to take home to both of our moms. I got my mom a dark chocolate tea. We have yet to try it though. She’s been wanting to try chocolate tea ever since seeing a company on Shark Tank with chocolate tea.

We ate lunch at Pho Lang Thang. When we were at Findlay Market the day before we could smell the pho and it smelled amazing so we decided to go back. The place looks like it is nothing at all but the food was really good. We were impressed.

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IMG_1575.JPGI got the tofu bowl and Matt got the pork bowl. Matt and I really want to try making pho when I go see him in October. Was anyone made pho at home? We thought it would be relatively easy.

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I love you pho liiiiife! 🙂

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IMG_1579.JPGWe then walked to Washington Park where they had something super cool going on. Totally a happy accident. It was called the City Flea. There were tons of local vendors and we loved it! I got some charcoal soaps because I love essential oil soaps. They are one of my favorite things of self care. ❤ Then we walked downtown where Octoberfest was going on. We had no idea it as going on that weekend when we originally made plans to go that weekend. Apparently Cincinnati is a very German town. Had no idea. Anyway Octoberfest is really just about drinking beer and a lot of German food. There were so many people and it was super hot that day. We walked through the madness and went to a coffee shop called Lola’s. We loved this place. It was super cute and the coffee was good. Matt got an iced latte and I got an iced caramel macchiato.

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We then walked back downtown and went to fountain square and decided to do the Carew observation tower. The views were beautiful and it was super fun.

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IMG_1597.JPGAfter this we went back to our Air BB and  and watched a New Girl episode and  relaxed.  Later on we went to dinner. Guess what? Another taco place! LOL  This place was in downtown as well. There was a longer wait so we walked around and loked at some of the shops.  There was a cool place where you could make candles and I was wishing that we had one back in WV.  The restaurant kind of had the same feel as the other restaurants on the street. They were all open to the outside which was cool.  The seating was kind of strange but I still liked the place and would go back. The salsa had avocado in it which was cool. It was really tasty. However, the tacos were just okay. We were not super impressed by them. It was still a cool place to get something to eat though.

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Matt had then planned for us to go to Smale Park. I LOVED THIS. Super cute park. Gosh if I lived there I would go there all the time. They had ginormous swings which were really popular. We literally had to sit behind on a bench and wait for someone to get off the swing and then sprinted toward the swing lol. We stayed here for awhile just talking and swinging. We then went to a Game Bar and played Uno. That was fun and a cool concept. We then went back to the AirB&B and went to sleep.

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IMG_1623.JPGThe next day we fixed breakfast and chatted with the host. We then headed out to Trader Joes & Whole Foods so I could stock up on some of my favorite gluten-free carbs. I love Canyon Bakehouse brand bread so I got some of that from Whole Foods and bagels from TJ’s. Canyon Bakehouse is my fav because it is 100% whole grain which is hard to come by in gluten-free products! I also got a pumpkin bread/muffin mix which I am super excited to try. Matt and I have decided that when we do get married we will do like 90% of our grocery shopping at Aldi and TJ’s because they are so cheap and we love them! I so miss TJ’s after moving back to WV. 😦 Gluten-free has definitely gotten better as far as more products, but I still am not access some of my favorite gluten-free products as often as I would like. We also snagged some free coffee at TJ’s and listened to Life.Church’s latest message while we were driving. Love Life.Church and so miss going to church with my guy! The latest message series is called “My Big Fat Mouth” and it is awesome. So much truth!

Next, we hit up The Littlefield for brunch. Matt got biscuits and gravy, and bacon. I got the truffle egg sandwich. All of their food is locally sourced and it had a cool vibe!

IMG_1627.JPGIMG_1628.JPGIMG_1629.JPGWe then went to Greater’s and got ice cream. Matt had never had Graeter’s and he said it was even better than Bluebell! If you’ve never had Bluebell it is because we do not have it in WV and it is so creamy. I got salted cramel chocolate chip and Matt got Cookies and Cream. IMG_1633.JPG

Something sweet before our bittersweet goodbye. We will see each other at the end of October so that made things a little bit easier. Long distance never gets easy but I am truly thankful for this guy that God has allowed me to do life with and grow with the past year and two months. We aren’t perfect. We have our disagreements, but it is in those moments that God has allowed us to grow and learn about each other. We all are a work in progress and I think that is a truly beautiful thing. IMG_1635.JPG

Hope you all enjoyed this post!

 

Whit