Friday, March 30, 2012


Sometimes, simply going by your “this feels good” gut is not a good way to achieve well being.

Let’s look, for example, at Sheila. She’s normally a highly energetic individual who gets good sleep, solid exercise, and maintains a healthy weight. She’s got a very positive attitude and purrs a lot.

So why is she lying with her face on the food dish, looking lethargic and unhappy?


Because my uncle gave her some homegrown kitty weed for Christmas.

Yep, stoned out of her mind on catnip.


She ate up the good stuff from her dish… then licked the dish… then rubbed her face in the dish.


And then sat in my lap making creepy faces.

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After the high wore off, she was listless and depressed for DAYS. This cat is usually high on life, bouncing around the house chewing on the heating vents (for some reason…), batting at insects, climbing into bags, rubbing herself against your legs, and generally being a picture of good health and happiness. Seeing her all catnip-hungover was just depressing.

The lesson here? All animals, the human ones included, have things that are positive to take into their body and things that are negative.

No more weed for Sheila!

I was not on drugs, nor have I ever been, but ever since my healthy eating brain reboot I have honestly felt like a different person than I was for many months. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of good experiences, and felt my fair share of happiness. But I feel a different kind of wellness, from the inside out, that is pretty amazing.

Thoughts on the mental snap that instituted my new well  being, in no particular order:

[feel free to skip over this as it’s highly self-reflective and thus probably highly irrelevant to people other than myself]

Prior to my big “Aha! I can eat mindfully!” moment on March 23, I must confess that on March 22 I went to the gym and weighed myself and then had to wrap up my workout and come home to cry. It was more than I had weighed in a very very very long time, and meant that I had gained 25 pounds since I moved home from college in January 2010. A few of which didn’t hurt at all (and I was sick of people telling me I was too skinny), and let the record state I am at a healthy BMI. But 25 pounds in such a short period of time (and a rather starting proportion since I started my job in September, and an extra startling proportion since adding classes to job in January) is indicative of unhealthy behavior, which is my larger concern.

Paradoxically, my scale-induced-horror seemed to calm me down. Back in the day, losing weight and keeping myself thin felt very very easy to me. I had parameters in which I operated (lotsa plants to keep me full, generally no sweets, no buying junk so it’s not around to tempt me, a set number of calories per day) and I didn’t spent a lot of time angsting over what I wasn’t eating.

For the past few months I’ve felt all this “if only” angst, that the circumstances that resulted in me losing so much weight in college was having my own apartment and being in control of my environment. The truth was, however, that I was in control of my head, and exercising my free will to eat what was good for me and not eat what wasn’t. And now I seem to’ve regained it, however that happened.

And it’s GREAT, because if your healthy eating is enabled by your head rather than your environment, I can appreciate my environment. Rather than my monklike college existence where I didn’t eat a lot of meals with other people, I continue to be social and enjoy going out to eat and just… stop at the appropriate moment, meaning when I experience relief of hunger, not when my stomach is stuffed and uncomfortable. And eat the food I know will make me feel good, not the food that is packed with sugar and fat.

Also, I must confess: perhaps the reason the healthy eating, and honestly just eating less began, was due to a bit of a stomach bug. I spent about… two years feeling seemingly RAVENOUS. In retrospect, I say with the cool of someone who’s had steady blood sugar for several days now (:D) it was due to my body being on a constant sugar spike and crash; eating food for stress relief and then, when that proved temporary, continuing; not knowing when it’d be fed next (due to guilt-induced meal skippage for previous offenses), etc. But at the time I just felt HUNGRY. And having my weirdo stomach bug (from which, knock on wood, I seem to’ve recovered) meant that I was less hungry. And I went, “Ooh, that breakfast satisfied me. And now I don’t have to eat or think about food anymore. That felt pretty great!”

Also, hormones may play a role: I’m starting an experiment next month to see if a change in prescriptions may have precipitated some of this weight gain/constant hunger. And I’ll (over?)share about that if it seems relevant.

[end personal rambling]

On that note, a few remaining pics from the old days. Yknow… more than a week ago :D

These were unsatisfying and gross looking and I don’t know why I made them except the idea of green baked goods for a Saint Patrick Day’s party was fun:


Meant to be chocolate cookies… but then there wasn’t enough batter and they weren’t sweet enough cause I tried this juice-sweetened thing… and then I put a sugar cookie layer on top to make it sweeter and dye it green but I didn’t follow a recipe and it was just okay… and then when they baked the green got pukey looking. Anyway. Not a win.

Steve made a gorgeous fruit salad, of which I ate a lot (though unsatisfyingly and kind of grossly a lot with my hands… oh, parties).


He mixed yogurt, honey, and green food coloring (gross) to make this amusing “Lepre-can topping”.

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  Party was predictably excessive. Crunk cakes:


(rum in the red velvet cupcakes and in the icing)

… continuing on the Crunk theme:


That white pitcher was butterbeer, made by the very talented Jillian. SO delicious.

Jillian also made homemade stuffed crust pizza (!). With pears and bacon (!). She is pretty epic in the kitchen.

Check out her blog!


The crust was stuffed with Trader Joe’s goat brie with basil. I mean.


The party was too fun to take many pictures but here’s the general chaos towards the end of the evening (that pasta salad was also very good).


Annnnd a final lesson in portion control: even if that frozen yogurt is SO GOOD, SO SATISFYING, so INTRIGUINGLY TANGY AND YOGURT-Y (it’s worth getting it at a Korean bakery, fyi: totally different flavor!)

… if you get a giant cookie, you will eat a giant cookie.


These kind of portion control fails are what result in ridiculous things like this breakfast:


Tea (normal), a green smoothie (slightly weird but made acceptable for breakfast by banana within it and Cheerios atop)…


… and roasted cauliflower.

“Sorry, body! Here are some micronutrients!”


1 comment:

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

So much of the enjoyable experiences that life provides are spent with food. I know you know this better than most, and your appreciation of the full spectrum of flavors such as a subtle tang in bread, the hint of mustard in greens, or your pronounced joy of fire roasted tomatoes really shows this.

I wish you didn't have to feel such sadness around your body weight,especially because you are a very beautiful young woman. Most adults suffer from dramatically sedentary lifestyles, but you fit in gym time, zoomba, and walk more than anyone I know. (However, if you'd like to bike with me, I'm trying to make that a common component of life.)

Ileana, I hope you feel better. I know that when I walk into a room where you are, I'm always inescapably drawn to the freckles that highlight your beautiful cheeks and your graceful sway.

You shouldn't give a damn about that stupid scale reading. It can't weigh the wonderful impact you've already had on this world nor even remotely display the depth of your knowledge or strength.