FAQ

If you have a question you think should be answered here let me know and email me at trying.to.heal[at]gmail.com!

Blogging Basics:

How long have you been blogging?
-Technically I started back around January 2008 and did it for a few months, then stopped, and started back up again full time in June of 2008.  Best decision ever!

How did you start blogging?   
-Originally it was just to see if I could make it “out in the blogging world.” But I secretly started it with hopes of getting help for my ED.  I also wanted to find lots of new vegetarian recipes and get help on training for races!

How long do you spend blogging a day?
-Each post takes me about a 30-45 minutes.  I spend about 1-2hrs just reading and commenting on blogs though, but not everyday.

What kind of camera do you use?
-I own a Finepix S1500 that I got for Christmas from my parents.

How do you explain about your blog? Especially the eating disorder part?
-I put it out there at the very beginning that I write a healthy living blog and need to take pictures of my food and activities.  People ask why and it’s simple: I like it and it’s fun!  As far as the ED part goes, I don’t divulge this part unless the person asks about it.  No, I am not ashamed about this section of the blog but it is something that doesn’t need to be discussed with some people if the need is not there.

Work:

You move around a lot, where have you lived?
-As crazy as it sounds, I haven’t lived in one spot for more than 6 months in the past three years!  Since 2007 I have lived in:

  • Anaheim, CA,
  • San Diego, CA 
  • Central FL
  • Smith Point, TX
  • Homestead, FL 
  • Kern County, CA
  • Palm Springs, CA
  • Manu, Madre de Dios, Peru

They are all very different from each other weather, environment and socially but fun in the end!

What kind of jobs have you had?
-Since getting out of college I have worked several different kinds of job in different aspects of the job world.\

  • July 2007 – May 2008: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  • June 2008 – December 2008: Marine Corps/Navy
  • January 2009 – June 2009: University of Florida, Snail Kite Project
  • August 2009 – November 2009: Hawkwatch International, Hawk Counter
  • January 2010 – May 2010: University of Florida, Wading Bird Project
  • May 2010 – April 2012: WEST, Inc., Avian Field Tech/Biologist
  • April 2012 -June 2012: Bloom Biological, Avian Field Biologist
  • June 2012 -September 2012: Tulane University, Hummingbird Volunteer Biologist

How did you pick your profession?
-I knew after my first jobs that I could not work at a desk.  Sitting in one spot in an office with no sun was like torture to me.  I was offered a desk job doing GIS (another thing I love to do) by the Marine Corps but I declined and took the job working in the lakes of Central Florida on an endangered bird, the Snail Kite.  From then on, it was a given that I was born and bred to be a field technician!  I love to be out in the sun and enjoying the environment so what a better place to do it!
-I also knew I wanted to work with birds for my profession after working with them in Australia in 2006.  It was the most eye opening experience living in the rainforest and living and breathing everything that had to do with the environment!

How do you fuel for your work?
-This has been a big project of trial and error.  Depending on the kind of job I do depends on how I fuel for it!  Many of my jobs have included very rigorous activities in things like mud, water, grasses, etc. and need a lot of energy so I will eat more than I normally would on a given day.  The best way I found to fuel for this kind of activity was to add in bigger snacks and denser meals earlier in the day.  It helped keep my energy up through very long hours of grueling field work!  Some that would last for up to 15-18 hours!

Basics:

How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
-I am almost 5’6″ and weight around 127lbs on any given day.  We all know that weight fluctuates so I try my hardest not to dwell on if it goes up or down!

Do you weigh yourself? If so how often?
-I currently do not have a scale.  The only time I ever get weighed is at my yearly appointment!  I hate the scale!

Do you take measurements?
-I did this for a while, and the last time I did it was when I participated in Angela’s Whittle My Middle exercises and Insanity Program, but not anymore.  I’ve banned the tape measure from my home because like with the scale, numbers are my worst enemy.

Running:

How often do you run? Do you follow a schedule? How much do you do everyday?
-Normally I run no more than 5 days a week, especially when I’m training for a race, and no more than 3 days in a row.  I’ve learned over the past few years that my body/legs can’t take the miles like they used to in high school when I ran up to 50 miles a week.  During race training I do one long run a week, two easy days, one speed day and one day that’s not easy but not super hard…it all depends on how I feel (field work can be exhausting), the weather and how I’ve eaten that day.

How did you start running? How long have you been doing it?
-The brutal truth, I’ve never been coordinated for any other sport in my life!  I can’t throw, catch or kick a ball for the life of me!  So the only thing I could do was put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  I started running a bit when I was in elementary school in things like our school olympics and DARE Challenges, along with joining the track team when I was in Jr. High.  The real running started when I got into high school and joined the cross country team after being haggled at registration.  Ever since then, I’ve never looked back or regretted a second of it!  I like to say I’ve been running for over 10 years but clearly it started when I was like, 9 or 10, almost 15 years ago!

What running shoe do you wear?
-For the past two years I have been wearing Mizuno Women’s Running Shoes, most recently the Wave Rider 14.  I started off with Wave Rider 11 and have gone through the 12′s and 13′s without any problems.  I do wear Dr. Scholl’s inserts in all my running shoes because it helps with my high arches and keeps me from getting calf tears like I did a few years ago.

What races have you run? How do you decide which ones to run?
-You can see recaps of my most recent races on my race recap page.  As far as choosing races, it’s mostly to give myself something to look forward to!  I like to pick 1/2 Marathons that are in places I’ve never been to but choose shorter races that are near where I live.  It also helps me see if I’m progressing in my training or not (which usually is not because I don’t do well with short races! Not my cup of tea!).

What is your favorite workout gear?
-I live and breath by my Nike Airborne Woman’s Sports Tops.  They are awesome tops because they have two pockets in the back that are great for carrying Gu’s and Chomps and it breathes really really well.  For shorts I like to wear Nike’s Tempo Track Woman’s Running Shorts but have only been using them for the past month or so.  Otherwise I wear Target’s Champion Ebony Running Shorts and they work pretty well!  I do have a pair of Lucy’s Propel Running Shorts but my inseam is too short so it’s hard when they start riding up as I’m running!  Very annoying!
-For training I have a Nike Feather Light Woman’s Visor (Might seem like I really like Nike, but it’s just coincidence!) that I use for all my long runs because I sweat so much, and to carry water I use a CamelBak for women.

Do you strength train? How often?
-I do strength train but not as often as I like.  I try to get in at least one session a week but want to aim for two to work on making my body stronger!  For my ST sessions I have a pair of 5lb weights, adjustable weights, an exercise band, an exercise ball and many fitness videos to help out with moves!  I also use a lot of the exercise cards that come in Self’s magazine every month.  I did participate in Bobbi’s Holiday Shred in December 2011 which showed me just how strong I can get with that kind of training!

What’s your favorite fitness DVD?
-I use a few DVD’s regularly but my favorites are Karen Vought’s Yoga and Aerobic DVD along with Core Fusion’s Body Sculpt and Insanity  A friend recently lent me all the P90X DVDs and I’m giving those a try and enjoying them!  I also own DVD’s by SHAPE, Jillian Michaels, MTV Videos and many more (Pilates, Yoga, exercise bands, abs, legs, etc).

Do you do yoga? How often?
-I do yoga about once a week, if I’m lucky.  Like strength training I’m trying to get it up to two times a week to help with my very small range of flexibility.  For moves I like to use Karen Vought’s DVD along with Yoga Download Podcasts I’ve collected over time.

How do you stay motivated to workout?
-I set goals.  I register for races way ahead of time so I can’t back out and have to get out there and train.  I also try to plan running days with friends to make sure I don’t bone out from laziness.

Eating Disorder:

When did your eating disorder start? What kind do you have?
-My ED started when I was 18, in October of 2007 during my freshman year of college.  At the time it was a combination of going to a new school, having to make new friends, losing two grandparents in a 6 month span, being without my boyfriend and family, in a new environment, gaining a bit of weight in the beginning of college and trying to fit in that ultimately led to my weight demise.  There are underlying factors to why I have an eating disorder and come from when I was a child and how my job works, but it’s being dealt with in different matters than what we knew back then.  Anyhow, over 3 months I lost over 30 pounds by overexercising and restricting and could have been classified as having Anorexia if I had gone and seen a doctor to get it clinically defined.  Not only did I lose all the weight, but I lost my period and my social life.  I became a hobbit and was obsessed with calories, running and trying to lose weight.

Have you gone to therapy?
-I have gone to therapy on two different occasions: now and when someone threatened me.  The later might sound harsh, but it’s not.  My first experience with therapy came when a suite mate of mine confronted me about my eating and losing weight and made me to go to therapy or she would tell my parents.  It was hard as I had never done it before, was ashamed I had a problem and wasn’t very comfortable with the man I had to talk to.  I did this for a year every week and partly every other week, then moved to every month and then once or twice a semester, as the counselor I was seeing was employed by my college.
-My second round of therapy started in the summer of 2010.  I am seeing someone at a wellness center in my town and talking about my problems with anxiety, emotional eating, over exercising, body dysmorphia and several other aspects of my eating disorder.  I see her every week and it has been helping so much in trying to deal with my problems.

Who do you talk to about your eating disorder?
-I have several friends and family who I talk to about my ED, along with my therapist and many many bloggers.  Many of these men and women have dealt with these issues before or are just hard headed and tell me the truth flat out when I need to hear it.  They keep me going when times are hard and I need a helping hand.

How much weight did you lose and how did you gain it back?
-When my eating disorder started I weighed a healthy 125 pounds at 5’6″.  My disorder started just two months after I started college and by the time I went home for Christmas just shy of three months later I weighed in at around 100lbs.  I was on a quest to lose more before my friend confronted me about my issue and I stopped losing weight.  It took me almost a year to gain back about 15lbs by myself and the help of my friend’s encouragement and from then on I have gained back the last 10lbs that I need to gain to be at a healthy weight to have a regular and normal period (I lost my period for 9 months when I lost too much weight).
-In my journey to gain back the weight I started incorporating many of my fear foods again like peanut butter, breads, and healthy sources of protein and dairy along with sweets I had deprived myself of.  It was a long and hard process but eventually I was able to become less afraid of these foods and eat them regularly.

Do you still struggle with your ED now? 
-There is sadly not a day that goes by that I don’t struggle with my ED.  It has changed over the years from severe restricting and over exercising, to staying away from fear and unsafe foods, relapses, over eating and anxiety, body dysmorphia, to more overexercising and emotional eating.  I’m working hard with my therapist to work against these notions and strive for a more healthy attitude about my body, life and outlook.

How do you fight your ED?  What is most helpful?
-Writing and talking.  It’s the best thing I can do for my recovery.  The more time I spend alone thinking about it instead of telling someone and acting upon and finding a remedy for it, the worse it gets.  I write my Side Notes to help me get through times when I can’t physically talk to someone in person or on the phone, and email many friends when I have the chance.  I also have a journal that is scribbled in regularly to fend off my demons and keep myself from relapsing or doing something destructive.

When do you find it the hardest to combat your ED?
-To be brutally honest, all the time.  But there are certain things that trigger my ED and make it harder to fight: going out to eat, not being able to exercise, eating fear/unsafe foods, eating foods others have made, and more.  These times are very stressful for me but luckily I have a lot of love and support to get me through the struggle.

You’ve mentioned in posts about intuitive eating, what have you used to guide you?
-Geneen Roth is my new hero.  Her books are absolutely brilliant and have helped me look at the underlying reasons why I’m eating or not eating.  She also has a workbook that I’ve used to really dive into the emotions behind my eating and how to fight against them.  She has everything from a hunger scale to use, lists to distract your from unwanted actions.  I cannot be more thankful for her books to help me deal with my problems.

Do you recommend any books to read? On eating disorders or intuitive eating?
-I would definitely recommend all of Geneen Roth’s books, along with ED books like The Golden Cage, Wasted, Life in the Thin Cage, Life Doesn’t Begin 5lbs from now, The Secret Language of Eating Disorders,  and a few more that I borrowed from the library years ago and no longer can remember.

Eating:

Do you post everything on your blog?
-I tell you everything I eat, but I don’t take a picture of everything.  I try my hardest to but sometimes I’m just too lazy to take a picture of a small snack and some of my little nibbles are just boring or pointless to state.  I like to try and post about the more interesting things I consume instead of something you’re going to see day after day after day!

Do you measure your food?
-I measure certain things to make sure I’m getting the right idea of a of a decent amount, like PB and cereal.  I got through phases where I’ll measure everything to where I’ll eyeball everything, but it all depends on how comfortable I am at the time of my eating and eating disorder recovery.

Do you eat organic?
-I try to eat organic as often as I can.  I eat certain things that are prone to  being covered in pesticides like peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, grapes, pears, leafy greens, and tomatoes along with things like yogurt, greek yogurt, milk substitutes, beans, sauces and much more.  There are more fruits and vegetables dubbed the “dirty dozen” but it all depends on the price whether I buy any of these organic.  I try to stay in season too, which helps bring down the prices when they otherwise would be high.

Do you count calories?  How many calories do you eat a day?
-I do count calories but not for all the right reasons.  I count them now because I’m afraid that I’ve eaten too many, but on days where I do long runs I count them to make sure I’m getting enough!  On an average day I eat around 1800-2000 calories a day but on long run days I eat more depending on the mileage.

How long have you been a vegetarian? How did you start?
-I became a vegetarian in June of 2003 right after I got out of high school.  I had friend who had been a vegetarian for a while and I was very inspired by it but wouldn’t take the plunge because I didn’t know enough.  After graduation I went to a party where the main course was a pig, as in the whole things had been roasted and was sitting on the table.  As soon as I saw the meat I was eating with a head, curly tail and well, a body, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I instantly started researching how I was going to need to eat to replace the meat I wasn’t consuming and from there it’s been an adventure!

What are you favorite snack bars?
-If you’ve followed the blog long, you know I love my bars.  I’m a huge fan of all the Odwalla and Zbars by Clif, but also like to eat Luna, Clif, Odwalla, Earnest Eats and KIND bars.  I try not to eat them too often but when you work out in the field like I do it’s hard not to use them for fast and furious fuel!  I also like to make my own granola or chewy bars but mostly I make breads that don’t do too well in the heat of the desert where I work.

How often do you go grocery shopping? How much do you typically spend? Or do you go to a farmer’s market?
-Normally I got grocery shopping about every week and a half to two weeks.  It depends on how work is going and the weather really.  On an average visit I can spend anywhere from $30-$60 but I also visit the weekly farmer’s market where I’ll spend about $15 weekly.

Do you drink coffee? Or are you more of a tea person?
-I drink coffee when I’m in a pinch, and when I’m doing field work that makes me have to leave my house before 5am.  It’s hard to drive 100+ miles a day being up that early and in the heat or cold!  Caffeine helps a lot but I try to stay away since it affects my body very easily and I can get the jitters and nauseated if I haven’t eaten enough before and after drinking it.  Otherwise I like to drink fruit teas and my favorite flavors usually include berries!

What’s your favorite meal?
-Most definitely breakfast!  If I could I would eat it all day long!  I love smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, muffins, and anything else you can think of!  But out of all of them I love french toast the most because I like to give them a kick with spices like ginger, nutmeg and even a bit of chili sometimes. Crazy I know but it gives it a bite that you’re not expecting!

Do you have a favorite peanut butter?
-Now that, is a hard one.  First of all, always smooth.  But I suppose it depends on the kind of pb you’re asking about!  For plain, I like TJ’s plain smooth organic kind, but also love their pb with flaxseeds.  For chocolate flavored kinds I love PB&Co’s Dark chocolate dreams, for other kinds of nuts I love Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, along with Cinnamon Swirl by PB&Co and Naturally More PB.

What are you kitchen staples?
-There are definitely a boat load of things I always like to have in the kitchen!  It includes things like:

  • Fruits (fresh and frozen)
  • Vegetables (fresh and frozen)
  • Beans (chickpeas, black beans, pinto and navy beans)
  • Grains (brown rice, quinoa, couscous)
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal (Kashi)
  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, trail mixes)
  • Baking ingredients
  • Seasonings
  • Crackers (TJ’s Guiltless Wheat Crackers, TLCs)
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Unsweetened Almond Breeze
  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Light Soy Sauce/Ginger Marinade (by TJ’s)

Do you drink? How often?
-I do drink, but not very often.  This comes from a fear of alcohol and empty calories.  But every once in a while I let loose and drink with my family and friends at events like Wine and Food Festivals.  When I do drink it’s mostly sweet wines and mixed drinks like vodka soda.  I don’t like beer that much and many wines, red or white, just don’t taste good to me and are too dry.

Others:

What is your greatest accomplishment?
-Doing what I love.  It has never made me more happy that I decided to do what I love to do other than what would give me the most money, security and stability.  I get to work in the environment, go places that humans have never been and may never go to, see species I would not see in my normal travels and work with people who work like I do for the same reasons.  It’s amazing the things you can accomplish when you do what you love.

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